Thursday, February 13, 2002
Session 3: Human Cloning 6: Ethical Issues in "Reproductive" Cloning.
Discussion of Working Paper # 6: The Ethics of "Reproductive" Cloning: Child, Family, and Society
CHAIRMAN KASS: Perhaps we could try to get
started. Sorry about the late beginning and the delays in the
provision of lunch. I hope everyone is a little bit refreshed.
I did say before lunch that we would revisit the terminological question. I am going to try to keep a lid on this because I am sure we will not get it done today but it does seem to me a reprise on that topic after having the last discussion might be helpful as we think about what we should call what and how to describe and justify what we do. Both of those things, I think, are important.
I mean, I think some explicit discussion of the terminology, I think, would be a really useful contribution but then we do have to make some decisions at the end about the stipulations that we make and I wonder if anyone wants to start.
PROF. FUKUYAMA: Well, just on the basis of what Dr. Weissman said, it seems to me that one term that is in common use that should not be used is "therapeutic cloning" because he clearly said that therapeutic cloning is a subset of what is actually intended and that in that respect research cloning of the conventionally words is much more accurate. So with or without quotation marks I think we should not use that word anymore.
His attempt to redefine — let's now call it research cloning as, you know, somatic cell nuclear transfer, I think is just by his own example, you know, unjustified because, you know, his example of the rifle — you use a rifle for different intentions but we do not give a different name to a rifle that is being used to kill somebody and a rifle that is being used for hunting. I mean, they are both, you know, equally rifles and it seems to me that to try to distinguish, you know, research cloning and call it something else is also, you know, by his own presentation not justified.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Michael Sandel?
PROF. SANDEL: Well, what I have to say is consistent with what Francis has just said. I think we should reject the term "therapeutic cloning" because it is misleading for reasons that people around the table have raised and I do not think it is sufficient just to use the term with or without quotation marks and then put a stipulation because the stipulation will get lost to the public discourse.
So, if we want to dislodge that term, we have to have another term that is not too bound up with technical jargon that would perform the kind of role that it has played by default in public discourse. So, I think, that we should reject therapeutic cloning. I think we should also not substitute "nuclear transplantation" because it is overly technical and the Working Paper brings out the difficulty of doing that and it will not enter into the public discourse anyhow because it is too highly technical.
I do think there is another term that could easily enter into the public discourse that would be more accurate than therapeutic cloning, which would be to distinguish "reproductive cloning" on the one hand from "stem cell cloning" on the other.
Now, there is one objection that I want to respond to in advance to the use of stem cell cloning, and here I want to go back to one assumption — one premise of the Working Paper that I would like to question.
First, I think the gist of the Working Paper on terminology is right and important that we should name things not according to their technical terms but in ways that would capture their human significance or the human import. I think that emphasis is right and persuasive.
I think that part of the Working Paper's argument is intentioned with another view that appears in the Working Paper, which says, "We should distinguish the what of the act from the purpose for which it is done." Separate purpose from deed. I think those two aims are intention because if we want terms that address the human import, that go beyond the merely technical forms of description, it is very often impossible entirely to separate the purpose, and here I would give an example from an area that has nothing to do with the controversies we deal with.
We distinguish commonly between amateur athletics and professional athletics. The games in many cases are the same but we distinguish between the two because the practices are different and they are different descriptively in ways that have to do with their point or purpose. Amateur athletics are for the love it whereas professional athletics are for the compensation of money.
So there is — and the consequence of the distinction, which draws to some extent on purpose, has importance for the kind of regulations that govern those activities. And, I think, in this case, too, it would be a mistake if we want to move beyond the merely technical, which I think we are right to want to do, then we should not so try to sanitize the definition as to completely rule out any reference at all to the purpose or the point because that just — then we will not achieve the first aim. The only way to be sufficiently sanitary and pure would be to lapse back into the purely technical language.
Well, that is all by way of addressing this discussion we have had many times about whether we can all together detach purpose from the naming of the activity. So to go back to the suggestion, it seems to me that reproductive cloning versus stem cell cloning is accurate to the kind of practices that we are describing and in a way that is more or less compatible with common sense and ordinary usage, and that it does not really prejudge the moral issues. The moral issues we could discuss. At least it would be an improvement on therapeutic which is misleading for all kinds of reasons.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Response, Charles? I have Charles and Janet.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I just have one problem with that, Michael, and that is if in the future the research cloning is extended, as we were discussing, beyond stem cells, it would require a third name. I wonder if it would not be better to find a more expansive term today that would encompass research that might go beyond stem cells, which is why I am sort of partial to Frank's suggestion of research. I had offered a more wooden and perhaps more acceptable alternative of nonreproductive. Simply by being a negative it says almost nothing. But I am just concerned if we restrict it to stem cells we might be conceding something that may not be true in the future.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Jim?
DR. WILSON: I support Michael's suggestion or at least I thought I did until Charles made his introduction. Reproductive versus nonreproductive cloning, it seems to me, captures the essence of it and if there is something beyond stem cells that we may eventually find, it avoids whatever problem may be associated with Michael's proposal but for the time being, if Charles' intervention does not carry the meeting, I would like to second Michael's suggestion.
CHAIRMAN KASS: To embrace Charles' qualification, would there be something wrong with saying "cloning for medical research" so it does not somehow tie it simply to — see, stem cell cloning has a certain kind of ambiguity because it is not clear whether what you are doing is cloning the stem cells, that kind of confusion, whereas cloning for producing children and cloning for medical research has the parallelism where the goal or the purpose is somehow there and —
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: And you could even in theory even apart from the exception of developing beyond the blastocyst stage and, therefore, having a different kind of cloning, you could, in theory, develop only up to the blastocyst stage and not particularly be interested in stem cells. You might be interested in another aspect of embryology.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Right.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: And have produced a clone for that reason so that, again, I think it is too restrictive and I would endorse either "research or nonreproductive."
CHAIRMAN KASS: There were a bunch of hands now. Rebecca, Stephen, Robby.
PROF. DRESSER: I would suggest another possibility is cloning for biomedical research, which gets away from this cloning for pure curiosity that research alone might imply.
CHAIRMAN KASS: We had medical but biomedical —
PROF. DRESSER: Right, medical.
CHAIRMAN KASS: — biomedical is —
PROF. DRESSER: So, I guess, I do not know. Is all — would all the scientific interest be medical research or would some be more accurately classified as more basic biology, and I do not know where you draw the line there but I will just throw that out.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Does someone want to answer? Some of the scientists speak to Rebecca's last question. Would there be anything wrong, anything left out or anything improperly hinted by calling this "cloning for biomedical research"?
