Big Pharma and 'synthetic biology' as frontier for growth

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theory
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Big Pharma and 'synthetic biology' as frontier for growth

Post by theory »

Synthetic biology or 'bio-tech' may become 100x bigger than Big Pharma. This topic intends to provide an opportunity to investigate/evaluate the origin, nature and theoretical validity of the practice.

As it appears, synthetic biology originates from Big Pharma. In 2019, Big Pharma was already investing $1.2 trillion USD per year in synthetic biology (1000 billion USD per year). Big Pharma appears to be funneling their money to synthetic biology.

Big pharma raises bet on biotech as frontier for growth
https://www.ft.com/content/80a21ca2-136 ... f78404524e

A special about synthetic biology in the Economist (Redesigning Life, April 6, 2019) predicted that synthetic biology will be the most important thing in science in this century and presented it as a natural and inevitable part of human evolution.
Remaking Life Means Automating Biology

Those Given to Grand Statements About the Future Often ProClaim This to Be The Century of Biology in The Same Way That The 20th Century was that of Physics and the 19th Century was that of Chemistry. ...

Humans Have Been Turning Biology to Their Own Purposes For More Than 10,000 Years. ...

Reprogramming Nature is extremely convoluted, having evolved with no intention or guidance. But if you could synthesize Nature, Life Could Be Transformed Into Something More Amenable to An Engineering Approach, with Well Defined Standard Parts.
The report presents synthetic biology as an unguided practice, primarily driven by the short-term financial self-interest of companies. People (companies) will try to control the genetic fabric of nature and are already well on their way.
Biotechnology is Already A Bigger Business Than Many People Realize. Rob Carlson Of Bianceconomy Capital, An Investment Company, Calculates That Money Made From Creatures Which Have Been Genetically Engineered Accounted For About 2% or American GDP in 2017.
economist-gmo2.jpg
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With humans, Big Pharma had to endure a certain scrutiny. Severe fraud and corruption still happened, but there was a level of oversight.

The following research by professor John P. A. Ioannidis (Stanford University) shows that the short term financial interest of companies can result in profound corruption of science.

Effectiveness of antidepressants: an evidence myth constructed from a thousand randomized trials?
https://philpapers.org/rec/JOHEOA-2

The corruption for financial motives goes far. Some time ago it was revealed that the publisher of The Lancet (Elsevier) published 6 fake scientific journals for pharmaceutical companies, to mislead scientists and doctors in the financial interest of companies.
Reputational damage for medical publisher Elsevier, which publishes The Lancet, among others. Last week the Dutch-English company admitted that from 2000 to 2005 it had published six fake journals that were issued for scientific journals. In reality, they were marketing magazines paid for by pharmaceutical companies. The papers published in Australia had names such as Australasian Journal of General Practice and Australasian Journal of Bone & Joint Medicine. The magazines look solid, also because the name Elsevier is prominent on the front page and the sponsor's name is not.
Companies serve short term financial profit with a simple mindset: "if you don't do it, another company will. Either take a billion USD extra or lose the fight to survive.".

In the case of humans (medicine) there may be pretty strong ethical forces at play, although obviously not (yet) efficient enough to prevent the cited profound corruption.

What if companies are let on the loose for a synthetic biology revolution? Who will speak for the plants and animals? The potential for damage may be much greater as there will logically be less control and oversight. Unlike with people, companies do not have to be afraid of mass Class Action lawsuits with penalties of several billions of USD per case.

Making money on disease creates an incentive to promote disease with chronic disease as the ideal situation. Essentially, with their massive often ill gotten funds, Big Pharma invests into bio-tech to secure further growth. The origin of the synthetic biology industry may be corruption for a large part.

A multi-trillion USD practice is difficult to undo or change.

Is a synthetic biology revolution justifiable with a solid intelligent/theoretical concept? Or could it be that it is based on a doubtful belief or dogma that happens to provide a great profit-growth potential for Big Pharma-like companies?

With the risks of exponential growth, an error may cause a disaster for the human species or nature on earth. That is why it can be important to think before a synthetic biology revolution is started instead of leaving companies run dumb with a short-term profit incentive.

From the perspective of Big Pharma. Maybe they only want to continue to grow, to repeat history through uncontrolled maximum progress for science, the potential essence of their existence derived from their origin.

The Economist reported that synthetic biology, while still in its infancy, already has a turnover of $ 400 billion USD per year in the USA (2% of American GDP).

It is an unimaginable great power that directly affects the well-being of animals and plants on a very large scale. The investment of $ 1.2 trillion USD per year will increase the impact in the coming years, which may lead to new exponential growth risks.

The biggest problem may be that the synthetic biology revolution disappeared from the sight of people. Big Pharma operated on people with families who provided supervision and control.

What are the consequences when Big Pharma-like companies operate on Nature that cannot speak for itself?

