Re: Amusing anti-cloning arguments

Damien Broderick (
Tue, 27 Oct 1998 16:33:49 +0000

At 08:42 PM 10/25/98 -0800, Max wrote:

>Every other argument he presented, I found either laughable, annoying or

Hmm. I fear I detect a touch of double-think or evasion in your complaint, Max. (Sorry.)

>* If cloning is allowed, we won't be able to draw a line and will end up
>producing legless people to go into space or four-legged people to go to
>Jupiter. [He really said this.]

Why shouldn't he? It's a notion very familiar to readers of Varley and Bujold. >H thinkers and writers often project such variants as options, usually not marked as dystopian but rather the reverse. He might have added sex changes, increased brain size and other modifications regularly canvassed here and in sf. So as far as I can see, your only reason to object to this suggestion is that he *disapproves*. That might be annoying (although surely you would expect *some* people to disapprove, and to need some cogent argument to change their prejudiced minds), but his scenario is hardly laughable.

>* "America doesn't want cloning". Cloning will produce an aristocracy and
>America is all about doing away with aristocracies.

This is all too easy to project. If cloning is made prohibitively expensive, only the rich (already a de facto aristocracy) will have the option. Instead of taking their chances in the reshuffle lottery, some of them might choose to clone the brightest, most aggressively successful and most beautiful of their number. That's perhaps laughable because we already know that human cloning will probably *not* be *prohibitively* expensive, any more than heart transplants are. But it won't be cheap, either - all that fiddly in vitro-to-in vivo stuff - so I can easily imagine its adoption being pretty much restricted to the upper middle class and above.

I think we need to give the opposition their due, and come up with strong arguments why their fears are either groundless or can be allayed by the choices of an educated, alert and non-hysterical citizenry.

Damien Broderick