Re: Interview with the Bioethicist

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 05:21:03 MST

On Thu, 10 Feb 2000, Damien Broderick wrote:

> I said:
> >I don't consider it to be a "twin" until it begins to accumulate a unique
> >information set (after birth).
> Au contraire, stochastic divagations will make the twins differ quite
> quickly, well before birth.
While I wouldn't disagree (given that "twins" are developing in a nutrient
competitive situation), if you run across some scientific data I would
like to see it. It would take some careful thought and playing with
the numbers to determine how much actual information there is in
genome variations and in stochastic developmental processes.
I do however think both are relatively low compared with the amount
of data computers typically handle now-a-days though.

BTW, I think Caleb Finch's and Tom Kirkwood's recent book, "Chance,
Development, and Aging" may have some related discussion (though
the review I've seen on the book wasn't highly impressive). Caleb
has commented at several recent aging meetings on the impact
of stochastic processes in the aging of individuals.

> And BTW, of course with mothers given fertility drugs and ending up with 8
> foetuses or some such, the prevailing practice *is* to cull some of them
> early, to permit the rest to survive. Nobody seems *too* horrified by this.
> (Lifeboat rules, I guess.)

I almost mentioned this. It *is* an interesting situation. Presumably
if the RTLers were on their toes they would be objecting to these
treatments on the grounds that you have to take lives to produce lives.
On the other side, if you don't use the drugs, you don't get any life
at all. Oooh, Ooooh, that logical swamp has to hurt...

> >Hmmm, I don't remember seeing this discussion in LMG.
> p.99


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