CLONING AND IMMORTALITY.
Transforming the presentcollective biological-psychological immortality into an individual biological-psychological immortality.
By Dr. Roberto Ato-del-Avellanal
Versión en castellano:http://users.raketnet.nl/lawyer/CLONACION_E_INMORTALIDAD.html
All Rights Reserved.
C O N T E N T S
1. BIOLOGICAL ANTIQUITY OF CLONING Page 2
2. THE BIBLE AND CLONING Page 3
3. "THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY" VIA
CRYONICS - CLONING Page 5
4. CHRONOLOGY OF CLONING Page 8
5. CLONING AND GENETIC ENGINEERING Page 10
6. ADVANTAGES OF CLONING Page 14
7. CLONING AND IMMORTALITY Page 19
1. BIOLOGICAL ANTIQUITY OF CLONING
Now, although the species does not evolve or improve in the course of cloning, it follows that animals who reproduce through cloning tend to become extinct. However, a shrimp called "artemia parthenogenetica" has survived 30 million years which is a pretty long time when we remember that the first hominids, who were our direct ancestors, only date back 4.4 million years. Cloning, it follows, doesn't necessarily cut back on the length of survival.
The case of twins is a clear example of cloning which occurs in nature, even among human beings. Twins come from one egg that divides into two. There is cloning from the moment when multiplication begins to produce two genetically identical children.
For these reasons, the existence of cloning in the natural world is not new. Nor is it new in human thought.
2. THE BIBLE AND CLONING
In fact, those who may have a lapse of memory for religious reasons in this general area should remember that the concept of cloning is found in the Bible. Thus, according to Genesis, man is no less than a clone of God since, as we know, man's creation did not involve any sexual activity. Man, on the contrary, as Genesis says, was created in the image and likeness of God: this is, with no shadow of doubt, cloning. Let's recall that in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 26, it says:
"God said, `Let us make man in our own image,
in the likeness of ourselves..."
and in verse 27 we read:
"God created man in the image of himself,
in the image of God he created him..."
All this is nothing more or less than cloning. We find another act of cloning in Genesis when it speaks of the creation of woman. Woman was also created, according
to Genesis, without any sexual intervention. Thus, in chapter 2, verse 21+ we read:
"So Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep.
And while he slept, he took one of his ribs
and enclosed it in flesh.
Yahweh God built the rib he had taken from the man
into a woman, and brought her to the man.
The man exclaimed: "This at last is bone from my bones,
and flesh from my flesh!
This is to be called woman,
for this was taken from man."
All this is no more than simple cloning; it is asexual reproduction.
We come across a third reference to cloning, this time in the New Testament, and it refers to what is called the Immaculate Conception of the Virgen Mary. According to these texts, for the procreation of Jesus Christ there was no sexual intercourse, in this case between Mary and Joseph. It's for this reason that we speak of an Immaculate Conception without St. Joseph's intervention. Thus we read in St. Matthew, chapter 1, verse 18+:
"This is how Jesus Christ came to be born.
His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph;
but before they came to live together
she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
Her husband Joseph, being a man of honour
and wanting to spare her publicity,
decided to divorce her informally.
He had made up his mind to do this
when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream
and said, "Joseph son of David
do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife
because she has conceived what is in her
by the Holy Spirit.
She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people
from their sins."
Now all this took place to fulfil the words
spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
The Virgen will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,
a name which means "God-is-with-us".
When Joseph woke up he did what
the angel of the Lord had told him to do:
he took his wife to his home
and though he had not had intercourse with her,
she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus."
We find a fourth reference to cloning in St. John, chapter 1, verse 12, where it says:
"But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh or will of man
but of God himself
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us..."
We come across the fifth mention of cloning in the Creed of the Catholic Church where, among the points that are matter for dogma, it is declared that we believe in the "resurrection of the body". The birth of the sheep Dolly proved that it's possible that an animal be born from one adult, and now the doors have opened on the possibility of cloning taking place from the bodies of people frozen in some cases for more than 30 years by the process called cryonics which maintains temperatures of -196 º C which is the temperature of liquid nitrogen.
