Page 1 of 2

Obama: Cloning is "profoundly wrong."

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:19 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1

While signing legislation to fund experiments with embryonic stem cells, the Head of State today expressed his opinion that human cloning is "profoundly wrong" and will never be allowed by his government.

This strikes me as very, very weird, that he would consider cloning to be abhorrent while approving of so many other... uh... controversial things. But aside from that, this makes me wonder what the Cult of the Cephalopod thinks about cloning.

Personally, I don't get what the big deal is. We already have millions of clones walking around: We call them identical twins. There isn't anything arcane or weird about a clone. A close is just a person who has the same genes as another person. It happens naturally all the time.

There are, of course, any number of ways that cloning could be abused, but, in principle, I'm not sure what the ethical issue would be. I know it wouldn't rock my boat to learn that I was a clone; I would just consider it interesting trivia.

What do y'all think? Is cloning wrong? Would it upset you to discover that you are a clone?

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:53 pm
by delfedd
While I agree with you in general, I think that learning I was a clone would definitely mess with me a lot. Unless human cloning was prevalent, in which case it would make me a bit uncomfortable.

And in any case, most of the human cloning stuff nowadays is focused on stem cell research.

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:43 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
Nah.

I saw a picture of my grandpa when he was my age. We look identical. It wouldn't faze me at all to learn that I was actually his clone. It wouldn't make me any less me.

hmmm

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:15 pm
by StalinSays
It's hard to integrate cloning in to my value system, I feel morally neutral to the idea. I don't have that 'against nature' knee jerk, and I'm in agreement with the thinking here, in that a clone would be a distinct sentient, fully human individual. I guess the only place where the technology gets spooky is in application. I'm not for restricting scientific inquiry, but there's a point at which Fox News style 'designer baby' future shock meets reality.

Basically, this is what I worry about: celebrity reruns. We see Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez age, and leave the limelight as per usual. A respite is given from the insipid gossip mags, balance returns to the universe, yadda yadda. Then as we our own golden years, Angelina and Jennifers make 2 enter the celebrisphere, Our last days are spent in a society enraptured with the thought of Brad 2 sticking with Jennifer 2 this time around. Worse than death says I!

yup

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:17 pm
by StalinSays
Also I saw a picture of my mother in High School next to a shot of myself in High School and WE look identical. Finding out I'm that clone WOULD phase me.

Re: yup

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:30 am
by Mr. Tweedy
StalinSays wrote:Also I saw a picture of my mother in High School next to a shot of myself in High School and WE look identical. Finding out I'm that clone WOULD phase me.
Eh, I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that. Chicks and dudes have different chromosomes (the famous XX and XY), so you couldn't have a male clone of of a woman or visa versa. They'd have to get a Y from someplace other than your mom, so you wouldn't be genetically identical.

Celebrity reruns: I know you're probably just making a joke, but a lot of people really think clones would be like that, like a rerun of the same person. Not so at all: There's absolutely no reason why "Angelina 2" would be anything like Angelina. They'd be even less likely to be the same than a pair of natural twins, because of the greater difference in their experience and circumstance.

I remember skimming through some hokey Rapture & Apocalypse novel a while back. For some reason, the author was under the impression that only A. Hitler or J. Caesar had the appropriate resumé to be Antichrist. The novel being set in the future, the non-living state of those two people was a serious inconvenience to his plot. So he just had Satan clone Hitler from some old blood. Bingo! Hitler 2 is the Antichrist. (Did I mention "hokey"?)

But, of course, Hitler 2 wouldn't be Hitler 2. He'd be Stan or Jack or Norm, just some guy. Just like if Hitler had a twin brother who got frozen for 120 years and thawed out today, still a baby. That boy wouldn't be Hitler. He'd just be a baby like any other baby, not predestined in any way on account of who his brother was.

So, yeah, there's this weird and irrational aura of creepiness that surrounds the idea of cloning, like clones are monsters or something. But, really, they'd just be ordinary people.

An ethical use of cloning (?): Fertility treatments. Suppose a couple wants to have a baby but one or the other of them got their baby-making parts baked by radiation while visiting Mars. Clone one of the parents, or an old relative. What's creepy about that?

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:27 am
by delfedd
I think what would phase me would be knowing

It'd be slightly more phasing than learning that i had an identical twin, more so because someone besides my mother and father had an input in my birth.

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:44 am
by Goldenrat
I guess I can't say I'm in favor of cloning, but I'm excited about the possibilities of what can be done with stem cells. If some dude in a lab coat can grow a new liver or kidney for me someday when mine shut down, great. I would like to get my giant dog cloned, though.

