September 23, 2006

Personal Writing Project.

“How do poets, and artists of all kinds, use mythology as a way of prjecting their self into their work?”

A piece of personal invesigative poetry/prose:

why do I personally find it difficult to write directy about myself?

- does writing through a medium such as myth make this easier? Why? And what effect does this have on the “poetic persona”?

= DOES THE ACT OF WRITING PETRY THROUGH A MEDIUM SUCH AS MYTHOLOGY CAUSE THE ISOLATION OF THE EMOTIONAL SELF AT THE COST OF THE DEVEOPMENT OF THE POETIC PERSONA?

Texts of interest:

Ovid’s Metamorphosis
Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid
etc…

Possible points of reference between myself and mythology:

Viking Myths – Northern, earthy.
Tales of Medusa – conflicting personality etc.

Any thoughts?


September 01, 2006

Back home…

Well, I’ve now been back in England for abut 10 days and I still can’t believe I’ve done it, that it’s over, and hw amazing that is…

I have travelled around the world! And both of us survived, we managed it, and we had a great time!!!!

I can’t believe it…

But it’s good to be home, to see England again, to be with family again… Now, I just can’t wait to see you all, move into our house in Leam, and let uni term begin…

Roll on year three… :)

Sydney


June 11, 2006

The end of another year…

Well, for me another year at Warwick has passed, with only one day left before I depart and year two is ended.

And yet again, it's been a fantastic year as far as I've been concerned. The doomed "second year, second term crisis" thankfully passed me by, though I've been in the position of having to watch my friends go through it, and I'm aware I might not always have dealt with this in the best way… But, we've all got through it, we're all still here, and we're all still happy.

Tim, who startlingly seems to have become our house–prophet, said that this year had seen the fracturing to an extent of the close friendship group that we formed last year, but that in the last term or so, we have all come back together again, stronger and happier, and although I may hate to admit it, I think that he might be right!

As a house, we've figured things out pretty well. Last year people told us – Tim, Joe, Katy, Niki, Silke, Alex and I – that we were asking for trouble all moving in together, but it's worked well, and I at least wouldn't have traded our adventures this year for anything – I love my husemates with all my heart, they're my second family and my best friends. They put up with me, and that alone shows how amazing they are! I feel I've got to know them so much better this year, and they've helped change me into a much more confident, relaxed person…

Again, Tim–the–prophet observed that the advanced closeness in our group is greatly down our catalyst, aka "the boys" – Jonny, Tavs, Vaughn, Phil and Jon. These guys are so much fun, so caring, and always a great time! They've taken us all under their wings and brought us arty–farty people back down to the real world. Not without the help of Ali's curry of course!

Then there are ur amazing pseudo–housemates – Thom, Sho, Chloe, Ant, Kris etc. They give us breathing space, and our time "together" never is complete without them!

It's also been wonderful meeting the Othello cast, the Oleanna cast, and everyone else who I've come to know over the year…

I love you all so much. That's all I want to say.

Now, I'm about to leave to travel the world… But I'll see you all next year, and I can't wait…


June 08, 2006

The soppyness begins here…

People talk of the perfection of the moment, and I see it –

as I watch housemates playing frisbee in the sun.


June 07, 2006

And it's nearly over…

Well, exams are over at any rate.

Now, three days of work with my last shifts at both the cafe and Sainsburys! Until Septemeber anyway…

Then – it's off around the world!!!! I'm excited. Nerves have gone now. This time in a fortnight, I'll be in Beijing.

Oh my god!!!

Gonna be so much fun…

Right, I'm off for a pint.


May 12, 2006

Homomonument

I spent last weekend in Amsterdam, and amongst the other "sights" (ahem), there was the Homomonument, a memorial to the homosexuals of Europe who died in the holocaust of World War Two.

Homomonument

Homomonument 2

The genocide of the Jews was horrific, the deaths were awful, unimaginable. But how often is it remembered that there were other minority groups who suffered – including the gay communities of Europe.

To find this monument in Amsterdam seemed somehow so fitting. It has a reputation it certainly lives up to, but has it ever occured to us that with their liberal minded approach to people and society, the Dutch have, in fact, got it right?


May 02, 2006

If anyone is ever interested…

Marie “Missie” Vassiltchikov’s The Berlin Diaries, 1940 – 1945
Oyster parties and air raids.

On Saturday, 2nd March 1940, Russian princess, Marie Vassiltchikov who had fled her home in St. Petersburg after the Russian Revolution, attended a cocktail party at the Brazilian Ambassador’s house in Berlin. Elsewhere, German troops were preparing to invade Denmark and Norway, which the Nazis hoped, would help break the allied blockade of German ports.

How could a story with such an approach of juxtaposition and irony not intrigue? This is what drew me to this story, what stuck with me through the many plot twists and the thousands of characters I felt I should recognise but
could never quite pinpoint. It’s not a work of “literary” genius, in that it isn’t written by a unique novelist, or a cutting edge journalist, but it enthrals in a different way, and it is by reading behind all the extended descriptions and name dropping that the jewel (quite literally) of the piece resides; “Missie” herself.

To refer to her, essentially a princess, as “Missie” seems to me the most natural thing in the world. She has a character, a life about her that many of the other narrators (with the exception perhaps of Primo Levi, although his tone of writing was engaging for entirely different reasons) lack, whether it be through time, aware of their reader’s sensitivities, or their own need to distance themselves from the events. But Missie is, in every sense of the word, a breathe of fresh air.

Whilst Berlin is under attack, she mentions briefly, tellingly, that she is eating oysters in abasement with Princes and Ambassadors. When she is at work, she intersperses it with her involvement in Adam von Trott zu Solz, and his July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler. In her diaries she moves from socialite to rebel and reactionary with a fluidity and naturalness that leaves the reader breathless and full of anticipation. She paints a picture of Berlin, seemingly unknowingly, that says that yes, that world that you always knew existed behind the trauma and regime, but could never quite see, was there, and I experienced it, and I had the time of my life.

If this book were fiction it would be condemned as implausible. If it were merely a factual account it would be too haphazard to comprehend. But this book is a diary, of real events, written in a way which makes them unique, written by a unique woman, in a unique, hilarious and moving situation. They are written by Missie Vassiltchikov, with a glass of champagne in one had and a time bomb in the other.


Playing God

Playing God:
the modern age of Frankenstein.

In 1818, whilst secluded away in the Swiss mountains, surrounded by the cold and the wet, a nineteen year old girl wrote of the first genetically engineered human being brought to life; Frankenstein’s monster.

Like google and the Internet, genetic engineering has been around for much longer than Dolly the Sheep – much longer than many of us would care to admit. The story of Frankenstein famously came to the young Mary Shelley in a dream after a competition had been announced between Byron, Shelley and herself as to who could write the best ghost story. Her visions had terrified her so much, they were burned into her brain the next morning, and her solution was to write them, and create what became known as one of the best novels of the nineteenth century. Little did the readers of her novel, sat in London’s society parlours, and in the courts of Europe imagine that this was more than mere fiction, more even than a distant possibility; Mary Shelley’s novel was little more than what would become a startlingly close reality.

Thankfully, so far the arena of actual achievements in genetic engineering have generally been limited to food and animals, the biggest and most documented being the birth of Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. She was “created” by English embryologist Ian Wilmut working at the Roslin Institute, Scotland, and his team of scientists. Originally, she was simply labelled 6LL3, but then was named Dolly (after Dolly Parton – it was a mammary cell they transplanted into the embryo) by the team who helped deliver her – she already has an improvement on the monster then. Dolly the sheep became more of a person than the monster ever is in the novel, simply because she was given a name.

Another improvement is that instead of taking pieces of already dead sheep and tying them together with piece of string as Frankenstein does, Wilmut transferred just one cell – the previously mentioned mammary cell – to create the complete embryo, which was then implanted into the ‘mother’ sheep. The technique they used was called “somatic cell nuclear transfer”; in everyday English therefore, they removed a nucleus from a somatic, normal cell (not a sperm cell or and egg cell), and placed it inside an egg cell, which had also had its nucleus removed, and in this case, discarded. The egg cell therefore then has pairs of chromosomes instead of just a single strand, which usually is completed upon fertilisation. Hence, a clone is “conceived”, and eventually born. This transferral of only one cell to create the clone is crucial in the scientists attempting to calm the fears of those who see genetic engineering, and in particular, cloning as going “a step too far”.

Not be be outdone however, shortly after the birth of Dolly, American physicist, Richard Seed announced his intention to create the first human clone. Even Ian Wilmut had conceded to limits that should be, and were in most countries, inflicted upon cloning development, saying that in creating Dolly he had only been intending to find a way of increasing the productivity of farm animals. Cloning should not, he said, extend to humans – we are only mortal beings, after all.

Richard Seed begs to differ. Cloning humans for “commercial” purposes is, he says, the “first step towards becoming one with God”. He is unavailable for interview, and therefore his response to the question what does “commercial” imply is left ominously unanswered. This is perhaps for the best.

