Re: Amusing anti-cloning arguments

den Otter (
Thu, 29 Oct 1998 19:29:05 +0100

> From: Hal Finney <>

> Max More, <>, writes:
> > If a whole bunch of people are going into space for a long journey to
> > another star, then it may sense for them to have children with no legs (or
> > extra arms). Given that these people are entering a different environment,
> > they would be *increasing* their children's abilities and fitness.
> > Certainly I don't see a major objection to this. (Possible objections: It
> > makes far more sense to upload for an interstellar trip to save huge
> > amounts of energy: maybe the ship should be spun for gravity and normal
> > children produced to avoid cultural problems.) The engineered children are
> > being given the maximum opportunities for the situation they will be born
> > into.
> Okay, but I'm trying to get at the more general issue: when is it OK to
> make modifications to the genome of one's unborn children? How do we
> judge whether the changes will turn out to be acceptable when you can't
> ask in advance?

There are fairly safe changes, like making sure that the offspring will be healthy, tall, muscular etc, in other words: built to optimize the human form (to be on the safe side, you can model them (clone?) in the image of the best speciments alive today). That's the very least one could, and indeed *should* do as soon as these techniques are deemed safe enough to use. Certainly the cloning thing should be feasible quite soon.

> Most changes will have some tradeoffs; few will be entirely advantageous.
> Is it ethical to make these kinds of changes? Does the parent have the
> right to make the decision?

I would strongly advise against any changes that would classify someone as a "freak" (like being legless, having 4 arms etc.) An enhanced human should blend in easily with the rest of society (save for extra beauty etc, which are positive destinctions).