Debate and Discussion

Cloning arguements
Coveinant at 3:23PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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I have an assignment in my Political Science that requires me to write about a contraversial social issue, I choose cloning for my topic. I need help in the form of someone else's point of view because I'm both Christian and a man science (I really have a tough time with these issues). If you could use the following link to the actual forum I want you to comment in, if you're too lazy or you don't want to make if convenent for me just leave your point of veiw here. Here is a link to a site that has some cloning information. And this topic does belong in the general discussion.
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CJ
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:47AM
lothar at 3:33PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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“cloning” seams to me like a buzz word invented by your christin frends . or at least they use it for a lot of things that are not cloning. anyway , what's wrong with cloning . if god didn't want humans to make copies of his stuff than he should have come up with some sort of copy protection . but it looks like DNA is sort of open source . Read, write , modify, delete. the problem arises from the fact that a lot of people are still basing their opinions on stories written 2000+ years ago when many things in nature were still set to “hidden”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
mlai at 4:34PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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Was it not the Abrahamic God who said “Be fruitful and multiply”?

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
subcultured at 4:39PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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cloning is one step closer towards immortality, but people may see it as immorality
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
usedbooks at 5:19PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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In my plant physiology class we “cloned” some plants. All it is is asexual reproduction starting with *very* small cuttings. People have cloned plants since the beginning of agriculture by using cuttings to create new plants. Plants, single cell organisms, and even some animals reproduce asexually, and that is what cloning (on an organismal level) is.

Speaking from a secular angle (in other words, not bringing “souls” or “playing God” into it), the biggest issues with cloning *whole organisms* would be the loss of genetic hardiness/diversity. Even if we know the whole genome of the species we're working with, there is a reason organisms developed sexual reproduction. Genetic recombination and diversity enables a species to survive changing conditions and different environments. Ridding ourselves of genetic diseases is useful, but most of our genetic diversity is not black and white. There is no “better race.” If we lose what we think is inferior, we, as a species, lose a chance at survival. In addition to that, “clones” have a shortened segment on the end of their nucleosomes, which are part of DNA packaging and act as a buffer to problems in replication. The end portion of this molecule is involved in the “aging” process. So a newborn organism is essentially the same age as the parent it was cloned from. (So, if you cloned a baby from a 60 year old man, the clone's life expectancy is maybe 20 years…)

The sensational, news-worthy “cloning” is of whole organisms, but the actual practical stuff is simple tissue culture. Stimulating undifferentiated cells to differentiate into different cell types. Actually, our bodies do these processes constantly. Blood cells come from undifferentiated marrow cells – not from blood cells. Nerve cells, fat cells, etc. all come from groups of semi-differentiated cells not from other nerve/fat/whatever cells. Actually, the mechanism behind some cancer is that the cells undifferentiate so that they are undergoing mitosis, not triggering appropriate apoptosis, and migrating/invading to new parts of the body. (Studying cancer could help development of tissue culture procedures – and vice versa.)

There is much obvious beneficial potential from tissue culture. People could regrow their own organs and not have to worry about rejection (as in transplants). Tissue culture (undifferentiated = “stem cells” ) are already being used in clinical trials (where they are legal) to regrow cartilage in arthritic patients and working better than artificial implants. The biggest ethical issues would probably be in the donors. Ideally, people will use their own semi-differentiated cells, but some procedures might require completely undifferentiated (fetal) cells. The big concern is that this will encourage abortion – and abortion is a whole Pandora's box of controversy in itself. However, the use of amniotic fluid or other sources of stem cells could bypass that issue entirely.

Medicine has done far more dangerous/unethical procedures and met with far less controversy. Sci-fi movies, political propaganda, and good old fashioned fear-mongering help disproportionately sensationalize certain topics of research and technology over others.

(If you want to know my perspective/credentials, I am a Christian, and I have my masters degree in Biology. I studied a lot of molecular and cell biology but also ecology, conservation, and genetics.)



Sorry for the wall of text, but I graduated a while ago and not had a job, so I have been craving a chance to “talk like a Biologist” again. ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM
Custard Trout at 6:15PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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Argument for: Cloning is awesome.

Argument against: Some claptrap about souls.

I'd say more, but you should do your own fucking homework, rather than getting us to do it for you.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:01PM
Eirikr at 7:05PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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Coveinant
I need help in the form of someone else's point of view because I'm both Christian and a man science (I really have a tough time with these issues).

Off topic, but I am to, and I've never had trouble reconciling these things. Simply put, my belief is let science explain that which it can, and leave the unknown to god.

Anyway, cloning really isn't anything to get steamed about currently. It's not like they make a perfect copy of you, with memories, age, etc. still implanted. It's currently basically just making a baby with the completely same genes. Even with identical genes, this baby could grow to be fundamentally different personality-wise from the being from which it was cloned, depending on your stance in the psychological debate of nature vs. nurture.At least, I think so. Human biology has always been one of my weaker subjects.

