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Stars, Cells, and God | Pig Organs in Humans and Will AI Do Science?

Join Fazale “Fuz” Rana and Jeff Zweerink as they discuss ground-breaking scientific discoveries that have theological and philosophical implications, including for the evidence of God’s existence. Pig Organs in Humans Recently, research teams from NYU Langone Health, the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and the University of Maryland independently achieved milestones by transplanting kidneys and hearts from genetically engineered pigs into brain-dead patients and terminally ill patients otherwise ineligible for transplants. Xenotransplantation holds the promise to ease the demand for organ transplants but raises a host of ethical questions. In this episode, biochemist Fuz Rana discusses the technical challenges that xenotransplantation must overcome before it can move into the clinical setting. He also describes some of the ethical challenges associated with xenotransplants. Once these challenges are overcome, the questions remain: What should the Christian perspective be on xenotransplantation? Should we “play God”? References: Results of Two Cases of Pig-to-Human Kidney Xenotransplantation First Clinical-Grade Porcine Kidney Xenotransplant Using a Human Decedent Model Developing Pig-to-Human Organ Transplants Additional Resources: Pig Organs May One Day Save Human Lives by Fazale Rana (article) Advance Holds Potential to Resolve Cloning’s Ethical Challenges  by Fazale Rana (article) A Theology for Synthetic Biology, Part 1 by Fazale Rana (article) A Theology for Synthetic Biology, Part 2 by Fazale Rana (article) Will AI Do Science? Researchers currently utilize AI (artificial intelligence) to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s, analyze vast databases to discover protein-folding classes (and new protein folds), and determine whether a sample is biotic or abiotic in origin. The AI in the last example also differentiated between recent biotic and fossilized biotic samples. As AI development progresses, one wonders whether it will be able to do science rather than just assist scientists. Fuz and Jeff explore this question in light of recent advances. References: Can the AI Driving ChatGPT Help to Detect Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease? Artificial Intelligence Tools Shed Light on Millions of Proteins Did Life Exist on Mars? Other Planets? With AI’s Help, We May Know Soon