The Instigator
abard124
Pro (for)
Winning
28 Points
The Contender
rofflewoffles
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Should "headless clones" be allowed if they figure out the science of how to do it?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,017 times Debate No: 7304
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

abard124

Pro

"headless clones," or clones made with all organs that can be transplanted but "born" without a head or brain (in other words, an "organ farm") can benefit life indefinitely. Billy-Bob has Leukemia and needs a Marrow transplant. He has a sister, but she isn't a match, and neither are his parents. His parents are trying to have another baby who might be a match, but they're running out of time. They have just enough time, though, to create a "headless clone," which, since it has the same DNA as Billy-Bob, would be the perfect match. He also wouldn't have to take as many anti-rejection medications, as the marrow is "his own." A "Headless Clone" would save Billy-Bob's life, and even if his parents did have a baby, there is no guarantee it would be a match, and Billy-Bob would have to take all sorts of anti-rejection medications, which would cost his parents a fortune. Yes, the clone would also be expensive, but cumulatively, the 2 surgeries and medications would most likely top the cost of the clone and one surgery and only healing medications.
The argument often comes up that it destroys human life. This is not true at all. If the clones are "headless," they aren't technically alive. Think of them as stillborn. It's no different from getting a transplant from a deceased person. Except that deceased person has your DNA and was created just for you.
In conclusion, it saves lives, it saves money in the long run, and it isn't harming human life. There is no decent argument against it. Unless, of course, you have one...
rofflewoffles

Con

Headless clones, while they may seem like a good idea at first, should seriously be questioned in the morality of their use. One must consider the following: if we begin creating headless clones for the purposes of organ harvesting, as my opponent states, then this will change the very mindset of humanity regarding being - a change into a mindset that promotes genocide, racism, and narcissism. Let me elaborate on my first point of dehumanization:

Currently, it is only non-human species that are being cloned at the moment - we all know Dolly, the sheep, for example. There is little controversy surrounding these issues because people dismiss it as saying, "Oh, hey, that isn't human. What does it matter?" The Pro side is advocating this same viewpoint but it is advocating it for a human. They portray this headless clone as a savage, unthinking beast as well; something to be utilized and then thrown away.

When humans begin to see other things as resources - as things to be used and pillaged and raped for their own purposes - bad things start to happen. Global warming has risen as a problem because we see the atmosphere as our own personal dump for harmful emissions. We see nature not as a thing to cooperate with but as a thing to abuse for our own means. War and genocide is started by depicting your enemy as subhuman, convincing yourself that you and the man on the other side are two completely different beings while both cannot escape the reality that you are human. The Pro adopts a similar mindset, a mindset which cannot be accepted and thus discredits the Pro in this debate.

The Pro believes that this headless cloned being is another thing to be dominated and twisted into their own use. They view it as no more than a tool, no more than a means to an end. How can this possibly be justified? When we begin seeing things, especially things so human as a clone that differs only in the fact that it does not possess a head, in this light, where does it end? When prominent scientists begin encouraging deliberate creation of these deformed, human mutants, we know something is wrong with the bioethics of the day.

Agreeing with the affirmative on this issue is not just a bad thing but morally inexcusable. The human body cannot be seen a resource to be freely taken from – it is not a mere organ factory. Dehumanization is a direct follow-up to this mindset. When we see human beings as objects to be used, we will grow greedy with our newfound power. Why stop at taking organs? Why not take money, land, lives? When we justify actions by lowering things to subhuman level, we ourselves become animals intent only on our self benefit.

This point of self benefit brings me to my next issue: slavery. Slavery is caused in much the same way as war and genocide – through the mindset of the Pro. If we can create these headless clones, which, by the tone of speech used by the Pro, are less than human, where will we stop the degradation? When will it become too much? There is no bright line. Eventually, if this belief in headless cloning is adopted, we will be cloning slaves. These slaves, the ones with the Pro mindset will argue, aren't really human. "Come on," they'll say, "they can only perform basic tasks! The most they know is how to wash my dishes and clean the house… that's not human!" This is exactly what happened with slavery in colonial America, regarded widely as one of the greatest moral shortcomings of the human race of all time. Headless cloning is but a precursor to slave cloning, and we most certainly do not want slaves. Once again, the human body cannot be a resource, mass produced in a factory.

