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Clones

Philosophers and rhetoricians, Welcome!

Should we clone human beings?

Yes
4
14%
It depends on what for...
13
46%
Absolutely not
11
39%
 
Total votes : 28

Clones

Postby primitive » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:07 pm

Today I had a chat with some friends about cloning. "Should we create human clones?" and, "Should we make human enhancements or human therapy." It was quite a broad range of topic, but we took it one step at a time.

I disagreed wih the the production of human clones. One reason was that I could not think of a practical reason to make more people. Don't we have enough already? One might say that we can, in a way, bring people back from the dead. I know that's probably not a good way to put it, but I'm hoping that you get the jist of what I'm saying. I don't think people would accept clones the way they accept real people; it's just not the same thing. I don't think many people would like to buy a clone. I know I wouldn't. So really, I think making clones is a waste of time. There's no real purpose for it, and it's a waste of money (we brought up the topic of space travel at this point...). Making clones for a war, like Star Wars, also seemed pretty bizzare. If one were to create a million clones to go to war, I'm not sure they would obey. Their purpose is to die, or to kill. As blan as the clones would be, their sense of moral would be intact I'm sure. You can't order a living thing to die in these circumstances.

I do, however, remain undecided on the idea of therapy or enhancements. There's a long debate in my head that probably lots of people can type out for me instead, so I'll resist.
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Re: Clones

Postby edonnelly » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:29 pm

primitive wrote:As blan as the clones would be, their sense of moral would be intact I'm sure.

In the case of making an army, the reason to use clones, as opposed to just a bunch of non-clones which could be produced just as easily, would be because you had found an individual who, for genetic reasons*, did not have an intact sense of morals (or whatever you might call it) and who would tend to obey the orders to kill. You could use similar logic for any heritable trait that you desired. It's basically an extreme form of eugenics.

*How you would know that it was a genetic tendency (and not the result of upbringing) is another (rather difficult) issue.
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Postby Eureka » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:16 pm

A clone would be as human as anyone else. (I understand that the clones in said clone army had been genetically engineered to obey like robots.)

The danger of cloning is that we could see a thinning of the human gene pool, but I have no idea how common cloning would have to be before it would cause an increase in genetic disorders in the community.

Having said that, it would be foolish not to look at the idea of cloning for exceptional people.
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Postby classicalclarinet » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:51 am

Cloning for purpose of creating functional human beings, no. It raises too many too sticky ethical questions without contributing overwhelming benefit.

For other purposes, it should be carefully and skeptically considered.

Cloning people to wage wars is absolutely, well, disgusting. It's even worse than making killing robots.
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Postby ThomasGR » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:32 am

Absolutely not.

What reasons are there other than bringing up armies of cheap labor force for the factories and merciless killer machines for the army?

Cloning exceptional persons; such people do not exist.-
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Postby Eureka » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:28 am

I can't believe people are seriously talking about the clone wars on this thread. Clones would not be more obedient than other humans, and there is no reason at all why clones would be the property of their cloners. Are all people the possessions of their parents?

And, CC, "without overwhelming benefit"? The ability to increase the number of great people in the world is just about one of the most overwhelming benefits I can think of.
ThomasGR wrote:Cloning exceptional persons; such people do not exist.-

Don't be ridiculous.
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Postby ThomasGR » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:13 pm

The only exceptional person in the world, it's me.
May I soothe you telling that I'm not any better than you?
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Postby edonnelly » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:35 pm

Eureka wrote:Clones would not be more obedient than other humans

Clones in general, no. The idea is to find an individual with a genetic trait that has the characteristics (perhaps obedience) that you desire. Thus, the clones of this individual would express that genetic trait at much higher frequency than the general population.

I don't know anything about clone wars, I was just speaking of the process in general.


Eureka wrote:and there is no reason at all why clones would be the property of their cloners. Are all people the possessions of their parents?

