Re: Hawking on Cloning

Damien Broderick (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 17:27:05 +0000

At 08:56 PM 3/23/97 -0800, John Clark wrote:

>I tend to think that genius is largely genetic, too many great geniuses have
>had pedestrian upbringing, but one of the great things about cloning is that
>now we can know for sure. Clone Hawking, give the clone a good but not
>extraordinary education, nothing better than that millions of people

As I recall (dimly), monozygotic twins occur in about every 80 births. Or
maybe that's both sorts of twins. In any event, surely the natural
experiment has happened many times by now, even if geniuses are one in a
million. We know that identical twins reared in proximity tend, for
psychic self-protection, to differentiate themselves in behaviour, dress,
professional interests, etc, to a greater extent than those who are
separated, but if genius is largely genomic-cum-uterine you'd expect it to
show up in whatever field the twins entered.

The only case that comes to my mind is Prof. Gregory Benford, who is
certainly an extraordinarily talented man in both physics and literature.
His identical twin (Jim?) may be a fine fellow, but I've never read any of
his novels or heard of his scientific contributions. Any other names come
to mind?

Damien Broderick (a non-twin firstborn)