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Author: Foolferlove Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 441245  
Subject: Re: Clone Announced... Date: 12/27/2002 4:43 PM
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OK... let's suppose the clone is genuine, that it really occured. I'm having a hard time seeing what is destructive in it. Can someone enlighten me?

The most universally accepted arguement against cloning is that in animal experiments it leads to a very large percentage of defects, with many of the births ending in death. From an ethical standpoint, therefore, it's not a good idea to do something that is very likely to result in suffering for the new child. Of course, it's up for debate what "acceptable" risks are. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) and fertility drugs result in a slightly increased risk for defects and complications when compared to non-assisted conception, but most do not consider them unethical.

I also want to make a comment about IVF and other assisted reproduction technologies. When they were first available, there was an outcry from a lot of religious conservatives that it was "playing god", it was unnatural, that it would result in weird, unhuman babies, etc. Over time, most people have come to accept these technologies in order to have kids. I have a fundie friend who was against IVF until she couldn't get pregnant, and then all of a sudden it was ok. She believes cloning is wrong wrong wrong, but currently has 6 embryos frozen, and that's ok? Anyway, that's another story.

If we assume that someday cloning has minimal risks to the newborns, then I don't see anything inherently "destructive" about it. It basically results in an identical twin of the cloned person. Nature creates twins and triplets all the time, and we don't consider that "destructive". The technology will always remain rather expensive, so it will be limited to small segments of the population. If one day there are 40,000 cloned babies running around, it's not going to change our universe.

One problem of course is if people try to clone others to "get them back" in a way. If parents clone a lost child, the new child will have unnecessary expectations placed on it from the parents, who are looking for a replacement. On the other hand, some parents do that already, but simply use natural reproduction to create the replacement. So it comes down to attitude and desires of the people doing the cloning in the first place, not the cloning itself that is the problem.

Of course, one can see the inherent ways cloning could be abused such that the cloned children are harmed. Imagine someone getting a hold of Einstein's DNA and cloning a new twin of his. This child will be expected to be a genius (he may not be), might be pushed towards science (his interest might be ballet), and who knows how the media will treat this "Einstein II" (Einstein too?). Not the way I would like to grow up.

I don't think cloning itself is inherently evil (assuming there are no risks to the new babies, which at this time, it seems there IS), but it does have the potential to be abused, similar to the way other assisted-reproduction methods are "abused", such as implanting 12 embryos, having 8 of them take hold, and then trying to take ALL of them to term which guarantees that most will likely die, etc.
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