Nicholas Lukowiak


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A science fiction question involving clones, education theory, ethics and the future of humanity.

Would it be justifiable on the larger scheme of human evolution to clone humans in order to perform non-physical educational experiments?

- Ethically, I believe, we would have to tell the clones the entirety of their situation; that they are clones, that they are being used for studies that could prove revolutionary for man. But what else should/would we have to tell and/or give them?
+ How would we have to treat these clones in order to be ethically sound?
+ What do we do after the experiments with them; let them become citizens?

- The education theories would vary time to time; democratic education theory is, personally, one of the best existing today, but even that suggest too much about how we learn, know and think overall. However, how long should an education theory be practiced before proved faulty?
+ What type of education theories should be considered in these experiments?
+ Are we looking for rate of learning, the amount of learning or a complex system that is today not yet measured?

- Granted that we would learn the most from children's education experimentation, but where does the ethics lay here with cloning?
+ Are a two dozen lives worth enhancing the betterment of an entire race? Why, why not?

The major question comes from two places (more questions!): 1. I enjoy science fiction therefore it does question actions that do occur, will occur and could occur in reality. 2. Education is a interest to me; what exactly do most of us mean when we say "education?" How do we get a "good" one?

Overall, it would take us longer to make a computer program that can think like us than it would to clone a human... We would advance hundreds of years knowing how to properly educate human beings... But prior to ALL of this, what is education exactly?

*Answer what you feel like (the ethics, education or future), I over loaded this conversation on purpose, there are many angles to look at the main question and sub-questions.

*Also any books like this, please post!

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    Mar 12 2012: "*Also any books like this, please post!"

    You may read Kate Wilhelm's "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang", published in 1976.
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    Mar 11 2012: such questions are hard, but they become easy if you have a simple moral compass. as you might know, i have one, namely: self ownership and non-aggression. applying these principles to the case:

    cloning a human is OK. it violates none of the principles. the clone is a human being, equipped with the exact same rights as anyone else.

    you don't have any obligation to tell them about their special situation.

    they can not be used for studies other than you can use any children. they have legal caretakers, and those are just as responsible for the child's wellbeing as usual parents or other caretakers are.

    you don't have to let them citizens, as they already are citizens, with equal rights as any other people, from the very first day.

    education theory, in a moral society, is practiced by individuals. it is their right to consider it good or bad, to use or to abandon. in our case, the child and the caretaker must consider a certain method good or bad, based on their knowledge and judgments. for the same reason "we" don't look for anything. you look for something, i look for something, other people look for something.

    whether X lives worth this or that is irrelevant question. you can not use even one life, except your own. so you can have the idea that, say, 7 lives worth X amount of knowledge. but you don't have ownership over 7 lives, so you can do anything to make this exchange happen. you can, of course, try to convince 6 other people to join you, or 7 other people to take the fall. you can not, however, force children whom you are the caretaker of, to give their lives for the cause, unless it falls within the normal boundaries of parenting. if not, that is a case of mistreatment, you have to be stopped, and your caretaker status must be discontinued immediately, followed by other possible consequences.

    the betterment of the race is a meaningless term. there is no such thing as wellbeing of a group.
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      Mar 11 2012: "they can not be used for studies other than you can use any children. they have legal caretakers, and those are just as responsible for the child's wellbeing as usual parents or other caretakers are."

      You are assuming that ownership is the DNA source (the copied person), which is fine, but what if the DNA is crafted by man and not taken from another? Also could these people then not legally sign themselves over?

      Also "caretakers" is a duality, because the laboratory that created the clones are just as much responsible as the DNA suppliers then - new question, up until what point?

      I disagree on the point of citizenship. Without a social security card, I.D, name and other credentials of citizenship they are NOT citizens automatically unless they go through that very same process which is obviously complex at this stage of documenting the citizen.

      "the betterment of the race is a meaningless term. there is no such thing as wellbeing of a group."

      Oh I beg to differ BIG TIME, because by seemingly "ethical decisions" we have destroyed countless lives in history while now I propose to re-investigate ethics entirely in a hypothetical situation in order to bring opinions and concerns from many places. Philosophy is not the only concern here.

      The betterment of the race would be a phrase not a term. And that phrase is what many on TED are exactly after and are concerned with. While I am sure the majority (and myself) also agree with "only one's self should be sacrificed for any reason" which is why this is only a "science fiction question" and obviously not able to be done in today's reality.

      New Question: But now, would you allow your clone to be subject to non-physical experiments? What would make you say yes or no? Be apart of the process? Knowing the entire process?

