Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The end

April 29

Our last class! No quiz, but a couple of DQs for your continued reflection.

1. “She’s still alive, my invented friend, just as I conceived her, still uncrushed by the collective need for happier endings.” What do you make of the way Generosity ends (it doesn't, really, does it), and how would you plot the sequel? Will things work out for Thassa, for Stone, for Kurton, for the others, for us

2. Really the same question, "the really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be? What is life eventually to make of itself?" (Pragmatism)

May life be good to you all. I've enjoyed our semester together. Keep in touch. Be well!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dustin Wells presentation will be on transhumanism.

No Daily Quiz

But I invite you to consider & comment on my concluding thoughts on Blackford's Humanity Enhanced & on Part 3 of Generosity: "What doesn't kill you..."

Also of possible interest: "Liver Means Heart and Heart Means Joy"

Group 1- HE,Chapter 8

(FQ) What is Farrelly's "reasonable genetic intervention model" meant to control?
Answer: Governmental interventions in the reproductive freedom of parents (pg. 180)

(DQ) What would happen if the government gained too much control over parents' choices in potentially modifying their children?

Link: http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/fudgedgetests.cfm

PGD Presentation

My presentation on pre-implantation diagnosis (PGD) will focus more on the science behind the genetic selection of embryos. Although we have discussed "designer babies" and mentioned PGD  at great length, the actual process has usually only been skimmed. I know that sometimes my understanding can be enhanced through pictures and further explanation, so before we leave this class I thought it would be beneficial for us all to have a very well-rounded knowledge of PGD in case we are faced with the possibility of genetic enhancement for our future children. This includes how much the procedure costs and some negative medical consequences that are possible.

Here is a link describing what PGD is and some questions people should ask before they follow through with the procedure.

Here is a link about "digital baby" screening:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Group 2

     Alyssa started with a presentation on memory manipulation.  This entails adding and deleting memories from a person.  What are the issues that arise when talking about this?  Could a person suffering from PTSD cure themselves by deleting a traumatic memory? I feel this could have a few good uses, but overall I believe that this idea would lead to a dangerous erasure of the line between reality and fantasy...true and false. If a memory is added to a person, they now believe this event happened to them.  Or if a traumatic event happens to a person, if the memory of it was removed how can they learn from the event or learn to avoid situations like it in the future?  What if they need to recall the memory for some reason -- ie. they are called to court to testify against a dangerous criminal that could be removed from the public if you can recall what they did (I know this idea is a little iffy, but just a thought). Here is a link I found on the subject - Memory Manipulation.
     Cameron was next, and he discussed RFID chips.  They are used for storing data and tracking whatever the chip is implanted in.  Currently, one of their major uses is in tracking animals.  One of the major ethical concerns is the use of RFID chips in humans.  Can be used to keep up with a patients' medical record to call up medical history if patients are unconscious.  Can also be used as a method for payment so you don't have to carry a credit card...just scan your hand.  Are we de-humanizing ourselves by doing this?  There are also issues with people taking advantage and possibly "hacking" your information and taking advantage of this.  Many people had concerns about these issues.  "People could scan it anytime." "People could track me." "They could cut the RFID chip out of you." "Could police abuse this system?" These are just a few of the concerns brought up.  Here is a link to an article I found - RFID Privacy Concerns.
      Kat went into science fiction movies.  She started with Gattaca, a movie about eugenics.  It delves into a world where people are "classed" by whether people are genetically modified or not.  Would a hierarchy arise if people start to accept genetic modification?  Next, she discussed the Bicentennial Man.  A robot butler wants to become a human, so he comes up with a way to "humanize" himself, and eventually age and die.  What does it take to be human?  At what point (if ever) does Andrew become human?  We talked a bit about self-awareness and introspection.  Next we discussed the movie AI.  It follows an unconditionally loving robot boy who is made to love a woman whose son is suffering from an deadly disease.  Do robots (if self aware) have rights?  What would it take for David to be considered a "real boy?"  Do we have the right to destroy robots for our entertainment if they are self aware?  We also touched on the sex robots in the movie.  Then we talked about Repo Men.  A world where technological organs can be bought on credit to save your life, but if you don't pay then repo men will reposes your organ.  It follows one of these repo men who ends up with one of these organs but he did not consent to getting it.  It is a good thing to save a life with an organ the person will not be able to pay for?  Does this cast a bad light on the use of possibly life saving artificial organs?  We also touched on the Island.  Here is a link to an article about the ethics in sci fi - Ethics in Sci fi.

