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Help Me With an Ethical Problem

Discussion in 'Whatnots' started by Vukodlak, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. Vukodlak Gems: 22/31
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    [​IMG] You are probably aware, that although it seems like science fiction, the creation of clones (an exact genetic duplicate of an animal) in the laboratory is perfectly feasible. Since the early nineties, salamanders could be cloned. A few years ago the first ever mammal was cloned - the sheep 6LL3 better known to the world as Dolly. Since then, all kinds of animals were cloned, including primates (monkeys) and a few months ago - a cat. Apart from a few technical difficulties, it is theoretically possible to clone a human being.

    Now, although there would be some technical challenges to overcome, the biggest impediment to human cloning are the vahrious ethical issues involved.

    I am a biologist by vocation and have long been aware that biology, and especially molecular biology, does not have a very good reputation in the eyes of the general public. The possibility of human cloning seems to be the last drop. I would like to hear some of the opinions of the people on these boards and if possible try to engage them in a discussion on this topic. What do you think of the ethical and scientific implications of human cloning? Do you find that you are well-informed by the media? In short, any opinions would be valuable.

    I am perfectly aware that the visitors of SP do not represent the population in general (e.g. there is a distinct bias toward younger people). Nevertheless, reading your opinions would provide me with some valuable insight. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Oblate Gems: 6/31
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    I' member of the green party in Germany and we don't like this cloning stuff at all. I formally thought it was an american thing. Getting texanian people ;) . But now it seems as if the italians are the first.
    I don't think it's good for the human race to create ideal persons. maybe it's because i'm not an ideal person at all. And people like me will be just trash in the future. Kids that are born in a normal way might be trash in the future.
     
  3. ArchAngel Guest

    [​IMG] As a molecular biologist I am looking forward to replies.

    Although take into consideration that cloning is a vast vast area.
    Two major toppics to consider, and keep seperated, are;

    Cloning bodyparts
    Cloning entire beeings.

    And a tird one;
    Curing/removing DNA-sequenced deseases.
    (hereditary deseases)

    [This message has been edited by ArchAngel (edited April 07, 2002).]
     
  4. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I have no moral objections. As long as we dont clone sentinent beings and then take their body parts for spare parts I am fine with it. DNA is only a small part of what a makes a person unicqe, it wouldnt be able to create a new Hitler or even Einstein, impossible to duplicate the socialisation that they went through. For me all scientific advancements are good, it is how people use them that might be wrong. Why should it be wrong to create life with a special purpose. If we can be sure to eliminate certain diseases and afflications we should do so. As long as we dont tamper with existing individuals its ok with me.
     
  5. C'Jakob Guest

    On cloning another human being:

    Consider this: what if you found out that you were a clone of someone? That you are copied from another person that was here first. Even worse, if you were cloned from another person just for the sake of having more of that person around, I imagine you'd be pretty damn depressed. Personally, I think that if we ever cloned another human, he/she'd go through plenty of turmoil.
     
  6. Arwen Gems: 4/31
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    I agree with what was said before - there's nothing wrong with cloning body parts or removing desease from DNA. Now cloning beings to make them slaves/sourse of spare parts is unethical indeed. But anyway, we're pretty far from that right now, so you all have time to think and decide ;)
     
  7. Big B Gems: 27/31
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    [​IMG] It doesn't matter really. This world is going down the tubes anyway.

    Events around the world from social to scientific seem in "fast forward" these days. Look how much things have changed all over the world in the last 100 years. You can say the past 100 years have been the most active of human history in terms of so many things. And what do the next 100 years hold? Metaphorically speaking, you can't keep accelerating and accelerating, at some point in time you have to put on the brakes, or else you're never going to be able to stop from crashing into some obstacle that pops up.

    You can argue of all the medical "good" that cloning can bring, but along with that comes the inevitable "bad" when politics and war come into play. And they will. And it won't be pretty.

    [This message has been edited by Big B (edited April 08, 2002).]
     
  8. Elendil Gems: 7/31
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    [​IMG] Well, when it comes to cloning body parts, I can't see a reason against it.
    It would be quite an achivement to eliminate all those donor waiting-lists, if you could clone a liver, a hart, a kidney...give someone a normal life by restoring the lost arm...

