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The problem of an international ban on human cloning

By valeko in Op-Ed
Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 11:13:11 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Throughout the United Nations, there has been a broadly supported drive for a formal international ban on the research of human cloning. But now, the United States has interfered with the passage (Reuters) of a Franco-German draft proposal for a ban on cloning. According to the media, this is because the U.S., particularly its anti-abortion movement, find the scope of the draft too narrow. The anti-abortionists seek a ban on all forms of human cloning, including "experimental" and/or "therapeutic" research which involves the creation and killing of human embryos.


The decision on the ban will be deferred for at least one year while the U.S. seeks additional support on its stance, especially from the 30-country coalition that it claims to have behind it in its drive to enlarge the scope of the ban.

Some voices from both sides of the debate have called the deferral counterproductive. According to the above Reuters article, a German envoy called the American approach "psychological warfare", and diplomats in support of the Franco-German proposal have argued that a deferral is a significant setback to the otherwise speedy process, which could have produced a ratification- ready draft treaty by the year 2004.

On the other hand, according to this ABC article:

George Annas, professor of public health and bioethics at Boston University and a champion of a treaty on cloning, called the decision "a shame".

"The delay will give France and Germany another year to persuade people that there is something worthwhile in research cloning, and that you can conduct such research without making babies," Professor Annas said.

The need for such persuasion seems more questionable if framed against the fact that "France and Germany initially claimed support for their approach from the vast majority of the United Nations' 191 member-states," as the Reuters article suggests.

At any rate, it would seem that this is another unnecessary injection of theological imperatives by the U.S. into an otherwise reasonable and secular atmosphere of international cooperation. Indeed, the Reuters article confirms that "Washington began pushing hard earlier this year for a treaty that would ban both types of cloning" only "at the urging of the US anti-abortion movement." We will accept this as valid despite the difficulty of separating the "US anti-abortion movement" from the American leadership itself, as demonstrated by President Bush's stance on stem cell research, which enjoys extensive bipartisan support but also animated condemnation from the American scientific community.

The excesses of the American anti-abortion circles aside, the real problem of an international cloning ban treaty lies not in the scope of the language but in the restrictions it would actually impose upon its signatories.

For a comparative example, we shall look at weapons of mass destruction.

Historically, those who monopolise various doomsday technologies have been quite adept at introducing enforceable legal barriers to others' development of the same. Once the United States successfully obtained and exploded atomic weapons, it quickly moved to ensure their nonproliferation across the world. Contrary to popularly held textbook opinion, the reason for this is not altruistic tendencies stemming from the recognition of the atomic bomb's destructive power, but rather to create an international legal basis for the American nuclear monopoly. This happened to be very compatible with the spirit of post-war international legal cooperation that drove the formation of the United Nations.

In much the same way, the world's leading countries have all kinds of conventions banning the development and use of biological and chemical weapons. Yet we know very well that all of them, especially the great "superpowers" of Cold War fame, routinely violated and continue to violate these conventions. However, countries like the U.S. feel at liberty to intervene when there is a "danger", real or imagined, of a country (typically Third World, or at any rate, outside the circle of elite "developed" nations) even attempting to remedy the strategic imbalance created by the exclusive monopoly on such weapons. There is certainly a real danger in that, just as there is in the proliferation of nuclear weapons -- this should not be understated. But the point is, nonproliferation agreements exist at least as much for the purpose of maintaining Western monopolies on various destructive technologies as they do to ensure "world stability." Usually, these two perogatives are seen to be congruent; if only "developed", Western nations have nuclear weapons, this ensures "world stability", no matter the virtually unlimited bargaining power that this affords to the "haves" of the nuclear weapons continuum.

In short, agreements that purport to ban certain types of weapons and technologies merely permit those who already have them to develop them anyway, while denying the rest of the world a plausible justification for working towards strategic balance.

An unparalleled amount of propaganda mileage has been squeezed out of the objections of various "Third World" leaderships to these treaties. For example, the ultraconservative news site Newsmax ran a piece entitled "Expert Laments U.S. Failure in Brazil", which framed the election of left-wing presidential candidate Lula in Brazil as "the largest intelligence failure since the end of World War II."

From the article:

Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the new power in Brazil is the specter of another nuclear arms race just south of the U.S. In a statement Sept. 13, 2002 statement, da Silva said that Brazil's compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty "would make sense only if all countries that already have [nuclear] weapons also gave them up."

Lula, then a presidential candidate, added, "If someone asks me to disarm and keep a slingshot and he comes at me with a cannon, what good does that do?" He concluded his remarks by stating, "All of us developing countries are left holding a slingshot while they have atomic bombs."

It is my sincerely-held opinion that it takes nothing short of clinical braindeath to interpret Lula's very realistic, practical observation as a veiled declaration that Brazil would pursue nuclear armament under his leadership. However, the awesome density of the fabrications and half- truths that can be made from this is simply astounding. Lula can be portrayed as another "Communist dictator" basking in nationalistic glory, as a kind of savage seeking to enter the arena of the civilised world with false pretenses.

But is Lula not right? What is the purpose of a ban agreement that applies to everyone except those who already have that which is being banned? I am not arguing in defense of nuclear proliferation here, nor for an expanded (if you can imagine that) arms race among all the world's nations. However, the logic of the complaint is bulletproof -- why must we comply with an agreement that was imposed upon us by the Western bloc, but to which the Western bloc itself is not bound?

This brings us back to cloning. There is no doubt that human cloning is being institutionally pursued throughout the world, developed and otherwise. The media has kept us entertained with occasional distractions about lone lunatic doctors working on sovereign islands and in countries where their research is unregulated, racing to be the first to claim a successful human cloning procedure. However, it would be naive to treat this facade as an accurate depiction of the reality of cloning research. It is impossible to ignore the strategic implications that accompany a monopoly on successful and refined human cloning technology, no matter how technologically dubious it is at the present time. The drive not to be excluded from the bleeding edge is a more than sufficient impetus for a nation-state to fund and advance such research. This is no less true for the U.S., despite its appearance of collective religious opposition.

It would be irrational to assume that there isn't a race for the development of cloning. The sinister benefits that could be reaped from it are quite nontrivial. As a consequence, any international ban on human cloning would merely curtail cloning research -- for better or for worse -- in countries to which it would actually apply in the first place.

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The problem of an international ban on human cloning | 268 comments (260 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Observations (3.88 / 9) (#5)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 06:40:53 PM EST

I think this article would have been strengthened by sticking to one topic. As it stands, it reads like a bodged together list of left-wing issues-of-the-day with barely any connection between them. We start on cloning, move on through WMD and onto Lula. About the only common thread is opposition to a bunch of right-wing American crackpots. While that is something the author has in common with most of the human race (and, I suspect, most Americans) it hardly justifies throwing all three into one article. Citing Newsmax as if it were representative of the views of the American right is about as credible as citing ZNet in the opposite role. Anyway, it is in voting now ...  

So, once again American right-wingers defuse any usefulness the UN might have had by imposing their barking-mad agenda on it. Hopefully, if this happens enough times, France, Britain, Russia and China will start to see the virtues in reform of the security council. One can but hope. The people pushing this would be called cranks anywhere else. The fact the US administration lets them influence its foreign policy only speaks of disdain for the rest of the world. I've no time for the conspiracy theory on this one. The US religious right has well and truly fucked up its medical research industry in the name of its absurd biblical literalism, and that's all there is to it. I'll take a lot of convincing that the US has a secret, unregulated human cloning research program.

I don't really see how weapons of mass destruction serve as a comparitive example. Unless you're trying to imply that the US is already training an army of George Bush clones to invade Iraq. As I understand it, the US lags substantially behind the rest of the world in cloning research, because of the domestic ban on therapeutic cloning. Countries with sensible regulatory regimes, as opposed to ones set down by loonies influencing irresponsible politicians, are currently in the lead.

As to Lula, well, it'll be interesting to see what happens with that. And with the new AKP government in Turkey for that matter (they're moderate Islamists with a distinct leftist tinge). Personally, I'm hopeful (about Lula, less so about the AKP). A left-winger who is prepared to come to terms with reality, as opposed to indulging in populist fantasies, could do a lot of good there, and it does look as if Lula might be it. There is a threat from the financial markets, but that isn't necessarily terminal. If Lula sticks to what he's promised, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to write him off as either communist or a dictator.

 

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate

Counterobservations. (4.00 / 3) (#10)
by valeko on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:35:37 PM EST

I'll start by saying that I harbour a healthy appreciation for your observations, which seem to be very concise, to the point, and sensible rather than motivated by some irrational impulse. They're also original; some of what you say hasn't even occured to me really. In any case, thank you.

That said ...

As it stands, it reads like a bodged together list of left-wing issues-of-the-day with barely any connection between them.

It may read that way, but I see them as being very interconnected at a higher level. The central theme is that any treaty that seeks to restrict the spread of or entirely ban X is going to ban it only for countries that don't have X, or don't have the guns to back up their desire to do as they please in regard to X. Lula is quoted and elaborated upon in my write-up because it is very relevant; his statement can be interpreted as a renunciation of international nuclear nonproliferation agreements. In the same way, should any country decide to drop out of this no-cloning framework, it might be easy to intepret this as an intention to apply cloning research to military purposes. What's even worse is that some subordinate country may merely insist on a framework alternative to the U.S. one, which I would safely expect to become dominant, as the will of the U.S. always does through its coercion.

While that is something the author has in common with most of the human race (and, I suspect, most Americans) it hardly justifies throwing all three into one article. Citing Newsmax as if it were representative of the views of the American right

Newsmax is actually very representative of the American right -- it is the definition of the mainstream American right. This is not a false characterisation; ask an American of right-wing persuasion about a particular issue, and you will find the response and Newsmax punditry to be very congruent.

As for whether most Americans themselves oppose the antics of their right-wing cabal, the jury is out on that one. It comes down to a matter of personal perception. In my experience living in many places in the US, in both liberal and conservative communities, I'm inclined to say that there's a broad coalition of support for the right-wing agenda among mainstream, politically-conscious Americans. Most of the population is passive and uninterested (and indeed, unknowledgeable) in politics, but is thoroughly indoctrinated by the institutional biases of the media and the institutions that socialise them into conventional (right-wing) thought -- i.e. school, etc. This is a personal opinion, not some kind of empirical fact. I just thought I'd point that out.

I'll take a lot of convincing that the US has a secret, unregulated human cloning research program.

Well, I intentionally left the more concrete aspects of it up to the reader's interpretation. I have no desire to literally propose that there's an astronomical amount of cloning research behind closed doors that we have no idea about, and that It's All A Conspiracy. But do you really believe that officially-sanctioned cloning research isn't happening in one way or another? The technology and technique is getting pretty advanced; I think any self-interested nation is going to see itself as being at a major strategic disadvantage if everyone else is researching it and they're not, kind of like the atomic bomb back in the day. This by itself is enough to convince me -- nobody wants to be left behind in this scientific development, which ultimately has diabolical ends.

I don't really see how weapons of mass destruction serve as a comparitive example.

I find them an effective analogy for illustrating that countries like the U.S., which push so hard for banning cloning research worldwide, are only doing it out of a desire to monopolise it, or at any rate keep it concetrated in the First World bloc. The same is true of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons bans. The only treaty I've seen that actually imposes obligations upon all its members is the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which forbids atmospheric detonations of nuclear weapons. Even the U.S. would have a hard time getting away with violating it, and only because it's difficult to conceal an above-ground nuclear test and its immediate detrimental effects.

The strategic dimensions of cloning are not my specialty; indeed, I haven't really thought about it -- I consign most of it to the realm of sience fiction. That's basically why I didn't put in much literal details or elaboration on just what the "strategic benefits" of human cloning research would be. My intuitive guess, however, is that far beyond cloning thousands of copies of George W. Bush, there are intermediate advantages in biological warfare that could be gained from progressive cloning research. Perhaps they would be made in the field of genetic engineering, or perhaps immunology. This I truly leave to qualified experts, among whom I do not count.

If Lula sticks to what he's promised, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to write him off as either communist or a dictator

You must not know much about American Cold War antics. I don't mean to say that derisively. If you did, I don't think you'd say that it's impossible to write someone off as a communist or a dictator. Anything is possible. The regime in question doesn't even have to have left-wing pretenses - only a professed policy of greater independence from the Washington political diktat. If Americans decide that someone is Communist/dictator/next incarnation of Hitler/the Antichrist/threat to civilisation ... the prophecy will translate to actually-existing reality. They will make it do so.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Dictator indeed (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by greenrd on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:55:21 PM EST

You must not know much about American Cold War antics. I don't mean to say that derisively. If you did, I don't think you'd say that it's impossible to write someone off as a communist or a dictator. Anything is possible.

Yes - for example: The media (Reuters) is already citing allegedly "broad-based" opposition claims that President Chavez of Venezeula is "ruling like a dictator". The casual reader might well be left with the misleading impression that if an opposition comprising both major labor unions and business groups calls Chavez "dictatorial", then maybe he is.

This is how propaganda works.


"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 ]

Chavez (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:07:35 AM EST

The casual reader might well be left with the misleading impression that if an opposition comprising both major labor unions and business groups calls Chavez "dictatorial", then maybe he is.

Well, I wouldn't say Chavez is a dictator, but he does show tendencies in that direction. He's not above playing on the caudillo image. He appears in public in his paratroopers uniform. At one point in the past, he led a coup attempt himself. He's tried to politicise the army, and succeeded in politicising the oil industry. The constitutional reforms he has made, while needed, do not include the kind of separation of powers one might hope for. To point that out is not only propoganda, although, of course, it might serve that purpose.

It'll be much harder to paint Lula as a dictator, because, fundamentally, he's much less like one.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Chavez vs Blair (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by greenrd on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 03:04:44 PM EST

The constitutional reforms he has made, while needed, do not include the kind of separation of powers one might hope for.

One could say the same thing about Tony Blair (I could also mention the centralisation of policymaking power into an unelected "administration" in Downing Street - and his railroading of dissent reminiscent of Thatcher's "There is no alternative"), yet no-one calls him "dictatorial". "Presidential", yes, but not dictatorial.

Double standards?


"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 ]

Not really, no (2.00 / 2) (#51)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 03:38:58 PM EST

When Blair appears on telly in millitary uniform, or decides to take a hand in appointing army officers on the basis of political affiliation, or leads a millitary coup, there'll be a legitimate parallel. Until then, you're just taking cheap shots.

PS. That use of "presidential", as I'm sure you know, is based on a fundamental misunderstaning of the difference between American and British government. It would be more accurate to call Bush "prime-ministerial".

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Interesting post, thanks (none / 0) (#33)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:42:02 AM EST

Just one question, about this:

You must not know much about American Cold War antics. I don't mean to say that derisively. If you did, I don't think you'd say that it's impossible to write someone off as a communist or a dictator. Anything is possible.

Could you provide an example from the period of what you have in mind ? My understanding is that by and large, the mirepresentations involved were more subtle than the one that would be required to write off Lula. Anyway, we shall see.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Well (4.50 / 4) (#56)
by valeko on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 05:18:11 PM EST

Could you provide an example from the period of what you have in mind ? My understanding is that by and large, the mirepresentations involved were more subtle than the one that would be required to write off Lula. Anyway, we shall see.
If I had to come up with two offhand, one would be Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in the early-mid 1950s. He was not a Communist. Guatemala had no diplomatic relations with the USSR (meaning no Soviet embassy). No trade with the socialist bloc. And it always voted with the US in UN votes concerning "Soviet imperialism" et al.

The only thing Arbenz did -- hardly a "communistic" trait -- was insist that United Fruit Company ownership of the entire territory of Guatemala (this isn't really an exaggeration) is wrong. Okay, so United Fruit didn't own all of the land, just most of it, along with the country's telephone and telegraph facilities, its only Atlantic harbour, all of its banana exports, etc. It also guided most serious policy decisions, naturally.

Arbenz embarked on a sort of land redistribution program, without the help of any communists -- there weren't any in his government, really ... not of numerical significance. That didn't stop the US from pushing this line, as articulated by the US ambassador to Guatemala at the time: "We cannot permit a Soviet Republic to be established between Texas and the Panama Canal." Neither did it stop Secretary of State John Foster Dulles from pointing out that Guatemalans were afflicted with a "Communist type of terrorism", nor Eisenhower from observing the "Communist dictatorship" that was forming "an outpost on this continent to the detriment of all the American nations."

Shortly thereafter, the U.S. organised a violent coup to overthrow Arbenz because he was a "communist".

Another example would be President Joao Goulart of Brazil, who was overthrown in 1964 by an American-backed military junta. Although Western media continues to describe Goulart as a "leftist president", he was really nothing more than a leader assertive of his country's political independence from Washington.

These are the ones I know of to some detail. If you examine the facts behind most American military and CIA interventions of the Cold War, you'll probably find that virtually nowhere was the International Communist Conspiracy making a substantial showing. This didn't matter to the U.S., which construed any obstacle to its total hegemony and imperialist ambitions as "communism".

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Thanks (3.00 / 3) (#57)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 05:49:46 PM EST

I wasn't previously familiar with either case. I shall look into it. I realise there wasn't a communist conspiracy (of any effectiveness), but what I'm always curious about is the precise nature of public and elite opinion at particular times, and just how they interacted to bring about particular effects.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Nationalization (1.00 / 1) (#139)
by RyoCokey on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:07:24 PM EST

It would be more accurate to say that we (America) have been consistantly opposed to nationalization in all it's forms. Mind you, nationalization doesn't equal communism, but it's often a first step (In Iran, it was the first step towards a Theocracy, for example.)

I would argue this is a perfectly valid and moral objection. One could argue that United Fruit should "take care of" it's own problems since it's property and not that of the US government was being taken from it at gunpoint, but the issue remains. Namely, that nationalization is robbery.

Capitalism differs from Communism in that people can't just vote themselves your property (In theory, see the EPA.) Nationalization is when the government (and in a democracy, by extension, the people) decide that their previous agreement with you is null and void, and they know what best to do with your property. This is the first step of a command economy, and communism (Communism being one of the more enlightened outcomes, often it's despotism.)

The US was quite correct in it's assertion that it was heading off communism. It hadn't made it there in name, but it would soon follow.



"There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
[ Parent ]
nationalization and property (4.00 / 2) (#242)
by ethereal on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:25:52 PM EST

I think the question is: is it really your property? If, for example, you negotiated with an illegitimate government (one that didn't represent the will of the people) for the rights to the property, and didn't talk to the peasants who actually lived on it for generations, one could make the argument that it never rightfully became your property in the first place. If property was taken by force or by fraud, then it is in fact the obligation of the rightful government to return it to the appropriate owners.

I agree that the public interest probably isn't best served by nationalizing the whole thing, but I do think the native population of the area should have some control of the property that was likely taken from them without their knowledge or informed consent at the time. Nationalization in the interests of local capitalism could occur just as easily as nationalization in the interests of communism; the former, for example, can be seen in eminent domain condemnations in the name of "urban renewal".

When you get right down to it, the U.S., like pretty much all well-established nations, is wary of other countries entertaining revolutionary-type thoughts, whether or not those thoughts would really be in the best interests of the people of those other countries. U.S. foreign policy is essentially anti-revolutionary; for years the theory has been "rather the dictator that we know than the free people whom we can't predict". When was the last time that the U.S. actually supported a foreign revolution in the people's name, like the French did for us? I think you'll have to look back quite a ways to find an example.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Easily addressed (none / 0) (#252)
by RyoCokey on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 11:14:04 PM EST

International convention (some might say law) actually gives a very clear answer to this: Yes, if a non-representational government sells you land, it is still yours, even after the end of the government. Countries sell property and take out loans, not governments. For this reason, debt rolls over to successive governments.

Like all aspects of "international law" this is only enforced when people have the interest and the power. Many countries have embarked upon land distribution schemes after the fall of the previous government, and gotten away with it. This is usually because they're doing it to a minority of their own citizens, who have little capability to resist it.

Finally, you total misrepresent the French role in the Revolutionary War. Their interest was entirely anti-Britain, as they were still ruled by a Monarchy, and uninterested in helping bring "democracy" to the New World.



"There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 0) (#172)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:19:59 AM EST

Actions taken 50 and 38 years ago, in a very different geopolitical context, are not necessarily indicative of actions that would be taken today. After all, it was within that same timeframe that Russian forces invaded Chezcoslovakia and Hungary, should we be worried overmuch about the same thing today? Or have circumstances perhaps changed?

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Oh, P.S. (2.00 / 1) (#14)
by valeko on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:52:23 PM EST

Hopefully, if this happens enough times, France, Britain, Russia and China will start to see the virtues in reform of the security council.

Yes, and the U.S. will see the virtues in formally withdrawing from it and the UN -- in writing, not just de facto as they do already. What makes you think the UN Security Council is going to have any effect upon the U.S. if the effect is considered undesirable by the American leadership? It already doesn't, although the U.S. racks up substantial propaganda points by pretending to seek "international cooperation" and "UN approval" on various undertakings.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

caught npr for a few minutes in the car.. (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by infinitera on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 09:03:26 PM EST

New worldwide survey on public trust in instituitions, world-wide. Not surprisingly, most people don't trust their own governments (the west included). However, 60% or so of Americans trust the UN. Ain't that a stunner. USian politicians [and libertarians on this site] are just weird folk.

[ Parent ]
Yes! (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by valeko on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 05:06:58 PM EST

Probably the same reason they trust Mr. Bush, the military-industrial complex, and other American policymakers.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

No, you're the moron. (4.00 / 3) (#63)
by valeko on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 09:52:28 PM EST

Infinitera said: most of them don't trust their own government.

"Government" means massive federal bureaucracy, and to some people, civil service, etc. That inherently has a negative ring in the American consciousness.

"George W." doesn't mean "government" -- at least, not in the sense of "big government", which people don't trust. George W. means All American Hero Who Fights to Keep the Light of Freedom Shining.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

By the way ... (2.00 / 1) (#64)
by valeko on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 09:57:58 PM EST

Need proof? Have some Hitler Youth Gear. Odd, coming from an ultraconservative media organ that probably isn't too trusting of "The [Big] Government".

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

No -- (2.00 / 1) (#66)
by valeko on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 11:05:42 PM EST

The last comment was kind of intended as a sarcastic afterthought. If I am a moron, it is only because I momentarily forgot that sarcasm is beyond your understanding.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Cough. (3.50 / 2) (#71)
by valeko on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:04:39 AM EST

BTW, I enjoyed your attempt to define the President out of the government, or at least that of the Average American According to Valeko, who, when you say "government", thinks of the post office.

Well -- according to the poll infinitera cited, most Americans don't trust their government.

So, how do you explain this, this, this, etc? True, there are some differently-phrased polls that reveal the opposite -- that support for Bush is slipping -- but there is no doubt in my mind that most of the public supports and trusts Bush, as indicated in forums and media more permeable to 'populist' influence.