Daily Quiz

April 22

1. Why does Glannon say there'd not be complete equality even if enhancements were universally available?

2. How might "status quo bias" color some people's attitudes towards enhancement technologies?

3. What was Rawls' position on "the natural lottery" and whether a just society should accept its distributions unaltered? [And, DQ: What's yours?]

4. Does Blackford think the Original Position thought experiment supports Rawls' intuition about natural talents, family circumstances, and the distribution of social goods?

5. Does Kurton hope to live forever?

6. What's the difference between hyperthymia and hypomania?

7. What does Thassa's name mean, and imply?

DQ: Will competition for genomic enhancement be ethically problematic? Is competition problematic, in general? Or parental assistance and "gifts"? What would a "level playing field" look like, applied to the issue of genomic enhancement?

What do you think of the analogy to reparations for slavery? 156

Gattaca 161, Kurzweil 162, 167

Henry James, flow, interiority 55, 83, 88

Do you agree with Kurton? "When people can live longer and better, they will. Ethics is just going to have to catch up." 58

Would you watch Over the Limit? 62

What do you think of "nulliparity"? 65

Which of the debate resolutions would you defend? 66

$20 92; "infinite hunger for the unreal" 95; "plug & play chromosomes" 98; 78% "ready to enhance" 99

PGD, collective wisdom 101; "Walk on air against your better judgment" 103; "excessively happy" 106

"information travels at the speed of light, meaning spreads at the speed of dark" 111

"liver means heart, heart means joy" 114

"the kind of novel I loved to read, back before fact and fable merged... the kind that invents itself out of meaningless detail and thin air"  120; "All good science pauses" 123; "massively parallel computer, the entire human race" 127

1.134   2.138   3.139   4.143f.   5.59   6.68   7.78

Group 3

FQ: (T/F) One concern raised by the emergence of enhancement technologies is that new kinds of biologically based inequality will ensue, producing a radically unequal society in which some individuals suffer demeaning circumstances or other harsh outcomes.
A: True

DQ: What is your definition of "deserving?"

Group 3 Ch.6

We have spent some time going over the daily quiz questions and the discussion questions that followed. Dr. Oliver tried to convince those that havent started to read the Generosity to indulge on the journey of reading this great novel. He went over the first chapter of the novel. The class was dismissed a little early so that the presenters could have some time to themselves to figure out on what exactly they were presenting.

Ch.7 HE

FQ: Someone who wishes to nullify the underserved effects of luck is called _______?
(Brute luck theorist) p.139

DQ: Do you agree with Rawls' or Blackford's stance on the ''equality'' of genetic enhancement.

link: http://stanfordreview.org/article/arguing-and-against-genetic-engineering/

arguments for and against gen. eng. such as the limit to autonomy, discussion about eugenics, and growth of social inequalities.

RFID Chip Commercial

Monday, April 21, 2014

Earth Week Debate

"Is God possible in a dying environment?"

My debating opponent, like me, is on record denying the existence of a creator God.
I don’t believe in a God who created the universe, chose the Jews, gave us Torah, a Promised Land, and 613 mitzvot (commandments). I believe in a nondual reality evolving toward greater levels of complexity and higher levels of consciousness that ultimately gives rise to beings such as ourselves who can begin to understand this reality, and fashion meaning and purpose that promote justice and compassion for all beings. 
So, either one of us will have to defend a proposition he does not accept, or we'll spend too much time debating definitions ("God," "Atheism," "Possible") OR we'll have to change the subject. I vote for the latter. How about:
  • Is God-talk relevant or constructive in guiding our response to the climate crisis? 
  • Can religious piety make us better eco-citizens?
  • Are "higher levels of consciousness" and "meaning, purpose, justice and compassion for all" inevitable?
  • Is the environment (the planet) really dying, anytime soon? Or is it us?

