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Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies about Human Cloning Paperback – 1 Sep 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New Ed edition (1 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393320014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393320015
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,822,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

...a great new way to tackle a topic that has jaded readers reaching for the literary zapper. -- New Scientist

A welcome voice of reason in a debate that's more commonly ruled by the heart. -- BBC Tomorrow's World Magazine

Whatever your point of view, the book will force you to clarify your thoughts and sharpen your arguments. -- The Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Cass R. Sunstein teaches law and political science at the University of Chicago.

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Great Start in the Field 6 Aug. 2001
By Lewis D. Eigen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a terrific basic explanation of the science, ethics, politics and sociology of human cloning. It is a collection of essays, most of which have been published elsewhere, but pulled together in a coherent and thorough form.
The volume is easy to understand with little or no biological or medical background required. Unlike most volumes on the subject, it includes some excellent examples of fiction on cloning which in many ways clarify many concepts better than the factual sections. There are some wonderful quirky concepts covered by the different essays ranging from an analysis of cloning from the point of gays and lesbians and an imaginative Supreme Court Opinion rendered on a hypotehical case of an individual's right to clone. In a Rashoman-like manner two separate opinions are given, one where the Supreme Court protects the individuals right to clone and a second where it upholds society's right to restrict cloning.
The essays are written by a range of the famous such as Stephan J. Gould to unknowns. But the quality of the material is generally very high and always understandable for the layman.
If anyone wants to start thinking and learning about cloning, this would be my recommendation as a starting point.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I'm glad I'm not a clone 18 Dec. 1998
By Peter Werner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must for all those who want to inform themselves about this problem, which will mark the history of our near future. It is not highly scientific because at the moment we can only speculate what kind of impact cloning of humans may have on us - once it is allowed. If it is not allowed, it will be done - because what someone thinks will be carried out. It has been like that throughout our scientific history. (Otto Hahn dropped the idea of the atomic bomb - and someone else built it.) We will have to face human clones in the very near future. And we want to know how we will face this new situation. And this is what this book is about. It gives you a variety of impulses and, of course, it has to be highly speculative. We simply cannot analyze a situation that we do not have in reality. The stories at the end of the book are not very good, but they are a good try to interest readers that have difficulties with facts only. Science fiction literature would have provided far better stories. I am glad this book was written, and I'm glad I'm not a clone.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Jargon filled academic articles with lame attempt at fiction 7 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The most interesting chapter in this book was by Eric and Richard Posner and their attempt to apply economic reasoning to explain what type of people will engage in cloning. However, the self selection arguments about what those who clone reveal to others by cloning seem a little difficult to believe. Many of the other chapters, such as the one by Andrea Dworkin, are bizarre. Does anyone really think that the major problem with cloning is that men will cloning submissive women whom they can dominate? This is pure emotionalism. No evidence is offered that the most submissive women are currently the most prized as wives so why do we think that this will change when cloning is allowed. More importantly, even if you cloned a submissive women, how can you be sure that you will be the one that she will marry? I realize that these are difficult topics, but, unfortunately, too many of the chapters were argued on the emotional level with no evidence to back up their assertions one way or the other.
Epstein's chapter made a strong case for not regulating the procedure, though more of a discussion on whether regulation will ultimately even be possible would have been useful.
The chapters at the end of the book are a lame attempt at fiction. I concede that it is an interesting way of dealing with issues that one can only speculate about and if they had been well done I would have enjoyed it, but these essays fall short.
4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A multifaceted look at human cloning 14 Feb. 2001
By Bruce H - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm interested in the life issues currently being debated and examined in our modern world; abortion, euthanasia, and human cloning. The question of human identity and personhood is crucial to all these issues; the answers ultimately come from one's worldview (The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.)
Format:
The book was written by numerous authors (about 20) grouped thematically.
Part I: Science
