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United States

Send out the Clones? 354

ParticleGirl writes "This morning, congress called for a federal ban on human cloning. The associated press has an article. This follows the International Cloning Ban which took effect last month. This is research into human cloning for any reason, this is "importing a clone" ...a kid born of cloning overseas can't come into the U.S.? And other weird stuff." If god is all powerful, then can't this just be another way he works? Personally I don't care if there's a god or not: I want clones. I wanna grow spare hearts in a vat. I wanna have a brainless clone in a tube in case I blow out my liver drinking whiskey. And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.
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Send out the Clones?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:27AM (#261654)
    if cloning is outlawd only criminals will have clones
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:50AM (#261655)
    I don't believe we have enough genetic information about lawnmowers to clone them yet. My solution is therefore a clone with no brain (or minimum at least) twice the size of me to do all the gardening. He'll be the incredible gardener!

    He's Maxi-me. I can be Mini-me running around biting people in the groin.

    Or something.

    -skurk
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:09AM (#261656)
    ... and I'm the clone. I work my butt off, and I never know where the hell my money goes. I think the Real Me is sitting on a beach in Hawaii, siphoning off half the money I make, laughing like hell.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:15AM (#261657)
    for example, I want to clone myself, then get my clone a sex change and a boob job, and then I'll have someone who'll put out. I just can't decide if that's more like incest or a really exotic form of masturbation.
  • Ok, I haven't seen it, so I'm going to post it in here. I'll even put in the requisit "You probably won't agree with me so you will most likely mod me down" comment that almost ensures that this comment will get modded up just so that people can say they support free expression of opinions even if they differ from their own.

    Why, from a Christian point of view, cloning is bad. Creating another person, whether that be through good old fashion sex or by fertilizing an egg with existing DNA, is still creating just that; a person. My problem with cloning is the same as my problem with abortion. If you create this person, and then "terminate" them, or whatever other euphamism you choose, you are commiting murder. The method that is taken here is still a conception. Christianity teaches us that a person is a person from the point of conception on (no, I can't site you passages from the Bible on that, but I will look if you ask nicely). If you create a clone, or a cloned heart, or a cloned body minus the brain, through a method of conception (i.e. fertilizing an egg), you are still creating a person.

    What I don't have a problem with, and other Christians may disagree with me on this, is generating a new organ from an existing one. Take tissue from a heart and generate a new heart from it. Cool. So long as we do it without conceiving a clone.

    Where does this take us with a brain? I'm going to be honest here; I don't know. I honestly don't believe that I am my brain. If I lose my brain, then I lose all ability for me to express myself through my body. By my soul is still there.

    Even if you choose to ignore the Christian point of view, or disagree with it (God gave us free will after all): Has anyone else ever seen Gattica? Blade Runner? Any of the number of other clones-are-scum centric movies or books? Egad man. That's some scary stuff.

  • I need a replacement ear, so a headless clone would not work for me.
  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:54AM (#261664) Journal
    I'm curious as to why this process must be banned now. Sure, cloning has a huge "ickyness" factor, but I get the feeling that most of these ethical dilemmas are being "resolved" by individuals who are not rationally approching the matter.

    Many of the concerns are with the (lack of )safety of the procedure. Cloning is associated (when performed with other mammals) with extremely low success rates. However, that does not mean that the problems are unsolvable. Perhaps a ten to fifteen year ban on human cloning would be more advisable, subject to review if the problem is solved.

    We must remember that in vitro fertilization also has problems associated with implantantation, yet few argue that IVF is ethically problematic because of these problems.

    Human cloning, is at presnt, ethically problematical becuase of the high mortality rate. But this does not mean `There is no need for this technology to ever be used with humans,'' (to quote Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kans).

    The problem appers to be that the future of cloning humans lies with two groups of people who want to force the issue. The time is not right for bold intrepid scientists to drag humanity kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Nor is it right for lawmakers to read a few papers, listen to a few scientists, and decide the issue for all time.

    With advances in cloning technology, it may be possible to replicate mammals with a very high degree of success. At that point, the application of this technology to humans should commence.
  • by Psion ( 2244 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:27AM (#261665)
    Although new technologies often cause new problems, no solutions are ever found with ignorance. The U.S. is only harming itself in the long run.
  • by dkusters ( 2770 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:21AM (#261666)
    The legislation prohibits the importation of clones. This is unconstitutional and will be struck down by the Supreme Court if ever enacted. Human clones are humans. The "all men are created equal" clause of the declaration of independance is a lens that the judicial branch uses to interpret law. Preventing the "importation" of a clone (would that be immigration?) would be treating the human clone differently than anyone else.

    Furthermore, being a clone could be considered a medical condition. If successfully argued as such, then human clones have protection against discrimination from the government, private employeers, loan officers, etc.

    Human clones are human. That's the point. They have all the same legal rights as any other human. Treating them specially for legal purposes will quickly be challenged and, probably, ruled unconstitutional.

    Dave
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:17AM (#261667)
    "I shall call him...CmdrTaquito."
  • You could literally go fuck yourself right? Or would that be considered masturbation? Any sex ed students care to comment?
  • that is why I don't see a problem w/cloning. Just because you are genetically identical does NOT mean that you are in anyway more likely to become some sort of superhuman mutant capable of killing everyone... Who's to say that this clone won't be completely against that sort of shit?
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:54AM (#261675)
    what I am confused about is how are they going to distinguish between a clone and a regular person? Is there some kind of stamp that is put on your forehead that says, "My other cells were someone elses too!"?

    Steven M. Gillon wrote about "Unintended Consequences" in legislation... This one's unintended consequence was that it is fucking stupid and too general...
  • Mice can't even be cloned yet properly without a high percentage of them suddenly becoming morbidly obese upon reaching what would be the human equivalent of about 30.

    And what's wrong with that? That's almost exactly how it works in this trailer park..

  • And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.

    The year is 2015, and Internet legend CmdrTaco has received a fully grown half-height clone, whom he has named Tacillo.

    CmdrTaco OK clone, now mow the lawn!
    Tacillo Mow the damn lawn yourself, Taco boy.
    CmdrTaco (incredulous) Why you little prick! I made you to mow my goddamn lawn! Now mow the goddamn lawn!!
    Tacillo Fuck you, I'm not mowing your goddamn lawn. And by the way, if I'm a little prick, it's only because you're a big prick!
    CmdrTaco (Pissed) YOU...YOU...
    Tacillo Never thought your genetic material would turn on you, eh Taco boy? (Gives CmdrTaco the finger) Now piss off before I punch you in your now-redundant nuts.
    CmrdTaco [Censored by the FCC. Have a nice day!]
    Tacillo You said it yourself Taco Bell, you made me. I'm going to surf for porn. Deal with it.