Friday, April 18, 2014


Sorry we forget to look at this in class, Nikita. (But that was an interesting post-class discussion!)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Group 1- HE, Chapter 6

We began class by discussing the DQ questions. According to Humanity Enhanced, the prospect of making genetic modification commonplace could lead to an alteration in the fabric of society, potentially culminating in a new system where it's the "enhanced vs the non-enhanced." Dr. O then went into detail and began a discussion on the novel Generosity. After a discussion on this novel, we were released slightly early to go read and prepare for the next class session.

Daily Quiz

The 3d exam has been canceled (I hate to throw a party and have nobody come), so we don't need the daily quiz for exam-building purposes any longer. But I still find it useful as a conversation starter, so I'll continue to ask FQs & DQs, & urge you all to do so as well. That'll still get you around the bases.
Starting next week, however, you can also circle the bases by posting questions, links, and comments about our presentations. They'll commence on Tuesday. We'll do three per class until we're done.
1.Why should we be wary of concerns about harm to society as a whole? OR, Why does RB discuss prostitution and homosexuality in this context?

2.What "special gifts" does Somerville think the elimination of Down syndrome, for example, might imperil? OR, What current values did Huxley fear losing, in Brave New World? OR, What's illiberal about Somerville's view, and Huxley's nightmare dystopia?

3.What do Henry James, James Joyce, Jane Austen, Saul Bellow (etc.) have to do with the Enhancement debate? OR, What did John Rawls say about society's interest in the "general level of genetic potentialities"?

4. Does RB acknowledge the possibility that some children might be harmed psychologically by knowledge of their parents' role in the selection of their gender or other traits? OR, What does Devlin say about the "social fabric" and toleration of moral divergence? Does RB agree? OR, What does RB say about "fearmongering"?

5. Does RB think there's a case for prohibiting enhancements that interfere with a person's natural range of facial expressions? Does he think we should avoid creating beings who are less responsive or sympathetic to others, even if they were benefited in other ways?

6. What sort of genetic "lottery" does RB consider? Does he endorse it?

7. {For Elijah] What's the relevance of tattooing, body piercing etc. in this discussion?

DQ: Should we value diversity for its own sake, or for instrumental goods it might make possible? 128f.

DQ: Reactions to Generosity, so far?

1.103-4   2.105-7   3.109,111   4.112-14, 116   5.118-19   6.123-4   7.126

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Group 3

We spent the first part of our class time discussing the questions/answers from the daily quiz to review some of the highlights from the chapters. This led to the comparison between Blackford's view on genetic engineering versus McKibben's opinions from his book, Enough. It was pointed out how the offspring's autonomy can be affected by the genetic alterations chosen by the parents.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Group 1: HE, Chapters 4 and 5

After going over the Daily Quiz, we discussed McKibben and Blackford's conflicting views on genetic enhancement. An interesting notion was proposed that by engineering, an individual's ability to make a choice would not be taken away, but the likelihood of them accomplishing their true desires would be diminished. After discussing pertinent points from the book Enough, we looked over and discussed Dr. O's daily post briefly. To end class, we handed out scorecards and discussed the status of everyone's bases and final reports.

Daily Quiz

April 10/15

1. What's Annas's objection to parental enhancement? OR, What's Habermas's "twist" objection?

2. What's Glover's "priority," when we respect others' autonomy? OR, Name one of Glover's respect-for-autonomy conditions. OR, Can an embryo's autonomy be violated (on Glover's view)?

3. What's Strawson's "illusion"? OR, What are some of the standard philosophical positions on free will? OR, Does RB think genetically engineered people would be less free?

