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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Borealis Genome by Thomas P. Wise, Nancy Wise

Description:

Readers’ Favorite says, “… one of the best books I have read lately. . . . an exquisite book . . . that will break your heart.” . . .

Gene manipulation, mind uploading, and nanotechnology combine to alter the definition of being human. Synthetic-life and genetic engineering allow the world’s greatest minds to live forever, uploading new life to perfect their craft.

Tim and Nora confront the dark side of eternity and threaten to expose the source of gruesome attacks. Conspiracies uncovered create a battle for life, love, and humanity with the sinister byproducts of evolutionary science.

MB's INTERVIEW
Thank you, Mrs. and Mr. Wise

Mrs. and Mr. Wise, you both had do manage injuries problems in your family. Do you think that these kind of personal experiences make people more receptive to genetic manipulation? 
Tom - Genetic manipulation is a fact of life in the modern world. Corporate agricultural farms use genetic engineering to improve crop growth and density and aquaculture farms use it to increase production to provide just a couple of examples. For the most part we simply don’t realize how far it has intruded into our daily lives. On the other hand, I do think that our experiences do predispose us to be more aware of scientific discovery and the changes it can make in our lives. 

Nancy – Even if science gets to the point where genetic illness could be eliminated, once we are exposed to situational illnesses, such as exposure to bacteria, virus, and accidents. Fore each illness we overcome nature and man create another. Therefor I can’t justify harming one life in order to cure another’s, because we cannot be cured from an eventual death. 

In my father’s case, I don’t think that he would accept the harm of another person as the answer to his illness, such as the use of infant stem cells being promoted at the time. That really needs to be the guideline. Is there harm to someone else? Is there harm to the unborn? Life is never perfect, and the chance of improving your own life through harm to another needs to be part of the equation. 

How far can we go with the genetic alterations and where the line must be drawn? 
Tom – I’m comfortable with the goals of genetic engineering as a science. If we can eradicate many of the diseases or genetic abnormalities that predispose us to disease, then I think that is something we should pursue. I does however have to be balanced with a moral grounding that does not allow the powerful to sacrifice the vulnerable for their own selfish ambition. 

Nancy –The measure of how far can we go is really a question of how far do we want to deviate from the original engineering of the human species. For what purpose would we want to change who we are? 

Many of the discoveries made in the manipulation of the food chain seem to be aggravating allergies and reacting in our immune system. While the science of genetic engineering is advancing, we really need a balance between discovery and safety. 

Is eternal life worth its price, according to The Genome Borealis? 
Nancy – This question gets to the meat of the story. To me, the answer is really a short and simple no. The heroes in The Borealis Genome are trying to stop what’s happening. In the story Tim and his fiancé are using the abilities created by Mr. Oldham to try and keep them from succeeding. The story is really about something with great potential to do good turned to evil. It shows that the choice to survive is how people are wired. Survival is always our first instinct. 

What make us human: body, mind or soul? Can they be separated? 
Tom – I really have to agree with Nancy in this answer. Most have minds, and in some cases a simple electrical schematic that allows them to discover and interact with their world. We assume that the soul really separates us from the rest of creation as far as we know, but our knowledge is so limited that I really do have to fall back on the information provided. God tells us that all of creation is aware of God, but not all accept God’s existence. I’m not convinced that it is the soul that makes humanity unique in the world. I think humanity is found in our ability to create new things and to manipulate our future through discovery for the sake of discovery. 

Nancy - Everything has a body of some sort, from single cell animals to humans. Most have minds. Does the soul or self separate from life when the body dies, or when the mind dies? If the mind dies, is the soul still in existence until the body expires? We haven’t found out yet how much of Tim still exists in the story. That is one of the major questions we still have to answer. 

The ability to problem-solve, invent, discover, and harness the environment for our own gain makes us human. Is the soul what makes us different in God’s eyes from the rest of creation? Our inability to communicate with other living beings limits our ability to understand if a soul exists for the rest of creation or any other unknown life in the universe. The bible tells us that the very rocks can recognize God, then it seems that all of God’s creation must have an awareness. Therefore we question if creation occurs minus God, would there be a soul? 

Is it wise to play God? Is it our hubris to want to be as Gods? 
Tom – Once again, I really do have to agree with Nancy in this question. Playing God never goes anywhere good. We can see evidence all around us of those in positions to take advantage of scientific discovery for their own purposes using that advantage for personal gain. Perhaps it really is human arrogance as the question might suggest. Our own arrogance as humans could perhaps be society’s own undoing. 

Nance – Never. I do think there are those in our world that have a desire to be the controller of the rest of us and will use their ability to create to manipulate the world around them. Personally, I just want to live in accordance with the bible and direction as God has provided. The heroes in the book have a goal to stop those that are trying to play God, but not to become God. 

About the authors:
Thomas and Nancy come from very different backgrounds. Thomas was raised in a military family and lived through the separations of war and the challenges that a family faces when coming back together. Challenges such as injuries and the frailty of the body and shifts in the personality that war bring to a family can force everyone to redefine how they see the themselves and the world around them. Nancy was raised in a family challenged by severe injuries. Her father was paralyzed and could no longer work causing the family to reform around a new breadwinner when their mother had to take over. 

We chose to write a book shaped around these realities and the challenges that new technologies will force societies all over the world to deal with very soon. Mind uploading, neural networks, and human gene manipulation combined with new medical discoveries may become a new reality that we must all understand and learn what it means to our lives. These are realities today that were only science fiction just a few years ago that will soon have a real and direct affect on our lives. 

Tom earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management in 2012 and has other books including “Trust in Virtual Teams,” and “Agile Readiness.”

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