    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • Problem is, it is cut-and-dried. But it's cut-and-dried only to those who've thought about it, and who have made a decision between two mutually-exclusive points of view:
    (snip)

    That's not a bad way of summing things up, although I might suggest that it is possible for someone to consider one who lacks the capability for even rudimentary cognative activity (e.g., the brain dead) to be essentially soulless. But that depends on how one defines the soul ("fundamental algorithm?")

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • by cswiii ( 11061 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:42AM (#261682)
    And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.

    For some strange reason, I now have Sir Mix-a-Lot stuck in my head.

    "36-24-36? Only if she's five-three!"

    Someone, help!

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:57AM (#261683)
    I wish I had a pointer to the Calvin and Hobbes strips which dealt with him cloning himself...


    My pleasure. The series began on Jan 8, 1990 [ucomics.com] (skip the Sundays) and continues to February 1, 1990.

  • You've fallen into the TV Clone trap. You know the one where we grow clones in incubators and make them into adults before they get to get out and do anything.

    I am aware of how clones would develop (and the inherant problems with shortened telomeres as well), but what I imagine are "clone camps" where the clones are raised to be slaves from the start. Remember it was not all that long ago that a similar setup (or rather class system) was in effect in North America. (Indeed, it still continues throughout the world.)

    From the perspective of the law it is as unlikely that anybody but your doctor would know that you are cloned, much as you don't know who around you is a test tube baby.

    This depends on how you define a clone. If you cloned an ordinary human, sure, it would be difficult to tell (and if the telomeres were intact, I doubt if a doctor could tell.)

    What is more worrysome is a simple manipulation of the gene code. Let's say that clones all have different coloured eyes and skin. (Sound familiar?) You could easially engineer a "race" that appeared signifigantly different from "normal" humans, and would be instantly recognizable as a clone (or, perhaps, slave is a far more accurate term.)

    Hopefully with overpopulation as it currently stands we wont have to worry about a genetically created race of subordinates.

    (I realize that some of my above remarks could be taken as inflamatory by some readers, if they offend you, tough. You are obviously missing my point. =)
  • ``There is no need for this technology to ever be used with humans,'' said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

    Three Years Later:

    Doctor: Well, Sen. Brownback, your liver and heart are failing. There is some great cloning technology in China that would let you live for an extra 10-15 years. I guess we can't use that on you here though. It's not legal here, sorry.

    What? No, you can't go to China and have that procedure. If you did you would not be allowed back in the US. No clones in the US remember?

    Now I am not too familiar with American politics (I am Canadian) but:

    ``The scientists who created Dolly had over 200 attempts before Dolly was born,'' said Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., a physician. ``The prior attempts resulted in malformed, sickly creatures that had to be euthanized.

    ``We cannot allow this scenario to play out with humans,'' said Weldon, who is co-sponsoring the House bill with Bart Stupak, D-Mich.


    Is this a contraditcion in terms with what the Republicans are trying to to with abortion in the US (or do they see it as a continuation of the same issue?)

    Although I am arguing on a slippery slope here, if cloning *DOES* get approved somewhere for humans, what rights would a clone have?

    You can't abort "natural" fetuses, but cloned ones? Thats ok!!

    Ah yes, the new slave trade. Come down to Wal-Mart and buy yourself a new Chinese-Engineered clone, if you are unsatified with their performance, remeber you can just not feed them, and throw them in the trash!

    (Here I am picking China as a leader in Bio-tech, but maybe I should have picked Cuba, I understand that they are very advanced on this front...)

  • "Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun."

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • So, if I created two clones of myself, it would be OK? They'd just be twins, right?

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • ``it's morally wrong and reprehensible for anybody to consider the cloning of a human being,'' said House sponsor Dave Weldon, R-Fla

    Nice to see that it's not just Germany and France (cf my comments here [slashdot.org]) which believe in ThoughtCrime. Thanks, Rep. Weldon, but I don't need you or anyone in the government to tell me how to think. I grudgingly allow the public good to interfere with what I do (on the expectation that my fellow citizens will be similarly restrained in their actions towards me), but my thoughts are accountable to no one.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:43AM (#261691) Journal

    ...because it's not worthwhile. What would be the advantage of creating a baby that's an exact genetic copy of someone, and then waiting years for it to be able to walk, talk, and think? I could see some advantages to cloning body parts, but cloning a whole person will never be worthwhile. Unless of course we've developed something that can accelerate your growth tremendously and also dump knowledge directly into the brain, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

    At least Congress isn't going after mutants. Yet.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • While I'm still only an undergrad in biology cloning issues are at the forefront of not only my interests in science, but also my career interests for the future. That said it's impossible to tell that someone is a clone without a valid copy of the original genes to compare them to. AFAIK it would also be impossible to tell whether someone was a child or a clone without extensive testing of genes.



    The main telling factor though would be an extreme similiarity in introns. In a standard gel electrophoresis you can match up the most likely, but they won't be (or at least I've known them to be) identical. In such a case it could be assumed barring more extensive testing that you're dealing with a clone.

  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:08AM (#261693)
    All the posts on here are stating the obvious such as how cloning is just a scientific tool, or how twins are clones, or making silly jokes. Everyone has missed the REAL social issue at work here. Clones WILL be created, and when they are, the world will hate them and shun them! Clones will be just as human as you and I, but they will be outcast and feared by society at large. It's the new wave of discrimination, and there will be a whole new debate about whether they are "real" people. And no one will think to ask the clones...

  • by geekd ( 14774 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:34AM (#261694) Homepage
    http://www.plif.com/archive/wc263.gif [plif.com]

    excellent cartoon on the dangers of cloning.
  • by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:37AM (#261698)
    1. There is a new technology.
    2. Like any new technology, it is experimental , unpredictable, and new
    3. Due to the experimental and unpredictable nature of this new technology, someone wants to outlaw it.


    End result? Restraints on developing a new technology, which will thus remain experimental and unpredictable for much longer than is necessary.

    I smell technophobia and political grandstanding.

  • Actually, I have less problems with the brainless clone in a tube than I do with the creation of "Mini-Me's". If the clone was grown so that the development of the brain was completely supressed (scientists have already done this with frogs), it doesn't have, never had, and never will have a mind. It won't feel pain, it won't feel anything - as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly usable spare parts. The "Mini-Me" clone mowing the lawn does have a mind, therefore he should be considered a full-fledged human being.

    However, I think that a more viable option is to use my stem cells to grow individual parts on demand - quicker and not as many ethical issues.

  • There's no indication so far that we can create "cloned" organs unconnected from the rest of a body.

    This can and has been done already. Scientists have been able to create a dog's bladder purely from muscle, lining, and a couple other types of cells grown in nutrients on a polymer mesh (the same way that the ear was grown on a mouse's back.) When transplanted into a dog, the bladder worked just like the dog's natural bladder. Supposedly, these guys are going to work on creating a heart next. Between this and stem cell research, I see lots of perfectly ethical uses for grown organs.