3. "THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY" VIA CRYONICS - CLONING
The scientific consensus is that at that low temperature some centuries would have to pass so that the existing radiation would begin to affect those bodies that are referred to and treated as patients by the Alcor Foundation in the United States. At the moment there are 35 patients in liquid nitrogen at an annual cost of US$70,000, of which US$26,000 is to pay for the liquid nitrogen which changes slowly into gas. The US$70,000 a year is paid from the interests of a fund which in December, 1996 totalled US$1`400,000. In the entire U.S. there are now 75 cryonized patients. At the temperature of - 196ºC, several thousand years - nobody knows exactly how many thousand - would have to pass for any decay to affect the body. In any case, it is calculated that in 50-100 years it will be known for sure whether the patients who are in suspended animation in liquid nitrogen, can be brought back to life or not. The oldest patient who has been cryonized in the Alcor Foundation is James Bedford who was put into deep-freeze on January 12, 1967. Bedford was born on April 20, 1893 and was 74 years of age when he died. The youngest person who is frozen in the Foundation was 21 years old when he died. It is known that this freezing to a temperature as low as - 196ºC, while on the one hand it preserves the cell structure, on the other hand it does cause some damage to the cells. Now when these damaged cells are restored to a temperature of 36ºC they would not be capable of repairing this damage which they have suffered, and recovering without external aid. However, one hopes that with the technology of the future these cells may be restored through some external means, so that the cells and the organism in general may be enabled to function once more. This is the whole reason for the existence of cryonics.
The resurrection of the dead seems absurd to some, and an act of faith to others. It is called the resurrection of the body in the Creed and it is now a reality. From a body that has been congealed for 30 or more years after death we can get an almost identical genetic copy through cloning, or through the resurrection of the body. I say almost identical, because while the nucleus of the egg is changed to be replaced by the nucleus of the cell about to be cloned, some DNA mitochondrial remains in the egg. This will also be inherited by the nucleus undergoing cloning, so that the end product is identical with the original only in 99%. There is a 1% inherited from the new egg.
It is possible to see in cloning an explanation of the Trinity from a biological point of view. There are three parts involved and only one biological connexion: the donor of the nucleus about to be cloned; the donor of the egg who loses his own nucleus which is replaced by the insertion of the foreign nucleus which it is intended to clone; and thirdly the
participation of the being in whom the egg is implanted to multiply, later develop into a fetus and still later be born from the cloned host. This is Trinity and Unity seen biologically.
Indeed we are forced to agree with Ecclesiastes that there is nothing really new under the sun. When we tabulate these acts of cloning written in the Bible we are going back 5,000 years in history. However, cloning as a reality, and not as a thought is something that human beings themselves have been carrying out much longer, from the beginning of the New Stone Age 8,000 years ago when they dabbled in rudimentary land culture or agriculture. At this stage on many occasions the new farmer, as an experiment, grabbed a branch, planted it in the soil and witnessed it growing, putting down roots and becoming a plant with identical characteristics to those possessed by the tree from which he had broken off the branch. That's how man really began to practise 100% cloning, even though he may have been ignorant of the process, may not have used the name, just as he used fire without being aware that it consisted of a chemical link between oxygen and carbon. He practised cloning and that same cloning, brought about by man in the vegetable world during 8,000 years, continues to be practised now when a variety of vegetables, and stable and unchanging fruit are produced exclusively by cloning, that is by the reproduction of genetically identical individuals from an original source by asexual means, such as happens, for example, with sultana raisins which we have eaten more than once, and as happens with many other agricultural products such as date-trees, banana and pineapple plants which reproduce from shoots, or stems as in the case of grape, fig or olive which reproduce normally from branches. All this is cloning which has been practised for centuries or millennia without causing any astonishment. On the contrary, we continue to eat the cloned fruit with obvious relish.
4. CHRONOLOGY OF CLONING
We could, then, establish to perfection a chronology of cloning, beginning with the cloning of living things, which has already been presented, and going on to the animal and vegetable worlds, continuing with the cloning of plants which man began to perform about 8,000 years ago in a primitive farming culture and which he continues to carry out up to now following the thoughts transcribed in the Bible on cloning, as we have seen, and going on to new thoughts about human beings produced by cloning as seen in Aldous Huxley's novel "Brave New World" written in 1932. Man has also gone on to the first cloning in the animal world which was carried out in 1952 - 45 years ago - with the ovule of a frog, by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania who followed this feat by cloning mice. Then came the Gregory Peck film "Boys of Brazil" which deals directly with the cloning of human beings, and continuing in 1980 with the cloning of tadpoles, simply from red corpuscles, which was done in Alleghany University of Health Science in St. Louis. In 1991 in Taiwan, Dr Wu Ming-Che of the Livestock Research Institute cloned five hogs belonging to a species facing extinction, but with only 90% resemblance. In Belgium in 1993 Professor Robert Schoysman, while endeavoring to make some progress on test-tube fertilization, produced an embryo which divided. This was the first artificial cloning of a human embryo, and these twins are now four years old. In the now-famous Roslin Institute in Scotland in 1996 the sheep Megan and Moran were cloned. They were genetically identical since they came from the same embryonic tissue. Last year the sheep Dolly was also born by cloning. This was made public as recently as the end of February, 1997 when the sheep was already several months old, and after Wilmut had patented the method of reproduction. This sheep is probably now with young.
