Futurist Archbishop: New Sins on the Horizon

March 13 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Biotechnology   Year: 2008   Rating: 12

An interview by Italian newspaper L’Osservatore Romano with Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti has set the blogosphere ablaze. Sounding off on an assortment of “new sins”, the high-ranking Girotti voiced his opinions about the course he think the Vatican should be taking.

“Priests must take account of new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalization,” insisted the Girotti, coming off as a bit of a Catholic futurist.

“You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos,” the Archbishop continued.

Of all these “new sins”, it was unsurprisingly biotech and stem-cell research that seemed to worry Girotti the most.

“Within bioethics, there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control,” he said.

So, will Pope Benedict and the broader Vatican soon mimic Girotti’s rigid stance on biotech? Or will they more carefully pick battles and language? As disruptive new technologies continue to add complexity to the moral horizon, the church will be under great pressure to take a hard stance. Either way, we should expect hear a great deal more from foresighted clergy, such as Girotti, with growing concerns about the future of, well, everything.

How to Destroy Humanity

June 16 2008 / by StuartDobson / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

Cross-Posted from Super Concepts.

Nuclear weapons are sooo 20th century. If you want to bring annihilation to the planet for not conforming to whatever depraved idealism you aspire to, there will soon be many much more interesting ways to do it. Unlike nukes, these technologies won’t be reserved for elite governments.

Nanotechnology presents the most possibilities. How about using self replicating nanoscopic robots to turn everything on the planet into grey goo? This kind of destruction would be so effective that nothing would remain of the present world. Perhaps this kind of disaster has already happened in our history? As there would be no evidence, we would never know!

However, for many supervillians or religious fanatics, disassembling us to our core molecules just wouldn’t be fulfilling enough. Fear not, the destructive power of nanotechnology is limited only by our imaginations.

What about swarms of predatory nanobots, programmed to hunt down and kill “non-believers” and kill them in any manner of ways – asphyxiation, crushing, burning, or simply tearing them apart? Having a non-solid physical presence they would be virtually impossible to catch and destroy.

Nano-assemblers, machines capable of manufacturing anything with atomic precision out of basic molecules such as carbon, look set to change the entire world as we know it. They would put an end to world hunger, propel the entire world into luxury, and have untold effects on the economy. Or, they could be used to undermine security measures, creating weapons in volatile scenarios, thus reversing power balances in an instant.

Imagine terrorists gaining access to the Whitehouse unarmed, only to fabricate guns once inside. Or an entire country arming every citizen within hours before going on a worldwide rampage? With nano-assemblers, the rules of supply, laws of transportation, and manufacturing limitations are turned on their head. As such, any controls put in place to limit armourment are undermined in an instant. (cont.)

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[Video] Nanopore based DNA Base Sequencing Shows Potential of 'Wet-Dry' Nano Systems

February 23 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 7 Hot

One of the most exciting areas of 'Nano-bio' research is the engineered integration of 'wet' and 'dry' nanoscale systems that might revolutionize research in genetics and proteomics (Study of Proteins).  But how do you explain this breaking down the barriers of biological and human-made systems? Through 3D animation videos on YouTube, of course!

ScienceBlogs has featured a video of Oxford Nanopore Technologies's new label free DNA sequencing system that reads A-C-G-T segments as they pass through a nanopore.

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