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Posted on: June 25, 2019 at 10:20 am
Last updated: August 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Richard Dawkins, an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author voices his questions on Twitter while sharing a link to an article on lab-grown “clean-meat”

Dawkins is known as an outspoken critic for intelligent design and creationism. Once again he’s sparked discussion on a controversial subject: whether or not human meat could be grown, and whether or not it would be cannibalistic to consume it.

It may sound a little gross, but his curiosity could become relevant in our lifetime. We are now using and wasting our planet’s resources quicker than we can replenish them. We’re already experimenting with petri dish meat, and have come a long way! When this technology was still new, a lab-grown beef patty would cost an estimated $325,000, but in just two years that price has dropped down to $11 a patty.

“What if human meat could be grown? Would we overcome our taboo against cannibalism?” This question is a little creepy, but it’s worth discussing.

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If lab-grown meat could resemble human muscle, without actually coming from an actual living person, would it initiate the same response? If eating lab-grown human flesh does no more harm than eating lab-grown cow flesh, argues Dawkins, then why should the “yuck reaction” negate the potential benefits of this so-called lab-grown meat?

Have we gone too far? Only someone as outspoken as Dawkins could possibly present this for our minds to imagine. 

As Twitter user Derek Davison points out:

SCIENTISTS: we’re close to growing meat in the lab

ME: Wow, interesting, I wonder how it tastes

NOTED INTELLECTUAL: finally I might one day sup freely on the most forbidden of flesh

Growing Meat in a Petri Dish

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Lab meat, which is also known as “in vitro” meat or clean meat, is grown from a few stem cells which are taken from a living animal. The first ever lab-meat burger was consumed in London back in 2013. It was made by Mark Post, a pharmacologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Most people are still grossed out at the thought of petri dish meat, but researchers are interested in the market. We’ve come a long way as humans who ingest questionable things. A survey in the United States found that two-thirds of people would actually try this lab-meat.

What about Human Meat

It’s not likely that the people who don’t want to eat human meat now would suddenly feel more motivated to eat human meat when produced through cellular agricultural. 

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It’s actually undetermined whether or not experimenting with synthesized human flesh for culinary purposes should be banned. 

A 2014 paper in the Journal of Applied Philosophy, worked through the ethics of eating lab-grown human meat. The researchers couldn’t find convincing philosophical arguments to call it unethical, considering that no one is directly harmed in lab-grown cannibalism, and there are no desecrated corpses. 

This cringe-worthy yet interesting topic poses real questions. What’s the future for petri dish meat, and how will we really know what it stems from.

What’s in my burger?

  1. Would You Eat Human Meat Grown in a Lab? https://www.livescience.com/62008-lab-grown-human-meat-grown-cannibalism.html
  2. Lab-Grown Meat is Coming, Whether You Like it Or Not https://www.wired.com/story/lab-grown-meat/
  3. Richard Dawkins Wants to Eat the Most Dangerous Game https://www.inverse.com/article/41862-richard-dawkins-wants-to-eat-lab-grown-human-meat

 

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