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Human clone arguing

 
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We haven't really had a good 'ol fiery debate since 9/11 poluted the boards. There were some fun ones on abortion and other such issues before. Could someone vehemently against/for the recent developments in human cloning find something to say that will get the people vehemently for/against it all riled up. That'd be swell.
 
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I m against Human Cloning! I don want to see someone moving in front of me with same behavior that's entirely unique to me...
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Muhammad Ashikuzzaman (Fahim)
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I heard on the radio this morning that a laboratory in the United States is claiming to have cloned a human embryo. I am not surprised.
I stand strongly opposed to human cloning, first and foremost for the same reasons that I am so strongly opposed to abortion. Human cloning destroys living human embryos - and living human embryos are live human beings.
We ought to be defending the defenseless.
Here is a link to an article I believe is worth reading:
http://www.family.org/cforum/research/papers/a0016367.html
Here's a few highlights from the article:
"Most Americans are uncomfortable with the prospect of human cloning. In fact, a Time/CNN poll published in the February 19, 2001, issue of Time magazine found that 90 percent of those surveyed thought cloning human beings is a bad idea."
(*not that I think public opinion determines right and wrong.)
"the creation of Dolly required 277 sheep embryos before the nuclear-fusion process was successful. This means that 276 sheep embryos either failed to develop fully or were destroyed because of complications�all to clone a single sheep. Experimenting on and destroying human embryos can never be considered ethical or acceptable."
"Once you have a successful nuclear transfer producing embryos for implantation and eventual live birth, the embryos are still at risk. The success rate for completing the cloning process in animals is a horrifying 3 to 5 percent � with most clones dying in utero or being born with severe, life-threatening abnormalities."
"Human cloning also rests on the false notion that we reproduce in the same way one manufactures products in a factory. Each life should be viewed as a priceless gift from God and never as a mere industrial product."
 
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If we can live with cloning in other living beings, in IMHO I don't see any harm in conducting scientific studies of any sort, including cloning of human embryo.
I do agree that I know little about the seriousness of the issue, and about its social side effects. If conducted under proper administration and restrictions, I hope this will also be another useful resource for information and a new research front for years to come, and even for deceases which are yet to be named, like any other life saving medicines tailored to suit particular individual.
And yes, in the wrong hands it can be extremely dangerous, but only as dangerous as the other technologies that we are enjoying today. - eg. nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs.
I welcome counter-arguments, but please don't take this personally, and please do not call me anti-something... Also, I am not an atheist.

Ashok.
 
David Weitzman
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First of all I'll point out http://slashdot.org/science/01/11/25/1555226.shtml as a good place to hear what other people have argued about the recent events. For those who don't know what's going on:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/662735.asp?0cm=c20&cp1=1
http://www.scientificamerican.com/explorations/2001/112401ezzell/
Something someone linked to near the top of the slashdot article about why human cloning may be easier than the sort of animal cloning we've done so far:
http://news.mc.duke.edu/news/article.php?id=2629
Okay, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT - http://www.advancedcell.com/ ) is not attempting any copying of human beings (i.e. artificial creation of identical twins). They are merely researching what they call therapeutic cloning. This seems to be a way to get stem cells with a persons DNA without having that person mate and killing the embryo. The people at ACT have created a microscopic, six-cell embryo (one that fits in the dot on this sentance) that has the potential to grow into all the types of body cells. They predict that cells made via this cloning method could be eventually grown directly into body parts and cells that could be used to treat people with some diseases (some mentioned were diabetes, Parkinson�s, ALS, Alzheimer�s, spinal cord injuries, stroke damage, skin for burn victims, cardiac tissue for heart and artery problems).
Hey Peter. It's been a while. I hope you're against 'theraputic' cloning, because I support it (although I am also against simply copying people).
Edited for a link problem
[This message has been edited by David Garland (edited November 26, 2001).]
 