I would assume that it would only be the government of a rogue nation that would undertake such a nazi-style project, so yes, both the clones as well as non-cloned individuals would effectively be the "property" of their "parents" (government).

Certainly mandatory military service is quite common in the modern world and many nations have controlling governments that severely limit individual rights. I'm not sure how it is now, but back in the days of the Soviet Union it was common to hear stories that the government would assign occupations to very young children. I remember hearing the interview of a gymnastics competitor who said she had been selected as age 4 or so by the government to enter into its gymnastics program. That's pretty close to being treated like property.
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Why such a focus on war?

Postby nostos » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:57 pm

There would be no difference between clonee and cloner; a human is a human is a human. There is very strong reason to suspect that Dolly (the sheep) aged prematurely due to her mitochondrial DNA; only the nuclear DNA, and not the mitochondrial also, was cloned.

But I don't see why anyone is talking about war? We don't know what precisely most genes do, we only have an estimate of how many there are (the hype behind the Human Genome Project was just that - hype; it's only 'complete' by a very narrow definition), and we certainly couldn't create clones to be more obedient than non-clones. There are in all probability no genetic bases for obedience, and even if there were, it would probably be indissoluably linked to a host of other characteristics, being an inseparable 'trait' from so many others because of the genetic interactions between thousands of genes which go on to produce traits. We don't even know which genes make our eyes blue or brown yet; we'd have a much harder time with things like intelligence, and a nearly impossible time with specific mental characteristics like 'obedience' which are so heavily influenced by the environment that they might not be genetic at all (or only have an inkling of genetic basis).

If anything, George Lucas has very little knowledge of genetics to even think of a notion as preposterous as 'clone wars'. Clones are just people; if you clone all their DNA (nuclear and mitochondrial), then I'd suspect you couldn't tell the difference between clone and not-clone (except other organelles with slightly different characteristics in the host oocyte, which I doubt we have the technology to distinguish at this point - and even if we did, you'd have to know what the organelles of the original person were like to make that comparison). We can make clones through gross fumbling at the macro-level, but we don't know the processes involved once they're made.
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Re: Why such a focus on war?

Postby edonnelly » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:05 pm

nostos wrote:only the nuclear DNA, and not the mitochondrial also, was cloned.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed unaltered (barring mutation) from mother to child, so, in effect, it already is "cloned" DNA.

nostos wrote:There are in all probability no genetic bases for obedience,

How, then, do you account for the domestication of animals? This is pure genetic manipulation that occurred over thousands of years by selective breeding.
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Postby ThomasGR » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:23 pm

How, then, do you account for the domestication of animals? This is pure genetic manipulation that occurred over thousands of years by selective breeding.

That's quite true.
Once you started the process, there's nothing that can stop you from breeding thousand of clones and select the one exemplar that jumps higher, swims faster or kills easier. The rest may die, they are not humans anyway but just a bunch of muscles and skins.
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Re: Why such a focus on war?

Postby nostos » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:43 pm

edonnelly wrote:
nostos wrote:only the nuclear DNA, and not the mitochondrial also, was cloned.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed unaltered (barring mutation) from mother to child, so, in effect, it already is "cloned" DNA.

nostos wrote:There are in all probability no genetic bases for obedience,

How, then, do you account for the domestication of animals? This is pure genetic manipulation that occurred over thousands of years by selective breeding.


I don't remember which two species they were, but they were two different species, dolly and her host. You're right, mitochondrial DNA is only passed from mother to child - but what they did to poor dolly was effectively cloning a chimp's nuclear DNA with orangoutang (or however that's spelt!) mitochondria.

And yes, you're right on the second point. But we are not dogs, amice edonnelly. I would assume that we have many more complexities in our genome which make up all of our traits than a single gene or set of genes only dealing with 'obedience', one of many mental traits.