Usedbooks had a point though about the loss of genetic diversity though. I fear that if cloning becomes widespread, it could mess things up with humanity on a genetic level, which could have consequences from no changes to drastic ones(i.e. drop in breeding).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
Croi Dhubh at 9:27PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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I'm a Christian and a man of science, but that doesn't cause any conflicting issues because I'm educated in my beliefs.

At first I had a personal issue with cloning, but really, after thinking about it and researching, I don't really have a problem with it anymore. It's not anti-God or anything like that anymore than cutting open a body to do an autopsy.

Usedbooks pretty much covered the real issues, so I'm not going to get into it.



mlai
Was it not the Abrahamic God who said “Be fruitful and multiply”?
You have to understand why it was said to use it in the right context.


Custard Trout
Argument for: Cloning is awesome.

Argument against: Some claptrap about souls.
Oh for the fucking love of mike…
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:54AM
ozoneocean at 10:56PM, Aug. 28, 2008
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When people represent the human cloning debate as one of Science VS religion, they obviously don't understand the issue and shouldn't be discussing it.

—————-
The main problem with human cloning is one of ethics- that can be informed by religious doctrine, and many other factors as well, but it's really rather more complex than simple blind religious opposition.

You have other factors at play like law, community social standards, and philosophy.- What is a human life? What constitutes a human? Is it ethical to grow parts of a human or a whole human without a brain (for example) in order to make use of their parts for your own ends? If you follow the ramifications along to their logical ends you get glimpses of rather scary analogues… -Slavery, Nazi experiments etc.

Basically, a lot of rather naive people think we exist in a sort of moral vacuum of mathematically correct decision making, but in practise these things are a minefield of difficulties and negotiation.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
DAJB at 12:27AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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Cloning is evil! Don't you people watch Star Wars?!

Seriously, I find it very difficult to find any ethical arguments against cloning, say, organs for transplants and that has to be among the strongest arguments for.

Cloning whole animals raises more interesting dilemmas. At the purely mechanical level, as usedbooks explained, it's not so very different from taking cuttings from plants and - as with GM crops - it could be argued that this is a potentially viable solution to food shortages (unless you're a vegetarian, obviously!) The main arguments against, in this respect, are similar to those against factory farming in general.

Cloning a human being is the big one but, assuming our legislative structures would develop alongside the technology, I think the practical aspects of whether a cloned person would have rights, privileges and obligations under the law are more imagined than real. The points raised by O.O. (slavery, experimentation etc) are genuine concerns but, for me, they're part of an entirely different debate. Human beings have been indulging in such practices on each other since we first crawled from the swamps. Sadly, there will always be people who consider such practices acceptable and, fortunately, rather more enlightened people who don't. I doubt whether those who don't will suddenly believe that they're okay provided the person was originally cloned rather than conceived in a bout of sweaty sex.

As I see it, civilised societies would require a clone's “birth” to be registered and he/she would therefore become a human being similar in every respect to any “normally conceived” human being. Looked at dispassionately, this is not so very different from the considerations that apply to current IVF procedures. A child conceived in the proverbial test tube is not currently considered any less human than a child conceived in a bedroom and there's no reason to assume that would change. The only difference is that the clone would have only one biological “parent” (progenitor?)

Sure, the philosophers would have to agonise a bit more about what constitutes “being human” but philosophers have always agonised about things that don't affect 99% of the population.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
usedbooks at 1:13AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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DAJB's discussion about society brought up in my mind another issue with the cloning of whole organisms. Not the clones' behavior but rather the way people treat the clone.

I'm not talking about social reaction or prejudice or anything, I'm thinking small scale – family. Consider how a person copes with the loss of a pet. Sometimes the person gets a new pet to help “fill the void” which is an okay way to cope really. But sometimes the person gets a new, let's say, dog that is the same breed or even nearly identical to the one who passed on. They might treat the new dog like it is a complete replacement for the old one, expect it to act the same, hold it to the same standards, and will nearly always be disappointed because their new dog isn't their old one. Behavior experts (and human psychologists) caution people against getting new pets that are similar to one they've lost for this reason. Now, people can get a clone of their lost pet… Oh, the temptation of treating the animal like their lost pet would be completely unavoidable. The type of people cloning their animals very likely would be the “I want Fido to live forever and now he can!” types. (Although some practical animal cloning would be reproducing that perfect milk cow or whatever. I don't mean that.)

