Playing God

The same way you tell another kid that his conception involved half a bottle of scotch and the back seat of a car? I don’t know why, but I don’t personally like “nature” arguments. We do a lot of “unnatural” things all the time, from vaccination to artificial insemination, to selective breeding of animals. I don’t see the moral problem with it.

Speleophile It would appear to me that you are suggesting that the difference between most all humans who have languages and the small fraction of humanity that are creative in art and literature is about as significant as the difference between homo sapiens and other animals.

If I misinterpreted you, please explain the neccessity of making the distinction for humans that are creative in art and literature in the context of the special status for humans that mighty maxx has suggested and that you are somewhat challenging.

Do you call that a good argument?

No, but I’m tired and cranky. :slight_smile: The argument that maxx gave was that it would be hard to tell the clone that he or she was “intended for nothing more than to be studied or that they were altered in order to fit their parents idea of a perfect child.”, and the point I tried to make was that when your child asks you, “Why am I here”, that’s a difficult question to answer in any case. because most children, if they’re intended at all, are intended for a reason like “we wanted to have a baby”. Lets say you were a clone of O.J. Simpson. What would that mean? You wouldn’t BE O.J. Simpson, you would be grienpiece, the piano player. If your mom is upset that you’re not a football player, or doesn’t love you for that…well, unrealistic expectations of kids and bad parenting existed before cloning. I don’t see why cloning would diminish your worth as an individual. You’d still be a unique person, with your own mind, thoughts, and feelings, and if human beings have some sort of purpose in life, then you’d have one to.

err…too…

Just for the record I was only giving a few of many things that set us apart from animals…there are many. Most you can’t describe. The ability to have self awarness is a big one. The ability to ask such questions as “Why am I here?” is probably the most basic example of how we are differnt from animals. There are no animals besides ourselves that can contemplate their own existence. The exception might be primates…but it has not been proven. I just thought I would add that in…this all an opinion which came from many different ideas whih come from places like these :slight_smile:

Hey mighty_maxx fancy seeing you here! IF you think about my name you’ll know who I am. (hint hint I go to BSU). Anyways everyone I can attest to mgihty_maxx’s horrible typing skills. I’ve talked to this guy forever known him since my freshman year in high school for gosh’s sake. He is an intelligent well put together guy. It may take him awhile to get out what he is saying but it is definately worth listening to. Other than that I have no real comment on the whole subject.

Well, grienspace…

… is that a good argument, or a crib from a B move?

Cloning humans will happen, probably within the lifetimes of most people who post in this thread. Once we get past the kneejerk reaction that it is unnaturalbecause humans were never meant to reproduce in this manner (there is no proof that humans, or anything else, were ever meant to reproduce in any mannner – it seems to simply have happened), what is the argument left against it?

That it is unnatural for two identical people to exist? I agree with that… because in this case unnatural means impossible: Two identical people cannot exist. Certainly clones would have the same gene pattern, the same physiological traits. But since when do we consider a person to be who they are solely on the basis of their physical characteristics?

Maxx, you mentioned self awareness. While that does have a biological base in the brain, the development and expression of consciousness has more to do with environment and experience which are different for everyone, even identical twins. There will never be two identical people on this planet.

That said, I will admit to an slightly uncomfortable feeling when this topic comes up. I attribute that to an irrational fear of being replaced by myself.

oops, guess it’s bedtime.

My point was just give examples of the differences between human and animals. You are right about what you said, and I agree…but back to my point…you won’t see sheep drawing on walls…no matter their environment.

BTW Tiki it is good to hear from you my man…I had no idea you were a straight doper…its a comfort to have you here. send me an e-mail, I got some news for you and Mrs. tiki :slight_smile:

Grienspace, I was shooting holes in mighty_maxx’s arguement, not making one of my own.  MM’s position was:

I was simply pointing out that by that crietrion, most of the human race doesn’t meet MM’s own standard.

MM is arguing (see the turkey posts) that there is a fundamental difference between humans and other animals and I dispute that.  I wouldn’t even call the difference between those who create art and literature and those who only consume it a “gap”.  Intelligence at this level of detail is far to complex a quantity to measure with a single value, which precludes sorting people by having more or less of it.  But in more general terms of modifying behavior in light of experience and attempting different actions based on this learning, the intelligence gap between humans and other primates, or humans and parrots for that matter, is much less than that between parrots and, say, cockroaches.

Cloning is simply an extension of tools we’ve been using for thousands of years.  I can think of good reasons why we should be careful applying such tools to human breeding, but claiming we’re breaking some natural law isn’t one, nor is claiming it’s ok to use them on animals but not on us because of some essential, inherent difference between us.