  • So all you have to do is fire up the cloning vats, take a sample from your Dad and clone a (presumably) viable embryo, bring the embryo to term, allow the person to become mature enough for organ to be usable, hope he doesn't mind that you're going to kill him, kill him, take out his liver, transplant it into your father.

    Time estimate: 20 years.

    You've been reading too many science fiction books. No wait, you can nver read too many science fictions books. You haven't read enough science non-fiction books!

  • OK, fine, when you put it in terms of organ factories, which I think you'll agree is essentially what you are saying, I don't think there's necessarily a problem. The problem I have, and that you and the other person who responded seem to have missed is how do you get there. How do you grow a human body without a brain (jokes about Congress and Microsoft engineers don't count)? These days, that would probably mean growing a human and taking out his or her brain. Now the problem comes back to, what defines human life? This is essentially the same problem that is the crux of the abortion issue. Anyone who considers a human embryo or fetus as not a person must then logically be able to point to some defining event which makes that person a human after some period of not being one. You will find there are three alternatives:

    1. Life starts at the point of conception.

    2. Life starts at some point after conception that can only be defined completely arbitrarily (much like Jews or blacks being defined as not human), or on the basis of the available level of technology, money, or desire of the parents. In all three cases, the argument is not scientific and we return to treating people as commodities. While, the other poster doesn't seem to have a problem with it, I am certainly not looking forward to the day when people are executed because they are not deemed economically feasible to remain alive, and that is a guaranteed result of that thinking.

    3. Life never starts. I think even on Slashdot, it would be hard to find someone who takes this view.

    Now, in the case of clones, the situation is pretty analogous. If an embryo is afforded the right to life as a result of being an individual, genetically-unique human being, then an embryo put together by replacing the nucleus in a developing zygote, which is how I understand cloning currently is done, I think you can see where I'm going.

    I also have a problem with the whole argument of "if the embryo doesn't suffer, we are not doing anything wrong". A person at ground zero of a pre-emptive nuclear strike doesn't suffer either, doesn't that mean the same thing?

    Now I will accept that very few people on /. will agree with me that the fact that the soul created at the conception of a human being is sufficient reason to grant that embryo the full rights afforded to other humans, I will think that any honest person will agree that any other definition of when life begins involves tradeoffs and compromises, many of which are a slippery slope leading to the kinds of dystopias we have seen in both the real world and in fiction, where people are considered things.

    I believe that unless we keep an absolute definition of human life and its rights, we will eventually see those rights whittled away. Abortion has been legal for almost 30 years, and you are now hearing academics openly advocating allowing infanticide. Answer me this, now that we are going down that path, where will we be in 20, 50 or 100 years?

  • You seem to think that this is driven by the same kind of irrational fear that lead to the persecution of Galileo. I think we are talking apples and oranges. The fear that this technology will be used to exploit human beings for the benefit of others is no irrational fear, it is the only way it can go. Aside from skin (and that is limited), we can't currently grow any organ in a laboratory and can hardly keep organs in a transplantable state. The _only_ way cloning could benefit anyone today is for cloned humans to be grown and harvested for their body parts. All this business about brainless human organ farms is still firmly entrenched in the "many years down the road category, if ever".

    Your arguement that we shouldn't worry about it because we will save lives applies equally well to the Nazis experimenting on Jews. Another post of mine got modded down to 0 based, I suppose, on the fact that anyone who invokes the Nazis is making a spurious argument. However, there is no doubt that what these "doctors" learned could be used to save lives. If we accept that and put it into practice, what happens the next time someone tries to do it? They will reason that ends justifies the means. Going back to the cloning issue, it all comes back to the idea of what constitutes human life and what rights do humans have.

    Look at this way Anonymous (and why in the world would you not get yourself an account so more people will read your posts, unlike a lot of folks around here, you are actually responding intelligently? We need more good debate on /.),
    if we do ban cloning, people will die because of lack of potential benefits of that technology. If we don't ban cloning, people will die in the attempt to reach that technology. I think we need to be extremely careful who we consider human, because we are already on the slippery slope to having our humanity, as well as our right to life being defined in more and more arbitrary and expedient terms.

    Please see my response to another AC in this thread for that discussion.

  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @01:12PM (#261706) Homepage Journal
    You're right.

    However, the former will happen for many years before the latter. Therein lies the problem. There was a recent news story about a doctor in Italy who wants to use cloning to help infertile couples despite bans against cloning that are being considered and/or enacted. About the same time came news that Dolly, DotCom the pig and all those other cloned animals are suffering from a large percentage of serious, apparently congenital, ailments and many are dying young of serious illnesses. I think given the current, limited state of cloning technology, a ban on human cloning is the only logical way to proceed.
    Because once human cloning starts, living human beings will become a commodity, and I think we, as a civilization, can all agree that people shouldn't be property.
  • by 5foot2 ( 24971 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @11:08AM (#261710) Homepage
    The worst possible senerio, would be if M$ software was the defacto std. used for the "data" transfer, or nightly "backups". You would then trully be owned by Microsoft. Wouldn't that sux, everything that is you held in a very proprietary format.

    After a "restore", or "hardware" upgrade, you just wouldn't work quite as well as you did to start with. Once or twice a day your eyes would glaze over with a blue color and you'd shit yourself. A hard reset would be the only thing that would bring you back.
  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:05AM (#261717)
    Is this a contraditcion in terms with what the Republicans are trying to to with abortion in the US (or do they see it as a continuation of the same issue?)
    ...
    You can't abort "natural" fetuses, but cloned ones? Thats ok!!

    Actually, you're missing the point. This kind of anti-cloning sentiment is very consistent with pro-life attitudes. Basically, there were a few unviable attempts at Dolly that had to be put down, and many, many more that never sucessfully grew past the initial stages of fertilization.

    Pro-life people hold that a fertilized human zygote has just as much right to live as a newborn baby. They are both people, even though one is far more dependent on their mother for survival than the other. Thus, the creation of hundreds of malformed, doomed to die human beings would be considered abhorrent. This is the same mindset that considers fetal stem cell research as unethical, because it essentially involves harvesting murdered people.

    Let me reiterate. The objection is that you are creating (and killing) hundreds of people to attempt to get one successful attempt. They are not saying that it's okay to abort cloned people while its not okay to abort others. They are saying that the necessity to abort failed attempts or to let them continue living broken lives with their deformities is sufficient reason to ban human cloning research.

    I find an outright ban to be a bad idea, but as someone who is pro-life, I find the current failure rate to be unacceptable. You can't clone a human nowdays without doing something a little unethical. (I'm not even going to respond to CmdrTaco's outright appeal for the creation of subhuman slaves and mindless people to be killed so that their bodies can be harvested for your own immortality.)