    I'm also completely for the advance of sciece and for "reaching the Star Trek" thingy, but cloning a human being is a different story. How would such a being function? Would it really be a normal human? I've heard arguments that a cloned human would be a mindless-drone, and arguments that it would be completely normal...
    So, can you really meddle with one's life in such a way? The real answer can only be known in one way. To try. But, then again, what if the experiment fails? What if the result is a crippeled, twisted being which has reason enough to see it's own misery? Imagine being born in such a hell.
    On the other hand, what if you can make a couple infinately happy by giving them back their normal child that died right after birth?

    This does sound sci-fi, but I think it might be possible someday. Imagine world powers creating huge armies of fighting drones and soldiers. An endless arsenal of manpower. Since I am liable to belive some mass-conspiracy theories, I wouldn't be much surprised to find out that this has already been tried. During the WW 2 and the Cold War, all kinds of weapons were being developed and some really crazy ideas were pushed as normal. So, who says there already isn't a secret lab somewhere where a human has already been cloned? I know I soud like I've been watching X-files too much, but damn, who knows...maybe I am going crazy ;)
    So...cloning humans - yes/no. I think I would say no, because problems that might arrise from such a thing could easily outweight the benefits.

    And what about DNA manipulation? It would be great to eliminate all the genetic mistakes with whom humans are born and it would also be great for the human race to better itself, making everyone beatuiful, healthy, happy...But that is utopistic. If there was a situation like in "Gattacca", where the parents, could choose the baby's characteristics, hence choosing all the best - that would create huge problems. Something like that would only be avaliable to the upper classes, the richer countries, hence creating even bigger differences between the classes and the countries in the world. Not to mention the spawning of a whole new breed of rasistic issues, where the poor and the "plain" would be treated like inferior beings...or maybe not. Maybe there would be a solution to bettering the whole human race...I'd like to see that happen, but the first option is the one which is much, much more likely...
    So Big B'would proove to be quite an oracle...;)




    [This message has been edited by Elendil (edited April 08, 2002).]
     
  9. Xaelifer Gems: 10/31
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    The ethical implications are to be cast aside. These are speedbumps on the way to yet another scientific maladventure. Society will disagree with science on any simplistic basis until its own members are provided a diseaselike reimbursement for their time. Morality is simply a way to muffle the pains of growing to an ever-childlike culture.

    Unfortunately, cloning provides a strange outlook upon the intimate and isolated relationship between Development and Morality - one that will, ultimately, slow any continuance of Human laconic and neverending adolescence. This new feature of study - human cloning - will never happen unless beyond the dancing maypole called the Media, which would otherwise manipulate it to its own good (although its idea conforms to an endless structure, seemingly) and will remain an unborn infant or, perhaps, an unpopped pimple on the face of Intelligence's Lust.

    The scientifical implications, however, have already proven to be unneeded and unheeded. As with many thousands of years, the last decade has been filled with careless advancements in the creation of Utopia, one of which will be cloning - although its purpose is also to fill the pockets and hearts of scientists and Newsweeks across the world.

    Some say that cloning animals is evil - that scientists have decided to finally "play God" (although the people who say this trust their neighbors' oral and malformed opinion as to spiritual conformity, which has been passed from the lips of idiots since their self-proclaimed savior made the easy sweep). Some whisper about Grandma and how she will soon be saved by a cloned heart, although the money-from-blood will be siphoned straight from Grandpa's.

    Deny both the ethical and scientifical mappings of modern society. Ignore them as cotton walls when in a militia tank, wherein the true worry is the scientists' own internal cotton, which is attacked instead by silken scientific lust. Utopia will advance unless hindered by its own fat weight - and what has recently begun will not be stopped but by absolute massacre.
     
  10. Christopher_Lee Gems: 10/31
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    "an unpopped pimple on the face of Intelligence's Lust." - nice - seems to mean bollocks all though :rolleyes:

    It is not the case that scientific implications have proven to be unheeded and unneeded - that is naiveity in the extreme. Scientific progress is made for the sake of developing new tools which may be required in the future. Scientists do not admit to be able to tell the future. Scientists are also not concerned with filling their pockets... :nono:

    Cloning is a tool, it is not up to the tool makers how that tool is used, merely to ensure that everybody has equal access to it.

    How it is used will be decided largely by circumstance in the future, by stating that it "will definitely be misused" is to state that you have no faith in human nature... :holy:


    [This message has been edited by Christopher_Lee (edited April 08, 2002).]
     