And we still have no idea on the genetic level what causes a labrador, for instance, to be more obedient than a pug. Again, we have genetically manipulated them by observing some of their grosser phenotypes; that does not mean we know where precisely the genes are that cause the phenotypes. Unless you want to spend thousands of years selectively breeding people - through cloning or sexual reproduction (which I stress is the same thing except clones are an exact copy, sexual reproduction allows for 2 to the 23rd possibilities of chromosomal combination because of the way meiosis works, separating each chromosome from its pair and placing one of the pair into the gamete, sex cell) - then I don't see how you plan to do this.

What I'm saying is that fine, yes, you have the observable phenotype obedience (let's forget for the moment that 'phenotype' is by definition the interaction of genotype with the environment - even the name going back to its roots says it is only the genetic characteristics we can 'see'). You still don't know precisely what causes that phenotype - you can create it, but you don't know how you're creating what you're creating. And therefore you can't manipulate it to be more obedient without generations of hit-or-miss breeding (sexual or cloning, it's all breeding).

That's the major fallacy with Eugenics: they thought that we could get certain characteristics to repeat in later generations. This is true, but drastically oversimplified; it takes no account of the myriad phenotypes which are not expressed in the specimen you're looking at, but are clearly there in the genes, waiting to be expressed further on down the line. That means that perhaps you're breeding intelligence, but you're also unawares breeding, for example, haemophilia. These examples are exagerated, but the basic, subtler, idea is in these examples.
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Re: Why such a focus on war?

Postby edonnelly » Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:38 pm

nostos wrote:And therefore you can't manipulate it to be more obedient without generations of hit-or-miss breeding (sexual or cloning, it's all breeding).

The whole point of cloning is that you would only need to find one case where the genetics already expressed the desired trait. You could eliminate the need for multi-generational breeding to bring out a trait. This is why you will soon be seeing cloned pets (and race horses, etc), I have no doubt.

nostos wrote:it takes no account of the myriad phenotypes which are not expressed in the specimen you're looking at, but are clearly there in the genes, waiting to be expressed further on down the line. That means that perhaps you're breeding intelligence, but you're also unawares breeding, for example, haemophilia.

Again, this would be the advantage of cloning over multi-generational breeding. It wouldn't matter if your subject had an unexpressed recessive trait, because it would also go unexpressed in the clones. Now, there are dominant genes with variable penetrance, but likely that phenomenon is related to the underlying (and poorly understood) genetics as well, so it is unlikely to be an issue. In fact, it doesn't matter how complex the underlying genetics of a particular phenotype (say blue eyes) is, because the entire collection of genes will be the same in the clone.
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Re: Why such a focus on war?

Postby nostos » Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:52 pm

edonnelly wrote:Again, this would be the advantage of cloning over multi-generational breeding. It wouldn't matter if your subject had an unexpressed recessive trait, because it would also go unexpressed in the clones. Now, there are dominant genes with variable penetrance, but likely that phenomenon is related to the underlying (and poorly understood) genetics as well, so it is unlikely to be an issue. In fact, it doesn't matter how complex the underlying genetics of a particular phenotype (say blue eyes) is, because the entire collection of genes will be the same in the clone.


Agreed - I hadn't thought of looking for humans already in existence with all of the traits desired. In that case, yer right: finding someone who's docile, commandable, strong - kind of like the character in 'The Lady Killers' who constantly said 'Coach' - then cloning them, and training them, for purposes of war.



But that's a horrible idea! :?
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Postby primitive » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:52 pm

And, CC, "without overwhelming benefit"? The ability to increase the number of great people in the world is just about one of the most overwhelming benefits I can think of.


