The Cloning Debate (again)

Erik Moeller (
Sat, 10 Jan 1998 19:27:57 +0100

When Dolly arrived, the trouble started. Ongoing and noisy debates in all
major mass media on a very low level -- especially, as always, in the yellow
press -- have indeed shown that most opposers of a free policy of cloning
argue on an irrational basis, oftenly caused by religous belief. With Mr.
Seed's recent statements, the debate got heated up once again.

I've written up an article about the Dangers of Cloning last year
Now it seems like what I stated there might indeed become reality.

Mr. Seed said that he will reduce the "cost of a clone". Note: He didn't say
that he will reduce the cost of cloning. This is a further advance which makes
a human a product which you can either afford or not, depending on your
position in the capitalist society. Of course this is perfectly in the line of
thinking of a free market capitalist. In his view, humans have always been
products, and this is also true even today. We prostitute ourselves when we
offer our services for money, making us loan-slaves. If we don't agree with a
society of loan-slavery, we must either depend on charity (provided by the
state or local organizations in an always decreasing level) or starve.

OK, that's reality today. The human clone is just an expansion of this idea.
And in the discussion on this list, the expression "to have the child you
want" was already formed. Of course Extropians are always a little faster than
the rest of the capitalist society, but I guess finally it will go this way.

To have the child you want. Note: Not "to have a child if you want it". That's
a right and desire I perfectly understand. But "having the child you want" - a
phrase used by Chris Hibbert without deeper consideration of its meaning - is
impossible with cloning.

The reason is apparent: The clone will only biologically meet with the buyer's
ideas. And here's where the problems start.

First, as we've already determined that humans and clones are just products
available on the free market, let's consider the consequences. The products we
buy when our most urgent needs are satisfied (which is a luxuary not everyone
on our small planet can afford, thanks to this incredibe free market) depend
on the information we have consumed. As this information is mainly created and
spread by TV nowadays, most humans are quite uneducated. Trends and fashions
are created through marketing. What's cool today is a bunch of shit tomorrow.

And a human is just a product.

Which means, of course, that the clone we've bought might be a nice toy today,
especially if it's made of DNA of a famous personality. But it might get
boring tomorrow and be disposed. You'd buy a clone not because you want a
child, but because you want a toy. And who keeps his modern teddy bear
forever? Who cares for it when you don't want it anymore? Would you send your
teddy bear to a school? No? So what does the clone do when he has grown up and
nobody wants him anymore?

Also, history has shown what humans can do to other humans when they're given
the right to do whatever they want to do to them. For example, at times war.
In WW II, a brothel was created for female Jews who were later (after being
used, as the products they had become) disposed in the gas chambers. Ah, I
guess we'll find some fellows who doubt this on this funny little mailing
list, too. After all, you seriously discuss "child rearing" and the right for
the possession of guns here.

Back to the present. The main problem with free cloning is what I've described
as "Funcloning" in my article. Clones as products/toys for a privileged (for
biological cloning will always be expensive) minority seem much more likely
than clones as a good means of reproduction for infertile humans or homosexual
pairs. In addition, even clones used in deadly gameshows are imaginable. Or in
a human zoo.

Already today, humans are enslaved in American prisons to provide services.
These prisons are getting a major competitor on the free market. And what do
you do when you need more workers? You recruit them, by spreading a little
crack or selling a few weapons and having the police already at hand when it
gets interesting. A prison state is not just a dark fantasy anymore, some
already *call* America a prison state.

Eugene Leitl, you have described what I call Funcloning as "neoluddism".
Another fancy keyword. But who's the one who has fun here? Progess is fine.
Cloning is OK if it is used by those who need it. But humans must not be made
more product-like than they already are.
Otherwise your beloved singularity will remain a wet dream for your lifetime.

--                            **
Chief Editor of Homo Excelsior: The Transhumanist's Magazine