“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. “
We live in a marvelous age of technological advancement. Many scientific breakthroughs that have occurred in the last 100 years or so have made the lives of multitudes of people far easier. In the past decade those breakthroughs have accelerated at a break neck pace. Cell phones are now mini computers. Satellites can give pictures that are at such quality that it is possible to read a license plate. This is just the technology we know about. Leading scientists have stated that DARPA research projects are a decade ahead of what mainstream science is currently working on. I was watching a documentary recently about technological advances mostly in genetics called “Playing God”. The BBC correspondent Dr. Adam Rutherford went to various institutes across the U.S. and the U.K. to see firsthand the advances in mainstream science.
· Utah State University scientists spliced the DNA of a goat and a spider. Contrary to popular rumor and fake internet pictures the “spider-goat” does not have six or eight legs. It resembles a normal goat on any farm in any rural setting; however the milk it produces contains a protein that can be extracted to obtain dragon-line spider silk. This silk is one of the strongest materials found in nature. The lead scientist stated “Spiders are carnivorous and cannibalistic and very territorial and therefore can’t be farmed”. So the only way to obtain meaningful quantities of this material was to genetically alter an animal that can produce larger volumes. On the surface this seems to be a harmless if not beneficial practice.
· Scientists have moved single genes and chunks of DNA from one species to another before, but Dr. Craig Venter’s team met a milestone a few years ago, transplanting an entire natural genome of one bacterium into another and watched the original goat germ turn into a cattle germ.
· Venter further distinguished himself by creating a synthetic life form by taking building blocks of life and splicing them together in a cell that had been cleared of its original DNA. He created a new synthetic form of life using existing pieces of other life. This new bacterial life form was dubbed Synthia. The most astounding thing is Venter used a computer program to write the DNA code.
· This blending of Biology and computer science seems to be the way of the future. One use of such technology according to the documentary is to create a biological circuit or biological program that could run through a human and if cancer cells are found, the program would kill the malignant cells, if no cancer is detected it just runs its course and goes away. Once again this sounds like science put to good use.
· There is a project called the IGEM project which involves teams of students from various universities worldwide that combine biology/genetics/computer programming to create the best genetic project. The example use in the documentary was students taking a chameleon like property of a type of squid and uploading it to a computer. The genetic information is then placed in bacteria, that reacts with pollutants in water. The result would be when this genetically altered bacteria encounters pollutants in drinking water it will change color. The genetic information is then stored on a website and can then be used by scientists worldwide for their projects. These genetic materials are known as bio-bricks. These bio-bricks can be ordered online and used to create whatever the scientists can imagine.
· In 2008 three individuals won a Nobel Prize for making ecoli bacteria that glowed green by combining it with a jellyfish gene that glows. Now less than five years later the same project is being done by children at a community center in California.
· Last also not part of the documentary, according to Fox news: “Babies with the genes of three parents could be born within three years, British scientists have announced.” “The procedure involves transferring the DNA from a mother’s egg into another woman’s donor egg in order to replace the mother’s faulty mitochondria, which are described as the ‘batteries’ that power the cells in our bodies. The egg is then implanted in the mother to prevent her child inheriting her faulty genes, which can cause incurable and potentially fatal conditions such as liver, kidney, brain, muscle and heart disease.”
All of the scientific achievements listed above are at face value positive and represent scientific progress. Now for the dark side of such technology…..
In the case of the “spider-goat”, when GOD created all living things it was ordered, each created after their own kind, and GOD saw that it was good. Apparently to some it wasn’t good enough and they need to improve upon GOD’s creation.
“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” GENESIS 1:25
In the book of Jasher, which of course is not a book of the bible, yet it is referenced states:
“and the sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, all men and all animals.” JASHER 4:18
The spider-goat in and of itself may be a benign creature for positive purposes however GOD created things as they are for a reason and we should tread lightly. From a scientific point of view what type of new and deadly diseases may result from mingling species that were never meant to be formed? H1N1 naturally made the leap from animal to human disease, what could a hybrid of varied genetic make-up unleash. The mixing of species is happening in labs all over the world. It isn’t just the spider-goat, it’s a multitude of species and in some cases there is a mixing of animal and human DNA. That could very well be a genetic time bomb waiting to explode.
The case of “Synthia” is of the same ilk. Creating a new creature from genetic parts of multiple organisms could lead to the same genetic time bomb.
The genetic circuit or program designed to destroy cancer cells would be a God-send. However, the same type of technology is currently being studied for a military purpose. Instead of destroying cancer cells it could be used to target a specific race or genetic line of people. This genetic weapon could be used to kill the enemy while not killing our troops. This rings of genocide. Furthermore could such technology be used to wipe out a population who doesn’t have a certain genetic or technological mark on their right hand or forehead?
“And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” REVELATION 13:15-18
The IGEM project and the fact that Nobel Prize winning science can now be accomplished in a local community center is a little disconcerting. The ability to purchase bio bricks online with the computer code to write the correct DNA sequence to splice the components correctly coupled with the fact that it can now be done in a basement or community center laboratory leaves the door open for disaster. Terrorists may wish to use such components to create a super-virus or some sort of genetic weapon. If a color changing gene from a squid can be placed in drinking water to find pollutants and change them color could the toxin of a puffer fish or snake venom be combine with something innocuous to create a deadly Trojan horse. Another problem could be the average person trying to play mad scientist and make some horrendous mistake.
Last but certainly not least the three parent babies who could be born in the next two years. Well apparently it was decided to go ahead with this project without the public knowing. According to the Daily Mail:
“The world’s first genetically modified humans have been created, it was revealed last night. The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics. So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three ‘parents’. Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental program at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey. The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilized in an attempt to enable them to conceive. Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.”
The fact that genetic diseases can be wiped out before birth is laudable. However the thought of having three parents genetically speaking is a bit unsettling. Whats more unnerving for me is the fact that it was hidden from the public. It appears that the possibility of a future project was leaked to the media to gauge public reaction. Obviously when the reaction was more positive than negative, the powers that be decided to let the world know that it wasn’t a future project but in fact the babies were born a scant few weeks later.
I am not against science and technology. I believe our lives both quality and quantity have improved significantly because of the many many breakthroughs in all realms of science from genetics to electronics. I do however worry about the government hiding projects that could be detrimental to the human race. The three parent baby is hardly dangerous on the surface of things, however if they wanted to hide something so benign what do you think they will do with something dangerous. This is the conundrum we face, the advancement of technology for the good will always be used by those who wish to do evil for their own nefarious purpose. Furthermore, who are we to try to play GOD?
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org