4. Does Glover think there are circumstances in which we might accept some loss of independence, even if that made us feel like puppets of our parents? OR, How must we be able to think of our origins if we consider ourselves free, according to Sandel? OR, Does RB consider genetics more fundamental than our environments?

5. To what did Feinberg say children have a right? OR, What are Bostrom's "blessings"? OR, Why does RB consider the open-future argument misguided?

6. What's "one good reason" for parents to consider refraining from using reproductive cloning or genetic engineering? Is it also (on RB's view) a good reason for state regulation?

7. Name one of Loftis' classes of arguments that are commonly deployed against genetic manipulation. OR, What were Hume's or Mill's positions on "natural" acts? OR, What does Peter Singer say is "natural" but not  advisable?

8. What's Bill McKibben's greatest concern about genetic engineering (i.e.., what does he think it would most threaten)? OR, What's RB's problem with "we"? OR, Does RB think future societies may differ dramatically from ours, and why is that relevant?

9. What's McKibben's point about runners and rock climbers? Does RB agree? OR, What's RB's view of McKibben's concerns about immortality?

1.50   2.52-3   3.54-6   4.60-1   5.63, 65   6.76   7.79-82   8.86, 89, 90, 93   9.97-8

DQ: What's your reaction to the Enough passages I am about to read in class?

(FQ) The views of this philosopher are recognized as best known and most elaborate in regards to the concept of autonomy.
Answer: Habermas (pg. 51)

(FQ) Name 2 of J. Robert Loftis' classes of arguments that are commonly deployed against genetic manipulation.
Answer: Safety, Justice, Trust, and Naturalness (pg. 79)

(FQ) T/F: McKibben is optimistic of genetic engineering, believing it will enable us to modify and improve the quality of humans' lives.
Answer: False (pg. 98)

(DQ) I'd like to see what about genetic manipulation is "against the natural order" to the class if anyone considers it that.

Link: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/embryo-screening-and-the-ethics-of-human-60561

FQ: We are shaped by an interaction between our _____ and _____ around us.
(genes, environment)

DQ: To what degree are we autonomous? I agree with C.A. Coady statement, which states that ''there is too much contingency and inevitable dependence on others'' for us to regard ourselves as sole authors of our own life.

pros and cons of genetic engineering 

  1. FQ)- Who wrote the book Causing Death and Saving Lives in which he suggests that respect for autonomy can ground an objection to killing other persons, over and above any utilitarian, or similar, consequences?
    Answer: Glover pg. 52

    (DQ)- I would like to hear if those in the class think that genetic engineering is a threat to liberal society.

    Link- This link discusses the value of autonomy in medical ethicshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2780686/
  2. HQ- What are some of the main arguments against genetic engineering?
    DQ- Should society force people to become genetically modified and why? and if it is enforced how should it be enforced?


NYTimes: Providing the Balm of Truth

An angry family member wanted to give a dying woman aloe vera gel. No one had had time to tell her the truth.


NYTimes: A ‘Code Death’ for Dying Patients

In this new age of technological wizardry, doctors have been taught that they can, indeed must, do everything possible to stave off death, but few learn how to help their patients die.


NYTimes: Idea of New Attention Disorder Spurs Research, and Debate

Powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new disorder, sluggish cognitive tempo, that could widely expand the ranks of young people treated for attention problems.

Bioethics Centre (@BioethicsCentre)
Veridical Engagement and Radical Enhancement, by @JohnDanaher [Philosophical Disquisitions] j.mp/1eB5UNc

Patricia Churchland (@patchurchland)
Geneographic costs a mere $200 and you can find out how much Neanderhal and Denisovan DNA you have. I was thrilledgenographic.nationalgeographic.com/?source=email_…

Group 2

Our last class period, our group walked towards the BAS.  We started our discussion with immortality (I know, I know!  We are beating a dead horse. I won't go into the details of the discussion because you have heard it over and over).  We then went into the issue of the day, genetically engineered babies (or designer babies for short).  We discussed what we felt designer babies and how we felt about them.  We mostly all had similar views on the subject.  We mostly believed that genetically engineering babies was not something that should be done lightly.  We felt that there were some instances in which designer babies would be acceptable such as to increase disease resistance, remove genetic diseases, etc.  We felt that "determining a child's fate" through genetic engineering was something that should be pondered more before it is implemented.  We felt the morality of this idea was still unclear.  Should we give these children traits to succeed on a path that they may resent?  Would the child resent the parents for forcing them to be this way?

