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Re: Human cloning

Mar 16, 1997 02:42 PM
by kymsmith

Dennis wrote:

>   Society seems always to have had an innate fear of change and particularly
>change that is not well understood.  Back in the late '30s and early '40s,
>example,  there were a number of scientists (albeit a minority) who had
>reservations about developing nuclear weapons.  As history has shown, their
>views did not prevail.

Hmmm, perhaps their views should have prevailed.  We've yet to figure out a
way to rid ourselves of those pesky things - now that humanity recognizes
how, for way too long, they have deprived us of precious slumber.

>This may prove to be true for cloning (particularly
>cloning) as well.

It may; but, god, I hope not.

> People can argue and obstruct to their hearts' content but
>new technologies have a way of developing a life of their own.

If this conclusion is true, who is really in control - humanity or technology?

>That old
>"lead, follow ... or get the ##### out of the way" is probably applicable

Whoa!  Definitely disagree here.  According to the above statement, those
who would like careful deliberation - analytical, ethical, philosophical -
would be considered the folks who should "get the ##### out of the way."

>   All of the above having been said, it is to be hoped that mankind will
>accept the premise that cloning technologies should be pursued ---

Humanity has a responsibility to pause and take time with whopping issues
such as cloning.  A few of the zillion questions: What about the rights of
those who are cloned?  Will they be equal to "normally-conceived" humans?
Is it ethical to clone someone for organs?  How would one go about doing
that - wouldn't the clones have to be void of brain?  If they aren't, I can
picture them raising quite a ruckus when it comes time for them to donate.
What reason would a woman have for carrying a clone, if it's not going to be
her child?  How will society treat those who have been cloned? Are parents
who want clones of themselves really having children for the 'right' reason?
Who will have access to cloning technology - only the rich?  Won't that give
those with money even more power?  What reason could there be for cloning a
human?  Isn't this going to really mess with the gene pool - what about the
diversity factor? Isn't our diversity the reason humans have been able to
survive? Who "owns" the clone? And on and on. . .

According to the scientists who cloned the monkeys and sweet Dolly (the
sheep) their failure rate was extremely high.  They tried over two hundred
times before they were successful - with some female carriers of the cloned
eggs suffering fatal side effects.  What about the animal carriers of the
cloned eggs?  Do we have the right to treat animals this way?  Is cloning
animals according to laboratory medical/scientific needs and experiments
ethical?  Can you clone an animal without pain receptors or emotional needs
- certainly necessary for a content "lab animal."

I do not hope that scientists plunge freely into cloning "soon" - I fear it
may mean we haven't given the issue enough thought.  I'm all for
technological advances; I think it is our destiny.  Cloning holds undreamed
of positive possibilities.  And I do not think it is possible to avoid going
farther with cloning - we've found a new frontier - humanity will explore
it.  But perhaps now, contrary to the lack of philosophical debate regarding
nuclear weapons, we may realize that all new technology must have a
philosophy developed along with it.  Yes, I think, this time, humanity does


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