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第3册 - Unit 8, Section B - Who Will Take Advantage of Human Cloning?

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Last week's news that scientists had cloned a sheep sent academics and the public into a panic at theprospect that humans might be next. That's an understandable reaction. Cloning is a radical challengeto the most fundamental laws of biology, so it's reasonable to be concerned that it might be a preface toactivities that will threaten human society and dignity. Yet much of the moral opposition seems also togrow out of an automatic, unthinking disgust. This refusal to consider the issue logically makes it hardfor even trained scientists and other experts to see the matter clearly. While human cloning might notoffer great benefits to humanity, no one has yet made a convincing case that it would do any real harm,either.

Conservative spiritual leaders have claimed that cloning a human constitutes a gross attack onhuman dignity. That would surely be true if a cloned individual were treated as a lesser being, withfewer rights or lower status. But why suppose that the laws that protect our rights and dignity wouldnot be applicable to cloned persons? A leading lawyer has suggested that cloning would violate the'right to a unique genetic identity'. Where did he come up with such a right? It makes perfect sense tosay that adult persons have a right not to be cloned without their voluntary, informed consent. But ifsuch consent were given, whose 'right' to genetic identity would be violated?

Many of the vivid warnings of science-fiction concerning the prospect of human cloning turn out,upon reflection, to be wildly improbable. There's the fear, for instance, that parents might clone a childfor the sake of having 'surplus parts' in case the original child needs an organ transplant. But parentsof identical twins don't view one child as an organ farm for the other. Why should cloned children'sparents be any different?

Another disturbing thought is that cloning will lead to efforts to breed individuals with geneticqualities perceived as desirable (math geniuses, soccer players, etc.). Such ideas are offensive, not onlybecause of an unthinking disgust, but also because of the horrors carried out by the Nazis in the nameof improving their race. But there's a vast difference between the breeding programs as practiced bysome groups (where the urge to breed certain types of people leads to efforts to destroy other types)and the much more harmless forms already practiced in democratic societies (where, say, lawyersfreely choose to have sexual relations with other lawyers). Banks stocked with the frozen sperm ofgeniuses already exist, but they haven't created a master race because few women are queuing up toget pregnant this way. Why should we think it would be different if human cloning becomes available?

So who will likely take advantage of cloning? Perhaps a couple whose child is dying. This might seempsychologically suspect. But a cloned child born to such suspect parents stands no greater or lesserchance of being loved, or rejected, than a child created the normal way. Infertile couples are also likelyto seek out cloning. That such couples have other options (artificially bringing egg and sperm together,or adopting a child) is not an argument for denying them the right to clone. Or consider an exampleraised by Judge Richard Posner: a couple in which the husband has some unfortunate genetic defect.

Currently, if this couple wants a genetically related child, they have four not altogether pleasantoptions. They can reproduce naturally and resign themselves to the risk of passing on the disease to thechild. They can go to a sperm bank and take a chance on unknown genes. They can bring egg andsperm together artificially and dispose of any affected baby before placing it in the mother, or beforebirth - though that might be objectionable, too. Or they can get a male relative of the father to be asperm donor, if such a relative exists. This is one case where even people bothered by creating a childunder the lens of a microscope might see cloning as not the worst option.

Even if human cloning offers no obvious benefits to mankind, why ban it? In a democracy we don'tusually pass laws against something before there is actual or probable evidence of harm. Before we goany further, it might make sense to require a temporary pause on research into human cloning in orderto make a systematic enquiry into the grave questions it raises. When research into cloning is resumed,human cloning should remain a research activity for an extended period. And if it is ever attempted, itshould - and no doubt will - take place only under careful examination and layers of legaladministration. Most important, human cloning should be governed by the same laws that now protecthuman rights. A world not safe for cloned humans would be a world not safe for the rest of us.