Group 1: Chapters 4+5

Just posting this so my group will have something to post on!

(FQ) The views of this philosopher are recognized as best known and most elaborate in regards to the concept of autonomy.
Answer: Habermas (pg. 51)

(FQ) Name 2 of J. Robert Loftis' classes of arguments that are commonly deployed against genetic manipulation.
Answer: Safety, Justice, Trust, and Naturalness (pg. 79)

(FQ) T/F: McKibben is optimistic of genetic engineering, believing it will enable us to modify and improve the quality of humans' lives.
Answer: False (pg. 98)

(DQ) I'd like to see what about genetic manipulation is "against the natural order" to the class if anyone considers it that.

Link: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/embryo-screening-and-the-ethics-of-human-60561

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lyceum: "Disconcerting Experience"

David Wood, of Vanderbilt, Oxford (U.K.), and Woodbury (TN) speaks this afternoon at 5 in BAS S128, on "Disconcerting Experience." A question and answer period and informal reception will follow the event. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Class cancelled

I'm not feeling well today, we won't meet. We'll double up Tuesday.


Group 3

     Our group walked to the KUC. We talked about engineering intelligence through genetics and the sort of society that would come from that. Some people would be born with greater capacities for intelligence and would be more favored in career positions. This would lead to a gap between those whose parents can afford to engineer their children and those who cannot. Those who cannot get engineered before birth would not be able to perform as good as these genetically engineered citizens without much practice. However, even If a non-engineered person practices a lot that does not guarantee they will be on the same level. This sort of society would favor more intelligent people. The more intelligent people would receive better paying jobs to allow them to afford to engineer their children. Less intelligent people would not receive jobs with as much pay and would not be able to engineer their children. This society would over time lock these to groups into their places with some families scraping enough money together to make the children more intelligent to move up the ladder of success. 

I personally would not mind this sort of society for a few years as long as there was a set date that the government would eventually just engineer the rest of all babies to create an even playing field.  However, I also have to wonder if the engineering the government would do on mass would be as good as a private biological engineering firm would. Would the government stop where the private firm would continue and could the government use this engineering opportunity to make us more docile and less likely to revolt against a dictator? I would not like that.  


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where'd everybody go?

And what'd you talk about, as you went there?

Remember, "an author from each group should still post a comment after each class and everyone should reply with comments, FQs, DQs, & links. Be prepared to suggest discussion topics in class."

On peripatetic walkabout days there need to be posted accounts of your discussions, with contributions from all who participated, and the author summaries need to go up on the same day.

If you don't want to participate, just say so. We'll find something else for you to do indoors. Or else we'll take a vote on whether to do any more walkabouts. But doing nothing is not an option.

C'mon, folks. I hate having to talk like a cranky teacher.

Video: Thank You For Vaping

"E-cigarettes are not cigarettes. As the name suggests, they simulate smoking and, via an inner heating element, deliver nicotine through the vapor of liquid nicotine instead of the combustion of tobacco leaves. That’s why e-cigarettes are often promoted as a safer alternative to smoking. But the public-health debate is in full bloom..."

Video: Thank You For Vaping : The New Yorker

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Daily Quiz

April 8

1. With what sorts of traits does Russell Blackford say there would be no obvious cause for ethical complaint, were they pre-selected by parents?

2. Are we equally likely someday to be able to engineer our children's "life plans" and "capacities"?

3. What political philosopher's approach does Nicholas Agar apply to the ethics of genetic engineering?

4. What kind of problematic trade-off does the modular model imply might be entailed by genetic engineering?

5. Health and intelligence are forms of _____.

6. What are some "great historical enhancements of the past"?

7. Does RB think there's an absolute right of people not to use new reproductive technologies that violate their own personal religious or  moral convictions?

