Yes. That is what artificial means. : an artifact, a man-made thing; contrived, purposely created by a conscious entity. Heavenly bodies or space rocks - in any case, long predating an intelligence as we know intelligence. Why does philosophy require such self-contradictory phrases? There can't be anything "permissible" or "forbidden" in nature. Those words denote an authority with preferences, and subjects with free will to disobey. Nature is just physics; its "laws" are unbreakable. "Natural" vs "artificial" communicates a meaning. To communicate meaning is what people generally use language for - though maybe philosophers, politicians and lawyers use it for the opposite purpose. Indeed! Humans departed from the natural order about 30,000 years ago with intense agriculture, deliberately separated themselves from nature about 6000 years ago with walled cites, and aggressively turned against nature about 2000 years ago with the advent of Christianity (though the roots of the hostility go back farther in some pockets of civilization.) Yes, bacteria can be harmful. Lots of things in nature are harmful to other things in nature. But their selection for adaptive traits that confer an advantage in the given environment - even an artificial environment of vaccines and antibiotics - has been natural, until humans started splicing their genes. The earth, sure. Insecticides, mine runoff, habitat and food supply loss, industrial pollutants, fertilizers and GMO's, no. I know. And they'll probably survive us. But they won't have time to adapt to take over the roles of crop pollinators before we starve. It's the flying insects we most depend on that we've most nearly destroyed. Not to mention organisms that make fertile soil. It was, until we figured out how to change the environment to suit our requirements, instead of fitting ourselves to the environment. There is the departure point from natural to artificial selection: humans learned to manipulate reproduction - of domestic animals, as well as themselves - to suit a contrived economy and social order, rather than allowing better-adapted traits to win reproductive rights. Thus, they have created canines that can't run can barely breathe, birds too fat to fly, grasses and fruit with sterile seeds - just as they contrive a system of rulership entirely divorced from fitness to lead. The baby boy engendered by the faster rapist in a conquest won't have an advantage: its mother will be reviled by her tribe and possibly killed; the child will be ostracized and denied opportunities. Whichever side triumphs in the end, even the most genetically superior bastard is at a social disadvantage; he might not even get a bride. Meanwhile, a weedy, wheezy dullard of the same cohort will become a man of importance with seven nubile wives and three dozen well-fed offspring, because his father was granted lots of land by the victorious warlord. This whole controversy began when I said humans don't follow the previously known pathways of evolution, because their reproduction is artificially constrained and their responses to the environment are technological, rather than adaptive. It's even more true, now that they can manipulate their genetic code directly. That's not evolution; that's industry. In some instances, it may equip its products for a naturally existing environment - as, perhaps, when a specially engineered humanoid sub-species is sent to colonize Mars. But the rules that govern the evolution of crocodiles and coyotes no longer apply to humans. The most obvious, glaring, game-changing differences are in scale and speed. In a week, humans can alter a landscape in ways that would take geological forces half a million years. Humans can extirpate more species in a day than nature can in 10,000 years. At the same time, humans turn over a generation in about 20 years - far, far too slowly to adapt to their own effect on the environment. Bacteria and viruses are the only organisms that can stay ahead of that rapid change; the toughest and oldest insects are the only ones that can survive it in the long term. Yes. Beavers are conscious and intelligent. The dam is made for a purpose: to alter the environment to suit the beavers' requirements - which evolved in tandem with the demands of the environment. The influence is reciprocal. It does some harm to other life forms, and it does some good to other life forms, but it doesn't collapse an ecosystem.