View Full Version : Biological Diversity

Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 01:56 AM
Well Bio 104 is a requirement for my degree. For the most part the class is interesting. I have an amazing teacher and the Examples and labs are all well concieved and well related to the current subject matter. Due in October I am doing an oral presentation and a research paper on Biotech: Human Cloneing. My first choice was Dino Extinction but that topic was chosen, which left me with the number two choice, Human Cloneing. Now the main reason I chose this is becasue I am sort of a closet fan of Sci-Fi, and the thing that always amuses me about Sci-Fi is how closely it is related to Science fact. The point I mean is that the plot in all Sci-Fi is related to whatever scientific break through has been revealed durint the time of film conception. For example back in the 50's it was gyroscopes and atomic energy. In the early 80' s and mid 90's it was computers and Internet fears. Basically Science fiction is based on the fear of Science itself in my own oppinion. Lately I saw a movie that wasn't all that terribly great called "The Sixth Day" which concerns the misuse of Human Cloneing. Back in 1977 When in Star Wars Episode IV: "A New Hope", Luke asked Obi-Wan if he had "fought in the Clone Wars". That was 1977! In 2000 it was announced that the Human G-Nome project had mapped the all of the human DNA and it is only a matter of time before they will be able to trace a persons entire genetic history with a single strand of DNA. Certain animals have already been cloned and now you can even color cooridinate them to match your living room furniture. Now the only thing that worries me about doing this paper is that I want to present the layed out facts from a "Non-Objective" point of view. I really choose to leave my personal beliefs out of this, becuase there is just as much potential for Human Cloneing for stem cell research, meaning using human clones to grow transplant organs. I don't see any harm in this. However if at all not fictional this were to fall in to the hands of the wrong people who would stop them from growing humans and breading them for combat, not all that dissimilar from the events in "Attack of the Clones" When I first saw Star Wars in 1977, I never thought in my right mind that it would ever be possible to clone a human being. Now I believe I will probably see it in the not to distant future. I guess my question is how do I approach this paper from a "Non Objective" stand point? Do I place emphasis on Stem Cell Research? I just don't want anyone to think that I am either for, or against this procedure. I mean right now I am kind of undecided? Does anyone have any advice for me?

Edit- Argue all you want, as long as I can get some good ideas out of this!

09-12-2002, 02:00 AM
Cloning great people of the past:

Genetics or social conditioning.

I think it's an important factor.

How much of an individual are you, beyond the actual DNA?

Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 02:04 AM
Yeah, but what does that have to do with stem cell research? I'm trying to write this from a scientists perspective, but I am not sure what angle to take.

09-12-2002, 02:08 AM
I dunno, I'm just tossing out ideas.

Would cloning be as moral of an issue if we could make clones that didn't 'look like us in appearance'?

The problem is morality - but the question is why.

I never understood the issue.

09-12-2002, 02:09 AM
this is kind of off what your asking but can i asked what type of degree your after? ive read some of your post and ive noticed your right really well (besides from the post that are a couple of sentences:p ) does it involve some sort of written skills?

but as far as your topic goes personally im against cloning cause i feel being an individual is what makes things great. also the world is already overpopulated and why should more be added? opps you said dont make this a debate right? sorry, ill stop now.:p

09-12-2002, 02:11 AM
There is no way you can discuss this without covering the social ramifications. If it was as simple as using electricity it wouldn't be a problem. I believe the root of the problem is human identity and as he said, over-population and the control of clones, and replacement of people with replicas.

Too many issues. There's no way around it.

If I were to cover it, I'd probably focus on human identity and work backwards and forwards until I can find chains of thought that eventually lead from identity to the cloning question.

Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 02:16 AM
I suppose a debate will be ok if I can obtain some good ideas from it. I will edit that part out.:)

Right now I am in the Web Design Career program and hope to persue my BA in Computer Science. I used to be a Journalism student for oh, about most of my life, I joined the Navy as a Public Affairs Rep which is a fancy title for Naval Journalist. After I got out I learned that everything I learned in A School was worthless to the real world, and also I was not a Republican, which is almost unheard of in a Newsroom Environment. I have had lots of crumby little jobs hear and there that payed ok but it took me until a year ago to figure out that since I have been around computers most of my life and had some good hands on technology to put it to use and actually persue some sort of a career. I always did good in English courses if that answers your question Ibballin. One thing is for sure that I have no excuse for is the fact that I cannot spell!:p I am lazy and always let the spellcheck do it for me, which doesn't help me posting here, but oh well, I've read worse.

09-12-2002, 02:19 AM
sounds good to me. if i were righting a report id start off like what Absurd said " start off with human identity.." (or make it a focul point. IMO) a book that reminds me of cloning was "a brave new world" were every one was created to different social levels and everyone didnt have an identity. in that book reproduction was no more and every "human" was created.

edit- hey groovy ive never noticed your spelling but after all im not the greatest of spellers:p and this isnt a spelling bee, or is it?:confused:

Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 02:20 AM
Originally posted by Absurd
There is no way you can discuss this without covering the social ramifications. If it was as simple as using electricity it wouldn't be a problem. I believe the root of the problem is human identity and as he said, over-population and the control of clones, and replacement of people with replicas.

Too many issues. There's no way around it.

If I were to cover it, I'd probably focus on human identity and work backwards and forwards until I can find chains of thought that eventually lead from identity to the cloning question.

So if I were to put emphasis on stem cell research and cloning organs for transplantation would that fall under social ramifications? I do believe that some good things could come out of this if used for the proper use of organs and not something like bringing Ghengis Kahn back to life or something.

09-12-2002, 02:22 AM
I'm a social science major (was .. graduated).

That would be my focus.

I personally believe the social ramifications are the root concern - otherwise it would be no different than atom smashers and studying space rocks.


Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 02:32 AM
Well my idea of a dream job involves me driving around in a company vehicle for a major corperation listening to computer illiterate poeple tell me they're PC problems and ask me how much money I make and keep them guessing. Any job that will allow me to use the PC for massive periods of time on a daily basis would be fine with me. Web Design and HTML fascinates me the most, I almost went with Network Technician but it got pretty boring, and I see to be doing well with what I am studying now. I have almost 3 semesters of streight A's so I am going to stick this one out.

So If I were to present the advantages of stem cell research and then briefly mention the ethics and social concerns, would I then be on the right track? I just want to get graded on the report and the oral presantation, and not get graded for what I believe in, there are alot of really stupid people in my class that would do something like that. The students grade us on the Oral, A bad Idea, but what can I do about it?

09-12-2002, 02:38 AM
Christopher Reeve is a big advocate of that stuff.

Might want to do a google.com search on him and see if he has anything to say.

At least it's a start.

Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 02:46 AM
That is an excellent idea Absurd. Considering he is top news in the media again. And a case like that would really hit close to home too. That a great Idea, I don't know why I didn't think of that.

Absurd you are alright! Don't worry I won't tell anybody!:D

P.S. Google is my homepage!

09-12-2002, 03:37 AM
Haha, google is my homepage too. It's the ultimate resource. Great in debates. That and www.dictionary.com :D

09-12-2002, 11:15 AM
There are also other issues, such as with cloning, and the Human Genome Project, is: How similar are we to all other living animals?
That we share well over 80% of our DNA with just about every other living animal, even those you wouldn't even think even remotely related to humans.......
That opens up a moral debate, of why are human clones less acceptable, or more accurately, why are animal clones more acceptable than a human one?

As mentioned above, you can't ignore the moral, ethical and social ramifications, as these are the major issues. Not wanting to quote a movie, but remember what Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, that they were to busy to see if they could, that they never stopped to think if they should - sorry if I got it wrong, but that is the general jist of it.

After all we do have natural cloning, certain kinds of twins are exact clones, or can be mirrored clones of each other.........

Reb Starblazer
09-12-2002, 11:58 AM
I'm not sure how on topic I am here, but I just want to say that I'm kinda with Absurd on human identity. See, everyone is unique. Even a clone of someone would not be exactly like them, only in the genetic sense, that's all, and we are more than just our genes.

