Tuesday, December 31, 2002

The medical establishment, ethicists, etc. are quick to denounce reproductive cloning and obviously immoral, but to distinguish therapeutic cloning as vitally important and worthwhile research.

I don't buy it. Reproductive cloning produces real human people. They are just like twins reared apart. It will never be more than a fringe activity for rich people with peculiar needs, like in vitro fertilization. I don't see anything wrong with it. The impact on society is completely negligible. It can have an impact on the parties involved, but they know what they are doing and are free to reproduce as they wish.

Somehow the thought of clones brings out wacky thought in people. They say that the clones won't have souls, or worry that someone might clone Hitler and he might try to take over the world again!

But therapeutic clones raises much more troubling issues.It offers the possibility of raising a race of subhuman babies for the purpose of harvesting organs and discarding the rest. Some of the animal experiments with therapeutic cloning would be extremely troubling to ethicists if they were done on people. Andy they'd have to be done on a large scale if they were to have any significant medical benefit to society.

Another set of dubious experiments involves mixing human embryos with other species. It may be possible to construct an animal that is part man and part pig. If the animal turns out to be all pig except for a human liver, then maybe it would be useful for a liver transplant. But what if it turns out to be all pig except for a human brain? Such an outcome is possible if they start mixing undifferentiated embryonic cells.

Reuters says that the State Dept. doesn't know whether it should issue a passport to the clone baby (if indeed a clone baby was born to an American mother).

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