  11. Slith

    Slith Look at me! I have Blue Hands! Veteran

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    As the cloned person would not be the same person from which the DNA was harvested with the same emotions, feelings and soul, I see no problem with it.
     
  12. Master of Nuhn

    Master of Nuhn Wear it like a crown Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Science is a good thing, but the bad thing is that it makes us depended. We cant live without a car or computer anymore. Life must be better and better and everything should be possible. But it isnt! We are no gods, we are mere humans. We have our restrictions and limits. And cloning is one of the limits, because we will never be able to create life. Being a christian i have troubles with cloning, but i will spare you my preaching. (I actually dont know how to deal with cloning, but you dont know that :D)
     
  13. Sprite Gems: 15/31
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    Bring it on! I know that currently there is a high rate of birth defects among clones, but when the bugs have been worked out so that that doesn't happen anymore, it gives us a great opportunity to reduce or even eliminate major hereditary illnesses. Just think of all the people with or carrying congenital illnesses who can't resist having children, even knowing how likely it is their child will be sick too. With the perfection of human cloning, instead of producing a "random" child that has an extremely high likelihood of contracting that hereditary illness, the mother could instead choose to give birth to the twin of, say, her healthy husband or friend. In a few generations, it could make a dramatic difference to the overall health of our human race.

    [Edit: BTA, I'm thinking specifically of people and groups likely to reject gene - or other - therapy. For example, as you've probably read, there are surprisingly large deaf activism groups strongly opposed to medical techniques that can give hearing to their deaf children, because that is "denying them their culture". Who knows if this is true for other types of defects too- but I can't imagine why it would be limited to the deaf. These people would probably reject gene therapy for a child "destined to be deaf" but might accept a child who was NOT destined to be deaf, such as the twin of a loved one achieved through cloning. Just speculation here. But people can have unpredictable or unlikely reactions when it comes to what they're willing to allow doctors to do to their kids.]

    [This message has been edited by Sprite (edited April 09, 2002).]
     
  14. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Uh? I'd rather they handle that kind of thing through gene therapy. Cloning only serves to reduce genetic diversity.
     
  15. Laches Gems: 19/31
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    When I read the original post I focused on the initial question of the ethics of cloning.
    Why do so many feel that cloning is unethical? I think one of the primary reasons isn't because they have subjected cloning to some ethical analysis but because they preacher/priest/rabbi etc tells them so. I take it that the reason many are opposed "ethically" to cloning is the same reason that in the US years ago many people were opposed to the teaching of evolution in public schools -- they felt the theory undermined their religous beliefs. A very large portion of the world is either christian, muslim, or jewish or some derivative thereof. All of these hold as a foundational principle of their faith that there is one god and that he created man imbuing them with a soul. If we turn around and start creating clones -- people who are undiscernible from naturally birthed people -- this threatens some of them and their belief that there is a god that determines who gets made. Now, cloning is reconcilable with these religions just like evolution is -- but still I've met a number of highly intelligent people at major universities who believe that the world is only a few thousand years old because they added up the ages of all the people in the bible and that is how many years it comes out to. Dinosaur bones you ask? Put there by satan to trick us they assure me. So, that is why I think most people are against cloning -- not attributing this viewpoint to anyone here necessarily but rather most people.

    From a philosophical standpoint rather than a religous one, it may still be unethical. Utilitarianism is probably the most widely endorsed ethical doctrine in the philosophical community (though the particulars vary radically) and it has become part of the way of thinking of most people whether they realize it or not. Most people will resort to utilitarianism at some point whether they realize it or not (though it may not be consistently relied on) and ask when determining what should be done what would bring about the greatest good for the most people (defining good is where philosophers wage war usually.) Thing is, this is an empirical question really, and cloning research probably isn't far enough along to allow us to do anything but make wild conjectures -- like the dire prediction above about war resulting. We can speculate about what will happen practically but we don't have much to go on as far as I know.