Why clone people when people can be born naturally? (and for a much less cost!) If, say, you took the genetics of Albert Einstein and cloned him 20 times, you would have 20 exact copies of Einstein. The original Einstein was as smart as he was because he was brought up in such a way that resulted in genius. These 20 other Einsteins would have to have a life extremely close to the life of the real Einstein to be just like the real Einstein. People are made, not born. If this is not done, you have 20 ordinary human beings that happen to have the genetic code of Einstein. In order to increase the number of great people in the world, I think educational facilities would work well.
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Postby ThomasGR » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:07 pm

A. Einstein just happened to be at the right place at the right time, if I may use an American cliche, but I don't think he was smarter than me. I can prove this. For instance, I can fasten my shoe laces, whereas Einstein was so dumm that he couldn't. That says much. Do you dream of hundreds of Alberts who cannot even wear there jackets correctly?
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Postby primitive » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:58 pm

If one were going to try to make a ground breaking discovery by bringing back Einstein, jackets and shoelaces would not dramatically affect his research.
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Postby Laurent » Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:45 am

Cloning could be used for medical purposes: suppose you would have bad lungs, you could clone yourself or your parents in order to get new ones (no possible rejection since the proteins implied would be the same). Even better, it could be possible to add specific human "DNA" sections in pigs' DNA, which, genetically, are similar to humans, to end up with human body parts, which could be used for the same pupose, without the ethical matters.

As for clone wars... Stop watching science-fiction movies, haha. :)
Finally, saying that a person and his clone are identical is true, and wrong... Same "DNA", proteins, and bla-bla-bla, yes. But it is known that nutrition has a big influence on one's development, and I'm not even speaking about experience, conditioning, the environment in which a baby was born (a clone of Einstein, born in certain conditions, could be a total dumbass), etc.
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Postby edonnelly » Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:12 am

Laurent wrote:Same "DNA", proteins, and bla-bla-bla, yes. But it is known that nutrition has a big influence on one's development, and I'm not even speaking about experience, conditioning, the environment in which a baby was born (a clone of Einstein, born in certain conditions, could be a total dumbass), etc.

While it is true that both genetics and environment play a role, the relative effects of each are not completely unknown. There are many scientific studies comparing identical twins reared apart (identical genetics, different environment) to fraternal twins reared apart (50% genetic concordance, different environment) to like groups reared together. The studies are difficult, and have limitations, but they consistently show that the genetics generally contribute well more than 50% to the studied variable (ranging from anything such as IQ to body mass index).

I know we like to believe that we are the product of our own hard work and the hard work and care of those around us, and that we are responsible for our own successes, but it's hard to deny the very strong and real influence of genetics.
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Postby richc » Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:05 pm

Odd, but I'm not sure if cloning is unethical or not. Ultimately a clone is just a clone
However I'd be interested to know the range of variation in a somewhat large sample
of clones. For example what would the range of personality variation have to say about
the basis of consciousness. Is it based on hardware, nature, nurture, the gods?
I dont think it would answer these questions. But it would be great to take a look.
And on a personal level. I'd support enhancements to clones. I'd really like to have a
clone of myself, though shorter. A sort of mini-me that could server me drinks :D
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Postby Eureka » Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:29 am

edonnelly wrote:
Eureka wrote:Clones would not be more obedient than other humans

Clones in general, no. The idea is to find an individual with a genetic trait that has the characteristics (perhaps obedience) that you desire. Thus, the clones of this individual would express that genetic trait at much higher frequency than the general population.

Eureka wrote:and there is no reason at all why clones would be the property of their cloners. Are all people the possessions of their parents?

I would assume that it would only be the government of a rogue nation that would undertake such a nazi-style project, so yes, both the clones as well as non-cloned individuals would effectively be the "property" of their "parents" (government).

That's true, but whether or not we clone any people at all in our western countries will have no effect on whether the Chinese clone an army of supersoldiers out in the Gobi desert.
nostos wrote:That's the major fallacy with Eugenics: they thought that we could get certain characteristics to repeat in later generations. This is true, but drastically oversimplified; it takes no account of the myriad phenotypes which are not expressed in the specimen you're looking at, but are clearly there in the genes, waiting to be expressed further on down the line. That means that perhaps you're breeding intelligence, but you're also unawares breeding, for example, haemophilia. These examples are exagerated, but the basic, subtler, idea is in these examples.