Now, extend this to people. It's bad enough when John names his son John Jr. and spends the kid's childhood grooming the poor boy to follow Daddy's footsteps, take over the family business, and squash any attempts the boy takes to follow his own dreams and be his own person. If the poor kid was a clone, there would be even less forgiveness for individual thinking and behavior. It's not his life. It's Dad's life. And, if he was cloned, say, after the death of his father, it would be the relatives grooming him to be his dad's replacement, scrutinizing and comparing every aspect of his life to his father. People would see him as a copy of his dad, not what he truly was – a much younger identical twin.

Even if it didn't hit that extreme, the pressure on a clone would almost certainly be raised at least some degree. Children already feel pressure to compare themselves to their parents. A clone would feel more pressure.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM
ozoneocean at 1:31AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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It's exactly those sorts of broader issues I was talking about Usedbooks ;)
Those and many more.

Sure, as DJAB says, when certain technologies are introduced into society, society fits in around them and changes, but that doesn't mean we don't have ethical discussions about them and how they will affect us, and that doesn't mean laws and restricts won't apply to them based on that.

None of us live in a society where being technically able to do something confers on you both the ability and the right to do it. So it's important to think about how these things will fit into your society.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
freefall_drift at 8:31AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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If you cloned a person, you would be making an identical twin, but of a different age. You copy the physical traits, and some of the biological induced tendencies, but you don't copy the memories. You get high tech siblings.
But even that can have evil complications.

Now a good dark storyline I read once, a guy had a degenerative disease, kind of like leprosy. He made many clones of himself from tissue that was harvested before he got the disease. He needed them because there was no problem with tissue rejection. His secret lab had a dozen cloned kids of himself at different ages, living only to be harvested for body parts and organs, to be transplanted into the original. The horror was that each kid was self aware and wondering why this guy and his team were slowly cutting them up.

What happens when a family has a child die, and makes a clone, and then tries to force this sibling twin to be the exact duplicate of dead twin brother?

What if some vain celebrity makes a dozen copies of himself? Should he be allowed to? How is that different than a celebrity or basketball player who sleeps around and gets a dozen women pregnant?

And don't forget the classic boys from Brazil, where they made several dozen clones of hitler in the hopes that one the identical twins would follow in dad's footsteps.
Freefall Drift - A sci fi space opera of a starship's mission of stopping the Endless Kings.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Custard Trout at 9:11AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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Croi Dhubh
Custard Trout
Argument for: Cloning is awesome.

Argument against: Some claptrap about souls.
Oh for the fucking love of mike…

I don't think you were paying attention. I did that on purpose because I don't think it's right to go on a forum and attempt to get other people to do your work for you.

But if you're so keen on the idea, you can help me with these armatures. They're a bloody pain in the arse.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:01PM
kingofsnake at 10:07AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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If you outlaw cloning only outlaws will have clones
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Custard Trout at 10:20AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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Coveinant
if you're too lazy

Says the guy who's can't be arsed to do any research and form his own opinions.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:01PM
Croi Dhubh at 10:22AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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You also have the issues with clone degeneration.

Custard Trout
Croi Dhubh
Custard Trout
Argument for: Cloning is awesome.

Argument against: Some claptrap about souls.
Oh for the fucking love of mike…

I don't think you were paying attention. I did that on purpose because I don't think it's right to go on a forum and attempt to get other people to do your work for you.

But if you're so keen on the idea, you can help me with these armatures. They're a bloody pain in the arse.
No, no, no. I was harshly quoting “Ed, Edd and Eddy”.
Liberate Tutemae Ex Inferis
Moderatio est Figmentum: Educatio est Omnium Efficacissima Forma Rebellionis

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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:54AM
ozoneocean at 11:14AM, Aug. 29, 2008
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kingofsnake
If you outlaw cloning only outlaws will have clones
Armed with automatic weapons o_O
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
bravo1102 at 2:45PM, Aug. 29, 2008
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ozoneocean
kingofsnake
If you outlaw cloning only outlaws will have clones
Armed with automatic weapons o_O

Hah, that wasn't me officer machine gunning that family, it was my clone!

Now to quote the great Isaac Asimov: (sung to the tune of Home on the Range)
“Oh give me a clone,
of my very own,
with the Y chromosome changed to an X.
And me and my clone,
whenever we're alone,
all we'll think of is sex.”

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Croi Dhubh at 4:04PM, Aug. 29, 2008
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It's not gay, it's masturbation! …and I guess it wouldn't technically be gay anyway at that point…but it would still be masturbation, not incest…kinda…I made my eyes go crossed….>_<
Liberate Tutemae Ex Inferis
Moderatio est Figmentum: Educatio est Omnium Efficacissima Forma Rebellionis

http://weblog.xanga.com/CroiDhubh - Home to the “Chuck E. Cheese Terror” stories
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM
mlai at 10:53PM, Aug. 29, 2008
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Where did you ppl even get the idea that cloning tissue for transplants involves a secret lab with dozens of vats containing hairless fully-grown humans kept in a fluid-breathing coma?