It is a very good argument. Where would you draw the line? at what point can a citizen be assured that the relentless thirst for biological knowledge and innovation won’t go beyond his/her comfort zone. At some point even you will be alarmed, but it may be to late by then because society can not afford to turn back. Like fossil fuels and green house gases. Like nuclear energy and nuclear waste. It will be the zealots, the extremists the greenpeacers who are such a pain in the ass right now who constantly remind us that we must take action now who are our best hope that we will act in time before it is too late. There is a reasonable expectation that technical problems will have technical solutions, but genetic modifications like the introduction of exotic species into an eco-system can have irreversable negative effects.

What is a crib from a B move.

… is that a good argument, or a crib from a B move?
[/quote]

[shameless Heinlein hijack]Actually, sounds more like a crib from “Jerry Is A Man.”[/shameless Heinlein hijack]

Could someone please explain to me why cloning is considered scary because of “designer babies”? Seems to me that genetic modification of human beings (or apes, if you insist on prusuing this bizarre side issue) does not require cloning. So why’s that a trigger issue? And without genetic modification, cloning’s not much different from in vitro fertilization.

Once we begin to customize human children, the rich will be the only ones to afford it, causing a greater class division (“Jeez! Not only are they rich, they’re taller, stronger, faster, smarter and better looking than us!”), which might lead eventually to class warfare.

Plus there are overtones of [Aryan] superiority–“Make a better human! Genetic Modification is your friend!” is only a couple of short steps shy of “We’re genetically perfect!” which leads to “Kill all the imperfect ones!” Which could easily to genetic (racial?) warfare.

That’s not to say that genetic modification shouldn’t be used to correct defects in utero, but cloning and genetic modification, though related, are two different topics.

Genetic modification and cloning are two different subjects, but they could raise the same dilemmas as you mentioned before. I have no doubt your theory of modfying babies will lead to class war. It will be a sure thing, which is one reason why I"m so very against it…if you weren’t born with it, then you don’t have it…and you can’t get it. Thats the way its been since the beginning of humanity. Of course there are always your exceptions like sex changes…which is a whole other issue again. We have enough things to be discriminate about, we don’t need to add genetics to the list.

Why would genetic engineering lead to class warfare? Genetically engineered people won’t have big signs on their foreheads. It won’t make a difference in their day to day lives. What’s the big deal? Some people will be smart and some will be stupid, just like today. How will increasing the proportion of smart people lead to class warfare? Will “naturally” smart people feel closer to “naturally” stupid people than they will toward engineered smart people? Or will smart people gravitate towards smart people, regardless of how they got that way? No one will care.

And why do people say that only “the rich” will be able to afford genetic modification? We have no idea what the costs will be. Probably they won’t be much more than current IVF technology. Which puts genetic therapy in the range of anyone with a middle-class income or good insurance.

Anyway, genetic engineering poses no new ethical problems. It is the same as any other medical procedure on a child who cannot give consent. Doctors can’t perform surgeries on children that are unethical, so they will only be able to perform genetic manipulations that will benefit the child. So, no circus freaks, just like you can’t go to a doctor today and have him surgically modify your child into a circus freak.

Remember all the handwringing twenty years ago over in-vitro fertillization? Now we think nothing of it, there really weren’t any lasting ethical problems with it, just jitters. Cloning will be exactly the same. Genetic modification is a little more important, but not that much.

These technologies do not allow us to “play god” or “create life”, any more than heart transplants are “playing god”. Cloning simply inserts a pre-existing natural nucleus into a pre-existing natural egg cell. Humans did not create either.

Cloning and Genetic engineering create no new ethical problems.

I guess we will see evnentually what the future hold for these things. I say we are in for terrible times…but I hope I am wrong. Many seem to think I am, but many also feel that we are reaching a line and if we cross it…there will be trouble.

blessedwolf, your response makes almost no sense to me. Perhaps you could tell me what you think cloning is? On its own, cloning has nothing to do with “customiz[ing] human children.”

And you think that’s good? People have been killing other people since the beginning of humanity. Does that mean that to try to eliminate murder and war is a dangerous violation of the laws of nature? Little kids are born with an extra 21st chromosome and suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally because of it. Are you going to slam the door on research into a cure because you have some vague fear about tampering with the sacred human genome?

You’re hurting your case by mixing some good and interesting arguments regarding class structure and eugenics with hokey mystical nattering about how it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Humans subvert with the laws of nature all the time. Man wasn’t “meant” to harness the power of the atom or fly or cut other men open and sew them back up again. . . but we still do these things, and none of the Henny-Pennies of the world were able to stop the inexorable march of human progress. Instead of saying that human genetic modification shouldn’t be done (forget about stopping it–it is going to happen because it offeres such a wide range of benefits), why not simply examine its potential misuse, and think of was to prevent that?