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Just to get the religous aspect in to this discussion (as I always seem to do here in MD) I have a comment or two.
Regardless of your beliefs, pretend with me that you do believe in God and the theory of creationism. We know that God has prepared every single human that will exist in the world and has a soul prepared for that earthly body as well. As soon as the sperm fertilizes the egg and the very first splitting of the cell, we can consider that a human life with a soul.
With that being said, do these embryos that are being created have souls? And if so, when they die, is that not the same as abortion (assuming we are against abortion as well)??
Just some thoughts to kick around the office.
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Gregg Bolinger
 
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Sperm fertilize eggs all the time invitro. Most of them die before the female is aware of the situation and are washed away. That is not abortion. That is very early miscarriage.
Abortion is when you intentionally terminate human life. Actually these guys are trying to propagate human life.
Interesting problem. I don't think that I have any answers - except that I know that a cloned human has just as much a soul as any other human. I don't think that "location of fertilization" is a requirement for having a soul. Actually I don't think that "location of embryo development" is a factor either. so even if the DID clone a human and actually developed it entirely in an incubator - it would still be completely human.
Whether or not that is a good thing is more difficult. The worst downside part of it would be if someone DIDN'T treat the embryo as equivalent of a human - and someone is bound to try that.
The best side would be that some folks that couldn't have kids of their own blood, could do this instead. Not such an awful thing.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Cindy,
If the embryo is destroyed by the scientists after gathering the Cells they need, it IS abortion. A miscarriage is is USUALLY unintentional (sp?).
Destroying the embryo after the cells are gathered is very intentional. And whether it be a miscarriarge or abortion, there is still a soul that goes to heaven (depending of your beliefs that is).
It all boils down to the destruction of a human life. Human embryos are becoming lab rats.
All my opinions expressed are in lue of cloning for organ replacement and the like. Cloning a human for the purpose of creating another human being is just wrong.

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Gregg Bolinger
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Justin Poggioli:
Gregg, interesting point, but let me take this a step towards the non-religious.
Lets suppose you do believe in the all powerful God. If we are successful in cloning a human, God new it was going to happen, he allowed it to happen and has given that life a soul. If you disagree with any of the above statements aren't you saying that we are more powerful than God?


I agree 100% with that statement.

God invented masturbation, I masturbate. He invented sex, and God willing I get myself some every once in awhile.


Without getting too far from the topic of this post, although God may have invented the tools for masturbation, it was man that discovered it and chose to masturbate, which the Bible says is a sin.
And now along the same lines, and back on the topic. God invented the tools for many things. And He left it up to man to decide what to do with these tools He has provided. No one can say whether or not God intended for these tools to be used for cloning. So we really don't know if it is right or wrong in His eyes.
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Gregg Bolinger
[This message has been edited by Gregg Bolinger (edited November 26, 2001).]
 
David Weitzman
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If a plant cell were to go through mitosis, would you consider that unethical? What about a 2 cell plant? Okay, ditch the cell walls and photosynthesis equipment (alright, it's a little more complicated than that) and you've got an animal cell. What if the animal cell cluster broke early on and formed two animals? What if it had fish DNA? What if it had monkey DNA? What if it had human DNA? Does the animal cell have a soul while the plant cell doesn't? Does the one with human DNA have more of a soul than the others? If the plant cell does, we can't eat plants without being self-centered murderers. If the animal cell does, than why (for Judio-christians) does God support the eating/sacrificing of animals? Are we allowed to eat humans? So it's either the stands of human DNA in an animal cell that comprise it's soul or it's something about it that evolves later.
What about a 6-cell cluster of animal cells with human DNA that came from a fully developed human? That is what has been made. It looks like a tiny blob. It doesn't have nerve cells, so we don't have to worry about hurting it or making it angry. It doesn't have organs, so we don't have to worry about removing something vital. It won't be grown into a fetus. If all goes well it will be grown directly into a certain type of cell. It you wanted to you could cut it in half and make new human cell clusters, just like the first. One day the techniques that might develop could save thousands of lives. Or as the ACT representitive on NBC said, they could at least find out if theraputic human cloning is not possible. Only research will allow us to find out. What is wrong with that?
[This message has been edited by David Garland (edited November 26, 2001).]
 
Peter Lyons
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From http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,39404,00.html
Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., said Sunday that they had succeeded in cloning human embryos, but that their plan is to develop genetically compatible replacement cells for patients with a range of illnesses � not to eventually clone human beings themselves, as critics charge.


There is no difference between cloning human embryos and cloning human beings. Human embryos are human beings.
David, if it's what you've said, that they've only created a clump of 6 cells which is not a human embryo, then most of the sources carrying the story have it wrong. To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge in this, the cells you mention which can grow into any kind of tissue found in the human body are stem cells, and must be taken from the embryo - a process which destroys the embryo.