The extraordinary feature in the discovery of Wilmut was to have brought about the birth of Dolly, not from an embryonic cell, but from a cell that was highly specialized. Dolly was reproduced through the nucleus of a cell that had been taken by Wilmut from a sheep's udder. Before Wilmut did this, scientists believed that it was absolutely impossible to bring about reproduction from a specialized cell, such as a cell from the liver, skin or kidneys. For them reproduction only happened with embryonic cells (generated from eggs and sperms). The tadpoles cloned from the red corpuscles of a frog in 1980 did not reach adulthood. For this reason, as we have already said, it's feasible since Wilmut's discovery to produce a living being almost identical with the original from any cell from a dead person's body, even if that person had died a long time before, provided he was kept in the proper frozen state. As a matter of fact, the nucleus which served for the cloning of Dolly was deep-frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196ºC before it was inserted into the enucleated egg. Consequently, what is extraordinary about this discovery is that it allows genetically identical copies to be made at 99% likeness of any living being, man or woman, barren or not, since for reproducion, as can be seen in this case, embryonic cells are not required. After the birth of Dolly the birth of a monkey in the United States, also by the process of cloning was revealed, and shortly afterwards news arrived from New Zealand that three lambs had been born in the same manner. Later a calf, Gene, was also born by cloning and it is now more of a bull than a calf. Global System of the ABS Biotechnology Company announced that ten cows are now with young by cloning, specifying that the clones had different origins: some came from fetal cells, others from skin cells, and lastly some from the kidney cells of adult animals. The road is steep and swift. Furthermore, there is the added fact that a Japanese patent has been registered permitting that 200 clones can be got from one embryo. Wilmut's discovery had made the German Law for the Protection of Embryos, dated December 13, 1990, obsolete.As we have seen, Dolly doesn't come from embryonic cells, but from specialized cells. This could give rise to doubts about the differences between a being born from embryonic cells, which are the egg and sperm with 23 gametes each, and a being born from the reproduction of a specialized cell which has 46 gametes if human. On the other hand, this same law which bans in article 6 the production of human clones, refers to the production from the generation of an embryo, with the same hereditary characteristics as another embryo, fetus, or human being, dead or alive. The prison sentence is for a maximum of five years. However, in all the cases of animal cloning which have been achieved up to now, no hereditary information, as has been seen above, exists that is equal, but rather almost equal, or 99% identical.
5. CLONING AND GENETIC ENGINEERING
It's important to consider that the technique used for reproduction by cloning has joined the technique used in genetic engineering for the purpose of arriving at better results. As we know, a human being has approximately 100,000 genes, and the less-than-perfect condition of many of these genes is conditioned by, or causes, what are called the genetic illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease, depression, arteriosclerosis, and even the jovial character, and the tendency to order of certain people.
The relationship between genes and psychological characteristics is not new. Kretschmer, let's recall, actually linked the biological characteristics of the individual with certain psychological traits. Thus, the leptosomatic type is tall, slim, inclined towards the spiritual, reserved, etc. Quijote was leptosomatic. Or the jolly type, characterized according to Kretschmer as stout, short, extroverted and a sweet tooth. This is Sancho Panza. Apart from other types, such as the asthenic, or the athletic, or the many variations resulting from the combination of these four biopsychological types. There are, indeed, very convincing reasons for linking people's biological with their psychological characteristics, and from there are linked not only the genetic identity of the clone with its original possessor, but also the psychological resemblance. Nevertheless, there doesn't exist a psychological identity, since the individual is not made exclusively of genes, but genes born and reared in a conditioning environment, that are different for each being and is what Ortega y Gasset called "the circumstances". The individual is his/her `biological I "plus the circumstances". He is composed of the two factors and this is why the same genes produce individuals who are not 100% identical since their environment and their circumstances are not the same.
