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Advances in Cloning & Stem Cells

Date Thursday - January 3, 2002
Host Art Bell

Professor of Philosophy of Science and Medicine at University of Missouri - St. Louis, Ronald Munson, explored the ethics of human cloning in hours 2 through 4. He is the author of Intervention and Reflection, the most widely used medical ethics textbook in the US. He’s also written three novels. They discussed the company Advanced Cell Technology which had been trying to clone a human embryo. Munson and many scientists doubt they will be able to do it, but he absolutely thinks that eventually human cloning will happen. He believes that we should be funding cloning projects but only for therapeutic reasons, not reproductive. In other words, cloning human blood, body parts and organs, is the arena researchers should be delving into.

They also discussed controversies around stem cells, which can prevent research from being adequately funded. The promise of stem cells is almost limitless, Munson contended-- such as curing Alzheimer’s, growing new brain cells for ones that are missing or damaged, or helping blind people to see again.

In principle it would be possible to not only make the "perfect" human being, but we could also make a being that is less than perfect, Munson mused. They could be programmed, in a sense, to be a slave and to like it, though Munson disapproves of such a plan. In hour 4, callers share their questions and reactions.

At the start of the show, Art talked about how he wishes he was in stereo instead of mono. He could put one caller on the left, and the other on the right. During Open Lines in the first hour, one caller suggests that Art continue his on-air consciousness experiments. The caller suggests teaming up with scientists so it’s safe, but Art still thinks it’s taking a big risk.

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