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Human Cloning is Here

By cyclopatra in Culture
Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:03:56 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A woman taking part in a controversial human cloning programme for infertile couples is now eight weeks pregnant, revealed Dr Severino Antinori, the well known Italian doctor involved in the cloning project banned in his home country and the USA.


Dr. Antinori, responding to a question on the status of his project, which is centered in Abu Dhabi due to the pressure against human cloning in the western community, says that over 5,000 couples are now enrolled in his program, and is known as "the father of impossible children".

In response to his critics, Antinori points out that resistance has been encountered to many new medical developments, especially those involving reproduction, such as artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization.

"People criticise us saying we are pandering to the vulnerable but we are doctors and will not harm a person", Antinori said.

<op-ed>I think this is great, in a sense, and premature, in a sense. Great, because I think cloning is an idea whose time has come, and I think that legislation is emphatically not the way to regulate scientific and technological progress; premature, because, well, I wouldn't run out and get myself cloned just yet; from everything I've read, I don't think we're good enough at it yet to make this a procedure similar to in-vitro fertilization.</op-ed>

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Poll
Cloning is...
o Inherently evil/Against Nature/God/etc 10%
o Going to result in armies of cloned slaves for Monsanto 14%
o Not that big a deal 29%
o A great idea - I'm gonna get myself cloned! 10%
o Something we're not ready for yet 34%
o I have no opinion 1%

Votes: 120
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
Human Cloning is Here | 151 comments (135 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Talking points (3.80 / 15) (#1)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:28:33 PM EST

Reasons to clone humans:
  • Allow infertile couples to have children
  • Allow otherwise non-reproductive individuals/pairs to have children (Same-sex couples, single parents, etc)
  • "Replace" a lost (medical malpractice, accident, disease, etc) infant or child
  • Ego (My offspring is genetically identical to me. I live on through him)
  • Medical research possibilities
  • Military possibilities (Army of "supermen", small elite force with similar/identical thought processes)
Reasons not to clone humans:
  • Millions of children starving in the world
  • Adoption provides a "natural" way for infertile/non-reproductive individuals to have children
  • It is (/is considered by some to be) immoral
  • Chances are still too great for error, children could be born deformed or retarded


--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
REPLACE A LOST INFANT?! (3.66 / 9) (#2)
by HoserHead on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:35:59 PM EST

The future, as seen by kuran42:
A child dies, possibly before his or her time (as we see it). Mourning occurs. Tearful and upset, the parents go to the doctor with a vial of their child's blood. "Doctor, we lost our child. Could you please make him again? I promise we'll take good care of him this time."

Didn't you ever lose a pet, and have someone say to you "Don't get a new pet to replace it - that pet is gone." You don't get a replacement pet, you get a new pet which is different. Suggesting that humans should be replaced (with an exact copy!) because the last one went bad is mindboggling.

[ Parent ]

Cloned infant (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by DonQuote on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:39:15 PM EST

People also forget that cloning will not reproduce a person. It recreates someone with the same genes, but their personality/experiences/etc. may be completely different because they won't be brought up the same way (wouldn't you think the parents would treat this one differently if they lost someone that looked just like him/her?)

I don't agree that this is truly a useful purpose for cloning. If you have tons of money and want someone who looks just like the lost loved one (except they will be younger of course), fine... but to me it would be easier (and more fun! <evil grin>) to make a new baby the 'natural' way, and probably less psychologically traumatizing for everyone as you point out.

-DQ
... Use tasteful words. You may have to eat them.
[ Parent ]

mindboggling!!!!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#112)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:54:39 PM EST

Allowing your mind to boggle is absolutely unconscionable!!!!!!!@

boggling minds are the scourge of the earth, we should ban anything with that could possibly do it. especially this
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
More good ideas (3.00 / 6) (#8)
by TheGreenLantern on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:44:53 PM EST

"Military possibilities (Army of "supermen", small elite force with similar/identical thought processes)"

Oh yeah, there's a good idea. No moral or ethical problems with creating an entire slave race for your own needs and amusement.

Have Star Wars and Star Trek taught us nothing?

It hurts when I pee.
[ Parent ]
That's fine but... (3.00 / 5) (#13)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:56:10 PM EST

People who raise armies are often unfettered by such minor annoyances as "morals" and "ethics". However...

Say my country goes to war. I don't want to be drafted. Why shouldn't a reserve of highly trained individuals cloned from a small group of combat-inclined individuals be kept around? They'd all certainly make better soldiers than I would, anyway.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

What about the people? (4.50 / 2) (#33)
by Mysidia on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:21:03 PM EST

Ok, so you've engineered them to be combat-inclined good soldiers... Just one problem... you think these people would like this?

What do you do with them in times of peace?

They could become a problem for your society, ie they could rebel, or you might have to keep them locked up as though they were criminals of their own doing.

[Kinda like that "Danar" prisoner from some Star Trek episode.]

Clearly, re-engineering humans to be soldiers is unethical.



-Mysidia the insane @k5
[ Parent ]
Didn't say re-engineer (4.75 / 4) (#36)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:30:23 PM EST

Go out, find a dozen really buff marines who are smart and kickass at their job, and love being marines and clone 'em. Give the clones a first class education and training and in general, treat them like human beings, albeit it human beings who are marines. Doesn't seem any more unethical to me than conscription (the draft). In peacetime, treat them like reserves, or employ them as police officers or intelligence operatives (everyone is on about how we need more "human intelligence" (what a filthy term that is) to help prevent terrorism), or any of a dozen other things. Let them retire, if they choose, after they have completed a reasonable term of service, just like "normal" soldiers. What's wrong with that?

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
You are scary (4.75 / 4) (#47)
by DonQuote on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:54:11 PM EST

Statements like this scare me. Each clone would be an individual person. They would be just like you or me. You don't want to go to war - what right do you have to force them to?

Remember, just because they're cloned from marines doesn't mean they will want to be marines. Cloning reproduces genetics, or 'nature' if you will, but a person's life experiences ('nurture' if you will) IMHO play a much greater role in their dreams and ambitions (though maybe not their natural talents) than their genes. (Somewhat OT, but relevant, is the movie Gattaca)

Having a clone army is far more unethical than conscription. Conscription applies to all citizens (who meet certain fitness requirements). Your clone army would mean only clones - not you - must fight when there is a need; this means that you have a different set of rights than a clone. And here is the dangerous part, because nothing fundamentally sets you apart from a clone. Rights must be universal, otherwise we start sliding down a very slippery slope.

-DQ
... Use tasteful words. You may have to eat them.
[ Parent ]

Raised in a controlled environment (2.50 / 2) (#56)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:08:28 PM EST

As in Brave New World, early life experiences could be designed to elicit the desired behavior later in life. I'm sure sociologists and psychologists could come up with the proper environment in which a child could be raised so that they would be inclined to prefer and enjoy a life in the military. This is what parents do every day, it is just more focused on a particular goal and would be backed by actual scientific research rather than intuition and guesswork.

As to the slippery slope, I'll grant that. So it would be best to keep the draft in place. If the need arises, non-cloned citizens would be called up, but the need should almost always be met by people who have been raised to enjoy the job - the clones.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

what you're proposing (5.00 / 2) (#69)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:18:33 PM EST

is an "us against them" sentiment - clones compared to non-clones. I find that fundamentally disagreeable, since I see no difference in basic humanity or rights between myself and a clone.

But what if I proposed that a group of black children were caused to be conceived (say, by payments to their mothers) and then raised by the government to enjoy the military and replace or supplement the draft? Or the children of violent criminals (after all, the 'donors' of their DNA have been shown to have agressive/violent tendencies)? Or bodybuilders (to introduce strength as a desirable trait)?

Why not just create a gov't-sponsored breeding program where women and men are matched up with others who have desirable traits in a supersoldier, and pay them to have children and turn them over to the government? Your program of indoctrination and 'controlled environments' could be applied just as easily to these children - why do they have any more rights than they would if they were clones? Or do they? Would it be alright, since these children would obviously not exist had the government not paid for their conception, and owe their upbringing and education to the government?

It's not a slippery slope, it's a cliff. To characterize it as a slippery slope implies that it would be allowable in some cases, but not in others. Taking one step past the edge of this proposal is the same as plunging to the bottom.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

The problem with breeding programs (2.00 / 1) (#76)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:43:52 PM EST

When you clone someone, you know with a great degree of certainty what sort of basic physical and mental traits they will have. By comparison, a breeding program is a crapshoot. There are so many recessive traits in the human genome you are in no way guaranteed a child within the specified parameters by just putting to well selected parents together, at least not until we have some seriously improved understanding of the human genome. Once we do, that's a different story.. It's certainly easier to do it the old fashion way than with a big elaborate cloning process.

The only long-term case I can make against a breeding program, then, is that the children it produces will have actual parents who will probably actually have a desire to keep them and take care of them, including providing for their education. A clone has no such support (Yes I know a clone has parents, but they would not necessarily be around any more or interested in taking care of thousands of clones of their child).

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

wait... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:26:20 PM EST

Are you trolling, or playing devil's advocate here? Or do you honestly not see something fucked-up in the idea of a government-run breeding program for the purpose of creating a slave military (no matter how happy someone is with being a slave, retroactive consent is not valid)? Would you have no problem with rounding up orphans who were somehow tested and found to be good candidates for this program?

"When you clone someone, you know with a great degree of certainty what sort of basic physical and mental traits they will have. "

This is in no sense proven, particularly w.r.t. mental traits, and I strongly believe it is not true.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Ehh (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 10:24:38 PM EST

Started out as devil's advocate.. I may have degenerated at some point ;) You're right, there's no basis for saying mental traits will be easily predictable, though I do think that with a well designed (eg, lots of testing) educational system you could get a high degree of predictability in each clone's final mental abilities.

