Re: US bill to ban all forms of human cloning

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Apr 27 2001 - 16:24:37 MDT

On Fri, Apr 27, 2001 at 04:08:04PM -0400, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> It is indeed hard to grasp the mind-set of people who support this bill.
> This sort of thing serves as a reminder that what we take as obvious, the
> majority of people think is ~really far out there~.

It is also a sign that we need to make more inroads in mainstream
thinking. It is not enough for people to have heard of nanotechnology or
even know what it is, they better be able to integrate it with an
ethical discourse.
> What do we need to do to wake people up?
> Oh, why bother.
> Just keep building the technology, and people will come around after the
> fact instead of in advance, like they always do....
> We should all move to countries where advanced technology is legal, and then
> these will become the richest countries, and the fools in charge of nations
> like the US will slowly see the absurdity of their ways...

The exit strategy doesn't work. Where are all the top notch researchers?
How many great researchers can you attract with promises of freedom,
when they might get prosecuted if they return home, when investors dare
not invest because they will be tainted in the media by association with
"evil" and possibly even get hit by bills forbidding investing in
unethical overseas research? Sure, you will likely get some heroes, but
the modern scientific/technological enterprise does not work that way.
To get somewhere, we need a lively open scientific discourse, competing
labs, investors and the economic power of being part of the global

In this case, unless the US manages to convince most other western
countries about this position (and I consider it rather unlikely) the
effect will be rather mild. But even having to move the labs to Canada
will dampen research quite a bit, and most of it was up until now in the
US. A president who listens to Bill Joy would be even more dangerous.

The way to fight this is to deal with the underlying memes that make
people make this kind of silly decision. We need to show why our pet
projects are not just beneficial but ethical, and why banning them would
be both impractical and immoral.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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