Bio-ethics: November 2005 Archives

You think it's messy now?

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Things will only get worse. From Mark Steyn:

Take human cloning. It's all but certain that within a decade it will be available and affordable. Not in Trois-Rivières, nor even in Seoul, where the first cloned dog made his debut a few weeks back, but surely in some jurisdiction somewhere or other. Will there be clients anxious to take advantage of it? Undoubtedly. Not just billionaire kooks, but also the likes of Barrie and Tony, a couple from Chelmsford in southern England. They'd been trying for a baby for some time, but nothing seemed to work. Then it occurred to them this might be because they're both men. So in 1999 they bought four eggs from one woman, co-mingled their sperm in a beaker and shipped it to a second woman in the United States who for two-hundred grand managed to find a rare nine-month vacancy in her fallopian timeshare. The resulting twins were born in California and, in a landmark court decision, Barrie and Tony became the first couple to both be named as father on the birth certificate, though neither mother rated a credit. Nor the turkey baster.

That would seem to be in defiance of what we used quaintly to call "the facts of life." But who cares about biology? As Hester Lessard, the eminently eminent law professor at the University of Victoria, has argued, "biological" concepts of parenthood are "an increasingly fictional creation narrative" that "legitimates a heterosexual view of the family." And we wouldn't want that, would we? Which is why earlier this year the Province of Ontario passed Bill 171 abolishing the words "husband," "wife," "widow," "widower," "man" and "woman" from its laws--and not just the words but the very concept of gender.

More:

Meanwhile, the ever more elderly Japanese and Europeans and Canadians will go on--and on and on, like the joke about the gnarled old rustic and the axe he's had for 70 years: he's replaced the blade seven times and the handle four times, but it's still the same old trusty axe. We will have achieved man's victory over death, not in the sense our ancestors meant it--the assurance of eternal life in the unseen world--but in the here and now. Which is what it's all about, isn't it? An eternal present tense.

Think I'm kidding? Compare the suspicion and denigration of genetically modified foods to what's mostly either enthusiasm for or indifference to genetically modified people. Mess with our vegetables, we'll burn down your factory. Mess with us, and we pass you our credit card. And by the time we wonder whether it was all such a smart idea it'll be the clones who have the Platinum Visa cards.


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This page is a archive of entries in the Bio-ethics category from November 2005.

Bio-ethics: October 2005 is the previous archive.

Bio-ethics: February 2006 is the next archive.

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