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:47 am
by tbaker2500
I'm pretty indifferent about the subject, but I guess I see a way to divide the arguments.
A. Human cloning of whole persons. This involves a soul, and messes with people's beliefs about creation and the afterlife.
B. Tissue cloning, which is a way for us to make spare parts for an already existing soul.

It's hard to argue about B (except for the methods of getting source material), but A does make me a little uncomfortable. It's clear that humans have very little understanding of how we're made and function, so the best we could do to clone a human is to copy existing work. But there are too many possibilities of something we don't understand going wrong, and causing undue suffering on that cloned person. Right now people blame God for "defective" humans. Imagine the lawsuit brought against the scientists if the clone gets cancer.

That being said, why would you ever want to clone a human? "Because we can" is not a good enough answer for me. There is not a fertility crisis in this world. There are many unfortunate couples in this world who cannot conceive, but having an adopted sister I feel that adoption is a very good option.

Ultimately, I think that the scare over human cloning is primarily a scare tactic used to shut down tissue cloning research from embryos. Is that right or wrong? Wow, that would take a much wiser man than me to decide.

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:45 am
by cammoblammo
This is a really hard one. I hate slippery slope arguments, because they make ethical acts unethical by association. In this case though, I can see problems. Once the gate's open, you can't get the horse back.

I don't have a problem with the technology. It's the consequences that bother me. Do I want to live in a society in which replacement organs can be grown as needed? Perhaps, especially if I'm the one needing a new organ. Do I want to live in a society in which babies are designed according to the whims of the parents? I don't know. I can see benefits, but I can also see some pretty bad consequences. We don't have to be fans of speculative fiction to list them!

tbaker2500 asks two questions which seem as theological as anything else:

[quote=tbaker2500]
A. Human cloning of whole persons. This involves a soul, and messes with people's beliefs about creation and the afterlife.
B. Tissue cloning, which is a way for us to make spare parts for an already existing soul. [/quote]

I'm not sure A is a huge issue. As has been discussed, cloning already happens naturally without any problems for the soul. (Actually, this has implications for the abortion debate. If a zygote is to become two embryos it will happens some days after fertilisation. How many souls does the blastocyst have before it collapes and splits? Does it have one, which splits into two? Or does 'quickening'---the time the unborn person 'receives' a soul---happen after the time the blastocyst could split? If that is the case, is the newly fertilised embryo a human?)

If cloning were to be essentially 'copying' a person whereby a subject is put into the Clone-o-matic and reproduced, then statement A comes into play.

B is interesting---I'd never really thought about the question in those terms. It's not that far divorced from the question about organ transplants. If I have someone else's heart transplanted into me, is there any sense in which I am partly them? Am I less myself? Is the person's soul waiting for me to die so it can do whatever it's supposed to after death?

All of this assumes certain values of the word 'soul.' The assumption is that the soul is an incorporeal thing that is somehow related to a body and is somehow responsible for that person's personhood.

So here's an important question which threatens to derail the thread: do we 'have' a soul or 'are' we a soul? The Bible would actually suggest the first (which might come as something of a surprise to many). The idea of humans having a separate soul seems to come from ancient Greek philosophy.

If we 'are' a soul then I can't see any problems with either of Tom's statements. There might be other moral objections to the issue of cloning, but a clone (however created) would be a soul in its own right. If we 'have' a soul, well, things get complicated.

Well, my brain hurts now. Thanks Tweedy. I'll send you the bill for the coffee I now need.

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:49 am
by strawman
I was okay with the restrictions, which permitted research on anything, but just limited federal funding. That seemed to me to respect the consciences of taxpayers who otherwise would see themselves as subsidizing the taking of human life.

Same issue with the removal of conscience clause protections for doctors who believe that abortion kills a human being. Now they can lose their licenses unless they violate their own consciences. This is a different issue than the issue of abortion or ESCR. It has to do with forcing people to act against what they think is right. In my opinion, that is extremely offensive.

Yesterday Warren Buffett said we need to be as united as we were after Pearl Harbor. That unity got the war effort going all right. But it also got all our Japanese citizens imprisoned in internment camps.

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:04 pm
by cammoblammo
strawman wrote:I was okay with the restrictions, which permitted research on anything, but just limited federal funding. That seemed to me to respect the consciences of taxpayers who otherwise would see themselves as subsidizing the taking of human life.
This is the thing I can't understand. Aren't the embryos in question 'leftovers' from IVF procedures and were to be destroyed anyway? If those embryos can be used to save lives, so much the better.

If people wanted to save the lives of embryos, they'd be shutting the IVF clinics down.

