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So that about wraps it up for God then

Now that the theoretical possibility of making life from scratch has become actual (albeit with a bit of handwaving about cell walls and recipes), that seems to remove another arrow from the quiver of divine qualities. If we can do, then it's not particular to a deity, not a quality of that deity. Now that lightning, birth, death, illness and recovery, gravity etc have all left the divine sphere, all that seems to be left is a load of nebulous qualities that are often so hard to define that their existence is moot anyway. Things like predestiny, omnipresence, souls and other magicks. God is the god of nothing of any import.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
We've made life?

I suspect that God's big claim as time goes by will be 'first cause'. Until we actually observe or trigger a big bang, that one's going to be hard to get around.
May. 21st, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
I've added a link to the story. It's on the front page of most newspaper today. Given that the first cause, if there is such a thing, is by definition, the current one, outside of space and time, it's difficult to imagine, by me at least, worshipping it. You might as well worship a solar flare or a comet's tail.
May. 21st, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
Depends what you mean by 'worship' I suppose. If you think a first cause was in some sense responsible for all that flowed therefrom, including your own life, then it seems reasonable to want to pay it some sort of reverence if you're that way inclined. Painting pictures of it with a white beard and a twinkle in its eye might come to seem a little primitive, though.
May. 21st, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
And if we do trigger a big bang, resolving the question of God may turn out to be of very brief concern.
May. 21st, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC)
Hmm, paging <A href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minor_The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy_characters#Oolon_Colluphid>Oolon Colluphid></A> Your agent is on the white curtesy phone.
May. 21st, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
At this point Steve turned into a frog.

With no soul.

I caught a glimpse of this story yesterday. Didn't they actually replace one microbe's genes with those of another microbe? I.e. not creating life from scratch but mixing it up to create a new species. Which is old hat, as we've had basilisks for centuries.
May. 21st, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Some people would say this has already happened, given that I claim to have no soul and lived in France for 10 years.

They used synthetic DNA and an established genome as well a the cell wall from another bacteria. So not that big an advance really. It's not like they wrote the genome. That would be the real big step.
May. 21st, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
Ventor is very careful not to say "created life". What it does mean is that we have much better understanding of a "minimum set" of genes.

and PS: I am an agnostic, rather than an athiest, because I cannot disprove an omnipotent God who created a universe without necessity for or evidence of their existence.
May. 21st, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
Try Tarvu - it's so easy to join!
May. 21st, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
From the newspaper headlines you would have thought he had just pointed and suddenly a new creature sprang into being from nothing. Which would be very 'godlike'. Instead he played around with yeast and dna.

The achievement isn't the creation of life - it's the potential ability to customise it.
May. 22nd, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
God's still got the copyright and he's about to slap you all upside the head.
May. 22nd, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
To be honest it is kind of irrelevant to my religion whether gods did or did not creat life, or which gods have "life creation" as their remit past or present. I see deity in the world around us, and in us. You could say we are gods, if you like, or an aspect of them, or they are an aspect of us.

So, I don't see that the fact we can create life has any bearing on my spiritual beliefs at all.

On the other hand, women can create life as part of their normal existence - men only do it in a test tube :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )