Download Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy by Stanley Shostak PDF

By Stanley Shostak

Explores how new organs will be engineered through cloning and reproductive know-how to supply human immortality.

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Extra info for Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy

Sample text

This ambivalence toward the different haunts biology. In eighteenth century Europe, life’s discontinuities were rationalized in terms of everything having a place. 139 Today, suggestions that cloning and immortality pose a threat to individuality are no more compelling than suggestions that man’s place in nature is that of dictator. Clearly, a world occupied by immortal human beings—or, more likely, shared by mortal and immortal human beings—will be more 34 QUO VADIS? homogeneous than a world occupied entirely by transient, mortal human beings.

Flux moves the sameness of life from cell to cell and organism to organism, and everything else living things share with each other; discontinuity creates individuals and allows them to gamble and compete or trade off differences with each other; waste is life’s great resource, supporting everything within life’s capability. Taken together, the three parts of this theory of biological life circumscribe and prescribe mortality. This version of life also encapsulates the obstacles to both thinking about and achieving immortality.

WASTE Life is prodigal! Since the time of Weismann, an organism, or somatoplasm, has been understood as a virtual waste-product from the moment it is conceived except as it functions as a receptacle for germplasm on its way between generations. Organisms are the wasteful links in the chain of life, and life would be far less wasteful were it left to germ lines. Selfish genes would still compete, but life would be more efficient. Life’s prodigality is prodigious. 140 And what about the invisible bacteria, algae, plankton, and protozoa disintegrating or sinking into oceanic sediments; and let us not forget so-called waste products, various excreta, and corpses.

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