DR. ROWLEY: Well, actually I sat next to Rebecca for lunch and she brought this up and I thought that that was an appropriate term.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Good.
DR. MCHUGH: It would encompass the idea that after all some of this cloning is being done in animals and if we want a broad term to include animal research — unless we are going to begin all of this by saying "human reproductive cloning and human biomedical cloning."
DR. FOSTER: I think that the scientific — I think I disagree a little bit with Janet. I think the scientific community, many of them who are pure scientists, even though they work on things that are applicable subsequent to medicine, would object to the idea of biomedical science. They may be working on a slime mold or something else, you know, so that I would — I do not know. I thought it would — I mean, I know why you want to put medical in it but I just want to make the point that I think that a number — I have heard this objection not in terms of this but just in introductions people do not want to be described as doing biomedical research.
CHAIRMAN KASS: They would rather say "medical research" or the other.
DR. FOSTER: Say research.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Just like say research.
DR. FOSTER: Yes. Anyway, any word you use is probably going to be a difficult thing. I do not think that is a major point. If everybody likes biomedical that is fine with me.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Stephen, and then Alfonso.
PROF. CARTER: I would still very strongly prefer that we choose terms less freighted in the neutral sense of the e-mail I circulated earlier in order to avoid the objection that Robby George made last time and that others may make at other times who may feel that every act of cloning is an act of reproductive. However, if we are not going to be concerned about that objection and we are going to go in this direction, I think I certainly could sign on to the kind of phrases that are being used around the table as long as the definition itself drew distinctions only concerning the intent of the actor and no distinction of any other kind. I mean, the definition is as important as the word itself.
If, on the other hand, we are talking about something other than the intent of the actor then the words have much greater concern about but if the only distinction is the intent of the actor then I could probably go along with this.
CHAIRMAN KASS: We could get around, by the way, the reproductive part if one talked about for producing children and really spoke the language of the street.
I think I had Alfonso, Gil, Bill May, someone's hand, Robby. Okay.
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: Actually I am happy the direction things are taking because, as I said this morning, I think we have to name three different things. Cloning on the one hand and then what is going to be done with a clone.
Actually, I really regret that it was too late this morning to make a last remark but from the figures or the charts that we were presented, I just cannot avoid the conclusion that there is the same cloning — I think Dr. Weissman admitted that — in both cases. So we need cloning and then move on and say, "Well, for reproductive purposes for biomedical research." I think it would be a mistake — it is a mistake, I think, to talk about different types of cloning. There is only one type of cloning.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Gil, Bill May, Robby, Charles and Michael, and then I am going — unless somebody has an epiphany — say that — or unless we are moving now — unless there are no bombshells here, it looks like we are moving in a direction where the staff can do some work and have it circulated.
Gil, are you going to keep us on the track or go somewhere else?
PROF. MEILAENDER: Well, I could probably — I am a little uncomfortable with definitions that incorporate purpose or not definitions but terms that already incorporate. In a certain sense I prefer just research for the purpose of — but I could live with that. It seems to me that I want to reemphasize the point that Stephen Carter just made. It is apparent to me now, whereas when I came this morning to the meeting I might have thought that the issue was just can we find a set of terms that we will agree on, the really crucial question now is what is the content that we pour into these terms and whatever the terms are, and I can live with several possibilities, it is crucial that, you know, if you think of the kind of definitions the Working Paper offered, that whatever is said about proximate purposes or ultimate purposes it is crucial that these two terms be described in a way that makes clear that the act is the same. And, you know, if we can do that then there may be various terminological choices one can live with.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Bill?
PROF. MAY:: I just do not think that is right, Gil, because what you are doing is disaggregating and isolating and that is what I found wrong in the Working Paper #5. It really proposed seeking to disaggregate and isolate the naked act from the intention and there has been a lot of confusion over this issue but my one worry about cloning for medical research that does not exclude reproductive cloning in one sense. You need the other pair in order for it to be clear. That is one awkwardness of the term and one advantage to Charles' suggestion of "nonreproductive cloning research." It made it clear that it built into the definition there this purpose that it excludes the other purpose and that is not clear from the phrase "cloning for medical research" alone. That is my awkwardness with that.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you. Robby?
PROF. GEORGE: Well, if I understand what is really in dispute, both in the group and in the polity, it is this: Some people think that there should be a ban on cloning, all cloning. Other people believe there should be a ban on the implantation of human clones. The ban is really a ban on implantation, not on cloning. So if we feel that we have to make reference to cloning with respect to both possible bans in order to deliberate about them, might it make sense to distinguish cloning for the purpose of research or biomedical research or medical research on the one hand and cloning for implantation on the other since I take it on anybody's account what is going to be banned or not banned in the latter case is implantation.
We might have a debate about what constitutes reproduction, whether to use the definition of cloning from the National Academies of Sciences Report, whether we take cloning as bringing into being an exact genetic replica of a DNA molecule, cell tissue, organ or entire plant or animal, right, if we take that as a definition of what cloning is then calling something where we intend in the end to raise a child reproductive cloning is going to create the problem of whether reproduction has already taken place when we make the exact copy but if implantation is the real issue in debate and whether people should be permitted to implant the human clones then that should be what the reference is, I think.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Well, the intent — I mean, if we — and Bill May I have a more than a little sympathy with. Bill really is joining Michael Sandel's comment about to be fair to the human character of the human act one does not at least sometimes have to look at — not just the literal intent of the act but the purpose that it — that motive that it serves. Though, sometimes acts do have meanings separate from the intent — from the purposes that people use them for.
PROF. SANDEL: The difference, by the way, between purpose and intent, how would you say purpose, not intent?
CHAIRMAN KASS: Yes.
PROF. GEORGE: But isn't it true that people — I think —
CHAIRMAN KASS: I do not think —
PROF. GEORGE: — the proposed ban on "reproductive cloning" would ban implantation even if the person doing the implanting intended not to raise a child but to harvest organs from the child or from the fetus that grows out of as a result of the implantation? What is banned would be everything — would be implantation as such. Somebody could implant with a view to harvesting organs from the more fully developed human being. That would be banned by the proposed ban on human reproductive cloning.
CHAIRMAN KASS: That is interesting, yes.
