Primordial Soup: REALITY TV and the ETHICS of CLONING

Primordial Soup:

An appeal to legislators and experts in the emerging cloning technologies everywhere:

Watch The Simple Life or The Batchelor. If that doesn’t stop you, nothing will.

At the dawning of the 21st century it simply seems easier to clone humans than it does to change the ones we’ve got. In fact, at this very moment, there exists the technology to create an exact genetic replica of a human being and soon someone somewhere will be the first to accomplish this feat, if it hasn’t already been done. Disregard the facts that there exists not even one single healthy mammalian clone and that most attempts to clone fail. Eventually, humans will be cloned. Reality TV argues convincingly that even when cloning humans become possible, it still may not be in the best interest of the species. Remember Temptation Island?

Albert Einstein said, “Only two things are infinite- the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not so sure about the universe.” The old reality TV show Temptation Island is a case in point. The mere fact that this reality TV show had contestants and an audience is argument enough that – in an effort to protect the human gene pool – there must be a global moratorium on cloning.

In case you missed it, the goal of this show was to place a person in a primal situation in which the base instincts take over. A single viewing will convince you that, as the mere duplication of existing human beings, cloning does not go far enough. Common sense dictates a ban on cloning until molecular biologists can isolate the “wake up and smell the coffee” gene – not to mention the “moral intelligence” gene and the even more rare “get a room!” gene – and genetically enhance the “ones we got” before we clone them.

A single viewing of Temptation Island would convince anyone that the true global need is not the duplication of a breast enhanced old kind of human, but the creation of genetically upgraded new kind of human.

There are some reasons to be hopeful for a delay. The United Nations has declared that cloning is “contrary to human dignity”, and Italy and Japan have both outlawed genetic testing that would lead to human duplication.

For those countries such as India, Russia and Brazil that have not, I am certain that viewing reruns of Temptation Island – gasp, could there be such a thing? – would elevate the level of their discussion from, “How can we be the first to create a genetically identical human organism?” To the more sophisticated, “What are we thinking?”

I’ve got to go because I’m watching The Contender, the new reality TV show by the makers of the The Apprentice and Survivor. More tomorrow.

into the mystic…

© alex mcmanus, 2005


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