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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 120)...

    I am deeply disturbed about this whole cloning business. There is something that to me seems so fundamentally wrong... I have horrible visions that range from "engineering" a special breed of animal simply for its meat to the military "creating" a specialized race/species just to fulfill its own purposes. Do you have any comments about this?

    ...and the response:

    Realististically speaking (that is, science fiction aside), cloning a soldier is never likely to be as inexpensive as training a recruit. If you clone a great soldier, the clone is not a great soldier, it's basically just an infant that has the capability of becoming a great soldier. The "newborn" clone would know nothing, would be able to do nothing---not walk, talk, or anything else. (Forget the Michael Keaton film MULTIPLICITY.) So the military will never find cloning to be a practical substitute for ordinary recruiting. The "engineering" of animals for meat is hardly something new. In the past it was simply called "breeding." All our domesticated plants and animals are species that have been shaped to suit the food needs of humans. Genetic engineering is just a new means to the same end. This doesn't mean there's nothing to be alarmed about. It means there was something to be alarmed about BEFORE genetic engineering.


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