    Here's my proposal:
    We should have a complete moratorium on human cloning until the cloning of mammals has a failure rate approaching natural human pregnancy. Only then can we attempt it on humans. As is, cloning is far too risky to attempt with humans. We should fund research into cloning of other animals before we attempt it with people. It's just too soon right now. If we try right now, the failured attempts, and the ruined children that come out of them, will create a public backlash that could destroy all cloning research for decades, if not longer. We cannot allow premature attempts to ruin the future of cloning.
  • by daviskw ( 32827 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:54AM (#261718)
    Although I am arguing on a slippery slope here, if cloning *DOES* get approved somewhere for humans, what rights would a clone have? You've fallen into the TV Clone trap. You know the one where we grow clones in incubators and make them into adults before they get to get out and do anything. The truth is much more benign. If they clone you, they put you into a non-artificual real life mamary based famale incubator and let you gestate for nine months. After this time, you are freed from your prison but you get to spend the next sixteen to twenty-four years with your own personal slaves who do your bidding and let you wreck their car. At the end of that time they throw you out and tell you not to come back until you've got your own mamalian based replicant masters that they can give money to, bounce on their knees and then send home. From the perspective of the law it is as unlikely that anybody but your doctor would know that you are cloned, much as you don't know who around you is a test tube baby. In the view of congress however it is probably a bit of a good idea to ban cloning at this point in time. I don't believe it is because Congress knows what they are doing. They don't. Neither, on the other hand, do the people who want to clone other people. Put it in perspective: If the people who had invented the atomic bomb had known what they were setting up the last half of the twentieth century for, do you think they would have agreed to do it?
  • by Monte ( 48723 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:00AM (#261730)
    HOWEVER: From the moment they split, twins develop differently, live differently.

    And that would make identical twins different from clones just how? Aside from the different birthdays. I guess I don't get your point.

    I support a ban on cloning for now, until the majority of the US matures enough to handle the technology they're getting themselves into.

    Aww, hell, what fun is that? You're the kind of spoilsport that would ban the Bomb, I bet!

    Just wait until the KKK can begin brewing their own perfect children.

    What's wrong with that? People generally pick breeding partners they have commonality with - if we all bred randomly then the human race would be well on it's way to a uniform color. As it is, everyone pretty much runs their own little eugenics program...
  • by Monte ( 48723 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:48AM (#261731)
    Now it looks as though there genuinely are some problems with the clones having reduced viability, so there are some very serious long term health issues to clear up.

    So what? There's no ban against giving birth to a baby with a genetic defect that would limit it's life, why should their be one on creating a broken clone? What's the moral difference?

    (And if the answer is "choice" I'd point out there's no ban against people who know there's a high chance of passing on a genetic disease from having kids)

    It only makes sense to put a hold on human cloning until the clones are actually likely to be as healthy as an ordinary baby...

    Sounds good, but you've got to give somebody the power to define "likely" and "healthy" and "ordinary". And once those restrictions are put on clones, what's to keep that power from being applied to regular old-fasioned conception?

    People take for granted the freedom to pretty much breed however they like, so why shouldn't that same freedom apply to cloning?
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @11:27AM (#261739)
    > I gotta think that cloning is one of the weirdest ethical dilemmas we've ever met, and the US Government is doing its damndest to convince itself that it's pretty cut-and-dried.

    Problem is, it is cut-and-dried. But it's cut-and-dried only to those who've thought about it, and who have made a decision between two mutually-exclusive points of view:

    One: A human being is a thing that was created by God or some other process, and the notion of "soul" is meaningful, and that maybe even a brainless body has a soul, because, after all, if it were conceived naturally and happened to be a mutant, God oughta have mercy on it. There are many ethical concerns about cloning if you're part of this group. (Sorry if I've misstated the underlying philosophy - it isn't my view, and its adherents can probably describe it better than I can.)

    Two: We are machines made of meat. "Self" or "soul" or "consciousness" is an epiphenomenon of neural activity. There can be no neural activity without a brain. A brainless (anencephalic) clone grown in a vat would not be a person. A brained (i.e. "normal") clone grown in a vat or womb would be a person, just as an identical twin is a person. There is no ethical dilemma.

    Problem is - 99% of the population has never thought about these issues. We - as geeks - are accustomed to thinking about these things because we've grown up in a world where science-fiction robots and real-world AI debates are part of our daily existence.

    We're not the norm here, though, and our education system is pretty much geared to making sure nobody ever thinks about "deep stuff" like that (after all, it's not conducive to producing worker bees), and as a result, we will continue to see decisions based on ignorance.

    I don't care what side of this debate you're on. Just think about it and pick a side. Enclue your friends as to your point of view. Because the educational system sure as hell won't.

  • by Mr.Mustard ( 58247 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:21AM (#261741) Homepage
    Am I the only person that thinks "And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn." is a Brave New World reference?
  • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:44AM (#261743) Homepage
    These politicians are fighting to destroy some core American Values.

    After all, who but a clone can better illustrate that All Men Are Created Equal?
  • For those hollerin for cloning tech now, here's a little story from Graham Glass' excellent UNIX for Programmers and Users, Page 410 (SystemsProgramming, Getting a New Process: fork())

    "It [fork] reminds me of a great sci-fi story I read once, about a man who comes across a fascinating booth at a circus. The vendor at the booth tells man that the booth is a matter-replicator; anyone who walks through the booth is duplicated. The original person walks out of teh booth unharmed, but the duplicate person walks out onto the surface of Mars as a slave of the Martian construction crews. The vendor then tells the man that he'll be given a million dollars if he allows himself to be replicated, and he agrees. He happily walks through the machine, looking forward to collecting the million dollars... and walks out onto the surface of Mars. Meanwhile, back on Earth, his duplicate is walking off with a stash of cash. The question is this: If you came across the booth, what would you do?"

    Careful what you wish for. Also beware programming books that keep you up nights.
  • by dimator ( 71399 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:58AM (#261753) Homepage Journal
    If cloning of spare parts is allowed, how many parts == a human? Ie, if a guy has his foot amputated, I can cook him up a new foot. If his leg is amputated, then surely I can cook him up a foot attached to a leg.

    Well, how far can I take this? What if the guy is mostly gone, can I make him legs, arms, torso, etc? How many parts can I grow together before someone says "hey!"

    I would guess that a brain is what makes a human, but if only a guy's head is left, I doubt the public would buy creating headless human bodies (that would be freaky!) In that case though, why not create the parts one by one to avoid public/congressional objections?


    --
  • by passion ( 84900 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:16AM (#261758)

    I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.

    Hmm, seems to me that the ownership of a living being by another living being is referred to as "slavery". No matter what color, etc. this is still the same issue.

    I would rather have R2-D2 mowing my lawn, such as one of these Mowbots [nbci.com]

  • by RGRistroph ( 86936 ) <rgristroph@gmail.com> on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:28AM (#261762) Homepage
    Twins are clones.

    What is being proposed under current cloning, that is the process which produced the Dolly sheep, is essentially the creation of an identical twin who is much younger than you are.

    What were you immagining a clone was ? Some sort of Star Trek transporter echo ? If we create an embryo from one of your cells, then it still has to be implanted in womb that will not reject it and then raised to adulthood.