1. 31. 2. 33. 3. 33. 4. 34. 5. 37. 6. 44. 7. 48


FQ: Why wouldn't it be illiberal of some hypothetical future society (acc'g toRB) to compel people to genetically manipulate their children? 46-7

FQ: What do we owe children, acc'g to Glover? 44

DQ: Can Abigail plausibly claim to be risking no harm? 32

DQ: Is the stipulated definition of intelligence on p.34 a good one? Does it adequately reflect the possibility of "multiple intelligences"?*

DQ: Does anyone ever really wish they were less intelligent? 35

DQ: Is "you never know" a good way to frame our discussions of genetic engineering? Can we afford not to be more reliable "predictors of the future," if we're going to try and enhance our offspring? 35-6

DQ: Are genetic potentials always good to be born with, even when they lead to bad consequences? 38

DQ: "Nothing guarantees happiness." (39) Does that imply that we should take a more experimental approach to engineering it, or replicating its conditions? (A question to bear in mind when we read Generosity).

"Positional advantage" - ethically irrelevant? 41

"Futile race between rival parents" 42

What does "liberal tolerance" mean, when applied to hypothetical attempts to engineer a 9-ft tall superathlete? 43

FQ: T/F. Productive synergies can emerge as more individuals in a society find their individual capacities enhanced.
(True) p.44

FQ: T/F. According to the text, if resources are not available to all parents to genetically enhance their children to meet the new standard, government should provide them through systems like tax-transfer.
(True) p.48

DQ: If the enhancement of a persons intelligence, longevity, etc. became possible in the remote future, do you think that liberal democracy would survive? That is, if one country makes a law to genetically enhance(make better) their entire population while the more liberal country does not have any laws mandating the enhancement, the latter country will lose its international strength.

link: http://neuroethics.upenn.edu/index.php/penn-neuroethics-briefing/cognitive-enhancement
talks about cognitive enhancement and the three ethical issues that surround the idea


Group 2

Our discussion focused around Mills' Harm Principle.  The Harm Principle says the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals (Or simply, "if it doesn't hurt anyone but me, I should be able to do it").  We then talked about how most actions of people somehow can be shown to affect others in some way or another.  We talked about personal health (especially in regards to food: portion, quality, cost, etc.) affecting everyone by poor health causing higher cost for health insurance.  So should government have a say in how we eat?  What we eat?  Should we allow the government to take a paternalistic role over our lives, or should we be left to make our own discisons?  What do you think?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Group 3

We discussed about the Harm Principle as we saw in the first book that we read. It was mentioned that this is one of the reasons why we have laws and regulations by the government. This brought us to the discussion of the boundaries that our government sets for us and if the Harm Principle affects individuals for themselves rather than an individual affecting others. Food regulations in terms of portion size, quality, and cost were considered as an example.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Group 1, Class Discussion- HE 1+2

After discussing Dr. O's daily post, we delved into a discussion on the Harm Principle. Kat wanted to try to set boundaries on what constitutes harm and where blame should and shouldn't be placed, especially when you enter the public. This led to a brief talk about law enforcement and why the police do what they do (generally, they're just doing their job). We then went around the room to ascertain others' opinions on the Harm Principle. Meredith said she was uncomfortable with others controlling what she did or, for example, what she ate. Evan believes that even when you give people more information based on what they consume, it's unlikely to drastically affect their decisions.

The conversation revolved around food portion control for awhile with a lot of us uncomfortable with the idea of them being controlled for us. We also discussed a paradox of healthy eating for a good while (foods that are better for you cost more money).

Daily Quiz

April 3

1. What does Russell Blackford propose to focus on, in Humanity Enhanced? OR, with what sorts of "enhancements" will he not be particularly concerned?