I guess I'll call it quits here, I think you and DonQuote have pretty successfully refuted every argument in favor of human cloning I can come up with.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately (none / 0) (#128)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 06:49:54 PM EST

They were all strawperson arguments. What's the problem with private cloning to create a designer baby? I don't see any fundamental problem with that, although it would have to be regulated to avoid undesirable demographic imbalances, and the occassional cruel-and-bizarre request like "I want my child to be blind and deaf just like me, even though I can have it otherwise!". ["Um, fuck off!".]

I could see some interesting ethical quandries though. Suppose a woman wants to clone herself because she is very intelligent, she wants to make sure her child is intelligent, and she would rather deal with a kid similar to her younger self.

Her husband agrees - but then reaches an appalling realisation: "Great! Another little girl who'll turn out looking just like Sarah!... Uh wait a minute, yuck, what am I thinking - I'll probably end up with an incestuous attraction for her! Ewww!".


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#138)
by kuran42 on Sun Apr 07, 2002 at 12:47:06 PM EST

The father is in no way related to his "daughter". Is it incest because he's married to the child's identical sister, or because his wife gave birth to the child, or just because he's acting in the father role in the child's upbringing? It's a very bizarre case that I think is outside the scope of current terminology to describe.

I'm somewhat torn on "designer babies". Gattaca, as I believe someone else mentioned, would be a bad thing to let happen. We have enough disparity between the wealthy and the poor already, don't we? But I guess that isn't a good enough argument in a "free" society. On the other hand, fixing various genetic disorders would be great, and helpful to this nebulous gene pool people are always talking about protecting.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Proper environments. (5.00 / 1) (#142)
by katie on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 06:56:43 AM EST

"I'm sure sociologists and psychologists could come up with the proper environment in which a child could be raised so that they would be inclined to prefer and enjoy a life in the military. "

You could probably just read about in a history book. Look under "Sparta". They created an environment designed to produce people happy to be soldiers. Or at least less dissatisfied with it. (Not that soldiering is dissatisfying implicitlt - some people like it. Just not all draftees.) And they did it without psychologists...




[ Parent ]
The difference (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:54:27 PM EST

Draftees are not drafted for life. Even given that fact, I have problems with the draft itself, but creating (or even just selecting from the general population) a group of people who then have no choice about their occupation and no chance to change it, is totally incompatible in my mind with "treat[ing] them like human beings".

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Like I said (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:03:48 PM EST

Not for life, just until they repay the cost of their conception, education, and military training. After that they should be free to stay or leave as they prefer, though I think if you bring them up right many of them would prefer to stay.

The draft for non-cloned people could remain in place. But with a ready supply of soldiers from cloning facilities, it probably wouldn't be as necessary (not that we are invoking it every other tuesday these days anyway).

I don't think the argument that a clone has no initial choice about being in the military or not is valid. I never asked to be born, nor did I ask for the 12 years of schooling I was forced to experience. While I did ask for my college education and will have to pay for it now (as I suggest the clones would pay for their education), that isn't really any different from requiring me to pay taxes later in life to support the wholey state-funded k-12 educational system. So I don't see any new basic violation of rights here, only the continuation of what may or may not be existing problems.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

No choice (5.00 / 2) (#61)
by DonQuote on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:27:15 PM EST

You are missing the point. There is a vast difference between having no choice about 'universally' accepted institutions and creating a select class of soldiers who must do the thing they were created for.

You didn't have a 'choice' to enter the k-12 education system, true - but neither did anyone else. This is because, as a society, we believe that this education system is a good and vital thing that everyone should have, and as a society we support it through taxes. Everyone is equally supportive, and equally participating in this institution, not because they don't have a choice, but because they all (or the majority) decided that this is necessary. But everyone follows the same rules; everyone is equal.

Your 'clones' would have no choice in the matter. You say they should work until they repaid the costs of their 'cloning' - but why is that necessary? Parents today cannot demand that their children reimburse them for their upbringing; why should it be any different with the government?

I would have less trouble with your idea if the cloned soldiers did have a choice, just like anyone else. The government may decide to fund cloning soldiers, in the hope that such children would want to join the army; but they have no right to demand it. These are people, not robots.

As someone else pointed out, it's probably more economical (and ethically sound) to simply hire the toughest SOBs and put them through boot camp.

-DQ
... Use tasteful words. You may have to eat them.
[ Parent ]

sometimes it's nice to be pre-empted. (none / 0) (#67)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:04:17 PM EST

You said exactly what I would have said - but probably better than I would have.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

I don't see the difference (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:15:29 PM EST

Children have to attend k-12, and then, assuming they get a job, they have to pay taxes that support the school system. Is it the fact that only clones are allowed into the military training track? Well, ok... any parent who wants to can place their child into the system, and instead of that child later paying property tax (the tax that is used in most U.S. communities to pay for the school system), they just pay it off with military service. Does that cover all the equality issues?

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
not the problem (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:25:20 PM EST

The problem is not that only clones are allowed into your program, it's that only clones are required to participate. Whether or not you allow others into a given program, singling out a group of individuals and requiring their participation (which you attempt justify in a circular fashion by their membership in that group) is discrimination, and a particularly insidious form, at that.

It's like saying that keeping slaves is OK as long as you let other people work in the cotton fields too, if they want to.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Well what else are they gonna do? (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:36:11 PM EST

Go live on the streets?

Okay, we cloned these guys and some lady gave birth to them, now let's toss them out on the street so we're sure they aren't being treated unfairly.

Their choice would be between a trashy boarding school or orphanage and a state of the art educational system that happens to be militarily oriented. Sure, give them the choice. I think it's pretty obvious which most would take.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

You're missing the point. (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:22:03 PM EST

You're proposing to create a group of clones for the purpose of creating a better military. My argument is not that this group of government-made clones should be created and then *not* used, it's that they shouldn't be created in the first place.

Any privately created clones would be the children of the person who created them, and would presumably be raised by that person like any other child - no need for "trashy boarding school[s] or orphanage[s]" here.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Because it's overkill (none / 0) (#111)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:45:24 PM EST

When you could just find women with the same properties and have them fuck. It would be just as effective, and much, much cheaper.

Given that it's totaly doable and cheaper without cloning, I fail to see how cloning would make this more likely/viable.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
you don't want to be drafted (4.00 / 3) (#44)
by TheGreenLantern on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:46:26 PM EST

So what makes you think your clone would like it any more?

It hurts when I pee.
[ Parent ]
Because (none / 0) (#127)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 06:33:59 PM EST

We'd give them Klingon genes, silly. They'd live for combat. They'd be the Warrior Caste, like in Babylon 5!

(Both Babylon 5 and Star Trek have interesting eugenicist undertones. Caste systems aren't acceptable to us if they occur in real life, like in India, but they're apparently perfectly acceptable on a sci-fi TV show! Hmmm....)


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Caste systems in sci-fi. (none / 0) (#141)
by katie on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 06:52:30 AM EST

The Minbari caste system on B5 isn't quite the same as the India caste system of old (it's improved recently).

The Minbari one is, as far as I can tell, role based: Warrior, Religious and Worker. There's no overtone of valuing one more than the other: the artisanry of the workers tends to be less lauded than the heroism or the.. erm.. religiousosity of the others, but it does get mentioned. There are 3 of each caste in the Grey Council and the leadership moves between the castes.

The Klingons don't seem to be a functional society. Who the hell suffers the dishonour of being the guy who welds the landing gear together for the birds of prey? They don't have anything but warriors...


The Indian (Hindu? Can't recall which religion it's origined in) certainly gives the impression
of having a hierarchy of castes, each being disrespectful to those below it.

The Minbari system is a very westernised egalitarian version: a great warrior being as respected as a great artisan.



[ Parent ]
Not a good idea (none / 0) (#149)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:21:26 PM EST

One of the Star Trek Next Gen shows had such a warrior caste. When the war was over, the warriors didn't mix well with the civilians and were "segregated". They broke out, and the last we saw when Picard beamed out of there, the warriors had guns pointed at the planets leaders. Presumably they negociated a peace, or maybe they just killed everybody!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Re: More Good Ideas (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by joeyo on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:16:53 PM EST

Unfortunately, history has shown us that you don't need advanced science and technology to create a slave race.

--
It reminds me of the Keebler elves, and yet manages to sound vaguely pornographic at the same time. -- Parent ]

Another good reason... (2.75 / 4) (#15)
by DeadBaby on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:00:20 PM EST

Soilant Green. It's time has truely come.


"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
A few points on cloning (5.00 / 9) (#17)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:04:59 PM EST

"Military possibilities (Army of "supermen", small elite force with similar/identical thought processes)"

This is sounding distrurbingly similar to the views of cloning I get from a lot of people, and it reflects a couple of major misconceptions that movies like "The 6th Day" perpetuate upon the public.

1) Cloning != "Humans grown in vats" (shades of Cyteen, for anyone who's read Cherryh). A cloned human needs to be gestated just like anyone else, born just like anyone else. There's no military value to be gained by raising an army of clones, as you'd have to find women to give birth to them, and spend around twenty years raising them.

2) Cloning != genetic manipulation. A cloned human would be genetically identical to the person cloned. If you had a "superman" and cloned him, you might get an army of supermen - but that's a nature vs. nurture argument. Cloning alone will not create supermen.

3) Cloning != replicating a person down to their thought processes. It seems obvious (to me, at least) that thought processes are not based on some deterministic interpretation of your genes. Even twins (nature's clones) don't usually have identical thought processes - they tend to be similar, if the twins were raised together (and hence had similar experiences and upbringings), and just as different as any other two people, if they were not. Again, there's not a lot of military value to cloning a person a few dozen times and raising all the resulting babies in exactly the same way - for one thing, taking a bunch of non-cloned babies and raising them identically would probably have similar results, and for another, can you envision the resources it would take? You'd have to control every conversation the children ever had, every accident that ever happened to them. The cost-benefit analysis shows this is not only impossible, it's worthless.

