Cloned humans? What’s the problem?

Can somebody please provide me with an argument about why cloning children is unethical that amounts to anything other than “this is different and makes me feel squirmy,” or, “OMG, the clones will all be enslaved into oppressed factory workers/clone armies?”

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20 Comments

  1. Right now, cloning is practically a death sentence. High cancer rates, short lifespan, missing limbs/organs and such make this science a gruesome business.

    Additionally, the methods and techniques used in this practice almost always involve abortion of the “unwanted” fetus – as typically multiple eggs are impregnated.

    An altogether different problem is that of unintended consequences. We are daft when it comes to genetics. Our understanding is inch deep and probably wrong in a number of ways.

    It’s possible that we could engineer ourselves into a dead species.

    Reply
  2. celogo

     /  April 14, 2008

    Squirminess and discomfort aside, I find it disingenuous for scientists to decry normal human reproduction as decadent. Meanwhile, back in the lab, they are attempting to create clones?

    And what is the precise motive for cloning children? To love a creature with the appearance of another child?

    Every child is unique.

    JPII nailed the problem on the head when he wrote :
    “The evil of our times consists
    in the first place
    in a kind of degradation,
    indeed in a pulverization,
    of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.”
    -Karol Wojtyla, 1968

    Cloning, no matter what the motive, involves an awkward attempt at the replication of something precious and inimitable. That’s not just unethical, it’s insane.

    Reply
  3. I think before we clone ourselves. We should work on reality first. We know nothing.

    Aside from my shattered ego… Opposition to cloning. We have to many freaking people on Earth as it is. Working with what the earlier guy said, if we can’t make them better than we are now… what is the point of creating more idiots. We have WAY too many as it is.

    Reply
  4. Happycrow

     /  April 14, 2008

    And if cloning became a viable technique, like IVF, for helping people have kids? Would that change the equation?

    Reyna, you realize you’re falling into the overpopulation trap? There’s a clear and consistent course of action for people who think the earth is overpopulated…. :) I’m not certain that “making people better” is so much the goal as creating conditions by which people can do it themselves…

    Reply
  5. ““OMG, the clones will all be enslaved into oppressed factory workers/clone armies?””

    You forgot organ bank.

    Reply
  6. If we could harvest humans like crops it would be great, but I think by the time we have that processes figured out well, we should be able to replicate specific organs. (if we are going on the organ harvest route)

    I see no real purpose for clones than as organ farms(/workforce/clone armies/super race). I would think that the technology we would have around the time of figuring out how to make clones viable, we would have GE down so well that we could take the “natural” children and just supe them.

    Maybe clones would work when we terraform Mars and we just make a copy of the best people here, along with their memory, and ship them to Mars to make a better civilization to live on after we totally screw up here.

    Reply
  7. But all of this is predicated upon a logical fallacy: that clones are any more likely to be used for these clearly-unethical ends than normal, regular people who happen to be Chinese, for instance.

    Ah, Reyna…. who are the “best people?” What are your criteria?

    Reply
  8. blackpine

     /  April 14, 2008

    Cloning humans is interesting because there is already law treating genetics as property. No economy on earth lacks a sector requiring helots. Techno-helots would be worthwhile for societies without sustainable birthrates. Japan is building robots. Europe may take to cloning. That’s not even taking into account societies that have slavery for non economic/status reasons.

    The thing that will be interesting with be the modified humans.

    Reply
  9. blackpine

     /  April 14, 2008

    I can’t find the link, but it has been floated around in the wish dream stages of industrial medicine, to find a way to make people cancer proof. You know. So you don’t actually have to reduce carcinogens. Venal masses aren’t the problem. The masses are vital. Everyone here should have about 8 smart kids. It’s the venal elites that are a problem.

