Wednesday, December 02, 2015


by JASmius

In the words of....well, pretty much every Star Wars character at one time or another....

Technology advanced enough to replicate humans exists at the world's biggest cloning factory in [Red] China, says the scientist behind it, and he is only holding off on reproducing people for fear of the public reaction.

First, they have a cloning factory?  Well, gee, there's nothing terrifying about that, now is there?

Second, Mr. Xu isn't concerned about "public reaction," he's concerned about the ChiComm government's reaction - this is Red China we're talking about, after all.  But I can't see why Beijing wouldn't be all in on the idea of cloning whole armies of supersoldiers (al a Star Wars Episode II), and mass-producing legions of super-plague weapons, and heaven knows what else with this technology.  Plus it would formally amputate "species propagation" from human social interaction - i.e. destroy the family unit as the building block of human civilization by rendering it obsolete - and "fundamentally transform" human beings into "products," "commodities," and in essence, "inventory" of the state.

And don't think it wouldn't quickly find its way to this country as well.

But there are other, more frightening possibilities:

Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020, reported news agency AFP.

But cattle are only the beginning of chief executive Xu Xiaochun's ambitions.

In the factory pipeline are also thoroughbred racehorses, as well as pet and police dogs, specialized in searching and sniffing.

Boyalife is already working with its South Korean partner Sooam and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to improve primate cloning capacity to create better test animals for disease research.

And it is a short biological step from monkeys to humans – potentially raising a host of moral and ethical controversies.

"The technology is already there," Xu said. "If this is allowed, I don't think there are other companies better than Boyalife that make better technology."

The firm does not currently engage in human cloning activities, Xu said, adding that it has to be "self-restrained" because of possible adverse reaction.

But social values can change, he pointed out, citing changing views of homosexuality and suggesting that in time humans could have more choices about their own reproduction.

"Unfortunately, currently, the only way to have a child is to have it be half its mum, half its dad," he said.

"Maybe in the future you have three choices instead of one," he went on. "You either have fifty-fifty, or you have a choice of having the genetics 100% from Daddy or 100% from Mummy. This is only a choice."

And what of the possibility of the horrible mistake that is the catalyst of many a scifi tale of apocalypse in novels, television, and movies?  True, most of them these days are pretexts for boring zombie flicks, but, well, there are reasons for moral and ethical concerns and safeguards, after all.  Accidental lethal pathogen releases or a genetic combination that creates a monster or monsters are only two of the possibilities.  But, closing the circle, what of the social consequences of essentially manufacturing people (Space: Above & Beyond)?  Would they be full-fledged people?  Might they not be liable to become, without saying so, a potential slave race, especially in a country like Red China?  Would they have souls?  And what if they all turned out to be severely impaired or handicapped?  Essentially beings creating for nothing but suffering and premature death?  What gives us the right to play God when we don't have anywhere near the knowledge or wisdom?

The self-evident compromise is to draw the line at cloning animals - that far, no further.  But one has to wonder, given base human nature, whether that line could ever be impregnable, which is why the technology itself has to be considered both suspect and dangerous.

 But that genie is out of the proverbial  bottle.  I would be astonished if the ChiComms haven't already been experimenting with human cloning.  Perhaps to produce doppelgangers for espionage infiltration purposes?  Remember what Bolivar Trask said about Mystique to President Nixon in X-Men V: Days Of Future Past.

As history teaches, once Pandora's Box has been opened, it can never be closed again.  And we will all reap the resulting whirlwind.

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