In conclusion, clones are the same as twins. To envision what a cloned human would be like in relation to their parent, think about twins who were raised separately. In this case, the clone has been "time-shifted" as well as "space-shifted" from their twin, but the idea is the same. I think one of the reasons so many people are opposed to cloning is due to one or more the misconceptions I've outlined above - at least, in my experience, when discussing cloning with someone who's against it, when I make those points, they run out of ammo. (Except for the guy who started talking about how he needed to feel genetically unique - until I pointed out that he had a twin brother....)

Now, the point that we don't have a very good success rate yet is a valid one - but it's a point for waiting, not for turning away from cloning altogether...

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Exxxxcellent (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:15:14 PM EST

Glad that provoked something :)

If you had a "superman" and cloned him, you might get an army of supermen - but that's a nature vs. nurture argument. Cloning alone will not create supermen.

First off I think we can say that it's pretty clear that some people are genetically predisposed to be good at certain things; of course environment is a factor, but it isn't the only factor. Now look at boot camp (where the United States sends marines to give them a basic level of competence). Despite its problems, it works pretty well, and it works on individuals who have long since left their most sensitive developmental phases, and on a wide variety of people who come from different genetic and environmental backgrounds. So imagine having your soldiers, each of whom falls into a specific well known genetic category, in a controlled environment (controlled enough, not perfectly controlled) from a very young age. Of course you can't duplicate a person this way, but you can maximize positive traits and possibly even improve (in the specific areas of interest) on the original.

It is certainly time-intensive, but so was the Panama canal and the Hoover dam, and you know how those turned out.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Touche... (4.66 / 3) (#46)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:50:05 PM EST

But, leaving aside the legal impossibility of doing this, at least in any country that has outlawed slavery (and if you can show me a court that wouldn't find this to be slavery, I'll show you a judge that needs to be deposed), I think the cost-benefit analysis still shows this to be extremely unlikely to happen - especially when there's no shortage of military-minded people, already born and raised without any cost to the government, who can be recruited, endoctrinated through boot camp, and turned into good (not "super", which I still think is impossible without tinkering with the genotype) soldiers.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

When I imagnine such things (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by acronos on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:40:21 PM EST

I see us against them. The clones and society at large are two separate groups. When I am a cloned marine fighting for my country among a bunch of other cloned marines then I feel a lot of empathy towards my fellow clones. It seems very likely that this group would revolt against the free loaders who have been messing with their minds and create their own country of clones. Depending on how well they were selected they may actually be superior to the average human and generate a society that overpowers all other countries on earth. While there are things I like about this scenario, the inevitable war is not one of them.

I would much prefer it if clones were integrated into society just like every other human. Then the whole quality of the society would be raised simultaneously rather than having one group clearly superior and separate from another.

I consider it inevitable that we will start manipulating our genes and become super humans. It may not happen in this generation or the next but eventually we will become desensitized to the notion. Right now the reaction to cloning reminds me of the normal resistance to scientific ideas such as evolution with a ton of xenophobia thrown in. Just give it time and it will be as natural as in-vitro fertilization.


[ Parent ]
Let me correct myself (none / 0) (#94)
by acronos on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:28:35 PM EST

I recognize that cloning alone will not generate super humans. I was speaking in the context of the previous poster, and I was assuming that we were combining other technologies with cloning to generate super humans.

[ Parent ]
Two separate things (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by QuickFox on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:16:54 PM EST

If that were possible and desired they would already do it, with ordinary kids. There's no need to use clones for that. And if someday clones are produced this doesn't mean you get indoctrination camps. It's two completely separate things.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.



[ Parent ]
Hosts (3.25 / 4) (#53)
by pietra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:02:48 PM EST

You've touched on one of the major problems that I see in cloning any mammals so far: the hazards posed to the females who carry them to term. You could probably fit, max, two or three embryos in a willing human host "mother" (yes, I know about the sextuplet and octuplet cases, but seriously: would you sign up for that? Didn't think so). The failure rate necessary to produce the cloned kitten in TX was something like 83 to one successful furball--and cats normally have between 4 to 6 offspring. People usually have one. Anyone who's ever been through a miscarriage knows that it Fucks You Up--and that's pretty much what a woman would be signing up for, if she wanted to be a host. If this takes off--and I'm sure it will--I suspect it will involve a lot of poorer women selling their uteruses for 9 months at a shot. Not unlike selling eggs now, but with far greater risks and side effects, and even selling eggs makes me ethically queasy. It's complicated, potentially painful, and your compensation really is based on your Aryaness and your SAT scores (not to mention your height and weight). Hell, a nice normal pregnancy doesn't sound like a ton of fun to me, between morning sickness, gaining 40 pounds, and having to pee every 10 seconds--not to mention being a hormonally whacked maniac, all too often. To get back to the point: do we now have to draft women to produce these superbeings? We're going to run out of volunteers very swiftly, let me assure you.

[ Parent ]
I'd be interested to hear (none / 0) (#66)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:02:32 PM EST

why you're sure this sort of "cloned army" idea will take off. How do you see this becoming a viable option?

In terms of needing women to gestate these "superbeings" - I read somewhere, a long time ago, that China was working on an artificial womb, and had it working up to about 16 weeks - but I have no idea if that was true or just hype/scaremongering/general bullshit. Now *there's* an invention that we need a lot more than we need cloning...

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Not so much a cloned army (none / 0) (#77)
by pietra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:49:43 PM EST

but rather that we seem pretty darn intent on cloning people, to the degree that it seems inevitable. Vast swathes of previously state-funded technology are starting to become something that the private (extremely wealthy) sector uses to their sole advantage--trips into space, for instance--and cloning seems to be tailor-made for that portion of society. I referenced the "army" because it seemed to be the thread that a lot of people were responding to, and ignoring the consequences to the host mother.

While the artificial womb technology seems to fall under the same general heading of "we want it very badly, so eventually it's going to happen, damn the consequences!" I'm not sure if it would be an improvement. We're already seeing a very crude form of this in certain parts of our society, with questionable results. It's not uncommon for very wealthy women--frequently those whose wealth comes from their physical image, namely actresses--to adopt rather than go through the effects of pregnancy. Not that I have anything against people with the resources adopting kids and giving them good lives, but there's something a little creepy about wanting to be a mother, but not to the degree that you're willing to have stretch marks. I have a feeling that this new kind of motherhood would dramatically change a great many things in our society, both for better and for worse. That's a whole new argument, though.

[ Parent ]

Partial agreement (none / 0) (#85)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:18:58 PM EST

I agree that the cloning of humans is inevitable - I just don't think this is necessarily a bad thing.

In terms of artifical wombs, I don't necessarily agree that you need to be willing to "demonstrate" your desire for motherhood by your acceptance of the damage it may do to your body. More importantly, pregnancy and childbirth are still some of the most dangerous tasks a woman can undertake - there's a virtual certainty of some sort of damage (from vaginal tearing to liver malfunctions and death). IMO, eliminating that risk is worth the (I'm guessing relatively extremely few) people who would decide that they could put up with 18 years (and untold expense) spent raising a child, if it weren't for those darn stretch marks...

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

I don't necessarily disagree either (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by pietra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:10:20 PM EST

I don't think cloning's necessarily a bad thing, just a big and complicated thing with lots of potential implications that we seem to be rushing headlong into without any rational thought on either side. It's either "Whee! Scientific advancement!" or "Oh God! The humanity!" with terrifyingly little assessment outside of science fiction about what it's going to *mean*. Think about the birth control pill--we've had it since 1961, and we still haven't figured out all the implications it's having on our society (or whether insurance companies should even friggin' cover it). Cloning's going to have a much bigger impact than that.

And I agree that the health risks and so forth inherent in pregnancy should be avoided if at all possible, but I still get this weird Luddite twitch whenever I think about such dramatic changes to something as basic and essential as how we reproduce. There's a *lot* of stuff to deal with, as far as that goes. If we haven't even figured out whether or not we as a society are okay with abortion, I don't think we can be rational about growing people in artificial wombs.

[ Parent ]

Duh (none / 0) (#110)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:40:26 PM EST

If what you said was true, then why don't we, today see opperations where we take a few select "supermen" and have them fuck all these women who would be willing to sell their woombs. We could have an army of "half" supermen today!! Hell, we could have done it 8000 years ago even. It hasn't happened and I don't see how cloning would change anything.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#137)
by Kalani on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 11:35:45 PM EST

That happens without the whole economic factor. That's the phenomena of sexual selection ... and it's always amplified in social animals. Whoever the group decides is the alpha male gets to screw all of the chicks (even if the chicks wind up sleeping around while Mr. Alpha is off servicing somebody else).

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Army of Clones (4.00 / 8) (#59)
by Macrobat on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:12:50 PM EST

The sun rises on an Army barracks, ca. 2052...

Drill Sergeant:"Private McCloskey!"

(One hundred soldiers in unison): "YES, SIR!"

Sergeant (singling out one private):"No, I mean you, Private McCloskey!"

McCloskey: "Yes, Sir!"

Sergeant: "Did I see you sneaking into the barracks last night after being AWOL for seven hours?"

McCloskey: "No, Sir! I think it was McCloskey, sir!"

Another McCloskey: "It wasn't me, sir! It must have been McCloskey!"

Sergeant: "Well, you're all gonna drop and give me two hundred push-ups RIGHT NOW!"

(General grumbling): "Damn McCloskey, always messing things up for the rest of us..."

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Um, no actually (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 05:39:46 PM EST

Even twins (nature's clones) don't usually have identical thought processes - they tend to be similar, if the twins were raised together (and hence had similar experiences and upbringings), and just as different as any other two people, if they were not.

Actually no, not just as different as any other two people! When separated soon after birth and raised apart, twins can still turn out eerily similar.