2. What's the difference between reproductive and therapeutic cloning?

3. Does Blackford think the prospect of Homo proteus and the destruction of liberal democracy is overhyped?

4. Does "ethical pluralism" require the enforcement of a pubolic morality?

5. What's been the "broad direction" of public policy regarding PGD & sperm sorting for sex selection?

6. What kinds of "harms" are (or are not) recognized by Feinberg?

7. What is the Non-identity Principle?

8. What can a liberal society not be neutral about?

1. (1-2). 2.  (2-3). 3. (3). 4.(7). 5. (9) 6. (17) 7. (20) 8. (25)


FQ: What lenient standard of child nurture and health do "we" tend to support? For what conditions does RB say the state may forbid the use of PGD? 26-7

JS Mill's Harm Principle-4. Locke's Letter-5. State's role in a pluralistic & liberal society-6-7. Distinction between enhancement & therapy-12.

DQ: Do you agree that prohibiting "sex selection for family balancing" would be illiberal? Is allowing a practice the same as an endorsement? 10

DQ: Do you have to exist, to suffer (in principle) harm? Can we harm "future people"? 13-15, 19f.

DQ: "Why should benefits from genetic engineering be an exception?"-14

DQ: What's RB's view of state paternalism, & what's yours? - 18

DQ: personal identity issues 19-20

Deaf PGD 21

"Has Abigail done anything wrong?" 20-1

Is Feinberg's "extension" right? 23

DQ: Mapping the fetal brain... (npr)

DQ: stem cell fraud

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Exam 2

April 1 - Exam #2                                                                           NAME/Group: ______________


1. The idea of teleportation originated with Gene Roddenberry.
2. With synthesized DNA, says Venter, it will eventually be possible to create all forms of life.
3. Genomics cannot address the problem of antibiotic resistance. 

4. Venter says his team added "watermarks" to their synthetic genome mainly to indulge his vanity.
5. In nature's "master robot" the ribosome, RNA copies instructions for making a protein from DNA. 

6. There is more biomass in the visible world  than in Earth's subsurface.

7. Mycoplasma genitalium was the first organism to be modeled in precise detail.

8. Panspermia is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids, comets and planetoids.
9. 200 years ago scientists had a hard time accepting DNA as a ''code script'' because it seemed far too complex in composition to transmit genetic information.

10. Taking antibiotics harms bacterial and human cells equally.

GLOSSARY: Apocalyptic, bacteriophages, beneficence, canines, Francis Crick, Digital, DNA, E-Cell, eukaryotes, Haemophilus Influenzae, neanderthals, nuclear transfer, oxygen, Post-human, primates, RNA, Fred Sanger, Lucy Shapiro, Hans Spemann, quorum sensing, stewardship, Trans-human, UV radiation, James Watson

11. The Japanese effort to turn Mycoplasma genitalium into a computer-simulated version of the cell was the ______ project.
12. ________ demonstrated that bacteria are not just disorganized bags of proteins, and showed that seemingly-discrete events in the bacterial life cycle are actually connected. 

13. Drug resistant infections may be treated in the future with synthetic _______.

14. Key producers of genetic mutations include _______.

15. Guiding ethical principles relevant to the social implications of emerging technologies include _______.

16. Bacteria coordinate the behaviors of their cell populations via ________.

17. Humans and ______ share 3-4% of their DNA.

18. ______ is both an information carrier and an enzyme.

19. This is the _____ Age of Biology.

20. The first live organism sequenced by Venter's method was _____.

EXTRA CREDIT: After reading Life at the Speed of Light, do you agree or disagree with Craig Venter that life on Earth is not "special, or unique," that we are not alone in the cosmos, and that the new era of synthetic biology will be empowering and extraordinary? Why?
OR, supply & respond to your own DQ.

