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The Ethics of ProtocellsMoral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory$
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Mark A. Bedau and Emily C. Parke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012621

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.001.0001

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The Creation of Life in Cultural Context: From Spontaneous Generation to Synthetic Biology

The Creation of Life in Cultural Context: From Spontaneous Generation to Synthetic Biology

Chapter:
(p.125) 8 The Creation of Life in Cultural Context: From Spontaneous Generation to Synthetic Biology
Source:
The Ethics of Protocells
Author(s):

Joachim Schummer

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.003.0008

This chapter explores the ideas and emotions about the creation of life from the earliest times to the present. It argues that both fascination and abhorrence regarding the creation of life have a common religious basis. It illustrates that there were no basic philosophical, scientific, ethical, or theological objections to spontaneous generation or artificial creation of life. This chapter shows that the whole project of the de novo synthesis of life appears to lack substantial justification regarding both improved understanding and beneficial products. It discusses an ethical vacuum about the creation of life that was filled only with quasi-moral surrogates.

Keywords:   creation of life, synthesis of life, quasi-moral surrogates, religious basis, ideas, emotions

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