Scientists have made considerable progress in creating synthetic meat. However, the attempts to create a tasty version of artificial flesh has only achieved the “soggy pork” stage. In theory, producing artificial meat is simply a matter of getting tissues to grow in an artificial context (like on a nutrient gel). Getting it to be on par with natural meat is, of course, the main challenge. In addition to some moral questions, the artificial pork does raise some interesting theological concerns.
In some religions pork is considered an unclean meat, but would synthetic pork also be unclean? Obviously it could be kept from being infected with disease or infested with parasites. It would also not have any anatomical or behavioral features that would make it unclean. After all, it would not have a proper anatomy-it would be a slab of tissue. It would not even really be an animal. As such, it could not be unclean in any of those ways.
Of course, artificial pork would still have the same chemical and genetic make up as natural pork-perhaps the uncleanness is in the chemicals or DNA. if so, then the chemistry or genetic code for uncleanness should be something that can be discovered by a chemical or genetic analysis. That, however, seems unlikely. But, if an unclean gene could be discovered, then pigs could be modified to be clean. No doubt this is what would happen at the Big Scientific Breakfast and Nerd Convention:
Scientist One: “My fellow scientists, I discovered and removed the unclean gene from pigs. I then raised a clean pig, fattened him and then sent him to the butcher. On the plates before you is clean bacon!”
Scientist Two: “Hmm, let me try this…nom..nom…”
Scientist One:“How is it?”
Scientist One: “That bad?”
Scientist Two: “…made from Styrofoam…”
Scientist One: “Oh my…”
Scientist Two: “That was urinated on by a dirty goat.”
Scientist Three: “I warned you, Pigenstein! The unclean gene is what makes bacon taste good! You have tampered with what man was never meant to tamper with!”
Scientist One: “And your flying spider snakes were such a great success…so shut up Al!”
Perhaps the uncleanness is a metaphysical property that cannot be detected by any means and does not rest on any behavior, anatomy, chemistry or genetics. Of course, this makes me wonder what it could possibly be, other than nothing at all.