Thursday, October 21, 2004

Attack of the Clones

What is the real problem with cloning, anyway? We are on the edge of the future (as everyone is and has been on every day of their lives from the beginning of time until this very moment and into the forseeable future) and still, many people are very nervous about anything new or strange.

Let's face it: first, we've never been any good at developing technology and then not using it. So it's pretty much inevitable that if we can clone people, we will.

Second, is a clone going to be any different from a "regular" person in any important way? (Especially once we conquer sickness and death.) Once decanted, a clone will grow and mature, affected by nature (its cloned genes) but also by nurture. Are identical twins less "normal" because they are not unique? They why should clones be any different? They will not be exact copies of the individuals from which they are cloned, because they will grow up under different circumstances. And anyone who wants to read mre on the topic can check out Ira Levin's The Boys From Brazil, which is apparently so en vogue right now that it's out of print. And as for the religious argument: if identical twins, with identical DNA, can have independent souls, then why not clones? To misquote Shakespeare, "if you prick a clone, does it not bleed?"

Third, let's look at the folks that are really going to take advantage of cloning. People who can't have children any other way? Good for them! People who want to live out their dreams through genetically-identical children? If you can't make "regular" children do what you want, what makes you think clones will be any easier to push around? What about terrorists or dictators building a clone army? Again, it would take so long to do it, and be so fraught with logistical difficulties... it's easier to get some regulars off the street and brainwash them or promise them an afterlife filled with virgins.

Clone away, I say.

For all the good it'll do you.

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