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Engineering our Future

Melvin Dummar says a grand conspiracy has denied him his portion of billionaire Howard Hughes' vast estate. Many consider Dummar to be a fraud but an in-depth investigation by Gary Magnesen has apparently shown Dummar to be a good samaritan who saved Hughes from certain death. Both joined George Knapp to discuss why Hughes was in the desert, as well as those who schemed to deny Dummar and several institutions of their rightful share of the Hughes estate. In the first hour, veteran music journalist Joel Selvin talked about the notorious Rolling Stones Altamont concert of 1969, considered by many to be rock’s darkest day.

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Engineering our Future

Show Archive
Date: Monday - December 30, 2002
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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