The only logical conclusion is that Americans don't see "do you support/trust Bush?" and "do you support/trust The Government?" as the same question. Is that a concept so difficult to understand?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

That's simple (4.00 / 2) (#127)
by Skywise on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 07:25:20 PM EST

To Americans, "Government" means IRS and the cops who hide their cars in bushes, waiting for you to go buy doing 5mph above the limit so they can bust your butt for $150.

Bush is a guy kicking butt and taking numbers.

To wit:  American's like individuals.  Not bureaucracy.

Oh, and re: your Hitler Youth Gear reference... it'd be at least funny if you put up a Boy Scout clothing website, which solves your simultaneous American convervative blind trust in some institutions, while hateing institutions as a general rule, irony with a more easily recognizable symbol.

[ Parent ]

unfortunately, he's right. (5.00 / 1) (#243)
by ethereal on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:33:11 PM EST

Most people do buy into the line that some politicians, at least, are going to Washington as "outsiders" who will "shake up the system". The "system" consists of different evil interest groups and their paid-for congresscritters, depending on who you ask. The media, by focusing on a few political loudmouths at the expense of the vast bulk of the boring but actually working legislature, emphasizes this perception.

We maintain a cult of personality when considering our government - a few bright lights against an ocean of tax-hungry bureaucrats. It's easy to trust personalities, it's hard to trust "the system".

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

heh. the "Bush Country" poster. (none / 0) (#247)
by fenix down on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:55:20 PM EST

I know a guy who has one of those. We watched Outbreak in the room with it. Once the presidential advisors showed their predicted map of infection with red blotches on a blue map, the liberal viewers almost suffocated from laughing. He was a good sport, though. He took it for a good minuite before resorting to violence.

[ Parent ]
Well... (3.00 / 1) (#86)
by PhillipW on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:53:13 AM EST

That's not true, now is it? I imagine that, without the UN there, the weapons inspectors would not be returning to Iraq. In fact, there would likely be bombs falling in Iraq right now were it not for the UN. I would say that, were it not for the UN, US foreign policy would be much different.

Even if you say that all of this has 0 impact on the average Joe's life, we still have to pay someone to represent us at the UN, which comes out of the taxpayers' pockets. That's certainly an impact, isn't it? Taxation = bad, right?

-Phil
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure ... (3.00 / 1) (#94)
by valeko on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:01:01 PM EST

That what JCB meant was that they don't perceive it as affecting them. Besides, it's all the same ... if taxation doesn't go to the UN (hmm, when's the last time the US paid its dues?), then it'll go somewhere else. Evil Big Government Liberals taking our money away with violent coercion!

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

The Security Council (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:55:10 AM EST

The thing is, most westerners (even Americans) have an exaggerated (and possibly mistaken) respect for international institutions they see as legitimate. Governments at least pay lip-service to this. US policy towards Iraq seems to have been swayed substantially by domestic opposition to unilateral action. A more legitimate security council would attract more such loyalty, I'd have thought.

It is possible that were it harder to get "UN approval" for things, the US wouldn't bother. However, it is also possible that there's a sweet(er) spot somewhere, in which the UNSC would more accurately represent world opinion, but still be "pragmatic" enough that the US would go to it for approval.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

To Pick a Nit (2.25 / 4) (#25)
by epcraig on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:43:29 AM EST

Given GWB's military record, I doubt we need worry about the Pentagon approving an army of GWB clones. It's possible that George W. himself would have enouhg sense to reject the idea.
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org
[ Parent ]
read "left-wing", 1 mod (1.50 / 6) (#52)
by Fen on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 03:43:12 PM EST

Oh please do give me more of your amazingly insightful left/right analysis--I can't get it anywhere else, they keep giving me this libertarian/socialist crap. Too bad I don't have 0 mod.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Therapeutic cloning != left wing (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by dachshund on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:11:33 PM EST

As it stands, it reads like a bodged together list of left-wing issues-of-the-day

Doesn't strike me that therapeutic cloning is that much of a "left-wing issue", unless you're sitting pretty far to the right and looking through the wrong end of a telescope.

Therapeutic cloning is supported by a number of George Bush's own advisors-- the key opposition comes from a particular group of very religious hard-righters.

[ Parent ]

I guess not ... (2.00 / 3) (#59)
by Simon Kinahan on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:23:13 PM EST

... but medical technology generally is, and I imagine that as soon as cloning comes to have a real application, it will be. Anyway: the jab was too good for me to give up on :)

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
What, Didn't you know ? (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by dvchaos on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:01:46 PM EST

human cloning is allready possible with the help of clonaid(TM).com! - brought to you courtesy of the Raelian Movement and his little green friends.

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
bah! (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 09:55:13 PM EST

Not only that, but they have actually brought Jesus back to life! From the Clonaid page:

"The Raelian Movement also claims that Jesus was resurrected through an advanced cloning technique performed by the Elohim."

The 'advanced technology' sure is advanced since it 'resurrected' Jesus instead of just cloning him. And I wonder where they got the DNA...

Surprising the major news organizations haven't picked up on this. I would imagine Jesus walking the earth would be bigger news than, say, WWIII.

--
Life is like a box of chocolates. Fat people finish it first.


[ Parent ]
yeah, (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by dvchaos on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:53:07 PM EST

Strange that ain't it, I thought exactly the same thing.. surely this would have been front page news allready if it was worth anything. Do I spot just a teeny bit of an investment fraud going on here or what ?

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
[ Parent ]
it's a joke. you know. ha-ha, all that? (n/t) (none / 0) (#114)
by deadcow on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:52:17 PM EST



[ Parent ]
"Those who already have them"? (2.00 / 2) (#8)
by Sloppy on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:42:07 PM EST

In short, agreements that purport to ban certain types of weapons and technologies merely permit those who already have them to develop them anyway, while denying the rest of the world a plausible justification for working towards strategic balance.
Does USA already have human cloning?
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
Much like gun control ... (2.57 / 7) (#9)
by j1mmy on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:42:13 PM EST

Banning cloning won't stop the people who really want to create clones.

Actually, I find gun control to be a bad analogy. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by valeko on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:37:25 PM EST

Because in this case, the issue isn't the instrument of coercion itself. That is to say -- the people who "really want to create clones" are doing so because they have the guns and power to back up their will.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

It's still a little different though... (4.00 / 4) (#12)
by TheCaptain on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:41:27 PM EST

You can build a functioning firearm out of a few dollars worth of bits from home depot. If your a machinist, making a rather nice firearm isn't all that hard. (Some people do it as a hobby...even full automatics, etc.) Cloning is still a little more serious of an undertaking...at least for now, and likely for a very long time.

[ Parent ]
Well... (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by SanSeveroPrince on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 09:15:51 AM EST

..if one bans cloning on moral grounds, then you should not care whether someone does it on the cheap and nasty side, or whether they can do it. You should try to stop it anyway.

An international ban on cloning will only be as strong as the number of nations that enforces it. The UN can say all it wants about cloning being dangerous, all it takes is one nations not signing the ban, and that's it for good intentions.

Besides, even if all the nations in the world agree to ban cloning, eveyone these days should know that not having official, legal access to high level medical equipment and expertise does not mean that you can't get them on e-bay.

Personally, I think cloning is too big to just be abandoned. Just think the supersoldier potential, the ability to mass produce genetically engineered anythings and so on. Interesting times coming indeed.

Cloning really is only a tool, just like a knife. You can use it to eat, to save lives, to kill or however else you want. We should work on making the human race grow up, rather than putting all the fun toys on the top shelf....

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
It's a perfectly legitimate point (4.90 / 10) (#13)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:49:53 PM EST

At any rate, it would seem that this is another unnecessary injection of theological imperatives by the U.S. into an otherwise reasonable and secular atmosphere of international cooperation.

The destruction of human embryos is an ethical issue. It is not the "unnecessary injection of theological imperatives" to raise it as an issue when drafting a treaty setting out guidelines for scientific research. You may believe, as I do, that such destruction is justified, but I don't see how you can dismiss it as irrelevant.

I agree. (4.00 / 6) (#15)
by valeko on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 08:55:15 PM EST

The destruction of human embryos is an ethical issue. It is not the "unnecessary injection of theological imperatives" to raise it as an issue when drafting a treaty setting out guidelines for scientific research.

I suppose if you look at it that way, you're probably correct. However, I don't see what the U.S. is doing as "raising it as an issue", but rather exercising principled, total opposition to it on very nebulous 'religious' grounds. This is very different from sensible discourse in secular bioethics.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

It doesn't even have to be secular (4.50 / 4) (#29)
by kholmes on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 02:06:41 AM EST

"However, I don't see what the U.S. is doing as 'raising it as an issue', but rather exercising principled, total opposition to it on very nebulous 'religious' grounds. This is very different from sensible discourse in secular bioethics."

I think sensible discourse, period, is necessary. In politics, you need to work with everyone, religious or not--especially when you're in the minority.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Bioethics is the biggest load of (3.40 / 10) (#36)
by infesticon on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:58:15 AM EST

horseshit.

Either you think embryos are people or you think they ain't.

There's no middle ground about it; there's nothing to discuss.

---
Even in his Ma's womb, you would have to define Spud less as a foetus, more a dormant set of drug and personality problems.
[ Parent ]

what? (2.75 / 4) (#67)
by millman on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 11:34:19 PM EST

Issues are never black and white. What makes you think this one is?
---------------------------------------------------------------------

In a world full of thieves, the only crime is getting caught.
[ Parent ]

what what? (4.00 / 2) (#92)
by speek on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:57:00 AM EST

Of course they can be. He explained his position pretty clear. Why is he wrong?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

there is plenty to discuss (none / 0) (#120)
by millman on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:13:54 PM EST

There is no majority concensus on whether or not an embryo is a person.  Even the definition of "person" gets dicey, in this situation as well as people in acoma.  Therefore, there is plenty of grey-area discussion to be had on this issue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

In a world full of thieves, the only crime is getting caught.
[ Parent ]

he said "there's nothing to discuss" (none / 0) (#121)
by speek on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:24:36 PM EST

Either you think embryos are human or you don't. You are claiming there's lots to discuss, but I rather think you're proving his point by failing to point out any discussion points. He wasn't arguing that there's consensus, he's saying there's no logical or rational basis for discussing it.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

How about this one (none / 0) (#141)
by p3d0 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 12:22:28 AM EST

You must believe that either that orange is red, or it's yellow. There's nothing to discuss.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
you're working kind of hard to avoid this (none / 0) (#183)
by speek on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 10:27:27 AM EST

That doesn't appear to be a relevant discussion point on the issue of whether embryos are human.

Furthermore,
orange: red or yellow is not a good analogy to
embryo: human or not.
It's possible that orange is neither red nor yellow, or both. It's not possible for the embryo to be neither human nor not-human, and it's not possible for it to be both.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

It's a matter of patience (5.00 / 2) (#184)
by p3d0 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 11:04:08 AM EST

I don't really care to debate this. I'm not trying to avoid it. Please don't take my personal inability or unwillingness to defend this argument as an indication of its weakness.

The red-yellow thing was intended to point out that maybe humanity is not a boolean either-you-are-or-you-aren't quality. Maybe there is a range of humanity, with a sperm at one end to a fully-functioning adult at the other end.

Regardless, I still stand by my assertion that this is irrelevant. You can say an embryo is "human" and I can say it's not "human" and where does that get us? Answer: nowhere.

The interesting issues are ones like:

  • Can we really base laws on what might have been? (Namely, that an embryo could have become a fully-functioning adult?) Is there any precedent for this?
  • How should conscious creatures like ourselves treat less-conscious or non-conscious creatures? Does the answer to this depend on whether the creature happens to be a human embryo?
  • How can we tell whether a creature is conscious, and to what degree? What is consciousness? Should our ethical treatment of creatures depend on their degree of consciousness, or something else?
  • Is it ok to kill a less-conscious creature to save a more-conscious one? We do it all the time with antibiotics. Is it ok to kill a chicken to save a human? How about killing a pig? Arguably, chickens and pigs have a higher capacity to suffer than human embryos do.
  • Is it ok to kill one person to save 100? 1000? What if the person is brain-dead? What if the person is an embryo?
There are a lot of issues here to consider, and whether embryos are "human beings" is just one of the less interesting ones. You can't answer all these questions just by looking up "embryo" in your dictionary. These are all moral judgements.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Also (3.66 / 3) (#72)
by rhyax on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:22:11 AM EST

Bioethics is more than prenatal stuff too, you may think this issue is crap, but there are many others in the field of bioethics.

[ Parent ]
I disagree (3.50 / 2) (#81)
by p3d0 on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:44:21 AM EST

I think I'm not the only one who things this is a gray area.

To me, the issue is not one of trying to decide if an embryo is a human being. That's mere semantics, and it is not elightening in any way.

The only indisputable fact is that an embryo is a cluster of cells that could potentially be a human being in the future. Is it already a human being? That depends on how your dictionary defines the term.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

It depends on more than that (4.33 / 3) (#82)
by the womble on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 09:04:19 AM EST

That depends on how your dictionary defines the term.

That is true insofar as it does depend on at what level of development you would classify a foetus as a human being.

It also depends on what stage of development you believe a foetus to have reached. It is not difficult to see how developed the foetus is in some ways but how do we know when it is aware of itself, or feels pain? These are also crucial to being human. There is reserach going on into foetal pain, I do not know how one could determine whether someone else is self aware.

I am very convinced that my (still unborn) child was a person from at least the time when he or she started reacting to our voices (and reacted consistently more positively to my voice), could recognise languages and accents (OK not understanding the words but getting upset when my wife spoke anything other than English, and reacted to music (again clear likes and dislikes).

[ Parent ]

Agree (none / 0) (#140)
by p3d0 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 12:19:56 AM EST

I think I agree with what you're saying. My post was just responding to the following assertion:
Either you think embryos are people or you think they ain't. There's no middle ground about it; there's nothing to discuss.
My point is that this is an interesting issue only if you write dictionaries. There are far more important issues, including the ones you mentioned.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
potential human being (none / 0) (#263)
by tgibbs on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:45:32 PM EST

The only indisputable fact is that an embryo is a cluster of cells that could potentially be a human being in the future. Is it already a human being? That depends on how your dictionary defines the term.
Of course, once cloning is perfected, every cell is "potentially" a human being. Perhaps that is one reason why cloning is so upsetting to the "it's a person at conception" crowd--it really undermines their entire argument. They end up having to retreat to "potentially under natural circumstances" or some such nonsense.

Of course, they already had a logical problem with the sperm and egg, which are collectively a potential human being (so logically speaking, if you are against abortion, you should be in favor of compulsory sex). But it's easier to brush that one aside, because it is two cells instead of one.

The reality, of course, is that people who believe that the zygote is a human being do so for magical reasons, not scientific ones. Much as they may try to hide it with a biological smokescreen, the only justification for elevating an early embryo to "personhood" is a belief that the fusion of sperm and egg is accompanied by the installation of a magical and scientifically undectable soul by the Creator.

[ Parent ]

Disagree (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by godix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:38:50 AM EST

"Either you think embryos are people or you think they ain't."

A) people change their mind. At one point I was in the 'it ain't human if it ain't born' catagory. Now I'm in the 'if it ain't thinking it ain't human' catagory. I've heard decent arguements for the 'if it's fertilized it's human' catagory that may eventually sway me, although I rather doubt it.

B) Different people draw the line at different places and there needs to be some type of negotiating between them.

C) For a variety of reason, abortion and embryonic research being the main ones, society needs to figure out a good definition of when a fetus is human. It'd be nice if that definition matched out definition of death as well.

D) What else are philosophy majors going to do with their degree?

These, and other, points could be answered by bioethics. For that reason I think it's an important thing to persue, although I hate the fact it gets politicized so often.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

Utterly disgusted (4.54 / 11) (#18)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:06:20 PM EST

I feel utterly disgusted at how governments claiming to be secular try to impose an all-out ban on cloning, using religious scare-tactics and ethical statements. Yes, there are a lot of issues that have to be addressed before cloning can become a widespread technology, but an absolute ban on human cloning is just overkill.

With the possibility of sounding like a transhumanist crackpot, cloning along with nanotech and bioengineering has the potential to give us the tools needed to transcend humanity and better ourselves as a species. Luckily, evolution (whether manmade or not) isn't easily constrained. In a few short generations the posthumans will look upon the early 21st century ban on cloning as just another barbaric act by their forefathers.

--
Life is like a box of chocolates. Fat people finish it first.


improve ourselves as a species (3.44 / 9) (#19)
by turmeric on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:33:41 PM EST

morality and ethics are the only things that can do that.

[ Parent ]
Hmm (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by carbon on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 04:45:00 AM EST

One wonders if there's a morality gene..


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Depends on your definition of moral. (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:07:35 AM EST

This speech by Heinlein makes an argument for the evolutionary necessity of certain forms of morality.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
re: patriotism (none / 0) (#200)
by infinitera on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:03:32 PM EST

Previous response to the subject. I stand by my words. Evolution equips us to care about our own, not despise the Other, though we are quite capable of learning that too. The major issue is the existance of the nation-state, or in fact any abstract entity greater than that of the kinship/friendship of a community. The state becomes an entity in its own right, greater in it's people's minds than their own existance, and they become willing to sacrifice for it, unlike those in 'lesser' societies who have a much more developed sense of self-preservation and fairness; the state keeps itself alive, and by extension defends and provides for its citizens, but not necessarily [and not often] with their benefit in mind. Patriotism for such an entity is a blatant abuse of any existing mechanisms of group survival, and not evolutionarily fit.

[ Parent ]
How strange. (3.50 / 6) (#21)
by dhul fakdr on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:50:03 PM EST

I never though I would be agreeing with turmeric, but he is correct. Apart from morality or religion, "better" means nothing at all. "Better" is a value statement, but if you insist there are no objective values, then claiming that cloning will "better" the race is just babble. If there are objectively superior values, though, then we must consider the possibility that those values forbid cloning.

[ Parent ]
Shared values (4.60 / 5) (#23)
by greenrd on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 11:24:05 PM EST

"Better" is a value statement, but if you insist there are no objective values, then claiming that cloning will "better" the race is just babble.

No, it is not. You have made a philosophical error. It only presupposes at least some shared values between the speaker and the listener, which is not too big an assumption. Most people would agree that reduced propensity to debilitating genetic diseases and reduced incidences of dyslexia, say, would be positive developments. These shared values are enough to give the statement of "bettering the human race" a valid meaning. This is true regardless of whether relevant objective values exist or not.


"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 ]

dyslexia (4.00 / 3) (#62)
by turmeric on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:59:52 PM EST

the gene that causes dyslexia may be a gene for something else that is beneficial that we havent figured out about yet.

just as sickle cell anemia is the result of an adaptation that helps resist malaria.

sure there are some problems we want to get rid of, like i dont know, club feet or 5 arms or skin that doesnt heal or whatever. but after that you start talking about things that nobody is sure they actually want to get rid of, like dyslexia, or what the results of 'engineering out' this gene will be, will it actually do more harm than good to have a monoculture of humanity?

crop scientists breed plants, but they also have a gigantic reserve of wild plants to keep around in case weird things happen, and they like to maintain diversity.... so do genetic algorithms people..

the only folks who havent figured out the value of diversity are ann coulter and rush limbaugh, who probably couldnt pass a first year algebra course (after all, those stupid arabs invented algebra) let alone understand things like population statistics , etc.

[ Parent ]

Yeah! (3.75 / 4) (#76)
by carbon on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:32:24 AM EST

Yes, we shouldn't use gene modification because, if used incorrectly, it has the capacity to create problems! Same goes for fire, too...

Genetecists aren't dummies: they're going to make sure a specific gene is well-mapped before they start altering humanity. At least, one would hope so.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
where is my reply (1.50 / 2) (#257)
by turmeric on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 01:13:44 PM EST

i believe i said something here to wither your nazi-lovin' techno-elitism.

[ Parent ]
I'll give you an objective value (2.85 / 7) (#26)
by Fen on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 01:09:53 AM EST

Transhumanists with rail and laser guns built in are "better" because they can survive in battle. You can sputter all you want about karma and morality, just watch out for what's incoming.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
USA isn't secular (4.42 / 7) (#28)
by kholmes on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 01:52:31 AM EST

I once heard a Christian say how the constitution grants freedom of religion but not freedom *from* religion. I was shocked at first and dismissed him as a zealot.

At least until I learned it was true. You see, the purpose of the first amendment is to protect religion--nothing else. The founders realized that giving the Church too much power destroys it.

Besides, everytime you say the pledge and everytime you exchange currency you must realize the United States isn't secular by a long shot. Consider the oath you give in court and the oath the President gives to take office. These are even more examples.

I'm not saying I agree with it. I'm just saying the way it is.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Wrong. (3.66 / 6) (#31)
by Demiurge on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 03:09:09 AM EST

Iran is not secular. Saudi Arabia is not secular. America is secular. Britain is secular. Just because our coins say 'In God We Trust' does not mean there's a division between church and state. It's enshrined in the Constitution!

[ Parent ]
Uh did I miss something... (3.25 / 4) (#34)
by infesticon on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 06:43:37 AM EST

Or did you just agree with the original poster?

Just because our coins say 'In God We Trust' does not mean there's a division between church and state.

Uh yeah....

---
Even in his Ma's womb, you would have to define Spud less as a foetus, more a dormant set of drug and personality problems.
[ Parent ]

Let me put it simply. (4.60 / 5) (#60)
by Demiurge on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:16:02 PM EST

If you could not hold office if you were not a Christian, the US would not be secular. If the criminal code consisted of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, the US would not be secular. If the Head of State was also the Bishop of D.C, then the US would not be secular.

The US is a secular nation. However, a large majority of its inhabitants profess some degree of faith, usually in Christianity. That does not mean there's a strong separation between church and state.

[ Parent ]
Is that what you meant? (1.50 / 2) (#80)
by p3d0 on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:38:07 AM EST

That does not mean there's a strong separation between church and state.
The first time you said this in your first post, I thought it was just a mistake. Now that you have said it twice, I wonder if this statement really is what you meant to say.

If so, then you do indeed agree that there is no strong separation of church and state. Is that right?
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

He means (none / 0) (#131)
by kholmes on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:24:45 PM EST

He means that a country doesn't need to have a strong seperation between church and state to be considered secular, which was my argument. I was going to challenge his claim yet my dictionary seems to agree with him on the definition of "secular". A secular state can be considered to be any state that isn't some sort of theocracy.

I think we all should be more careful when using this word for now on.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

just for clarification (2.00 / 1) (#90)
by mikpos on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:43:36 AM EST

You bring up Britain and then mention separation of church and state. How much separation is there when there's a state church, and the head of state is also the head of the state church?

[ Parent ]
Britain (none / 0) (#164)
by katie on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:51:58 AM EST


Church of England gets seats in the legislature.

The prime minister makes appointments to the senior positions in the church.

Does that sound like a secular nation?