      "The well being of the group" The group is the entire planet, that is also part of the sci-fi to think people would actually be concerned about strangers rather themselves and ideas of extended self.
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        Mar 11 2012: what ownership and what dna source? children don't have owners, and dna does not mean anything.

        also, details about getting a soc sec card is irrelevant. since they are people as others, they have the right to any such stuff as others have.

        you can be concerned about nonexistent things. but it does not make them existent. just ask yourself these questions:

        1. if mankind is worse off, but every single person is better off, do we have a problem?
        2. if mankind is better off, but every single person is worse off, do we have a reason to celebrate?

        new question is not clear. what is my clone? a person with my genom? or a clone that is somehow my property? for the former: i have no relationship with that person. for the latter: i can not own another person.

        last point: the planet is not a group. and the planet can not be good or bad either. only individuals can.
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          Mar 11 2012: "what ownership and what dna source? children don't have owners, and dna does not mean anything."
          Consider this, you are talking micro while I macro... children have caretakers - what does caretakers entail? To only care for and raise with no responsibility? No, when a child is in trouble the parents are blamed, there is partial ownership of the child to the parents. Not like a car ownership, but this complex system of social structure behind responsibility ownership.

          "also, details about getting a soc sec card is irrelevant. since they are people as others, they have the right to any such stuff as others have."

          No in a system today we need identity processes in order to keep everyone in a government. There is no point in government, laws and a system if there is not structure to it that entails what people need in order to be apart of that certain place.

          See.... this is where logically rational discourses have no place.. that being in REALITY. A logical rational process is only a PIECE of the overall construct that is reality - which we have to perform through a perceptual consciousness - making objective knowledge impossible without first the subjective information.

          What is your clone is an IDENTICAL copy of your D.N.A - meaning if it went through everything (everything) you went through in life, it would be you as you are right now. That seems pretty relative in both matterial and immaterial standards.

          - The planet is not the group, all the people are - nature is neutral, so are all animals trying to survive, what makes us evil is when we brush off the fact evil and good are apart of nature as well. Individuals are only "evil" due to... well you know that pretty well. But absolutely the entire planet could be "evil" or "good." In fact it is proven we evolve based on what stimulates us euphorically - so the real concern is then, what makes us happy and why? Are those things evil or good?
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        Mar 11 2012: i said "those are just as responsible for the child's wellbeing as usual parents or other caretakers are". does that sound like ownership to you, like a car? seems like you are debating with ghosts here.

        in todays system, we have children that start their life in a vial, in a lab. then they are carried into a mother's womb. they have no special status, and receive their legal this-and-that just like anyone else. if we develop a technology to grow children completely outside the womb, it will also change nothing at all. whether it is a clone or not, has no bearing on anything. i don't get why you think it does.

        we have people with identical DNA today. they are called twins. it also has no bearing on anything whatsoever.

        finally, you got the question right. what makes us happy. it is very different than the previous formulation of what makes mankind happy or the planet happy. neither of those things can experience happiness. only individuals can.
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          Mar 11 2012: Misunderstanding my argument doesn't mean that it is being done with a ghost. Unless your arguments are phantoms of others that do not reflect today's knowledge with the out of date philosophical principles - that prove more logical than "real."

          My question was, what determines a caretaker? A parent, why? Because of the dual-biological properties shared from both parents? OR? No matter what it is, it's not entirely owning a child, but if you are concerned for his or her's well-being and that well-being reflects you as a parent or parents... Taking responsibility is part of taking ownership.

          So can you give up the rights of your copied DNA? Not two parents, but one. Not apart of DNA, but all of it! Today we do not even have such a system to say yes or no to whether a clone is a "person" or not! Let alone determine who owns or does not own the clone. But it is something to think about as to why and what are the circumstances in which we constitute a person or not-person?

          "whether it is a clone or not, has no bearing on anything. i don't get why you think it does."

          YES IT DOES! I can repeat myself too to try and explain but if you do not see where I am coming from then we are at a mist of a discussion.

          Twins are not identical DNA either, this is wrong... they are just closer than non-twin siblings are in DNA comparison. A clone would be EXACTLY the same DNA structure. Now who owns that structure after the clone is made? You or the clone? You (in a natural birth) was given that exact DNA structure - who owns it when there are two? How can this copy get to be automatically a citizen if there is already one of that citizen? Just add a "2" at the end of the originals social security?

          You are talking rational and that is fine, but in reality how the world works these issues need answers that cannot be done by logic (1+1=2) but rather fuzzy logic.

          Mankind is made up of individuals... so yes mankind can experience happiness or sadness...
  • Apr 7 2012: No.
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    Mar 12 2012: I like this synopsis:

    The book is hard to read, but worth reading.
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    Mar 11 2012: I believe the creation of clones is an act of reproduction. Whether we attempt to fertilize an egg, or grow it in a dish, we are reproducing. The fact that clones do not have the same fingerprints means they are not exact copies, and therefore by definition, technically not clones. From what I've read, they are more like identical twins than exact copies, because of the way they gestate. Whoever creates one is responsible for it until it's either adopted or becomes an adult. It is not 'owned'. It is a reproduced human. Therefore any ethics we apply to humanity applies to them. If some company wants to create an army of clones, they have now become parents, with all of the responsibilities and joys thereof. If they go bankrupt, the clones go home with them as their children until the above is accomplished.
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      Mar 12 2012: Finger prints means they have a new identity? That is sound, but the only reason identical twins do not have identical finger prints is because that is random at fetus birth - outside of the fetus? I want data. A link.