Which suggests that - if the studies are sound - either we have much less free will than we thought (and I find it extremely implausible that we might be determined by our genes so minutely), or that there is some form of psychic resonance going on, a la Rupert Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance. (The latter hypothesis receives some corroboration in the form of numerous anecdotal reports of varying degrees of telepathy between twins.)

These correspond to the "common cause" and "co-causing" hypotheses, respectively. Of course no scientist except for a few outsiders would dare to even bring up the co-causing hypothesis in polite company, because there is a fear that speaking out in favour of the existence of the paranormal would spell instant career death (even though, ironically, a large number of scientists secretly think there might be something in it, as surveys of scientists have consistently revealed).


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

No offense greenrd ... (3.00 / 3) (#136)
by Kalani on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 11:18:06 PM EST

... because I do firmly believe that we are predisposed to many of the "choices" that we make in life depending on genetic code, but the thing that you linked to is a bit silly.

Take a look at some of the "eerie similarities" referenced by that article:

1. Both were named Jim by their adoptive parents.
2. Each had married two times, the first to women named Linda and the second to women named Betty.
3. Jim Springer named his son James Allen, while Jim Lewis chose James Alan.
4. Both had dogs named Toy.
5. The two drank Miller Lite, smoked Salems and drove Chevrolets.
6. Both shared carpentry as a hobby and had built identical benches around trees in their backyard
7. They hated baseball and loved stock car racing.
8. They chewed their fingernails obsessively.
9. They both spent time as sheriff's deputies
10. Each was an average-to-poor student in high school.
11. They had voted for the same candidate in the past three presidential elections.
12. Each Jim doted on his wife by leaving love notes for her around the house.
13. Both had had a vasectomy.


Many of those are very very doubtfully caused by genetic influence (and the fact that there's a correlation doesn't mean anything -- I think that it was irresponsible of TLC to even list these things, "both were named Jim" for Christ's sake! That says more about the adoptive parents than it says about them!).

The actual psychological literature is a lot more dry though, and I've never read anything by a psychologist who claims to be scientific that suggests that shared genes are responsible for the name that you give to your dog.

I think you'll have a much easier time showing the genetic influence in behavioral and physical traits and a much easier time debunking the things that quite possibly have social causes (names, political choices, etc).

I liked the bit about the good and evil twin though -- those Han girls are cute (especially the evil one)!

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
I tried to do some research on this... (none / 0) (#145)
by cyclopatra on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 07:29:31 PM EST

...and other than a couple of studies showing that twins have similar IQs and are predisposed to the same diseases, all I could find were 'woo-woo' stories of the sort you've linked to (ie, one article talked about how each twin of a set fell down a flight of stairs and broke their ankle when they were 15 - and I find it very hard to conceive of a fall-down-the-stairs-and-break-your-ankle-at-age-15 gene, or marry-a-woman-named-linda gene). Individual case studies of 'weird' similarities don't really amount to much in the way of evidence - I'm sure you could find someone who is not related to me at all who is argumentative, smokes Camels, and has a cat named 'Cupid'.

On the other hand, I couldn't find any studies to cite that show that monozygotic twins (raised apart, to control for similarity of experience) have particularly *different* mental traits, either, so we'll have to call it a toss-up.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Talk about playing (a VERY stupid) god... (2.50 / 6) (#72)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:22:29 PM EST

I have a big problem with:

* Allow infertile couples to have children

Infertile people are usually infertile because they are genetically defective. There is something wrong with them that is preventing them from reproducing. Their sperm are retarded, they have no penis, they aren't releasing eggs, etc. I would understand if you are talking about people who had their genitals blown off in a war, but every time I read someone stating 'infertile couples' as a reason to clone, they are talking about people who were BORN without the ability to have children.

By allowing such genetically defective people to breed, thus passing on their defective genes to their children, you are allowing the human gene pool to be polluted with genes that would otherwise be filtered out. These people were chosen by evolution to NOT procreate, and if not for this unnatural intervention you speak of, their defectiveness would die with them. This pollution of the gene pool would add even more so to humanities current de-evolution.


[ Parent ]
How cruel (5.00 / 3) (#74)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:33:10 PM EST

Perhaps we shouldn't allow mentally or physically retarded people to reproduce either, after all they are "defective" as well. And as long as you're at it, we can select some other undesirables and prevent them from contaminating our gene pool any further. After all, Aryans are the master race, why should anyone else bother to reproduce at all? HAIL HITLER! Oops, that just slipped out.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
Very, very weak. (3.00 / 4) (#83)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:16:47 PM EST

You analogy is very poor, and very wrong.

The acts described in your comment are as hideous to me as the act of giving life, by means of cloning, to a life that was never meant to be.

The argument that your retort is based on is the very thesis of my original comment. So I fail to see how one can counter an argument with the same argument. That argument? Taking life from those who had life, giving life to those who cannot live. They are both the same. Playing god is wrong.

Picture the children you would be giving life to. See how you have given them other gifts as well. You have given them dependence on technology, and life that should not have been. Life that evolution said should not be. Genes that are defective, and that they will pass (most likely needing the help of cloning of course) to their children.

In case you do not know, which it seems you don't, evolution works in a very simple to understand way. Traits are passed on to the offspring. This is how evolution works. Traits that give benefit thrive, as the people who have them thrive, and have many children, and their children thrive. Traits that are bad are filtered. In nature, a man could not survive if he could not see because his eyes were too long and out of focus. He could not see his prey -- he would starve. He could not see when he was prey -- he would be eaten. He could not function. He would die. He would not have children, and if he did, they would now die, as they would not have a parent to support and teach them.

A person without genitals would not die, but certainly would not have children. That is why most people have genitals. The genes of having genitals are passed on very easily, whereas the genes of not having genitals are hard things to pass on.

Picture the future your ideals would create: A race of people completely dependent on technology. Needing glasses to see. Needing heart medication to pump blood. Needing supplementary insulin to break down sugar. Needing ventolin to breath. Needing cloning to have children.

Sounds like a good life, don't it?

Sounds like by giving such a person life, you are also giving them pain. You are burdening them with defectiveness that should have been filtered. Taking medication all your life, because you need it to live, is not a fun thing. There are things such as side effects. Ask someone who is mortally bound to a bottle of pills. Ask them if they are happy that they depend on pills, and that they must suffer the side effects. Giving someone these burdens does not sound very kind of you. Maybe you should stop playing god perhaps?



[ Parent ]
eugenics (5.00 / 3) (#98)
by mikeliu on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 09:51:30 PM EST

I know that you say this is not what you are advocating, but could you explain to my the difference between:
-denying treatment to two 'genetically unfit' parents who are infertile but wish to breed and
-denying to give glasses to a person with terrible vision at birth who would otherwise not be able to "function" and would die and not reproduce?

Let us ignore the ethical aspect here about letting the person with bad vision live his life, since we are just focusing on their reproductive potential and our "playing god". In either case these are bad genes, from your examples, which would impair reproductive success. So should we stop playing god perhaps?

[ Parent ]
Complicated... (3.00 / 4) (#102)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 10:57:50 PM EST

That is a very good question.

As I see it, life is about living. If you are alive, you should be able to enjoy it. If someone is suffering, and there is something that can stop that suffering, it should be given to that person. However, it should only be given to them if it will not cause other people to suffer.

A person that has horrible vision will suffer through life. If by giving them glasses, it can improve the quality of their life, then it should be done. By giving them glasses, it does not hurt anyone else directly.

For some full disclosure: My true feelings are that I would truly hope that that person would be responsible enough to simply enjoy the life they have, and not have biological children. Adopt if they want a kid. Why? Because it would be selfish to do otherwise. Because it would HURT other people. Who? That child; and that child's children, and those children's children, and so on. That child would inherit the same defective genes that caused his or her parents bad vision, and would have a very high probability of having bad vision as well. So would its children. Glasses do alleviate some of the suffering by enabling a person to see better, but they still won't see perfect. Also, they will have the burden of having to wear glasses their entire life!

As for the parent who cannot have children due to genetic reasons: Yes, they are suffering, as they most likely want their own children. But by giving them what they want, it would again, hurt their children. The children would be given the same burden that the parents had.

Anyways, the parents can still enjoy life without biological children. They can adopt if they really want kids. They don't even NEED kids to enjoy life. However, the person who cannot see NEEDS glasses to enjoy life; in fact, that person most likely needs the glasses to simply survive.


[ Parent ]
Flaws (4.50 / 2) (#114)
by kuran42 on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 02:10:45 AM EST

First off, most people who need glasses today need them because of environmental pressures, not genetic "defects". That aside, I don't see how you can say who needs what to enjoy their life. It is their life after all, not yours.

The biggest difference between humans and animals is that humans modify their environment instead of changing themselves to fit it. I'm not advocating total technological dependance, but having a genetic predisposition towards nearsightedness is not even close to a reasonable excuse to not procreate. Fix it with glasses, fix it with lasers, whatever. The same goes for things like diabetes and other "defects". We can use our technology to improve the lives of people who have to live with these things. Simply preventing them from reproducing is cruel and unnecessary.

Yea, there are orphans. That's too bad. Really. But it's not my fault they don't have parents just because I wear glasses, and I have no obligation to adopt them instead of having my own kids. If you want to solve the problem of children without homes, try solving the other defects like low-income jobs, young and/or single mothers, and barriers to abortion (none of which are genetic, mind you). It's a separate issue and there's no point in discussing it in the same breath as eugenics (which isn't even what the article is about, so maybe I'll stop here).

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Hehe (2.00 / 3) (#116)
by thufir on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 03:09:52 AM EST

Well, I can see fine. My eyes are well adapted to these 'environmental pressures'. I experience the same 'environmental pressures' that you do. If your eyes can't handle these pressures, then (no offence of course) but your eyes are inferior to mine. Inability to cope with the environment around us is for sure a genetic defect.

I was not telling anyone how to enjoy their life. I was simply answering the question asked of me, explaining what I though was the difference between the two situations that the poster listed.