DR. GAZZANIGA: Just to weigh in, I go back to Charles'. I like his the best, reproductive versus nonreproductive, and for the simple reason that by calling it cloning for biomedical research for the reasons that I want to see the words "creation" taken out of there and go to "synthesis" and I want to see some of these other words — biomedical, how can you be against biomedical whatever? It is loaded. It is loaded in favor. So if we are trying to make everything neutral and accurate and dispassionate, I think reproductive and nonreproductive captures the two domains that we are trying to grope with here.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Let me respond if I might. I mean, I — nonreproductive is empty. That is to say it is precisely — its virtue and its weakness is that it — whereas, one should — human intentions usually are in the pursuit of some good and, therefore, to say cloning for the sake of biomedical research or medical research is a way of describing how Irv Weissman understands that act. He does not really understand there are separate acts in which there is a product and then you do something to that product for your stem cells. He regards that activity as continuous. Whether we agree with him or not is besides the point. And it seems to me the problem is then the ambiguity about the word "reproductive" where some of us think any kind of capacitation of an egg to start developing is the reproductive act and not just the implantation.
So, if one could speak crudely, one would say cloning for baby making and cloning for medical research. I do not think that a dignified body like this can go around talking about baby making and then there is Robby's wrinkle whereas that would describe the human purposes. The legal language actually does not — deals with the intent to produce a child by proscribing a particular act, namely the transfer of this to a woman's uterus.
So, I am not exactly sure how this shakes down but I would prefer not to go reproductive or not reproductive but to state the positive aspiration of the purpose as part of the intent because I think that truly reflects why people want to do it and I think people would understand that biomedical research is a good but it is not in all cases a trumping good and, therefore, to say this is the intent does not mean that the conversation stops there but it does describe what people are trying to do with it.
DR. GAZZANIGA: I am all for biomedical.
CHAIRMAN KASS: I understand.
DR. GAZZANIGA: I was just trying to be fair.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Charles?
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: But perhaps we could agree on research. If it is fair to you, I think it would fair to everyone. I proposed the "nonreproductive" as a lower common denominator but if we can progress beyond that to research that might be our solution.
I would just propose a minor editorial of the points. I do write headlines for a living. It would be a lot easier to make our impact on the language with a shorter construction. "For the purposes of" will not survive the headline writers. The reasons "Axis of Evil" will live forever is that all the words are four letters or less, and that is how it works.
So I would suggest a very simple two terms. "Reproductive cloning and research cloning." And if that would satisfy everyone, I think it would actually stick.
CHAIRMAN KASS: It is not going to. I mean, because I — for reasons that Stephen has alluded to and Robby is nodding.
Let's work on it. I mean, that might be the way we go and make it perfectly clear and I think Robby even last time allowed us to continue the discussion having registered his demur.
PROF. GEORGE: And we may be half way there, Charles. I mean, I am not hearing objections to cloning for research or research cloning. Are there?
DR. ROWLEY: I would object to that because I think that an aspect of this is really the hope that it will have medical therapeutic consequences. Well, I actually like Rebecca's term of "biomedical" because I think it is broader and you are not going to get anybody arguing with you, Dan, over slime mold and what rights the slime mold has.
DR. FOSTER: I knew that was a terrible example when I used it.
DR. FOSTER: I knew that I should not have used that one because I understand about slime molds but I was just trying to say basic science. I yield, Janet. I would never oppose you about anything.
DR. ROWLEY: Well, no, but — so, I —
CHAIRMAN KASS: Alfonso and Gil and, I think — oh, I am sorry, Michael, and then we are going to — I am going to just call a halt to this and we will try to —
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: How about simply "cloning for reproduction, cloning for biomedical research"?
CHAIRMAN KASS: They do not like prepositions, these journalists. We are not necessarily just writing for them. Let's keep that in mind, Charles.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: We could actually be coining usage which if we were to agree on usage that was sort of nonprejudicial, reasonably accurate, that would be a contribution to the debate.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Indeed.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: So if we can do it — and I suspect if that is the name of our report, it will stick because that report will be quoted a lot.
PROF. GEORGE: Maybe this is where you want to go, Alfonso, but here I think is the problem and maybe it is not a problem if you would want to go there: If someone says, "Well, look, we want to be able to for our research, in connection with our research, we want to be able to implant the cloned human being but we guarantee you, I mean we have got a deal with the mother host, we guarantee you that we will extract and destroy that clone before birth." Is that reproductive cloning or not? It seems to me that what the proposed legislation is about is banning implantation, that that is where Dr. Weissman's line in the sand is.
PROF. FUKUYAMA: The goal is not to ban implantation. The goal is to ban the production of a baby. The implantation is only the method used to achieve the goal.
PROF. GEORGE: So what would the answer be? Would the ban permit — if you banned reproductive cloning, what we are calling reproductive cloning, would someone be in violation of the ban if they implanted, permitted the cloned human being to develop into the fetal stage, and then extracted it?
CHAIRMAN KASS: We separate these things. It seems to me for the discussion of what it is we are talking about for the discussion of the ethical analysis, we take it up without making the thing focus on implantation. We talk about the purpose and then we have to face the fact that when one is thinking about legislative alternatives you have to give operational meaning to what the prescribed act is since reproduction is unclear, whereas implantation is a deed which can be then spoken about. I think we could separate our consideration of that in the two parts of our document.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: And if you had an artificial uterus, it would be another counter example. So you could multiply them indefinitely. I think Leon is right. It is the purpose that we ought to focus on. It is clear and it is pretty straight forward.
CHAIRMAN KASS: I think I had Gil and Michael Sandel, and that is the end on this. Gil?
PROF. MEILAENDER: Just very briefly, I think that if we find — if we choose language that does not distinguish what one does from what one hopes to accomplish in the doing that we will not speak clearly.
CHAIRMAN KASS: I think that is handle-able by the careful description of the deed of cloning so that while the purposes are present, the analysis will also do what Stephen Carter wants to have done. I think — I am much more hopeful at this point than I was when I — when Michael opened up this morning. I think we can do this. I think we can do it and we will try.
Michael — by the way, the assignment is still there. Draftsmen, wordsmiths, analysts, if the word "embryo" is not to appear, the word "being" is even weightier and "entity" will not do because it is really just a surreptitious word for "being", we have got to put something in that place and some people do not like "organism". We will work on it.
Michael, and then we will go forward.
PROF. SANDEL: I have no objection to cloning for medical research or biomedical research, though that is a big longer. But I just wanted to respond to Charles' question whether the briefer stem cell cloning is too restrictive. If insofar as you consider it desirable to restrict the practice to what was being described by Irv on the blastocyst, to the extent you are concerned about not having it spill beyond that into the scenarios that you and others have raised, it may be an advantage, you should want the term "stem cell cloning" if you are using that term in the context of describing what in narrowly circumscribed ways may be permissible because then it will be clearer that the nightmare scenarios of the farming of the organs of advanced fetuses and so on do not fall under that permission.
