Re: Amusing anti-cloning arguments

Damien Broderick (
Wed, 28 Oct 1998 11:48:23 +0000

At 03:00 PM 10/27/98 -0800, Max More wrote in response to my:

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

>Damien, if you're going to make such a serious charge, don't you think you
>should give some evidence for it?

We seem to have a glitch in rhetoric here. I was referring, in an admittedly provocative manner, to the two items that I immediately cited and commented on, viz.:

>>>* 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? [...]

> no one would ever suggest this. The point is that it's ridulous
>to oppose cloning on the grounds that it will lead to a situation where the
>government produces humans with no legs, raises them for two decades in
>confinement, brainwashing them [...] I'm really surprised that you don't
see how desperate an
>argument this one is.

Ah. Maybe I misread your original post, but I didn't pick up any implication of governmental coercion and slavery. If that was dragged into the mix, I agree with you completely. But then the four-legs-bad element is irrelevant, and we're back to the basic stupid scare-mongering cliche of `armies of cloned soldiers' which, as you say, is ludicrous in the USA.

>>If cloning is made prohibitively
>>expensive, only the rich (already a de facto aristocracy) will have the

>So we'd better also ban private education, educational trips by wealthy
>parents for their children, make it illegal for wealthy parents to pass on
>their wealth, and in fact take away any wealth above the average. Silly me,

Exactly, these aspects of US society already create a kind of permeable aristocracy, so cloning of scions would act to reinforce its effectiveness. Excellent private education, etc, are attempts to work around regression to the genetic mean, whereby the kids of the successful are often less gifted than their parents. Stipulating *prohibitively expensive* cloning, today's rich would become entrenched forever, excluding all but a very few of the children of the poor. As I said previously, one escape clause is to make cloning cheap and readily available - but why should the custodians of an elite system be eager to see this occur?

Sorry if my initial rhetoric made my objection sharper than was intended.

Damien Broderick