So now that we have established the dehumanizing nature of the Pro, let us move onto the narcissistic and devolving nature of it. I cannot put it better than Charles Krauthammer (in an article in Time Magazine), who says that:

"The prospect of headless human clones should put the whole debate about "normal" cloning in a new light. Normal cloning is less a treatment for infertility than a treatment for vanity. It is a way to produce an exact genetic replica of yourself that will walk the earth years after you're gone. But there is a problem with a clone. It is not really you. It is but a twin, a perfect John Doe Jr., but still a junior. With its own independent consciousness, it is, alas, just a facsimile of you. The headless clone solves the facsimile problem. It is a gateway to the ultimate vanity: immortality. If you create a real clone, you cannot transfer your consciousness into it to truly live on. But if you create a headless clone of just your body, you have created a ready source of replacement parts to keep you--your consciousness--going indefinitely. Which is why one form of cloning will inevitably lead to the other. Cloning is the technology of narcissism, and nothing satisfies narcissism like immortality. Headlessness will be cloning's crowning achievement."

In short, headless cloning is the "gateway drug" of cloning. It will lead to humans defying death and truly achieving immortality - how can one die if one's organs are perpetually being replaced and made better? We will look down upon others without the ability to buy a clone and laugh - "you feeble being, you are naught compared to I! I am infinite, I am all powerful, I have conquered death!" we shall claim. When we defy a seemingly insurmountable entity such as death, we achieve a sort of nirvana in that we are the slayer of gods - we are the holders to the key of life and death. When one can live forever, then one can convince themselves that they can do anything.

But will we allow others to indulge in our narcissistic immortal dreams? No. We will want it all for ourselves - want all of the power that comes from conquering death. In the ensuing madness that comes from defeating the undefeatable, we will succumb to our greatest fears and concerns - the paranoia that lays dormant in our inner minds. The jealousy we find ourselves in when we are in love, or the fear from when we are afraid, will arise in its most intense form. When death is defied through constant organ transplants, those lucky enough to receive them will truly believe that they are gods and that they can conquer anything. They will have no bound to their actions, no morals to their thought - the sheer fact that they can do whatever they want whenever they want will destroy those "immortals" and drive them to be insane. What action is too prohibited to do when you cannot die? What crime cannot be committed when there is no fear of repercussion?

We cannot allow the Pro side to pass its plan because it would shake the tenements of humanity itself. The mindset of control of life, especially that of human life, breeds corruption in the worst way. Viewing a headless clone as subhuman lends itself to the belief that all of the horrific actions of humans are spurred from - the portrayal of the enemy as a mere animal. Ponder this carefully before you adopt this mindframe, readers. Ponder greatly what the consequences for such an action would be for the human race.

In short, my points for this argument were that:
-The Pro plan adopts a mindset that must be discredited - thus, vote Con
-This mindset is one of the control of human entity and of life in general. It views the body as a thing to be harvested, abused, and pillaged. Such a view is dangerous because it justifies horrific actions for a supposed "benefit" - but where does it end?
-The mindset also promotes dehumanization. The body of a human being is viewed as subhuman without the head, but where does it end there?
-The mindset promotes slavery as a "gateway drug" for far worse cloning procedures
-The Pro allows humans to become immortal and thus drives us to madness from the knowledge that none of our actions will have any definite consequence.
-Vote Con to reject this mindset.
Debate Round No. 1
abard124

Pro

I must say, you make a great argument. You certainly haven't convinced me yet. It seems this has turned into the age old debate of what is and isn't human. To make it simple, you could say this is another form on the debate on Abortion. So be it.
Let me just remind you, though, that this is a legality debate, not a morality debate. If you turn it into a morality debate, since I meant for it to be a legality debate, I'll sound like your typical social liberal.
Well, pure science says that organisms have to have a specific Genome to be human. The question is how much you can alter and what you can alter with it still being human.
Now, for the purposes of this debate, neither of us are radical vegans or members of PETA. Even if you are, sorry, but they aren't outlawing meat. I am certainly not vegetarian, but I wish I could be (just for some perspective).
Most people would agree that the head is a fairly important human characteristic. If it is "programmed" to not have a head, it is no longer human. I can already hear the argument that if it has human organs , then it is human. I definitely hear you there, and it is a valid argument, but a blood bank is filled with bags of human blood. Are any of those bags human? How about an anatomical research lab. They have all sorts of human parts, but they aren't human.
Your genocide argument makes sense, but it's weak. It's the same as a meat farm. You have cows. You slaughter the cows for meat. They throw out most of the internal organs. They throw out what isn't edible. I'm not saying it's right, but the idea is that it is legal.
These headless clones, which are missing characteristics necessary to be human, might be slaughtered for just an organ or two, but it saves life. People like Billy-Bob; people like RacH3ll3, you get to choose between the life of a headless thing that may or may not be human, and a bona-fide, living, breathing human being. It's a clear choice to me (Incidentally, this is exactly how I feel about stem cell research. A little cloned blastocyst isn't worth the same as an adult).
Your last argument holds no water at all. I don't care what Mr. Krauthammer says, your argument can be invalidated by one sentence: Telomeres are the same length in the clone as they are in the cloned. In other words, you can't use your own cloned parts to make you live forever. Their telomeres end when yours do. However, if you had a backup clone and you had, say, one of the diseases with the highest death rate, Pancreatic cancer. Or Kidney failure, or many other diseases that would benefit from a transplant, it is a life saver.
My opponent makes quite a few good arguments, and there is no denying that there are things that aren't so good, but the bottom line is that the benefits far outweigh any bad things. I also presume that we will get back to what makes something human, and I think that really is its own debate. This isn't a morality debate.
rofflewoffles