So that it is restrictive may be in social, moral and political terms discourse an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Whereas, if you have an expansive term that could include all of those — the horrors down the road that you want to delimit then I think that I would be a drawback from the point of view of wanting to narrow it.
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: That is a good point but it is a subset of what we are almost agreed here to call research cloning. So it could be a useful phrase to describe exactly what Irv wants to do and was showing us on the board but it does not describe the full range of what we will probably be pronouncing on or recommending about.
So I am saying within a report on research cloning we could speak specifically of stem cell cloning as a subset and perhaps offer it, if you like, as a permissible subset to distinguish it from the other so it could be useful in that sense.
SESSION 3: HUMAN CLONING 6: ETHICAL ISSUES IN "REPRODUCTIVE" CLONING
#6: The Ethics of "Reproductive" Cloning:
Child, Family, And Society
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you very much. This was, if I may say, a good thing to do to revisit this in the light of that discussion. I mean, the science was helpful. At the same time it was not determinative so that we have been, I think, helped along.
The rest of the afternoon, unless we, contrary to possibility, finish in a hurry with this issue is devoted to the ethics of — now I cannot even finish my sentence — of cloning for baby making, and the relevant working papers are the old Working Papers "a" and "b", 3a and b, prepared for last meeting, and Working Paper 6 prepared for this meeting. We have also got some e-mail from Alfonso and Gil Meilaender that are pertinent to this discussion.
I will not reread but consider as having been read aloud the opening two paragraphs of the Working Paper 6, which reminds us of what we did last time.
I know that as people say where the rubber hits the road will be on the session tomorrow morning on the cloning for biomedical research and at least some people have said, "Look, this argument about human cloning for baby making has been settled and settled in the negative."
At the last meeting maybe there were some people silent who had other views but I thought the general view was there might be arguments still be made in favor of forbidding, which is to say not banning cloning, but the arguments in favor of the cloning itself are relatively rare notwithstanding the announcement yesterday by Dr. Zatos (ph) that he has ten infertile couples ready to go and hopes to do this by the end of the year.
Every member of the House of Representatives has voted to ban cloning for baby making and the only division is how to do it. The Academy has endorsed the same view at least for the time being. France and Germany have urged the U.N. to draft an international convention banning human reproductive cloning and the opening meetings will take place in less than two weeks. And why, someone has asked me, are we beating this near dead horse?
I think it is important to — Janet, please?
DR. ROWLEY: I just wanted to interject.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Please.
DR. ROWLEY: Because we said last time, and you just repeated that the House vote was unanimous. It was 265-162.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Excuse me. What I said was every member voted for some kind. The substitute bill that was defeated wanted to ban on reproductive only. So on the question of cloning for reproductive purposes there was not a single member of the House who did not vote for one or the other version of a bill that would have banned cloning for baby making. That was my point. The division was as you say.
DR. ROWLEY: Okay. It was not clear.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Did I misspeak? I am sorry if I did and I think it is probably true in the Senate today that if the question is do we want to stop cloning for baby making there would not be a taker but why should we continue to do this — Bill, sorry.
PROF. MAY:: Well, if you are asking that only rhetorically I am —
CHAIRMAN KASS: No, I was going to —
PROF. MAY:: — going to give a wonderful rhetorical answer. I yield.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Well, I was going to, I think, explain at least to those people who are eager for tomorrow morning reasons why they have to suffer through this session.
PROF. MAY:: That is fine. Go ahead.
CHAIRMAN KASS: I think that especially for a body like this, as important as the moral conclusions are, are the reasons that are offered to justify it.
PROF. MAY:: That is right.
CHAIRMAN KASS: And that even if we were all to agree, and I do not know yet if we do, that cloning for baby making is unethical at least for the time being. The reasons we offer will matter a great deal.
For one thing, we have an opportunity not only to object to this or that aspect of cloning but to actually try to make vivid in a positive sense what it is that we are trying to protect and preserve in the realm of procreation and the care of children. And as we are an ethics council and not a scientific or medical body, it is incumbent upon us to make the large moral arguments and to give the reasoned justifications as best we can and more comprehensively than those who, as the Academy chose to do and had to do, confined itself really to the medical and scientific aspects, and indeed we have the encouragement of the Academy itself to do exactly what we are now to do.
Finally, as there is a continuum in human embryological development, so there is a continuum in the possible human interventions into that development that can and will be made. Cloning is not the last reproductive technology that we shall have to encounter, not this Council but we human beings, neither is it the last technology that can select, influence or even design the genetic endowment of our children.
It is, therefore, important I think that in making these arguments that we give justifications for our judgments that might also give some guidelines for future occasions where other technical powers are under discussion and we, again, face questions say about "engineering better children." So that, I think, is at least the Chair's justification for proceeding.
The arguments in favor of cloning children made in Working Paper 3a were clear enough, at least what they were. They might not have been elaborated with full force. And, at least, according to the discussion at the last meeting Michael Sandel said, "They were boring." I mean, they were intelligible but there was not much to discuss. He knew what they were.
The difficulties came with trying to state the moral reasons against it beyond the powerful moral reason having to do with risk of bodily harm about which we have already heard.
Mary Ann Glendon in the discussion suggested that we "lacked commonly agreed upon terms for objecting to people's free choice in matters such as these." But in response, Rebecca Dresser pointed out that "we do, in fact, have the collective language of harm where freedom may be properly constrained if its exercise does harm to someone else and then everything depends upon what is meant by harm and who is harmed and how much, et cetera."
In the Working Paper 6 that we have prepared for today's discussion the staff has chosen to regroup many of the moral arguments against human reproductive cloning made in Working Paper 3b now in the form of alleged harms. Harms to the cloned child, harms to families, and harms to the society. In doing so, obviously we have gone beyond the bodily harm to include psychic and social harm and we have even retained some objections that claim that an injustice is done by cloning per se even if no harm is, in fact, experienced. People may be violated or injured without being aware of it.
This way of presenting the matter may not express adequately the deeper issues that we discussed last time, such as celebrating the mysterious strangeness of a newborn child but I would like to see how it goes and whether this particular way of formulating the issues will work and whether it will tie in, in fact, to the normal ethical framework for discussing these questions.