That's the same as saying we shouldn't invest in space travel because the Death Star is evil.

As has already been discussed months ago, we throw out more stem cells for in-vitro fertilization attempts, than what scientists ever use for true stem cell research.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Aurora Moon at 1:14AM, Aug. 30, 2008
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mlai
Where did you ppl even get the idea that cloning tissue for transplants involves a secret lab with dozens of vats containing hairless fully-grown humans kept in a fluid-breathing coma?

That's the same as saying we shouldn't invest in space travel because the Death Star is evil.

As has already been discussed months ago, we throw out more stem cells for in-vitro fertilization attempts, than what scientists ever use for true stem cell research.

I agree.

Yes, there's a lot of issues with Cloning but that doesn't mean we shouldn't ever use it. The way I see it, it's just like everything else that humans use. Everything that Humans has used has an capability to do just as much as good as it can be used for “evil”.

Of course, we do need to consider the fact that some certain things need regulations and guidelines so that it doesn't get abused. Cloning is just one of them.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
ozoneocean at 4:15AM, Aug. 30, 2008
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mlai
Where did you ppl even get the idea that cloning tissue for transplants involves a secret lab with dozens of vats containing hairless fully-grown humans kept in a fluid-breathing coma?
Mlai, the cloning of fully grown human beings is part of the possibilities offered by the idea. ;)
The possibility is not an argument against the concept of cloning, but it does bring up very real questions and considerations for the sorts of things you shouldn't do with it.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
usedbooks at 11:01AM, Aug. 30, 2008
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Tissue culture with stem cells can have many practical applications. Cloning human beings seems to just have vanity going for it. And most of the time, cloning entire organisms seems to be just for the sake of making the news and getting funding…

However, I can think of a few applications for cloning entire organisms:

~~Crops: As I mentioned, this has been done throughout human history. Most plants have natural mechanisms for asexual reproduction anyway, and when you genetically engineer (in a lab or through breeding) plants that are nutritious, pest resistant, flavorful, etc. sometimes they become less fecund or even sterile. Through cloning, we could have crops that put all of their energy toward the “food” aspect and not waste any on reproduction.

~~Laboratory animals: Lab mice and other animals are inbred for MANY generations to create the numbers of “identical” animals needed to run accurate tests or medical trials. If simple cloning techniques were developed, you could save many resources, reduce the lives created/lost, and even require smaller test groups (knowing for sure they are identical) by creating your sample groups in a single generation.

~~Possibly livestock: For one thing, you could clone the animals that produce the best quality milk, eggs, wool, or meat. Another practical application is breeding milk cows without having to keep aggressive bulls around at all. (Dairy farms don't keep bulls anyway. They use frozen sperm shipped in.) In tact males of many species are often very aggressive, and keeping them is hazardous. – However, livestock applications, as mentioned, cause all those “Factory farming” ethics issues. In addition to that without sexual reproduction, quality is “locked.” You end up with a “manufactured” product, all identical. You never have the opportunity for improvement or for variety. Variety is not necessarily, a bad thing.

An application people have mentioned that wouldn't be sound or practical is for conservation. Cloning to strengthen numbers of endangered animals or bring back recently extinct ones (particularly by the hands of man). The reason this application is not sound is that it does not help genetic diversity and could weaken a species more than help it. People involved in endangered species programs already know this. That's why they never pair related animals with each other and keep records to ensure that matings are between the least related animals available. There is far more to survival than numbers. A cloned tiger might be an exhibit in a zoo, but it is not a viable contributor to the species' survival. – And bringing back extinct species would have other repercussions. It would offset ecosystems and newly ordered food webs that have already adapted to a new balance without the species. (We already see this effect by reintroduction of locally extinct species – such as white-tailed dear in the mid-east US.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM
Hawk at 9:36AM, Sept. 1, 2008
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Custard Trout
Coveinant
if you're too lazy

Says the guy who's can't be arsed to do any research and form his own opinions.

There's nothing wrong with Coveinant coming in here to get a wide array of opinion on a subject. You can't have more than one opinion on any given subject, so obviously he wants to know what some other people think. Nobody's doing his homework for him.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
StaceyMontgomery at 7:40PM, Sept. 1, 2008
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Cloning is just the creation of twins who arrive late. They aren't the same person at all. Are twins the same person? Of course not.

For instance, cloned humans would have different fingerprints, right?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
Coveinant at 1:32PM, Sept. 2, 2008
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Thanks for your opinion guys, I turned in the paper today so this forum can end. And to Custard Trout, I did the research, however it is best with a SOCIAL issue report to have multiple opinions over the issue. I worked for four hours on the report so I thank you guys for the help. I may ask for your opinions later, I have Poli Sci till Christmas and your opinions helped out.
Enter my contests and be happy about your ideas.

go here, I may have left you something good
CJ
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:47AM

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