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Dave's Comments

 

Created on 09/02/2012
by Hanther

Below are a selection of responses to David Blalock's commentary on Human Cloning Research. For these responses, I have requested that Dave himself reply to the writers. Thanks, Dave, for your indulgence.

You had some good points in your cloning article, but I believe you omitted one of the most important arguments against allowing any cloning on any level. While the sci-fi aspect of genetically enhanced soldiers may someday become a reality, the first uses of cloning technology is something much more dangerous. It has already been stated that cloning will be used to grow new body parts for chronically ill patients. New hearts, livers, lungs, and almost all other organs will be grown and "harvested" with no chance of rejection because the donor and recepient share the same genetic makeup. This will also allow for the transplantation of entire limbs and, potentially, an entire body.
Clones are, regardless of their origin, still human. Despite this, they are already being given second-class status. These are potentially intelligent people who will be butchered for the benefit of others. There has been talk of raising clones with no ability to reason through manipulation of their brain development while fetuses in order to ensure there are no "personalities" lost. This is the kind of ghoulish science that would have made Mary Shelly cringe.
I know that cloning will continue above ground or covertly, but that does not alter the moral quicksand the entire issue is built upon. We are literally moving into territory scouted by Dr. Mengele and others of Hitler's little glee club.
This disturbs me because of the violence that is sure to follow. If some folks thought that a few pipe bombs from pro-life fanatics were bad, that is nothing compared to what is to come once facilities dedicated to growing clones for harvest pop up around the world. And the worst of it all is that I will have to support those who seek to stop this ghoulism.
I now step from my soap box and crawl back under my desk.

Steven Baird

You make a very good and pertinent point. But I submit to you that it is too late for us to define "second-class citizen". The Pro-Choice movement has already done this with abortion. They have convinced the American courts that a fetus is not a human life, therefore abortion is not murder and cannot be treated as such. Abortion can be and is carried out far into the pregnancy, well beyond the time modern science could render the fetus viable outside the womb.
The medical community has already given their input. The definition of human life is tied inextricably to brain activity. Death is defined as "the irreversible cessation of brain activity." If there is no brain activity, there is no human life, ergo, no moral problem. The thing is merely a blob of protoplasm that just happens to resemble a human being.
We are left with a moral dilemma seen by only a few, those who still hold life sacred in all its forms, from cradle to grave. This group is fast becoming smaller as time goes on. Politics and religion both work to more specifically define "human life", inevitably excluding what it should not for the sake of expediency and popularity.
As for the harvesting of organs, that is already being accomplished on a small scale. Look at the back of your driver's license. Organ donors are voluntarily giving up a part of themselves for the greater good. You may argue that this is fine, as the person involved has made a rational and informed choice. I would ask you one question: if there are so many people volunteering organs for transplant, why does it take years and thousands of dollars to get one? If such a choice is so popular, so self-sacrificial, why are people still on dialysis? Why is there such a need for artificial hearts?
I think that we all have a horror of being doled out in pieces after our deaths, no matter how good or empathetic we might like to be. And I think this stems from a deep-seated knowledge that what is alive should not be mixed with what is dead. We have an inner differentiator that tells us what is "human life" and what is not, but politics, religion, and philosphy blinds us to it.
I am not sure we can find our sight again.

Dave

Do you think that the Scientist working on this now would agreed to be government regulated now after working on their own?

Alice Earle

Government regulation is not something agreed to. It is something enforced. There will always be a criminal element that refuses to accede to regulation, but that doesn't mean the regulation itself isn't good or useful. Personally, I am not for increasing government regulation on anything, but I am against undisciplined and unsupervised scientific research.

How would you contain this information?

Alice Earle

I wouldn't contain it as much as supervise its use. This has all the dangers inherent in weapons technology: it can be lethal. As such, it is imperative we closely monitor where, how, and to whom this technology is released.

How would you keep it away from the extremely rich who think they should be cloned? What guidelines would you go by...

Alice Earle

I don't think that it can be kept from the extremely rich, any more than you can keep anything out of their hands. Just because someone is very rich doesn't automatically exclude them from ethical operation, it simply makes it harder to believe they would exercise moral judgment.

There are some people that should NOT be cloned.

Alice Earle

Why? Clones don't genetically carry the personality of their original. Behavioral traits are not inherited, they are learned. A clone of Hitler would not be exactly like him, it would only look like him. Clones of serial murderers would not by default be serial murderers.
The real danger in cloning humans, in my opinion, is in their education and indoctrination. If they are released into the general population, they are unlikely to be differentiated from the rest of their peers. If they are contained within a compound, taught to be mindless soldiers and then released into the general population they can be deadly. Which scenario, given the current atmosphere of Europe and the Middle East where the research is going on, do you think most likely?

Cya later
Dave