My hope for this afternoon is to discover where we stand on this topic so that between this meeting and the next the staff may begin to write up our arguments on this limited part of the cloning topic with a view to some final report. So, I mean, the discussion is free and wide open but I would like by the end of this meeting without taking votes just to see where we are in general and which of the arguments strike us as being of greatest weight.
If you would indulge me just about two more minutes, I would like to try to make one — to at least add something to the substance of the discussion, which I think will justify the tact that I have proposed here and also link up the discussion we are about to have with the discussion of the Academies report. I want to propose just a brief reflection on the issue of safety as it has surfaced in the cloning discussions. This comes out of some discussions we have had amongst the — with the staff.
I would like to suggest that if we think about it, the concern with the lack of safety in reproductive cloning may, in fact, rest on a deeper concern for the special well-being of children, which, if we probed it fully, might in fact provide the basis for objecting to cloning even were it become, in the narrower sense, safe.
Why, one might ask, are we so focused on the safety issue in cloning? After all, there are many things that are unsafe that we allow people to practice and that we do not even seek to condemn. Many of them even affect children, indeed unborn children. People drink and smoke and take dangerous drugs while pregnant and the unborn children suffer at birth, often severely.
Children are born addicted or infected with HIV owing to the negligent or downright irresponsible practices and behavior of their progenitors. We sometimes condemn these practices, though we rarely take steps to punish those responsible and no scientific or other bodies have called for making maiming your children through drug addiction a crime.
Why do we make an exception in the case of cloning? Surely, a less prevalent and perhaps less dangerous practice than many we now tolerate or even wink at.
I would like to suggest that we rise strongly to emphasize cloning's hazards because they are integral to the very act of life giving. Anyone who would today choose to clone a child would be choosing to give that child life by means of a process that might severely disable him or her. There is something exquisitely perverse about such a parental deed. I am speaking now for myself. For those who seek to produce a cloned child it would be gratifying their wishes at the expense of not just some unrelated powerless human being but of a very special human being, their own child to be toward whom they ought to stand in the special duty-bound relation of nurturer and protector.
If we believe that a child exists largely to satisfy the parent's wishes and that it emerges as our chosen product or project, we would not be so distressed by cloning's lack of safety. The remarkable and not misplaced concern over the safety of cloning, I want to suggest, stems rather from a tacitly held but very different view of children. The children are and should be seen as gifts to be treasured and that we are duty-bound to protect them and never to violate them for our own ends.
Beneath the concern for safety lies something that might be beneath the general public revulsion of all cloning, namely an unspoken belief about the proper solicitous relation of parents for their children. If this is right, to seek to clone a child would bespeak a reprehensible indifference to the cloned child's well-being and it would follow, by the way, if this is right, that the moral condemnation of cloning, if there should be one, extends not only to the scientists and physicians who do the deed but also to the adults who would seek to have it done.
Now that is an offering into the conversation that tries to connect the safety question, the harm question, and what might, in fact, lie behind it in this case so that we could try to bring these two conversations together.
By the way, if I might ask, as a courtesy, if people would be good enough to turn off their cell phones and alarms. It does sometimes get to be distracting.
The conversation is open with respect to the arguments presented in Working Paper #6 and let's see where we are on these matters.
Michael Sandel, please?
PROF. SANDEL: I do not think we should try too hard to translate the moral concerns that we might articulate into the language, the seemingly more familiar language of safety, harm or even injustice. It is true that it is easier to make out and to defend argument in our society that have to do with harm to others but I do not think that we need to abide by that tendency in the moral culture.
I think what underlies the revulsion, commonly held revulsion against cloning for baby making, is precisely something that is best articulated in a moral vocabulary that is not reproducible to safety or harm or even injustice. I think it has something to do with the kinds of considerations, Leon, that you were just describing but why try to squeeze them into these overly — well, to this kind of shrunken moral vocabulary of safety and harm.
If I understood the last passage of your statement, what is at stake in cloning for baby making and in genetic engineering of children and in designer babies is even if we could do it we might be able to do it in a way that did not actually do any harm to the child. Maybe not even any psychic harm but still there would be something objectionable about it because — and here the moral vocabulary would maybe be captured by the language of corruption or degradation of norms and social practices, of self-understandings that inform the way we regard or respect or have reverence for children in this case but our humanity more broadly. We can get at this even if we look outside the area of genetic engineering.
Consider, for example, what we would think about cosmetic surgery on children that we think would help them get on better in the world. It would make them more popular, more attractive, be elected to school offices or maybe make them athletically more successful. There would be something objectionable about that even if it did not actually damage the well-being or harm the child. To the contrary, in some description it would actually improve the child's prospects but what would be objectionable about it would not be any injustice or even harm but that it would reflect and advance a tendency already powerful in our culture to see ourselves as parents or as scientists engaged in a kind of Promethean ambition of self-creation. The assertion of mastery and sovereignty as if the world and even extending to our children could be seen as the product of our own design, as projects of our will.
So it is the erosion of the restraints that are essential to the norms that constitute the way we regard childhood and the reverence that we have and so I am not sure that it — though, we can try to crowd this range of concerns into safety broadly conceived or harm broadly conceived, it might — we might make a bigger contribution by just identifying this range of concerns insofar as people find them persuasive as another way of describing what it is that is troubling about cloning for baby making.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Could I suggest that we now just discuss Michael's really wonderful intervention and comment because he really, I think, raises the question not only about which issue we should raise but in what kind of language, once again not now sparring over definitional terms, but how should we choose to present these questions. So could we just stay with this thing and whoever wants to speak should speak to that?
Stephen, Rebecca. Bill, was that your hand, too? Yes, thanks.
PROF. CARTER: I will be very brief because, as you know, I have to leave and I want to apologize to the fellow counselors for that.
I agree with Michael entirely but I think there is another reason, also, why we should work to — for the purpose of today's session in the language that Michael's talking about. When we use language of safety and harm, the language is heavily freighted. One of the reasons that that is developed as the common moral language is because in American our moral arguments tend to be arguments about regulation.
So if the objection to this or any other process is put in terms of harm and safety, it automatically in most people's minds becomes a justification for a law or regulation. Now, it may be and there is certainly consensus. There is certainly widespread agreement if not total around the table. It may be that, like others, people here would favor such a ban but without regard to that it strikes me that it is very, very important to be able to discuss the moral issue without choosing language that automatically presupposes that the moral answer and the legal answer have to be the same.
CHAIRMAN KASS: That is very lovely. Thank you.
