Date:         Tue, 27 Nov 2001 21:46:46 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 27 Nov 01 - Cloning & Future Technology
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             TOURBUS Volume 7, Number 35 -- 27 Nov 2001
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            TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Future Technology & Cloning
"I think it would, like, be a big explosion."  So says Arnold
Schwarzenegger on the topic of human cloning.  Today's issue of
TOURBUS delves into future technologies - read on!
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Tod Maffin is a technology futurist from Canada who publishes a tres
cool newsletter called Future File.  He reports on the technologies
that will soon be impacting our lives, for better or worse.  In the
latest issue of Future File, you can read about the first major
trans-Atlantic telesurgical operation, new non-rubber, blowout-proof
car tires in festive colors, and a device that uses fluctuations in
fluorescent lights to transmit wireless data.  
In the movie The Sixth Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger is cloned.  In real
life, Arnold wants three of him running around.  As scary as that may
sound, it could be, like, a lot closer than you think.
On Sunday, scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Massachusetts
announced that they had created human embryos through cloning.  Dr.
Michael West, ACT's president says the company's goal is not to create
a human being, but rather to create human embryos from which stem
cells could be harvested.  Scientists hope that stem cells may be
useful in treating disease.  Here's a link to the Scientific American
article where the story was first reported.  
  Advanced Cell Technology - 
The next day, a pseudo-religious group called Clonaid, which believes
aliens created life on Earth, announced that they had cloned human
embryos for the purpose of impregnating a woman.  Other scientists are
skeptical because Clonaid, which operates a secret lab outside the
USA, has offered no proof for their claims.  
As you might expect, the news created a firestorm of debate and
criticism on the subject of human cloning.  ACT's president tried to
stress that he's only interested in "therapeutic cloning" and not
"reproductive cloning".  Dr. West says that the embryos are not
"human" life, but "cellular" life.
But most politicians, ethicists, and religious leaders were quick to
condemn ACT's announcement, and polls showed the general public
overwhelmingly opposed to human cloning.  Here's a sampling of quotes
in the news:
  "We should not, as a society, grow life to destroy it, and that's
  exactly what is taking place."  -- U.S. President George Bush
  "We were human when we were embryos, and these cloned embryos are
  human lives, too.  Once begun, human lives - including human lives
  begun by cloning - should be protected..." -- NRLC Legislative
  Director Douglas Johnson
  "It really is a horrendous thing to stop this research.  People
  are treating this the way they treated Copernicus and Galileo."
  -- U.S. Rep. Jim Greenwood
Personally, I can't believe that scientists would stop if they
succeeded at cloning for research purposes.  And I fear that human
cloning, if successful, will inevitably open a Pandora's box of
horrors.  Consider these questions:
  Does anyone want to live in a world where people are designed
  in a lab and mass-produced on human embryo farms?
  Would we mourn the death of a cloned baby, or just make
  another one exactly like it?
  Would children created in this manner be subject to a
  diminished sense of individuality and personal autonomy?
  Would society be tempted to manipulate clones as if they
  were objects instead of persons?
  Yahoo Full Coverage: Cloning 
  Human Cloning Foundation 
  NRLC News & Views - Nov. 26 
  Scientific American: I, Clone 
That's all for now, I'll see you next time!   --Bob
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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