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human cloning

Mar 17, 1997 11:35 AM
by liesel f. deutsch

a few remarks to ad to what Kym said (& quoted)

 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.

and my husband thought it was immoral to bring kids into the world under the
threat of the atomic bomb. I'm glad I was able to dissuade him. Our 2 kids
are the light of my life and were the light of his.

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.

I think we can't get rid "of those pesky things" anymore, but must learn to
control them. We're on our way to accomplishing this. Total success would
mean peace in the world, with no rogue nations, and that's a far way off.

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

They also just have a way of developing. I think human beings are programmed
to be curious and explorative, and I don't think it's something we can stop.
It's innate in all of us. What we can learn to do, though, is to handle our
discoveries to our benefit, rather than to our destruction. That takes
wisdom, savoir faire, psychological and ethical knowhow, (don't forget the
ethical) and maybe the greatest power, Love.

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

Good question. My contention, which I think is yours too, is that humanity
*ought* to be in control, and had better acquire such control in record
time. I don't think cloning is our last possibly noxious
invention/discovery. Who knows what'll come next!

>   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


To your pragraph with questions, & to the idea of advancing cautiosuly, I
have only one item to add; Has anyone yet thought of that the monkey and/or
the sheep might develop all sorts of illnesses, known and unknown, as it
ages? Has anyone thought of that this might happen with future clones,
including human ones?


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