      Indeed, not owned, what Kris and I were back and forthing. So what does constitute responsibility over that created being? A parent is responsible over a child due to the requirements of law and moral obligations of being their our DNA - the natural requirement of nurturing that is instinctual - as an evolving being.

      Why can't I not sell my DNA? Wait a minute...

      In your last statement it is suggesting that the companies would care about their engineered human-weapon? Well in Star Wars I remember those aliens getting paid to make that army... So, yeah to believe companies would care about their clone soldiers, beyond the fact they are losing money by making them, is highly impractical in a business sense - the business being war.

      The ethics we apply to humanities is already not installed into our cultures clearly. Atheism is an example of that, more so this new wave of militant Atheism or Neo-Atheism. No different than born-agains trying to show off what they think they know about the universe, we know nothing! Except that we should in fact treat other as good moral people, which both parties do do. But both are mad about how the other one does it. Irrational.

      My point is, I suggest to make clones and be up front about their existence and how it would help the world for centuries to come by intelligence, personality and other data relative to learning... Education will save us far more than any one idea or philosophy can.

      This all came from a book I'm writing. I'm deeply interested in the bioethics that transhumanism presents. I want to end the book with: "Then they were given a contract, with the name they would sign it with, the ones they had all their lives. For them to have an identity and pick their career from then on, to start."
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        Mar 12 2012: Thanks very much for responding! I very much appreciate conversations like this one through TED. I had to read your comments a couple of times, I see a lot of ideas at once. I read more articles on how clones are produced and am more convinced that it is a decision to reproduce a human. If you create a company and go into business to 'create' people, you fit the definition of a parent, a caretaker and breeder of humans, in my opinion. If you go into that business, that's what you become. That would be a requirement of law, as you said parents have. It is unconcionable to me to allow business/science to circumvent natural human reproduction to create humans, classify them as a 'product' or 'bio-material', and then leave us to deal with the fallout. The societal repurcussions are staggering. I wonder what animal rights activists would think of the treatment of human clones? Any out there?
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          Mar 13 2012: So, then we should never clone?

          What if cloning would save the human race from extinction?

          Clone a person to switch a dying person's "consciousness" with their clone?

          Is cloning only right if it is non-humans; cow, etc.?

          Would you rather A.I. to figure out the meta-reality of the human mind or mankind?

          The last one has nothing to do with cloning*

          Even if the public sphere rejects these ideas of cloning. It is a good chance there may already be a clone walking around... Should learn about the process in order to understand our meta-nature. How can a "self" be copied? Can it be?

          No matter, these conversations are interesting to reflect where scientific communities and progressions are in today's societies. Because we have that ability today, what would it take for that ability to be used?
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        Mar 15 2012: (in response to: So, then we should never clone?) That is not what I'm saying. I wasn't clear. I do not believe in preventing progress (you can't anyway), but it needs to be considered in total, or we pay dearly later. I go back to the fundamental question: What is a human clone? In my understanding there are 2 camps. They are human, or they are property. They cannot be both (there's a whole other discussion about that). I determined they are human. Let's say I want to create a clone of myself to be harvested later for organ replacement. I have donated one of my cells, a woman has donated an egg, and I have 'grown' a clone. Who cares for the clone? I do. Or maybe you envision a warehouse that keeps them. They'll go crazy, or revolt.. 20 years goes by and I need it's heart. My clone says no way. Is my right assumed because I donated my cell and purchased an egg? Then we ethically discuss the difference between clones and children. What if I die suddenly. Who gets the clone? Is it sold to someone? Is it destroyed? But it's a human, a nearly exact reproduction of me. What rights does it have (remember, your question was ethically based)? If we want to grow pieces and parts of ourselves to harvest that's fine, probably desirable. You want to grow a clone, a full human, that's.....what.... you.....get - a human being. You want to genetically alter a cell/egg combination, it is no longer a clone, and that's a different discussion. I only re-responded because the subject is so interesting and pertinent. Thanks for bringing it up.
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          Mar 15 2012: They cannot be both (there's a whole other discussion about that).**

          Well, why can't I own my copy - if i treat him absolutely correctly (a colleague for business and/or scientific works - what is the un-free element? Not to seek harm but the mind of another to help yours - the world. Clone Einstein and give him a life - job, pay... Tell him his mind works in the perfect balance of creative and academic. Is it wrong to tell someone they NEED to help - knowing their potential before they do?

          So splicing a human with another animal is different? How?

          I understand a copied human, is a human. It's just the most obvious thing, but the thing with cloning REALLY is; why would we need to produce more people? We're not designing a world to satisfy the needs of this populations people, why would we excel in numbers?

          I would just think raising children through a system of democratic education would be amazing for the world to grow in a generation or two.