Genetics does play a part, yes, but what we are taught, what we learn through our own experiences, that is what truly shapes us and makes us unique. If you took two identical twins and seperated them at birth, and raised them in two drastically different enviroments, they would be very different. Even though they are exactly the same at the genetic level, they are two different "people". I believe this has been done, and while there were similarities to each other(like interests they both shared)which shows that genetics does play a role, they were also very, very different in most respects.

As for human cloning, even for replacement organs, I'm kind of undecided. While I think it's a great idea, I'm not so sure about the ramafications of it. I think that maybe they should hold off on it until they can learn to clone specific organs, not just entire clones. I don't this is very far off actually, and it would probably be a lot better, and more socially accepted.

09-12-2002, 02:43 PM
Well, some obvious issues that pop up:

1) How it relates to abortion. For example, is it morally acceptable to grow clones in order to harvest their organs, or create a master race (ie: choose their hair, eye color, body type, etc to your specifications or to have a "spare body" so you can be young and healthy forever).

I would argue that Clones are no different from identical twins (which occur in nature already) and since we don't deny them human rights, neither should we deny human rights to human clones. Thus the use of Clone Armies in Star Wars would be profoundly immoral IMHO.

If you could clone JUST THE TISSUES or JUST THE ORGANS that would be fine to my mind, but if you clone people, and then cut them up or kill them to use their parts, what sense does that make? Killing one healthy person to help another unhealthy person. Again, it relates heavily to your view of abortion and fetal cell research.

2) Will cloning lead to overpopulation or food shortages? I'd say probably not, because cloning is so expensive. Customized humans, even if people allowed it (I would think most would find it unethical, but who knows) only rich people would be able to afford it. What practical application would there be? Without mind control or brainwashing, I doubt clones would want to fight our wars for us or anything.

3) The Soul. Do clones have souls? That's an easy one.. if identical twins have souls, so do clones. If souls don't exist, then the question is irrelevant anyway.

A clone of me is no more "me" than my twin brother would be. Environment and free will still have an effect on the person. Besides, the way it is now, our cloning would be more akin to Boba Fett-Jango Fett, rather than Jango Fett-Clone Troopers (ie: we can't have accelerated growth or limited autonomy, it would just be like having a kid, except they would be a younger twin). Killing a clone would be like killing your twin brother/sister.

4) Cloning as "playing God."

I would argue that clones occur in nature. In fact some species do not reproduce by sexual reproduction like we do and in fact clone themselves. Is cloning a viable alternative to sex? One might argue that its more important to have different genes (natural selection and all that) rather than have everyone be the same. Think about it.. a disease comes through and since everybody is genetically identical, they all suffer.

Then again, mutations introduce mostly harmful changes, and keeping our genes the same might make standardizing medicine easier. But it would probably be too expensive to be a practical concern. Clones are natural then, but we have to ask ourselves if it is BENEFICIAL to all concerned to do it on purpose. I'll be the first to admit, just because something is "natural" doesn't mean we need to do it on purpose ourselves. If we have a choice, let it be an informed one.

Just some ideas.

09-12-2002, 03:00 PM
This to me is clearly a question of Ethics.

Can a human be a companies property? After all a company will invest a lot of money in cloning and the child would have no parents. It's not like this kid is going to be created and then given away via adoption. Someone will own him for research purposes.

Will this devalue human life. If we can create humans for the purpose of organ harvesting,would this make human life less valueable then it is today?

If we advance to the point where we can control every aspect of genetic makeup, what would stop us from creating a superior race then our own? Could we create a different species of human who is in effect as different from us as we are from the more ancient (now extinct) species of man.

How could this power be abused? Super soldiers, for example would have no place in society outside of fighting. Would making such a thing be "ethical"

Once this technology becomes "cheap" as all technology eventually does, how dangerous would it be.

Darth Groovy
09-12-2002, 03:01 PM
These are some fantastic issues guys. I am really glad I posted this thread.!:D