Biogenetic research has succeeded in identifying up to now a series of genes that cause illnesses, such as we listed above, and scientists hope to modify these genes and thus prevent illnesses that have a genetic origin. This is plausible from an ethical and a juridical point of view. The human being, as Socrates said, not only has a right merely to life, but to a good life that is comfortable and healthy. Now clearly this is determined not only by the genes but by all the other biological factors, such as, perhaps, the color of the skin and eyes and the shape of the nose. Mastery over both biogenetics and cloning will allow people to choose the characteristics of those about to be born according to their whim.
One may ask here: Why produce clones? Solely to satisfy man's curiosity and for no other reason? Certainly not. This is far from being the objective. On the contrary, linking genetics to the production of clones will lead to an enormous expansion of the organ bank to facilitate transplants that save so many human lives. The patients are those who face death if they can't obtain a kidney or a heart to replace their own deteriorated organ. These replacement organs have been obtained by the reproduction of animals, modified genetically simply by inserting genes from other species, and then producing the animals called transgenetic. An extremely useful case is, for example, that of the hogs whose blood has been modified by introducing into it human genes, and thus making available hogs whose organs, when transplanted to human beings, cause less of a rejection than if the transgenetic change had not been practised. Through similar procedures rapid-growth salmon have also been hatched with the corresponding improvement in mankind's food supply. The production brought about in October, 1997 of brainless frog embryos will make it possible, within a certain time, to obtain organs for transplant, and in this way improve the quality and quantity of life for human beings.
Such progress has already been made in this field that 10.000 species of transgenetic animals have already been produced.. Among them are mice who are sensitive to cancer, or obesity, or Alzheimer's disease, and the objective is to be able to cure these same diseases in human beings. Transgenetic technology is also being applied intensively to produce therapeutic human proteins in the milk of animals. These proteins are extracted from the animal milk, filtered, and employed as pharmaceutical products.
They come from a female chosen for her capacity to produce in her milk a high concentration of specific proteins, and this capacity has been arrived at by introducing genes from another species. These genes have caused the mammarian glands to increase their production. The tests began first with mice and after seeing the positive effects, other animals such as sheep were used. This also had its origin in Scotland, when in 1987 a gene was introduced in the hereditary material of a female mouse, and it was noticed that the gene was active only in the mammarian glands. Thus the field was opened to what is now called the milking of medicines.
Dolly really is a clone from a sheep whose speciality is having in her milk high concentrations of therapeutic human proteins. The production of therapeutic proteins in sheep's milk was brought about by introducing human genes into the animal. This was first done in 1986, producing the Alpha-1-Antitrypsin protein which is used in the treatment of emphysema and other diseases of the lungs. Cloning is used now to allow the mass production of animals who can supply this kind of milk that has valuable enzymes and medications. And this is precisely the aim of the PPL Lab which was the company that supplied one-third of the finance for the expenses leading to the birth of Dolly. On the other hand, the American company, Genzyme, is obtaining from goat's milk, modified genetically, an element that helps the blood to coagulate and allows hemophiliacs to survive.
According to the German Medical Newspaper it has been possible to obtain from the stables of transgenetic animals 43 proteins and other medical products such as insulin which helps diabetics to live, and interferon which controls the growth of cancerous cells. The list also includes the production of hemoglobin, of antibodies, and of albumen, which is the protein used in intravenous feeding through the blood. etc.
Concurrently, in Finland, a gen for the production of the erytropetina hormone whose purpose is the actual production of blood in the organism, was successfully introduced into the hereditary material of a calf. A milligram of erytropetina at present costs US$2,777; with this genetic modification it will be possible to obtain from the udder of just one cow up to 60 kilos of erytropetina a year. In other words, more than all
the stock available now. This will help to reduce costs and save many human lives.
According to Nobel prizewinner Walter Gilbert, in roughly 20 years time it will be possible to learn within an hour the conformation and exact identification of each one of our 100.000 genes, tape it in a compact disk and take it home for analysis. The consequences will be dramatic because practically everyone will find a series of genetic defects which confirms that not everything in nature is perfect, much needs perfecting and that man with his great capacity has the right and duty to work towards this perfecting.
