1930s - Sec'y of War Stimson, on banning the deciphering of coded foreign radio and cable transmissions, said: "Gentlemen do not open other people's mail" - thus emasculating America's codebreaking units.
1940s - J. Robert Oppenheimer ("I am become death") was against dev't of the Hydrogen Bomb despite the Russian threat. Were it not for Edward Teller, America might have been H-bombed by the USSR, or at least forced to accept a disagreeable ultimatum.
1974 - At the now-famous Asilomar meeting, 140 genetic researchers declared a moratorium on certain aspects of genetic manipulation and pledged themselves to stop or restrict their studies in order to protect mankind from potentially disastrous consequences.
"But is a moratorium on experimentation in genetic manipulation the answer? Can one really believe that Russian, Israeli, or Chinese researchers will abide by such an agreement? Can you picture a German or Indian scientist, on the verge of a spectacular breakthrough, stopping his research? Of course not. He'll merely postpone publication. The final result of any such agreement is that the United States will have unilaterally disarmed itself in the field of genetic manipulation.
"What's more, American scientists will no longer be in the position to lead an orderly, safe, development of the field. Advances will now be taking place clandestinely in backroom labs worldwide. Most scientists have the best intentions, but when God, country, or career enter the scene, nearsightedness can prevail."
From "The Case for Space Colonization - Now" - Oscar Falconi 1975,
available on the internet at: www.nutri.com/space/
The above two paragraphs, written nearly a quarter century ago, are perfectly applicable, today, to President Clinton's thoughtless proclamation.
Now, what about cloning? Is it good? Is it bad? What is the result of cloning?
Firstly, when a human donor is cloned (from almost any cell of his body), the clone has the identical genes as the donor, and will look very much as the donor did when at the same age. Small differences may express themselves in identical twins, such as handedness or hair swirl - but is not the case in cloning. Clones are exactly alike.
Detractors grasp at any straw to find fault with cloning. For instance they
ask if the clone has a soul after having been formed in a test tube or petri
dish. The answer is, of course, that the clone has just as sophisticated a
soul as any identical twin. If there is still any question on this matter,
just go to:
"The Nature of the Soul" on the internet at: www.nutri.com/wn/ns.html
Detractors worry about the quality of all these clones that'll soon be appearing. Answer: For the large amount of money required for a successful clone, surely only the best physical/mental specimens of human beings will be selected for cloning. It's clear the resulting humans will prove to be the more capable leaders and contributors of their countries.
Detractors also fret about a country cloning warriors and heros in order to build an invincible army. My feeling is that no bureaucracy will spend 18 years secretly nurturing and paying for a superior army only to be commanded by a different dictator.
Many nations, I feel certain, are, at this moment, evaluating cloning technology for their own use, and benefit. Many 3rd world countries, having lost their best and brightest through wars, emigration, misguided laws, intermarriage with aborigines, etc., must surely take advantage of cloning techniques if they want to prevent total domestic disaster. Any method of improving their gene pool, other than cloning, would be too time-consuming and, thus, too costly.
Hitler himself experimented with genetics. His Wunderkinder, the progeny of the elite SS Corps and the most desirable of the Third Reich's blond, blue-eyed young women, proved a great success. And the children of these Wunderkinder are improving Germany's gene pool as we speak.
If we choose a human couple, having superior mental and physical traits, to reproduce, the chances are better than even we will obtain an above-average child. But this child will NOT achieve, on the average, the level of mental/physical prowess of his parents. The child, on average, partially regresses to the mean of the population of his ancestors. However, this is not the case with clones. Clones will always achieve the genetic equality of their single parent. There is no regression to the mean. The above couple, however, reproducing normally, can produce a child having characteristics superior to both - which is not possible with clones. Thus, normal reproduction is required for occasionally creating persons with potentially superior genetic combinations [who can then be cloned, if desired].
If cloning, along with selective normal reproduction, became popular in some country, the world would be astonished at the rate of improvement in that country`s gene pool. The percentage of birth defects would decrease. The average I.Q. would increase, along with productivity and efficiency. Crime would decrease. Probably the biggest problem would be the intrusion of the gov't into the personal decisions of its citizens. If you can buy a gun, you should be able to clone yourself.
But you ain't seen nothin' yet! The selection of parents for superior genetic traits [the Wunderkinder] was the first step. In vitro fertilization was next. Now cloning. Next will probably be gene repair, gene transfer, gene selection, artificial placentas, and who knows what else. Fortunately, all these procedures can, and probably will, benefit that avant-garde country that first encourages cloning and gene manipulation. May that country be the United States!
CONCLUSION: So, was President Clinton correct in killing gov't funding for research in cloning human beings? Of course not! What could possibly be his motive? Was he after the Catholic vote? The Hispanic vote? Or the bleeding-heart Liberal vote? Was it on moral grounds? Was it to make points with foreign governments? What could it be? "Cloning" is a dirty word just now, and any pro-cloning remarks might cost his party some votes. Maybe it's just political. - Or maybe he just doesn't understand.
© March 1997 Oscar Falconi, Saratoga CA 95070, U.S.A.