[ Parent ]

The irony of it all is (3.57 / 7) (#41)
by r00t on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 08:22:50 AM EST

Freedom from religion would be a godsend!

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

Introduction of religion (3.50 / 2) (#98)
by X3nocide on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:25:22 PM EST

Religious phrases have not always been the case in the US government. For whatever reasons, following the Civil War "In God We Trust" was put on US minted coins. In 1954 the Knights of Columbus managed to get "under God" into the pledge of alliegiance. The textbooks say that most of the Founders were Deist, but from reading Jefferson's letters I'd say hes more of a thinly veiled Atheist.

pwnguin.net
[ Parent ]
excellent (2.50 / 6) (#30)
by Fen on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 02:12:51 AM EST

Like that last sentence. Sub in slavery, intellectual property, any number of other things. And don't worry about being a crackpot--you got this one right on.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
stem cell research (3.25 / 27) (#20)
by crazycanuck on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 10:46:01 PM EST

could help cure many diseases.

unfortunately damn christian zealots oppose it because of their fucked up religious views.

god, how I hate religion!

I'm with you (3.00 / 6) (#40)
by r00t on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 08:19:29 AM EST

I REALLY REALLY hate religion. Don't people realize how badly it warps their minds. For some reason they don't understand you can be a nice person without it. I went to a church a couple months ago and the guy up front was literally telling people what to do and how to think... I couldn't stand it. I wanted to stand up and start yelling at him at tell everyone how brainwashed they are, but I refrained because it was a wedding. No religion at my wedding... If I get married.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

Yeah.... (2.00 / 1) (#85)
by kcidx on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:41:20 AM EST

For some reason they don't understand you can be a nice person without it. They may have at some point. But it's so much easier to just let someone tell you what you have to do to be a good person. Spares you that whole "having to figure stuff out for yourself" problem.

[ Parent ]
The thing that really pisses me off (none / 0) (#145)
by amarodeeps on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:56:38 AM EST

...is that people are modding these comments down probably just because they don't agree with them and find talk about religion being bad disturbing, rather than responding with a decent rebuttal.

Well, that just helps make the case that religion sucks, in my mind.



[ Parent ]
yeah, no one else ever does that (5.00 / 1) (#157)
by ogre on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:57:11 AM EST

You never have, for example, a political leader telling you what to do or what think about the other party, or an environmentalist telling you what to do or to worry about the environment, or say a reporter telling you to be horrified about some event. Nooooo. Only those evil sheeplike religious nuts do that.

Yeah, coaches never tell you you should want to win, business managers never tell you you should strive to succeed, parents never try to guide you in any way at all. And sure as hell, religion-hating bigots never post messages trying to influence other people to hate religion too. Yep, as long as you don't go to a church you can assume that your opinions have not been warped by anyone, it's all you baby.

And avoid those churches like the plague or they will be poisoning your mind with insidious message like "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or worse, "love your neighbor", gross, or even the horrendous, "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you". That kind of thing could ruin your whole day.

Everybody relax, I'm here.
[ Parent ]

"do unto others..." (none / 0) (#163)
by katie on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:47:51 AM EST

"do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

"love your enemies, do good to those who hate you"

How does that tie in with the blowing up abortion clinics? Harrassing the doctors? Terrifying the patients?

[ Parent ]

Hi, katie, I'm glad you asked. (none / 0) (#233)
by ogre on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:03:16 AM EST

First of all, you must realize that only a tiny minority of christians support any sort of harassment or violence around the abortion issue.

On the other hand, you have to remember that these people really believe that babies are being murdered inside those clinics. This isn't a political ploy or meaningless rhetoric, it's what they sincerely believe. What would you do about an institution that regularly murdered babies to save the parents the inconveience of raising them? What you would think of the doctors who did it, or the parents who did it?

Just as anti-slavery christians who violated the property rights of slave owners and sometimes even practiced violence against them believed they where honoring christian principles because the slaves where their neighbors, so the anti-abortion christians today believe the fetuses are whole human beings. And when one person you love is enslaving or murdering another person you love, it isn't clear that passive measures are all that's called for as a response.

I didn't mean to imply that christianity is a passive religion, far from it. I only wanted to allude to the fact that people who hate religion don't hate it for the reasons they say they do. Religion tries to control people? So do lots of other institutions. Religious beliefs can lead people to commit violence? The large majority of political violence committed in the last century was carried out by athiests (Hitler, Stalin, Mao). Religion is intolerant? All dedicated social institutions are intolerant of threatening opposing views. Religions want to enforce their morality? The environmentalist movement, the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, the animal rights movement have all tried to pass laws to force people to follow the moral imperatives of the movement, often with the blessing of the same people who hate religion so much.

No, people don't hate religion for any of those reasons. People hate religion because it represents the organized structure of a powerful political force that threatens their own political, moral, and pseudo-religious agendas.

Everybody relax, I'm here.
[ Parent ]

5 (3.60 / 5) (#42)
by SanSeveroPrince on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 09:07:15 AM EST

Gave this a 5 just because of the line 'god, how I hate religion'... made my day.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
5 (2.60 / 5) (#46)
by r00t on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:35:30 PM EST

..and I'll give you a 5 for emphasizing that, because I agree with it too.


-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

2 things (3.66 / 6) (#48)
by crazycanuck on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 01:53:19 PM EST

first of all, it's just an expression, doesn't imply anything (I'm an atheist)

second of all, even if a certain omnipotent being responsible for the creation of the universe exists, I can tell you for sure that he/she/it has nothing to do at all with religions on earth. those, we invented.

when some fucktard blows up an obgyn clinic, that's not "god"'s will. when some other fucktard blows up a plane, it's not "god"'s will.
"god" doesn't whisper at night to sleeping fucktards "oppose stem cell research! curing cancer is the work of the devil! now go hunt down some homos!"

[ Parent ]

Wow (4.66 / 3) (#53)
by kaeru on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 03:54:12 PM EST

You are one angry guy.

Anyway, try not to forget that there are millions of religious people out there who are trying to do their best for their fellow man.  Including many doctors and scientists.  People who attack abortion doctors are no more representative of the religious than Stalin is of atheists.

[ Parent ]

err... (none / 0) (#104)
by r00t on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:05:37 PM EST

Why so mad? I am an athiest too, and I find religion a hinderance.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

I'm not mad (none / 0) (#110)
by crazycanuck on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:11:42 PM EST

I don't know why everyone think's I'm angry.

I'm very calm. I'm just passionate in my hate for organised religion.

[ Parent ]

A quote (none / 0) (#239)
by r00t on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 08:21:06 AM EST

LOL, I can get that way too sometimes, maybe a quote by Nietzsche is in order.

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster."

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]

whispering in ears (none / 0) (#244)
by ethereal on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:38:17 PM EST

"god" doesn't whisper at night to sleeping fucktards "oppose stem cell research! curing cancer is the work of the devil! now go hunt down some homos!"

When reading this I had the overwhelming vision of that cockroach named Milquetoast from the comic strip "Bloom County" that would go around whispering bad ideas into people's ears at night. It might not be god that is inspiring the Family Research Council; it could be someone with a few more legs and a mean sense of humor...

Not that I have a theological opinion on the number of legs that God might have; I suspect that an omnipotent entity would probably choose to have more than four or six, though. Maybe pseudopods?

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

sure (2.66 / 6) (#70)
by Anon 17933 on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:03:27 AM EST

How do you know stem cell research could cure diseases? Did you know that it's becoming an better known fact that adult stem cell research (which does not require murder to be committed), has exactly the same "potential" to cure disease?

If you think "religious views" are the only reason to oppose harvesting babies for their body parts, you're allowing your extreme bias to get in the way of rational thinking. What's next? Maybe they'll decide you're not important enough to society and kill you so they can put your heart, or lung, or liver in a celebrity that needs a transplant. It's really just a logical extension of the reasoning that allows us to murder a baby to "further research".

[ Parent ]

And some rebuttals (4.60 / 5) (#73)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 01:16:53 AM EST

Point the first
Here's a good description of the differences between adult and embryonic stem cells. Your assertion that adult stem cell research has exactly the same potential as embryonic is simply false. They have different properties and advantages - and adult may be even *more* useful in curing diseases. But there are properties in each not found in the other, so don't claim that nothing is lost by using adult cells rather than embryonic. I'm not going to bother with your assertion that embryonic stem cells require murder. That's a personal belief which can never be proven.

Point the second
Decide I'm "not important enough to society and kill [me]"? How can you possibly achieve this sort of mental leap? Wait - don't tell me -
1) Embryos are humans
2) Embryos killed for spare parts
3) Humans deemed "not important to society" can be used for spare parts.

Once again, you're using the personal belief that embryos are the equivalent of a full-grown human being. Now - it doesn't *matter* if this is on some level fundamentally true. What matters is what the researchers/lawmakers think. You're saying that stem-cell researchers are of the mind "Well, we'll just kill this human test subject, and *bingo* - we've got the cells." This is false. The researchers are of the mind "Well, we'll just remove these coupla cells, and...". There is *no* logical way to get from this to killing full-grown humans, unless you consider those full-grown people to be just "a mass of cells". I have yet to meet a biologist who believe that that is all a human being consists of.

That's all for now!
James

[ Parent ]

well... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by Anon 17933 on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:33:59 AM EST

So perhaps I should have said: "exactly the same or better..." Regardless -- the point stands. We don't need embryonic stem cells.

Destroying human life is murder. Period. You may argue about when life begins, but destruction of human life is murder. I believe human life begins at conception -- there's no other time that makes sense. So, harvesting embryos is murder. And you made my argument for me on the slippery slope towards the devaluing of all human life. Society does not have the right to determine which humans can be used for research and which can't -- if we start with babies, what's to stop us from deciding we're going to use prisoners for research? And maybe the homeless? And how about political dissidents? It's been done before -- it's probably still occurring in china.

[ Parent ]

so you're against (2.00 / 1) (#87)
by eyespots on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:05:22 AM EST

IVF too? If life truly begins at conception, then you're in favor of banning in vitro fertilization, right?



[ Parent ]

yes(n/t) (2.00 / 1) (#89)
by Anon 17933 on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:30:40 AM EST



[ Parent ]
personally (3.00 / 2) (#91)
by eyespots on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:46:30 AM EST

I'm in favor of the 40,000 or so babies alive now due to IVF.

To each their own opinion....

[ Parent ]

I see your point, but, (5.00 / 2) (#93)
by Anon 17933 on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:59:07 AM EST

The problem I have with IVF isn't that it's done, it's that the embryos are frequently destroyed or "donated to science" as though they were simply objects. If something responsible were done with the "left-over" embryos, such as putting them up for adoption, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

[ Parent ]
good clarification (4.66 / 3) (#95)
by eyespots on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:05:35 PM EST

However unfortunately when it comes down to what to do with these fertilized eggs, we're always going to be stuck with two groups:

1. Those who view life having begun at conception.

and

2. Those who view it beginning well after.

There are good points as to why each position is correct. But either way those who believe #1 will think #2 are commiting murder, while those who believe #2 think that #1 are preventing people from getting medical attention and help.

It's one hell of a muddy ethical debate, made especially difficult because both sides want to do what's morally right.

[ Parent ]

Out of curiosity (none / 0) (#147)
by godix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:56:34 AM EST

"If something responsible were done with the "left-over" embryos, such as putting them up for adoption, I wouldn't have a problem with it."

Aren't the adoption facilities a little too full with totally viable already born humans to dump unviable unborn potential humans on them?

I can respect the fact some people believe life begins at conception, although I disagree with it. But why do people who have this belief think adoption is the answer to everything? I refuse to believe adoption is a viable alternative until I see childrens homes empty and potential adopting parents told 'sorry, there just aren't any kids around'. Until that day any plan that would increase the number of unadopted kids is a really really cruel plan.

Sorry, I probably shouldn't have jumped into the conversation, but increasing parentless children is one of those topics I'm a tad touchy about.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

nope (none / 0) (#168)
by Anon 17933 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 08:14:34 AM EST

There are many more parents who want to adopt than children to be adopted. That's just a fabrication of the pro-abortion crowd. Many children's homes have lots of children because the courts have ordered them out of their homes, but the parents won't give them up for adoption. Besides, we're talking about babies here -- do you have any idea how many couples can't have children?

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#169)
by godix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 08:50:21 AM EST

"Besides, we're talking about babies here -- do you have any idea how many couples can't have children?"

Quite a lot, including my wife and I. For that reason I've examined adoption a lot more than the average person. No matter what pro-life propaganda you want to spew, there are not enough adoptive parents to take care of all the children in homes as it is. That's just a plain fact, I'm not defending abortions with it (I don't fit well in the pro-life/pro-choice classification). If a child isn't white and perfectly heatlhy chances are that child isn't getting a home. They'll grow up bouncing between foster homes and the childrens home until they turn 18 and get kicked out without anyone to care for them at all. Any desire to increase the number of children that happens to is just cruel, a lot more cruel than destroying some tissue that MAY be considered human.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

whoops forgot the second point (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by eyespots on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 11:14:07 AM EST

Personally I think it makes much more sense that human life begins at either implantation of the cell mass in the mother's uterine wall, or more logically, the beginning of development of neuronal tissue. Before the first (which happens at day 8), the cell mass doesn't even have the potential to form an embryo.

Of course, this all comes down to "What makes up an alive human?". In my opinion, it's our mind- so without neuronal tissue, you're not a human being. Of course this is just my opinion.

[ Parent ]

well...2 (The Revenge of Well) (none / 0) (#105)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:30:19 PM EST

We *do* need embryonic stem cells.  Maybe not "need" in the sense of food or water.  But in the same way we "need" adult stem cell research.  They're not "the same or worse" than adult stem cells.  They're "different, and probably less useful at curing certain diseases".  That doesn't mean there's not a hell of a lot to be learned from them.

And you ignored my second point.  It doesn't matter if we "kill babies" - even if that's exactly what's happening (I don't believe it is).  As long as it's never legal to "kill babies", and everyone still considers "killing babies" to be a horrific act (as I do), there's no problem.  We are simply experimenting on a bunch of interesting cells.  Regardless of whether you find this appalling or not, there is no logical way to get from that to experimenting on humans.  Remember, killing babies is still a horrible act.  Experimenting on humans is still a horrible act.  No one who's willing to experiment on these cells considers them to be human.  And it's perfectly fine to do experiments on non-humans.  The only way prisoners are going to be used for research is if they're also considered "non-human".  At that point, there are serious other problems with society, not stemming (pun not intended) from stem cell research.

[ Parent ]

the problem is... (none / 0) (#191)
by Anon 17933 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:21:32 PM EST

some people don't believe that killing babies is a horrific act. It's a well known fact that babies are born alive at abortion clinics -- care to see what happens to them? They're murdered -- it's common practice. It's mostly covered up, but it happens all the time.

My point is that it's a slippery slope -- when you can say that an embryo that will become a baby doesn't have the value that we should place on human life, then you can justify pulling a baby half-way out of the mother, sticking a pair of scissors in its head and sucking its brains out. And in case you think I made that up -- just do a search on partial birth abortion. That's the accepted method for performing third-trimester abortions. And from there, it's really not a big leap to start killing undesirables, and then elderly people, and then maybe you and me.

So maybe killing babies is a horrific act to you, as it is to me -- but there is a growing sector of our society that really doesn't think it's such a bad thing. And allowing them to justify their attitudes by saying that we can use the products of their slaughter for scientific research is a horrible thing.

[ Parent ]

If you don't consider embryos to be human... (none / 0) (#238)
by ScudEast on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 07:08:28 AM EST

...then using them in research does not devalue human life. Personally I'm with Bill Hicks on this one. You ain't human until you're in my phone book. We haven't started killing undesirables yet, nor have any moves been made towards doing so.

That stuff is so 20th century, just like pro-lifers. Oh, if only we could go back to the 1940s when there was tremendous respect for human life. Those were the days eh?

[ Parent ]
Evidence of slippery slope? (none / 0) (#237)
by ScudEast on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 06:40:13 AM EST

I have heard much of this much-touted slippery slope argument where apples will suddenly become oranges and we will start murdering each other in the street or something. Most civilised nations have legalised abortion during the last 50 years. During those 50 years most of these countries have also ceased carrying out capital punishment and adopted, at least on the surface, more ethical foreign policies. Aid to poor countries has increased and there is a strong and growing sentiment which condems military actions due to the accidental killing of civilians which may take place. I see no evidence whatsoever that, as societies, we have started valuing human life less as a result of more liberal abortion laws. In fact the story of the last 50 years has been a story of the growth in respect for human life and human rights. We ain't perfect yet by any means but it's going in the right direction.

[ Parent ]
The Clone Race (3.80 / 5) (#37)
by infesticon on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 07:02:48 AM EST

It'll be like a space race, but all the nations with religious or ethical objections to genetically engineering the human genome will be disqualified. This includes most western nations.

So nations which have the technology but don't have the moral squeamish will be able to create improved humans. I'm thinking China, Russia or Middle East. This could means a shift in the balance of global power. Interesting times...

---
Even in his Ma's womb, you would have to define Spud less as a foetus, more a dormant set of drug and personality problems.

That's not cloning (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by Betcour on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 03:31:39 PM EST

Cloning is about making a perfect copy. So perfect that it has the same flaws as the original... The interest of cloning a whole human is 0 (zero, nada, rien du tout). Maybe you could clone Arnold Swartzeneger to build a whole army, but the extra muscles wouldn't be that big of an advantage nowadays.

[ Parent ]
Well (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by carbon on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:29:35 AM EST

You could also clone an army of Turings, Bohrs, and Einsteins to propel your contry's technology and science far ahead. Also, making a clone is (aiui) only a short distance away in terms of difficulty from making a copy with a minor change. The hard is figuring out which base-4 bit to twiddle...


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Don't think so (4.25 / 4) (#78)
by Betcour on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:46:34 AM EST

You could also clone an army of Turings, Bohrs, and Einsteins to propel your contry's technology and science far ahead.

The problem here is that intelligence is something learned. You are not born with a 170 IQ. You are born as any other human. It's once you grow up that you become a genius or a total idiot. Maybe some genes favor intelligence, but that's only a very small part of it.

You can have a million clones of Einstein. If you put them in front of the Jerry Springer's Show all day long during their childhood, they are not going to reinvent relativity no matter how perfect the clones are.

And on top of that Einstein wasn't a very bright student (he was actually quite loosy in class). There were many brighters scientists than him at that time. What made Einstein more successfull than others is that he dared thinking at things differently and in unconventionals way. Again not something that you get from your genetic code.

Also, making a clone is (aiui) only a short distance away in terms of difficulty from making a copy with a minor change. The hard is figuring out which base-4 bit to twiddle...

True but why bother with cloning at all ? You can do the same thing with regular fertilization, which we have been doing in labs for about 2 decades now.

[ Parent ]
ugh (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by speek on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:12:33 PM EST

You don't know any of that. Unless you've got some serious research to publish that the whole world would be very interested to see, you don't know:

The problem here is that intelligence is something learned. You are not born with a 170 IQ

There's a fair amount of evidence suggesting your assertion is flawed.

Additionally, stop spreading that crap misinformation about Einstein. No one knowledgable suggests Einstein "wasn't a bright student". Too bright more like. Smart kids are the most difficult for teachers - they have often figured their own way to do things which interferes with the teacher's procedures.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Abuse of language (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by Betcour on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 01:21:43 PM EST

There's a fair amount of evidence suggesting your assertion is flawed.

And a fair amount that suggest that I'm right too. The matter is certainly not settled, especially with American scientists who like to blame everything on genetics (intelligence, violence, homosexuality and whatnot), psychology being not deterministic enough for them.
What I know for certain is that if you had the son of A. Einstein and M. Curie raised by wolfes in the jungle, the poor kid wouldn't be able to make a single digit addition.

No one knowledgable suggests Einstein "wasn't a bright student". Too bright more like. Smart kids are the most difficult for teachers - they have often figured their own way to do things which interferes with the teacher's procedures.

He had bad grades. No matter how smart you are, if you have bad grades and fail you exams then you are not a bright student, even if your IQ is 250.

[ Parent ]
Bright student != IQ (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by Souhait on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 02:30:26 PM EST

You're arguing Einstein's capability as a student. I knew plenty of people from high school who were about as bright as a 5 watt bulb who managed to work their way into the top ten (out of 600). Intelligence has nothing to do with qualities as a student. To say Einstein wasn't any brighter than your average student, he just got lucky and invented a new branch of physics by looking the wrong way... Besides, it's most likely a mix. And if the Chinese (to get back to the original argument) started cloning Einstein's, the clones would certainly do more than sit around watching Seinfeld with subtitles. No one argues that a child raised by wolves will lack language and mathematics.

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#154)
by Betcour on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:22:14 AM EST

You're arguing Einstein's capability as a student.

There's no arguing about it : the teachers, exams, grades, etc. are all well known and all say he did bad in school. End of the story.

Intelligence has nothing to do with qualities as a student.

Agreed. And that's why a "bright student" is not necessarily "bright" and the opposite.

And if the Chinese (to get back to the original argument) started cloning Einstein's, the clones would certainly do more than sit around watching Seinfeld with subtitles.

That's really up to the people raising them. Maybe they'll bore the little clones with so much maths that the clones will become more interested into arts or sports.

The point really is : would a clone of Einstein be a mathematic genius ? Woud such clone, with the same education, do any better than the clone of your average accountant ? Remember : the difference has to be really important to make the cloning effort worthwhile, so a 10 or 20 IQ difference is not really important.

If Einstein had had an identical twin brother (a clone) but raised in a different familly, would that brother also invent relativity ? I think not.

If China wants to take the technology leadership, all they need is to increase education spendings and offer higher salaries to their scientists (who all move to US and Europe in drove). They have 1,2 billion inhabitants, more than enough to build the biggest research team ever. And out of 1,2 million peoples, chances are that there are some peoples smarter than Einstein ever was. Why bother making clones ?

[ Parent ]
Bah (none / 0) (#234)
by carbon on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 02:34:01 AM EST

If Einstein had had an identical twin brother (a clone) but raised in a different familly, would that brother also invent relativity ? I think not.

But why? Why not? Do you have any particular reason to believe that? Such as supporting evidence, perhaps?


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Evidences (none / 0) (#235)
by Betcour on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 03:11:05 AM EST

But why? Why not? Do you have any particular reason to believe that? Such as supporting evidence, perhaps ?

Identical twins are a pretty "common" things and when some of them end up raised in totally different environement, they usually don't end up with the same life (those who actually do end up in the news one day or another or in the Guiness book of records).

Identical twins that have been separated at birth have been studied for quite some times now and so far the results are that neither genetic nor environement are 100% responsible for intelligence and personality. Depending of which scientific you ask, they'll say anything from 20-80% to 80-20. Either way the environement has definitely some serious impact, which explains why a clone of Einstein would probably not reinvent relativity. Probably better than average at maths, but that's all you can hope for...

