As you say, humans are humans and they will err, but where I think the fault lies, is in the credence that we automatically accord something just because it is “scientific.” If a scientist says that he can clone a human being then the high ground seems to be that cloning should be gotten to straight-away and never mind those sputtering nabobs who cry “Stop,” “Wait. Let’s talk this over.” And to suggest that a halt should be called to it, until the political philosophers have their say is akin to shitting in the manger. And to suggest that scientists are not their own best judge of appropriateness and that perhaps it should be made criminal to produce Oh Let’s say a doomsday virus is the heresy of people who just don’t get it. We get it. We got it long ago.
The Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs:
Scientists have never shown an ability to hold themselves back from pursuing an interesting avenue until the process proves beneficial or threatens the world, with the possible exception of the Cobalt bomb, maybe, but that story’s not over yet.
As I see it, the scientist is more often than not a nerd who is brilliant and accepts her and her colleague’s work only after the most rigorous examination, but will then fill her cultural logic box with maxims of the shabbiest construction.
‘I know there is life out there because there are billions of stars and some have to have planets like ours and so poof there must be life .. What do you mean, I’m not making sense?’ Ignores the possibility that some one in a bizillion occurrence HERE made the first discreet cell become aware of the need to procreate.
Of all the brilliant scientists in Germany during 1939-1945 how many escaped because they were horrified at what they were doing? They didn’t; they stayed to develop bombs to kill civilians, efficient genocidal techniques, lightening fast castration so they wouldn’t have to use up valuable anesthetics on Jews. And I don’t mean to beat up on the Germans. They are only an easy example. Given the right circumstances, it only takes eight weeks to turn any civilized people backwards five thousand years.
There were scientists who were not sure that the chain reaction would stop, once started, at Los Alamos. Their fears were brushed aside and it was set off anyway. We the people heard about this later.
Space, the Voyager:Scientists, with so little knowledge of what’s out there that using the word NONE to describe its quantity seems about right to me. And the sustaining philosophy, unproven, untested, incredible, was that: if there are sentients out there who have progressed to the point of space travel then if follows logically that they would be peaceful. (!!??)
So that we could be located as quickly and easily as possible they sent in the package aboard the spacecraft:
Solar location map, Frank Drake <images/image002.gif>
Solar system parameters, Frank Drake <images/image005.gif>
Solar system parameters, Frank Drake <images/image006.gif>
The Sun, Hale observatories Solar spectrum, National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Cornell U.
Mercury, NASA <images/image009.gif>
Mars, NASA <images/image010.gif>
Jupiter, NASA <images/image011.gif>
Earth, NASA <images/image012.gif>
So that the tenderest and most edible parts of humans could be easily identified, they sent:
Anatomy 1, World Book
Anatomy 2, World Book
Anatomy 3, World Book
Anatomy 4, World Book
Anatomy 5, World Book
Anatomy 6, World Book
Anatomy 7, World Book
Anatomy 8, World Book
Diagram of male and female, Jon Lomberg <images/image032.gif>
Cloning and its close cousin Eugenics:
We must have the power to make them stop after the benefits of cloning are realized and is that possible when we have practitioners who say that if we won’t let them do it here, they’ll take their cloning kit to another country and have fun. Man is disgusting, so let’s clone, gene splice, and breed until he fits our current templates, the human engineers seem to say. Don’t bother us, we’ve thought this through. Diversity? Important to survival? Please. Not that old saw at an exciting time like this.
The problem with cloning humans is the direction that it ultimately takes us.And remember that science never feels any moral compulsion to stop. They will keep going and whomever tries to stop them is a raving Luddite. Not too far along this path the Eugenics people are waiting, they have been organized since 1922, they think like this:
Aristotle to Zoos by Peter Medawar, himself a member of the EnglishEugenics Society. Medawar quotes Galton, as follows: “I do not see why any insolence of caste should prevent the gifted class, when they had the power, from treating their compatriots with all kindness, so long as they maintained celibacy. But if these continued to procreate children inferior in moral, intellectual and physical qualities, it is easy to believe the time may come when such persons would be considered as enemies to the State, and to have forfeited all claims to kindness.”
(Fraser’s Magazine 7  quoted in Aristotle to Zoos, Peter and Jean Medawar,1983 p. 87) By the turn of the 20th century, such ideas were commonplace. Margaret Sanger, a member of both the American Eugenics Society and the English Eugenics Society, is a particularly well-known proponent of eugenics. This is but one of many similar comments by Sanger, “Those least fit to carry on the race are increasing most rapidly … Funds that should be used to raise the standard of our civilization are diverted to maintenance of those who should never have been born.” (from The Pivot of Civilization quoted in Margaret Sanger. by Elsah Droghin.)
Man’s brain, this includes scientists, has an intellectual granularity of three at the most. Can he truly appreciate situations requiring a granularity of six or ten? ( This is a genuine Smith index, rough but I think usable ,) Imagine a blackboard. Use yellow chalk. Put the number 8 on the board with the number 9 under it. Multiply the two numbers. Can now you see all three numbers clearly at the same time? ) Even with the aid of paper and computers a conceptual decision may require simultaneous consideration of more variables than we are capable of. Arthur Clarke wrote: ‘Man simply cannot see what he can’t understand.) In other words; we don’t know if we are really smart. Who and what has been our benchmark? All that we truly know is that we are somewhat smarter than our cousins.
Just a few thoughts.
Have a nice day, Lee Smith, Twitter