Re: SOC: More genetic tech protests (fwd)
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 15:23:49 -0700

Robert J. Bradbury, <>, writes:
> As Greg Bear pointed out to me at the EI4 conference, you should
> emphasize the personal benefits of cloning. You only have to say
> to any parent, "If you had siamese offspring, would you want them
> to remain "joined" for life?" -- that resolves the cloning question
> very quickly. We have a *very* strong perspective, that people should
> be "individuals". If two people arrive in this world "joined" as
> non-individuals, we will generally promote the technologies that allow
> them to become individuals.

I don't quite follow this argument. What is the connection between "Siamese Twins" and cloning? Is it that a cell on my finger, say, is "joined" to me in the same sense that conjoined twins are joined together, and that by cloning it I can allow that cell to reach its destiny as an individual, no longer joined to me?

> Cloning is the development of those technologies that promote the
> development and prolongevity of life. To argue that they disregard
> human life and morality is a gross distortion of the facts.

I think there is an issue with regard to cloning, and it is similar to the one Robert raised with regard to genetic modifications. A cloned child is someone who is being raised in a situation which is bizarre by historical standards. A genetic duplicate of his "parent", he will grow up with the model before him of what he will grow to be, physically and to some extent mentally and emotionally as well. It's hard to say whether this will be good or bad for the child, on balance. Do we have the right to create a clone, with the possibility that it will turn out to be unpleasant? Maybe most clones will be unhappy, and feel that they are living a life which is a carbon copy of someone else's?

We can't get the child's consent beforehand, and some people will conclude that it is ethically wrong to give birth to a child for whom there is a significant possibility of these kinds of emotional problems.