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:05 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
cammoblammo wrote:
strawman wrote:I was okay with the restrictions, which permitted research on anything, but just limited federal funding. That seemed to me to respect the consciences of taxpayers who otherwise would see themselves as subsidizing the taking of human life.
This is the thing I can't understand. Aren't the embryos in question 'leftovers' from IVF procedures and were to be destroyed anyway? If those embryos can be used to save lives, so much the better.

If people wanted to save the lives of embryos, they'd be shutting the IVF clinics down.
Well, lots of people do adopt the "leftover" embryos. They call them "snowflake babies." It's something Mrs. Tweedy and I have discussed doing... someday when we money. :(

Souls? I'm soul agnostic. That sounds weird coming from a Christian, but I don't see any reason why there needs to be a soul for the Gospel to work. I'm inclined to think that the Looney Toons view–that a soul lives inside your body and gets kicked out when you die–is wrong. If there are souls, I figure it's more of a tip-of-the-iceberg scenario, where a person exists in more than three dimensions and the body is just the little bit that you can see of them. In that scenario, your soul doesn't "go" anywhere. It stays where it is and the body is the thing that goes. (So, instead of saying "Joe has a soul," you'd say "Joe's soul has a body.") That fits in perfectly with the "holographic universe" theory that's been discussed on another thread, and it's my favorite explanation at the moment. (This is idle speculation, not real Theology.)

thoughts

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:31 pm
by StalinSays
Mr. Tweedy wrote:I know you're probably just making a joke
Jokes both, trying to keep it light, and fulfill the internet's fateful goal of destroying discourse with ineffectual cleverness.
Mr. Tweedy wrote:like a rerun of the same person. Not so at all: There's absolutely no reason why "Angelina 2" would be anything like Angelina. They'd be even less likely to be the same than a pair of natural twins...
The clones would share the same physical traits of their celebrity 'parents' though, I'm not wrong there, right? I mean, they can gain weight and get scurvy, but in appearance it's like an identical not a fraternal one.

Nurture plays it's part of course, but I'm pretty sure Angelina 2's road to stardom would be paved from conception.
Mr. Tweedy wrote:I figure it's more of a tip-of-the-iceberg scenario, where a person exists in more than three dimensions and the body is just the little bit that you can see of them. In that scenario, your soul doesn't "go" anywhere.
So soul's are like the mice from Hitchhiker's Guide? It is an interesting viewpoint that I could get behind. My personal meaning of the word soul identifies the 'force' that animates our bodies. You die, your synapses stop firing, you have no more soul. By that definition, you could clone a warehouse worth of Hitlers, Norms, or Tweedy's, and each would have its own 'soul.' Bo falls in a groove between the Greek, biology, and over-simplification.

-- --

Genetic tinkering, a la Episode 177 of Escapepod with King and his usurpers, seems a closer approximation of the future than some cloning dystopia. Worries of countless duplicates are like expectation of a flying car, they display a certain lack of imagination. Unless the Raelians share their hyper-aging technology, I would see the mad scientists of the military industrial complex pursuing an entirely different path. How about figuring out a way to give soldiers Jerome Bettis's size, Kobe Bryant's vertical leap, Lance Armstrong's endurance, and Warren Buffet's critical thinking. It seems more advantageous a path than babysitting hundreds of clones of some willing, anonymous soldier. We need to worry about the moral ambiguity of our progeny NOT looking like us.

Re: thoughts

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:22 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
StalinSays wrote: The clones would share the same physical traits of their celebrity 'parents' though, I'm not wrong there, right? I mean, they can gain weight and get scurvy, but in appearance it's like an identical not a fraternal one.
Right.
StalinSays wrote: Nurture plays it's part of course, but I'm pretty sure Angelina 2's road to stardom would be paved from conception.
But that, in itself, would prevent her from being like the "original." Her road being pre-paved would mean her experience was nothing like that of the Angelina 1, which would make them turn out completely differently.
StalinSays wrote:
Mr. Tweedy wrote:I figure it's more of a tip-of-the-iceberg scenario, where a person exists in more than three dimensions and the body is just the little bit that you can see of them. In that scenario, your soul doesn't "go" anywhere.
So soul's are like the mice from Hitchhiker's Guide? It is an interesting viewpoint that I could get behind. My personal meaning of the word soul identifies the 'force' that animates our bodies. You die, your synapses stop firing, you have no more soul. By that definition, you could clone a warehouse worth of Hitlers, Norms, or Tweedy's, and each would have its own 'soul.' Bo falls in a groove between the Greek, biology, and over-simplification.
The word for that would be "spirit," I think. It would be related to the greek word "pneuma," variously translated as "air", "wind" or "spirit." The Greeks, as I understand it, thought that the cessation of breath at death was the literal departure of the spirit. Spirit = animation or the quality of having life. Soul ("psyche") is different idea.