The whole thing that I am against is this technological dependence. It scares me, and it makes me sad. Pills, glasses and lasers do not fix the problems, they simply compensate for them. Your genes will still be 'broken'. By wearing glasses, your children will still have the same chance of having bad vision as if you didn't.

I was not arguing anything about adoption, simply pointing out that it is an option for people who evolution denied the ability to have biological offspring.

I guess my whole problem with using cloning (or any quick fix method) to give children to people who cannot have children for genetic reasons, is the whole technological dependence thing. As I said, it scares me.

A good gene does not cancel out a bad gene. The only way to stop the bad genes from continuing to exist, is to stop them from being passed on.

Think of it as a glass of water with an impurity in it. No mater how much perfectly pure water I pour into that glass, there will always be those impurities. And because defective genes are a result of natural mutations, there will always be more coming into existence. These bad genes will accumulate! The number will grow! They will NOT go away. The only way to get rid of the impurities is to filter them. To not allow that glass of water to mix with any other waters.

I am glad that I was born now, instead of many years into the future. For I only have a few defects. The future man will be a bag of defective genes. Without a filter to stop them from accumulating, they will be all there is. Eventually the race will be so damaged, and people will need so many of these fixes, that life will not be worth living due to the pain that is needed to be endured.


[ Parent ]
Sadly (3.00 / 2) (#121)
by kuran42 on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 11:49:00 AM EST

You are wrong and disgusting. There are so many factual errors in your post I wouldn't know where to begin to respond to them.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
Way to win an argument. (2.50 / 6) (#122)
by thufir on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 03:30:37 PM EST

Simply state your opinion that the other is wrong.
Unfortunately the above statement is stupid, just as your post is. You cannot counter fact with opinion. That's right -- fact. During university, I took many courses dealing with such things, and over the years have read many books from reputable sources.

Until that last post of yours, I guess I had an inflated sense of your intelligence. Not anymore.

Good day sir.


[ Parent ]
Amazing (3.00 / 2) (#135)
by Kalani on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 11:02:49 PM EST

It's amazing to me that you could supposedly educate yourself so well in the field of biology and still think that it's possible to "cheat Evolution." I'm guessing that you're just trolling, based on the "people with bad eyesight should refrain from having children" line, but it's at least comforting to me that the principle of Evolution isn't "directed" in the sense that you seem to think it is.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
That's stupid (5.00 / 2) (#126)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 06:16:27 PM EST

Well, I can see fine. My eyes are well adapted to these 'environmental pressures'. I experience the same 'environmental pressures' that you do. If your eyes can't handle these pressures, then (no offence of course) but your eyes are inferior to mine. Inability to cope with the environment around us is for sure a genetic defect.

To illustrate how stupid this argument is, let's perform a simple substitution:

Well, I can understand French fine. My ears are well adapted to these 'environmental pressures'. I experience the same 'envrionmental pressures' that you do. If your ears can't handle these pressures, then (no offence of course) but your ears are inferior to mine. Inability to cope with the environment around us (e.g. understanding French when in a French-speaking country) is for sure a genetic defect.

Let's briefly dissect the multiple glaring fallacies in both:

  1. Just because you can see fine, that does not prove that bad sight is always a genetic defect.
  2. The 'environmental pressures' that contributed to vision problems are not yet well understood, but they do exist. One older hypothesis was that too much reading leads to short-sightedness. (I don't believe that can be right, because I have read a phenomenal amount most days since I could first learn to read.) A newer hypothesis, reported in this week's New Scientist magazine, is that many vision problems are caused by too much refined starch in the diet during childhood. This better fits the experimental evidence than the reading theory. In any case, there has been a sharp increase in the incidence of vision problems in the last century, which is difficult to explain with genetics alone.
  3. Environmental factors such as too much starch in the diet, or "too much reading", certainly vary between individuals, and thus one individual can be exposed to far more stresses than an other. Thus if an individual becomes shortsighted due to eating too much bread, that does not necessarily imply anything about their genes.
  4. Even if the relevant environments were the same, that would still not necessarily imply a genetic "defect", in any useful sense of the word! Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that I have an extraordinary level of intelligence due partly to my genes, and this has a side-effect that I grew up socially stunted due to my aloofness and general eccentricity. From a social integration point of view, I was less able than most people to "cope effectively with the environment around me", i.e. other people. Does this mean my "IQ genes" are a genetic defect?

    It's not at all obvious that they are, from a human point of view. (Forget selfish genes for the moment - what they "want" is only a metaphor, and we should not be slaves to metaphors - the big fallacy of social darwinism.)


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]
Laughing so hard -- Please do some research first. (2.00 / 4) (#129)
by thufir on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 07:02:52 PM EST

That is the single most stupid comparison I have ever heard.

You are comparing something physical, the ability to see, to something mental, whether or not you have learned to speak french. If you cannot speak french, that does not mean you do not have the ability to learn to speak french. If you cannot see, that is a physical problem, and you cannot LEARN to see.

I don't know if its even possible to counter some of your arguments, because it would be like countering arguments made up entirely of random characters and meaning nothing. That is how wrong you are. Not in your opinions, but in your methods and facts.

The key thing that you are forgetting, which voids all your valid arguments, is something you can ask any doctor. Susceptibility to disease is purely genetic! Many people can smoke all their life, and never have any ill effect. Others can smoke just a little and get lung cancer, or asthma, or bronchitis, or emphysema, etc. This is because their lungs are genetically inferior, and cannot handle the same amount of abuse. Just like eyesight. Some people will eat the same amount of starch, endure the same amount of stress, and do the same amount of reading, and never need glasses. What SINGLE thing is different between this person and someone else who cannot see in the same situation? Their genetic makeup!

Before you respond, go ask a doctor what I told you to. Perhaps go do some research. It is a fact, that two people, who each have both parents with perfect vision, and they themselves have perfect vision, that their children will all most likely have perfect vision as well. A small percentage of their offspring may not, but this is perfectly explainable with natural genetic mutation and genes that were recessive until now.

Understand this, and you will understand the fallacy with your argument. I am not saying that eating too much starch does not cause bad eyesight. That would be like saying smoking carcinogens does not cause cancer. But again, the thing you missed, is that susceptibility to disease is genetic.


[ Parent ]
This is pointless (5.00 / 2) (#131)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 07:46:01 PM EST

State the obvious if you want - I won't stop you. You did not refute any of my points. There is no point in continuing this conversation.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

I disagree (none / 0) (#148)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:14:09 PM EST

Is the "burden" of wearing glasses worse than the "burden" of never being born? I don't think so! Certainly, if I were suffering some painful genetic disease that my children might inherit, I probably wouldn't have kids. But glasses/contact lenses aren't that much of a burden. Sure, it's a dependency: I'd be in trouble out in the wilderness without my glasses or contacts. But everybody has dependencies, genetic or otherwise. I would not refrain from having kids just because they might inherit my eyes.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
I have come to a conclusion. You are stupid. (2.00 / 3) (#109)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:35:52 PM EST

The acts described in your comment are as hideous to me as the act of giving life, by means of cloning, to a life that was never meant to be.

Meant by whome? If you are a religious wackjob, own up and don't try to justify your wackjobbery in scientific terminology. You only make yourself look stupid.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Sorry friend. (2.33 / 3) (#117)
by thufir on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 03:18:41 AM EST

But you are wrong, as I am an atheist.

I believe in cloning, and think it is an excellent technology to invest in, defiantly for cloning replacement organs and things like that. I just do not believe it is right to create life knowing that it is inferior and will suffer until it dies.


[ Parent ]
BTW (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:23:42 PM EST

What I am describing could be stretched and called Social Darwinism. The beginning of your message certainly falls under that idea. But what you are describing in the second half is called Eugenics and Occult. I defiantly do not believe in the later two.

There a difference in preventing life, and simply not giving life to life that cannot otherwise be (what my original message was about). The first is an action, the second is an inaction.


[ Parent ]
You sir/madam are an ignorant. (3.20 / 5) (#93)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:13:34 PM EST

There are many reasons for infertility cursing people that are born perfectly normal.

A simple infection in the bad moment in the wrong place can and does cause havoc.


---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]
You must feel INCREDIBLY stupid right about now. (2.66 / 3) (#95)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:30:16 PM EST

Not only am I not an Ignorant; but you sir, cannot read. Perhaps your intent was to make me laugh?

Quoting my original message:
> I would understand if you are talking about
> people who had their genitals blown off in a
> war, but every time I read someone stating
> 'infertile couples' as a reason to clone, they
> are talking about people who were BORN without
> the ability to have children.

Try reading it again; perhaps have someone who understands English sit beside you and render you aid in doing so.

Not only did I acknowledge such possibilities, but I made an exception for them. Therefore, your argument is both null and stupid.

Incase you are too stupid to understand what I just said (which wouldn't surprise me), I will spell it out for you.

"... talking about people who were BORN without the ability to have children."

Is that more clear?

Please take back your ill conceived rating as it, as should be clear to you by now, is wrong.



[ Parent ]
Stop this bashing! (none / 0) (#100)
by BlowCat on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 10:37:02 PM EST

The guy just wanted to say that you don't have to be at war to be an exception. In fact, people who have lost the ability to have children after being born, are not an exception at all.

[ Parent ]
WTF are you talking about? (3.25 / 4) (#101)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 10:47:45 PM EST

What are you talking about????

The point is that I made a statement.

The statement stated that I believe it is wrong to allow people who cannot have children for GENETIC reasons to have children by cloning.

The idiot who replied to me said that I am ignorant because people can not have the ability to have children for other reasons than just genetic.

That has NOTHING to do with what my post was about!! I did not say that there weren't other reasons! I wasn't talking about the other reasons! My post didn't have anything to do with people who loose the ability to have children after they are born.

You are almost as dumb as the above poster!


