Saturday, March 12, 2005

not just a pretty face

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The United Nations has given up its attempt to introduce a worldwide legal ban on some or all types of human cloning. On Tuesday its deeply divided general assembly voted to adopt a watered-down "declaration" that condemns all forms of human cloning but is not legally binding.

There’s lots of good stuff on sex and cloning these days over at New Scientist. The above refers to the UN’s recent declaration proscribing “all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.” The blanket ban is vague and legally weak, however. It leaves the door wide open for scientists in countries that did or did not support it to continue their endeavors with no fear of being bitten in the ass by a law that has no teeth. Not surprisingly, Dubya didn’t really get that part. “I applaud the strong vote of the United Nations General Assembly today,” he said, adding sth axiomatic about the value of human life.

Controversy or no, embryonic stem cells are being used to help guinea pigs hear again and license has been granted to Ian Wilmut, the guy that cloned Dolly, to clone human embryos in order to study motor neurone disease (perhaps giving Stephen Hawking a fighting chance at formulating – and somehow expressing – that Great Unified Theory we’ve all been waiting for). Stressing the difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, Wilmut tries to stifle dissent toward his project: “This is not reproductive cloning in any way. The eggs we use will not be allowed to grow beyond 14 days.”

Ah, but so much can happen in just 14 days. Hearts are broken and mended in a few unexpected exchanges; commitments both stated and implied are undermined – and affirmed; a family member dies quietly, without goodbyes; plans are hatched to travel back in time, collect a few more artifacts, break a few more hearts, ask a few more questions that have no answers.

An Arctic clipper promises more snow in Virginia.

The little cat in the picture (recognize her?) is a clone, but not a copy – of her mother, her sister, herself.


Blogger mezizany said...

Alot can happen in 14 days. One can sell their house, leave their jobs, throw away most of there belongings, load up the minivan, and take whole family across a large, weird, fanatically f'd up but beautiful nation to restart their lives elsewhere.

But cloning has really been misintroduced to the populus by religious fanatics and unscientific demagogues.

Technology is like language, and language is as we are... it exists (in the greek etymological meaning of ek-stasis... not in the background... not static... dynamic, ecstatic. It is one manifestation of our power in the world over the physical present-at-hand. and like all power, it is what you use it for that gives it meaning.

to say that cloning is bad, is the equivalent of saying that cars drive people around. Cars don't drive. Cars are driven.

Technology bridges the gap between the center and the marginal. Technology redistributes Power from the Victorian natural-standpoint, darwinistically sociological misunderstanding of culture, being and intention. Technology brings us beyond and over the horizons of our limitations, introducing us to a new way of being. It is a Power guided by change. It grows as we grow. Technology is our being.

5:54 am EET  
Blogger sissoula said...

I agree that technology is.

But the question of being will always be debatable. (I'm still thinking about cc the cat, not that I want to talk about cats anymore. She's so cute, but she's smudged.) As will your point about technology narrowing the gap between the center and the margins. Technology could be that gap, now, and even more so in the future.

7:58 am EET  

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