English 165LB: Literature & Biotechnology (W11)

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John Weldon animation on cloning, copies, and the “original”

Posted by rraley on February 1, 2011

John Weldon, “To Be,” via Victor Banuelos


5 Responses to “John Weldon animation on cloning, copies, and the “original””

  1. Daniel Herb said

    I think this post fits best in here out of all the topics. Last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart had author Brian Christian on to talk about his book “The Most Human Human.” In it he describes a Touring test and its implications on what it means to be human. The title comes from an award given the participant who was best at getting recognized for being human (an interesting thought). You can check out the episode on Hulu but it reminded me of some discussions we’d had earlier in the quarter especially around the film Blade Runner.

  2. Alexandra Zageris said

    I found this article really interesting…


    The most frightening aspect of this article is when Keim discusses the idea of combining human and animal DNA to produce tissues in abundance. This brings to mind the pigoons from Oryx and Crake. This article says that these hybrid embryos cannot reach adulthood but how long is it until they figure out how to fix that problem?

  3. Eric Higinbotham said


    I found this film to be similar to Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” in a structural sense. The film’s main character is an astronaut living alone on the moon who’s mission is to send materials back to earth to help the diminishing power supply. I say that it is similar to “Never Let Me Go” because it is revealed about halfway through the movie that he is one of many clones living on different stations scattered across the moon. The notion of who the clone is, who the original is, and why they were all cloned in the first place are revealed as the plot unfolds. I would highly recommend this film.

  4. Mina Joo said

    This video is very interesting. The idea that a copy is exactly the same as the “original” therefore it would be ethical to destroy the original seems like a valid idea.

    However, when the original and the copy are allowed to be in the same room, living and interacting with the world around them, it seems that they realize they are different entities because each have their own body, mind, and desire to live. The fact that one of them has to die becomes sad because you can see both trying their hardest to be the one to live.

    The idea that the woman in the video derives from this experience is also interesting: now seeing that the original and the copy are two different beings, she decides to rid herself of guilt by destroying the original and creating a new copy. In a sense, washing her sins off by being reborn as a copy.

    If two beings have exactly the same DNA, physique, personality, and memories, are they still two distinct beings (regardless of whether one being is the exact same as the original, to the minute of creation)? If the original is destroyed and a new copy is made, is the copy, despite being the same, free of the guilt and emotional burdens that the original had because they are a new being?

    This is interesting to think about, even if this biotechnological process is never realized.

  5. Joseph said

    It is interesting to note that, although the Original and the clones start out identical, except for the DNA manipulated markers given the clones to distinguish them apart, They soon become very different distinct beings because of the different experiences life throws at them! For example; the original, who’s Clones were engineered for tissue replacements if the genius host were injured during his assignment(s), so that his skills might not be lost, was captured and tortured for key information, having been able to resist all other forms of interrogations, IE; chemical and hypnosis. After the torture also failed, leaving him mutilated and sightless, they dumped his body almost dead, which was found by scouts looking for him, before he died. using one of the clones, put in stasis for this very purpose, they patched him up replacing the cut off fingers, arm, bones in his crushed hand, and burnt out eyes, which, because of the genetic engineering were blue instead of the original hazel!During this time he had a lot of time to contemplate his position with the Government, and the evil things they were doing with the intelligence he was gathering! He put together a plan to rescue the three remaining clones the agency had not yet destroyed, and to quit the agency to prevent other world wide assassinations aimed at quelling unfavorable opinion of the US., for he had been told his information would be used to peacefully convince those opposing to fall in line!this resulted in many attempt on his, as well as the Clones life and his cover record, designed to get him access to unsavory places, was never removed, making him look now like a criminal! One of the Clones was not so lucky and was killed in 1984. At the third attempt on his life, he caught the two agents unawares, and told them he had contacted two attorneys and the world press about these attempts, leaving one attorney with a complete coded record of why the government was trying to assassinate him to keep quiet, the other attorney had the code key, and the press had the word to look out for it in the event of his death, for whatever reason. For the govt is good at making such look like an accident! look at Kennedy(s), Hendrix, and Janice Joplin to name but a few of the thousands! Back to the main point, now that you have some history!
    Of course the Clones had to have some history and documents in order to get by, so they borrowed some of the original “host’s”, then changed some details! One Clone left the country, and is doing well, since most other countries aren’t nearly as nosy, and constantly trying to pry into one’s personal business! The one that stayed here ran into a bit of bad luck and married an Asian girl that had ties to an Asian terrorist group. When she got pregnant she tried to abort them, after he prevented her, and she had them, she abused them to the point he had to watch her constantly. Finally, when he found some plans/blueprints for the Miami Airport buried under the office, he confronted her with them. At which point she demanded them hysterically! when he refused she stole co. money and left. He, knowing how the FBI works, destroyed the papers. When the money she stole ran out she went to welfare and, like several other very similar times following, told them that he kicker her out with the children, so she could collect welfare. When the courts finally caught on to her lies they only warned her that if she did it again she’d go to jail. The next time she went out of the county lied about her residence, and did the same thing, telling him if he did not like it to divorce her, for the third time, when he agreed she told him she’d sell him the children for $13,000., which he did. They had been, long since, living in Georgia. She left for whereabouts unknown, and just before the divorce was complete, she learned she could not collect welfare without the children, so she returned, pushed him off the incomplete balcony, leaving him for dead, and stole the children. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, and partial temporary amnesia. When he recovered enough, seeing by the calendar the divorce was coming up, he went looking for the children and found his wife hiding at a girlfriend’s, she almost fell over seeing he was still alive, but he still remembered none of this. After the divorce she, filed for divorce in Florida, contrary to the Federal Parental Kidnapping act, tricked him and kidnapped the children, went to Florida and was granted a second divorce from a corrupt Judge who was well aware of the first legal Georgia divorce, granting her not only child support, but back support from when the father had the children! Because he was now permanently and totally disabled, from her actions, he had no money to pay, but could get no legal help, so he paid what little he could each and every month until they reached 18 YOA. Now the bottom line They have suspended his driver’s license because of this wrongful act of the Court (Judge that was fired for such acts, but the Courts, not wanting to appear bad before the increasingly dubious populous, would do nothing about it !) When the original Host Came back from Costa Rica to take care of his elderly mother, he got a California Driver’s license, and now the DMV, thinking they are one in the same, have charged him with Perjury and commercial burglary, stating he is lying about his identity and about having another DL. which is suspended! Something similar has happened in the past, but because of his top secret clearance he could not testify for fear of being charged with treason! The State Department, in cases like this are supposed to intervene, but that did not happen. The Assistant Da lied and caused lies to be told to the Jury, which only the Defendant/original Host could testify to expose the lies, but could not, so was wrongfully convicted! This sort of scenario is, no doubt, one of the compelling reason for destroying Clones, until, at the least the DNA can be engineered to the point that the fingerprints don’t have as much as 24 points of exact reference/match even if there are more differences than matches, and even genetic markers placed so experts can tell the difference!

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