Exactly, if you try to breed extraordinary people via the natural method, you never really know what you're gonna get. How many smart parents have stupid children? and so on... Sex is not the answer. (Don't quote that out of context.)
primitive wrote: Why clone people when people can be born naturally? (and for a much less cost!) If, say, you took the genetics of Albert Einstein and cloned him 20 times, you would have 20 exact copies of Einstein. The original Einstein was as smart as he was because he was brought up in such a way that resulted in genius. These 20 other Einsteins would have to have a life extremely close to the life of the real Einstein to be just like the real Einstein. People are made, not born. If this is not done, you have 20 ordinary human beings that happen to have the genetic code of Einstein. In order to increase the number of great people in the world, I think educational facilities would work well.

That's not true. You genes dictate most of your traits. Certainly, if he'd never had the chance to study physics, he'd have never discovered relativity, but no matter how good an educational facility is, it can never make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Many people had the advantages Einstein had (or better), not many did anything approaching what he did with them.
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Postby PeterD » Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:59 am

I'd like to "clone" Pamela Anderson. :)
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:51 pm

I didn't know there was a shortage of cheap labor or cannon fodder! The future of cloning lies on spare body parts! I propose that every new baby should be cloned! We would have to lobotomize the new"born" clones, of course, to deal with any ethical issues! As soon as the clones could walk, we would hook them up to a tread-mill that powers the house, to give them exercise and have them earn their keep! We would make them Vegetarian, needless to say, to keep them healthy and spiritual! Have you lost an arm, a leg, an ear, an eye? There's your clone-bro to keep you revictualed! By the time they reached 50, our clones would look like Lord Nelson! At that time, we would put them to pasture on our back yards, saving us from mowing the lawn! When we died, we would chop them up for feed to subsidize our young clones' diet! Then our young clones would get mad-clone desease, which would save us the lobotomy! I'm so excited!
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Postby Eureka » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:45 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:I didn't know there was a shortage of cheap labor or cannon fodder! The future of cloning lies on spare body parts! I propose that every new baby should be cloned! We would have to lobotomize the new"born" clones, of course, to deal with any ethical issues! As soon as the clones could walk, we would hook them up to a tread-mill that powers the house, to give them exercise and have them earn their keep! We would make them Vegetarian, needless to say, to keep them healthy and spiritual! Have you lost an arm, a leg, an ear, an eye? There's your clone-bro to keep you revictualed! By the time they reached 50, our clones would look like Lord Nelson! At that time, we would put them to pasture on our back yards, saving us from mowing the lawn! When we died, we would chop them up for feed to subsidize our young clones' diet! Then our young clones would get mad-clone desease, which would save us the lobotomy! I'm so excited!
This is a serious issue. I don't think we need that on this thread.
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Postby nostos » Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:09 pm

Eureka, I don't think that he was being purely faceteous; read into everything he says, and you'll get his stance on cloning. He obviously doesn't believe clones are 'cheap labor or cannon fodder' etc.

I think it's good that someone, after all the debate, lightened things up a bit while still (if I'm not wrong :P ) took a strong position.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Oct 24, 2005 6:03 pm

"I'd like to "clone" Pamela Anderson." ~PeterD

You'll have to wait until we can clone just body parts (in pairs) instead of whole folks. I'm working on it, as a matter of fact: right now I'm running some nipple cells that I scraped off of my cat through the centrifuge program in my washer to see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

"[...] Sex is not the answer." ~Eureka

Not having luck with the ladies lately? :D

"I don't think we need that on this thread." ~Eureka

I have my own thoughts about what we need on this thread, and as I'm about to prove, I keep them to myself:
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Postby edonnelly » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:36 pm

Eureka wrote:That's true, but whether or not we clone any people at all in our western countries will have no effect on whether the Chinese clone an army of supersoldiers out in the Gobi desert.


It looks like we (the US, at least) have our eyes on other tactics (I just saw this):

Super-soldiers story from news.com.au wrote:US military experts are attempting to create an army of super-human soldiers who will be more intelligent and deadly thanks to a microchip implanted in their brains.