It is interesting to note that difference between a living person and a fresh corpse is simply that the corpse has stopped moving. All the myriad, not-quite-infinite molecular shuffling that had been going on within the body has stopped going on. The body is essentially the same, but the spirit is gone.

-----------

Oo! Oo! Has anyone else read Chasm City?

Part of the backstory is some trivia about how the planet Yellowstone was colonized. The technology of the time did not allow human-friendly transportation between star systems (lots of pulping and splatting). So they sent a spacecraft loaded with embryos along the robots/equipment needed to "grow" them. So the first colonists were actually natives. Pretty interesting idea...

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:46 am
by braver_ducky
cammoblammo wrote: . If I have someone else's heart transplanted into me, is there any sense in which I am partly them? Am I less myself?
Some interesting research (I'll try to find the papers I read) about organ transplant is being done right now. People who have gotten organs, wether it be a cornea, a liver, a kidney or even a heart - are finding themselves with memories that are not their own. Some of them might have hated fish their entire lives and all of a sudden start liking it. They might remember jokes they've never heard, destinations they have never visited. Stuff like that. And this research is pointing to the theory that we store "memory cells" all over our bodies. That our memories are not just stored in our brain but that they are infact stored everywhere. With special regards to the heart. Apparently that organ is full of these file folders of knowledge. Creepy.

Also some scientists can grow specific parts now - ears or lungs , without having to grow a whole useless person attached to it.
I have trouble thinking of harvesting my clone's heart - when my own fails me. And that "my own clone" is just that. My person. I feel as though I would make a pretty cool pet to myself.
But why clone people to take organs from them? They are technicaly "real" people with a "soul" or "spirit" or whatever. Why go through all that trouble when there's plently of other people around with perfectly good organs for the taking. As long as the blood type matches right? It's the same thing in the end.

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:49 pm
by strawman
We should consider the fact that non-cloned organs are subject to rejection by our immune system, which must be God weighing in with His opinion that taking organs from other people isn't right. On the other hand, if cloned organs aren't rejected, that must be God saying it's okay dockey.

Re: thoughts

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:43 am
by ROU Killing Time
Mr. Tweedy wrote: But that, in itself, would prevent her from being like the "original." Her road being pre-paved would mean her experience was nothing like that of the Angelina 1, which would make them turn out completely differently.
I'm not sure how different that road would be. After all, as a child of a celebrity, Angelina Mark 1 was already on the same road Angelina Mark 2 would be traveling from a very early age.

Just to be sure, you'd need to clone Jon Voight and arrange and estrangement...

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:00 pm
by bolddeceiver
Mr. Tweedy wrote: Eh, I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that. Chicks and dudes have different chromosomes (the famous XX and XY), so you couldn't have a male clone of of a woman or visa versa. They'd have to get a Y from someplace other than your mom, so you wouldn't be genetically identical.
However, you could potentially make an almost clone, by taking the Y from someone else, possibly the nearest male relative, a la Lazarus Long...
Mr. Tweedy wrote:Oo! Oo! Has anyone else read Chasm City?

Part of the backstory is some trivia about how the planet Yellowstone was colonized. The technology of the time did not allow human-friendly transportation between star systems (lots of pulping and splatting). So they sent a spacecraft loaded with embryos along the robots/equipment needed to "grow" them. So the first colonists were actually natives. Pretty interesting idea...
Yes, though elsewhere in the canon of that universe, it's shown that the Americano colonists pretty much all went psychotic and killed themselves off after a generation or two due to societal instabilities leftover from the poor job the machines did socializing the first generation (except for Diadem, where everyone died off before this could happen, though it is possible that their rebellion against their robot keepers and/or Martin Setterholm murdering everyone left after that
Spoiler:
could well have been a result of this phenomenon).

Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:41 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
bolddeceiver wrote:Yes, though elsewhere in the canon of that universe, it's shown that the Americano colonists pretty much all went psychotic and killed themselves off after a generation or two due to societal instabilities leftover from the poor job the machines did socializing the first generation (except for Diadem, where everyone died off before this could happen, though it is possible that their rebellion against their robot keepers and/or Martin Setterholm murdering everyone left after that
Spoiler:
could well have been a result of this phenomenon).
Really?

I must get around to reading those last few Reynolds books.

And it's actually been a few years since I read Chasm City, so I probably forgot some things.