[ Parent ]
No, I feel I used the correct adjective. (none / 0) (#146)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 07:26:25 AM EST

Since you lack the capacity of quoting yourself properly I will proceed to do so:

Infertile people are usually infertile because they are genetically defective. There is something wrong with them that is preventing them from reproducing. Their sperm are retarded, they have no penis, they aren't releasing eggs, etc. I would understand if you are talking about people who had their genitals blown off in a war, but every time I read someone stating 'infertile couples' as a reason to clone, they are talking about people who were BORN without the ability to have children.

And now I will put emphasis in the sentences that justify my earlier comment and shame them as they rightly deserve:

Infertile people are usually infertile because they are genetically defective.

Repeat after me: b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. There are many people that are not genetically defective that are infertile. Spew the above ascertion in front of a physician and hopefully you'll be greeted with a violent reaction.

I would understand if you are talking about people who had their genitals blown off in a war

Repeat after me: b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. Most people that are infertile have their gentials integral and very often fully functioning.

every time I read someone stating 'infertile couples' as a reason to clone, they are talking about people who were BORN without the ability to have children.

Repeat after me: b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. Anybody with any grasp of logic can see this as what it is: an stupid generalization born out of not thinking what you are talking about.


---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]

Wow (2.33 / 3) (#97)
by megahal on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 09:04:18 PM EST

You really are stupid.

You should probably read a post before you make up things to be wrong with it.

[ Parent ]
Don't second guess evolution (4.66 / 3) (#108)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:31:27 PM EST

If someone reproduces successfully, they are fit for the environment they are in. If they do not, they are not. If someone reproduces with the aid of science then they are 'fit' in the darwininian sense. Any other interpretation of evolution is indicative of a fundamental inability to think rationally.

You cannot go "against" evolution, evolution is what is, not what you think it should be
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Moderating unbiased posts (none / 0) (#151)
by dbc001 on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 04:43:41 PM EST

Reasons to clone humans: ...

Reasons not to clone humans: ...


It really bothers me that someone would give this post a low rating. This post is unbiased and clearly trying to provide food for thought/discussion.

dbc

[ Parent ]
Why, you narcissistic fools? (3.50 / 6) (#4)
by bobpence on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:36:39 PM EST

I have enough trouble understanding why so many people turn to IVF rather than adoption (allowing that there are barriers and issues), but simply cannot grasp being so narcissistic that I would demand a copy of myself. To me, banning reproductive cloning is a no-brainer; efforts are better spent defending and defining therapeutic cloning of organs, which is also where the greater scientific challenge lies.

Perhaps some who have a more tolerant view of IVF as opposed to adoption can tell me their reasoning - to which I might be sympathetic - and then tell me if they can logically make the jump to copying themselves.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender

Backwards reasoning (3.62 / 8) (#12)
by J'raxis on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:53:19 PM EST

No, you’re looking at it backwards. We don’t make things illegal unless one can show cause to legalize them, we’re supposed to make things legal unless one can show cause to outlaw them. Narcissism is not a good reason.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Confused. (1.33 / 3) (#91)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:51:35 PM EST

Explain the drug laws then.

In any case, there are many reasons why IVF should be illegal, at least in the case of in fertile couples (which is the only reason I would see it being used).

They are infertile for a reason. Their genes are defective. Evolution decided that they shouldn't breed. Giving life to their children would be most unnatural and destructive to society.

Social responsibility is needed.


[ Parent ]
"Explain the drug laws then." (2.50 / 4) (#106)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:23:41 PM EST

Drugs are harmfull, and when people become adicted they can't stop. Drugs can ruin peoples lives. Thats the theory anyway. Drugs arn't illegal because "there's no good reason to have them legal" anymore then videogames or bungie jumping is.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
You are the one who sounds like a wackjob. (1.25 / 8) (#118)
by thufir on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 03:22:30 AM EST

Perhaps you are simply George Dubbya's lackey.

[ Parent ]
Evolution? (3.20 / 5) (#107)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:24:34 PM EST

They are infertile for a reason. Their genes are defective. Evolution decided that they shouldn't breed.

What are you, some kind of religious nut?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Defective (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by katie on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 06:36:48 AM EST

I dunno, I'm not religious, but I feel much the same way about myself. Not that I get much option in the matter; I can't have kids at the moment, but it might one day be possible.

Given the hurculean efforts it would take (we're not just talking IVF here) I kind of feel it's just not what the world needs. My genes are not ones the world needs passing on.

I'm not at all convinced that reproduction is this absolutely essential mandation on a person and that any lengths are worth going to.

The world is full to overflowing with broken people. How can it possible need any more?



[ Parent ]
I will bite (5.00 / 3) (#49)
by thellan on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:58:17 PM EST

I also don't see a really good reason to have an exact copy of myself. Besides I don't think that is possible.

However, I have no problem understanding why many people would turn to IVF instead of adoption. For starters, I think a lot of people feel that if they are going to have a child they want that child to be a part of them. After all that is one of the things reproduction is about, extending your line. Adoption can extend your ideas/philosophy but it can not extend your family line. Adoption is also a more risky proprosal in many people's minds because there is less certainty in what you will be getting. Admittedly there is not a lot of certainty in what you will be getting when 2 people have a child, but the child more than likely will be similar to it's parents. On the other hand, in my experience, when adopting you don't necessarily know the caliber of the child's parents or any of the factors that will contribute to the child's health. I think a nightmare many people see when considering adoption is find a child they would like to adopt and then after everything is finalized the kid develops some disorder or disease that was inherited from it's parents. Also, there is a certain amount of pride in having a child. It is major bonding point between 2 people, and there is a feeling, at least among the women that I know, that having a child is something you should do at some point in your life.

I do not feel there is any connection between supporting IVF and cloning. I do think cloning can and probably should be (in the future) an alternative to IVF if IVF does not work.

I also agree with you that therapeutic cloning of organs is a better use of cloning than reproductive cloning.



[ Parent ]
IVF vs. adoption (4.66 / 3) (#57)
by DonQuote on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:11:51 PM EST

If I had to chose between the two, IVF would win. Call it narcissism if you will, but evolution has taught us to value our own genes above those of others. I want my child(ren) to be my own. I know and like my own genes - they have given me what it takes to succeed. Similarly, my wife would also have 'advantegous' genes. With an adopted child, you never know what you will get. When I put the effort and investment into raising a child, I want that child to have all the advantages I can provide for him/her; since I view my genes as an advantage...

For me though, it stops there. I would not want my child to be a clone of me (or anyone else, even if they were some superhuman) because I think uniqueness and diversity are among the most important things to have on any level. Any kind of uniformity, be it genetic or intellectual, can lead to problems if something unexpected rears its head.

-DQ
... Use tasteful words. You may have to eat them.
[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#133)
by Kalani on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 10:39:50 PM EST

OK, assume for the moment that a clone won't have any health problems that the source human didn't have. Why exactly would you block this person's life to preserve "uniqueness?" Isn't uniqueness at least partially defined by the sum of choices we've made over the course of our lives? If you cloned Einstein (and assuming that his insight and intelligence were mostly genetic -- which is not certain by any means), would he be destined to rediscover Relativity Theory again? I don't think that a clone is really taking that much away from the "uniqueness" of individuals.

Frankly I'm apathetic about the whole thing.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Because people are selfish. (3.66 / 3) (#90)
by thufir on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:44:13 PM EST

That is the one and only reason.

People want to have kids, because they want to live forever. They cannot live in their body forever, because they are mortal, but they can live on in their children.

Their desire to do so is so great, that most people will have children without regard for what they are doing. They take no responsibility in the mater. If they are burdened with a genetic disease that will kill them early (for example MS, or MD), what do they do? They will take pills and medicine (none for MD yet, thank god) so that they can live long enough to have children. I don't even know if they care that their children will be forced to suffer the same as they did.

It is pure selfishness, and it makes me sad for them, and sick for the children they create, that now must suffer.



[ Parent ]
Uh huh. (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:21:13 PM EST

To me, banning reproductive cloning is a no-brainer; efforts are better spent defending and defining therapeutic cloning of organs, which is also where the greater scientific challenge lies.

To me, banning videogames is a no-brainer; efforts are better spent reading books.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Long anology, short pier (none / 0) (#120)
by bobpence on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 07:37:31 AM EST

One can do both when it comes to video games. But do you know of anyone now who specializes in both reproductive and therapeutic (organ) cloning? It makes sense that as both fields develop, it would be even less likely.

The argument that there is a trade-off stands on its own, but I want reproductive cloning to be outlawed due to my personal morality, which is open-minded enough to not wish to ban other things I are sour to my taste but appeal to other people. Of course such laws need to be crafted carefully, else the IVF technician who accidently does a nuclear transfer would be prosecuted.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

Another angle on why cloning may be wrong. (2.73 / 15) (#6)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:38:49 PM EST

I am an athiest, but for people of the main faiths there is a serious issue reguarding the soul.

Lets suppose that I have a soul, and I clone myself. The new entity that exists after the spark of life occurs, is scientifically me.

So essencially, the problem is, where does the soul of the new 'me' come from

This is not a troll, but in all the hoo-har that occurs due to the ethics, this is one question that is ignored a lot... As an athiest, I this is a non issue, but for people of faith this is messing with the G man in a big way


-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
I can almost see your point... (4.50 / 4) (#9)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:48:35 PM EST

...except for two things:

1) Twins, and

2) While this may give a reason why religious people should not clone, it does not imply an obligation on me to do the same.

(1) can essentially be countered by soulists to my satisfaction by saying "it's just different" - since our worldview is so different, and they take as a fact something I see as a matter of opinion (at least until we can prove/disprove the soul's existence), I can more or less accept that anything else they claim about souls is "true" so far as their beliefs go.

(2), on the other hand, is why you don't see discussion of things like the soul (or hopefully don't, anyhow) in bioethics panels. Cloning appears to some people to go counter to the dictates of some religions, but that doesn't explain why any country which is not theocratic (and ruled by the dictates of one of those religions) should ban it, or why any person who is not a member of those religions (or who doesn't agree that those cloning is inimical to said religion) should oppose cloning.