Humans figuratively speaking started out of a cave and when weighing the potential for natural disaster against not making progress sufficiently fast could be in favor of the latter by definition. I can see from a political perspective that simply enabling Big Pharma companies to create research capacity sufficiently fast by any means would be in favor of humanity. In the case of a major species threatening event, the capacity of Big Pharma can be 100% dedicated to solving the problem.

At present times however, an argument could be that humans should evolve and put intelligence before practice.

The potential for exponential growth could heighten the risk of letting Big Pharma-like companies run dumb with synthetic biology. A mistake can potentially cause a disaster for the human species or even nature on earth.

What is your opinion on the synthetic biology revolution? Does it have a sound theoretical foundation and will it serve human evolution in the best way?
Impenitent
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Re: Big Pharma and 'synthetic biology' as frontier for growth

Post by Impenitent »

blond hair and blue eyes for everyone

utopia

-Imp
theory
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Re: Big Pharma and 'synthetic biology' as frontier for growth

Post by theory »

Impenitent wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 9:32 pm blond hair and blue eyes for everyone

utopia

-Imp
Are you referring to eugenics? Do you believe that the synthetic biology revolution is driven by the ideology that underlays eugenics? If so, can you provide an argumentative foundation for that idea?

Eugenics appears to be an emergent topic in recent years. In 2019 a group of over 11,000 scientists argued that eugenics can be used to reduce world population.

(2020) The eugenics debate isn't over – but we should be wary of people who claim it can fix social problems
Andrew Sabisky, a UK government adviser, recently resigned over comments supporting eugenics. Around the same time, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins—best known for his book The Selfish Gene—provoked controversy when tweeting that while eugenics is morally deplorable, it "would work."
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-eugenics- ... eople.html

(2020) Eugenics is trending. That’s a problem.
Any attempt to reduce world population must focus on reproductive justice.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/ ... s-problem/

The multi-trillion dollar synthetic biology revolution reduces plants and animals to meaningless humps of matter that can be "done better" by a company and the idea behind it will logically eventually also affect people, in which case it would be named 'eugenics'.

The idea behind eugenics - racial hygiene - that led to the Nazi Holocaust was supported by Universities around the world. It started with an idea that was not naturally defensible and that was thought to require trickery and deceit. It resulted in a demand for people with the capabilities of Nazis.

The famous German Holocaust scholar Ernst Klee has described the situation as follows:
Ernst Klee wrote:"The Nazis didn't need psychiatry, it was the other way around, psychiatry needed the Nazis."
20 years before the Nazi party was founded German psychiatry started with the organized murder of psychiatric patients through starvation diets and they continued until 1949. In America, psychiatry started with mass sterilization programs and similar programs have also taken place in several European countries. The Holocaust began with the murder of more than 300,000 psychiatric patients.

Critical American psychiatrist Dr. Peter R. Breggin has researched it for years and says the following about it:
Dr. Peter R. Breggin wrote:Yet, while the Allied victory had ended the deaths in the concentration camps, the psychiatrists, convinced of their own goodness, had continued their macabre murder task after the war ended. After all, they argued, "euthanasia" was not Hitler's war policy, but a medical policy of organized psychiatry.

The patients were killed for their own good as well as that of the community.
In 2014, New York Times journalist Eric Lichtblau published The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men, which showed that more than 10,000 high-ranking Nazis emigrated to the United States after World War II. Their war crimes were quickly forgotten, and some received help and protection from the US government.

(2020) Is America Starting Down the Path of Nazi Germany?
Wayne Allyn Root, Townhall.com wrote:I cannot express how truly sad writing this op-ed has made me. But I'm a patriotic American. And I'm an American Jew. I have studied the beginnings of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. And I can clearly see parallels with what is happening in America today.

Wayne Allyn Root - bestselling author and nationally syndicated talk show host on USA Radio Network

https://townhall.com/columnists/wayneal ... y-n2570979
New York Times columnist Natasha Lennard recently mentioned the following:

(2020) Forced sterilization of poor women of color
There need be no explicit policy of forced sterilization for a eugenicist system to exist. Normalized neglect and dehumanization are sufficient. These are Trumpian specialties, yes, but as American as apple pie."
https://theintercept.com/2020/09/17/for ... s-history/

Embryo selection may be a modern day example of eugenics that shows how easy the idea is accepted by the short therm self interest perspective of humans.

Parents want their child to be healthy and prosperous. Laying the choice for eugenics with parents could be a scheme for scientists to justify their otherwise morally reprehensible eugenic beliefs and practices. They could piggyback on the back of parents who may have factors in mind such as financial worries, their career opportunities and similar priorities that may not be an optimal influence for human evolution.

The rapidly growing demand for embryo selection shows how easy it is for humans to accept the idea of eugenics.

