Re: Stem Cell Debate --Banned in the USA

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Aug 01 2001 - 15:46:54 MDT

On Wed, Aug 01, 2001 at 09:46:13PM +0200, Eugene Leitl wrote:
> What's Asia's position on the matter? I don't recall hearing anything
> negativistic from there. It would be a nice illustration that legal
> barriers are just an exercise in futility, pushing R&D to other places,
> who then profit from it.

I know China has banned it, but that of course doesn't tell us much. The
opinions seem more mixed than in the west, likely because of less
monotheistic influence.

I guess the UK is a likely first destination for much US stem
cell/cloning research.
> I'm really bemused: people are generating so much pointless ado about
> cloning/stem cells? Either the emotion is vented because people feel very
> flesh and bone is being usurped by Evil Science, or they really have no
> clue about what is in the pipeline.

Yes to both. A lot of people don't understand what it is about, so they
use the metaphors and concepts they know of - bad Hollywood films. And
the meme that the natural order is sacrosanct is very strong in our
culture. So you have a lot of people feeling that something weird,
dangerous and *bad* is going on. The problem is that it is not enough to
show them what is really going on, you have to deal with deep seated
values, and that is truly hard.

To quote a certain unpleasant but sometimes clearsighted imaginary

        We hold life to be sacred, but we also know the foundation of
        life consists in a stream of codes not so different from the
        successive frames of a watchvid. Why then cannot we cut one code
        short here, and start another there? Is life so fragile that it
        can withstand no tampering? Does the sacred brook no improvement?

        Chairman Sheng-ji Yang
        "Dynamics of Mind"

        Why do you insist that the human genetic code is "sacred" or
        "taboo"? It is a chemical process and nothing more. For that
        matter -we- are chemical processes and nothing more. If you deny
        yourself a useful tool simply because it reminds you
        uncomfortably of your mortality, you have uselessly and
        pointlessly crippled yourself.

        Chairman Sheng-ji Yang
        "Looking God in the Eye"

Remember how hard it is to get people to accept cryonics or immortalism?
Even disregarding the technological troubles, the underlying message of
"all your previous hard and painful efforts of coming to terms with
your mortality will become irrelevant or at least have to be redone".
That makes a lot of people to lash out or question immortalism, simply
because it both brings up painful mortality issues in an unfamiliar (and
hence unshielded) way and contradicts the natural order meme.

But the natural order gave us Dolly too...

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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