A Texas woman had a clone made of her cat who died last year, and paid $50,000 for it. Forget science, if there’s this much money it it, the next step is going to soon be cloning people.
Human clones are definitely on the way, but the justification for the creation of clones is where the argument runs into problems. Some scientists say we could be saving our own lives by creating embryos of ourselves with perfectly matched cells to be implanted in our bodies, with the healthy cells overriding our diseased cells. Detractors say that creating embryos to save our own asses is nothing but cannibalism. The pro-cloners say that the embryo isn’t a person at all. The anti-cloners say it is. Clonemayto, clonematto.
Perhaps the most hideous of cloning scenarios is the possibility of cloning ourselves so that someday we could be our own organ donors. If you have a clone who knows he’s around for that purpose, chances are he’s sleeping with the lights on and a tire iron under the pillow.
Something people often assume is that their clone would be exactly like them. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case. Genetic predisposition is no match for environment. If you cloned, say, Ted Kennedy, chances are he would have the same features, but despite all the genetic similarities, life doesn’t live in a vacuum. Environment can trump genetic preprogramming. Just because Ted’s clone would be genetically a perfect match, that still doesn’t mean that the clone couldn’t turn out to be thin, Republican, and be able to drive safely across a bridge.
The next time somebody says, “Imagine how far we could advance the world if we could clone Einstein or Copernicus,” remember that cloned copies of these geniuses, due to upbringing and environment, could turn out vastly different. Don’t be shocked if Einstein’s clone is intellectually and physically lazy, getting up off the couch only for “gettink zee beer and zee Prinkles,” and Copernicus’ clone only uses his mathematical ability to figure out how many Nextel Cup Series points Sterling Marlin has.
I wonder how many people are going to be scammed in this cat cloning craze. Give a guy $50,000, and he puts a saucer of milk on his front porch until a cat that looks sort of like the one you paid him to clone comes along. It’s gonna happen!