[ Parent ]
Eh? (none / 0) (#236)
by carbon on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 04:01:23 AM EST

That was a complete leap of intuition. A 20% difference caused by genetics (which is what you lisetd as the most pessimistic estimate) would still be a considerable factor, if that 20% was really friggin weighted intelligence-wise (not neccessarily the case with Einstein in particular, but I listed others in my original comment, such as Bohr or Turing, and there are many more). Plus, you listed no reason why that case would be more likely than the 80-20 one in favor of genetics.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
An example (none / 0) (#240)
by fenix down on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:14:33 PM EST

John Nash (the game theory guy from the movie) had two kids.  One with a nurse, I think, who he basically ignored for about 20 years, and then later  the kid they show in the movie.  The ignored kid didn't go for math, the second one got a PhD.  This doesn't really prove much, since:

1) the mothers have a big genetic impact (the second kid's mother was a mathematician too)
2) the first kid's mother was probably pretty upset at Nash and might have (unconsiously or otherwise) pushed him away from his father's work
3) the second kid was probably badgered by every math teacher he ever had ("You're dad's John Nash! You must be a genius! Hey, the principal says we can cut out all your arts classes and let you take more math! Great huh?")
4) Only the second kid inherited his father's schizophenia.

It's something to think about, though.  Anyway, I'll bet if you took any reasonably bright kid and kept telling him he's a clone of a genius you'd at least get something interesting out of him.

I'd be interested in watching a dozen Einsteins working together. Would they get anything done?  Would they spend all their time arguing, or would they end up with that creepy twin thing where they all know what the others are thinking?

Really, I bet psychologists could get more out of an Einstien-cloning program than China.  Einstein wasn't an engineer or anything.  If it worked you'd get a pile of incomprehensible papers that would be useless until somebody else figured out what they meant and found the bit of equasion that lets you build a death star.

[ Parent ]

Frame of reference (none / 0) (#269)
by teeth on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 08:35:13 AM EST

"There's no arguing about it : the teachers, exams, grades, etc. are all well known and all say he did bad in school. End of the story."

Considering the outcome it might be more accurate to say that the school was the one doing the failing...


Copyright is for protection against publishers
[ Parent ]

Say what? (none / 0) (#102)
by valeko on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 02:38:16 PM EST

No matter how smart you are, if you have bad grades and fail you exams then you are not a bright student, even if your IQ is 250.
I suppose that could only depend on your definition of 'bright student.' If you mean what I think you mean, you're wrong.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

abuse of language??? (none / 0) (#103)
by speek on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:03:14 PM EST

So your assertion is worthless. You admit it's not settled, so let's not pretend it is. Wolves, jungle - nice strawman. Maybe your comment's subject was meant as a warning to the reader of the content of your post?

Bad grades - whatever. The argument was whether clones of Einstein would do interesting things if, say, Russia made themselves a bunch. I'd be willing to bet a fair amount they'd get a lot more out of clones of Einstein than clones of you. Wanna take that bet?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Death sentence (4.08 / 12) (#45)
by dachshund on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 11:22:21 AM EST

Passage of an international ban on therapeutic cloning would be nothing less than a death sentence for millions of suffering human beings. The key word being "suffering". The tiny ball of cells that is an embryo, no matter what it's potential, does not suffer. It most likely isn't even viable. And since embryos are twinnable up until several weeks, it's awfully hard to imagine that they have souls-- at least, I'm not aware of any mainstream Christian belief that allows for a single soul to be "split" across multiple people.

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the only solution to this national (and now international) hostage crisis we find ourselves in is to see the end of Roe v. Wade. Let the Republicans wipe that case off the books, and send these issues back into the political arena where they belong. Once hundreds of millions of people realize that they can't just rely on the courts to protect their rights, they'll wake up and send the religious right back to the political hinterlands where they belong.

Suffering (3.44 / 9) (#74)
by kholmes on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 02:50:52 AM EST

"The tiny ball of cells that is an embryo, no matter what it's potential, does not suffer."

If I shoot you in the head so that you never feel it, is it still wrong?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

RE: Suffering (2.66 / 3) (#77)
by pavs on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:17:39 AM EST

Yes, it's still wrong because he will probably miss the half of his brain that you destroyed for him unless you killed him in wich case it's still wrong. I'm quite sure an embryo doesn't feel the same way about it's cells since it can't feel anything at all.

[ Parent ]
Sigh (4.33 / 3) (#83)
by kholmes on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 09:23:59 AM EST

"Yes, it's still wrong because he will probably miss the half of his brain that you destroyed for him unless you killed him in wich case it's still wrong."

Yes, I'm saying if you killed him. Pardon me, I've never shot anyone in the head so I don't the details about it. But if your problem with killing things is suffering then it has to apply to animals, embryos, and full grown human beings.

Now I shouldn't have to point out this contradiction to you. I already have and you've chosen to be oblivious of it. You need to chose a different requirement on why killing people is wrong to be reasonable and then apply it to embryos.

The problem with ethics is that there are no easy answers. Some people, many who post on this site, prefer to assume there are no answers yet even this is an easy answer. Being good is hard. Far too many have given up.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Sorry about that (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by pavs on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:02:03 PM EST

My problem with killing full grown humans is that full grown humans doesn't want to be killed. An embryo is not sentient, as far as I know, and so will not feel pain and will not have an opinion about if it want to be alive or not and in this case that makes it OK to kill it.

That might mean this is in the wrong thread to begin with, I apologise for that. I'm a newbie here so I'm not really sure how things work around here, I'll try harder next time.

[ Parent ]

Tis all good (5.00 / 2) (#128)
by kholmes on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 07:33:20 PM EST

"My problem with killing full grown humans is that full grown humans doesn't want to be killed."

Much better and my objection is my argument against abortion. At what point do you decide that an embryo is self-aware? Actually, now that I think about it, I suppose we can establish a certain length of time from conception from which we are absolutely certain the life form isn't self-aware. Certainly there would be plenty of time at which we are almost certain the life form isn't self aware yet abortion during or after this period would be far too high of an ethical risk to judge. Notice I am not speaking about laws--merely ethics. For the laws I am typically pro-life for all of the unusual circumstances involved yet I would be in favor of additional laws to try to narrow down the allowed and disallowed circumstances further.

"That might mean this is in the wrong thread to begin with, I apologise for that. I'm a newbie here so I'm not really sure how things work around here, I'll try harder next time."

Tis all good. As for me, I don't mind tangents at all as they make discussion more interesting and often make up for some of the mindless issue-pitching that gets published here.

I was just upset at you ignoring the post you were responding to :)

While I'm no veteran to the site, welcome to K5.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Thanks (none / 0) (#195)
by pavs on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:39:10 PM EST

"I was just upset at you ignoring the post you were responding to :)"

Well, I was not so much ignoring what you wrote as making my point so poorly that it seemed I was ignoring it. I'm not very good at arguing so I thought I'd get some practise.

[ Parent ]

Insightful, (none / 0) (#211)
by Subtillus on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:12:33 PM EST

I tend to agree with you on the nature of ethics but rarely listen to myself on the matter.

What about this spin on using embryos for (not cloning but,) stem cell research and gene therapy (stem cell form).
These clumps of cells, embryos which are collected from among the extras sitting in the fridge after assisted pregnancies. They have little to no chance of become sentient beings; they are shelf space. As part of someone's treatment they can become part of a living being and aid someone living a full and productive life. Or as part of someone's research they benifit mankind as a whole in the long stretch and potentially save millions.

How is this wrong?

We can cling to outdated morals all we want but it won't get us anywhere in the end. It's also much easier to cling to these morals when we're in perfect health like Mr. Bush. I wonder how his position might change in his declining years. An "aw shucks" when it happens won't restore all the research that never happened.

As for cloning, same thing, different name brand. Science cares not for these trendy labels and is more concerned with actual processes; the labels bring press though and press brings grant money sorely needed.
Take that!

[ Parent ]

My response (none / 0) (#249)
by kholmes on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 04:36:55 PM EST

"These clumps of cells, embryos which are collected from among the extras sitting in the fridge after assisted pregnancies. They have little to no chance of become sentient beings; they are shelf space."

I'm not sure actually because I think it depends on how they got there. I don't know what an assisted pregnancy is nor do I know why there are extra embryos. And calling them "clumps of cells" enters into the realm of a tautology.

"We can cling to outdated morals all we want but it won't get us anywhere in the end."

I am equally concerned by the lack of questions as well as by the lack of answers. First we have to be specific on why the ethical system is "outdated". Second, if after we find the ethics is no longer relevent we must deconstruct the system to see if there is anything relevent or of value in the system. Last, we are duty bound to construct a new system of ethics that is coherent and not obsolescent.

But first, in evaluating the current system, you have to make sure that your reason for its deconstruction is not part of the ethical system itself. If you find of value research on embryos out of your value of human life then you must be certain that someone else's value for the embryos themselves isn't for the same reason.

"It's also much easier to cling to these morals when we're in perfect health like Mr. Bush."

A true system of ethics is relevent both in health and in sickness. At some point even I tire of Bush-bashing.

"Science cares not for these trendy labels and is more concerned with actual processes; the labels bring press though and press brings grant money sorely needed."

Scientists are just a duty bound to a system ethics as we are. Ethics is also concerned with the actual processes.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

just fucking look it up arts student (1.00 / 1) (#250)
by Subtillus on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 06:21:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Maybe I have a solution (none / 0) (#199)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:58:44 PM EST

If I shoot you in the head so that you never feel it, is it still wrong?

If I twin an embryo-- producing a duplicate ball of cells with exactly the same DNA and exactly the same potential to become a human being, can I than destroy the original? The duplicate has exactly the same potential to become a human being as the first.

It's pretty clear that embryos can't be evaluated by the simple criteria we want to evaluate them with. They are not unique, they are not feeling creatures. The sole argument for protecting them (to a degree greater than, say, sperm) is their "unqiueness" and "potential" to become human beings. But it's pretty clear from the example above that even these characteristics aren't necessarily in place.

[ Parent ]

True dat yo! (none / 0) (#212)
by Subtillus on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:14:38 PM EST

Treating them with them same respect as sperm would mean arresting bukakke stars as mass murderers.

And that's funny.

[ Parent ]

Reality check.... (3.83 / 6) (#97)
by TheCaptain on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 12:23:10 PM EST

Let the Republicans wipe that case off the books

It'll never happen...for alot of reasons. There are actually alot of Republican's who are pro choice on SOME level. Most people (at least the ones here) would find me rather conservative...but I don't believe in a total outlaw of abortion. There are ALOT of instances were I am very much for it....rape, incest, danger to the health of the mother, etc. The problem is, is that if you outlaw it and leave only those options legal, the mother can just claim she was raped and the whole thing just gets very overcomplicated and impractical. That being said...I don't think abortion is something that should be used as casually as some people would like to make it either. It is a serious thing, and it involves depriving a human being of life. It might not be concious yet...but it would be if allowed to proceed.

I think alternatives to abortion should certainly be present and encouraged..and frankly, the world would be a simpler place if more people learned to keep their fucking legs together if they aren't ready for the consequences. Makes one wonder how these people got by before it was a medical option. I just hate seeing it used as a form of birth control...but some people trying to use it as such is unavoidable. It's one of those situations where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Encouraging the prevention is the best way to lessen the problem...and that involves more than giving kids rubbers.

I don't think abortion should be outlawed though. I know more than a few of those evil Republicans/conservatives who agree with me on the conclusion...whatever their reasoning is. Lumping them all together like that is rather lame. (Actually, the presidents Wife and his mother are both pro-choice. I think it's safe to call them "Republicans".) Hell...not all Christians are anything like that either...but hey...bashing them is on fashion in K5 for right now, so have fun. Whatever.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm ... (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:57:13 PM EST

It'll never happen...for alot of reasons. There are actually alot of Republican's who are pro choice on SOME level.

Oh, I know. The trouble is, extremists in American governments often do things in foreign policy that would never be tolerated if they affected domestic policy. For example, picking a fight with the UNFPA, or inflicting sanctions for no particularly good reason, or setting of a coup to defend the United Fruit Company's interests. My charitable interpretation is that American governments get away with this, because your countrymen care not a jot about foreign policy, so I don't find the fact that most Americans would find these measures deplorable very comforting.

Makes one wonder how these people got by before it was a medical option.

There have been abortions, carried out using abortificants, or physical measures of one kind or another, for pretty much all of human history. The earliest written record is a recipe for an abortificant found in Egypt, and dated to 2600BC.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

There is a moderate position to abortion (5.00 / 2) (#130)
by kholmes on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:08:25 PM EST

Let people know that the abortion debate doesn't matter. Most people agree with you. They want abortions to be legal yet extremely rare. It's the special interest groups that hinder progress in this area when they force politicians to make a public stance for funding and/or votes. I don't doubt that Bush is pro-choice one bit yet he campaigned as pro-life. I think we all know why.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
rape, incest? (4.66 / 3) (#134)
by BCoates on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:59:09 PM EST

...but I don't believe in a total outlaw of abortion. There are ALOT of instances were I am very much for it....rape, incest, danger to the health of the mother, etc.

Why should the fact that the conception was under illegal (and unfortunate) circumstances affect the legality of abortion? Children born of rape are people just like everyone else.

Yes, having a child from rape and incest are traumatic to the mother, but the admission that abortion is OK in some circumstances (where the mother is 'innocent') makes it pretty clear that the point of outlawing abortion is not to protect the lives of unborn children, but to punish the mother/parents for having sex without wanting children.

Either that or it's just a lame attempt to create a middle ground in a complicated issue, in order to seem like a wise moderate without having to think too hard.

--
Benjamin Coates



[ Parent ]

Hrm.... (none / 0) (#151)
by TheCaptain on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:46:23 AM EST

Why should the fact that the conception was under illegal (and unfortunate) circumstances affect the legality of abortion?

I never said it should affect the legality...actually I kinda implied that because of the reasons of it that I find justifyable, it should be legal IMHO - as it's almost impossible to know what happened in any given situation. Any woman could show up and ask for one claiming she was raped or <insert valid situation here>...get the fetus aborted, and not go through with any investigation or pressing of charges, etc. It's an impossible situation, which is why I feel that preventing the whole thing entirely is alot more desirable.

Um...where did I say that I felt that abortion should be outlawed except for those scenerios anyways...outside of hypothetical situations that I already believed don't work? I already pointed out that it didn't work...congrats - you found another reason why they don't.

It's not just about the medical procedure itself, and a life in the balance...the whole ethical dilemma is bigger than that...especially under such circumstances. To me personally, it has about as much to do with someone taking responsibilities for one's actions, as it does the life at stake. To a woman who is raped (the example in my head is the more common man rapes woman scenerio), she can't be held responsible for something that was done to her against her will. (And add to that, that I can't personally ask someone to bear a child they don't want that was concieved against their will.) As far as I am concerned, the call of whether or not to keep the child under the circumstances of rape are up to the mother, and if she decides to abort the child (which should be done as early and humanely as possible), the guilt for that (social guilt, not legal guilt) should ride soley on the father. It was the father who acted irresponsibly as well as illegally in this scenerio. I doubt everyone would agree with me and my thoughts on that....fortunately - they don't have to...because they are just my thoughts, and little else.

If people want to have sex without having children, they have alot of options to help insure just that (especially in this day and age)...and that is their responsibility. If they don't handle their responsibilities...then they have a human life on their hands. That life becomes their responsibility. The choice to snuff it out is a rather sad and irresponsible path to take as far as I am concerned (Well...I'll be honest...I think they are fucking sick, personally. I am glad I am not running for office.), but it's rather hard to prevent for the reasons I described above, if abortion is to be legal at all.

Well...those are my feelings on the subject. It doesn't have much to do with punishing people who want to have sex without having children, and I didn't think it's a "lame attempt to create a middle ground in a complicated issue, in order to seem like a wise moderate without having to think too hard"...and if that is as little as you think of me, that one will get you a big "Fuck You". I doubt you know me well enough to know how I feel about these things and why. Hell...I don't even know that it would be considered a middle ground...it's just what I use as my own personal reasoning for justifying what I said before - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The prevention of the situation is exactly what should be encouraged...although when prevention is encouraged (be it surgical prevention, birth control, or just plain abstinence, etc.), alot of other political issues crop up. Bullshit flows from both political sides on those issues.

And all of this because I don't think the Republicans would outlaw abortion. Whatever. Too much typing...late here...sleep now.

[ Parent ]
You can't ignore party politics (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:52:05 PM EST

I don't think abortion should be outlawed though. I know more than a few of those evil Republicans/conservatives who agree with me on the conclusion...whatever their reasoning is. Lumping them all together like that is rather lame.

The fact is that the Republican party, as a party, supports an anti-abortion position in national politics. There will always be dissenters and moderates, but they generally don't drive the agenda.

I apologize if I offended you by including all Republicans in that statement; however... the fact is, when you vote for a major-party candidate (whatever their position on this issue), you increase the chances that their party will control our legislative bodies (very few Republicans vote against their own party for leadership in Congress.) And if those leaders support a particular position, your vote strengthens their hand.

If you feel that your vote for a dissenting party member will do more to moderate the party's views than it will to support and further them, then it's a perfectly reasonable choice. Ditto if you don't think the issue in question is particularly important.

[ Parent ]

Birth is a death sentence. (n/t) (3.50 / 2) (#136)
by jmzero on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 09:53:37 PM EST

Passage of an international ban on therapeutic cloning would be nothing less than a death sentence for millions of suffering human beings

To deny death to the suffering seems especially cruel.  Haven't you ever seen "The Lion King?"
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Banning human cloning (1.50 / 6) (#47)
by Stick on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 12:59:46 PM EST

Does this mean we can't have unprotected sex anymore?


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
well... (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by werner on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 07:19:15 AM EST

..as creating a clone from sexual intercourse would require 2 parties sharing identical genes, you're not allowed to fuck yourself anymore, no. Or your twin brother / sister. I think most folk could live with that. And OJ wouldn't be allowed to screw the fella who murdered his wife, because he apparently has the same DNA as the juice.

[ Parent ]
I want (1.12 / 8) (#68)
by crazycanuck on Sat Nov 09, 2002 at 11:39:11 PM EST

my own army of Dubyas relentlessly scouring the world for evil nations (tm)

Third-world science (2.80 / 5) (#100)
by mcelrath on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 02:00:26 PM EST

This is the beginning of a shift of various kinds of research outside the western industrial complex. There are many very interesting kinds of science that will greatly impact our lives, that simply cannot be done because of the prejudices, legal systems, and religous hangups of the western world. Cybernetics, replacement organs, cloned fetuses for the infertile. This is just the beginning.

What if the religous establishment had been successful in placing a ban on reproductive research in the 50's? We would never have the birth control pill, perhaps one of the most important advances of the 20th century in its impact on society. Do we really want to cripple ourselves like that?

-- Bob

ignore it and build up weapons (1.00 / 1) (#106)
by Fen on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:46:26 PM EST

It's pretty pointless arguing with religious types over this. Their silly laws should just be ignored whenever possible, by doing it on the open sea or just being secret about it. Then build up weapons systems for the possible attack by religious types with guns. They just shot down an artillery shell with lasers, so it could be possible to fight back now against the bombers.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
in secret... (none / 0) (#162)
by katie on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:33:34 AM EST

In a way, this is the really worrying thing. Work does get done. It will get done.

I'd much rather human cloning research was being done by Monsanto, which is already being watched like a hawk for screw-ups by a bundle of people who are already critical of it. Rather that than have it done in dodgy clinics in the back-streets of who knows where without supervision, regulation and we only find out after it's gone horribly, horribly wrong.

It's the same deal with Iraq. Please, either kill Saddam or let them do nuclear research. Because otherwise we'll find out they've been doing it when some enriching centrifuge built on a shoe-string and not safety assessed goes wrong and scatters plutonium across half the world.

Just because we can, doesn't mean we should - but it also means that simply saying we shouldn't isn't going to stop everyone...

[ Parent ]

just because we can... (none / 0) (#173)
by Fen on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:21:22 AM EST

but we shouldn't, so we don't, another will, and kill us because we didn't.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
You guys have lost your minds (1.48 / 27) (#107)
by Keeteel on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 03:52:57 PM EST

Most people *ARE* religous for *VALID* reasons that people like yourself have lost sight of, or you claim athiesm and so called progressive avenues like pro-abortion, pro-cloning, pro-homosexual marriages all which seek to unweave the social fabric founded on God. Why do you think most of the world and America is religous and you're not? It's not because you're special or are seeing something we're not, it's because of close minded attitudes like this story which decree yourselves as mere mortals to be the ones who should dictate the very essence of life and the soul. Quite frankly I am content to live this life in servitude of God, so are many other Christians since we know we'll be rewarded with an eternity in heaven along the side of God. Simply because you've already purposefully damned yourself by rejecting God even though you very well know the evidence states he exists and wish to directly interfer with the process God dictates for the soul does not give you the right to intervene on the religous fabric of the rest of us normal God loving people who see this as an attack on God himself.

I'm constantly amazed that such a small minority of close minded inviduals claiming to be progressive under the name of science tend to be athiests (which in itself is the succuming to the tempations of Satan.) Normal people DON'T want you interfering with the genes, structure, or soul of invididuals to carry out your agendas of destroying our religous solidarity through the creation of souless beings. Who do you people think you are to take the role of God as a creator? You're nothing but humans who owe everything to the Lord, if you people want to be accepted as normal pray to Jesus for forgiveness and ENJOY the one life on earth you have here working to do good to spend your eternity along side the Lord. I regularly pray for inviduals like yourselves to open your eyes to the beauty of the world around you, to recognize through love you can have an eternity in bliss. This life here is nothing but a test - a chance to prove our faith to the Lord. Do not impose your evil morals and ethics upon the majority of the world who wants NOTHING to do with this nonsense. My church's spiritual leaders said it best "What athiests and scientists are seeking to do with this type of technology is make themselves immortal in the world of flesh to avoid their judgement before God for rejecting his love and beauty, we must not allow them to postpone their judgement before God through exploiting the world he gave them."

I know others stand aside me when I state I'm GLAD the US is the most powerful country in the world since we tend to be one of the last countries willing to stand behind our religous teachings against countries who've rejected those teachings in the name of false science (devil's tempation.) As long as the US stands as the greatest power I can rest comfortably the views of the majority of people who've found truth will be protected, and enforced through force if necessary. You may argue that the US using its power like this is wrong since you're athiests, but they are only seeking to pursue the commandments of the Lord and protect the souls of individuals from the tempation of evil.

Troll/Nutcase (3.20 / 5) (#108)
by ThreadSafe on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:03:48 PM EST


Make a clone of me. And fucking listen to it! - Faik
[ Parent ]

No - I'm a Conservative Christian (1.66 / 6) (#112)
by Keeteel on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:29:33 PM EST

and I'm really tired of seeing such a minority of people that is Kuro5hin.org pat themselves on the back with their jaded and ill-thought out liberal views. I came to learn of your site from the place I post regularly (freerepublic.com) and felt that there was such an imbalance here in liberal views that have no relevance in the real world that I needed (and am getting my fellow posters from FreeRepublic to come debate too) factually dispute the liberal nonsense posted here. The views on K5 are one sided, liberal re-affirmation of views that have no relevance in the real world. I equate the views on K5 to have as much relevance and effect as someone telling you to stop having a heart attack as your heart is in the middle oe one.