At the present time Project Missyplicity has been set in march. Its object is to make a clone of a bitch called Missy, who is beginning to age, and her well-off owners want to secure a copy of her. This case will obviously open up a lively market when one remembers that there are many people for whom their dogs are as important as any other member of the family. They won't hesitate to make every effort to get genetically identical copies of their pets, and thus assure their permanent survival.
On the other hand, the Valiant Venture Ltd. company has been constituted and is publicizing the services of the registered trademark CLONAID. The Director is the French scientist Dr. Brigitte Boisselier and the fee for cloning services is US$200,000. In the same manner this firm will offer the services of INSURACLONE which, for a charge of US$50,000 keeps the cells of a human being in deep-freeze in order to create a clone if s/he dies of an incurable disease and/or an accident, and keep the cells until science is in a position to reproduce them. This firm hopes to build up to about a million clients in the future.
Dream Tech International seems to have progressed much more and already offers cloning services for both animals and human beings. The International Cloning Society of the United States has the same goal.
6. ADVANTAGES OF CLONING
Among the advantages offered by cloning are the following:
1. The possibility of producing not a complete body but just an organ to save the life of a human being who requires the transplant of that organ.
2. The cloning of a complete human being whose bone marrow would help to save the life of his brother ill with leukemia. The transplant of bone marrow calls for a close biological link between the donor and the beneficiary, which in the case of cloning is really the closest possible relationship. In England there was a case where a woman felt obliged to conceive another child who could provide bone marrow for her only son who suffered from leukemia.
3. The cloning of transgenetic animals, that is animals with modifications brought about by human genes, to use their organs in transplants in human beings and thus avoid their rejection. Once a prototype of this kind is got then its mass reproduction by cloning is easier. It's not necessary to go through the inevitable variations and unpredictable situations that attend sexual reproduction.
4. The reproduction of therapeutic human proteins in the milk of sheep or other mammals, introducing a gen that is active exclusively in the mammary glands of the animals.
5. Cloning also allows the propagation of animals facing extinction and thus maintains ecological balance.
6. Cloning permits a greater propagation of insects that help control plagues that damage agricultural products, thus reducing the use of insecticides and pesticides, improving the quality of human life and protecting the environment.
7. Through cloning the industrial method is applied to biology; in other words: quality control and prediction. The quality of the clone is known beforehand, and also it is known perfectly well that its characteristics are identical in 99% with those of the original (donor).
8. Cloning also permits that mankind could increase the benefits that would accrue to the human race with an eminent person such as an Einstein, a Newton, a Beethoven,or an Aristotle. But would we really reproduce Einstein himself, Newton himself, Beethoven himself, and Aristotle himself? From the biological point of view, yes, but as we have already seen, "the circumstances" have different effects on the genes, and for this reason Thomas Edison said that genius is the result of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. This is an exaggeration, but without any doubt the extragenetic factors are very important.
9. Cloning will also enable us to understand why nervous cells, unlike the others in the human body, don't multiply.
This is very important because if nerve cells could be multiplied it would be eventually possible, among other things, to enable paralyzed people, who have suffered the fracture of their spinal cord, to walk again.
10. Cloning will also hopefully allow us to understand why certain specialized cells suffer an enormous and unnecessary reproduction. They go through a process of regression to their embryonic state, multiplying incessantly and causing cancerous tumors that eventually lead to death.
11. Cloning also makes it possible to preserve certain qualities in selected fruits and plants according to the convenience of human beings and nature. This has been going on at a practical level during many years since man discovered it 8,000 years ago, as we saw above.
12. Cloning also makes possible the exact reproduction to 99% of different animals, whether they are cows, hogs or horses, without playing the roulette of sexual reproduction, since the cloned are all identical. This situation will help scientific research, since the experiments with the different medications are performed on the same basis, and the present distortion due to differences between laboratory animals wouldn't exist.
13. The British company IMUTRAN at present mass-produces hogs that have been genetically manipulated and that will provide organs to be transplanted to human beings.
14. Cloning will also make it possible to have children with the characteristics of one parent, in the case where the other suffers from a serious genetic illness that has not yet been cured.
15. The freedom to reproduce, one of whose forms is undoubtedly cloning, is derived from the right to life and to have an identity.
16. In the case of the divorce of the parents of an only child who are in court seeking custody, the case could be resolved more peacefully if that only son were cloned. Thus both parents could have a biologically identical, and even psychologically similar, child.
