Re: Ethics and the Public

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 20:07:26 MST

At 09:46 PM 1/26/02 +0000, Christian wrote:

>The UN is now debating a world-wide
>ban on human cloning for no other reason than that cloning is scary stuff
>(see "dignity" above).

This trivializes what people appear to be concerned about over cloning, and
perhaps this will have direct implications for AI and uploading.

`For no other reason than that cloning seems to risk industrializing human
persons' might be a more apt summary. Now of course the entire history of
the last two or three hundred years might be regarded as just that, with
benefits and losses. But cloning humans, either copies of select phenotypes
or modified engineered versions, clearly risks a devaluation of the
individual person in something like the way that chattel slavery did. This
might be a misunderstanding of the consequences of reproductive cloning, or
it might not. But it might help us better understand the implications of
these qualms to see that being concerned about human dignity (not
"dignity"--what are the mocking scare quotes doing here?) is very close to
the root of moral evaluation and conduct. People might be mistaken in the
way they analyze these issues, or misled, but there is more going on than
foolish mob fear of `scary stuff'.

Damien Broderick

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