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2007-08-08 16:35:08 来源:未知

          The Economics of Cloning

(1)  Any normal species would be delighted at the prospect of cloning. No more nasty surprises like sickle cell? or Down syndrome? — just batch after batch of high-grade and, genetically speaking, immortal offspring! But representatives of the human species are responding as if someone had proposed adding Satanism to the grade-school Curriculum. Suddenly, perfectly secular? folks are throwing around words like sanctity and picking up medieval-era arguments against the arrogance of science. No one has proposed burning him at the stake, but the poor fellow who induced a human embryo to double itself has virtually abandoned — proclaiming his reverence for human life in a voice, this magazine reported, “ choking with emotion.”

(2)  There is an element of hypocrisy to much of the anticloning frenzy, or if not hypocrisy, superstition. The fact is we are already well down the path leading to genetic manipulation of the depressing sort. Life-forms can be patented, which means they can be bought and sold and potentially traded on the commodities markets. Hu-man embryos are life-forms, and there is nothing to stop anyone from marketing them now, on the same shelf with the Cabbage Patch dolls.
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(3)  In fact, any culture that encourages in vitro fertilization? has no right to complain about a market in em-bryos. The assumption behind the in vitro industry is that some people’s genetic material is worth more than others’ and deserves to be reproduced at any expense. Millions of low-income babies die every year from pre-ventable ills like dysentery?, while heroic efforts go into maintaining yuppie zygotes? in test tubes at the unicel-lular stage. This is the dread “nightmare” of eugenics in familiar, marketplace form — which involves breeding the best-paid instead of the best. Cloning technology is an almost inevitable by-product of in vitro fertilization. Once you decide to go to the trouble of in vitro, with its potentially hazardous megadoses of hormones? for the female partner and various indignities for the male, you might as well make a few backup copies of any viable? embryo that’s produced. And once you’ve got the backup copies, why not keep a few in the freezer, in case Junior ever needs a new kidney or cornea??

(4)  No one much likes the idea of thawing out? one of the clone kids to harvest its organs, but according to Andrew Kimbrell, author of The Human Body Shop, in the past few years an estimated 50 to 100 couples have produced babies to provide tissue for an existing child. Plus there is already a thriving market in Third World kidneys and eyes. Is growing your own really so much worse than robbing the bodies of the poor? Or maybe we’ll just clone for the fun of it. If you like a movie scene, you can rewind the tape, so when Junior gets all pimply? and nasty, why not start over with Junior II? Sooner or later, among the in vitro class, instant replay will be considered a human right.

(5)  The existential objections ring a bit hollow. How will it feel to be one ______ among hundreds? The anti-cloners ask. Probably no worse than it feels to be the 3 millionth 13-year-old dressed in identical baggy trousers, untied sneakers and baseball cap — a feeling usually described as “cool.” In a mass-consumer society, notions like “precious individuality” are best reserved for the Nike ads.

(6)  Besides, if we truly believed in the absolute uniqueness of each individual, there would be none of this unseemly eagerness to reproduce one’s own particular genome. What is it, after all, that drives people to in vitro rather than adoption? Deep down, we don’t want to believe we are each unique, one-time-only events in the universe. We hope to happen again and again. And when the technology arrives for cloning adult individuals, genetic immortality should be within reach of the average multimillionaire. Ross Perot will be followed by a flock of little re-Rosses.

(7)  As for the argument that the clones will be sub-people, existing to live up to the vanity of their parents (or their “originals,” as the case may be), since when has it been illegal to use one person as a vehicle for the ambi-tions of another? If we don’t yet breed children for their SAT scores, there is a whole class of people, heavily overlapping with the in vitro class, who coach their kids to get into the nursery schools that offer a fast track to Harvard. You don’t have to have been born in a test tube to be an extension of someone else’s ego.

(8)  For that matter, if we get serious about the priceless uniqueness of each individual, many distinguished so-cial practices will have to go. It’s hard to see why people should be able to sell their labor, for example, but not their embryos of eggs. Labor is also made out of the precious stuff of life — energy and cognition? and so forth — which is hardly honored when “unique individuals” by the millions are condemned to mind-killing, repetitive work.