17. Cloning will permit investigation and analysis of the very structure of genes in different circumstances, as Ortega y Gasset would say. If we had cells from Aristotle, Plato, Newton, Cervantes or Einstein, we could now have their genetic copies. In that case it might occur that Aristotle, instead of practising philosophy, would now be building interplanetary rockets. or solving the most serious problems of mankind, or he might well be dedicated to cloning. In this way one could see the role of personality in relation to genetic conditioning and the environment.
18. Cloning might also enable a sterile woman to have a child from her own body, using any cell from her organism.
19. The techniques of cloning, that is the duplication of cells and genes, forms an integral part of the effort to prepare advanced medicines for diagnosis and vaccines, for the treatment of heart diseases, to cure various kinds of cancer, kidney ailments, diabetes, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, etc. More than a 100 million patients have benefited up to now and these techniques are being researched and developed for the last 20 years. The techniques will serve also to produce skin, cartilages, and bones to save the victims of burns and accidents, and also to produce cells to cure cancer, or repair the retina, or the spinal column.
All these methods are at the moment under patent.
20. According to surveys, 6% of North Americans favor the carrying out of research in the area of cloning, and more than 80% are against this. However, 71% favor continuing the research and the technique. With regard to the production of medicines, transplants, and other medical benefits, this would involve, without any doubt, the cloning of human beings.
21. James Watson, the 1971 Nobel prizewinner, who was rewarded for having discovered the structure of the hereditary material, has said that for the solution of the world's problems which are more complicated each day, we urgently need copies of those persons who were truly extraordinary.
22. Alex Kahn, the French molecular genetist, admits that at present most people are against cloning, but he's sure at the same time that this will change. This opposition exists because of ignorance of the theme; because people are always afraid of the unknown and because, above all, many haven't yet considered the link that exists between cloning and immortality, which is the oldest and dearest dream which the human being would like to convert into reality, since no one wants to die, in spite of the existence of suicide.
23. The conception
24. More than 40 medicines that are the fruit of biotechnological research are on sale in the market, and with these more than 100 million patients have been treated for a series of diseases such as multiple schlerosis, diabetes, various types of cancer, heart diseases and infectious ailments.
All these investigations have the potential to reduce the sufferings and diseases of humanity, which is without doubt one of the most important aspects from the bioethical point of view.
25. In a projected law that is at present before the United States Congress it is made clear that no aspect of the law should interfere with other important areas of investigation, such as the cloning of the DNA sequence, and of human cells. These don't cause either the ethical or scientific reaction which is caused when one mentions the conception of children by techniques involving the transference of nuclei. Consequently, the cloning which is practised now should continue with the exception of cloning to produce complete human beings, and this solely because the technique hasn't been mastered sufficiently, but it should not be banned totally. Finally, when cloning becomes feasible, possibly less than 1% of the people will
be candidates. Among the many reasons for this is the huge investment of money required for cloning. Just as now not everyone can go on a trip into space.
26. Right now there exists both a collective biological immortality and a collective psychological immortality. The new-born baby builds a new identity on the basis of the biological experiences of his ancestors. This was the thesis of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) according to which "the ontogenia is the recapitulation of the philogenia." This means that the development of the individual from his conception to his birth is a summary of the life of the species, in this case of our whole biological development, or our whole biological evolution. Honorio Delgado refers to this thesis in "The Spiritual Formation of the Individual." Corresponding to this we have the "id" or collective memory which Freud tells us about. All this is centered clearly in what is called the world of ideas, with which we are born, as Plato wrote, and which he probably got from the Vedic thought of 5,000 years ago: "We struggle so hard to learn when all we have to do is remember."
Intelligence and conscience are present in each and every one of the cells of our organism, just as in each one we have 46 genes. Darwin and Titchener decided that conscience is a property of the protoplasm. In any case, the children conceived in a test-tube have the same psychological characters as other human beings. The sheep Dolly and the calf Gene share the same general characteristics as the members of their species. Cloning has confirmed that psychic life is simply a derivation of biological life.
7. CLONING AND IMMORTALITY
Nevertheless, the transcendental advantage of cloning will be brought about not for simple transplants in man's body to replace his sick organs, but for the complete cloning of the human being to eventually achieve the immortality of the individual.
