Re: Interview with the Bioethicist

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 19:56:27 MST

At 08:07 AM 8/02/00 -0800, Robert wrote:

>Another fascinating question is whether you remove most of the "stigma"
>and/or questionable ethics associated with an abortion if you can
>do a full-genome genotype (i.e. determine rigorously and completely
>the "information content" of the potential individual). That information
>would allow you to reconstruct the individual at some point in the future

Robert, that just doesn't cut it with true believers in god-implanted
souls. (It might with atheist `pro-lifers'.)

May you kill an identical twin, with impunity, on the above grounds?
Abominable! Absurd!

On the other hand, the puzzle I proposed in LAST MORTAL GENERATION has
never received an answer from god-botherers, to my knowledge. Squish two or
three early embryos together in vitro, and they form a single moasaic
individual. If souls are inserted by god at the earliest possible moment of
conception (which for twins would necessarily be a bit later than for
one-offs), where do the spares go after the mosaic gells? Suppose after a
few more doublings you tease apart the mosaic into 16 new embryos - voila,
god has to rush back and make some new souls. This seems to me a neat
reductio ad absurdum of the whole implant model.

I await definitive repudiation, with Latin footnotes, from Rome...


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