    As such, cloning is much more of an incremental advance than the reactions of congress and slashdot would suggest. Parents of a sickly child already occasionally choose to have additional children to increase the number of potentional organ or marrow donors for the first child, an ethically problematic decision because you are bringing someone into the world with a purpose or implied obligation.

    You say "Just wait until the KKK can begin brewing their own perfect children." But that's exactly what they think they are doing already, by marrying white women and raising their children to be racists.

    In India and China many pregnancies are tested for sex and aborted on those grounds. In the US this surely happens too; people also test for various genetic diseases such as Down's syndrome and choose to abort pregnancies based on that. Can you immagine how a mother who had aborted a Down's syndrome pregnancy feels when she finally has a child, and the kid decides to make himself retarded by sniffing glue ?

    People will be bad parents regardless of the tools science offers them or the tools congress denies them. The ability to create an identical twin embryo from an adult won't change all that much. Idiots will want to clone dozens of Sarah Michelle Gellers, so what ? Some of them will probably grow up ugly, and then we'll learn a bit more about how the womb and environment effect our development.

  • by krmt ( 91422 ) <(therefrmhere) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday April 27, 2001 @11:26AM (#261771) Homepage
    There is a moral difference because it comes down to choice, not in spite of it. You are choosing to create a "broken" clone.

    This "broken" person will suffer or die, one or the other. 1 out of 50 at best right now will be healthy and not have to suffer in any abnormal way (aside from premature aging) but 49 out of 50 will be a "broken" person. Sure, if that's acceptable for machine prototypes and such, then why not for people?

    You simply don't build people and allow for them to break. In natural childbirth, you're not making the choice to have 49 "broken" kids to have one healthy one, but in choosing to clone you will be doing just that. These clones are living people and they deserve every right to health that naturally born children get, and what you are proposing is that parents are allowed to break their kids. That is simply a crime, but with cloning that is what will happen. The choice to concieve a child is very very different than choosing to clone one.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • by krmt ( 91422 ) <(therefrmhere) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday April 27, 2001 @11:07AM (#261772) Homepage
    I agree with you in that solutions are never found with ignorance, I don't think that the U.S. is really approaching this one from the point of ignorance. The idea to ban human cloning is really resting on the fact that you will get many many defective fetuses who will die on their own, have to be aborted or euthenized, or will live in pain. This is inhuman for a technology that won't really have that much payoff in the sense we're looking for. Why do you need to clone a human being? Organs? We can do better than what we're doing now, and we can do the research on animals to get it right first. The U.S. isn't harming itself by banning human cloning any more than it isn't hurting itself by banning torture.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • by skrowl ( 100307 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:30AM (#261779) Homepage
    "Order your very own clone of clone of [Brittney Spears / N*Sync boy / etc] now from us and get a 2nd clone at half price!!"
    ____________________
    Remember, not all /. users hate Windows or think Microsoft is out to get them!
  • I hear you. The biggest problem I see is that already there is an "import ban" on clones. Shouldn't that be an "immigration ban," or are we deciding before cloning has even succeeded that clones will be nothing more than property? Didn't these guys see Blade Runner?
  • by belgin ( 111046 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:32AM (#261786) Homepage
    Yeah. I just love how all of these people seem to think that clones will have no minds of their own and will be property. It's like saying, "He's my twin! I can lock him in the basement and beat him daily with chains if I want to! What business is it of yours anyway? People are allowed to destroy their own property." You can substitute "twin" with clone, wife, or pet and there will be people who have said/will say it.

    I believe that a bunch of barely post-Renaissance Europeans had the same ideas about people with different colored skin. That turned out well, didn't it?

    B. Elgin

  • by vorpal22 ( 114901 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:06AM (#261789) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for adding that... Well said. It disgusts me to think that people are viewing clones as some kind of "organ farms"... when they are equally alive, conscious, etc... as you are. You have no right to their organs.
  • by AMuse ( 121806 ) <slashdot-amuse AT foofus DOT com> on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:43AM (#261790) Homepage
    Twins are not clones. They're not always even identical.

    Twins are the result of either: a) Two eggs were released this month, and both of them are now impregnated, or b) (more rare), one egg is impregnated and then splits, resulting in identical twins. HOWEVER: From the moment they split, twins develop differently, live differently.

    I support a ban on cloning for now, until the majority of the US matures enough to handle the technology they're getting themselves into.

    Think we abused Napster? Just wait until the KKK can begin brewing their own perfect children. Think bad parents treat their kids poorly because they wanted an image of themselves? Just wait until they GET a perfect image of themselves and are still frustrated because the child has a mind of its own.

    Think it won't happen that way? http://www.genochoice.com has it all.
  • by donglekey ( 124433 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:34AM (#261796) Homepage
    You are missing the point, if I am cloned without a brian, then yes, that would be an organ farm and if one of my organs failed what would be wrong with getting a replacement that way? An identical match with a brain would be a person, but without, it would not.
  • I completely agree that human cloning is a bad idea until the bugs are worked out. Bringing a human being into the world with a high probability of a horribly poor quality of life is a bad idea (whether through cloning or any other circumstances.) Its not like there is a shortage of humans out there.

    As far as cloning for parts or slavery - I think those are two totally different things. A clone that is an actual person - ie: has a brain - should have any and all rights as someone born through good ol' fashioned sex :) Just as invetro etc do... However, I am all for raising organs using cloning technology that are never the conscious organ of a human (ie: no brain grown then discarded or anything like that.) There is serious research in growing just organs that could be amazingly beneficial for humans...

    Imagine discovering you have kidney disease, then having your insurance company pay for a new one EXACTLY LIKE YOURS (except healthy) to be grown and in a year or so you get the transplant and the insurance company saves the money of an alternate transplant, the failures and the blood cleaning machines...

    Cool stuff but the kinks have to get worked out first. A unilateral "ban" is short sighted so hopefully it has the ability to be overridden.

  • by e-Motion ( 126926 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:39AM (#261800)

    I completely agree. I was a little offended when I read that comment. I realize that it was a joke, but it still sounded too much like slavery, which is something that is hard to laugh about. I'm glad to see that someone else felt the same way.

    My feelings on the matter: If cloning were allowed, I think it would be important for us to accept them as equals in all respects.

  • by tobyjaffey ( 132850 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:29AM (#261804)

    > I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.

    "Like CmdrTaco in every way except one eighth size, I will call him MiniTaco"

  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:33AM (#261806) Homepage

    I'm a bit dubious about a permanent ban on cloning, but a medium term moratorium seems like a very reasonable precaution. While it was initially believed that clones were going to be genetically perfect copies of their progenitors, there's always been some suspicion that there might be problems with the cells they've started from. Now it looks as though there genuinely are some problems with the clones having reduced viability, so there are some very serious long term health issues to clear up. It only makes sense to put a hold on human cloning until the clones are actually likely to be as healthy as an ordinary baby, the same way that other medical procedures are not permitted until their safety is adequately demonstrated.

