Synthetic biology: a powerful ally of transhumanism – Inf’OGM

New avatar of technology, adored by supporters of the will to power, synthetic biology offers a world where everything is programmed and shaped by researchers whose power will one day have to be questioned. A world where nothing is more human-sized and a world based on a scientific lie: the reduction of ” which is ” to ” what we know or think we know “.

At the origins, an ideology: the extreme reductionism of the living

Reductionism is more than a state of mind of science, it is a vision of the world. Reducing the living to the usefulness it has for Man and sanctifying Man in the face of other species is an ideological program rooted in a long tradition. Since Plato and the Christianity of Saint Paul, the spirit has been on a pedestal. This ideology rejects matter, the flesh (nature and women…). The constraints linked to our earthly condition would curb our development, prevent us from being pure spirits or angels.

The Renaissance [1] and even more the positivism of Auguste Comte brought God back down to Earth, but not to encourage humans to live simply, nor to revalue an egalitarian relationship with other forms of life. No, on the contrary, to tell him that there was an elsewhere here on Earth and that this elsewhere built by science and technology could be a paradise.

Thus, transhumanism, born in the bed of Platonism and positivism [2] is only the paradigmatic continuity of these dualistic thoughts. Synthetic biology, by its reductionist aspect, fits perfectly into the transhumanist project, in particular with its intrinsic desire to recreate life, a life that this project claims to improve, to increase.

Synthetic biology is part of the transhumanist project

Transhumanism accepts absolute artifice against the promise of eternal life, without disease, without death [3]. He takes up the Platonic project, but rejects the beyond in the here below. He is betting on an immanent eternity, on a beyond of the body in a body that is always young, fresh, without disease, without waste. Transhumanism is a project of denaturation of life, of disembodiment of bodies, where machines will replace Man.

Synthetic biology is part of this transhumanist project, even if its current reality is played out in the industrial and financial world.

Synthetic biology wants to recreate life based on the genetic program as order giver to the living, while this is increasingly contradicted by discoveries such as epigenetic phenomena, cellular communications inside organisms or again the genetic storms (chromothripsia) [4].

This idea of ​​a program is also contradicted by naturalist or peasant observation. And observation has a value: not everything is genetic.

But the idea of ​​a program fits well into the world of algorithms and control, without which the transhumanist project is nothing. We see who will be controlled, but who will control?

For proponents of synthetic biology, this is not a problem. Some build a world parallel to the living which must not interfere (or even which must replace it) with it since, according to them, they have control over it. And from mastery to domination, there is only one step.

Synthetic biology, like transhumanism, is based on the desire for limitlessness, for hubris. But, by selling us this desire, it establishes its domination by motivating us to ask for it. Reduce life to its usefulness and nature to databases, replace peasants with bioreactors, such is the way of synthetic biology, a way that would be nothing without these huge energy-devouring server rooms. A hidden aspect so that we can all dream of an infinite world…

Combinatorics imposes limits on reductionism

Synthetic biology researchers try their modifications of living things to see the consequences. They don’t start from what they want to achieve, it’s far too difficult. The field of possibilities at the level of the combination of living molecules is gigantic and the level of complexity of living beings, even elementary, is beyond the capacities of algorithms. [5]. Moreover, the link between the molecule and the function is often unknown. Researchers breed mutations and see if a cell performs the function.

A second reason that limits reductionism is linked to the first, if we think about it in the course of time. Nature does not reveal to us the detours she took to obtain what is. The very numerous mutations over several billion years which have been transient successes punctuated by disasters are not fully legible in the result. Most of the steps of this experimentation are definitely lost, including at the molecular level. Certainly, molecular phylogeny has supplemented comparative paleontology with new information drawn from the similarities of genomes. But the data is extremely incomplete: during ancient mass extinctions, we do not have the means to know which attempts have been eliminated. Nature does not reveal all its stages to us. In concrete terms, if there have been few mutations between two species, it shows. But if there are many, we no longer see what stages nature has gone through.

However, despite this long time, we can see that nature has only experienced a very small part of the possibilities. As a result, it is easy to pick DNA from what nature has never encountered and the risks then obviously carry over to the relationship of this novelty to the existing.

A third reason comes to challenge the idea that nature proceeds by chance and that in trying experimenters do like nature. Natural chance is not just anything. In nature, complex mutations are rare and have a low chance of improving a species’ situation in its specific survival problem. The species evolves at the same time as its ecosystem and at its own pace.

These three reasons are fundamental. There are some things we will never know, that doesn’t mean we won’t know anything. There is therefore definitive ignorance.

Nicholas Birch

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Synthetic biology: a powerful ally of transhumanism – Inf’OGM

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