Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Sociology Memo: Is it Ethically Permissible to Clone Human Cells?

The No Author, Van Gend, presents an interesting flavor of arguing that initially begins by insulting the benefits of cloning, calling it a waste of hope. Well, yeah, if you have 8 years of no stem cell research (in the US) and in general no time to test these things, there are going to be problems. I will agree with him that cloning is rather a misplaced technology, but only because I see nanotechnology as far more powerful than stem cells, and that's where our money should be going instead.

It seems like everyone arguing abortion or now apparently cloning is wrong brings up the ``cold'' way of treating children. Here's a fun fact about breeding: every month a woman produces an egg that if not fertilized exits her body, and every time a guy ejaculates millions of sperm are released that never go on to fertilize any egg. Shouldn't we in our infinite caring about the unborn be harvesting all this reproductive material for potential use? Of course not.

Furthermore I think it seems like people are under the impression that cloning is an all-or-nothing deal. We either clone the entire human, brain and all, or not clone at all. No, we can clone parts. We never have to create a conscious being unless we really want to, for example in the case where a young child is run over and the parents want that child again. (This will become especially relevant when parents start choosing which genetic traits they wish their children to have, for example a tendency to have higher math skills or to be resistant to various illnesses and problems like allergies.)

Van Gend goes too far by proclaiming cloning a desecration of humanity. Where is the scientific literature that ``blood and belonging'' are necessary human needs? That's a very romantic way of putting a non-universal trait, since I can think of a number of exceptions where family matters little to the individual. (And personally, I find the idea that someone is somehow special because of the family they were born into or because they were born on a particular area of land absurd. Nationalism continues to mystify me with its irrationality.)

1.8 people die per second; this memo took over 4300 lives to write. Let's stop going insane over the ``lives of the unborn'' (such a misnomer), and start focusing on reducing this insanely high death rate. It is not right that anyone should have to die, including babies, but let's put just a little more passion into saving the people we already have around now. If it means that a couple more ``unborn lives'' must be used in the short term, then so be it. It's not like humans don't have a long history of murdering actual born babies due to defects; abortion, and cloning parts, are just catching it sooner before it's actually conscious. Sadly many babies not aborted would end up in garbage dumps. Cloning offers us a chance to live longer and to feed more mouths that we can use until nanotech and intelligence enhancement arrive in full-force.

We're at an amazing point in humanity where we nearly have the power to stop death itself in our species. The Christians should be for this, since according to their Bible Methuselah almost lived a century, so why shouldn't we? Why not longer? Half the people in human history who reached the age of 65 are alive now. (source) This is a good thing and it doesn't seem proper that those people should die off just because ``it's their time.'' Oh, and to those worried about population overgrowth, have a graph: population is logistic and we already passed the inflection point sometime in the 80's. As a last argument against that, we can always upload our brains into computers, and store the entire human species in a tiny amount of space.

population graph

Posted on 2010-05-17 by Jach

Tags: cloning, memo, morality


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Hope March 28, 2011 05:31:56 PM I loved this, I am currently doing research for the exact same topic, as well as using the same to arguing sides as my basis, I wont be using any of this for another site I would however like to quote you in my own essay! Great writing!
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