  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:35AM (#261807) Homepage
    So what? There's no ban against giving birth to a baby with a genetic defect that would limit it's life, why should their be one on creating a broken clone? What's the moral difference?

    One of them is an artificial medical procedure and the other one is a natural biological process. The FDA (and they are the logical agency to make this kind of decision) currently has the role of approving or disapproving novel medical procedures, and IMO they should use that role to temporarily block approval of cloning until the problems are worked out. It's their job to approve new procedures only after their safety and efficacy has been established, which has certainly not happened yet with cloning. Nobody has the right to restrict the natural biological process of producing a baby; it's pretty clearly one of the non-enumerated rights reserved to the people by the 10th Ammendment, and IIRC it's now also protected legislatively. As a practical matter it's also now A) grandfathered as a procedure that was well established before the FDA started it's regulatory role and B) clearly safer and more effeective than cloning and hence a better choice by the normal standards of regulatory approval.

    It only makes sense to put a hold on human cloning until the clones are actually likely to be as healthy as an ordinary baby...

    Sounds good, but you've got to give somebody the power to define "likely" and "healthy" and "ordinary". And once those restrictions are put on clones, what's to keep that power from being applied to regular old-fasioned conception?

    As stated above, the natural agency to regulate this would be the FDA, who actually have a pretty good track record of serving the public interest on these issues. If there are any real complaints, it's been that they've recently been too lax in allowing new procedures and drugs to be used before their safety has been established. As for adding new restrictions on doing it the old fashioned way, I think that it will be essentially impossible to do so both as a practical matter and a political one. Nobody would stand to have their right to have sex restricted, and it would be pretty much impossible to implement anyway.

  • by awch ( 134042 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:23AM (#261808)
    I am the lucky father of two beautiful children. I have friends, however, who have not been able to conceive children. If cloning can become another viable alternative for loving individuals to have families, then I am all for it.

    I was a kid when the first test tube babies came along and many doomsayers were convinced that we were creating monsters. Many believed we needed laws to stop this research. Well, guess what, we weren't creating monsters, we were creating beautiful children using technology that has become universally acceptable today.

    Cloning's not an ego trip or a mad experiment. It's an option, probably the final option, for couples that are not as fortunate as my wife and I have been. I sincerely hope that they will have every opportunity to find the happiness that I have found.

  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:28AM (#261811) Journal
    I wanna have a brainless clone in a tube in case I blow out my liver drinking whiskey -- CmdrTaco

    And the difference between CmdrTaco and a clone of his without a brain is...?

    ;).

  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:26AM (#261812) Journal
    And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn. -- CmdrTaco

    Would you *really* want someone as weak and lazy as yourself to mow your lawn. Why not just get a clone of Arnold Schwarzenegger to do it?

  • I agree that barring "importing" is a bad mistake, but you've mistated the problem. Cloned people won't be people at all under this law. Makes me wonder whether it will be a crime to murder a clone, or steal their wallets.


    My mom is not a Karma whore!
  • by don_carnage ( 145494 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:30AM (#261816) Homepage
    Not to troll, but this remark kinda struck me weird: "And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn."

    It's like one of those awkward moments at a party when you're not sure whether or not you're supposed to laugh. :^)

    --

  • by Poligraf ( 146965 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:54AM (#261820)
    Clone without a brain is a better speller ;-)
  • by connorbd ( 151811 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:46AM (#261822) Homepage
    I gotta think that cloning is one of the weirdest ethical dilemmas we've ever met, and the US Government is doing its damndest to convince itself that it's pretty cut-and-dried.

    I am somewhat against it myself, especially because of the problems involved in producing a viable embryo. That probably comes from my Catholic background. But what I don't get: illegal to import a clone...

    Now, I don't know about anyone else. I once asked my father about cloning and he was convinced that a clone of a person is not a person. How the hell does that follow? The genes are human, presumably the mind is human. If it looks like a sheep, baahs like a sheep...

    I don't know. This could be an extended rant but I just don't have the energy to put into it right now.

    /Brian
  • by gimple ( 152864 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:45AM (#261824) Homepage
    There was a book a in the early nineties called Honey from Stone, by Chet Remo. It has been a while since I read it, but there is a quote in there about how knowledge is but and island in the sea; the larger your knowledge gets the more you realize how vast the sea is.

    It seems attractive to grow replacement parts, etc., but I really can't imagine that it is that simple. Even though they "mapped" the genome, they discovered along the way how much we absolutely don't know about the genome. It is analogous to the dark matter in space.

    While we could argue about the benefit of genetic engineering, we still have to consider the spector of eugenics. This in itself, to me, seems reason enough to tread VERY lightly when is comes to cloning.

  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:36AM (#261830)
    I want clones. I wanna grow spare hearts in a vat. I wanna have a brainless clone in a tube in case I blow out my liver drinking whiskey.

    Too many people don't realize that there is no difference (other than being genetically identical to someone else) between a normal human and a cloned human - both are people. "Spare hearts in a vat" or a "brainless clone in a tube" are no different than conceiving a child the normal way and abusing it for said purposes; a clone merely gives you a genetic match.

    There is no basis for the widespread concept that clones are monsters to be feared or used for our selfish purposes.

  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:48AM (#261831)
    There's no indication so far that we can create "cloned" organs unconnected from the rest of a body. The only conceivable way would be morally no different from conceiving a child and suppressing growth of other body parts, i.e. intentionally causing grotesque deformations in children.
  • by seanmeister ( 156224 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:58AM (#261832)
    I say we start here. [clonejesus.com] When he grows up, I've got some serious questions I'd like him to answer.

    --
  • by Amon CMB ( 157028 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:37AM (#261836)
    What if your half-height clone ends up kicking your ass out the door and makes YOU mow the lawn?

  • by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:35AM (#261844)
    "Spare hearts in a vat" or a "brainless clone in a tube" are no different than conceiving a child the normal way and abusing it for said purposes; a clone merely gives you a genetic match.

    I disagree, at least in the case of the Vat O' Hearts. If they could take a blood sample, squirt it into some magic machine and produce a cloned heart a week later -- how is that a moral issue? I don't see that as anything like "conceiving a child the normal way and abusing it." Instead, it seems like a way to remove that temptation.
  • by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @04:20PM (#261845)
    The only conceivable way would be morally no different from conceiving a child and suppressing growth of other body parts...

    Maybe that's the only thing you can conceive of, and the guy who replied to your post. But things like space travel were once considered crazy too. As a biochemist myself I am confident that it's a solveable problem, if society decides to tackle it. All your talk about deformed children sounds like anti-progress scare tactics to me.
  • by knnnigit ( 168179 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:47AM (#261853)

    It's probably best to have a moratorium on human cloning at least until other mammals can be cloned reliably, without the horrible, somewhat random side effects they have now. Mice can't even be cloned yet properly without a high percentage of them suddenly becoming morbidly obese upon reaching what would be the human equivalent of about 30. There are also many other problems such as developmental disabilities and other "random" effects. Basically, take the mouse chromasome, munge up some random DNA and lets see if it works.