(9)  The critics of cloning say we should know what we’re getting into, with all its Orwellian implications. But if we decide to outlaw cloning, we should understand the implications of that. We would be saying in effect that we prefer to leave genetic destiny to the crap shooting? of nature, despite sickle-cell anemia and Tay-Sachs and all the rest, because ultimately we don’t trust the market to regulate life itself. And this may be the hardest thing of all to acknowledge: that it isn’t so much 21st century technology we fear, as what will happen to that tech-nology in the hands of old-fashioned 20th century capitalism.


【参考译文】: 复制人的经济分析

(1) 每一个正常的品种,有机会能复制后代,应该都会雀跃不已。从此不再会有镰状细胞或唐氏症候群等恼人的意外,只有一批批高品质的后代,从基因传承来看甚至是一种永生!可是人类这个品种的一些成员对这项讯息的反应,就好像听到有人提议把撒旦崇拜列入小学课程一样。完全没有宗教信仰的人,突然间满口都是“神圣”之类的字眼,而且重拾中古时代的论调来批评科学的狂妄。那位可怜的科学家,促使人类胚胎复制成功,现在虽然还没有人说要把他绑在桩子上烧死,他已经等于在忏悔了——公开宣称他崇敬生命,讲话时的声音据本刊报道是“激动得哽咽。”

(2) 这阵反对复制胚胎的喧哗,夹杂虚伪的成分在内——如果不是虚伪,也有迷信的成分。事实上,我们已经走到非常接近令人毛骨悚然的基因操控技术了。生命形态已经可以申请专利,这代表可以买卖,将来也可能在商品市场上交易。人类胚胎也是生命形态。现在有人要拿它来行销也没有法律可以禁止——可以和菜田洋娃娃摆在同一个架子上卖。

(3) 坦白说,一种文化,假如鼓励试管婴儿业,就没有资格抱怨胚胎市场的出现。试管婴儿业背后有一个假设:有些人的基因比别人的基因有价值,值得不计成本来保存、延续。每年有几百万个生在低收入家庭的婴儿死于不难预防的疾病,如痢疾。但是雅皮阶层的受精卵,还在单细胞阶段,在试管中就受到呵护,耗费了庞大的人力物力。这种情况,是优生学可怕的“梦魇”以熟悉的市场形态出现——培育的不是最优秀的品种,而是收入最高的品种。胚胎复制技术可说是试管婴儿技术无可避免的副产品。一旦你决定不畏试管婴儿术的麻烦——女性要施以超高剂量的荷尔蒙,可能会有危险,男性在各方面也有失尊严——那么好不容易制造出来的健康胚胎自然会想要备上几份。有了备份,那么何不冷冻一些起来,以防将来小宝宝万一需要个新肾脏或眼角膜?

(4) 把复制孩童解冻来摘取器官,这个想法没有人很喜欢。可是《人体商店》的作者金柏瑞尔说,过去几年来估计有50到100对夫妇为了让现有的小孩得到人体组织而再生小孩。此外,第三世界国家的肾脏、眼睛等早就有活跃的市场。自己去养来用,比起劫掠穷人的身体,真的会恶劣得多吗?或者我们只为了好玩来复制吧。电影的精彩片段看不过瘾可以倒带回来重看。那么,到小宝宝长得满脸疙瘩,讨人嫌的时候,不妨换个小宝宝重来一次吧?早晚的事,试管婴儿族会把“瞬间重播”视为他们的人权。



(7) 也有人说复制人会成为半人,只为了满足父母(也可能是“原版”,看情形)的虚荣心而存在。可是,利用别人来实现自己的野心,一向都不犯法。现在诚然还没有人针对学术性向测验去繁殖新品种的小孩,可是已经有一整群人,成员和试管婴儿族多有重叠,训练他们还在学步的子女进明星托儿所,以便一路直升哈佛。不在试管里出生也可以成为别人自我的延伸。



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