Rebecca, please. This, by the way, was partly inspired by your comment. I am not blaming you for it. We take full responsibility for it but the question was if there is a common language shall we try to deepen it or are we somehow undercutting what it is we are trying to do by, in fact, adopting it? Please?
PROF. DRESSER: Yes. By making that statement, I did not mean to say that we should limit our discussion to that framework. I am approaching our work as having a number of aims and one would be just to help people think about things that might be relevant to this problem, whether it plays into policy or not, and I certainly think concerns outside of the regulatory notion of harm are important. And, as you have said, we are a bioethics council. We are not a policy council or something so I would really encourage discussion of those kinds of things that Michael was mentioning.
I would rather that we frame this as — or analyze it as here are a number of concerns that this procedure raises because, as I go through this list and even your example, Leon, I mean, I can think about, well, what about the couple and they know that they — just — I do not know if people like this exist but let's say they both have Huntington's, are carriers of Huntington's and they know it, and they decide to have a child.
Some of the concerns that you mentioned would be raised for me in that kind of a case. What kind of a decision is that? Now, there obviously would be differences as well but I think if you just focus on one single concern with baby making cloning you in most of these cases will — people will be able to come up with, well, what about this situation where it is equivalent or equally serious concerns.
So I would rather try to present — I do not know if this is appropriate use but cluster of reasons or cluster of concerns, array of considerations that taken all together might lead us to, you know, very seriously doubt the morality of this practice.
I guess the other point in terms of framing I would like to put is the problem in framing it as if it were safe then should it be allowed ignores the fact that we need to count what would be the cost of trying to make it safe and it is really would the goods of reproductive cloning warrant the affirmative research effort that would be risky for women as egg providers and gestators, and children, require substantial economic investment, have some of the psychological effects that we would talk about with actual baby making cloning. You know, all of these costs. So it is not just — it is out there, should we do it but should we get to the point to where it is out there and that is a much more affirmative effort.
And so the investment there or the cost there or the concerns there should be balanced against, you know, why are we doing this, what are the goods and are they really that significant.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you. I think I have Alfonso, Bill May, Paul and Jim.
DR. GÓMEZ-LOBO: I may have to go back to the harms by the way. Let me backtrack a little bit and explain how I have been thinking about these matters. In the first place I think we all agree that we live in a pluralistic society and so one of my first thoughts was, well, where is the common ground because I would like to bet that there is some common ground that would allow us to rationally reach certain conclusions in the moral domain. And I thought about the following:
I think that most people in American accept the famous principle worded by John Stewart Mill that it is legitimate to — for the state to restrict the freedom of individuals if there is harm to others. Not harm to one's self but harm to others.
Now, many people may believe that this is insufficient but I would think that many people would accept this. Now, if that is the case then I think for a body like this it is rather reasonable to focus on harms because there is a presumption that this may be widely accepted and I personally think that that is exactly what the National Academies of Science's report does. I mean, it does not say so but clearly the assumption is that the ban on reproductive cloning or cloning for reproduction is legitimate. Why? Because of the incredible amount of risk, danger and harm that can flow from it.
Now, the thing that disturbed me there was the restriction of harm to physical harm and this constant adverbial remark "at this point, right now, for the moment," and that is also found many times in the other report by the National Bioethics Advisory Committee, and I am in pursuit of the rich bioethics that I am starting to learn from Leon. So I ask myself, well, are these the only harms there are? Can we go deeper? Is there something that we should consider, especially from the perspective of a cloned child?
And it seems to me that harm is a rather broad notion. Actually we are harmed whenever we are deprived of an important good. If someone defrauds me of my house, I would be certainly harmed because that would be taken away.
And that is why one of the things I thought about was that, and it is not the only consideration, is that being deprived by design, being manufactured by design, as an orphan, as someone who does not have in the biological sense a father and a mother but just an older twin brother or twin sister, that seemed to me to be a very important loss and worth considering.
Now, as I say, that is only one consideration but it has one advantage and it is that that is not limited to the present time. It really gives us reason to think that further in the future we should still not do this because it would be very unfair to the child.
Now let me say those are all considerations I thought about under the heading "liberty principle," the principle for legitimate restrictions of freedom in a liberal society.
On the other hand, I started thinking about another principle, which I think is probably accepted by many people, and it is the principle that no human being should be a mere instrument at the service of other human beings and I would claim that that is precisely the principle that convinces all that slavery is morally wrong.
Now, that is a principle, for instance, that allows me to take a look at the arguments in favor of reproductive cloning and, as I go down the list, I find that they really make the cloned child an instrument for something else. It is true that the child could be loved unconditionally. All those are possibilities but the sheer action of cloning children under those arguments seem to me to make the children not ends in themselves but really manufacturers for the sake of goals beyond them.
So those were my thoughts.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you. We are still — we are both speaking about the substantive arguments but also about the form in which we should be offering them. I think I have Bill May, Paul, Jim and Gil.
PROF. MAY:: I am very attracted to Michael's suggestion that we not simply try to stay within the language of harm but we think about the questions of self-degradation, self-diminution. Another way of putting this is resorting not simply to the language of guilt but to the language of shame and we have tended in the modern world, society of strangers simply thinking about harms to others but there is the whole question of self-degradation that I think we have got to consider.
In talking about cloning and positive eugenics at Yale this last semester to Yale students, I mentioned that cloning might mean — would mean that your kids would have a lock on getting into Yale. Positive eugenics means your kids might get into Harvard.
PROF. MAY:: By trying to mock the shallowness of this ambition.
If you rely simply on the language of harm, I think you run into some of the difficulties in the paper, which basically I think is very good, 3b, but you can too easily get dismissed as speculative because you are all talking about future impacts and I notice how often "might, may, may come to" appears in the language and since we are not yet there it can be rather too easily dismissed as speculative.
Whereas, if you talk about self-degradation and self-diminution, it seems to me, you are appealing to self-perception and that is one of the things I liked about Gil Meilaender's paper. He set up the sense of human nature that allowed us to see what we were doing by way of self-diminution and self-degradation in moving in certain directions and not just guessing about the future, which might be too easily dismissed.
On the question of safety, I was very touched by George Annas' paper where he talks about the whole problem of crossing a boundary. And one does not do full justice to the problem if one simply talks about the possibility of damage to those which is perpetrated in the course of getting across that boundary but rather forcing us to look at that land into which we propose to enter. Its impacts on parenting. Its impacts on being a child. Its impacts on being a sibling and so forth. And something you can address, it seems to me, to people, speaking not entirely within the context of a Calvinist tradition that says our nature is utterly defaced but there is a possibility for us to recognize that that is not what, as human beings — that is not the kind of world into which we ought to enter.
