Re: "Cloning Breakthrough" not one

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 20:57:07 MST

Robert wrote:
> Any serious "philosophical" arguments against cloning in
> general seem to revolve around a fundamental respect for
> what is "human". They are essentially arguments for
> maintaining humanity as it is. They seem to me to be
> curtains pulled over the argument that we are "made
> in God's image" and shouldn't change that.
There are two big families of argument here, at least as I see it.
(1)'Moratoriumists' believe that we do not have the wisdom at our current
stage of cultural development to use Person Engineering Technologies (PETs),
but leave open the possibility that in the longer-term this might be
ethically ok. (3)'Principlists' believe that it is wrong always and every
where to use PETs. The religious generally fall in the latter category. An
example of a Moratoriumist is D. Hoftstadter who argues against the
implementation of at least one PET, namely Superintelligent AI, in a
forthcoming paper "Moore's Law, Artificial Evolution, and the Fate of
Humanity". He argues that maybe 300 years or so might be necessary to allow
humanity enough time to get used to the idea of being made obsolete. I saw a
somewhat encouraging survey reported on one of the CNN channels today that
said (I think--I haven't checked these figures) that 6% of Americans thought
that cloning was ok but this rose to somewhere around 30 % when asked if it
was ok to use cloning technology for therapeutic purposes. I wonder how many
think that it is just too early to use the technology. One of the things we
should do is try to develop a very nuanced understanding of exactly what it
is that the majority objects to and why. For example, Hoftstadter's argument
is definitely not the one that Robert describes.

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