[LINK] Cloning of Humans

Chirgwin, Richard Richard.Chirgwin@informa.com.au
Mon, 3 Feb 2003 13:56:21 +1000

I read but stayed out of this thread, feeling out of my depth in the
philosophical waters, but...

> > So, in the context of cloning, is cloning preserving the essence of
> > the individual or only structure? If the former, then can 
> > we consider cloning as a viable preservation strategy?
...As a medium to somehow archive people, cloning is inadequate. It
preserves a structure, but loses any aspects of behaviour which are specific
to individual knowledge and experience.

...Nor does it guarantee preservation of structure. We've already seen the
cat example, that the colour markings aren't identical even when the DNA is.
But 'preservation of structure' also presumes that within an organism, DNA
replicates perfectly. We know that's not true; that imperfect replication
exists (a cause of cancer). Entropy will out.

...Moving on to the Raelians' notion of cloning-plus-imprinting. To discuss
it, I have to swallow so many "ifs" as to feel like I'm reading Sci-Fi
(specifically, Mindkiller by Spider Robinson!). But "if" machine-reading a
mind were possible; and "if" imprinting this onto another brain were
possible - then the clone is unnecessary anyhow. The imprint is enough.

...Getting my feet on firmer ground: try quantum entanglement and
teleportation as the template example, and extrapolate it to the ability to
teleport, by entanglement, a very complex structure (ie a human being).
Question: at what point does a "perfect replica" cease being a replica, and
instead permit identification as the source? - not "a collection of
molecules identical to Richard", but "this is Richard". (Strike out what I
said about "firmer ground"!)

'nuff from me...

Richard C

"The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy,
according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't
have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between
kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir
instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary
particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course
succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle,
or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages,
involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the
signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed."

Terry Pratchett

> -----Original Message-----
> From: James Pearce [mailto:james.pearce@zdnet.com.au]
> Sent: Monday, 3 February 2003 12:27
> To: Link List
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Cloning of Humans
> > Take a Powerpoint presentation, as an example. This 
> consists of a set
> > of slides each containing images, text, and potentially video and
> > audio (for embedded movies, etc), timing behaviours, etc. But they
> > can also have associated behaviour (we have all read the ongoing
> > discussion of whether PP is a good presentation/argument 
> tool). So if
> > we need to archive the PP file, do we want to just preserve the
> > slides as static objects or do we also want to preserve their
> > behaviour.
> Ideally, since the PP file is meant to support the speech of the the
> demonstrator, shouldn't you record the presentation (in the 
> sense of in
> front of an audience) as well?
> >
> > The cloning analogy is interesting here, because, as someone already
> > mentioned, cloning does (may?) not preserve behavior of the
> > individual but only their DNA in a particular configuration. Tony,
> > that is why, I think, merely preserving the DNA is not good enough
> > although it may be cheaper. Cloning preserves the active 
> structure as
> > well. However, we lose some or all of the intelligence and other
> > attributes of the individual. So, what are the minimum set of
> > attributes that would enables us to say, 'Oh look, there is an
> > identical individual' - the biological equivalent of a duplicate PP
> > file.
> Well, since identical twins are not considered 'identical 
> individuals', I'd
> say you're onto a lost cause, so to speak. The Raelian's 
> final goal is to be
> able to clone a person at an accelerated rate and download 
> the brainwaves
> onto that person, in effect creating an identical individual, 
> but probably
> younger. In this situation you could get identical copies. 
> However, this is
> not possible, and I don't think it will ever be possible.
> > Does this matter? Human reproduction
> > also loses some attributes and gains new ones (if we believe
> > evolution theory). Cloning would (could?) not introduce new ones but
> > might lose existing ones.
> This is true, but unless the entire population moved to 
> reproduction through
> cloning it wouldn't make a difference. Remember you're talking about
> archiving in this post, which is different to actively 
> creating and using
> the material that is being archived.
> You are facing some interesting philosophical questions that aren't
> generally considered by the rest of society.
> > So, in the context of cloning, is cloning preserving the essence of
> > the individual or only structure? If the former, then can 
> we consider
> > cloning as a viable preservation strategy?
> It depends on what you consider life to be. I would say it is only
> preserving the structure, believing the essence of a person 
> is how they
> behave and act, and the thoughts and beliefs that underlie 
> that behaviour.
> Some people, who think our goal in life is to pass on our 
> genes, would say
> it was preserving the essence of a person. However, in this 
> case it would be
> far simpler to keep the DNA rather than the clone. If the 
> archived material
> has to be studied at some point in the future, it can be cloned then.
> So, are you planning on cloning our political leaders for 
> future prosperity?
> James
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