Thus, man will no longer change the parts of a body damaged to a greater or less degree, but he will leave the old body and change to a new one, which will be also improved by genetic engineering. For this reason it is necessary to transplant to the new body the genes or the biological-chemical complex where the memory is stored, thus assuring not only the biological identity but also - and this is the most important challenge now - the identity of the personality. In this sense Evan Balagan of the Institute of Neurology at La Jolla has taken a giant step by transplanting to the embryo of a two-day-old chicken the cerebral trunk and the central section of a quail's brain. When the chicken was born it did not emit the typical sounds of its species, but rather the sounds of a quail, even though it was reared with other chickens. From this we learn the important fact that the genetic memory is stronger than the environment and this should be seen as the starting point for the transference of the memory which guarantees the identity of the personality.
In fact, on the basis of the antecedents we have mentioned, and because humans will want a body to their liking, according to their personal taste and with modifications of certain genes to avoid illnesses of a genetic nature, the result will be that the future clones will eventually be quite different from their biological originals. The most important part will not be the physical or biological characteristics, but the identity of the personality which will be progressively translated to bodies that will be biologically new and improved.
Thus, the long-sought-after immortality, which man has always desired with all his being, will be achieved.
It has been repeated insistently that the human being has a right to life. To ban cloning, then, would be to deny him the right to continue living.
Following this train of thought, let's think about what a human being could achieve in knowledge, and in experience, or mental capacity in general, if he didn't die at 70 or 80 years of age but lived on, let's say, to 150. Let's imagine now the increased knowledge, experience and capacity that he would have if he lived to 200 years, in comparison with how he is now. Let's go to 500 years or to a 1,000. We enter, without doubt, into the terrain of something so important, so gigantic, something both powerful and marvellous! All this will be feasible through cloning. The aging human body will continue to be replaced by new bodies, and will continue the course of its own biological life, and its own psychological identity. Our present knowlege and experiences will be insignificant before a human being who will live 1,000 years, or why not think of 2,000? Why not think of 100,000 years? Or make the leap to a million?.
Thus we enter the world of the infinite, as the world is infinite, and as the universe is infinite, or as life itself is infinite because, as Hermann von Helmholtz proved in the last century, nothing is created, nothing destroyed, everything is transformed. With these words he corroborates the thought that Heraclitus the Obscure of Ephesus voiced 3,000 years ago when he said:
"This world, the same world of all beings,
was not created by man or any god.
It always existed, is and will be
an eternal, living fire, blazing
into flame, and then dying out,
according to its own law."
Neither laws, nor any type of dispositions will ever be found to really prevent cloning. These laws will act like a dam which someone wanted built to prevent the waters of the Amazon reaching the sea. The waters will overflow on all sides, and cloning will be practised everywhere. Man will find in it the realization of his most precious wish for immortality which he has searched for in a fiery and incessant manner during thousands and thousands of years, struggling to concoct the elixir of eternal youth.
What purpose is served by the Protocol of the Council of Europe, dated November 6, 1987, or the Declaration on the Human Genome and on Human Rights of Unesco of November 11, 1997, or similar declarations since they try to ignore the nature of things, and the omnipotent desire for immortality in the human being, recognized in sacred texts such as, for example, the very Bible?
Now the curtain has fallen and the possibility of human immortality has ceased to be a chimera. At the end of the tunnel it is possible to envisage the light of the longed-for immortality and nothing or nobody, now less than ever, can obstruct it in its path of progress to eternal individualized life. The Constitution and the laws protect life. Well then, this is human life in its widest sense. Here we see what is pertinent in the likeness with God which the Bible speaks of, or the same character as God which St. Augustine, a Father of the Church, confers on man when he says:
if you love God, what do you want
me to tell you, brother? You are God!"
Thus, the writers of the Bible were also aware of the omnipotent character of the human being when they wrote in Genesis, chapter 11, verse 6:
There will be nothing too hard for them to do."
In Genesis, also, the omnipotent and immortal character of man is confirmed in chapter 3, verse 22:
The first article of our Political Constitution in Peru lays down that the defence of the human person, and respect for his dignity, are the supreme end of society and the State. The second article confirms this, expressing in its first clause that everyone has a right to life, to his identity, to his moral, psychic, and physical integrity, and to his free development and well-being. In consequence, any law that tries to impede cloning, which is a way that the human being maintains his life, is anti-constitutional. If one analyzes the path of evolution in general, one will see that it was always from the simplest to the most complex, both in the biological evolution, as Darwin showed in a thesis which at last, after a century of rejection, the Catholic Church also has recognized in the life itself of the human being, and in the scientific evolution. In this sense the history of man proves that his first steps lead him to look for dominance over the physical world. Through trials and experiments he begins to conquer the stones he finds in his path. These he tries to modify in accordance with his wishes. Thus, was established what the archeologists called the Old Stone Age, then later the New Stone Age, and in this same effort to dominate the physical world, he succeeded in dominating copper, and established afterwards a whole historical stage called the Bronze Age, and then the Iron Age, etc. Thus, he perfected his path through the physical world, which he continued and still continues to do up to our day. He has just discovered electricity and nuclear fission.