    Another stong ethical standpoint is deontology -- you set up rules and follow them. For example, it's not ok to murder and that's that. How you come up with these rules is what causes philosophers to disagree but Immanuel Kant is by far the guru here (one of the smartest guys in history and likely the most influential philosopher in history along with Aristotle though not as well known.) Most people don't follow along with Kant though and develop the rules based upon logical necessity, they allow their religion to dictate their rules, their belief they should be followed is largely dictated by how they were raised. That's why you don't see very many Chineese people saying you should follow the ten commandments I'd imagine

    This is a long winded way of saying why this is such a tricky area -- the average person probably engages in some utilitarian thinking and falls back on deontology when they think about tricky philosophical questions. They haven't been schooled in philosophy and committed to one doctrine. Many of the conjectures about the use of cloning is that it would be wildly beneficial (this is the first I'd read a prediction of war as a result) but this utilitarian mode of thinking conflicts with the rules many think need to be followed. Conundrum.

    Almost as an aside, another philosophical theory a smaller number of people adopt but that has really gained popularity in the philosophical community is intuitionism or even some empirical ethical beliefs. Essentially, intuitionism says we know what is good intuitively. The empirical style says that moral properties are real properties that are detected empirically and can be translated, like some people have been trained to recognize fine wine you can be trained to recognize "good" or "bad." A number of people probably go with intuitionism and would object to cloning because they'll claim they know intuitively that it is wrong -- just like we could imagine a person raised in isolation might still be offended or unsettled if the first time he saw people he saw a murder.

    I purposely haven't taken a stand here, merely stated why I think it is such a dicey ethical situation for most people. The same sort of difficulties can be applied more broadly than just cloning, like to evolution or the big bang etc. Essentially anything that may be contrary to the rules most people learn from their religiion will be frowned upon despite empirical evidence and if there is a utiliarian conflict thrown in to boot look out.
     
  16. Brightblade Gems: 4/31
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    The only problem i would have with cloning would be if it was used irresponsibly. cloning an entire person and excpeting him/her to be exactly the same as his/her genetic donor is entirely unreasonable. two people with the same genetic structure most likely end up being two very different people. the use of it to regrow body parts and organs growen individually is a great concept that would greatly help many many people. as far as genetic restructing to cure dieseses(sp) in children before they are born, that is the greatest breakthrough in medical science since the invention of the bandage.

    thats my two cents..
     
  17. ArchAngel Guest

    [​IMG] Just adding something swift, not to taint you yet :)

    There are two ways to eradicate deseases when "messing" with this type of science.

    Either
    Cloning; healthy babies-adults (hint: BTA mentioned diversity ;)) There are certain more apparent obstacles like telomers shortening, but this won't benefit the "ethical" part of the discussion which is indeed "more" important.

    AND OUT OF TOPPIC:
    Gene Theraphy
    Which again can be split into
    somatic gene therapy
    Which is, how can I put it untechnical, changing cells that are specialized for particular functions. Like blood cells. (one generation)
    germline gene intervention
    Which alter the DNA of reproductive cells.(all generations to come)

    Please continue with the input :)

    [This message has been edited by ArchAngel (edited April 10, 2002).]
     
  18. Xaelifer Gems: 10/31
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    Christopher Lee - do you not feel as if science, when allowed time enough, could accomplish nearly anything, especially simple cloning? Scientific implications are, like I said, cotton walls. Science can easily perform cloning - this much has already been proved, which makes it quite ridiculous to argue about. Science can advance so easily in any direction that to say its probability of achievement is low is to babble insanity.

    And, by the way, perhaps Emerson should've had little cartoon smileys infecting his arguments too...
     
  19. Christopher_Lee Gems: 10/31
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    Xaelifer, I am (by training) a genetic and evolutionary biologist. Do I believe that science can achieve everything? Of course not, nor do I believe it should be allowed to try. Science cannot, at the minute, easily perform cloning - this HAS been repeatedly proved.

    Science is not the be all and end all, it cannot advance in any direction (eugenics was once considered a scientific subject).

    Ethical regulation is important, and possible.

    I am sorry if my use of smilies distracted you :square:



    [This message has been edited by Christopher_Lee (edited April 10, 2002).]
     
  20. ArchAngel Guest

    I wonder that you, Xaelifer, have such an enourmous faith in what we (scientists) are able to achieve in laboratories and the like (accomplish nearly anything), and still you have so little faith in those who should carry it out(Utopia)....

    You make it sound as if the only real power was in the hands of Scientists. Where did the politicians go? where did your own kind go? (The media) where did the public go? IF just one is present at all, then they can influence it and thereby "Carry it out".

    [This message has been edited by ArchAngel (edited April 11, 2002).]
     
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