(2017) China’s embrace of embryo selection raises thorny questions about eugenics
https://www.nature.com/news/china-s-emb ... ns-1.22468

Could embryo selection applied for top-down control of genetic evolution be good for the future of humanity? Would it make humanity stronger?

Origin of eugenics ideology

"What is the meaning of life?" is a question that has driven many to atrocities, to themselves and to others. In a wicked attempt to overcome the 'weakness' resulting from the inability to answer the question, some (eg Nazis) believe that they should live with a gun under their nose.

An often cited quote from Nazi Hermann Göring: "When I hear the word culture, I unlock my gun!"

Culture, art and music nearly disappeared during the Nazi rule.

It is easy to argue that life has no meaning because empirical evidence is impossible.

The implications in the modern era can be seen in science. It seems to be an ideal of science to abolish morality completely.

(2018) Immoral advances: Is science out of control?
To many scientists, moral objections to their work are not valid: science, by definition, is morally neutral, so any moral judgement on it simply reflects scientific illiteracy.
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg ... f-control/

(2019) Science and Morals: Can morality be deduced from the facts of science?
The issue should have been settled by David Hume in 1740: the facts of science provide no basis for values. Yet, like some kind of recurrent meme, the idea that science is omnipotent and will sooner or later solve the problem of values seems to resurrect with every generation.
https://sites.duke.edu/behavior/2019/04 ... f-science/

Morality is based on 'values' and that logically means that science also wants to get rid of philosophy.

Some recent perspectives on philosophy by scientists at a forum of a university in Great Britain (Cambridge):
Naked Scientist Forum wrote:Philosophy is bunk.

...

You may describe philosophy as a search for knowledge and truth. That is indeed vanity. Science is about the acquisition of knowledge, and most scientists avoid the use of "truth", preferring "repeatability" as more in line with our requisite humility in the face of observation.

...

Philosophers always pretend that their work is important and fundamental. It isn't even consistent. You can't build science on a rickety, shifting, arbitrary foundation. It is arguable that Judaeo-Christianity catalysed the development of science by insisting that there is a rational plan to the universe, but we left that idea behind a long time ago because there is no evidence for it.

...

Philosophy never provided a solution. But it has obstructed the march of science and the growth of understanding.

...

Philosophy is a retrospective discipline, trying to extract something that philosophers consider important from what scientists have done (not what scientists think - scientific writing is usually intellectually dishonest!). Science is a process, not a philosophy. Even the simplest linguistics confirms this: we "do" science, nobody "does" philosophy.

...

Science is no more or less than the application of the process of observe, hypothesise, test, repeat. There's no suggestion of belief, philosophy or validity, any more than there is in the rules of cricket or the instructions on a bottle of shampoo: it's what distinguishes cricket from football, and how we wash hair. The value of science is in its utility. Philosophy is something else.

...

Philosophers have indeed determined the best path forward for humanity. Every religion, communism, free market capitalism, Nazism, indeed every ism under the sun, all had their roots in philosophy, and have led to everlasting conflict and suffering. A philosopher can only make a living by disagreeing with everyone else, so what do you expect?
When science is practiced autonomously and it intends to get rid of any influence of philosophy, the 'knowing' of a fact necessarily entails certainty. Without certainty, philosophy would be essential, and that would be obvious to any scientist, which it apparently is not.

It means that there is a belief involved (a belief in uniformitarianism) that legitimizes autonomous application of science (i.e. without thinking about whether it is actually 'good' what is being done).

The idea that facts exist outside the scope of a perspective (that is, that facts are valid without philosophy) has far-reaching implications, including the natural tendency to completely abolish morality.

Atheism (religion)

Atheism is a way out for people who would potentially (be prone to) seek the guidance that religions promise to provide. By revolting against religions, they (hope to) find stability in life.

no-god-400.jpg
no-god-400.jpg (25.57 KiB) Viewed 991 times

The extremity developed by atheism in the form of a dogmatic belief in the facts of science can result in practices such as eugenics, a scientific ideology that laid at the basis of the Nazi holocaust. The desire for a 'easy way out' by people that attempt to escape exploitation of their weakness (read: the inability to answer the question "What is the meaning of life?") would result in corruption to 'acquire qualities' in a way that is immoral.

Conclusion: a flawed idea (a dogma) - the idea that the facts of science are valid without philosophy, or a belief in uniformitarianism - may be at the root of the synthetic biology revolution, and ideologies such as eugenics.
Impenitent
Posts: 3651
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Big Pharma and 'synthetic biology' as frontier for growth

Post by Impenitent »

theory wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 1:18 am
Impenitent wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 9:32 pm blond hair and blue eyes for everyone

utopia

-Imp
Are you referring to eugenics? Do you believe that the synthetic biology revolution is driven by the ideology that underlays eugenics? If so, can you provide an argumentative foundation for that idea?
...
history never repeats

-Imp
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