MAULE.Prof.Law at LAW.VILL.EDU
Tue Mar 4 17:16:45 PST 1997
Eugene Volokh <VOLOKH at LAW.UCLA.EDU> wrote:
> 1) To respond to Jim Maule, we are pushing the boundary of the
> list topic, but it's such a fascinating topic -- and so much on
> everyone's mind -- that it just seems a shame to pass it up. I was
> hoping that, with the other list members' forbearance, we might
> continue this thread for a while (without prejudice to my power to
> scowl the next time there's a digression on some other subject :-) ).
Fine with me. This is fun stuff and it does border on some religion
and law issues. For example, someone on another list suggested the
following use of clones:
--spare parts for the original
--clone a younger version of your spouse and "run off with her"
Seems to me that there are some serious issues with the first one,
and the impact of religious belief certainly would have an impact on
the legal analysis. [As for the second, well, I'll let that one slide
by.... :) ]
> 2) I'm not a biologist, but as I understand it "adult cloning" --
> the creation of a duplicate of an adult person, with the same
> memories, beliefs and the like -- is pure fantasy. I hate to say
> anything in science is "impossible," but I think this comes pretty
I disagree. It's not possible now. It will most likely be possible 50
years from now.
> It's possible to copy a person's genetic code and create a
> new baby out of it; it's not possible to copy the contents of a
> person's brain.
I read somewhere that there are scientists working on trying to do
this by recording the electro-magnetic impulses emitted by a brain.
Lord knows what this will lead to.... Whew!
> 3) To the best of my knowledge, the cloning that's being
> discussed now is quite analogous to the creation of an infant
> identical twin.
> Imagine that your parents come to you and say: "Guess what,
> junior -- when you were conceived, you were actually one of a pair of
> identical twins. We had one of the fertilized eggs extracted and
> frozen, but now we've reimplanted it in a host mother, and you have a
> bouncing baby identical twin sibling, though of course one much
> younger than you." (Warning: This is not possible with today's
> technology, but I don't think it's out of the question.)
Already there have been twins born months apart. The earliest cases
involved c-section of one of a premature twin that needed intensive
care treatment, and full-term birth of the other. Recently I saw a
report on a twin born more than 9 months after the birth of the
other. My head is spinning!
> That's exactly what you'd get with a clone, except that
> the decision to have this clone twin would be yours.
> Thus, you and the clone would no more lack a separate identity
> than two identical twins lack a separate identity; in fact, because
> you'll have been brought up so differently (and at such different
> times), your personalities will probably vary even more than do the
> personalities of identical twins.
Tests on the personalities of twins separated at birth
(Schwarzenagger and DeVito notwithstanding) show that the
personalities are extremely similar. I think that the same result
would happen in your hypothetical. I know that one of the articles
was in Smithsonian Magazine a few years ago, but I don't remember
where I saw the other reports. Interesting stuff, though.
Professor of Law
Villanova University School of Law
Villanova, PA 19085
maule at law.vill.edu
(610) 519 - 7135
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