Cloning Hysteria

I was just reading this article which summarizes a UN report on cloning which got me laughing, well, um, hysterically. The report can be downloaded here. A choice quotation is provided:

“Whichever path the international community chooses it will have to act soon — either to prevent reproductive cloning or to defend the human rights of cloned individuals,” said A.H. Zakri, head of the Institute, which is based in Yokohama, Japan.

What? A person born through a cloning technique is a person just the same as any other person. Is this not self-evident? Why would they need protection in addition to that afforded any other individual? The idea is born of hysterical nonsense. The article goes on to hypothesize probate issues arising from challenges to the cloned persons inheritance rights. The proferred example naturally gets the idea precisely wrong. From the article:

“Otherwise, opponents of clones in an inheritance dispute, for instance, might say that a clone and the person from whom their cells were grown should only get a half share each.”

Well that’s weird. The underlying assumption in that example is that a clone is the sibling of the person that was cloned. That could happen I suppose, if parents were able to go about cloning their offspring to make multiple copies of each. Banning that could make sense. But it seems to me that the natural occurrence of cloning would be for an individual to have a clone of themselves. In that case, the cloned person would be the offspring, not the sibling of the cloned person. You could have a rule that it was unlawful to make a clone of anyone where the cloned person does not give their full consent, or in fact, if the clone was not going to be treated as the offspring of the cloned person.

For my part, I am toying with the idea of creating a new religion based around the idea of cloning myself. What better way to ensure some form of immortality than to have clones of oneself. And in the same way that religious faith is oriented toward ensuring the continuity of one’s immortal ‘soul’, cloning would offer an alternative way of doing so that was even more tangible. Could the Supreme Court find against that, assuming you endowed the new religion with the other necessary attributes of accepted religion? Church of the Immortal Gene Sequence anyone?

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