Re: "Cloning Breakthrough" not one

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 16:46:33 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 26, 2001 at 12:38:19PM -0500, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > All these alleged 'ethics experts' claim that there is some moral reason
> > against reproductive cloning, but I've never actually seen anyone detail
> > the philosophical principles for such a claim. Can anyone point to some
> > arguments against reproductive cloning that are not just "because it's
> > so" statements?
> I think the basic arguments fall into a number of classes:

Thanks, Anders. If anyone has any ideas, please post them up. I think we
should put this all together as a sort of FAQ or 'talking points' memo
for clone proponents to study at length, especially before giving
interviews or taking part in debates.

> 1) Threats against human dignity.
> - By interfering in the reproductive process humans become
> manufactured rather than just born, and this makes the child subject to
> its parents or whoever is doing the cloning rather than a truly
> independent human being. This weakens human dignity, as virtues and
> flaws become merely features and misfeatures of the "manufacturing" and
> might carry over in other spheres of human culture as a genetization of
> humans.

Yet the manufacturing of human embryos already occurs in in vitro
fertility clinics around the world. What difference is there if the
embryo has one or two genetic parents? Do you propose that all in vitro
medicine be outlawed?

> - The Kantian ethical idea that humans must be ends in
> themselves, and not tools for other ends is sometimes invoked by
> suggesting that clones are created for other reasons than simply being
> themselves.

Show me any parent who claims that the don't have their children either
a) accidentally or b) for entirely selfish purposes of self fulfillment.
No parent has kids specifically to produce independent beings. Each has
hopes and intentions of producing the sort of kids THEY think should be,
and many highly resent letting go of their dominion over their kids.

> - Threats against identity: everybody has a right to an
> identity, and this is threatened by being cloned.

How so? Are twins and triplets lacking in identity? If this cannot be
demonstrated, then this is no argument.

> 2) Threats against the natural order.
> - There is something inherently sacred or otherwise valuable in
> natural reproduction, and this is damaged by cloning. The damage may not
> be directed at the people involved, but could affect others who would
> suffer from living in a world where aspects of the natural order have
> been disrupted.

If 'sacred' is referring to religion, every religion has myths about
virgin births, and celebrates them as wonderful occurences. Any 'virgin
birth' that would occur would most certainly be a clone of the mother,
therefore, cloning is to be celebrated as a wonderful sacrement.

> - Bad, undefined things may happen if we transgress certain
> boundaries. This may not be divine retribution but simply unexpected
> side effects. Since some bad things may be very bad certain boundaries
> should never be transgressed.

Define the alleged bad things.

> 3) Threats against society.
> - Risks of social stratification, as the wealthy clone
> themselves.

How does cloning oneself create social stratification any more than the
adoption of third world babies by rich single parents? Is marriage to be
celebrated as a means of social climbing?

> - Overcloning of some individuals, possibly reducing genetic
> diversity.

Given the current human population of 6 billion and rising, some people
having a few hundred clones made makes absolutely NO reduction in

> - Children being reared by neurotic clone-parents trying to make
> them the perfect individuals their originals never were. Or the classic
> misuse scenarios where mad dictators or cults clone people.

As opposed to natural children being reared by neurotic parents trying
to make them the perfect individuals their originals never were, which
occurs already far too often, and is generally seen as the right of
parents everywhere? Cults? Cults generally prefer their prophets to be
nice and dead so that the statements attributed to them cannot be
repudiated. As for the 'Boys from Brazil' scenario, any country that is
dumb enough to elect Hitler a second time deserves it's fate.

> - Risks of using clones as slave labor or second class
> citizens, or the emergence of a market for stem cells and cloned tissue.

I can guarrantee that saying that clones are not real people would
certainly cause them to be treated as second class citizens and lead to
slavery and harvesting as domestic animals. The only solution is
legalization and recognition as real and full human beings.

> 4) Practical threats to the child
> - Cloning is likely to produce miscarriages and deformities,
> and in humans certain changes might not become apparent until puberty or
> later, when the clone is already an individual and will suffer from
> them.

Conventional conception already produces miscarriages and deformities to
an alarmingly high degree. A significant percent of the population is
unable to conceive children due to incompatibilities, or refrains from
doing so due to fears of passing on known genetic defects from one or
the other parent. If reproduction is truly a right of all people, as so
many claim, then technology should be used to allow those who cannot
naturally conceive to have children. To instead claim that some people
should not reproduce due to natural limitations is a very Arcadian sort
of romantic genetic elitism, and a denial of the primary characteristic
of mankind: the ability to overcome natural hurdles with their minds. On
this basis, any ban on cloning for reproductive purposes is inhumane.

snip Anders' responses......

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