Only to liberals who are out of touch from the real world see my views as a troll. Most of the people I socialize with in the real world have views STRONGER than mine, I consider myself very open minded and come to my conclusions based off critical thought.

[ Parent ]
That's fine, but ... (4.72 / 11) (#122)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:29:21 PM EST

... I think you'll find you have more chance of persuading us of the virtue of your views (and thereby, by your lights, saving our souls) if you adopt a more reasoned style of writing. If you are open minded, and came you your current world-view on the basis of critical thought, you shouldn't find it hard to explain it to us in terms we'll understand. Right now, you don't sound like the open minded and critical person I have no doubt you are. Just as an example, I'm going to go through your first post in this thread, and explain what you're doing wrong. I'm not telling you you're wrong (although I believe you are). I'm telling you you're telling us the wrong things if you want to convince us, OK ?

The first thing I'm going to say is that you're basically off-topic here, and that is one of the reasons your post is rated so low. Valeko's story is about the impact of a proposed US foreign policy on the rest of the world. I don't expect you to agree with him (I don't, and I'm about a million miles to the left of being a freeper), but it is generally considered polite to talk about the subject of the article, rather then zooming off onto whatever it is that's on your mind.

Remember, you are trying to convince us of something. I'm not going to pretend that you're likely to succeed, but if you want to stand even a chance, you need to talk to your audience, not at them. Listen to your preacher, and imitate his style, rather than his arguments. The arguments won't work here, but the style is universal.

One thing you'll notice, if you listen to your preacher, or anyone else who is an able speaker, is that they consider the position their audience is starting from. At church, your preacher talks to you as a christian. Here, you have to remember that you're talking to atheists, liberals, skeptics, communists, anarchists, homosexuals, muslims, catholics and other riff-raff of all descriptions. You'll find there are more christians here than you imagine, but you still need to assume less about your audience. Many of us don't accept that the social fabric is founded on God, or that there is good evidence for his existence, or that of the soul, let alone that medical technology interferes with that soul. We really don't. You may find it inconceivable, but we are in earnest on this point. You need to start by convincing us of those things, not castigating us for sinning.

The other thing you'll notice is that a good speaker (or writer) doesn't insult his audience, or praise himself, and especially doesn't compare himself favourably to his audience. Have you ever heard any preacher say "You sinners are going to hell, but I'm OK". I thought not. Praising your own virtues is unattractive ("I am content to live this life in servitude of God", ick !). Insulting your audience alienates them (we're a "a small minority of close minded inviduals". I feel so warm towards you now !)

You also need to be careful with your logic. You've used what "normal" people, or "most" people believe as a measuring stick several times. This is an appeal to irrelevant authority. When Jesus was alive, most people were polytheists, who believed it was not only abnormal but treasonous to believe in only one god. That didn't make them right, now, did it ?

Finally, a picky but important point: don't SHOUT. Open-minded, rational individuals can make themselves heard and understood without SHOUTING.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

A few criticisms (4.50 / 2) (#129)
by kholmes on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:01:05 PM EST

Good post, similar to a response I had in mind. But I'd like to differ to you in a few ways. But KeeTeel is certainly right that K5 is far too left-leaning and the one-sided viewpoints gets to me sometimes. Yet is K5 mature enough to handle such fundamental disagreements on ideology? I am pessimistic yet there is still a grain of hope left.

"The first thing I'm going to say is that you're basically off-topic here, and that is one of the reasons your post is rated so low."

While I won't break this rule, I bend it all the time. I think appropriate tangents are on-topic as long as they proceed within a thread. All within reason, of course.

"You need to start by convincing us of [spiritual beliefs], not castigating us for sinning."

Better yet, argue from assumptions you believe we can all agree on. While your reason and my reason for believing murder is wrong, we can assume it without justification. And if you're to go into details about your system of belief, at least be consistant.

"Have you ever heard any preacher say 'You sinners are going to hell, but I'm OK'."

An English teacher once brought in copies of a Puritan sermon to the class. It was pretty much like that.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

One point ... (none / 0) (#158)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:12:45 AM EST

An English teacher once brought in copies of a Puritan sermon to the class. It was pretty much like that.

That's interesting. The modern style is definitely to say "WE are sinners", not "YOU are sinners", whether the preacher believes it or not, and a Puritan probably would really have believed that. Although, of course, they also all believed they were part of the Elect, and therefore OK anyway.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Oh, and another ... (none / 0) (#165)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:52:43 AM EST

But KeeTeel is certainly right that K5 is far too left-leaning and the one-sided viewpoints gets to me sometimes.

There's some truth to that. IRL, I usually find myself slightly to the left of the consensus in any conversation, although on certain subjects I tend towards being libertarian. Here, I feel like an old reactionary. And I'm British. God knows what K5 looks like to Americans. Nonetheless, I stick around here, because there is a range of views, albeit an odd one, and most people are smart enough to argue in a civilised way, instead of shouting at one another.

There must be some interesting reason how it ended up this way. Most K5ers came from Slashdot at some point, and Slashdot is hardly a bastion of liberalism. Before the Great Crash, K5 had a more typically internetty (ie. libertarian) political slant. I know a lot of more conservative types were angry about the response of certain people (not actually the usual lefty suspects) to 9/11 and disappeared at that stage.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 0) (#167)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 07:54:06 AM EST

Before the Great Crash, K5 had a more typically internetty (ie. libertarian) political slant. I know a lot of more conservative types were angry about the response of certain people (not actually the usual lefty suspects) to 9/11 and disappeared at that stage.

You seem to be quite a scribe of K5 sociological history. Would you care to elaborate on this? What was the Great Crash? November 2001? And what response to 9/11, and by whom, stimulated this supposed conservative flight?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

As far as I can tell ... (none / 0) (#170)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:06:06 AM EST

You seem to be quite a scribe of K5 sociological history.

Not really. It's just a casual observation. I'm happy to be contradicted. K5's make-up, relative to other sites, is curious: there are more Europeans, and a generally leftish tinge. I don't know what the explanation is.

What was the Great Crash? November 2001 ?

Novemeber and December, I think, wasn't it ? There were some people who never seemed to come back after that. Although I suspect some did with different accounts.

And what response to 9/11, and by whom, stimulated this supposed conservative flight?

Some non-American people said things that were ... extremely insensitive. Some other people, including me, expressed fears that still other people took the wrong way. There were a number of diaries and comments from folks from around that time that expressed a generalised disgust and intention to leave.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Quite a few Hitchens Leftists (none / 0) (#179)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:37:06 AM EST

Came to be considered, by Betcour, bc, et al, as reactionary conservatives. Some of us who are leftist find it dangerous how the hard left, on K5 and elsewhere, automatically assume that any dissent from the "US is automatically evil" viewpoint is the sign of being a George Bush Conservative.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Second (none / 0) (#194)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:36:04 PM EST

I'll second your observation. K5 is much more left leaning in recent months. I never thought to think of it in the 9/11 context, but now that you bring that up, it makes a lot of sense and jives with my observations.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

What is the center, anyway? (none / 0) (#209)
by kholmes on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:15:15 PM EST

"IRL, I usually find myself slightly to the left of the consensus in any conversation..."

IRL, I don't discuss politics because frankly, most of the people I know don't care at all about it. Occasionally I'll tell them how folly that attitude is and they just get angry.

But I wonder what exactly the center is. I know the political spectrum isn't an exact science and in many ways is inadequeate for the task. For instance, it has come to my attention that there are many varieties of leftist politics and only recently I've began speculating on varieties of the right. Is there such thing as secular conservatism? While certainly not a popular position it would be quite different from what we see as the religious right.

I used to see myself as a leftist but after learning what leftist politics is really about I've began moving towards the right and at present consider myself more of a moderate than anything else. But this has caused me to wonder where the center is and if I am more to the left or the right of that center.

In some ways I am curious about the chart I've seen drafted by the liberetarians which beholds politics as a two-dimensional spectrum with the liberetarians in the upper-right signifying how they support freedom both socially and economically. The liberals prefer more government control over economics in the upper-left but believe that the government should be any number of steps removed from our social lives and catty-corner to the liberals are the conservatives who believe the reverse. In opposition to the libretarians in the lower-left is labelled the authoritarians who aren't mentioned much at all but supposedly favor government control over both our social lives as well economically.

Now if there is any such thing as objectivity in politics I'd say that overall the United States as a whole is well into the liberetarian camp and the political intrigue is in asking whether to proceed downwards into conservatism or leftwards towards liberalism. But this is of course an abstraction or generalization.

Oh well, ignore this rant if you will since I haven't actually made a point but I'll still post it to see if anyone has had speculations in parrellel with mine.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Good question (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 06:01:32 PM EST

When moderate democratic politics is at its worst, the difference between the left and right wing parties does not seem to be anything more than the particular interest groups they are beholden to. The left is in hoc to public workers unions. The right is in hoc to commercial interests. Its a rather unattractive picture, and exactly what Hayek warned against back in 1948, when he saw the emerging socialism was leading towards explicitly favouring some class interests over others.

There's the radical left as well, of course. I don't really know what to make of them, these days. I certainly wouldn't say they were in hoc to any particular interests, but they do seem to be unduly influenced by a collection of trendy causes. The relative difficulty of holding onto Marxism, or anything like it, as a political philosophy seems to have taken away the central rallying point of the far left. While particular individuals (like valeko) have interesting and generally sensible things to say, the movement as a whole looks incoherent, and, I'm afraid, whiny. I suppose there's a radical right, too, in the shape of people like Keeteel, but I don't know what to make of them at all.

The terms left and right originated from the seating arrangements in the French National Assembly during the revolution. Those who favoured social change sat on the left, and those who favoured preserving the status quo sat on the right. When that is what is meant, I think the terms progressive and conservative are better. I wouldn't hesitate to classify myself as progressive in that sense of the word. I don't, however, see that that necessarily leads towards any particular position on, say, Iraq, or Palestine.

For those of us who try to actually think through our political views, I'm not sure it is really useful to classsify yourself or others on a left-right spectrum, except perhaps as a short-hand.

The 2-axis system the libertarians originated is interesting, in that it at least distinguishes positions on 2 different issues. Their distorted use of the word "freedom" in an economic context is unfortunate, though. There's an attempt somewhere to produce a more value-free version of the same test, although it has a slight leftish tilt. I don't really think 2 axese are enough, though. For a start, they don't properly capture the conservative-progrssive distinction I discussed above, and there are other issues, such as environmental policy that don't fit neatly into a distinction between economic and personal life.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

I disagree with at least one aspect of that. (none / 0) (#260)
by valeko on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:48:05 AM EST

The relative difficulty of holding onto Marxism, or anything like it, as a political philosophy seems to have taken away the central rallying point of the far left.

Marxism hasn't met the kind of demise that you speak of. There are many Marxist struggles throughout the world still, although removed from the consciousness of most of the "developed world." It is true that the use of the word "socialism" or anything like it is long banned in polite company since the demise of what was considered its chief exponent (no matter how incorrect this view is), the USSR. But that hasn't caused radical socialism (or Marxism) to go away.

Also, I never perceived Marxism as a central rallying point for what in the West constitutes the "far left" -- it was difficult to do so during the Cold War, no matter what. The popular Communist movements in the postwar period were quickly smashed through undemocratic means by the U.S., most especially in Italy and France. I perceive the extent of the subsequently remaining "far left" as being radical social democracy at most.

As far as the political spectrum in general, I wrote a tangentially related article on Angrydot.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Marxism (none / 0) (#261)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:35:37 AM EST

Marxism hasn't met the kind of demise that you speak of.

I wasn't implying that it had met a demise. Indeed, it is hard to see what a demise would consist of. Marx's thought is still studied in universities. Parts of it have been very influential - although most people probably don't realise just how influential. Other parts of it no longer appear credible. As an ideological framework, it still has some orthodox adherents of one kind of another, although fewer than it once did.

When I say it is relatively harder to adhere to than it once was, I'm really thinking about the overall intellectual climate in the West. Conditions vary in different countries, of course, but at around about the time of the second world war in Britain, broadly Socialist ideas (principally Fabian, but not entirely uninfluence by Marxism) dominated intellectual debate. Various factors - including disillusionment with the Soviet Union, American antagonism to the S-word, and the Labour party's getting bogged down in interest-group politics and escaping it only by letting the Right set the agenda - have radically changed that climate.

There are many Marxist struggles throughout the world still, although removed from the consciousness of most of the "developed world."

I'm curious as to what you're referring to here. I'm aware of a number of rebel groups in the developing world that consider themselves to be Marxist, but I'm not convinced they've done anything to deserve the name. There are left-wing groups that are closer to power (Brazil's PT, the Sandanistas), but I don't see much Marxism in them.

... the demise of what was considered [Socialism's] chief exponent (no matter how incorrect this view is), the USSR.

You've said elsewhere (and I agree) than there were aspects of Soviet society that were not as dismally awful as the general Western view would have it, and it actually acheived, at times, at least some of the objectives usually associated with Socialism. The USSR certainly always proclaimed itself the chief exponent of socialism, and as far as I can see, they were initially entirely sincere in this, and later at least somewhat sincere. During the era where that claim had at least some credibility (it is hard to say precisely when it stopped having, but it did at some point), Western Socialists drew at least some comfort and inspiration from it. While there were certainly groups (though no governments) whose conception of Socialism was purer, I'd contend that none of them was as influential.

popular Communist movements in the postwar period were quickly smashed through undemocratic means by the U.S., most especially in Italy and France.

Again, I don't understand what you're referring to here.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Left, right, up, down (none / 0) (#271)
by teeth on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 10:07:35 AM EST

There is an interesting measure of political leaning at The Political Compass.

Got me bang on as an anarcho-lefty so it can't be all wrong...


Copyright is for protection against publishers
[ Parent ]

That was a great post. (none / 0) (#144)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:27:42 AM EST

It really was (no sarcasm tags here, folks!). However, I believe that you've wasted your time trying to reason with this guy. I mean, on one hand, he could actually be quite serious in his views and beliefs. But I sort of find that hard to believe, and I think that more likely than not he's a troll. I've addressed this before, and I guess I'll address it again. The same criteria can apply here. No real argument for either side, carefully chosen comments and tangents to inflame resident K5 liberals (like his opening line), no real knowledge of Christian theology, etc..

I'm sure that you are aware that a good argument against human cloning is not that hard, and that even the most basic Christian theologist ("basic" meaning somebody who has bothered to read a book or two about it, or perhaps one that can pronounce "Kierkegaard") can hold a decent argument centering around Christian morality on the topic of bioethics.

My best guess is that he's an Adequacy refugee (like myself). And although I dearly miss the AQ (despite what some people here might think, it was fun, humorous, and sometimes had insightful viewpoints), I guess I can't stand for this type of blatant flame bait on a more serious discussion forum. I would like him much more if he tried to put some effort into it, and (like you already stated) tried to put some rational argument behind his viewpoints. But as long as he keeps on talking about "majority rules" and whatnot, I think that we can safely dismiss him as a troll, or if not a troll, someone not deserving of more than a two word response.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

I couldn't decide (5.00 / 2) (#159)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:19:35 AM EST

I think that it was worth taking him seriously once on the chance that he is in earnest, even at the risk of humiliating myself by replying seriously to a known troll. There's more than a little bit of the missionary in me, you see ...

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
..convince YOU about YOUR soul ?????? (none / 0) (#146)
by johwsun on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:26:29 AM EST

..man, you must be an alternative account, if you believe that you have no soul...

thats all I have to say, and there is no need to talk and convince alternative accounts!!!!

Let them disapear to Hell as they deserve!

I am talkin to you, because your master is hearing me, and Iwant to convice him, you poor marionette!

[ Parent ]

God is only one... (none / 0) (#153)
by johwsun on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:14:36 AM EST

You remind me what it is said often, as a Joke:
"All persons are equals eachother, but some of them are more equals than others"
No my friend. equality is only one, there are no two equalities.

God is only one simply because freedom is ony one, equality is only one, democracy is only one, love in only one, also hell (the absense of all the above) is only one.

Thats why God in only one!

[ Parent ]

Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#193)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:32:09 PM EST

No my friend. equality is only one, there are no two equalities.

I guess you have never programmed in Perl...

-Chris


[ Parent ]

Please explain to me.... (1.25 / 4) (#123)
by ThreadSafe on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:42:23 PM EST

what "critical thought" and christianity possibly have in common. Actually thought alone would be a good starting point.

PS: You are the one who is the licker of the balls.


Make a clone of me. And fucking listen to it! - Faik
[ Parent ]

The Real World. (4.00 / 5) (#148)
by YelM3 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:15:44 AM EST

So when you say, "the real world," what you of course mean is "the world which I approve of and support."

The problem with your argument is this: I don't live in your world. In fact, I loathe your world. I am sickened on a daily basis thinking that people actually live in your repressed, sheltered, screwed-up reality.

Fear God. Make Money. Kill millions because an oil company billionaire wants you to. Believe all the lies, even though the truth is staring you in the face. It's easier that way, far easier. Teach the kids: obey the system, the system knows what's right. Don't think for yourself, the system is just fine as it is. Millions dead in Iraq? George told us they were Evil. It's all right. I believe him. It's on CNN. They must be right. It's easier that way. Look, I drive a nice car, my family has nice things, I do everything that authority has been telling me to do since I was a kid. Everything must be fine. I love my country. More people in prison than anywhere else on the planet? More gun deaths by far? Millions of homeless? Millions below the poverty line? The system is right. It must be those who don't live by the system. Yes, they are to blame. They must be. The system is great, the system works. Everything is fine. Millions dead. Depleted Uranium. Bombed the water supply. Denied medical supplies for a decade. Saddam is evil; we just want Saddam. Killed an American in Yemen with a remote-controlled missile? No trial? Terrorists are evil, it's OK. I love my country. I stand by my leader.

You are not going to convince anyone of your views, unless they are thoughtless sheep who would rather take the easy way and not see what is really happening in "the real world."

Go ahead and take them. And please, stay, and share your perspective. It's good to be reminded how backwards "the majority" actually is.

[ Parent ]

Amen (none / 0) (#155)
by StephenThompson on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:39:51 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Amen (none / 0) (#156)
by StephenThompson on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:39:58 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Amen, Reverend! (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 07:49:57 AM EST

I bless you for your excellent response. No, really. That's exactly what I was going to say.

I predict a religious schism within America's Protestant community in which about half of them will come to hail Bush as the new deity. Come to think of it, they already do, along with the flag, army, war, etc. They're all national deities.

Why do they even bother with this church stuff still?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Thumbs waaaayy up! (n/t) (none / 0) (#208)
by Veritech on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:13:54 PM EST



[ Parent ]
YHBT / freerepublic.com (none / 0) (#181)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 10:08:26 AM EST

By the way, this is most likely a troll.. a very successful one at that. A google search on freerepublic.com turned up no results for keeteel. While it's possible that this guy posts under a different nickname there, it's unlikely given how outspoken he is.

Yeah I know I bit too, I couldn't resist. I guess I'm like everyone else, I hope he's just a troll but I feel obligated to ridicule him just in case he is serious.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Pot. Kettle. Black. (3.00 / 5) (#109)
by Fiscal Responsibility on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:05:51 PM EST

If you want to believe in the tooth fairy, that's fine by me.

But keep your ethics out of my face, because I want nothing to do with your morals, and I certainly won't live by them.

The church is dead, and imposing your pathetic laws on a world who does not want them is going to do nothing to resurrect it.



[ Parent ]
Majority Rules (1.00 / 5) (#111)
by Keeteel on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:21:23 PM EST

You're simply a minority and have no bearing over what the majority wants. Honestly why do you think most of the world believes in a God? Because we're the victim of some fairy tale? When most people believe in something and a small minority doesn't based on no evidence you have to wonder. Since we're a jusitifiably religous species it is our responsiblity to make sure those religous teachings are imposed and practice on societies through out the world. The last thing we need is a small minority of people who have lost their faith because of the tempation of evil, people who will ultimately be damned if they do not repent, dictating the morals, ethics and science of society. We need people who have an open mind, strong sense of faith, and a love of the lord deciding what happens in the world since our very existance was built around those values.

And if you don't like it, majority rules anyway. Besides, the US has the power - try to stop us.

[ Parent ]
Minority now, Majority later (4.66 / 3) (#113)
by deadcow on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 04:48:53 PM EST

>The last thing we need is a small minority of >people who have lost their faith because of the >tempation of evil, people who will ultimately be >damned if they do not repent, dictating the >morals, ethics and science of society. Just like Jesus and his small cadre of followers.. a small minority following their own set of beliefs against the majority. Popular vote does not equal truth, you realize. Jesus was right, according to your beliefs, yes? What if he said, oh, majority rules, so I must be wrong? Of course not; he had faith in his own sense of morals, ethics, and the "science of society." Therefore, the majority is neither correct not incorrect simply because they are a majority.

[ Parent ]
No... (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 12:57:05 AM EST

No, you don't get it.. that was a long time ago, when people were very stupid. We are all much smarter now, having learned from our mistakes. If a majority believes something is true, it must be true because we are all very smart nowadays.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
People are SMART now? (none / 0) (#253)
by deadcow on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 11:58:44 PM EST

You have got to be kidding me! Has average intelligence has risen? I don't think so; evolutionarily speaking, that would be a bit fast; in terms of advances in science, fancy gadgets don't make people smarter. In fact, the state of the world today(shitty, could be better) is more proof of how stupid we STILL are.

With the very real advances in science we've gotten over the years, we could very easily have ended world hunger and created world peace centuries ago. But this has not happened. Why? Because the majority of people are sheep, unable or unwilling to implement and influence the greater problems of the world(myself included). Majority rules != Majority is right.

[ Parent ]

Explanation (none / 0) (#254)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 12:19:59 AM EST

I was sarcastically referring to the way that most people feel superior to past civilizations. The comparisons between ancient superpowers (which have since fallen) and the United States are lost on most people.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
I'm a retard (n/t) (none / 0) (#258)
by deadcow on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 08:02:54 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Free choice (4.25 / 4) (#116)
by hengist on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 05:13:58 PM EST

it is our responsiblity to make sure those religous teachings are imposed and practice on societies through out the world

If I remember my Christian dogma correctly, god gave humanity free choice, choice to believe or not. Are you really advocating second-guessing your god by imposing your beliefs?

