Dos Margaritas Por Favor: Science, Music, Photography, and Other Rants

What is Life? they asked

Posted in Science by jheil on September 11, 2009

I filled out a survey today for the TUdeft (from the Netherlands) iGEM team as part of their human practices project.

The theme of the survey was basically “is life sacred and is synthetic biology messing with it?” The last question was what do you think life is? I wrote a mildly poetic answer. I feel it captured the divide between “life” and the human experience and the perception of human life.

“Life is self replicating; life is evolving; life is chemically transforming its environment; life is not consciousness. Strangely enough, for us, consciousness is life.”

Although, sometimes life supports consciousness I might add. However, no one really knows the extent of that support. Yeah but is moral status an absolute or on a sliding scale? Is consciousness a requirement for moral status? Will I ever dust off that bioethics textbook?

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