On my TV right now, a moral debate is displayed, about stem cells and the way they are harvested. Despite the fact that only a small part of stem cells are actually used from embryos today and there are more and more findings that stem cells from the iris and the brain are more efficient there is still a black and white moral debate.
But that is not the issue of this post. The issue is about cloning. The fear of the first human clone, and his “original”.
How will society work? Who is the “original”, how will laws change, how will our view of life change.
The fact is, it will not change at all. A clone is just a twin. We don not panic each time someone gives birth to a twin. It does not scare me, nor do I see any potential identity or lawdriven problems.
Why do I feel calm?
As long as we can not duplicate consciousness, we can not copy an actual person. You can expose the clone to the exact same conditions as the “original” but even then, there is no guarantee. The slightest added variable will result in a nother type of personality and thoughts, or maybe I should refrain form that statement until the first case control study.
The day that we can copy and probe in our consciousness and copy the states of our mind is the day I will start worrying. Imagine having yourself, your patterns of thought, feelings, memories and everything that defines your inner mental buildup copied in to someone else. You and that person, will be you, for at least a while until he/she starts adding and evolving with own experiences. But it will still be your thoughts, your memories and feelings in someone’s head. Our consciousness has been refeered to as a “spirit” or a “soul” throughout history and particularly in a religious context. It has twisted the minds of philosophers, monks and scientists alike. However, there seems to be no voice raised when it is being attempted to be duplicated, and believe me, it is at this very moment. Parts of it at leats.
Scientists have already taken a step towards the projection of ones own mental states to objects and dolls, and exploring the fact of duplicating feeling by connecting one persons CNS (central nervous system) to another making them share feeling . In the near future, there former “mystical” substance of the brain called consciousness will be tangible and perhaps even downloadable. So, the moral discussion of life and death has so far only included the embryo, my big surprise is, however, that the discussion has not included our “soul”.
For more fun facts: http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=25844&a=38238&l=en&newsdep=25844