There has been too much hype about the work carried out at the J. Craig Venter Institute. What Dr. Venter did was take a living bacterium, rip out its chromosome and replace it with a nearly identical copy that had been stitched together in a test tube from available DNA fragments.
In my view, it is much the same as genetic engineering: using a bacterium to produce human insulin, for example. The only new hurdle, a technological feat, was to keep the cell alive, so to speak, in a biological limbo while it was without DNA.
To conclude that this achievement proves that the soul does not exist is too far of an extrapolation. The soul is the essence of personality. It contains your thoughts, creativity, emotions, wishes, fears and dreams. Because you have a soul, you can live as a human. A single transistor does not make artificial intelligence, which, by they way, is still far out of reach even for today’s supercomputers. Hence, a single “artificial” cell does not make a science journalist.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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