    It's also pretty immoral to clone an entire human being just for their organs or for slavery. What do you do with them when they're no longer useful? Kill them? Might as well kill ageing migrant farm workers or old people in general. Lets get rid of all the handicapped and sick and retarded people while we're at it.

  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:33AM (#261855) Homepage
    I wanna have a brainless clone

    well I hope you'll at least *dress* him differently.

    Massively redundant, I know, but mine was the best execution of this extremely obvious joke.

  • by mizhi ( 186984 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:30AM (#261867) Homepage
    Because a mini-Schwarzenegger could still beat the begeezus out of a full-size Taco. :-)
  • by dR.fuZZo ( 187666 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:42AM (#261868)
    Twins are not clones. They're not always even identical.

    Twins are the result of either: a) Two eggs were released this month, and both of them are now impregnated, or b) (more rare), one egg is impregnated and then splits, resulting in identical twins. HOWEVER: From the moment they split, twins develop differently, live differently.


    And (b) is fundamentally different from a clone how exactly? Oh, I forgot, the donor's soul is cut in half and the clone gets half grafted into it. Whereas with identical twins, God has enough time to order out for a new one and have it wired down to the womb.

    I support a ban on cloning for now, until the majority of the US matures enough to handle the technology they're getting themselves into.

    If we did that for every tech, we'd still be living in the Stone Age.

    Think we abused Napster?

    No, I think the record companies abused the public with their price-fixing. Using Napster was just the public's way of saying, "fuck you too."

    Just wait until the KKK can begin brewing their own perfect children.

    Ok, so would these be KKK scientists doing the cloning, or would KKK couples have to pay some dough for the procedure? I'm betting most of them are too poor and too stupid for this to be much of a problem for quite awhile...
  • If cloning is illegal, then you've got illegal people to deal with. A clone will probably not be allowed to have rights or citizenship, or seek legal protections against human rights violations, and thus will be completely unable to participate in civilization or society. If enough of these illegals are created, we'll see a permanent underclass without any rights.

    This is wrong. We must be sure that if we do make human cloning illegal that we punish the cloners, not the clones. The clones are innocent.

  • by ParticleGirl ( 197721 ) <SlashdotParticleGirl@gmail . c om> on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:10AM (#261875) Journal
    The bill [loc.gov] is online. This isn't just "dangerous copies of humans"... there is research into alternatives for people who are unable to have children any other way. "It shall be unlawful for a person to engage in a human cloning procedure with the intent of implanting the resulting cellular product into a uterus." This is current research that will not go forward, funding or no funding. "A person shall be considered to have engaged in a human cloning procedure for purposes of subsection (a) if the person transfers the nucleus of a human somatic cell into an egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed." This will be interesting.
  • by jpm242 ( 202316 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:00AM (#261878) Homepage
    of ordering my Nathalie Portman clone from www.clone-a-babe.com
  • by glebite ( 206150 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:29AM (#261880)

    I guess with no clones, Episode II will have to be re-written? (Again?)

  • by glebite ( 206150 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:32AM (#261881)

    I know this falls under the stem-cell research, but does the proposed law concern the cloning of a whole human, or parts? If it only applies to a human, at what percentage of a cloned human could be allowed to be cloned?

    Only organs? Skin? Eyes? Bone marrow? Blood? Nerve cells? Deformed or not, a clone might still have viable nerve cells...

    Just asking...

  • All this law does is make cloned individuals second class citizens. Anti cloning laws are a clear violation of cloned peoples rights.
    The laws should have been about insuring that cloned people have the same human rights as other people and making sure cloned children have parents and an ordinary life.

    Sindri Traustason
    "It takes two to lie, one to lie and one to listen"
  • by Vassily Overveight ( 211619 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:32AM (#261888)
    I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.

    Taking this semi-seriously, smart robots capable of performing menial tasks will be along before human cloning becomes possible and acceptable, IMO. I'd rather rely on a robot than a lazy slob like myself anyway.

  • by update() ( 217397 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:07AM (#261893) Homepage
    Twins are the result of either two eggs being fertalized in the same month..

    These are fraternal twins, not identical.

    ...or the rarer case of the egg being fertalized and split.

    And these are clones. (Genetically identical individuals produced asexually from a common precursor.)

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:25AM (#261895) Homepage Journal
    I can see it now, an army of CmdrTaco clones moderating slashdot. Talk about multitasking...

    --

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:54AM (#261896) Homepage Journal
    I wish I had a pointer to the Calvin and Hobbes strips which dealt with him cloning himself with a carboard box. Calvin was sadly educated to the reality, that if he didn't want to clean his room or do his homework, neither would his clones (or anyone else, for that matter.)

    --

  • by Hairy_Potter ( 219096 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:30AM (#261898) Homepage
    at least, whichever one split off was a clone of the other.

    Does that mean twins would not be allowed into the US?

    Another case of technophobes not understanding what they're legislating against.
  • by Arethan ( 223197 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:28AM (#261904) Journal
    >And as soon as we get really good with the
    >genetic engineering, I want my own half height
    >clone to mow my lawn.

    Wouldn't this also require a smaller lawn mower?
    I can imagine it now, the half-height is pushing the mower up-hill, and then topples under the weight of the mower and is run over producing...really itty bitty copies of you...more or less...

    So if you solve that problem with a smaller lawn-mower, then wouldn't it then take twice as long for you to mow your lawn? So basically, you'd just be wasting twice as much time as your already are, but since there are two of you, you'd be doing it twice as fast, so you're really not gaining anything by cloning. So let's just call the whole thing off and eat pizza.

  • by RareHeintz ( 244414 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:39AM (#261926) Homepage Journal
    ``There is no need for this technology to ever be used with humans,'' said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

    Utter ignorance. A ten-second news search turned up one great application here [yahoo.com].

    ``it's morally wrong and reprehensible for anybody to consider the cloning of a human being,'' said House sponsor Dave Weldon, R-Fla

    Regardless of any possible benefit to medical science?

    And in another article [yahoo.com] about the GOP reaching out to Catholics, the real roots of the opposition become clear: Cloning is lumped in with abortion and the "homosexual agenda" as things that all good Xians should oppose. It's as if they'd never heard of the separation of the church and state...

    Canada looks better and better...

    OK,
    - B
    --

  • by V50 ( 248015 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:33AM (#261927) Journal

    This is just a conspiracy so CmdrTaco's horrible grammar and spelling mistakes won't take over the world...

    Though I don't think we have to worry about CowboyNeal being cloned... He's already DVD Player, My Favorite Linux Distro, a backscratcher, a God, a Browser and Intel's new chip... Not to mention a Kitchen Sink....


