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Synthetic Biology and MoralityArtificial Life and the Bounds of Nature$
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Gregory E. Kaebnick and Thomas H. Murray

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019392

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019392.001.0001

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Synthetic Bacteria, Natural Processes, and Intrinsic Value

Synthetic Bacteria, Natural Processes, and Intrinsic Value

(p.107) 6 Synthetic Bacteria, Natural Processes, and Intrinsic Value
Synthetic Biology and Morality

Christopher J. Preston

The MIT Press

There are significant questions about the intrinsic, inherent value of bacteria that has been produced through synthetic means. These bacteria are expected to have instrumental value, and this chapter investigates the intrinsic value of synthetic organisms to determine whether it is merely a tool for human purposes, or could it have enough intrinsic value to protect it from harm? This chapter addresses the question of whether the creation of synthetic bacteria poses a threat to existing natural value, and analyses the language of “playing God” which was used in the public response to genetically modified crops in the 1990s, and reappears in synthetic biology debates.

Keywords:   synthetic bacteria, natural value, intrinsic value, God, synthetic organism

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