What it boils down to is that a soulist opposition to cloning really needs to amount to a personal decision - if you don't think clones have souls (and you think this is different from the normal state of humanity), don't get cloned, and don't clone other people.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

see thats the thing (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by Altus on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:52:24 PM EST

I dont see an exact genetic copy of you as being YOU. they just arent.

there is realy no doubt that if you cloned your self twice and then raised the 2 clones under vastly differeent circumstances they would be individuals.

even withoug thinking about the soul it seems to me that environmental differences alone would be enough to differentiate a clone from an origional.

now if you do believe in a soul there are concerns... does this new life have a soul? when did it get this soul? where did the soul come from? Of course you could apply many of these questions to regular reproduction (ie abortion debates).


"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the money, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]
Identical Twins (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by snowlion on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:56:14 PM EST

Do you think that identical twins share the same soul? If not, then why do you think that clones would?


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
personally no... (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:06:52 PM EST

But in the case of identical twins, they are the natural split of an egg with two different sets of DNA contributing to the original egg. (read gods will)

A cloned egg will contain the exact same DNA as the donor, and is created by human hand so to speak...


-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
not quite the point... (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:12:20 PM EST

A cloned egg contains the exact same DNA as its donor, but is still the result of contributions from two different sets of DNA - the donor's parents.

Additionally, any argument based on whether or not something is "natural" is flawed. Computers are unnatural. Heart surgery is unnatural. Houses are "unnatural" - you certainly don't find spontaneous cases of shake roofing and ceramic tile in the woods! Simply saying it's "unnatural" doesn't actually convey any viable sense of right or wrong, unless you're also willing to reject every trapping of your life as immoral.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

ya got me there! (nt) (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:19:57 PM EST


-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
Mitochondrial DNA (5.00 / 4) (#34)
by ucblockhead on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:25:27 PM EST

Actually, clones often share less DNA than identical twins. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother and is shared by identical twins. In cloning, however, the mitochondrial DNA typically comes from a donor cell and not from person you are cloning.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
We were talking about Soul, not natural-ness. (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by snowlion on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:38:51 PM EST

So, you still haven't answered why anyone would believe that cloning would mean that the same soul was in two bodies.

I don't see how "created by human hand" means that we can suddenly have our soul in two bodies at once. You're going to have to elaborate a little bit more on this really weird claim.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Perhaps... (4.66 / 3) (#45)
by kuran42 on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:47:19 PM EST

...God uses an md5 hash of a DNA strand as an index for the soul table? He'd still have had to code in an exception for twins, but if he didn't include a special case for twins conceived at different times (what a clone is) then the whole system would be shot...

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
But you could argue (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:59:03 PM EST

that the new creature doesn't *have* a soul because there is some mystical element to the natural creation process that, when interfered with by humans, is missing. BUt then you'd have to explain why test tube babies have souls.

[ Parent ]
Or you could argue (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by ubernostrum on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:21:56 PM EST

about the definition of "soul". Is it something that it just another part of a person? Or is it some sort of vital essence that a person cannot do without? If the latter, then a clone, by virtue of its being alive, must necessarily have a soul. If the former, then the soul doesn't *necessarily* have to be present in the clone, but at the same time, since there seems to be no empirical way to verify/disprove the existence of the soul (i.e., it does not manifest itself in any way that human beings can notice), would it matter?


--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]

Soul = Awareness (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by snowlion on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 04:57:48 AM EST

Soul is awareness. Unfortunately, soul is completely undetectable. The only soul I am directly aware of is my own. The rest of you may very well be zombies.

I see no reason to believe that a clone wouldn't have a soul though.

You can empirically verify the existance of a soul. The only problem is that you can only do so for yourself. If you are aware, then you are soul. If you are not aware, but just a machine following its neural code, then you are not a soul. That seems pretty simple to me.

There's just no way to verify it for others.

Does soul matter, since we can't find it in others? Well, yeah, I'd say it does. I'd like to have a mental model of the universe that doesn't exclude my very existance. That kind of thing "matters" to me.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Well if you define it that way (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by ubernostrum on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 08:15:48 PM EST

Then what you say makes sense. I'm not sure I'd agree with it, though...I'd like to think of awareness as its own concept, and the question of others' awareness related more to the questions of consciousness, which I feel is a different thing from "soul" (especially since I think most, if not all, living things have a "soul", but I wouldn't say they're all aware).


--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]

Neural Code (none / 0) (#147)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:50:11 PM EST

What if your "neural code" is programmed to think its aware? Couldn't you be a souless machine without knowing it?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Of Course; But then I'd be a Zombie. (none / 0) (#152)
by snowlion on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:14:54 AM EST

Sure- from your vantage point, my neural code could be programmed to think its aware. I could be a soulless machine. How would you be able to tell the difference? You can't. There's no way to crack beyond the light and sound to see if someone else is really aware or not. Even if you could see a blob of energy manipulating a body, you could not determine whether the blob itself was aware, or just some spectral machine acting as if it were aware. You may very well be the only aware entity in existance. (This observation alone has sprung up a number of religions, identifiable by the phrase "I Am".)

However, it is quite clear to me that I am aware. I as an aware observer cannot be fooled into believing that there is no aware observer.

Are you aware? I have no way of telling. You may be just be machinery, with no more experience than a camera snapping a picture.

But you will never be able to convince me that I am not aware. No matter how many reams of scientific paper you place before me, or how many exorcisms you perform, you will not be able to convince me that I am not aware.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Identical Twins (4.50 / 4) (#16)
by cleo on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:00:33 PM EST

How is cloning fundamentally different than the process which produces identical twins? Except for the difference in timing (your twin springs into existence at a very early stage in your development, while your clone can be conceived much later in life) these processes essentially work the same way. There is no question that each twin possesses a unique soul. Why would it be any different with a clone?

No human can say for sure whether the soul exists or how a living being might become imbued with one. We cannot argue that because human technology assists in the production of a clone, God has not found a way to give that being a soul.

[ Parent ]

I suspect that (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:08:43 PM EST

No human can say for sure whether the soul exists or how a living being might become imbued with one.

a religious person would say otherwise...


-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
Creationistism (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by imrdkl on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:06:18 PM EST

does not assert that the same DNA (body) must have the same soul, as far as I know. Neither does it hold that the soul is bound to the body. Typically, in fact, creationists contend that the soul is "paired" with the body, at the moment life begins.

[ Parent ]
What does that have to do with creationism? (none / 0) (#58)
by KnightStalker on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:12:24 PM EST

Plenty of people accept that evolution has occurred, but also believe in a soul. "Creationism" usually is taken to mean the belief in a literal Genesis-style creation event. I have heard the term applied to theistic evolutionists, but not very often. If I were a theistic evolutionist, I wouldn't want to be called a creationist. :-)

[ Parent ]
My creationist reference (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by imrdkl on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:25:10 PM EST

was to the beginning of life, and of time. Not what happens after that. I don't pretend to understand what evolution is, but neither do I dispute that it has "happened". Neither do I fully understand nor dispute the existence of a soul.

[ Parent ]
Re: another (wrong) angle (4.87 / 8) (#23)
by danceswithcrows on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:10:24 PM EST

Lets suppose that I have a soul, and I clone myself. The new entity that exists after the spark of life occurs, is scientifically me.

No, it's not. Your clone is genetically identical to you, just as identical twins are genetically identical to each other. The idea that identical twins either don't have souls or share one soul has, AFAIK, been thrown out as "silly" by the major religions.

To take this straw man and further kick it while it's down, animals' behavior is not determined solely by genetic factors. Take a couple of identical-twin mice. Raise one in an environment with no toys or other mice around. Raise the other in an environment with lots of toys and other mice. They'll be different. Separate identical human twins at birth. Raise one in Omaha, raise the other in Calcutta. They'll be different. Take a human born in 1982, clone it in 2002, and the clone will grow up starting roughly in 2003. The environment in almost any place is very different in 2003 than it was in 1982, so the clone will be measurably different from its parent.

Not that this will stop the religious nuts and idiots from freaking out. The ultra-religious generally lack the vocabulary/understanding to talk about the real problems with cloning (shortened telomeres, etc.) and instead rely on half-understood bits of garble from ancient books. As for the non-religious idiots, pop culture has almost universally presented cloning as a bad thing, and people get more of their morality from pop culture than they'd like to admit.

this is messing with the G man in a big way

Hogwash. We're not creating life from nothing, we're copying an already existing genetic plan. By this logic, ER doctors play God every time they restart some guy's heart when it's stopped. When we get around to achieving practical omnipresence, practical omniscience, and reversing entropy on a very large scale, then we'll be in god territory. Unfortunately, that'll take a while.

Matt G (aka Dances With Crows) There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see
[ Parent ]

Just look at the source code (4.53 / 13) (#29)
by khallow on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:17:29 PM EST

Well, the clone() method invokes the SoulFactory object to instantiate a new soul object which is then bound to the cloned body object. What's the controversy?

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

lol :) (nt) (2.33 / 3) (#30)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:19:10 PM EST


-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
AHA!!! You are no CLUELESS NEWBIE!! (5.00 / 2) (#130)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 07:07:32 PM EST

I have unmasked you!! Mr. "Clueless Newbie", you are no clueless newbie at all, are you?! The home page as www.aol.com sort of tipped me off - it was a little over the top - but this post clinched it.

After all, no-one who thinks AOL.com is worth having as a homepage would get a joke like that!

I always suspected you were a troll, but now I know for sure. I will watch out for you in future, so don't think you can pull a fast one on me - oh no.

