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grammaire anglaise > formes > formes comparatives > same ... as


The Guardian        p. 10        5.5.2006















Beneath the question of whether a nutty sect has actually cloned a baby lies the more interesting question of why it wants to. "The goal is to give humans eternal life through cloning," say the Raelians. It is supposed to work like this: you make a clone copy of me and then "download" my personality into the clone. The clone thus becomes a revitalised version of me. And you can keep on doing this, making copies of the copy, ad infinitum. Hence I live forever.

The reason this is rubbish has nothing to do with the capabilities of science. It's rather a question of what makes me me - what philosophers call the question of personal identity.

The Raelians presume that an accurate copy of me, a copy that shares the same DNA,
is the same thing as me. But it just isn't.


One of the ways we can test whether it is nonsense to speak of clones with identical downloaded personalities
as being the same person as the originating self is when we think about questions of responsibility.

Imagine, after I die, it is discovered that I had committed a terrible murder. Would my clone then be responsible? Would it be right to send him to prison? At the trial my clone would protest that it wasn't him but his parent who committed the crime. And he would be right - the conclusion of which is that whatever the physical and psychological similarities between clone and parent, the two can never be the same person. If this is the case then there can be no eternal life through cloning;
simply, at best, a succession of different people who happen to look and behave the same way as me.
What a nightmare.

    Dying to live: The Raelians say that by cloning ourselves we could live for ever.
    But who on earth would want to do that?,
    G, 10.1.2003,




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