To Clone or not to Clone?
Another fine "insomniac hour" presentation on Aunty, hosted by Richard of the Doug Anthony All-Stars; unfortunately, his fast-paced idea of presentation did not seem as under control as Andrew Denton's similar presentation of the issues surrounding heroin on the Money or the Gun. Still, it managed to spark some intriguing thoughts in me.
Normally, my sympathies would lie with the "gung ho scientific warriors", but not, however, on this one. There seems very little real reason or justification for human cloning. Even to those who would like it on "compassionate grounds" (e.g. parents who have lost their children in tragic circumstances), I would point out that the "later-born twin" seems not so much that child actually extended, as another inhabiting the genetic shell of the original person. Parents tend to think of children as "little clones" of themselves, anyway, as witnessed by the possessiveness of the phrases, "my children", "my family", "my dynasty", etc., with corresponding expectations that the children fulfil their expectations. Human cloning would, in my humble opinion, only exacerbate this unfortunate human tendency (echoing Nietzsche's "human, all too human"). A clone would not represent an extension of a particular individual, since we consist of roughly 70% genes and 30% experience (so the current psychological consensus goes): if a clone of me were to truly equate to me, Vatican II, from the days of the Latin mass onwards, would have to happen all over again, and Gough would need to be sacked again in yet another constitutional crisis, because these both represented part of my lived experience. Even the experience of an identical twin supposedly differs in subtle ways from that of the other identical twin. The idea of creating "later-born twins" of oneself seems flawed and ludicrous, when the planet already groans under the impact of human over-population. And everyone seems to have forgotten one potentially valuable use of cloning, not of ourselves, egotistical primates as we seem to equate to: when will they bring back the Thylacine (Tassie tiger) and other extinct species? ;-P