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Engineering our Future

Date: 12-30-02
Host: George Noory
Guests: Art Caplan

Roses that won't wilt for years. It's going to be possible with the latest in genetic plant engineering. But, "ultimately, what about us?" bioethicist Art Caplan posed on Monday night's show. What if we can make humans that won't wilt? Caplan said that one of the biggest issues we face in the future may not be about cloning ourselves but making ourselves better through genetics. We may be able to make our bodies stronger, faster and smarter but "it puts us smack in the middle of eugenics," Caplan said, framing a debate that may not be that far away. He also believes that another hot issue will be brought about by the increased ability to see inside the brain, which may be used in ways that could invade people's privacy.

While Caplan has some doubts about the current Raelian claims on cloning he does believe the procedure will eventually happen. He put an interesting twist on the debate by taking the viewpoint of the clone. "Is it psychologically (un)healthy for the clone because they look like someone else?" he asked. In a surprise call later in the show, Dannion Brinkley, the well-known expert on near death experiences, raised the topic of how the soul enters the body in relation to the creation of clones. Then during open lines, listeners weighed in on whether they would consider cloning themselves. "I would create 20 or 30 of myself to fulfill my life purpose," David from L.A. intriguingly stated.

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