Con

rofflewoffles forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
abard124

Pro

Okay...
I might as well sum everything up, since I have nothing to rebut!
Headless clones are good science, they don't really take human life, and they can only be used for good, without many morality issues. Sweet and simple, they do more good than harm.
rofflewoffles

Con

rofflewoffles forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
abard124

Pro

I'll return to the debate when you do...
I'm sure whatever you are doing is very important, and you've already made some good arguments, so it should be fine. Anyhow, I won't post round 5 of this debate unless you come back during round 4.
rofflewoffles

Con

rofflewoffles forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
abard124

Pro

abard124 forfeited this round.
rofflewoffles

Con

rofflewoffles forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
Goodness no. That's what the vats are for. :D Good luck finding a requisite carrier for the 9 requisite months of incubation for each case then the support of keeping the body from decay whilst growth occurs. Meanwhile your recipient is well..dead, most likely.

The difference between body and vat, is only relevant for the efficiency - headless does not equate to anything other than a collection of tissue. So I'm with you on that - although not being alive I do question as the requisite components need to be or decay/atrophy will occur. The issue is more defining what is a human - and what that entails. :)
Posted by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
Puck, you are forgetting that it takes less effort in the long run to clone a full human than to clone a working organ.
The idea is that they turn off specific genes. So they have a choice of turning off only the head genes, or turning off all of the genes except the kidney. It's also much easier for a surrogate mother to harbor a body than one organ. Most female mammals are suited to carry babies of their own species, not organs of their own species. I would argue that it would cost more to make one organ than all of them.
The idea of a headless clone is that most of us probably agree that a complete cloned human is a human and should never be "scrapped for parts."
Headless makes it (to some) no longer human.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
"Puck: good point, but the idea is that there is a lower likelihood of mutation if the organs are gron inside a body."

Hows that then? :P You can also grow organs in batches - 'in the body' would additionally require a larger wait as the body needs to mature.

"nah , cos the idea of cloning a body means that all the organs are in the one "bag" if you will , or body meaning it would probably cost less to make ."

Eh no. You are investing in a lot of superfluous material and time which pure organ cloning would circumvent.
Posted by rofflewoffles 8 years ago
rofflewoffles
I'm going to try taking a new approach on this issue than any you've suggested :)
Posted by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
Puck: good point, but the idea is that there is a lower likelihood of mutation if the organs are gron inside a body.
KRFournier: Legality, and morality if you want.
Brian: They've successfully done it with tadpoles, and although none of them survived to adulthood, that's okay, because they would need to extract the organs immediately. Also, a clone wouldn't survive much longer than the adult who was going to die of natural causes anyway, because the telomeres would be the same length. Even so, I like your Stewie Griffin analogy. Maybe they should hold the brain in a football. Then it really would be just like Stewie!
RacH3ll3: Exactly my point. I hope it goes well for you.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
I meant "from Rach", sorry...
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
I think the previous quote for Rach is very poignant indeed. Surely, no religious objections should be allowed to trump scientific research into medical advances that could potentially save or prolong human lives?
Posted by RacH3ll3 8 years ago
RacH3ll3
I like this debate. I have been waiting two years for a kidney transplant and it would be great if they could invent this because I have gone through so much stress waiting for a kidney!
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
It would have to have a nervous system to survive, which means it would need a rudimentary brain.

However, this shouldn't prove to be a problem in the not-too-distant future. An elderly person could have some stem cells extracted and have them grown into all the components of a fully-functioning body, minus the brain. Once all the pieces are assembled, the brain is transplanted from the old body into the new one.

The only difficulty would be that bones take time to develop so the old fellow would be walking around in the body of an infant - a might be a bit like Stewie, the baby off Family Guy!
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Typo: mean to say, Is the resolution regarding the morality of headless clones or the legality of them?
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atheistman
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Vote Placed by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
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