The following appeared on Declan McCullagh's
Politech mailing list.
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 17:41:56 -0700
From: James J. Lippard <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Re: FC: Center for Genetics and Society urges senators to ban
Do you have a version of the letter or any accompanying documentation
somewhere that actually gives an argument for this position? I can't
find one in the text, apart from "lack of an unmet need," which seems
to me a rather poor reason for banning something--it certainly would
set a bad precedent. What are the harmful consequences feared here?
I realize it is not possible to describe "a future more horrific than
any we might imagine," but are there any horrific futures you CAN
imagine that are considered likely, or possible consequences of use of
This talk of "the risk that a human clone might be born" makes no
sense to me. Why is that any more inherently threatening than "the
risk that a human twin might be born"? A twin is just a natural
clone, isn't it? Should we have a ban on twins, and a moratorium on
fertility drugs that increase the likelihood of twins?
Is the problem that a clone can be made from other cells of human
beings, and thus the twins may be temporally separated in development,
rather than reared together, time-wise?
Or is the problem human control over reproduction, that an element
of chance can be removed?
Is the fear "The Boys from Brazil"? That the worst of humanity will
be reproduced? Doesn't that already happen via natural methods?
Or is the fear "Gattaca"--that genetically engineered humans will
have fewer diseases and problems, and put those of us who aren't
so engineered at a disadvantage, and justify discrimination against
us? Doesn't that already happen via natural methods, and accidents
of birth (like nation of origin)?
Or is the fear "Brave New World"--that genetically engineered humans
will be used as slaves, or harvested for body parts? (It seems to me
that existing laws should already suffice to preclude this
possibility, unless individual organs could be grown, in which case
I'm not sure I see what the objection is--what better place for
getting a compatible heart than from the individual whose heart needs
I'd just like to get some specifics on what your group finds
objectionable about cloning.