Stem cell fraud

Not an April fool.
A Japanese scientist partly falsified a research paper that announced a breakthrough in the production of stem cells, the government-funded laboratory involved has announced. The results from the Riken Centre for Development Biology in Kobe, western Japan, were seen as a possible groundbreaking method, offering hope of growing "Stap cell" tissue to treat illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease using a simple lab procedure. Researchers in Boston and Japan conducted the experiments in using a simple procedure to turn ordinary cells from mice into stem cells by exposing cells from spleens of newborn mice to a more acidic environment than they are used to. The researchers said cells from other tissues of newborn mice appeared to go through the same change, which could be triggered by exposing cells to any of a variety of stressful situations...
Stap cells: research paper on stem cell breakthrough was partly falsified | Science | theguardian.com

But didja hear about Sidd Finch?!

Compiled Test Quesitons

Compiled Questions

1. The idea of teleportation originated with Gene Roddenberry.

2. The biggest misconception about teleportation is that it involves sending material stuff

3. With synthesized DNA, says Venter, it will eventually be possible to create all forms of life.

4. Antibiotics are all destined to become useless after a while, and genomics cannot help

5. Why did Venter's team add "watermarks" to their synthetic genome
           (To distinguish it from any naturally occurring species)

6. The process of transferring the genome of one species into the cell of another is called ______.
           (Nuclear Transfer)

7. What was the first live organism sequenced by Venter's method
           (Haemophilus Influenzae)

8. Who pioneered the plus-minus sequencing of DNA and sequenced the first viral DNA genome?
           (Fred Sanger)

1. What two scientists are credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA?
James Watson and Francis Crick

2. True/False: Ribosomes transcribe DNA into RNA


3. What color do gram positive bacteria stain?


4. What way does radiation affect DNA structure?

It breaks the chemical bonds that link the nitrogenous bases together

5. Who was the German embryologist who published the first nuclear-transplantation experiments, pioneer of his self-named "developmental mechanics," and awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts in 1935?

Hans Spemann (p. 97)

6. What example does Venter use for reconciling that his positive innovations could potentially be used for negative purposes?

The use of fire, since the beginning of human existence, could be used for good or evil. pg 154

7. What was the name of the Japanese project to turn Mycoplasma genitalium into a computer-simulated version of the cell? 

E-Cell Project

8. What scientist is known for her work on bacterial cell division and proving spatial organization inside of bacterial cells, especially in regards to division and the cell cycle?

Lucy Shapiro (p.145)

9. What does Venter think is a very realistic and specific way that drug resistant infections can be treated in the future?

Synthetic bacteriophages (pg 176)

10. What television series popularized the idea of the transporter?

Star Trek (p. 160)

1.T/F. There is as much biomass in the subsurface of the Earth as in the entire visible world.

2.What are some key producers of genetic mutations?
(Oxygen and UV radiation)

3.What makes phages a possible alternative to anti-bacterial disease?
(Their specificity for the targeted bacterial culture)

4.Name 2 of the 5 guiding ethical principles which are considered relevant to the social implications of emerging technologies.
(Public beneficence, responsible stewardship, intellectual freedom and responsibility, democratic deliberation, justice and fairness)

5. Proteins that contain a zinc atom and are shaped like an index finger which help read the DNA software are called _____?
(zinc fingers)

6. What natural technique do bacteria perform to coordinate the behaviors of their cell populations?
(Quorum sensing)

7. What was the first organism to be modeled in precise detail?
(Mycoplasma genitalium)

8. T/F. Pansperima is a hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids, comets and planetoids.

9. T/F. Specialized cells can be returned into an immature cell.

10.  Eukaryotic cell's engulfment of the microbial mitochondria driven by evolution is called ____?

11.   How much genetic material do Modern humans and Neanderthals share?

12. T/F In the late 18th century/early 19th century, scientists had a hard time accepting DNA as a ''code script'' because it seemed far too simple in composition to transmit genetic information.

13. ___ is more versatile than DNA in a way that it is both an information carrier and an enzyme.
(RNA, ribonucleic acid)

14. T/F. Human and bacterial ribosomes are indistinguishable, thus taking antibiotics harms both the bacterial and the human cells equally.

15. The age in which the once distinct domains of computer codes and those that program life are beginning to merge is called _____?
(The Digital Age of biology)