Full Story

To Peter & Bardo -- maybe you should be working on cloning Pamela Anderson's plastic surgeon (or at least his hands/brains). Though I'm not exactly sure what Peter meant by "clone."
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Postby nostos » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:50 pm

of course. What more could I expect of the US military? Every last shred of human decency is not only eliminated but actively replaced with pragmatic 'benefits'.

Long live the cyber-soldier! Our brains are worthless, but we've got a shiny new toy to take their place! Don't worry, kiddies, it's only a matter of time before we redesign a better human race!
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Postby edonnelly » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:05 am

nostos wrote:What more could I expect of the US military?


Though, to be fair, I don't know how that reporter concluded that this research had anything to do with military troops. In fact, the lab's website seems to focus on the [less sensational] treatment of traumatic brain injury, stroke, etc. Too bad there weren't sources included.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:29 am

"US military experts are attempting to create an army of super-human soldiers who will be more intelligent and deadly thanks to a microchip implanted in their brains." ~quoted by Ed

Not having read the article, I'll bet two dactyls and a spondee that the quote is more editorial hoopla than actual Frankensteinian evil on the part of the Pentagon. If you could track the position of your troops through a micro-chip and give them orders through it, your troops would be more intelligent. As for deadly, all a soldier has to do to become deadlier is survive another day.

"What more could I expect of the US military?" ~Nostos

That's our military, nostos, and Mr. Bush is our Commander-in-Chief! It's just that some of us don't get to vote for him, which makes us 2nd class citizens of the Empire! (Just teasing, but really.)

(Some of us have a cunning ability to change the subject of any discussion into how bad Americans are!)
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Postby nostos » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:03 am

:P

To quote Ignatius Reilly: ho-hum.
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Postby Eureka » Sat Oct 29, 2005 1:19 am

A lot of the counter arguments are of the form:

"What if they clone super-soldiers?" "What if we clone super-soldiers?" "What if they clone slaves?" "What if they clone people for body parts line in that movie with Ewan McGregor?"

What all these arguments have in common is that they are irrelevant to the issue of cloning our exceptional people. After all, limited legalised cloning within our countries would not be required for the cloning of soldiers, the army would be perfectly capable of developing cloning methods by itself.

As for the issue of cloning slaves, that goes against all first world legal systems, I'm sure. What's more, the open cloning of citizens equal under the law to everyone else is the best way to prevent abuse of cloned people because it would act as a legal precedent against the owning of cloned people.
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Postby PeterD » Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:02 am

edonnelly wrote:To Peter & Bardo -- maybe you should be working on cloning Pamela Anderson's plastic surgeon (or at least his hands/brains). Though I'm not exactly sure what Peter meant by "clone."


It was all in jest. :) Then, my wife saw it and she did not find it so funny. :? :arrow: :(

~Peter

p.s. Did you know that Pamela Anderson is Canadian?
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby edonnelly » Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:16 am

PeterD wrote:
edonnelly wrote:To Peter & Bardo -- maybe you should be working on cloning Pamela Anderson's plastic surgeon (or at least his hands/brains). Though I'm not exactly sure what Peter meant by "clone."


It was all in jest. :) Then, my wife saw it and she did not find it so funny. :? :arrow: :(


Doh!

Sorry if I caused you any trouble. Maybe sometimes in here it would be better to post in a different language...
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Postby Rameses_Rex » Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:04 am

Come on, doesn't alot of good outdo some evil. Even if cloning isn't 100% ethical, what would the benefits be if we could clone valuable persons. How about every Greek student got lessons from Homer, or 50 Einsteins working together in a lab to discover new great theorems. Think about the endless possibilities.

And as our knowledge of the human genome advances, why not improve humans? God created us in his likelyness, he did that with a purpose. Who knows, maybe He wants us to be more intelligent, agile, cuter, than we are.

And clone wars, well, it might happen, but at least it'd 'just' be a copy that would die, and not you.
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