Friday, October 24, 2008

Oct 27 Kass – Ch 5 (Cloning and the Posthuman Future)

I cannot help but wonder as to the scientific research on nature vs. nurture which could develop as a result of cloning. Kass mentioned it briefly in his discussion of people wanting to clone themselves or professional athletes, etc. I think it an odd sort of argument in favor of cloning to assume that we can scientifically reproduce an exact duplicate of another person. Even ‘identical’ twins are not the exact same person because they have different life experiences and interests. Cloning would do this to an even greater extent as time will have elapsed between the individual growing and developing and the clone being produced and beginning its growth and development. Suppose, for instance, that Magic Johnson wished to have a clone of himself. If this clone were not trained in the art of basketball as it developed, it would not learn the same skill set which distinguishes Magic Johnson as an exemplary basketball player and thereby not be anything like Magic Johnson despite sharing an exact replica of his DNA. I could continue with further examples, but I suppose that my point is clear enough; cloning could lead to many scientific studies about the nature of nurture.

Despite the previous paragraph, I agree one-hundred percent with Kass that cloning ought not be allowed throughout human society. As he lays forth the arguments for this quite well, I feel no need to repeat his work. I share his opinion primarily for religious reasons but acknowledge that others may need to hear convincing arguments which go beyond religion if they do not share my particularly faith-filled upbringing. Kass kindly provides such reasons as well while not failing to articulate the religious notions behind resistance to cloning. Should Kass present religious reasoning about scientific research though? Yes; as religion so significantly shapes morals and ethics, I feel some of Kass’ strongest arguments concerning bioethics will be those which appeal to religious ideals.

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