Examines the procedure used to clone Dolly. The relationship between nature (DNA) and nurture (choices, environmental considerations). The influence of DNA on the human brain, individuality, and so on. Also, a preliminary examination of the ethics of cloning.
Part II: Commentary
This section seemed like something of a miscellaneous section. One essay (among the most difficult to read in the book) was entitled, "Cloning and Mythology." Another essay explored the connections between the "uncanny," sheep, human humour and cloning. The most interesting essay in this section was entitled, "Queer Cloning," exploring the possibilities for cloning as a reproductive technology for non-heterosexual persons.
Part III: Ethics and Religion
Probably the most interesting section on the book; this is where the "significance" of human cloning is examined. Religious and secular moral objections and supports are offered and analyzed. The question of "sameness" and narcissism are also looked at in this section.
Part IV: Law and Public Policy
This examined the legal (American, in this case) framework that could be implemented to ban all human cloning, possible regulations on its uses. The whole question of legal recognition of the clone and the radical altering of current social structure (e.g. how would the roles "mother" and "father" function in cloning?)
Part V: Fiction and Fantasy
This section looks at the impact and significance of cloning through the medium of fiction. I found the two stories, "World of Strangers," and, "My Clone," very profound and definitely more accessible as to the meaning of human cloning.
Analysis:
The tone of the book is rather unabashedly secular; the naturalistic worldview, coupled with autonomy and "freedom," pervade the pages. The question frequently turns on whether there is a "right" (a favorite term in American public discourse; on paper in Part IV posited two hypothetical US Supreme Court rulings, one is pro-cloning and one is anti-cloning. This appeals to North America's tendency to follow the philosophy of assumption of liberty; "I can do anything I want; the person who opposes me has the "burden" to prove that my action is wrong." Two prominent evolutionists, Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould were contributors. Gould's essay tried to examine the mysterious interaction between nature and nature and how one should not over-emphasize in favor of either one. Dawkins' essay proved a searing look at what he calls "communities" objections to human cloning. Dawkins' recalls his experiences when he appeared on news programmes following the cloning of Dolly; whenever a religious person objected to cloning, Dawkins (correctly) pointed out that natural twins and hypothetical clones are one and the same in that both persons share the same DNA. The only difference is that natural twins are "accidental" whereas clones are artificial.
Dawkin's analysis points to the need for the Church (i.e. Christians in general) to only send informed, intelligent persons with a training in science, apologetics and theology to interact with others in the media. Until that happens, Christians will lose every battle to the secular world.
There were some other interesting points raised in, "Queer Clones." For example, if incubation technology and gender modification technology eventually improve enough, theoretically, a male homosexual could clone himself and carry the child to term himself or place the conceptus in an artificial womb. However, the author of the essay notes that as incubation technology is basically speculation, men would have to rely on women to carry their clones to term. Indeed, the author notes that lesbian women would have an inherent advantage; they could carry their own clones to term.
Throughout the book, the philosophy of genetic determinism is shown to be false. Due to this, some of the emotional appeals for cloning evaporate. For example, say a 20-year-old son or daughter died in an automobile accident, wouldn't the parents wish to clone him or her "back to life," so to speak? However, at most there would be a great physical resemblance (as well as some psychological attributes perhaps) to the dead child; the clone would be very different in personality.
The essay entitled, "Human Cloning and the Public Realm: A Defense of the Good," was fascinating. The contributions of the West's (i.e. the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam) religions to the understanding of what it means to be a human person is examined. The influence and contribution of Eastern religions is briefly touched on at the end of the essay but the focus is primarily on the "Western" tradition; The Jewish anthropology of self; the unity of body and mind, the Catholic understanding of "person" as a being that has inherent dignity and is the Protestant contribution of the need to limit human power, pride and greed.
Evaluation:
To the fact that there are so many different authors, the book is difficult to assimilate the diversity of information; there seems a lack of a unifying principle here. In addition, the Christian will find the some of the language where secular philosophy (i.e. rights-oriented, autonomy etc...) is a priori assumed. Also, the whole ethical system is based on instrumental values (what is the "harm" of action x?) and the whole question of whether certain actions are intrinsically wrong is deficient. In addition, there is a comment on the book flap, "what it means to be human." Indeed, if one's anthropology provide the answers to the cloning issue; so whose anthropology is true? Christianity wins!
I would recommend the book, "Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics," by J.P. Moreland (ISBN: 0830815775) for a Christian analysis.
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