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The Human Cloning Debate [Hardcover]

Glenn McGee
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1998 0965377474 978-0965377478
In February 1997 Ian Wilmut, a Scottish biologist, announced that he had successfully cloned a sheep, Dolly, from the cells of a Finn Dorset ewe that had been dead for six years. The news that mammalian cloning from adult tissue was possible set off an excited debate among scientists, politicians, ethicists, and the general public about the event's implications and prospects for the cloning of a human being. This book surveys the debate, and for the first time presents Ian Wilmut's own thoughts on the possibility of human cloning.

The Human Cloning Debate is edited and introduced by Dr. Glenn McGee of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics. In addition to contributions by Wilmut and McGee, there is an authoritative, accessible explanation of the science of cloning by Potter Wickware, editor at the pre-eminent science journal Nature. Other chapters explore cloning's philosophical implications, argue for or against the technology, and present various religious and political perspectives on cloning. The book concludes with a short story by Richard Kadrey that explores creatively how cloning is likely to affect families and human relationships in the (possibly not-too-distant) future.

The Human Cloning Debate is a definitive treatment of one of the most intriguing and controversial issues at the close of the millennium. It presents for the first time in print the reflections of the scientist, Ian Wilmut, who brought the subject to the fore. It is essential for readers interested in issues of public policy, in recent developments in biotechnology, and in the intersection of science and philosophy.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
"The Human Cloning Debate" is the most informative book have read this year. The essays are fairly well balanced although there are more that are opposed than in favor. But, there are probably more people opposed to human cloning than are in favor. At any rate this is an excellent book.
There are several really good layman's descriptions of exactly what the biological results of cloning are. Big surprise, it is not what the media have led us to believe. On the other hand knowing the exact results does not seem to change the preponderance of opinion one way or the other.
One of the best essays in the book for describing the science was written by Phillip Kitcher, although I think the conclusions he reached were totally off base. He wrote "Reality is much more sobering, and it is a good idea to preface debates about the morality of human cloning with a clear understanding of the scientific facts" To many of us forced our ideas about cloning before we knew the facts.
Perhaps the whole debate was summed up in a single sentence written by Jonathan R. Cohen n his essay "Cloning in Jewish Thought". "Ultimately, cloning challenges us to consider how important our genetic structure is to our sense of self."
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the ethical debate surrounding cloning.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Debate Nov. 3 2001
Format:Paperback
The human cloning debate provides a comprehensive view of the debate of human cloning and the ethical reasoning behind it. I learned that a sheep was not the first thing to be cloned, it was actually a piece of american cheese back in 1992. This book provides views from both sides of the spectrum and give you an unbias approach to your view on human cloning.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Informative Book I have read yet this year May 8 2001
By Frederick L. Merritt Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Human Cloning Debate" is the most informative book have read this year. The essays are fairly well balanced although there are more that are opposed than in favor. But, there are probably more people opposed to human cloning than are in favor. At any rate this is an excellent book.
There are several really good layman's descriptions of exactly what the biological results of cloning are. Big surprise, it is not what the media have led us to believe. On the other hand knowing the exact results does not seem to change the preponderance of opinion one way or the other.
One of the best essays in the book for describing the science was written by Phillip Kitcher, although I think the conclusions he reached were totally off base. He wrote "Reality is much more sobering, and it is a good idea to preface debates about the morality of human cloning with a clear understanding of the scientific facts" To many of us forced our ideas about cloning before we knew the facts.
Perhaps the whole debate was summed up in a single sentence written by Jonathan R. Cohen n his essay "Cloning in Jewish Thought". "Ultimately, cloning challenges us to consider how important our genetic structure is to our sense of self."
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the ethical debate surrounding cloning.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Engaging Oct. 30 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
We looked at several cloning books for our coffeehouse conversations series. This was the only one with good science as well as provocative ethics material. The article by Art Caplan and the religious material are excellent. This is the only book with an article by cloning scientists in it, and I found Ian Wilmut's perspective on the difference between adoption and cloning to be fascinating.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful collection of contributions to this important debate Nov. 4 2004
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a thought-provoking collection of essays by 25 contributors, pro- and anti-cloning, scientists, doctors, academics, researchers, journalists and the odd US President. The most mind-changing essay for this reviewer was Ronald Bailey's `Cloning babies is not inherently immoral'.

Throughout history, some have violently opposed scientific developments. For example, Guardian columnist Jeremy Rifkin described biotechnology as `a form of annihilation every bit as deadly as nuclear holocaust, and even more profound'. This dispute between science and anti-science, progress and reaction, the materialist and idealist philosophies, can never be resolved. It is a fundamental philosophic divide that cannot be bridged. One or other must prevail.

The argument that we must wait for a consensus to emerge is reactionary, for this would mean waiting forever. No amount of additional debate can ever win round the opposition to progress, because that opposition is entrenched behind ramparts of dogma; faith-based, it is impervious to evidence and reason.

Presidential calls for a moratorium are prevarication. Similarly, the search for absolute safety, like all searches for absolutes, is a delusion, which makes the precautionary principle another recipe for stasis.

Some who oppose cloning opposed In Vitro Fertilisation earlier. Possibly one million babies have been born through IVF since 1978. This safe and beneficial procedure arose from decades of refining techniques in a variety of animals. Safe cloning will similarly result from animal research: a ban on research would prevent work into making cloning safe.

In Germany the government has banned all research work on embryos, so Germany makes no contribution and has no influence on this matter. Britain's parliament passed a law that regulates therapeutic cloning, but unfortunately bans all efforts at reproductive cloning.

Fear of biotechnology has done great harm, because technological stagnation poses greater risks than technological innovation. Banning stem cell research or research into reproductive cloning would prevent many promising developments in medical research; it could drive research to countries less equipped to balance safety with development. The biotechnology revolution has already brought enormous benefits, IVF for instance, and will bring many more, but only if we encourage and support research into cloning.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very controversial. Oct. 11 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I saw this book reviewed in the New York Times and chose it for teaching my high school seniors about Dolly and human cloning. It is very comprehensive, with the President's commission report and lots of stuff that isn't in the other three anthologies. The science and the introduction are great for students. Wilmut's article is wrong, I think. But it is very controversial and interesting. This seems to be the only thing he has written about the ethics of the Sheep he made. The students like it very much.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Debate Nov. 3 2001
By Dr. Frank Persion III - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The human cloning debate provides a comprehensive view of the debate of human cloning and the ethical reasoning behind it. I learned that a sheep was not the first thing to be cloned, it was actually a piece of american cheese back in 1992. This book provides views from both sides of the spectrum and give you an unbias approach to your view on human cloning.
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