New Words panic n. 恐慌,惊慌

v. (使)惊慌

preface n. 1.开端,前奏,序幕 2.序言,前言,引言

refusal n. 拒绝

conservative a. 保守的,守旧的,传统的

n. 保守的人,保守派

spiritual a. 1.宗教上的 2.心灵的,精神上的

constitute vt. 1.是,构成 2.组成,构成

gross a. 1.明显错误的 2.总的,总共的

applicable a. 适用的,合适的,适当的

voluntary a. 自愿的,志愿的

consent n. 同意,准许

vi. 同意,准许

vivid a. 鲜艳的,鲜明的,生动的,逼真的

reflection n. 1.考虑,深思 2.反射,反照;倒影 3.反映,表达

probable a. 很有可能的,大概的

◆improbable a. 不大可能的,未必确实的

sake n. 缘由,理由

surplus a. 过剩的,多余的

n. 过剩;剩余额

soccer n. 英式足球

horror n. 1.令人恐惧的事物,恐怖 2.恐惧,震惊

democratic a. 民主的,有民主精神的

sexual a. 性的,两性的

■sperm n. 精子

queue vi. 排队

n. (排队等候的)一队人或车等

◆infertile a. 不育的;不结果实的

artificial a. 1.人造的,人工的 2.假的,矫揉造作的

defect n. 缺陷,缺点

reproduce v. 1.(指人类、动物等)繁殖,生殖 2.复制,再现

resign v. 1.顺从,听从 2.辞职,引退

dispose v. 1.摆脱,处理,扔掉 2.安排,布置

lens n. 透镜,(凹、凸)镜片

microscope n. 显微镜

democracy n. 1.民主国家 2.民主;民主政体

temporary a. 短暂的,暂时的,临时的

systematic a. 有系统的,有计划的,有方法的

resume v. 再继续,恢复

layer n. 层

administration n. 1.管理,经营,支配 2.行政部门,行政机关 3.政府

govern v. 1.影响,支配,规定 2.统治,治理,管理

Phrases and Expressions send into 使处于(某种状态),使变得

at the prospect of/that... 当意识到......可能时

grow out of 由... ...而生,起因于

make sense 有道理,合乎情理;明智

turn out (to be) 证实是,原来是

on/upon reflection 再考虑后

for the sake of sth./doing sth. 为了得到或拥有

view as 视为,看作

perceive as 视为,当作

carry out 进行,实施

in the name of 借... ...之名;为... ...目的

queue up 排长队

stock with 使藏有,使备有

stand a chance of 有可能(取得)

seek out 寻找并发现

resign oneself to sth. 只得接受

pass on 传递,传给

take a chance on 冒险

dispose of 摆脱,处理,扔掉

make an enquiry into 调查;打听

Proper Names

Nazi (德国)国社党党员,纳粹分子

Richard Posner 理查德·波斯纳

上星期的新闻报道说,科学家已经克隆了一只绵羊。这一消息引起了学术界和公众的恐慌,他们预想下一个就轮到克隆人类了。

这种反应是可以理解的。

克隆向生物学最基本的规律发起了一次根本性的挑战,因此有理由担心这或许是威胁人类社会和人类尊严的活动的序曲。

然而,这种道义上的反对大多出自一种本能的、未经思索的厌恶。

这种拒绝对此问题作理性思考的行为,甚至使训练有素的科学家和其他专家也难以看清这件事的实质。

虽然克隆人类可能不会给人类带来很大的好处,但也没有人能提供有力的论据证明它会带来真正的危害。

保守派的宗教领袖宣称,克隆人类是对人类尊严的一次重大挑战。

假如克隆的人被当作一种次等动物,权利小,地位低,事实就会的确如此。

但是为什么会想到保护人类权利和尊严的法律不适用于被克隆的人呢?

一名权威律师提出,克隆将会违犯"基因唯一身份权"。

他从何处得来这一权利?

未经通知并征得本人同意,成年人有权不被克隆,这是完全合理的。

但是,如果事先得到允许,那又会侵犯谁的基因身份"权"呢?

有关克隆人类前景的科幻小说所发出的种种真切的警告,仔细想来,却变成了无稽之谈。

例如,有人担心,父母克隆孩子是为了"备用器官",以备原来的孩子器官移植之需。

但是,同卵双胞胎的父母并不会把一个孩子看作另一个孩子的器官作坊。

为什么克隆孩子的父母会有所不同?

另一个让人不安的想法是,克隆会使人们致力于培育具有理想基因特质的个人(如数学天才、足球运动员等)。

这样的想法很令人反感,不仅仅缘于一种下意识的厌恶,还因为纳粹分子以优化种族之名实施的恐怖行为。

但是,某些团体实施的培育项目和在民主社会里已有先例的更为无害的培育方式之间存在着天壤之别:前者迫切地培育某类人因而对其余的人进行毁灭,而后者,比如说律师,则是通过自由地选择与别的律师发生性关系得以实现。

已经有了贮存天才的冷冻精子的精子库,但它们还没有生成一个优等种族,原因是很少有妇女排队等候以这种方式怀孕。

为什么我们要认为克隆人类是与此不同的呢?

那么谁可能从克隆技术中受益呢?

也许是濒临死亡的孩子的父母。

这在心理学上似乎不可信。但是,和一个正常生育的孩子相比,被这样的可疑的父母所克隆的孩子,被关爱或被抛弃的机会却是完全一样的。

患不孕症的夫妇也可能求助于克隆。

这样的夫妇当然也有其他选择(人工授精,或收养孩子),但这不能作为剥夺他们克隆权利的借口。

或者不妨考虑一下理查德·波斯纳法官举出的例子:有一对夫妇,丈夫不幸有某种基因缺陷。

目前,如果这对夫妇想要一个具有自己遗传基因的孩子,他们有四个不甚令人满意的选择。

他们可以自然生育,但却要冒着把疾病遗传给孩子的风险;

他们可以去精子库,冒险尝试不知名的基因;

他们也可以人工授精,然后在将受精卵植入母体之前,或在生育之前,放弃有遗传缺陷的胎儿──尽管这也可能引起反对;

或者,他们还可以请孩子父亲的某位男性亲戚捐献精子──如果有这么一位亲戚的话。

在这个例子中,就连不愿意在显微镜下创造孩子的人也可能认为克隆不是最坏的选择。

即使克隆人类不会给人类提供任何明显的好处,为什么要禁止它?

在民主社会里,除非有证据证明某件事确实或可能产生危害,否则我们通常不会立法禁止它。

在我们尚未继续前进之前,最好是先要求暂时停止克隆人类的研究,以便系统地研究它所引发的深刻问题。

当克隆研究重新开始时,克隆人类应该仍然会是一项历时长久的研究活动。

而且,如果试图研究,它就应当──而且毫无疑问地将会──在谨慎的检查和层层的法律监督之下进行。

最重要的是,约束人类克隆行为的,应当也是现在保护人权的同一法律。

对于克隆人来说不安全的世界,也会是一个对我们其他人同样不安全的世界。

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