Now, my own feeling is it rests on safety alone then an awful lot of research will be in the direction of making it safe and so one encourages the slippery slope. Whereas, if there are other arguments, powerful arguments, compelling arguments for saying that is a country into which we ought not to enter, it might — if we really sense the power of those arguments and presented a paper that made this clear to a nation, it might, in fact, make it more possible to engage in research without constantly facing the problem. We are merely greasing the skids into moving into that kind of world.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you very much. Turned the page and lost the queue. I had, I think, Paul. Paul McHugh and then Jim.
DR. MCHUGH: Well, wonderfully eloquent things have been said this afternoon and it justifies you, Leon, having us discuss this matter even though it may be a foregone conclusion. I want to follow up on Michael and support it, as have others, but I also want to remind us of what Charles said last time we gathered. He said, "Whenever you do not want to do something, you have got to give really a clear answer as to why you hate something or want to stop it in a democracy."
And I want to just tie this further together and say, "I think human reproductive cloning is an infringement on human dignity." As simple as that. The degradation side takes from human dignity. It does it for three reasons, I think.
First of all, I think that the very idea of manufacturing a human being is a degradation. We are not manufactured. We are created.
Secondly, copying denies the special individuality that each of us has as a human being special in the creation.
And then, finally, the thing we may not be talking enough about is that for each of us we have a source in a lineage of human affection, expressed sexually usually most of the time, and that very much denotes an aspect of our dignity as we are the offspring of some very special people who in love are connected in a long lineage to others, parents, grandparents, in that way, but also siblings, cousins and the like.
And I think human reproductive cloning denies human dignity for those three reasons.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Jim Wilson, please?
DR. WILSON: I agree with Michael. I agree with Bill. I agree with Paul. I think these are all important arguments and I agree that we have to state the argument against reproductive cloning in the strongest possible terms, of which safety must be an issue but not the dominant issue.
However, having said all this, I want to suggest that in Working Paper 6, Section B, where there are five arguments raised against cloning, two of them strike me as implausible. They may not be wrong but they are implausible and before we adopt them or urge the staff to flesh them out, I want us to think about why they may be implausible. These are arguments (a) and (d):
Lacking concern for the physical, social and psychic harms that might be inflicted on the child." The parents might regard it as an "it" and somehow expendable.
And in (d): "The practice of cloning children would set a precedent for treating children as artifacts."
Now, the reasons those arguments to me are implausible is that they are predictions, empirical predictions as to what would happen. It may turn out that they are true but there is a counter argument that has to be considered. A child born from a mother, however the embryo was first planted there, by sexual reproduction, by in vitro fertilization or by cloning, the child appears after the normal process of parturition. And, except for a, happily, tiny minority of women in this world, the child is their's, it is to be cherished, it is to be loved, it is not an artifact, it is not expendable.
Now, it may turn out that cloning will alter that developmental process and it may turn out, therefore, that I will be wrong to be suspicious of these arguments but I do not think we should push these arguments because it seems to me they fly in the face of everything we know about human birth.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you very much. Gil, and then Michael?
PROF. MEILAENDER: I am still coming back to Michael's original — Michael Sandel's original comment, with which I agree if its point is we want a richer argument than just questions of safety. I am not sure I took it as sort of an accurate reading of the Working Paper. Okay. And I have no particular stake in what the best way to structure the argument is but I do think it is worth thinking about if one — if rather than trying to structure it sort of the way the Working Paper does, and I will say a word about at least how I took that to be in a minute — if we simply try to develop several kinds of reasons for concern.
One would be the safety and physical harm, and then there would be some of these other reasons having to do with the relation between the generations and so forth that you are talking about. I mean, one problem with that is that actually it makes it rather easy to make what is the very common move, separating them all and say, yes, the harm is a problem, these others, you know, they are interesting, they are symbolic questions about which we might agree or disagree. I mean, I just predict that in a sense a collection of concerns lends itself to that and that is what made me think about — think favorably about the attempt of the Working Paper to structure it this way, though as I say, I mean, I have no deep stake in it and can persuaded otherwise.
I took the fundamental category of the Working Paper to be not harm but injury and that one could be injured in two sorts of ways. You could be injured by being harmed and you could be injured by being wronged. And being injured by being wronged, though I mean it is not fleshed out and, in fact, they use the language of injustice here but it seems to me that if you were to flesh it out, one would begin to do some of the sorts of talk that you were doing but you would still do it within a general structure that said cloning would constitute an injury and that there were several possible kinds.
Now, as I say, I do not know but as a structure that did have some appeal to me and I did not think of it as excluding what I grant are some very important and richer kinds of concerns.
CHAIRMAN KASS: You are a good reader. I think, if I might just interject, there was partly an attempt — the remark on safety that I offered at the beginning was no part of this. It was an addendum. The part of the point was to enlarge the understanding of harm and even Bill May, when he spoke about degradation, talked about the impact upon, and I take it impacts can be good or bad and bad impacts are forms of harm if harm is a fat enough category. I mean, that is a kind of consequentialist analysis but we did include here a category where someone could be done an injury whether they know it or not and whether they experience it as a harm. And there was only one example here but it seemed to me a number of the things that Michael has raised could go in there.
Welcome, Mary Ann.
Partly it is a question of how does one address — and this was, I think, partly Alfonso's point — how does one address the moral language, which is the common language of the community and do we make a mistake if we simply avoid it and go our own way? That seems to risk doing bioethics in a non-rich way and foregoing the opportunity to develop the arguments in the spirit in which we talked about last time and the way in which the Working Paper does but I think we did leave room in here.
It was not to be an exclusive reduction of all things to harm but to see how far one could get with that kind of language and what would be left over. Now, it might be both intellectually and pedagogically a mistake but that was the intent and it was not meant simply to straight jacket those things.
Michael Gazzaniga and Charles.
DR. GAZZANIGA: Well, I think there — I mean, when we send up the horror flag on reproductive cloning, what we are really offended by is the notion that some person wants to reproduce themselves. So we are mad at the adult, no mad at the child. The child appears, it is a baby. Everybody loves a baby.
And I completely agree with Jim Wilson's assessment that we get on very dangerous ground if we are going to start worrying about the psychological state of the baby. The baby will be accepted by the community. Agency will be conferred to it. That is what our species does. We confer agency immediately and the baby has just as good a chance of growing up to be normal as anybody else.