There can be no Pax Americana
[ Parent ]

I've heard this before (3.25 / 4) (#119)
by seanic on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:09:04 PM EST

You sound just like all of the other fascist fanatics. If you listen to yourself you will realize the difference between you and bin Laden is limited to the title of the book you are espousing. As to your assertion that "majority rules", may I point out that the US is not a democracy and is not governed by mob rule. May I also point you to the Constitution which prevents troglodytes such as yourself from imposing your self-righteous mysticism upon the rest of us.

And if you don't like it, majority rules anyway. Besides, the US has the power - try to stop us.

Is this supposed to be a coherent statement or an illustration of your command of the english language? In either case kindly do not include freedom loving Americans such as myself in your totalitarian statements.

Oh wait, I get it now, you're trying to be a parody of yourself.

--
"The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is, however, alleviated by their lack of consistency" -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]
It is comforting to know... (4.00 / 2) (#124)
by ThreadSafe on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:44:27 PM EST

there still exists americans who beleive in freedom.

Make a clone of me. And fucking listen to it! - Faik
[ Parent ]

"Besides, the US has the power - try to stop (none / 0) (#161)
by katie on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:26:19 AM EST


I believe someone else has taken up that challenge and so far, from where I sit, Bin Laden is winning.

He's killed 3000, he's got popular support in a nuclear armed country... and the US has so far failed to shoot or arrest him.

The US might well have a lot of aircraft carriers, but Bin Laden's methods use transit vans as force projectors and I think he can get hold of more of them...

[ Parent ]

I think we are winning (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:29:11 PM EST

He took a couple of buildings, we took his and his hosts' country. Granted, we haven't killed him (assuming he is alive) -- but then again he's done nothing to stop the Great Satan from encroaching on the holy Muslim lands. If anything, he gave the US the best excuse to barge on into the Middle East. We certainly would have left Afghanistan alone, and in the absence of 9/11 and the accompanying fervor, we certainly wouldn't be going into Iraq.

Yup, I think we're winning this pissing contest.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Christianity and Democracy (4.20 / 5) (#142)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 12:50:56 AM EST

You're simply a minority and have no bearing over what the majority wants

You know historically speaking, Christianity and democracy haven't exactly been friendly to each other.. it's only recently that folks like yourself got this idea that God somehow endorsed the United States and its political system. This notion seems pretty self-serving to me - religious conservatives across the nation use it to justify their agenda, because "God blesses America."

By the way, one of the functions of our representative system of government is its duty to protect the interests of minorities. This is one thing that separates us from a true democracy. I would expect someone who is such a bible-thumping, flag-waving, jingoist to understand this point. Of course if it were up to you, you'd probably burn the first amendment (at least the religious freedom part) in the name of God.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Majority doesn't rule... (none / 0) (#178)
by Fen on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:34:26 AM EST

the single person rules. Area effect weapons.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Worldwide belief in God (4.00 / 1) (#246)
by ethereal on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:52:18 PM EST

Honestly why do you think most of the world believes in a God? Because we're the victim of some fairy tale?

I don't know, could it be that monotheistic religions tend to engender fiercer societies which then subjugate the neighboring peoples and forcibly evangelize them? It would be one thing if the vast majority of people worldwide, with no discussion or coercion, all decided rationally that God really did make sense and that they should believe in Him/Her. But since the vast majority of the world's religion-following people were either inculcated with their particular brand from a young age, or else more-or-less forcibly converted, I guess we'll never know whether belief in God actually does arise from the normal human condition.

Frankly, that's my major complaint with religion: evangelization. If your religion was so great, wouldn't I figure it out on my own? Why do I need somebody to talk me into following your particular God? If God really was a force in the world (i.e. not a fairy tale), don't you think everybody would belive in Him/Her, rather than only the sizeable majority that you've managed to collectively talk into it? You either have to believe that all professed atheists and agnostics (and probably pagans, druids, etc. too) are really damn contrarian and deny God to His/Her face, or you have to admit that the evidence for God is so unconvincing that it takes evangelization, force, and/or childhood indoctrination to actually get people to profess to belief in God.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Contradiction (none / 0) (#272)
by teeth on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 10:44:16 AM EST

"We need people who have an open mind,[and a] strong sense of faith"

An open mind requires that any aspect of your world view should be subject to revision should it prove contrary to evidence.

Strong faith requires that no aspect of your world view should be subject to revision should it prove contrary to evidence.

You can't have both.


Copyright is for protection against publishers
[ Parent ]

Narrow World View (4.50 / 8) (#117)
by NarcusMaslund on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 05:44:20 PM EST

Let me take this moment to remind you that thousands of preople across the world are reading your very laughable post. You've made some sweeping generalizations and assumptions. Your post only enforces the fact that you have an extremely narrow worldview. Let's go over a few of your words, shall we?

>>"Most people *ARE* religous"
Agreed. From the 1998 Information Please Almanac ( a little old, but...):
Atheists (not a religion, but the number is still noting): 1,782,809,000.
Muslims: 1,126,325,000
Roman Catholics : 981,465,000
Hindus : 793,075,000
Protestants : 404,020,000
Other Christians : 282,258,000
Buddhists : 325,275,000
Orthodox : 218,350,000
Anglicans : 69,136,000
Sikhs : 19,508,000
Jews : 13,968,000
Baha'is : 6,404,000
Confucians : 5,086,000
Jains : 4,620,000
Shintoists : 2,897,500


>>"pro-abortion, pro-cloning, pro-homosexual marriages all which seek to unweave the social fabric founded on God"
Absolutely wrong! Homosexual marriages don't seek to unweave the social fabric founded on god. I would bet that most married homosexuals would rather be left alone by the social fabric you speak of.

>>"Why do you think most of the world and America is religous and you're not?"
It's worth noting that America has more religious nutcases than any other Western country by far.

>>"Simply because you've already purposefully damned yourself by rejecting God even though you very well know the evidence states he exists"
Now you are imposing your belief system on someone else. When you do this you are arguing yourself out of contention. What if I said to you, "By not praying to Mecca and Medina 5 times a day, you are damning yourself to hell and you know it."

>>"Normal people DON'T want you interfering with the genes, structure, or soul of invididuals to carry out your agendas of destroying our religous solidarity through the creation of souless beings."
So you claim to be normal? You are speaking on behalf of normal people? I am sure that after reading your post, most folks would consider you to be "not normal". Again, you impose your belief system as if it was actual fact - what's this talk of souless beings?

>>"...if you people want to be accepted as normal..."
C'mon now. Who in their right minds wants to be considered "normal" anyways. Certainly not most Kuro5hin readers - or even most internet users.

>>"I know others stand aside me when I state I'm GLAD the US is the most powerful country in the world..."
One thing about empires. They all eventually fall. The US may be the most powerful, but it's certainly not the most "free" or most "desirable" to live in. Look at the stats from world health sites, etc. US usually falls after Sweden, Norway, Canada, New Zealand, etc. Keep trying.

>>"...since we tend to be one of the last countries willing to stand behind our religous teachings..."
There are a few other countries that are (were) standing behind their religious teachings far more than yours. Afgahnistan, Iraq, Sudan, ...

[ Parent ]
You have to take something into account. (3.00 / 1) (#133)
by mideast on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:41:59 PM EST

Atheists (not a religion, but the number is still noting): 1,782,809,000.

At least a billion people are atheists by fiat (the population of the PRC). IIRC, the Soviet Union also had a similar policy during its time.

[ Parent ]

This is a lie. (3.00 / 2) (#135)
by valeko on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 09:03:48 PM EST

the Soviet Union also had a similar policy during its time.
I suggest you take a cursory look at what life in the USSR was really like before spouting such nonsense.

The peak of hostility toward religion in the USSR was during Stalin. Subsequently, places of worship (as well as people who... *gasp*.. get this .. professed Christianity) were quite ubiquitous. You can ask any American who traveled to the USSR in post-Stalinist time and they will tell you the same.

Including Billy Graham himself, who visited Moscow in 1982 and was quoted as saying, in reflection, that "the churches that are open, of which there are thousands, seem to have liberty to have worship services", as well as "families are free to teach their children the Bible and to have prayer in their homes." This and accompanying notes drew extremely heavy fire from the American corporate press, chiefly to the effect that he had been "duped by the Russians", was a Communist, etc.

Surely it's not possible that manufactured reality of Soviet society and the real thing are incongruous! Can't be...

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

By fiat. (4.00 / 3) (#160)
by katie on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:21:38 AM EST

Of course, quite a lot of people are "religious" by fiat as well, so that argument doesn't work too well.

The Church of England counts as a "member", everyone who was baptised. Cutely, it doesn't provide a mechanism for leaving that it recognises as such, so it basically gets to claim all those people as its constituency.

Now I don't recall anyone asking me if I wanted to be baptised, and by the time I get a choice, it's too late, and they're already counting me as one of their 40 million supporters when they make arguments to the government about oppressing minority groups. They're very definitely not bigots, we're told we have to understand, they just don't want those perverted gays being able to get married...

[ Parent ]

Atheists (not a religion) (5.00 / 2) (#177)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:32:16 AM EST

Hmmm. Most of the atheists I've met are every bit as dogmatic as any Roman Catholic or Southern Baptist. Different dogma, but the same intensity. Including the strong evangelizing and the feeling that people need to be "saved".

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Not the atheists I've met. (none / 0) (#207)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:06:52 PM EST

The ones I've dealt with are defined by the complete absence of any "faith", dogma, or desire to convert anyone to anything. That's why I have trouble with the claim that atheism is an act of faith; it's a lack of "faith", in the theological sense, as I see it.

Maybe I'm just biased because I'm part of that group too.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

MAY I PROPOSE...... (3.60 / 5) (#125)
by ThreadSafe on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 06:57:36 PM EST

that the best way to combat the ideals of people such as Keeteel here is to completely ignore them. Laugh at them by all means, look upon them as hopeless idiots consumed by anger, self loathing and extreme anal retentiveness. But do not argue with them. This will only server to vindicate their stance in their own minds, and will cause them to persist in spewing fourth the notions of conserverative christianity for years to come. Let me assure you that they are in fact very miserable people.


Make a clone of me. And fucking listen to it! - Faik
[ Parent ]

Oh, come on. (2.00 / 4) (#126)
by valeko on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 07:25:08 PM EST

We need laughing stock once in a while.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Now our collection is complete (5.00 / 1) (#190)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:18:41 PM EST

I was looking for a right-wing nut to laugh at and mock to complement the left-wing ones that we already have. I think it's like Pokemon:

Valeko v. Keeteel

Gotta catch them all!

-Chris

[ Parent ]

feh (none / 0) (#196)
by infinitera on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:46:40 PM EST

Since when is valeko a nut?

[ Parent ]
Valeko is my favorite nut... (3.66 / 3) (#198)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:55:51 PM EST

... well not quite. The AOL Guy is probably my favorite nut, but valeko runs a close race.

He's as wacky left wing as Keeteel is wacky right wing. I find his constant Soviet-apologism to be quite nutty. (But remember that Stalin was not a Soviet!) I'm just glad that we have some Freepers coming over because I'm tired of reading all rehashed leftist dogma these days. It's much more interesting to watch the two argue. Similar to annihilation -- lots of fuss, lots of energy, probably lots of noise, and nothing concrete comes out of it at the end.

Of course, if we didn't have people so dead set in their extreme views to actually discuss things and not shout past each other, it would be like the K5 of old... sigh

-Chris

[ Parent ]

screw that (4.25 / 4) (#202)
by infinitera on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:12:27 PM EST

I find his constant Soviet-apologism to be quite nutty. (But remember that Stalin was not a Soviet!)
Valeko does not engage in lying, if that's what you mean. Firstly, he merely brings to light the historical facts as they are known. Second, he dispells the Western myths of Soviet life dreariness, post-Stalin. And yes, that is an important distinction. For 40 years, the Soviet people, all of them, lived without worrying how to find or pay for medical treatment, housing, water, or heating. They could raise their families [my own included, emigrated to the US in 1989] in relative safety, as compared to the working classes and the homeless of this supposedly 'great' and 'civilized' nation, the US. Stalin was a madman, as Hitler was. He was a Soviet dictator, but he seperated the history of the USSR in two periods. His, and post-his. This is not a denial of his atrocities. Those who followed him had much to answer for, and answer they did. The acceptability of their answer is of course up for discussion and debate, but it cannot be claimed that theirs was a government beholden to none, and having no good deeds to its name.

[ Parent ]
I am not a Soviet apologist. [OT] (4.00 / 4) (#210)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:30:55 PM EST

This is a response to you, as well as the numerous others who like to portray me as a "Soviet apologist"...

I don't proselytize for the incontrovertible righteousness of the Soviet Union at any point in time. What I do is dispel myths that are created by the ruling class, myths that integrated into public consciousness through mass-media for more than 80 years. Media serves a particular class interest, at the expense of truth.

In other words, I clarify the mundanities of every-day life in the post-Stalinist Soviet Union. Believe it or not, some people there lived just fine. They evn had healthcare. And vacations. And intellectual creativity. And even food, despite the vigilance of plutocratic media in trying to convince us that the Russians are starving, the Russians are coming, etc.

The other point I often try to make is that Soviet foreign policy in reality has little relationship to the mythology that has been ingrained into the American (and indeed, Western) public consciousness. Did you know that Stalin supported a unified post-war Germany? Did you know that the 1948 Soviet blockade of Berlin was in part a response to the Western governments' violation of their treaty obligations in their unification of the West German government? The Soviet Union throughout the entire history of the Cold War made countless overtures for friendly relations and peace, all dismissed by the U.S. in favour of an arms race. I'm not making this up -- look at the sequence of post-war events, who started building massive bomber fleets first, who acted belligerently with their nuclear monopoly, etc. Regardless of your ideological inclination, there's obvious truths here that must be considered -- truths that one can consider without being essentially a Soviet apologist in all shape and form.

Reactionary thought, whether conscious or not, finds things that dispel axiomatic mythologies to be indigestible. When you say that I am a Soviet apologist, you're behaving just like that. You're making a giant caricature of what I am saying, a caricature which has little relationship to my beliefs, expressed and implied. Ideas that don't fall within the narrow framework espoused by your institutions that socialise people into "conventional thought" are not very credible; people try to rationalise them. That's why you, as well as the likes of trhurler, dismiss me as a "Soviet apologist", an outright "wacky left-wing" fanatic, etc. I realise it's easy and pleasant to discredit someone who tells you that maybe the USSR wasn't a big militaristic concetration camp, that some of its socialist institutions actually had benefits and merits, and that its foreign policy had a rationale that wasn't always grounded in sheer, god-damn diabolicalness.

That's fine. If you want to be an idiot, it's your choice. For more open-minded people, I sincerely hope that I'm doing a small part to clear up manufactured misconceptions -- misconceptions that can be corrected with only a cursory look at actually-existing history.

Also, if you look at some of the things stuck on the "extreme left", you'd find, generally, that intense sympathy toward the USSR isn't one of them.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Words from the idiot (3.60 / 5) (#220)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:37:48 PM EST

Here's the problem. I would think you would have a point if I were the typical uneducated American you keep thinking I am. I'm not. I know about the abuses of the US gov't over the past fifty years, and I know about the abuses of the USSR gov't. Furthermore, I've lived and talked actual Russians about these things to get their perspective on these things.

My host-father and I spoke about these things many, many times while I was living in St. Petersburg. And you know what? Your constant attempts to paint the USSR as a nation that was as great nation as the US during its Soviet days ignore the fact that life under the Soviets was simply much worse than in the US at the equivalent time. There's a reason that the USSR is no more -- it failed its people and it eventually failed them so much that even with a notorious secret police, state controlled media, and all the other pieces of a closed society that the people simply had enough.

I'll be the first to say that the transition has not been easy thus far -- I've seen it with my own eyes after all -- and the only Russians you will find who long for the Soviet days instead of the improving future are those who burdened the Russian society and have no interest in helping shape their collective future as a nation.

One last question -- If the Soviet Union was so great, why is it that in the USA, there are major Russian communities in places like Chicago and New York, but under the Soviets, there were no such communities of Americans who fled the United States for the USSR? I think this says more about the true state of things than any sort of self-important myth-busting by a reactionary. Ask yourself this -- if the USSR was such an okay society, how long would you have been able to post inverse comments about how great the US is before the KGB hauled you off to a kangaroo court before your vacation in Siberia?

I understand the emotions and reasons to fight the "oppressive" Western status quo. However, in you zeal to paint the US as such a villian and using the USSR as the paintbrush, you had better be prepared to face the fact that the USSR had more skeletons in the closet than the US. It's like saying that Hitler was better than Bush because Hitler was much kinder to his pets than Bush. You cannot just ignore the whole rest of the picture.

-Chris

PS. Apologies for any possible Godwin'ing of this thread.

[ Parent ]

But again, you put words into my mouth. [OT] (4.00 / 4) (#222)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 10:14:15 PM EST

Your constant attempts to paint the USSR as a nation that was as great nation as the US during its Soviet days ignore the fact that life under the Soviets was simply much worse than in the US at the equivalent time.

I never make attempts to paint the USSR to be "as great [a] nation as the US during its Soviet days." I would emphasise that this depends on who we're talking about -- for whom was it better or worse? -- and when, and also depending on what you consider "better". I don't accord with your desire to reduce everything to a simple maxim. It'd be nice if you could qualitatively say that something is "better" or "worse", but the reality is that it's a very, very complex question.

Of course, I sense also that whereas I, along with all Soviet citizens I know, make a distinction between "Soviet life" and "Stalin-era life", you don't. This is a substantial factor in this discussion. Like infinitera pointed out to you the first time, Stalin was a horrendous tyrant with the best of them. Your sarcastic "remember, Stalin was not a Soviet!" doesn't ring true with any Russian I know, and certainly doesn't strike me as any spasm of insight on your part. While Stalinism is part of Soviet history, it would be improper to not afford it a very emphatic distinction.

If I were to make generalisations about 20th century German history, I'd have to include the Nazis. What am I going to do, claim that they were not German? That their loyal subjects were not German? Of course not. But it would be a serious academic and practical error to not view the Nazi era as something in and of itself; it would not be correct to say that the Nazis are characteristically German. Some cynics (particularly Holocaust victims) are sure to view it that way, but most Germans wouldn't tolerate that sort of nonsense from you. In the same way, I don't think Soviet people come to perceive Stalin as "characteristically Soviet" -- Stalin is Stalin. End of story. Stalin is no less part of Soviet history than Khruschev is, but Stalin is a very different part of Soviet history. To say all this is not a denial of history, but compartmentalisation of it that fits appropriate boundaries marking the beginning and end of certain distinct social orders.

There's a reason that the USSR is no more -- it failed its people and it eventually failed them so much that even with a notorious secret police, state controlled media, and all the other pieces of a closed society that the people simply had enough.

I offer no real contest to this, other than to say that the reasons for the Soviet disintegration are a little more complex than merely that "the people simply had enough." There are many places in the world where people have had quite enough of certain regimes, certain features of their societies, etc, and that doesn't necessarily mean they are disposed of. There's certainly enough places in the world where the overwhelming majority of people have had enough of the chronic and debilitating U.S. presence, but that's not causing the global economic order to go away, as you can see. Things don't go away simply because people don't like them anymore.

Of course, that entire statement is predicated on the assumption that Soviet people, collectively, "had enough." To make such a generalisation is absurd; that you claim this is a striking testiment to your tendency to see things through the American prism, as most American visitors to the USSR and Russia generally do. A lot of it is based on the reductionism of socialist bloc societies into a single, dreary Communist monolith. This is another element of ruling class thought, and I do wonder if you've fallen into that void. The people in the USSR who had enough were the liberal intelligentsia; there were many ordinary, working-class people who had a vested interest in the Soviet system, although they may not have realised this until after its demise. People who were used to bread costing the same for decades, who now had to contend with prices five or six times their monthly salary. People who are out of work, their lives in disarray, their subsistence now a daily question instead of something taken for granted. People who the system has completely abandoned (i.e. not the "New Russians" working for western firms in Moscow, where most of Russia's capital is parked).

There are lots of these. And don't you dare tell them that it is better now. In Soviet time, they had clothes, food, vacation, medicine, education, and housing. What do they have now?

Ask yourself this -- if the USSR was such an okay society, how long would you have been able to post inverse comments about how great the US is before the KGB hauled you off to a kangaroo court before your vacation in Siberia?

Quite a long time, if you're talking post-Stalin days. Lots of Americans seem to believe that the times of Khruschev and Brezhnev saw people being hauled to the gulag just as during Stalin. This is not true.

Trust me, I have no illusions of fundamental political freedom in the USSR at any point in its history. But failure to make the distinction between the Stalinist Reign of Terror and the nature of Soviet society after it is a critical mistake.

you had better be prepared to face the fact that the USSR had more skeletons in the closet than the US.

Now you are just being silly. This is not true, if we are to consider the history of American imperial pre-eminence in all its forms.

How about a reasonable discussion, not something that sounds like another Republican/Democrat Cold War campaign rally where each candidate from both sides tries eagerly to prove how much more enthusiastically brimming with "anti-Communist" orthodoxy he is. ("REMEMBER the 58 million [sic] victims of Stalin!" and "how about we erect a memorial to the 100 million victims of Communism?")

I see that you are concerned with not being passed off as another "uneducated American" -- another Cold Warrior -- but you are not really transcending the limitations of your one-sided upbringing. Really. I'm not being patronising. You may think that you're thinking independently -- why, you even visited St. Petersburg and talked with real Russians -- but you're really picking from a preconditioned set of responses, a preconditioned mindset. That's where we get statements like:
"[T]he only Russians you will find who long for the Soviet days instead of the improving future are those who burdened the Russian society and have no interest in helping shape their collective future as a nation." This is simply not true. You haven't the faintest clue what you're talking about.

That said, I'm not sure it would be constructive to debate this with you further. However, I do ask you kindly to refrain from your obnoxious labeling -- I am not a "Soviet apologist", or a "nutcase" of revisionist company.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

K5 lameness filter hates smileys :-( (2.00 / 2) (#227)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 11:57:01 PM EST

Excellent post. I figured with enough goading you would produce something stellar. I've not been disappointed. I have nothing else to debate with you -- your post was strongly argued and well worded.

If I may, a serious question (I'm not trolling you anymore) -- from which republic are you from and in your honest opinion would the Soviet republic have been better off had the coup not occurred or will the component countries be better off because of the collapse of the union?

Once more -- kudos. This is what I've been missing of late.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

If you were trolling... (3.00 / 2) (#228)
by valeko on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 12:15:47 AM EST

I'm not very impressed. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they say what they think. Perhaps I should cut down on that now, since everybody who professes an opposite viewpoint (except maybe RyoCokey, gibichung, and maybe a few others) seems to just be trolling me.

As infinitera said: "Eh. People suck."

I think trolls that pretend to have a serious discussion fit into that mold very much. This isn't Adequacy.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Well, not a troll in the usual sense (4.25 / 4) (#230)
by br284 on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 12:29:37 AM EST

Somewhere along the way I was serious in what I was posting -- you've not changed my mind in any way about whether the US way is better than the alternatives (long live Pax Americana) -- but I do like to see dissenting viewpoints and I like to see them argued well.