    --Volrath50

  • by Vortran ( 253538 ) <aol_is_satan@hotmail.com> on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:29AM (#261933) Homepage
    I'm not sure banning technology or the pursuit of knowledge is the answer. I also don't think technology is inherently good or evil. People can do good or evil and use technology to achieve their imperatives. The point you make about identical twins is moot as it holds for clones as well. As soon as the clone begins to develop, it does so independent of its host. Clones and identical twins are, genetically speaking, exactly the same thing.

    Do humans really suck that much (KKK vs. the Greens - let the clone wars begin!)?

    Remember that if you make something illegal, only the lawless will pursue it. In this case, that means you put technology right into the wrong hands from the getgo - where it arguably already is. You then however, remove it from the "right" hands by making it illegal.

    As a society we are NOT ethically mature enough to deal with the moral ramifications of human cloning. However, the ancillary technology could be enormously valuable. I would like to someday have 2 eyes that work so that I can see in stereo (all those 3D movies and sims!) and have depth perception. I only have one eye that works due to my biological mother having ruebella (German measles) during pregnancy. I would sure like it if someone could grow me a new eye and optic nerve. I'd also like to be able to hear normally. I'm half deaf for the same reason.

    If a normal body could be grown for me and I could somehow retain my mind in it, I think I would welcome that. We'll never get there tho if technology is stifled.

  • by baptiste ( 256004 ) <mikeNO@SPAMbaptiste.us> on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:39AM (#261934) Homepage Journal
    And as soon as we get really good with the genetic engineering, I want my own half height clone to mow my lawn.

    I've already got these - they're called kids. Sure they bitch alot about doing it - but imagine a mini you being told to do chores - which would be worse? Kids or Clones?

    You "Clone, mow the yard"
    Clone "Hell no! You never did it when you were a kid - I KNOW it!"

    Plus kids are more fun to make!

    Besides - I don't think I could stand to deal with a clone of me on a daily basis - that and my wife would probably lose it since I drive her nuts already LOL

    --

  • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:50AM (#261941) Homepage Journal
    I don't particularly support this legislation...

    A lot of the protest here downplays the fact that there are serious ethical issues involved with the "whimsical" (but not outside the realm of reality) applications that CmdrTaco mentions. And trying to gloss these issues is what's going to get this kind of legislation passed.

    This being said - get real. There has not been a single day (I said not one, zero, nada, not one sinlge solitary day) since commerce was invented that human beings have not been traded as commodities (we call it slavery in these parts). There are people being sold as slaves right now. Nothing about cloning is going to change this ethical situation in the world, except to possibly provide a new justification for exploitation ("ahh, he's just a damn clone anyway").

    On the other hand, cloning could become totally legal and commonplace and CmdrTaco still couldn't afford to keep a brainless body on life support for several decades on the off chance he ends up needing an organ transplant. Only the ultrawealthy will benefit from any of these types of uses. We may all benefit from tissue cloning but that isn't really procribed by this sort of legislation.

  • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:30AM (#261953)
    I'm a bit dubious about a permanent ban on cloning, but a medium term moratorium seems like a very reasonable precaution.

    While your reasons are very good ones, this is not the reasoning our government is using. As evidence, those in charge are not limiting themselves simply to the prevention of full-scale human cloning, they're now taking steps to ban (or is it continue the ban?) on Federal stem-cell research.

    Every year we spend not pursuing this research results in a large number of dead or very sick people. And the only reason for the decision is so single-celled embryos won't be destroyed for "moral" reasons... Of course, they will still be destroyed, as the fertility clinics who supply the embryos will now simply dispose of them.

  • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @10:05AM (#261954)
    Twins are the result of either: a) Two eggs were released this month, and both of them are now impregnated, or b) (more rare), one egg is impregnated and then splits, resulting in identical twins. HOWEVER: From the moment they split, twins develop differently, live differently.

    And identical twins are different from clones... how exactly? Cloned embryos will "develop differently, live differently" just like identical twins.

    Now, there's evidence that cloning techniques have some serious bugs in them, and cloned embryos have genetic flaws... But that's a whole 'nother story.

  • by sidnix ( 300848 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @11:33AM (#261955) Homepage
    what really excites me the most is the prospect of cloning only parts of animals for food. can a vegan be angry if we eat a chicken breast grown in a vat? is it even a chicken? once the technology is in place, a lot of extinction problems can perhaps be solved, too. but i'm really just in it for the guilt-free eating.
  • Not cloning humans (yet?) is common sense and far from ignorance as some people may be thinking.

    The technology, for one, isn't perfected yet. Everyone yells at Intel for releasing a chip before it's ready, but now you want them to clone a human before it's ready? Babies will be born dead or deformed and then arent going to be wanted and then put into homes or get on welfare. That's all we need.

    Secondly, Taco brings up another point by his "midget to mow his grass" idea. This is slavery and THIS is against the law in the U.S. and immoral no matter how you look at it. Sadly, this would be the primary reason for cloning human beings... NOT for medical reasons.

    Thirdly, the world already has a serious population problem. You really think it's a good idea to clone MORE people and continue the process of populating the planet? That means more people go hungry and die because someone can't afford to feed them 'cause he gotta worry about his clone.

    Finally, everytime a baby is born it inherits certain characteristics from it's mother and father and essentially evolves. Cloning /bin/halt's evolution.



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  • by glenebob ( 414078 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @11:41AM (#261985)

    It's one thing to ban human cloning. It's quite another to ban human clones. A person has no control over his/her own birth, cloned or not. And so banning cloned people just seems utterly rediculous and wrong to me. What would be next, clone reservations?

    Let's say Fred and his wife Judy make a clone of Fred, named Bob. Fred and Judy get caught, pay the $1 million fines, and do the prison time. Problem solved :-) So what happens to Bob? Does he get deported? To where?

    The artical says that safety (because of the high failure rate in current cloning) was a major concern when considering these laws. Huh? So now we're making laws to ban new technology forever because the technology isn't perfected yet?

    I'm not for human cloning. But geez, do we really need to cite completely stupid reasons for banning it? It's not as if there is a shortage of really really good reasons...

    And this one...
    "There is no need for this technology to ever be used with humans," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
    Oh, of course, you're right. You have infinite foresight. We believe you. There will never be a good reason to ever ever clone a human. Ever. Whatever dude... That reminds me of mariguana banning. There will never ever be a valid use for pot. Banned. Oh wait, there is a valid use! For cancer patients, glaucoma patients, etc. Oh well, too late. Arrrrggg!!!
    --
    Damn it Jim, that's my sphincter, not a jelly donut!!!

  • by CACSlave ( 442294 ) on Friday April 27, 2001 @09:36AM (#261986)
    I can imagine it now, the half-height is pushing the mower up-hill, and then topples under the weight of the mower and is run over producing...really itty bitty copies of you. and we know from Army of Darkness how that would turn out. ...my fair lady. ha!

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

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