Playing God 's Footsteps : Synthetic Biology And The Meaning Of Life

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Critical evaluation
Playing God in Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Synthetic Biology and the Meaning of Life. By Henrik Van den Belt.

In the article Playing God in Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Synthetic Biology and the Meaning of Life, published in Nanoethics in 2009, Professor of Reformed Theology Henk Van den Belt discusses bioethics and theology in the context of the meaning of life, as a scientific definition and as viewed and explained by religion and in society.

The article analyses different views on creating/modifying synthetic life, and provides a comparative exploration of the way practitioners respond to criticism; especially the accusation of “playing God”, to which the practitioners usually assume a defiant attitude or profess …show more content…

Although some readers might perceive a degree of bias, I find the conclusion falls in line with the research presented, and delivers well-researched arguments in support.
However, I personally question the notion of not letting knowledge exceed caution. If there is one thing that might be allowed to exceed caution, is it not knowledge?

There seems to be a growing need to discuss the relationship between nature and humans, and for ethics to guide our arguments. An example is Next Nature, an organisation looking to challenge and redefine our relationship with nature. (Next Nature, 2017)
I agree with Belt in that we can explore this relationship without using ‘God’ as a catalyst, and rather define boundaries by our understanding of nature. Only then are we able to have an informed conversation.


Methodologies and methods
Three methodologies seem to be of particular relevance in this context of speculative design and creating meeting points between otherwise unrelated subjects; Action research and practice-led research.
Action research, probably being the most relevant, would allow me to ask specific questions in a specific situation, to gain specific knowledge.
This could be helpful for the speculative designer, who works as a practitioner and with applied research. It is a way of creating a new, just approach to be applied to a system, and to continuously

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