I think I quit caring somewhere back when we had the Stalinst v. Soviet era discussion. (Arguing about the past bores me.) I was mostly wondering if you would ever post something beyond the "you cannot understand because of the information you've been force fed by your ruling elite" vibe which seems to be the default for you. Your last lengthy post was great because you quit hiding behind the "ruling elite" gig and actually made some really good points about the Soviet era.

Posts like that have been more and more rare here and I've been wondering if I would see them again. Now if I cared enough to goad everyone else around here, we'd have the old K5 back. Of course, my mentioning this prevents me from doing this again.

Of course I could just be being lame and trying to hide that I don't have anything effective to argue back at you. Either way, you finally made a good post that would make people think and you backed it up pretty well. It made me grin.

-Chris

PS. You're still one of my favorite nuts.

[ Parent ]

Oh really? (3.00 / 4) (#241)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:20:04 PM EST

Look, you're 16 years old, maybe 17 now. You were at the oldest maybe 5 when the USSR fell apart. You know what your parents tell you, and you know what you read in books, and that's all you know. What was your parents' background? Where and when were the books you've read written? You always act as though anything you have heard or read has no propaganda content at all, and everything else is pure and simple lies. That's simply not true. Whose government had an entire agency dedicated to making sure that only government approved books were published, only government approved news made the headlines, and so on? Hint: not the US. If you're looking for propaganda, go look at the former USSR, which had the most successful propaganda machine ever.
Believe it or not, some people there lived just fine. They evn had healthcare. And vacations. And intellectual creativity. And even food, despite the vigilance of plutocratic media in trying to convince us that the Russians are starving, the Russians are coming, etc.
Yes, some people lived just fine. What about the majority, who did not live in cities, were not Party members, did not have connections, were not children of people with exceptional skills or knowledge, and so on? What about the people who stood in bread lines, and who lived with their entire families in single room apartments with plumbing that usually didn't work, heating that was at best questionable, no air conditioning, minimal sanitation, and so on? Your books don't mention them? How strange...
Did you know that Stalin supported a unified post-war Germany?
Of course, as long as that meant that Germany was a communist satellite country. He was happy to roll his tanks over half of Germany and then declare the whole thing as the next People's Republic. What a generous guy! He created the most brutal, most repressive government Germans have ever known!
Did you know that the 1948 Soviet blockade of Berlin was in part a response to the Western governments' violation of their treaty obligations in their unification of the West German government?
That's one way of viewing it. However, there was no obligation on the part of the West to give control to Stalin's puppet government any more than there was on the part of Stalin to give up eastern Germany to the West. You have been spoon fed a pack of lies.
The Soviet Union throughout the entire history of the Cold War made countless overtures for friendly relations and peace, all dismissed by the U.S. in favour of an arms race.
Overtures like promising to create world communism through violent revolutions all over the world. Yeah, that USSR was a real friendly neighbor!
who started building massive bomber fleets first,
Or put another way, who developed the ability to build them first? The USSR would have been most happy to do so had it had the capability.
who acted belligerently with their nuclear monopoly
When, where, and how? This is fictional.
Also, if you look at some of the things stuck on the "extreme left", you'd find, generally, that intense sympathy toward the USSR isn't one of them.
It certainly was at the time. As was Mao worship, strangely enough. Horrible leaders seem to attract cult followings among leftists...

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
An even more narrow view (2.00 / 1) (#174)
by SpitFU on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:23:13 AM EST

Why is it so difficult to accept people that have a spiritual belief?  Are christians, catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Shintoists, etc., etc, that threatening to us.

Atheists (not a religion, but the number is still noting): 1,782,809,000
Muslims: 1,126,325,000
Roman Catholics : 981,465,000
Hindus : 793,075,000
Protestants : 404,020,000
Other Christians : 282,258,000
Buddhists : 325,275,000
Orthodox : 218,350,000
Anglicans : 69,136,000
Sikhs : 19,508,000
Jews : 13,968,000
Baha'is : 6,404,000
Confucians : 5,086,000
Jains : 4,620,000
Shintoists : 2,897,500

Total Religious Fanatics = 6,035,196,500

Total Current World Population 6,289,396,841 (From http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop)

I don't know about you, but I think that "Nay's" have it.

Wake up people!!!!  If you're an atheist you're considered a Fanatic!!!! Please.
 

[ Parent ]

RE: An even more narrow view (none / 0) (#185)
by NarcusMaslund on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 11:22:38 AM EST

It's not so difficult to accept people that have a religious belief. I'm certainly not threatened by Christians, Buddhists, etc any more or less than anyone else.

It's just that Keeteels original post seems to imply that all religious people would share the same view as him on cloning.
I consider myself religious in that I believe in a higher power, our 'spirit' lives on after physical death and I belive in the metaphorical truths written in the bible.

However, I don't take what is written in the bible (or the Koran) literally. I don't believe that Jesus' mother Mary, for example, was a virgin when she gave birth. But that's not important. It's the underlying story or myth that's important. It's how we feel and relate and react to these stories that is much more important.

I think it's important that folks like the original poster (Keeteel) to realize that people can be religious and have optimistic views about issues like cloning or stem cell research.

Religion and science are most certainly not mutually exclusive.

[ Parent ]
How is that again? (none / 0) (#217)
by seanic on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 07:13:14 PM EST

Wake up people!!!! If you're an atheist you're considered a Fanatic!!!! Please.

Are you implying what I think you are? Devotion to a cause is hardly the same as intolerance toward other opinions or beliefs. The term "religious fanatic" would be redundant if what you seem to imply is true.

On another note you might want to check here for another set of numbers, I don't know where yours came from but it's another reference which claims fairly fresh data.

One final point, it appears as though they denoted all nonreligious people as atheists. It's simply another case of painting with a broad brush.

--
"The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is, however, alleviated by their lack of consistency" -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]
Atheism count probably due to Communist era stats (none / 0) (#225)
by gpvillamil on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 11:49:23 PM EST

Just a quick observation on the 1.7bn reported atheists - this is very likely sourced from former USSR and Chinese government statistics, that officially decreed their populations to be atheist.

The population of the former USSR are rapidly resuming religious practices, and even in China it is clear that some forms of religious practice persist.

In general, other sources report the number of atheists at less than 10% of that level.

However, regardless of numbers, still important to show tolerance for others regardless of belief.

[ Parent ]

Just one nitpick. (none / 0) (#226)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 11:55:46 PM EST

The population of the former USSR are rapidly resuming religious practices

No, "the population" isn't doing anything. Many people are. Many other Russians, and people of other Soviet nationalities, have remained and will continue to remain decidedly atheist.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

you are correct (none / 0) (#229)
by gpvillamil on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 12:26:27 AM EST

You are correct.

Russian Orthodox religious practices are being resumed by many people, also evangelical Christians seem to be making some progress. Islam has experienced a resurgence as well in some areas, usually linked to localized nationalist movements.

However, as you point out, many people do remain atheist or non-religious.

[ Parent ]

You deny free choice (none / 0) (#187)
by Shren on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:01:46 PM EST

Normal people DON'T want you interfering with the genes, structure, or soul of invididuals to carry out your agendas of destroying our religous solidarity through the creation of souless beings.
Of course not. But the fact is, God has given us a choice between good and evil, right and wrong. We're here to chose if we should live in his light or burn in the fires of hell.

God has given us that choice, between righteousness and hell. That choice is each man's to make. It is wrong for us to try to make that choice for other people through the legislation of morality. When we try to remove sin from the hands of all, we are trying to override God's gift of free will, an act of supreme hubris.

If someobody wants to damn thier soul through tinkering with the genetic tapestry God has set forth, then that is thier buisness, and they'll burn for it. It is, however, thier choice to make.

[ Parent ]

a question... (3.00 / 2) (#201)
by ph0rk on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:04:32 PM EST

Do you enjoy having all of the tough choices and decisions made for you?  You say you reason out and make choices critically, yet all the views you have expressed could be lifted verbatim from a pro-christain right flyer.

So because what you percieve here to be cookie-cutter views don't mesh with your own obviously cookie-cutter views, they're wrong and poorly thought out?

Can you give rationale for anything you've stated thus far that does not involve faith or an otherwise complete lack of emprical evidence?

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

A dead god you can eat! (5.00 / 1) (#203)
by otr on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 02:52:28 PM EST

Simply because you've already purposefully damned yourself by rejecting God even though you very well know the evidence states he exists and wish to directly interfer with the process God dictates for the soul does not give you the right to intervene on the religous fabric of the rest of us normal God loving people who see this as an attack on God himself.

If the evidence is weighted in a fashion that favors the reality of your God, then all gods are equally valid and real. I don't expect you to accept this, as your own religion is predicated on the idea that there's only one god and you've got him, but from an objective standpoint, your god isn't that special. Human beings have, over the last forty-thousand years, come up with numerous explanations for why all of this stuff exists. Christianity is about two-thousand years old, a religion that developed along the eastern Mediterranean coast from a fusion of Jewish and other regional belief systems. Jesus, like Osiris and Dionysus, was killed through treachery, came back again to either perpetuate a natural cycle of death and rebirth, or rule over some portion of the world. God, from Old to New Testament, went from being petulant and violent to, um, petulant and violent. But loving, you understand, like an abusive parent.

The resulting religion assumes the reality of a single god, opposed by a semi-divine evil force that gets more powerful as the years roll along: The adversary of Job and the adversary of Revelation are, really, two completely different creatures-- One's a legal trickster, there to poke a finger in God's eye, the other's a vast draconic force, a terrible monster bent on eating the world's yummy souls, capable of fighting mano-a-mano with a god who only wants to save you from a terrible fate. If only you would listen to him! Oh, and also, you are all ugly sinners, so God's only child had to die for you. You should figuratively eat his body. Righty-o.

Christianity, Islam and Judaism are siblings. This is why they don't get along, and also why, in the end, they have a lot on common. They are not, however, the world's sole religions. In aggregate, they aren't even a majority of the world's population. Most folks believe in lots of gods-- If, you know, majority implies some sort of basic truth. These religions all have a variety of explanations for why the world exists, why people are like they are, all of the usual things a good religion deals with. For the most part they share a common thread: Gods are kind of like powerful humans, subject to familiar human emotions, even familiar human conflicts. They don't always like these mortal creatures running about, but sometimes they will do favors for them, if only to be amused by their suffering later. Some gods are pretty friendly, but only if you obey them completely, some are fairly civil creatures, even if they look like a blue guy with an elephant head.

In all of this, the Christian god is somewhere to the right of center. He's the only god and all, but as long as you believe in him and obey him without question, you'll exist in his house in a perpetual childlike state, free from harm or want or anything bad and scary. Everyone is allowed to be God's abject servant. But, you know, he isn't likely to flood the entire Earth, just because he's mad. Oh, wait...

Once I had a conversation with some Christian folks who were quite ardent about the parental model of God's rule. I pointed out that this was just fine, but in the real world, most parents don't kill their children if they try to leave the house.

Now, I don't believe in gods. I'm an atheist. In my case, "the evidence" shows that gods don't exist, that we've evolved from natural and evident processes, and that we're wholly responsible for our own lives. No one is there to catch us when we fall, no one is there to take credit for the good we do. I understand that this may render life purposeless for some folks, but, well, purpose is self-generated. You can't reasonably expect someone else to give you a reason for living. It's a gross idea.

So, what does this have to do with cloning? Well, in this particular case some folks are trying to approach the issue of modifying the human genome from a very conservative, religious standpoint-- Cloning is evil because it meddles with God's work, because it uses fertilized human embryos as grist for its research. In this mindset, there's no difference at all between a four-celled embryo and a fully grown, adult human being. Genetic engineering is even worse, because it holds the potential for human beings to usurp God's power, create completely new lifeforms! So, ban it, ban it all forever. From my viewpoint, this position is foolish-- not only because I don't believe in the god in question, but because these people are ignorant enough to think that the ban will actually work. It won't. The sole result of the ban will be to drive genetic research underground: It'll happen in basements, in "rogue" states, wherever someone can make room for a lab. When mistakes occur, and they sure will, the human species will be blindsided by whatever disaster some idiot cooks up.

We even have an example of this-- Some people claim to have already cloned humans! Assuming they aren't lying, they've just created a human with a process that, in testing, produces a lot of damaged, prematurely-aged offspring. We don't know enough about cloning to produce a viable sheep, let alone a human being. We've let genetically modified organisms into the environment without any sort of control on their reproduction, or even any sense that, maybe, people should have checked to see if a species of GM corn would have an adverse effect on the environment. This is all very stupid, and it happens because we've wasted a lot of time debating whether or not human cloning makes baby Jesus cry.

The wails of the divine child are irrelevant. We are reaching a point in our history where physical evolution will become a conscious process, where "humanity" will refer to a wide variety of sapient organisms derived from baseline genomes. We will have to answer several important questions:

1. What defines a sapient organism?
2. What are the rights of sapient organisms?
3. What obligations do we have towards organisms derived from our genetic code?
4. What benefits are rendered from engineering a species?
5. What obligations do we have to the biosphere at large?


Our time to provide these answers is very limited. We don't have a century, we don't have fifty years. We might have ten, if we're lucky.

-OTR

[ Parent ]
Valid and Real. (none / 0) (#205)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:56:28 PM EST

 Of course all gods are equally valid and real. Mine are just better than everyone else's. :-P

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]
Do your homework (none / 0) (#256)
by I Robot on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 02:57:15 AM EST

" But, you know, he isn't likely to flood the entire Earth, just because he's mad. Oh, wait.."

When you re-read the story of the flood (if ever you have read it even once) back up a few chapters and see the "why" of the flood.You'll see that a pretty severe problem had gone on a very long time and that God gave notice of his intentions well ahead of taking action. Noah preached the whole 40 years it took to build the ark. Jehovah isn't a man-made god like Zeus. He didn't act out of anger. But he did correct the problem. Notice too, that Noah didn't close the door of the ark. Then look ahead to the final book and you will once again see destruction of the vast sea of humanity ... but not by flood. God made a promise and has so far kept it. Surely, the 1st century Jews sorely tried his patience when they murdered Jesus. If he didn't break his promise then, I would tend to believe he won't ever.

But then, there _is_ that other promise ... about the 40# hailstones and so on ... still to come.

Think 40# hailstones impossible? Keep in mind that the flood was the first time it ever rained and that the water cycle was first accurately described in the Bible. God obviously knows his science a little better than we do. As an aside, scientists were confident of creating original life as far back as the 1950's. So how come they are content to clone?

Science couldn't hack it as an author so now it is fighting for the keys to the Xerox machine? :-)

If he didn't break his original promise when a bunch of politically-minded snot-nosed Jews murdered his son (in a rather gruesome fashion, I might add), what makes you think he will break this other promise regarding Armegeddon?

And yes, I am a part-time preacher, free-lance technical writer, and journeyman diemaker. I have other credentials besides but my point is that I have adequate intellectual capacity to evaluate evidence and I am as confident in the existence of Jehovah as I am in the balance between our distance from the sun and our needs for energy. One tenth of 1% closer and the planet cooks. One tenth of 1% further and it turns to ice. Here, and only here, humans can survive. Call that an accident? I can't. (Neither did Einstein and yes, Sooren Kierkegaard was one of my favorite existentialist philosophers in high school. A very pretty young teacher invited me to her house to give me a copy of one of his books. I think she intended to add fresh meaning to my existence but her brother wouldn't leave.) If the issue is just that one life form springs up one place and one springs up under different circumstances, show me the life on any other planet in our solar system ... or any other. I know SETI isn't done but I also know they are about to call an end to the search.

[ Parent ]

Re: Do your homework (none / 0) (#259)
by otr on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 08:05:17 PM EST

When you re-read the story of the flood (if ever you have read it even once) back up a few chapters and see the "why" of the flood.

Sure. I'll focus on two sections of Genesis 6, New International Version:
5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them."
and...
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth [...]

This strikes me as a crime of passion. God claims grief, says humanity was being wicked, but the evidence is fairly sparse. Humans were thinking evil thoughts, they were violent, they were "corrupt." As judge, the defendant God has not convinced me that his response was justified. Further, it involved innocent parties: Not only did he kill the vast majority of human beings, he also killed nearly everything else, too-- Elephants, tigers, dogs, cats, marmosets, nematodes, everything.

Something else occurs to me as well-- The sole witnesses to this genocide fall into two groups:

1. God liked them.
2. They're dead.

Dead people can't defend themselves.

Surely, the 1st century Jews sorely tried his patience when they murdered Jesus.

This was a collective murder? Every Jew living at the time got together and decided to murder Jesus? Wasn't this pre-ordained, anyhow?

Keep in mind that the flood was the first time it ever rained and that the water cycle was first accurately described in the Bible. God obviously knows his science a little better than we do. As an aside, scientists were confident of creating original life as far back as the 1950's. So how come they are content to clone?

Were the events mentioned prior to the Biblical flood, literally, the only things that ever happened, anywhere? Is the first part of Genesis a complete and accurate record of history? This is a trap. Please do not step into the trap I have set for you.

As far as creating life, DNA was discovered in 1953. While human beings have engaged in genetic manipulation for thousands of years, no one until that point had any certain view of the underlying code of living organisms. Once we knew there was a code and what its alphabet was, we were able to start deciphering it. Thus, while people have sure talked about creating life, we've only recently started assembling the tools to do it. Cloning's a first step-- and some might opine-- not directly related to genetic engineering. The better we get at it, the better able we'll be to preserve and copy various gene lines. Along the way, we'll gain useful information about cell development, how external conditions affect the expression of DNA and so on. I doubt anyone's really "content" with it, unless their specific goal is to copy organisms.

Science couldn't hack it as an author so now it is fighting for the keys to the Xerox machine? :-)

Science isn't an author. Science is a process, a mode of inquiry.

If he didn't break his original promise when a bunch of politically-minded snot-nosed Jews murdered his son (in a rather gruesome fashion, I might add), what makes you think he will break this other promise regarding Armegeddon?

Hatred is a funny thing-- The more of it you have, the less human you are. It's like it fills up every spot in your head that would otherwise be reserved for things like compassion, perspective, reason. When you lose these things, you lose direction-- life becomes a circle and all you've got left is this hate you won't get rid of.

I am as confident in the existence of Jehovah as I am in the balance between our distance from the sun and our needs for energy. One tenth of 1% closer and the planet cooks. One tenth of 1% further and it turns to ice. Here, and only here, humans can survive. Call that an accident? I can't.

There's an interesting SpaceDaily article about this right here. Not only is the Solar life zone quite broad, ~140 to ~240 million kilometers, Earth's tucked along its inner edge (~149 million kilometers).

If the issue is just that one life form springs up one place and one springs up under different circumstances, show me the life on any other planet in our solar system ... or any other. I know SETI isn't done but I also know they are about to call an end to the search.

SETI is calling an end to the search by building the Allen Telescope Array? What proof do you have that they're about to call off the search for extraterrestrial life?

As far as alien life goes, I'll believe it exists when I see some. The sort of life we're familiar with requires a few things to get started: It needs a stable, medium-sized star, it needs a rocky planet of the right size in its life zone, it needs either a paucity of asteroids and comets or a large planet to protect it, and it may also need a large moon to mute changes in axial tilt. If its the moon of a gas giant, you can trade the last for enough distance from its parent planet to keep from being thoroughly irradiated.

All of these conditions narrow the possibility of life developing in any one place. In my opinion, they don't reduce that to a single chance, but until I see some aliens, I'm not going to say they positively exist.

-OTR

[ Parent ]
Umm.. (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by Kintanon on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:25:51 PM EST

God put us here, and gave us the knowledge and technology to make our lives better. Who are we to throw that gift away? This is one of the myriad gifts the Lord has granted us in order to improve our lives. We should explore every facet of it and use it with understanding and restraint. But we should use it.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Religious teachings of the US??? (4.00 / 1) (#231)
by gpvillamil on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 12:43:34 AM EST

Keetel said: "tend to be one of the last countries willing to stand behind our religous teachings"

Really? Some thoughts from one of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson: "And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter."

"They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition of their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot..." "I am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greek and Roman leave to us." "No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind faith." and on science: "Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free."

[ Parent ]

I'll bite... (4.00 / 1) (#248)
by rtechie on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 02:10:00 PM EST

You're almost certainly a troll but I've looked into some of your other posts where you deny that you're a troll so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Simply because you've already purposefully damned yourself by rejecting God even though you very well know the evidence states he exists and wish to directly interfer with the process God dictates for the soul does not give you the right to intervene on the religous fabric of the rest of us normal God loving people who see this as an attack on God himself.

What evidence are you talking about? It's one thing to trumpet your beliefs, it's quite another to cmail that your beliefs are fact. Does your evidence also disprove Islam, Judism, Hinduism, Buddism, Taoism, etc.? Ever read Kierkegaard? Religious belief is a "leap of faith", made regardless of the evidence, not because of it.

I'm constantly amazed that such a small minority of close minded inviduals claiming to be progressive under the name of science tend to be athiests (which in itself is the succuming to the tempations of Satan.) Normal people DON'T want you interfering with the genes, structure, or soul of invididuals to carry out your agendas of destroying our religous solidarity through the creation of souless beings. Who do you people think you are to take the role of God as a creator?

Since when did humans have the power of "ensoulment"? And what the hell is that anyway? Medieval scholars used to believe in the "quickening", that the soul enters the fetus in the 5th month, when the fetus begins moving. The convieniently coincides with the extreme limits of fetal viability. Why is their view any less valid than yours?

You're nothing but humans who owe everything to the Lord, if you people want to be accepted as normal pray to Jesus for forgiveness and ENJOY the one life on earth you have here working to do good to spend your eternity along side the Lord. I regularly pray for inviduals like yourselves to open your eyes to the beauty of the world around you, to recognize through love you can have an eternity in bliss. This life here is nothing but a test - a chance to prove our faith to the Lord.

If you truly believe this why are you posting on K5? If life here has no meaning except as a "test", should you be trying to "pass" that test by devoting your life to religious study, prehaps as a monk or priest or preacher? Is religion your profession, and if not, why not? Since you clearly think it is the most important thing in this world, FAR ahend of such trivial things as jobs, family, and entertainment like K5.

I know others stand aside me when I state I'm GLAD the US is the most powerful country in the world since we tend to be one of the last countries willing to stand behind our religous teachings against countries who've rejected those teachings in the name of false science (devil's tempation.)

If you're opposed to this kind of science, are you opposed to all forms of medical science? If not, why not? Isn't, say, organ transplant "interfering" with God's will?

[ Parent ]

A thought... (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by stpap on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 08:25:41 PM EST

Is human cloning bad because god forbids it, or does god forbid it because it is bad?

Does God forbid it? Who here speaks for God? [nt] (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by FourDegreez on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:19:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
turmeric (4.50 / 2) (#138)
by RyoCokey on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 10:56:10 PM EST

That boy is obviously "touched."