From http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=human%20being
2 entries found for human being.
human being (n.)
A human.
human being (n.)
any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae


That's it! Nothing about some gradual transition into humanity from mere protoplasm. Nothing about the location or circumstances of conception (in the case of cloning, I guess they call that something else, but it means the same thing - the beginning of human life.)
I challenge anyone to put forth a scientific argument which illustrates how a human embryo is anything less than fully human. The only ones who even try to make such a case are those who for whatever reason want to destroy these tiny persons, whether by the "extraction" of stem cells (which kills the human being) or the "termination" of an inconvenient pregnancy.
Some people want to dismiss the moral gravity of destroying innocent human life by talking about the potentially great benefits of this developing technology. If it is ever possible to give a sick person a new liver (or whatever) by growing it from stem cells taken from a cloned embryo, the person must realize that their new organ came at the expense of another human being's life. If that is considered ethical, then why not harvest organs from compatible donors on death row?
And let's not get so cocky as to say we have the technology to create human life, so as the creators, we have the moral prerogative to destroy that life as well. We have merely manipulated parts. We are NOT the authors of life!
*
Two men talked among themselves and decided they did not need God anymore. So they went up on a mountain and called God. He came down, and they told Him: "We have decided that we no longer need You at all." God looked at them and said: "I think you do need me." The two men said: "Nope. We don't, and to prove it we are going to have a man-making contest." God said: "Okay, fine by me."
One of the men bent over and picked up a fistful of dirt, at which point God stopped him and said: "Uh-uh. Use your own dirt."
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Peter, I agree with you 100% on really everything you said.
David, there are attributes that cells contain that determine what the cell came from. Scientists know the difference between an animal cell and a human cell. They know the difference between a plant cell and a human cell. My beliefs tell me that humans are the only living species with a soul. Some people believe that animals have souls, so they don't eat meat. Therefore they don't destroy animals.
Regardles of the beliefs of the scientists that are performing these experiments, at the end of the day they get to go home and when there loved ones and friends ask what they did at work today, regardless of how they say it, they are saying, "Well, I created a human life, then I destroyed it. Aren't I smart?"

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Gregg Bolinger
 
David Weitzman
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I'm at school and don't have time to write a full response. I just wanted to address Peter's claim that 6-cells don't comprise an embryo and that would make the news people wrong (or else, implied, i'm wrong). I would like to point once again to a NBC. I posted this link earlier, but I'll post it again.
http://www.msnbc.com/news/662735.asp?0cm=c20&cp1=1
 
Peter Lyons
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I guess I wasn't very clear. I just mean that the six cell organism you (David) were describing did not sound like a human embryo... it just sounded like a clump of already isolated stem cells, which would not by itself be a human being, any more than a living clump of cells from my skin would be.
But what ACT is talking about is indeed cloning human embryos, so the stem cells can be extracted, which, as I pointed out, is to kill a human being for his or her parts.

from the link you just re-posted:
Dr. Michael West, president of Advanced Cell Technology, said his company wanted to use stem cells extracted from the embryos...

 
Cindy Glass
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Well now - there is a point to ponder.
If you are just regenerating human skin cells using an UNFERTILIZED egg with the nucleus removed - is there REALLY a human embryo involved? Or just a growing lump of skin that might be persuaded to grow into something more closely resembling a liver or whatever.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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It IS] a fertilized egg. The procedure is that they remove the DNA from the egg and take an entire DNA stran from another individual and insert it into the egg.
It is the same as if the sperm entered and fertilized the egg. It is creating a complete set of chromosomes.
Skin grafting is quite different. It is the reproduction and splitting of cells which are already spcific to skin.
Keep in mind that the announcement was "Scientist have cloned the first human embryo." They did not say the cloned cells that could become a human embryo.
You can't get the stems from any other means. Only from a human life at a specific stage of development.
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[This message has been edited by Gregg Bolinger (edited November 27, 2001).]
 
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Chicken , sheep , cattle ,stem cell , cloning . Whats the common factor ?
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Peter Lyons
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from a Chicago Tribune article posted at: http://www.wilberforce.org/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID3585|CHID1019 93|CIID1184532,00.html

Most striking of all was testimony from Judy Norsigian of the Boston Women�s Health Book Collective (current editor of the benchmark feminist text Our Bodies, Ourselves). To describe her as pro-choice would be akin to describing the pope as Roman Catholic. Yet she, too, spoke, in her case vehemently, against all cloning.
One special moment of theater came during questioning when, in a conversation with Richard Doerflinger, she agreed that "the embryo is not nothing." Abortion-rights advocates argued that maternal rights trumped fetal rights; in this case there were no maternal rights.


