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Cloning

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by dong, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. dong

    dong New Member

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    I'd like for some discussion on the moral dimensions of cloning. Obviously it's a very big topic...but I'm hoping to pick on some of the areas of conflation and confusion which can result in people being opposed to cloning as a general rule.

    Having thought about this, I no longer understand why this objection seems valid in the way it is generally thought to be. My objections would be purely directed at the medical implications, but if considering the possibility that we could clone people with no additional risks, I have to wonder what's wrong with cloning per se...and of course feel free to talk about the sociological consequences (because I sure can't find a constructive use for it).
     
  2. framed

    framed New Member

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    [FONT=&quot]I think one of the biggest concerns is that with the state of technology now is that they come out somewhat broken. Dolly the sheep is apparently physically much older than she is actually, and they don't really understand why. Until we know what the heck we're doing I think it would be wrong to go about producing broken humans. Long term I think cloning is fine, as long the clones come with the basic human rights everyone else gets. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to find a way to definitively distinguish a clone from its "parent" either, for legal reasons.

    There's a creepy scenario of having a fully developed clone specifically to harvest its organs, or otherwise use it as a "backup", I think that’s pretty flatly wrong. The more grey area is around things like stem cells where you’re taking cells/parts/etc from a partially developed fetus. You could imagine where those might need to come from a clone for genetic matching reasons. That's definitely distasteful in my mind, but if you can abort a fetus why couldn’t you "harvest" it to save your life? (especially since there’s no second parent involved in the decision)

    In any case I think the big issues are around clone rights from conception to death, and a more general sense of identity that freaks people out. "If he's me, then who am I? What if he turns out bad and commits crimes, does that mean I could have been a bad person? Could they confuse me for him?" At least that’s what I get from all the pop movies about it in the last decade. ;) There are probably a bunch of religions that are opposed to it from a "you're playing god" standpoint, but thats true of just about every new technology these days so its probably not worth arguing about.


    [/FONT]
     
  3. dong

    dong New Member

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    I love citing this example as I think you're right- this is why I mentioned hubris in the stem cell post. The problem with Dolly (I think she's been dead for quite a while now) is fundamentally very simple, in that as a high-school student, when I researched the process of the cloning, I saw the premature ageing coming from a mile off (I like to say it's to do with the telomeres). That said, scientists must always be guarded against being prematurely excited or presuming that we understand more than we do. It's a tricky balance to navigate. I just finished a component on genetics and I bet by the time I finish my degree, the cirriculum will have changed dramatically.



    It'd be interesting to think about what kind of contexts cloning would ever be used in, if not in direct relation to stem cell therapy. The major discussion is more pertinent below, but the easiest way to distinguish a clone from its parent would simply be chronological age. Since a clone is a genetic identical, it's in fact only very slightly different from monozygotic twins.



    Insofar as the creation of a human life specifically for an ulterior motive is wrong, yes. My main concerns are how this might affect the upbringing and environment for the child. Kinda reminds me of the French couple who underwent IVF (the mother was 60) so that they might gain their multimillion dollar share of an inheritance. So we're thinking exploitation here (with specific disregard to the value of the life).



    Hence one big reason why Bush's veto was broadly criticised.



    This inevitably stems from a series of simple misconceptions about the role of genetics in human development among many many other things. But it's a hugely political area of discussion and sadly, this tends to get in the way of the dissemination of knowledge gained from advancements in the field. In fact, I've already drafted out a fiction based specifically on this premise ;)
     
  4. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

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    I think humans in general have mixed reviews about taking on the role of GOD and creating life...To me cloning is very close to taking on a god role. We struggle with the moral issues.
     
  5. l99999us

    l99999us New Member

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    I think i agree with palafrost here and think their are many important issues.....

    Though one point i would like to make in this debate (and the stem cell one as well) is that in many cases they are usually humancentric. Many participents don't see anything worng with performing horrific experiments on animals but using a few stem cells is a major ethical issue.
     
  6. dong

    dong New Member

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    You will, of course, have to explain what you mean here. I think that any scientist who thinks that they are taking over the role of god is delusional or they misunderstand both science and god. Cloning is not the creation of life, you see. If we were able to replace god, so to speak, we would be able to not only find the perfect natural laws, but also transcend them. Which we can't by definition.

    Glad you picked up this angle. Ethics in animal studies (for example in teratogenic experiments) is one thing, but the ethics of animal exploitation is something I very obscurely allude to. More recently a friend of mine asserted that support for strong vegetarianism would be that produce animals are mass-bred specifically for exploitation as a meat product & commodity, which amounts to not respecting them as moral agents. Now I know this post isn't about animal rights, but it is worth noting that indeed, specisism should be considered...but in what way? The devil here is in the details.
     
  7. hokeshel

    hokeshel New Member

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    Even if we can fully control the physical outcomes of cloning completely someday, what about the mind and emotions? How do we make clones whole and balanced in every way? Yet, I also can see some great things happening with cloning as far as medical advancements.
     
  8. l99999us

    l99999us New Member

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    lol....

    I didn't mean to turn this thread into an animal rights discussion as these are separate issues and their are other animal rights threads. i simply wanted to point out the usual specism in the debate and possibly add another view in a more broad manner. I definitly agree with your point that specism has to be included as i think it comes from the idea that we are inherently better then animals and have the right to do what we please with them.

    Getting back to topic I will say i am cautious on cloning as i tend to be in many similar issues (ie genetic engineering) simply as we don't have enough knowledge of all the possible consequences. I am never saying it should never be done but just we need to be very cautious here as well as taking into account all possible ethical issues.
     
  9. lizakollman

    lizakollman New Member

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    it is a situation in which you have to be so, so careful. it is ridiculous to assume that we know everything, and then when you start to go into artificially creating life you step all over bounds of all kinds. however, there is so much that can be learned from stem cell research, so on that token it is a good thing to get started with...
     
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