And I think by not making that clear distinction, the committee in the report has the potential of offending every parent who has adopted a child in the country because in a sense there are many parallels between parents who have adopted a child. They pick up a baby. It was a baby that was put up for adoption by another couple that did not want the baby and all these sort of parallels can be drawn.
So I think it is very — I think we should be very careful about where our anger is. Our anger is not with the child. Our anger is with the precipitating.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Very nice. Who was it? Was it Charles, and then — I have lost the queue again. Charles and Frank and Michael?
DR. KRAUTHAMMER: I am not sure the basis for our revulsion is anger. I think it is horror and I sort of agree that it is somewhat restrictive to speak only in the language of harm or injury, although I think the point that it is the common language of the Millean (?) universe in which we live. It makes it rather advantageous in terms of appealing to a broad democratic polity. Everybody understands the basic rule that you can be intercepted from doing something and prevented if it is going to harm others.
So I would not be opposed to harm or injury as the rubric. All I would do is to try to say that we should not focus exclusively on the harm to the cloned child, which appears to be what almost all of these instances in the paper are about for two reasons.
One is because all of the arguments could in the end be collapsed by the counter argument that, well, at least it is living and the alternative is never to have lived at all and perhaps even for all of the harms it is here and if we are asked the choice it would rather be here harmed than never have been created in the first place, which is the argument that one has about severely disabled or damaged newborns.
So, I am a little bit concerned that if the entire argument hinges on harm to the cloned child, it could be completely evaporated by the counter argument that, well, harmed or not, he is here and you would have prevented his very existence. That is the worst harm.
So, I think, we need to broaden out the concept of harm and to speak of harm to society. That is harder to do but it has to do with what would life be like in a society in which (a) you could manufacture children, you could program them, you could design them, and you could design them as copies without individual identities. And that is — Huxley did that rather well so we are a little bit late catching up with him but he showed us what it would be like and I do not think it is a very hard thing to do, is to elaborate that kind of dystopia to actually distill it into arguments about what is wrong with such a society.
So, in summary, I would not oppose the idea of harm but it should not be exclusively on the child or we are at risk. It should be a broader one.
And one other — if I could just add one point. The National Academy report is extremely and consciously restrictive. It focuses on a single kind of harm, that is the harm of physical harm under the Nuremberg rules and it consciously punted all the other harms, all the other ethical arguments to us. I think it would be extremely important to elaborate precisely what they had consciously left out because I think it would establish the argument in the national debate in a way that would be extremely important.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you very much.
Frank, and then Michael Sandel?
PROF. FUKUYAMA: Well, I am not so sure that you can collapse all of the arguments about harm to the child just on the counter argument that it is better to be alive because, in fact, a lot of, you know, this research into genetics is designed precisely to prevent, you know, that kind of outcome, which I think there is a broad consensus, you know. Even if the child does not, you know, articulate, you know, the thought it would better for me not to have been born — you know, I think a lot of people would say certainly, all other things being equal, it would have been better if that child had not been born, you know, with that particular defect.
So I think it is legitimate to — you know, quite legitimate to lay out the harms. My view of the problem with the — I think the way that scientists deal with the question of harm, in general, is that it is a kind of lowest common denominator. It is always harms to the body and only rarely includes, you know, psychic or social harms.
As a social scientist, I feel perfectly entitled to talk about all this sort of thing, I mean, but, you know, a scientist is very reluctant, for example, to take a position on whether it is good or bad for the child development to be born into a single parent family. That is something that actually social scientists have been debating and it is something that can be, you know, I think, empirically addressed and I think that my preferred strategy is actually to begin from bodily harms but to expand the notion of harms to say that there are other kinds of psychic harms.
I mean, in my view actually, you know, one of the greatest psychic harms is, you know, the confusion of authority roles in families in ways actually that, you know, invite incest and, in fact, as I was thinking about it, you know, in the last session I made the comparison, a restriction on cloning is in a way sort of parallel to our existing restriction on incest. But the more I think about it, it actually overlaps to a, you know, substantial degree.
You cannot empirically verify this until you have a big population of cloned children but I think that there is probably a lot of existing social science research on who commits incest and where child abuse among other things happens. It happens among nonrelatives living in families that this kind of relationship actually would invite.
And I think that you can, you know, kind of make a very kind of social scientifically informed argument that you are opening the path to a fairly predictable set of harms if you — psychic harms if you permit this.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Michael?
PROF. SANDEL: I would like to speak against pandering to Millean assumptions that may be widespread in our society. There are times — in fact, most of the time when we are trying to persuade or engage in political argument that we have to try to fit our arguments to the moral vocabulary that is prevalent because otherwise we would not be able to get agreement.
This is a different kind of case that represents a special opportunity because here we have agreement. We have agreement so it is not the problem of saying, well, can we find a common denominator of moral vocabulary and fit that for the sake — we have the agreement that cloning is undesirable so we have a special opportunity to engage in moral and political — moral education to that aspect of our role. So of all cases where we might find ourselves, this should not be one of them.
This is one where we should feel free as a Council to do our best to articulate the full range of reasons, of human considerations, moral considerations without feeling the need to pander to Mill's own principle because it is widespread. The revulsion that there is, the unarticulated revulsion gives us a chance to try to do what the public has not on its own been able to articulate, the sources of the revulsion, which may shift the moral vocabulary for other purposes in public discourse.
CHAIRMAN KASS: It sounds to me — two things. One, it sounds unanimous that while there are some people who say we should not simply eschew the language of harm where it is useful, that we have an opportunity here to do much more, and that the way we chose to struggle to talk about these things the last time is in a way the right way to try to develop that.
Is there anybody who wants to dissent from that because if that is where we are, I propose the following: That we are ready for a short break and that we come back and actually try to dig in. I mean, Paul McHugh has actually made a substantive claim about what is wrong with this and laid certain things down. Others at the table have done as well.
Also, one other thing that we should not forget to do because — and someone reminded me of this at lunch, just because we seem to fit, most of us, with the general public sentiment does not entitle us to be unfair to any arguments that could be made in favor of cloning. And it seems to me that before anybody sets anybody to write anything, it seems to me that side of the discussion also deserves to be heard.
So, unless somebody wants to dissent from the consensus started by Michael as to how we should speak about it and what kinds of arguments we should make, I will take that as the sense of the group and then we only have to figure out which ones. Is that all right with everybody? Any dissents from that?
Michael, you have done us a great service and so has everybody else who has elaborated on that.
We are short of 3:15. 3:30 sharp. We will go until about 10 to 5:00 and at 5:00 o'clock we have the legal ethics session. Thank you.