Ms. Norsigian is right. The human embryo is not nothing. A human embryo is a human being. And while people coming from a pro-abortion perspective can argue for a mother's prerogatives over the child growing within her body, that argument does not apply here. We are treating human beings as disposable in the name of science. Some talk about the potential benefits. But at what cost will those benefits come!? Is one person's quality of life a higher purpose than life itself for these other persons who are sacrificed in the hopes of someday seeing those benefits?
And keep in mind that this is being done when there are stem cells available from adult humans, which can be harvested with no harm done to the donor. Research with adult stem cells has shown much promise. Here is an excellent article from the Wall Street Journal which discusses the work being done with adult stem cells: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/rminiter/?id=95000857
[This message has been edited by Peter Lyons (edited November 27, 2001).]
 
Peter Lyons
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...and one more thing!...
I'll jump ahead and point out that some people apparently do believe the quality of life for one person is a greater good than life itself for these others (the embryos).
Fortunately for you and I, we are protected from that kind of thinking by laws which defend our lives against those who would take it. Bear in mind that there are people on waiting lists for organs. If the men in white coats came for you today, they could harvest your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood, cartilage, etc... and all of those could benefit others; even possibly saving multiple lives. At what cost? Just one person!
The human beings who are being put to death by scientists in laboratories are obviously much smaller and younger than you and I. But less human? Absolutely not. Remember that every one of us was once one of them. And just a few weeks after you were merely a few cells, you had measurable brain waves, a heartbeat, and all of your organs. (Granted, you were conceived and were allowed to grow inside your mother, as opposed to being "conceived" in a laboratory, slated for stem cell harvesting and destruction.) You continued your self-directed growth all the way until present day. You were once an embryo just as surely as you were once a child. Do you really believe it would have been of no consequence or moral gravity had your life been taken then?
 
Cindy Glass
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From the reference that David Garland posted:


Using cloned human embryos for research
The nucleus in removed from an unfertilized human donor egg. The gutted egg is then laid side by side with a skin cell that contains genetic material.


It is human because the skin came from a human.
It is an embryo because it was "bathed in chemicals that changed its concentration of charged particles, reprogramming it"
Why that makes it an true embryo - as in capable of becoming a complete human being - it a bit unclear to me.

 
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Cindy Glass:
Why that makes it an true embryo - as in capable of becoming a complete human being - it a bit unclear to me.


embryo - a vertebrate at any stage of development prior to birth or hatching.
Taken from http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=embryo
Let me emphasize "...at any stage of devleopment..."
Add the fact that it is human and you get a human embryo
Every skin cell, blood cell, etc have a complete DNA makeup of your person. When you take that DNA and replace the DNA of an unfertilized egg, you are creating a "clone" of the other person at the embryonic state.
Now why the embryo ceases to develop beyond a certain point is unclear to me, and if I understand correctly, the scientists don't really know why it stops developing either.
The point is, however you get the DNA into the egg, be it with sperm or with a skin cell, once that has happened, the process of cell division becomes synonmous with the other.
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Gregg Bolinger
[This message has been edited by Gregg Bolinger (edited November 28, 2001).]
 
Peter Lyons
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It is an embryo because it was "bathed in chemicals that changed its concentration of charged particles, reprogramming it"
Why that makes it an true embryo - as in capable of becoming a complete human being - is a bit unclear to me.


Yeah, frankly, it's a bit unclear to me too. So for the sake of argument, I'm going to err on the side of caution.
After all, they are using the word embryo, and the only type of embryo I know of is the kind that grows up just like the rest of us have. I think that is what we're talking about here; if it were just a culture of cells, that would presumably be called something else.
I think Greg put it well:

...regardless of how they say it, they are saying, "Well, I created a human life, then I destroyed it. Aren't I smart?"


I hope the government shuts them down at least long enough that we can shine the light of day into their labs, see through the cloak of scientific jargon, and discern precisely what it is that they're doing, and at that point make an educated, ethical decision as to whether or not they may legally continue.
 
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I cannot understand why there is so much sensation about cloning. Whether humans are cloned or produced naturally, so to speak, they are still humans. Artifical intelligence - that's what should be banned. Do we really want some ugly machine to outsmart us? Isn't that far more offending for human beings than cloning?
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Oh, I am sure AI will become an issue when and only when it happens. Much like cloning.
Gregg Bolinger
 
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