Re: Key Breakthrough in Human History (see p. 16)

Guru George (
Sun, 20 Jul 1997 12:05:49 +0100

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997 17:44:09 +0000
Damien Broderick <> wrote:

>In the Weekend Australian newspaper for 19/20 July, 1997 (which also
>contained a story entitled - ahem - `The Spike Man Cometh', with a drawing
>of my winged brain apparently escaping from the top of my photographed
>head), I find a one-paragraph report on p. 16. Japanese scientists `have
>delivered infant goats from an artificial womb... human babies may be born
>the same way in 10 years time'.
>What bliss to be alive at such a time! What astounding, crippling
>stupidity in the world that this was not the lead story with screamer
>headlines on the front page. (Well, maybe they're being cautious and
>details are scant or dubious; fair enough. Still.)
Actually I would be *very* cautious about this. What worries me is this
: there's a lot of evidence to suggest that infants are a bundle of
expectations - possibilities waiting to be fulfilled by events in the
world. This is how nature and nurture interact, in the broad sense.
Artificial wombs would have many positive benefits, for sure, but I
worry that infants raised in them might be mentally disturbed by the
lack of typical womb-like sounds and sensations, and also the responsiveness
and 'feedback' or 'communication' between mother and child in-womb (e.g.
infant shifts position, mother shifts position, stuff like that).

If the artificial womb makers are aware of this possibility, and make an
effort to duplicate as much as possible the 'feel' of a true womb (at
least to a degree above the threshold of the infants ability to
discriminate), then no problem. But otherwise, it's a worry.

Guru George