*** greenrd - proudly hunting down and exposing trolls on k5 since 1975! ***

[ Parent ]

It strikes me... (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:59:47 PM EST

That all the arguments attached to this are scientifically based. Where are the religious readers? I tried to play devils advocate, but I basically have the same viewpoint as the people who replied, and I just couldn't hack it (scientifically either I might add :( ). Where are all the religious people here?
-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
Since when are there religious k5ers?-nt- (4.00 / 3) (#62)
by Woundweavr on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:34:33 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Ooh! Ooh! Look over here! (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by ubernostrum on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 07:16:09 PM EST

I'm a religious k5er. I'm kind of undecided about cloning, mostly because I don't know nearly enough to make a decision about it, and also because I'm not sure that there's been a viable need for it demonstrated. Some would say that just because we can doesn't mean we should, and I'd agree with them; tinkering around and showing it's possible in theory is one thing (it advances human knowledge), but it doesn't follow you should run out and do it; there should be a reason. And with the state of cloning technology right now, there's no good reason to be doing it (with humans - not so sure about animals, still thinking about that one), and plenty of risks that we'll screw it up, which would be bad for everybody...so I'm leaning toward saying we should work a little more on our knowledge and our technology before we go and try to do this.

And oddly enough, that's not a purely scientific or purely moral/religious argument. In fact, my religious belief (the nature of which is left as an exercise for the reader) has nothing to do with it, though there is a moral principle being invoked. I think there are people out there who would make a purely religious argument, but they're stupid. Then again, so are people who would try to make a purely scientific argument; science, by its nature, cannot tell us whether we should do something, since it is a very old and very inevitable truth that you cannot derive an "ought" from an "is", so science alone can't guide us. The only thing to do is to combine a grasp of the facts with a set of moral principles to come to a sensible conclusion.


--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]

thanks... (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by CluelessNewbie on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 05:51:46 PM EST

I was getting a little fed up with people rating me down for my lack of knowledge / understanding. I think you've given me one point of view I was looking for. The other was from someone who perhaps did have the point of view I 'tried to put forward' (ho hum...)
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"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
Absurd! (5.00 / 4) (#65)
by mcherm on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 05:45:19 PM EST

You say: The new entity [my clone], is scientifically me. That is simply NOT true. Scientifically, it is a separate human being (albeit one with a strong genetic disposition towards being clueless). No scientist would claim that your clone was "you".

However, some NON-scientists might claim it. In fact, there are some religions that have held that identical twins (who ARE in fact clones of each other!) share a single soul (voodoo practitioners of West Africa and Haiti for instance).

Moral of the story? Don't go around claiming things to be "scientifically true" when you don't know what you're talking about.

[ Parent ]

A haaaandbag! (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#78)
by CluelessNewbie on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:51:38 PM EST


-------------------------------------------------
"Do you know what nemesis means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by a 'orrible cunt. Me."
BrickTop
[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 2) (#103)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:15:33 PM EST

scientificaly it will not you at all, but someone else with a very similar body. It would only be the same in the "uneducated cretinous" sense.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
And when we find (3.25 / 4) (#7)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 03:43:25 PM EST

That the ratio of normal human clones to hideously deformed human clones is horrifyingly high, what then?



Moo.


That's why I called it premature. (4.00 / 3) (#21)
by cyclopatra on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:07:29 PM EST

I don't think our success rate is good enough yet that we ought to start cloning humans reproductively. However, I also strongly doubt that there is anything inherent to cloning that results in deformed/retarded clones, so that's a matter of improving technique, not an argument for rejecting cloning altogether.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Then... (none / 0) (#70)
by seebs on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:18:57 PM EST

... the doublemint people will be out of a previously very successful ad campaign.


[ Parent ]
Whether it's true or not (3.25 / 4) (#18)
by sticky on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:06:01 PM EST

I'm making a killing on the Clone claim on the Foresight Exchange. I got in at 50 to 53 and it's up to 63 with >13% of total shares traded this week. Could it go to 70?


Don't eat the shrimp.---God
Great (4.44 / 9) (#25)
by jmzero on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:14:40 PM EST

I see a statement like this coming from him in about 7 months - "Miraculously, the clone is genetically different from person cloned."

Even if this isn't fraud, it's a setback for legitimate cloning research. Reproductive cloning at this point is pointless (or very near) and dangerous (mostly to the clone).

Therapeutic cloning research may save my life one day, but not if it gets banned because of wild research like this.

.


.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
Human clones *TODAY*! Medical industry ignoring l (3.80 / 5) (#71)
by seebs on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:21:08 PM EST

Right now, today, people are raising human clones. They walk among us, with no labels, no warnings. They aren't tagged, we aren't tracing their movements.

People are producing human clones. They don't need a license. They are allowed to begin the arduous process without any kind of approval, or registration. Furthermore, they receive *assistance* from the medical community. The censure you would expect is simply not forthcoming; instead, doctors offer a variety of support services, ranging from advice to medical treatment, medication, and other attempts to ensure that the clones are successfully raised.

No special registration is required. The clones are simply treated as normal children. Often, they aren't even told that they're clones. Some are raised separately; horrible experiments have been done to try to "isolate" their "genetic qualities".

The first commercial use of human clones was in the 1930's. They were used by a manufacturer of organic (and later synthetic) rubber products, as a sort of "mascot"; the manufacturer tried to use their strange sameness as a kind of focus for product recognition.

Something has to be done.

(This was my April Fools' day post on the topic. I refer, of course, to the U of M "twins studies" and the famous series of Doublemint Gum ads.)

This is horrible. (5.00 / 4) (#80)
by jonboy on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 06:59:49 PM EST

There are still way too many problems with cloning to try it on humans. Dolly (the cloned sheep) has shown signs of premature aging. Many attempts to clone animals have resulted in horrible failure. Even if the clone survives pregnancy, she (he?) will doubtless be plagued by health problems. I really believe that it's immoral to ignore these problems and clone a human anyway.

Here's a link talking about some of the problems with cloning:
cbsnews.com
--
The above post is overrated.

Negative consequences is not effective argument (none / 0) (#150)
by dbc001 on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 04:40:26 PM EST

The argument that "Cloning is immoral because there are negative consequences for the clone's health" is not valid, because that argument can be made about virtually any modern healthcare technique.

I will continue your line of reasoning: "Chemotherapy is immoral because it has terrible negative consequences for the recipient." Or how about "Breast implants are immoral because they can have negative consequences." Also, occasionally people just get sick and die!

One might respond by saying that the difference here is that the recipient does not have a choice. Does any child have a choice as to whether or not to be born? No. Children play genetic roulette (sp?) anyway.

-dbc

[ Parent ]
A link and an opinion (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by xriso on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:52:44 PM EST

Human Cloning Foundation.

My dad is a clone, just so you know. A monozygotic twin. Of course, the accidental clones such as him do not demonstrate problems with premature aging. This is why we should be careful when artificially cloning (I am not sure whether the aging problem is solved yet).
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

That's not a clone. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by ghjm on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 11:21:13 PM EST

Cloning is the creation of a new organism from DNA taken from adult cell samples. That's why the aging problem exists: the cells have already aged in the original host. Identical twins are copies of the same DNA at the same moment so neither of them inherits any time on the clock from the other. The problem is not whether you use an artificial or natural method, the problem is that you are using old cells.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

I dunno (none / 0) (#134)
by xriso on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 10:41:25 PM EST

"Clone" seems to have nothing to do with what state the donor cell is in.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
armies of my very own (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by jaymagee on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 01:06:06 AM EST

Woo hooo! As an evolutionary geneticist (in training, but nonetheless), i am proud to announce that we are closer than ever to creating wonderful neohumans. they will fly our space missions, fight our wars, and inevitably replace us on this earth. good for them. lets let humanity evolve a little. I am opposed to IVF precisely for this reason. it allows those who are gentically unfit to have children weaken the species by doing so. by advancing the DNA of these children, we do humanity a great service, by creating its net generation of leaders in all the fields, amazing athletes with the minds of an einstein, newton or darwin, who will live decades longer than we do today. lets hear it for cloning first, human enhancents first step. go us.
Making a better humanity, one genetic change at a time.
Yes but (5.00 / 2) (#123)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 05:18:58 PM EST

I am opposed to IVF precisely for this reason. it allows those who are gentically unfit to have children weaken the species by doing so.

I'm not sure that makes any logical sense. How do you define "genetically unfit", and are you a social darwinist?

There are two possibilities: some couples who use IVF have a genetic fertility problem; others have a non-genetic problem (and hence their infertility will not be passed on to their children!). But even if their infertility could be passed on to their offspring, how does this "weaken the species" in any appreciable sense? It's not as if everyone is using IVF, after all. If IVF becomes too expensive in future for any reason, natural selection will immediately come into effect. There's no need to help it along by banning IVF.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Agreed (4.00 / 1) (#139)
by jaymagee on Sun Apr 07, 2002 at 03:49:04 PM EST

Good points. I am not concerned with IVF now, but in the future, if it ever becomes cheaper. My concern is that if couples do have a genetic problem, and it is passed down, then their children will also need IVF to propagate. I also have no desire to ban IVF. I would just never use it myself. I don't like relying on technologies to do something as simple as breed. Also, my apologies for the poor spelling. need more coffee before posting.
Making a better humanity, one genetic change at a time.
[ Parent ]
Implications (none / 0) (#143)
by pilot on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 07:17:21 AM EST

I have no issues with cloning as such. It is yet another advance in reproductive science. But, it can easily be abused. How will society deal with this? For example, will clones be allowed to participate in the olympics?

why wouldn't they? (none / 0) (#144)
by cyclopatra on Mon Apr 08, 2002 at 05:56:50 PM EST

Nothing about being a clone makes someone likely to be better at sports than your average joe, all other things being equal.

If they are cloned from existing Olympians (the argument then being that they are genetically predisposed to be good at sports), then you'd have to ban all Olympians, by dint of the fact that their genes give them some sort of unusual prowess.

Cyclopatra
All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email
[ Parent ]

Human Cloning is Here | 151 comments (135 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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