"There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#189)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:15:31 PM EST

Trumeric is our prophet. Now where's my wine and fish?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Thus sprach Deos (none / 0) (#255)
by I Robot on Wed Nov 13, 2002 at 02:17:59 AM EST

God spoke for himself and wrote his thoughts down. Then he safeguarded it from destruction for approximately 3,000 years at the cost of the lives of many good people ... many of whom were murdered by the very religionists who were charged with safeguarding it.

He created this world, set its physical laws in motion (oh what a delicate balancing act that was!) and then passed along the users manual and the developmental timeline (he aint done yet).If you'll read it closely, you'll see that we are in the final scenes of the second act of an incredible play in three parts. Less than a third of the people watching the curtain fall at the end of the second act will see the curtain rise on the third.

It has made an incredible journey and you probably have a copy. Why not read it? In fact, why not make a study of it? Play your cards right and you could be one of the few present for the third act.

[ Parent ]

Re: A thought ... (none / 0) (#213)
by nicodaemos on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:16:10 PM EST

God forbids it because the risk of someone mass cloning boy bands is just too great.

[ Parent ]
It's got to be the first one. (none / 0) (#245)
by ethereal on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:40:17 PM EST

Because in the second case, you'd have to posit a source of morality beyond god, and then god wouldn't really be god, would S/He?

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Nope (none / 0) (#270)
by teeth on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 08:43:39 AM EST

Human cloning is, in itself, morally neutral. There are moral implications which vary with circumstance a very few of which might be considered bad.


Copyright is for protection against publishers
[ Parent ]

All this talk... (1.00 / 5) (#149)
by tdolby on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:34:32 AM EST

...and talk, and talk... There is a God - there is no God. Religion - good, religion - bad. There is separation of church and state - there is no separation of church and state. Everybody seems to have an opinion, but nobody seems to have any proof. Well, you know what? Here is your proof - One Nation, Under God. QED.

Thanks (4.00 / 2) (#180)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:57:43 AM EST

Thanks for enlightening me.. All my life I've been looking for some kind of proof that there is a purpose to existence. I've read the great philosophers, I've studied various religions, but I still hadn't encountered proof of God's existence.. if only I had known that the proof was a picture of George W Bush! Thanks for doing what theologists and philosophers have failed to do for thousands of years. You deserve a prize.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Some observations (5.00 / 1) (#152)
by godix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 03:50:35 AM EST

Cloning research does not compare well with nuclear weapons, at least not in the way you tried to compare them. A much better comparison would have been cloning and the space program. Both are difficult. Both require lots of money, technology, and effort. Both have huge potential payoffs, but might not every reach them. Both have huge problems associated with them (remember the fears of Mir crashing on land?) Both are probably vastly overrated by their defenders and vastly underrated by their detractors.

Endorsing human cloning or research on embryos is opening the door to performing experiments on unwilling human subjects. While I generally dislike slippery sloop arguements and I certainly wouldn't classify embryonic research with human experimentation by Nazi doctors, this is a door we need to think very carefully about before opening.

For those making the arguement that SOMEONE will be doing human cloning experiements I'd like to point out that SOMEONE does not have to be us. If other societies find no moral problems doing this that's fine for them, but that doesn't in and of itself allow western society to do it as well. I often hear the claim that the US shouldn't force it's morals on other countries, why is it so hard to accept the reverse of that?

As an agnostic I've made the claim that it is possible to have morals without having a god or religion and I've heard many others saying the same thing. So lets not reject the people opposing this as damn christian zealots oppose it because of their fucked up religious views. Instead evaluate it by your non-religious morality. I personally draw the line between 'clump of cells' and 'human child' with brain wave activity. Before that point do the reasearch, after that point I'll gladly stand besides the pro-lifers I usually argue with and say 'no breeding humans for research'.

Incidently, why are the agnostics and athiests who always complain about chistian beliefs being shoved down our throat trying to shove our beliefs down chistians throats? Is religious tolerance a good thing only when it's them tolerating us?

Before cloning goes to far there are many unanswered, generally even unasked, questions we need to consider before starting on this road. Are we going to allow cloning of human beings, I mean clones that will be seperate and living humans? If no, what do we do to prevent this since after awhile of research the capability will be there? If yes, what is the legal status of the donors, will they be legally 'parents' of the clone with all the responsabilities that means? If not what is the status of the clones; are the wards of state, adoptable children, non-human research subjects, or what? Is there a need to clone humans since normal methods of making humans has us over the 6 billion mark already (this question has been answered already for 'test tube babies', we just need to decide if the same answer applies to cloning). How will police deal with multiple people with the same DNA, will we be sending a donor to jail for the clones crimes? Will experiments with genes be allowed in embryos that are going to be brought to term, if not how do we prevent it? If so, what do we do in a case where a gene experiment went horribly wrong but no one realized until after the clone was born? I realize these questions assume more technology and capabiliy than we have now, but it's best to answer these questions BEFORE technology forces them on us.



- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

Why take the population angle? (2.33 / 3) (#175)
by Fen on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:30:03 AM EST

When you copied your other braindead arguments from the religious fundamental's book. Maybe someone can explain the concept of an identical twin to you...but I'm guessing you lack the "brain waves" you speak of necessary to understand it.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
When you grow up.... (none / 0) (#215)
by godix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:27:31 PM EST

...you'll realize that just because someone is religious doesn't mean they're wrong. Just because I have different morals and logic behind my positions does't mean my positions are always opposite christianity.



- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Well. (none / 0) (#176)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:31:17 AM EST

Cloning research does not compare well with nuclear weapons, at least not in the way you tried to compare them.

I agree; nor did I mean to imply that. I was comparing restrictions on cloning research by international treaty with restrictions on weapons research by international treaty.

That said, I still view cloning as a dangerous technology that at the very least has enourmous human cost (women being abducted in order to carry children, etc.), but also as having implications that the military-industrial apparatus could not fail to be interested in. I see it very much as an issue of weaponisation, although cloning research is not weapons research per se.

The rest of your post is very rational, and I agree with it completely.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I would like to hear more of your "etc." (none / 0) (#188)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 01:14:27 PM EST

that at the very least has enourmous human cost (women being abducted in order to carry children, etc.)

The idea that cloners will have to abduct women to carry clones is laughable. Take a look at a local college paper in the want ads and you will often see prospective parents posting ads for sperm and egg donors. They pay quite hansomely, and there's apparently quite a market for these "commodities". What is more likely in you scenario is that the evil cloners would simply pay some uneducated poor woman to bear the clone. It's better for the mother, and it's better for the clone to have a happy and healthy mother rather than one who has been kidnapped and coerced into being a birth mother. I suspect that the costs of paying a poor woman to have a healthy clone is much less than having to force an unwilling mother to do the same.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (none / 0) (#206)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 04:03:45 PM EST

What if cloning is illegal? Can't make it a legitimate compensation for a legitimate service then, can you? That would create an immense underground market, and unregulated underground markets are notorious (see drug war) for being detrimental to humanity. If cloning is illegal, the only way to get people to participate is to force them to, by and large. There may be people who would be willing to participate voluntarily, and there may be researchers willing to pay them, but by and large, that's how it's going to be.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#218)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:17:42 PM EST

If these are your thoughts, it sounds like you should be applauding the Bush administration's actions that are keeping cloning legal for now. Since cloning will happen anyways (legal or no), it sounds like it's best to legalize it so that these underground markets do not come into playing. Imagine how much better prostitute's lives would be if there were legal protections for their industry instead of the problems they face now with respect to drugs, STDs, and abusive Johns.

Furthermore, your statement that "because something is illegal, then people will be coerced into doing something" is so very wrong. I don't see the drug dealers being forced to peddle their wares by their suppliers. These people get into the game because there is something to be gained. Illegal or not. Poor uneducated women with a womb to lend would be no different in these cases. There would be money to be made, and many people will chase it regardless of the legality. Furthermore, as the mother of a clone, the only time to get caught is during the implantation of the clone. All other times, the woman can claim that the baby is hers and noone would be the wiser.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

You have some good points. (none / 0) (#219)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:29:32 PM EST

I am not in favour of cloning; I think treating it as an inevitability is dangerous, and frankly I'm not sure what could come of it if it were to be realised. The possibilities are disasterous. Just think of all the rich magnates with nothing better to do with their money or time. You could have a serious problem on your hands way before cloning is technologically feasible, simply as a product of the research revelations and refinements. I'm all for outlawing cloning, just not on religious grounds, and not in the present treaty arrangement -- all that does is make it so only the U.S. & Co. can defy the ban.

I don't see the drug dealers being forced to peddle their wares by their suppliers.

Well, I don't know. That's a pretty classic libertarian argument -- nobody's forcing you to do X. I think if you peer into the fabric of the class structure, you will find that many people "choose" to sell drugs because it's the only feasible source of income, given their education, qualifications, social status, etc. It's like those people that "choose" to be poor.

Furthermore, as the mother of a clone, the only time to get caught is during the implantation of the clone. All other times, the woman can claim that the baby is hers and noone would be the wiser.

Yes, I suppose the woman can be released. In which case she's free to walk off with the clone baby and not come back. Plus she might be even more heftily rewarded if she were to expose the whole operation.

Cloning not being very cheap and easy to do at this hypothetical experimental stage, I imagine it would not be in the interest of the clandestine thugs, er, researchers, to have either one happen.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

An aside (none / 0) (#221)
by br284 on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 09:51:15 PM EST

Regarding your statement about people not having a choice to peddle drugs -- I know plenty of people who were pushers (even some of my relatives) of their own will. Why did they do this? It was easier than getting that real job that they were perfectly capable of doing and making a decent living. I'm sorry -- I've heard "poor people who cannot do anything else, and are forced to get involved in the drug trade" story too many times, and as far as my (non-hypothetical) personal experience goes, it's a fairy tale.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Well. (none / 0) (#224)
by valeko on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 10:35:25 PM EST

Selling drugs in and of itself isn't going to be a logical, predictable outcome of any given impoverished person, obviously. I wasn't trying to suggest that.

I know plenty of people who were pushers (even some of my relatives) of their own will.

I know many people who were criminals in general -- of their own will. Does that change anything about the historical and actual correlation between poverty and crime?

The pursuit of selling drugs fits quite nicely into this colourful motif of crime, organised or not. Certainly, it's a choice to rob a convenience store. It's a choice to sell drugs. Rarely is it conceivably a choice between death and doing either of those things. That doesn't change the nature the affinity of the impoverished residents at the bottom of the Social Darwinist food chain to crime. They do it for a complex plethora of sociological and economic reasons; nobody robs a convenience store just to get by, and nobody dutifully pays for their merchandise just because it isn't prohibitively expensive for them to do so.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Um, no (5.00 / 1) (#223)
by jagg on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 10:26:21 PM EST

Well, I don't know. That's a pretty classic libertarian argument -- nobody's forcing you to do X. I think if you peer into the fabric of the class structure, you will find that many people "choose" to sell drugs because it's the only feasible source of income, given their education, qualifications, social status, etc. It's like those people that "choose" to be poor.
So, what about the huge number of poor people who choose (as in choose, no quotes; a choice is just that, a choice) not to sell drugs? Why doesn't this class structure force them to sell drugs to earn income? Answer: it doesn't. The people who sell drugs do so because it's easy, it requires little skill beyond spotting the cops, and it's quite lucrative. And once they make this decent income, do they start at community college to better themselves to get out of their horrid surroundings? No. They continue to sell drugs. What does this tell you?

Only feasible source of income? Sure, a lot of the jobs that are available suck in terms of pay, but they're also low skill jobs. As long as someone is frugal and works full time, even a minimum wage job will eventually garner enough savings to move up in the world. But, ya know, that requires hard work, something many people don't really want to do, or squander their hard work on items/endeavors that delay them from betterment. In case you think I'm anti-poor or something, my previous statement generally goes for wealthier individuals, along with the poor.

As someone who grew up in a very real ghetto, I can tell you that yes, some people really choose to be poor. When someone stops looking for work and thinks living off welfare is perfectly OK, they are choosing to be poor. Yeah, they'd like more money, (who wouldn't) but work for it? Nah. This isn't everybody (or even a majority) but you're being naïve if you think that there isn't a substantial number of people who make a choice not to work.

The other issue I alluded to earlier is the spending habits of people. Most people don't spend their money well in terms of looking towards the future. The issue the poor face is, quite simply, they can't waste money without remaining poor. Period. Far too many poor people spend their income on things like cigarettes or other money sinks instead of savings or education. Still, this is a choice. A stupid choice, yes, but still an individual choice.

The biggest problem I have with this whole class structure notion that you subscribe to is the idea that because someone is poor, (or rich, or elite, etc) they will act, or have a tendency to act, a certain way. Which is why (apparently) you don't consider it a real choice for someone to sell drugs. That's crap. You might as well say poor people don't have freedom to think or weigh consequences. Is the drug war stupid? Sure. Do people have a choice regarding their future? Absolutely.

--
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. --James Madison
[ Parent ]

The serious problem seems more likely to be (none / 0) (#267)
by michaelp on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:53:16 PM EST

that sick people will have to forgoe treatments to prevent "the rich magnates with nothing better to do with their money or time" from trying to create mini-mes.

The idea in therapeutic cloning is to make stem cells that can then be grown into organ tissue with matching DNA as the doner.

Folks with paralysis, ALS, heart disease, etc. shouldn't be denied these promising cures just because some "rich magnate" might flought a law against reproductive cloning.

Mike Futuresynthesis

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Re: Some observations (5.00 / 2) (#186)
by otr on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 12:56:11 PM EST

These sorts of attempts to place outright bans on genetic engineering (as, at the very least it applies to human beings) strike me as shortsighted and fearful. The reasoning seems to fall either into a religious camp-- we shouldn't meddle with what <insert deity here> created, or a conservative one-- we shouldn't change ourselves, ever, because there are too many humans anyway, we don't know what we're doing, we can't expect to ever understand our own genes, we'll usher in the beginning of a new era of eugenics, etc, etc. So, you end up with people like Jeremy Rifkin, who approaches the issue from the left with attempts establish patents to block broad aspects of genetic research, in order to preserve some naturally-evolved ideal, and people like George Bush (and the American religious right at large) who believe that human life is not only sacred, but starts the moment sperm touches egg, and should never be meddled with lest we incur the wrath of a peevish God.

Whew.

None of this has any sort of grounding in objective reality. The fact is the die was cast when Watson and Crick discovered DNA. At that moment, when people began to figure out that living things were encoded, that this code sat at the root of evolution, of an organism's capacity for change, the whole movement that later grew to bury this knowledge had failed before it even started. We are going to change the human genome, we will develop new animal species, we will become, over the next century, something that wouldn't be definably human to a man of twentieth century Earth. The only thing that isn't inevitable is how and why we change, what we do with what we know.

Here are our options:

1. We can approach the issue rationally: Cloning and germ-line genetic engineering have the potential to remove blatant errors from the human genome. Mental retardation, gross physical defects, cystic fibrosis, a lot of stuff that causes severe harm to real, live human beings. The same also has the potential to allow dictators to fashion docile servants, potent soldiers, justifications for their own rule. This is the nature of a double-edged sword-- What we know can hurt us if we don't use it properly, so we're obliged to use it properly. What we do to our genome must be the province of the agora, of open human discourse. With some regulation, we might not get to a tasty, genetically diverse future that quickly, but it'll happen and it'll turn out okay.

2. We can approach the issue emotionally: God gave us our genes! Mother Nature gave us our genes! How can pathetic, stupid little human beings ever hope to understand them? We can't change this! We must ban all forms of genetic research right now! It doesn't matter if millions of people die from diseases that can be prevented! It just doesn't! We have to stop this now, or someday the intelligent, six-legged dogs some kid made in his basement will want to sit at the front of the bus! Aiee! With this mindset, not only is useful research halted, but the disaster everyone fears is bound to happen. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!

If we don't hack our genes in public, they will surely be hacked in private, without oversight or regulation, or even a simple sense of aesthetics. And, well, we'll be out of luck as soon as someone cooks up a bacteria that turns human brains into gelatin. This isn't atomics, folks-- Not only can countries set up labs capable of creating new life forms, many individual people can. Over the next few decades, this will only get easier, ban or no.

-OTR

[ Parent ]
You missed an option (none / 0) (#214)
by godix on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 05:23:15 PM EST

3) We can approach the issue emotionally: How dare those religious bigots deny use scientific research? Who cares about any 'moral' questions raised by cloning, morality is an outdated idea from religious dogma! Full speed ahead and damned the consequences.

Unfortunately #3 is the reaction I'm seeing the most of here. I was trying to steer conversation to #1, but it's hard to mix emotion, morality, and logic together. I suspect most future debates on cloning will boil down to #2 and #3 yelling at each other, and we all know how productive that has been for the abortion issue.

Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to embryonic research or cloning. I have already decided my division between fetus and living human and most research I've heard of takes place well before that division. I'm still open on the issue of cloning humans after that point though, I can see some uses for that (custom grown transplant parts with almost no chance of rejection) but I still have lots of questions that aren't answered.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

Re: You missed an option (none / 0) (#232)
by otr on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 01:01:29 AM EST

3) We can approach the issue emotionally: How dare those religious bigots deny use scientific research? Who cares about any 'moral' questions raised by cloning, morality is an outdated idea from religious dogma! Full speed ahead and damned the consequences.

Sounds like #2 to me. Though, the attitude these days is colored heavily by a capitalist mindset. No doubt, someone, somewhere, is engineering a six-legged dog right now for purely ideological reasons, but most of our disasters can be traced to corporations releasing untested products into uncertain environments. For now, anyway.

-OTR

[ Parent ]
And what if the clone must grow 3 years... (none / 0) (#262)
by tz on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 12:15:57 PM EST

Note: Libertarians for Life at l4l.org has purely philosophic arguments against abortion and is headed by an atheist.

This might be a pandora's box.  I think it will be quite possible that cloning (or things like stem cell research) will succeed, but the GOAL is to provide cures to disease.  But they might succeed in cloning, but not in being able to transplant fetal tissue - they may require a toddler, and I don't think they will be able to manage to keep the baby inside for over 3 years so they can perform partial-birth abortion.

Or if the 3-year-old has a genetic error that only shows up then and becomes profoundly disabled?  Do we or can we kill it?

Playing God is a much more difficult game than most expect.  But most people think they are better, like the first one who thought so, the entity we call Satan and label as the origin of evil.

We should be glad that we ended Slavery 100 years before organ transplants and such were possible.  I fear that if we could transmit modern medical knowledge back to 1855, Dredd Scott would never have been reversed.

[ Parent ]

Sorry that seems like FUD to me (none / 0) (#265)
by michaelp on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:38:13 PM EST

"But they might succeed in cloning, but not in being able to transplant fetal tissue - they may require a toddler, and I don't think they will be able to manage to keep the baby inside for over 3 years so they can perform partial-birth abortion."

O c'mon, the fear that folks would start taking organs from toddlers was one of the original arguments against organ transplants. But no legal (in the west) organ transplant programs take organs from unwilling subjects. There is no reasion therapeutic cloning makes such a crime any more likely than it already is.

In fact, the treatments proposed by researchers is to grow organ tissue on a biodegradable scaffold; to grow individual organs and thus reduce the current shortages.

So if therapeutic cloning techniques are worked out in directions proposed by the research community, it makes taking organs from children or adults less likely, not more.

Mike Futuresynthesis

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Liberalism IS Conservatism (3.50 / 2) (#182)
by Baldrson on Mon Nov 11, 2002 at 10:19:40 AM EST

In its original form during the Enlightenment, liberalism meant human experimentation (eg: "laboratory of the States") and experimentation means experimental controls. Without experimental control you simply cannot have an experiment -- rather uninterpretable chaos -- and the result is destructive, not progressive.

In the present instance cloning, like most other social experiments people are conducting or wish to conduct, is being proposed as a technology subject to world-wide jurisdiction. The conflict isn't over the technologies but over the social experiments allowed or disallowed.

This is a legitimate concern as the globe becomes smaller due to transport and communications technologies. Preemptive controls will increasingly impose on all aspects of life for security's sake. Liberty will dissapate just as it has been with the increase of all forms of centralized control. Soon there will be no more experiments in social forms but those dictated by the sort of individuals attracted to the centers of power and the only legacy of humanity will be the destruction of the planet.

The solution is to make the globe bigger and leave earth to the true control groups.

Humanity must find ways of dispersing life to lifeless environments, there to take up residence and leave the earth to the true conservatives -- perhaps limited to hunting and gathering with stone-age technology. Anything else would continue the destructon of vital control groups while depriving humanity of the liberty to conduct its experiments.

The real question of legitimate use of central power isn't over whether to allow this or that experiment but whether the central power is doing everything _in_ its power to disperse life.

By this criteria there is not a single legitimate central point of power in the world but the worst offenders of all are those nations of European diaspora who are destroying their pioneering heritage with supposed "liberal" politics by dictating the social experiments that are politically correct for those pioneering populations.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


Very Good. (none / 0) (#251)
by bjlhct on Tue Nov 12, 2002 at 09:45:57 PM EST

I see it is not a complete loss for my political party, the Gridlockians.
*

kur0(or)5hin - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

Probably a good thing (none / 0) (#264)
by tgibbs on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:53:44 PM EST

Since few countries other than ours--and perhaps some of the more extreme Islamic governments--are likely to agree to a ban that includes therapeutic cloning, this will probably have the effect of derailing the entire issue for many years as far as international agreements are concerned.

Which I think is a good thing. I don't see anything wrong with cloning even for reproduction. I've met natural clones--identical twins--and there's nothing particularly horrible about them. There are some serious concerns about the uses of the technology in the long run--organ harvesting and the like--but these are mostly pretty well covered by existing law and can be dealt with case-by-case as they arise.

The longer the politicians keep arguing, the more time there is to make progress with the science.

This may sound ironic coming from me ... (none / 0) (#266)
by valeko on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:47:28 PM EST

I don't see anything wrong with cloning even for reproduction.

I think this results from naiveté. I can't see any other explanation for why you wouldn't think that cloning is dangerous at the very least.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

dangerous? (none / 0) (#268)
by tgibbs on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:29:27 PM EST

I think this results from naiveté. I can't see any other explanation for why you wouldn't think that cloning is dangerous at the very least.

Dangerous? Well, people are dangerous, so I suppose any form of reproduction could be called "dangerous." But every so-called danger of cloning that I've seen viewed with alarm has seemed to me absurdly overblown. We've got genetically identical people running around now; a few more is not likely to make much difference.

I think the "weaponization" concerns you raise are nonsensical. Cloning is not in the forseeable future going to compete economically with the traditional method of creating people. The sad reality is that people are much cheaper than biotechnology.

The valid concerns about the future of biological technology have a lot more to do with modification than mere reproduction.



[ Parent ]

The problem of an international ban on human cloning | 268 comments (260 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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