    Reply
  10. Alex

     /  April 14, 2008

    I’m going to give a very good scientific answer as to why cloning is a very very bad thing. It’s called disease.
    Bacteria and virii mutate on a regular basis to keep themselves ahead of their predators and to allow themselves to infect us to propagate their species. Whenever you have a group with identical genetic makeup – they will all suffer the same level of infection and they won’t be any possibility of resistance to it all. The clones may all be immune to the same strains of bacteria and virii, but when that one strain comes along that is perfectly in tune with that clone group – it WILL wipe out the whole group if it is programmed to do so.
    Sex and constant mixing of genes to produce wide variety in genetics is how we stay one step ahead of disease. Yes, we do succumb to disease now, but not the entire species. If you make everything the same, the you run a very high risk of your entire food supply getting wiped out, or worse, and entire species. So genetic clones of food animals, plants, and humans I think is a very very stupid thing to pursue. If it was a good idea, Mother Nature would have more clones out there now….and its interesting that the only real clones in nature now are diseases, and even then you still get “mistakes” in that genetic expression which either produce organisms that don’t make it, or are superior to the previous generation. So I could argue that either Humanity needs to become like bacteria or virii, or stay away from cloning and let diversity of genetics take its course.
    I think in general our society is too damn impatient. Eventually the best traits do get passed along to our offspring and superior traits show up again and again in humanity, but rubber stamping everyone the same is an invitation to disaster – we need the genetic diversity to survive and thrive.

    Reply
  11. The best people are the ones who possess genes which have a lower affinity for medical problems and hindering traits, and have a higher affinity for desirable traits such as: muscle and organ developmental perfection. People who are high in motivation and will for the continuation and prosper of the human race would be the best. They would continue their learned behaviors on to their children and so forth.

    Sounds like a science fiction novel/utopianism. Scary and unethical, but utterly amazing.

    Reply
  12. Superbiff

     /  April 15, 2008

    Believe it or not The Island was actually worth seeing..

    Reply
  13. blackpine

     /  April 15, 2008

    Homogeneity leaves out mutation. Consider sickle cell anemia and the Tse Tse fly. In that region, insect born disease attacks red blood cells and kills before twenty. Sickle cell is not affected and while it kills at 45, you can see the benefit. Even looking for what would be considered optimal out put, the genetic traits we consider harmful might have a benefit we can’t forsee.

    Or, let’s look at another manipulation of genetic material according to plan. Imagine that cloning in handled like the breeding of show dogs. Think of all of those AKC purebreds with purebred features that are absolutely harmful, and imagine that same impulse setting out to “improve the breed” across class or labor sector.

    Reply
  14. Alex

     /  April 15, 2008

    You’re exactly correct. For many genetic traits there is usually some offset that isn’t exactly obvious, and sometimes what looks like a defect is in response to a particular stimuli.
    And in other cases those with a defect get their remaining abilities honed in amazing ways and go on to do very remarkable things:
    Steven Hawking
    Stevie Wonder
    Helen Keller
    Howard Hughes
    and many others. I suspect that for all the worry about Autism we may find in a few generations that this is a new genetic trait for our species and not always harmful.

    Reply
  15. happycrow

     /  April 16, 2008

    So, that then assumes that cloning = creating a (genetically) relatively homogenous society.

    Is that a good assumption?

    Reply
  16. Alex

     /  April 16, 2008

    Depends on what you clone, but by cloning you still start to remove various traits from the gene pool.
    I don’t think that if you create a bunch of genetic copies you’ll get exact homogeneity of thought. There are plenty of examples of people we could call genetically blessed (good looks, intelligent, strong resistance to disease, fast, muscular, etc.) who go onto do amazing things and we could argue that more of them in the world would be a very good thing. But with clones you open up the risk of genetic homogeneity which disease could wreck absolute havoc on. There is a reason that our species is in its current form, and right now we don’t clone.
    Even identical twins aren’t exact clones. It’s the exact clone issue I have a problem with from a species survival point, not from a cultural one.

    Reply
  17. blackpine

     /  April 16, 2008

    We would have to define what you would be using cloning for. Therapeutic cloning a graft arm or a stand alone kidney for transplant is great. Can’t wait. Let’s Roll. Bring it on. The future is now.

    Cloning a set of workers with a homogenous brain chemistry, and physiology for improved task performance and as a way to exploit a lack of explicit protection for the result of copywritten dna is Not Good.

    Cloning citizens as a way to make up for anti natalist cultural bents is also Not Good.

    Creating a market of designer servants, or crafting a being based on aesthetic determinants is Not Good.

    Cloning a human child as a proof of concept exercise is Not Good.

    Basically, cloning as a way of comodifying and cheapening human life, talent and labor is what I’m opposed to.

    Reply
  18. Human inflation.

    Reply
  19. blackpine

     /  April 17, 2008

    Nice!

    Reply
  20. Alex

     /  April 17, 2008

    They way you put it so nicely Andrew and Blackpine…it makes the term Human Resources very literal – something that one truly can mine, refine, and throw away when done – and I agree is “Not Good”.

    But I like the term Human Inflation too.

    Reply

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