Thanks to Anthony for passing this one on.
“The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. DARPA is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever — or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.
As part of its budget for the next year, Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”
Of course, many of these fascinating mostly-rumored projects amount to nothing, like the much-ballyhooed “Paranormal Activities” branch that was studying alternative methods of conducting warfare via New Age stuff like thought projection and what have ye. This project certainly reeks of what I like to call “Dude Science”.. there’s a certain ballsiness to the description of Project BioDesign that hides the Promethean intent behind militaristic Bravado. Think of it! To create life! And to have these… slave creatures, that we can basically kill (“turn off”) at a whim. It’s straight out of a Science Fiction novel. Would they be capable of reason? Would they be “citizens” in a legal sense? Would they have souls? Are these things simply the government’s own technologically created ghoulas, our own army of zombie soldiers, made by modern day Frankensteins? It’s a fun idea to wrangle with and plenty people already have … in books. Project BioDesign takes the fantasy one more step closer to reality. Or, perhaps, it will be one giant waste of money. Too early to tell yet.
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