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Anxiety and genetic manipulation: a sociological view

Anxiety and genetic manipulation: a sociological view

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 41(4 Summer ): 3-90

The moral, cultural, and scientific debates surrounding the implications of cloning technologies are discussed. In view of the widespread anxiety that cloning has prompted in many people, it is a wonder that so little effort has been made to understand and respect the nature of these fears. Indeed, many philosophers and bioethicists view the public's moral intuitions as too flimsy a basis on which to erect barriers to scientific research into cloning. Despite such dismissals, human cloning does raise traumatic possibilities: asexual reproduction will remove the last biological basis for marriage and family and will confuse relations between family members and generations. Furthermore, there will be a demand for cloning services by prospective single parents and homosexuals, and human cloning may threaten the personal identities of genetic replicas. In taking these actions, humans will be redefining themselves as biological rather than cultural and moral beings and will commit cultural suicide.

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