In parallel fashion, in a stage which began 8,000 years ago, man
tried to dominate plants, generating from that time an agrarian culture which he continued and continues to develop up to today, simultaneously with the development of the physical world. In this path of evolution the human being follows something more complex than the mineral world, or the plant world, and he introduces himself to the biological world through studies, observations and experiments with the animals, and even with man himself. This leads to the birth of medicine and biology which we find already in cultures that were ancient, but not for that reason underdeveloped, such as the Chinese Culture, the Egyptian Culture, and in the Vedic Culture which was the birthplace of Ayurvedic Medicine considered by many today as the most complete medical system that exists. There was also the Assyrian Culture and then in later times we pass on to the doctors and biologists of Greece and Rome, and to the doctors of ancient Peru who successfully did cranial trepanning. Biological development which, parallel with the physical and farming cultures continue up to our day, have recently led on to cloning. This is not, consequently, a fortuitous result but simply the consequence of a biological study which the human being continues to carry out for thousands of years. The human being, since he was born, has sought immortalilty. There is a consistent rejection of death. It has been demonstrated scientifically that the greatest fear that the human being has is the fear of death. In experiments carried out 40 years ago the variation of galvanic currents from the skin, and also the heart rhythm, and respiratory cadence were measured when the subject was faced with different topics. It was found that the most profound reactions in this vegetal world of the human being, and consequently less viable to be controlled, were reproduced when faced with matters dealing with death. The investigation was carried out presenting three kinds of concepts: some of a neutral character such as chair, table, wall, etc.; others of an affective kind such as husband, son, mother, etc.; and a third group of concepts of death such as corpse, coffin, burial, etc. The test gave results that left no
doubt: the idea of death is that which caused the greatest dread and stress in all human beings. In order to live, man has access to the artifice of psychological repression. Nobody thinks, or wants to think of death. There is not consequently anyone among the readers whose greatest fear is not fear of death, and it´'s precisely because of this that the search for immortality has been something constant in the life of the human being, either from the epoch of alchemy when he sought the elixir of eternal youth, or up to the present time when man continues to look for that elixir, now called melatonina, or antioxides, growing hormone, DHEA, etc. with the aim of prolonging his life.
On November 15, 1997 it was announced that a research team from the University of San Francisco, California discovered the gene daf-2 in the worm "caernorhabditis elegans" whose mutation would permit the worm to at least double the length of its life. It was also announced that the secret of the elixir of genetic youth resides in the activity of this daf-2 whose role is to regulate the production of insulin. Once put to sleep, or at least with its activity reduced, the gene slows down the aging of the worm without affecting its metabolism or its fertility, according to the authors of the study.
Examining the mechanism, the scientists realized that the activity of this gene was controlled by another, the daf-16, a member of the family of genes called cleft, that is, the daf-16 which enfeebles the daf-2.
Present both in worms and in human beings, the two genes play a part in the longevity of both species, according to the scientists.
"The duration of life of both the "caernorhabditis elegans" and the vertebrates could thus be regulated by a mechanism implying a gene of the cleft family, who favor longevity when food is scarce, and another gene derived from insulin which acts in the opposite way," according to the same scientists.
The desire for immortality is found present in all the history of humanity. Man now sees blooming before his eyes the possibility of immortality through cloning, and no law or regulation will prevent him from investigating cloning.
The curtain has fallen, the proofs are in, the possibility of the cloning of human beings, as the scientists have pointed out, should be a reality in about seven years, which, in the field of science, is like saying tomorrow afternoon. To try to oppose cloning is the same as to try to deny the right to life, or the right to continue living which the human being possesses. The first and second acts of our Political Constitution in Peru, as we have already seen, don't allow this either.
1 All the biblical quotations are taken from The Jerusalen Bible, 1966.
Piura, June 1997.
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