It would seem useless to deny however that now the technology has been put in motion by Wilmut, that it is only a matter of time before the first cloned human is born; undeniably, “the age of Frankenstein has arrived”.
There are many who fear genetic engineering, fear cloning and its implications; their questions are endless – “it can kill”, we don’t know what we’re doing, it goes against the natural order. We are not God.

Not unsurprisingly, one of the biggest groups of people who object to genetic engineering are the Christian denominations around the world, who feel that cloning is simply blasphemous, and no more than presumptuous scientists attempting to “play God” by “performing tasks that are reserved for God and God alone” (Dr. Ray Bohlin Genetic Engineering, 2003). They argue, fairly understandably, that by pretending to “play God” we are tempting fate, morally, technologically, medically and spiritually. We all have to face the day of Judgement and answer for our actions, we all must suffer for the crimes we commit. But not only, argue the people with more extreme objections, will the scientist, the “manufacturer” suffer for what he has done, but so will the “product”, the clone – the child. We all must suffer for the sins of our fathers;

“I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Exodus, 20: 4–6).

Mary Shelley understood this; the creature in her novel becomes a “monster” principally because of the crimes his “father”, his creator committed in making him, or even really, in simply the intention of making him, let alone in carrying out the act itself. In playing God, in piecing together pieces of already dead human bodies and shocking it into life, Frankstein was creating something – a monster – outside of the natural order of life, therefore dooming his creation (to all intents and purposes his child) to a live of loneliness, ignorance, and exclusion. Ian Wilmut, in a move Seed would probably never make, is keen to voice his concerns on this problem, one that he feels “often gets missed out”. He points out the problems of cloning a child from one of their parents, therefore effectively committing them to re–living another person’s life, with the mysteries of their physical appearance, and with the pressures of making certain life choices. He gives the example in an interview of what this would mean in his own family – “say that we decided to copy me. Now, it so happens that we [Wilmut and his wife] met at high school, so the child is 17, 18 years old, he's going to have a substantial physical resemblance to the young man that my wife fell in love with a long time ago. How's that going to work? How am I going to cope with living with somebody who is very much like me?” How is the child going to cope with the feeling that he is only repeating something that has already occurred? What will be the fate of these children in the Christian world, will the “iniquity of the fathers” indeed be inflicted upon them?

Seed brushes off these concerns with a brisk “I am a very serious Methodist. The Bible says that God made man in his own image. The Bible also says that man will become one with God.” He explains, “When God intends to meet Man with himself, is that in spirit or in body? I choose the interpretation that it includes spirit and body both.” Everything’s above board then, and once he’s perfected cloning the human body, no doubt he’ll start on the spirit, and not long after he’ll be announcing to the world he’s created God Junior. What a day that will be.

However, the thing that’s disturbing about this argument, is not Seed’s extremely selective understanding of the Bible, but his lack of understanding that surely, if we are cloning human beings the children born must cease to be made in God’s image? If we cast our minds forward down the generations, we can see the emergence of clones whose genes, although still of course human, are so far from being the result of natural selection, that the uniqueness, the genius of our race is completely lost.

This loss that will inevitably occur if human cloning is achieved and continues to whatever degree is a thought that, for anyone (let alone the particularly scientifically minded) is very worrying. Right now, each person is made up of two sets of genes, one from their father and one from their mother, and these combine to create a unique cocktail of characteristics, half of which are then passed onto their children, who, in turn are wholly unique. The extensiveness of the human gene pool means there is a huge range of DNA and biotechnology which can be used to help manufacture medicines, to help combat disease, and to create a greater knowledge of how the human body works. Through dramatically reducing this gene pool by the introduction of human cloning, we are reducing our chances of combating fatal diseases – such as cancer – created by an understanding and manipulation of human DNA. Cloning halves the amount of different DNA there is in the human race – it halves our options, halves our chances, and halves our uniqueness. Surely therefore, the price of cloning is too high?

But, as ever, there is a flip side, as Seed is eager to point out to us. The technology required to create a human clone will, in itself, open up whole new fields in biotechnology and embryology which will mean that scientists are able to have a much deeper understanding of what human somatic cells are capable of, and fight disease in this way. Also, Seed claims that he can use the techniques introduced by Wilmut in his creation of Dolly to, in time, defeat cancer:

“The Scottish cloning experiments proved that you can reprogram the DNA in cells back to division zero – back to undifferentiated cells… What if we took a cancerous cell of the same type used in Scotland – a mammary–gland epithelial cell. That's the type most susceptible to breast cancer in humans. What if we took that differentiated, cancerous cell and, after making copies of it, tried maybe hundreds of different DNA manipulations of it? Isn't it possible that we could turn that cell back to its earliest divisions? To the beginning of its life, before it became cancerous? With the technique they worked out in Scotland, you can set the cells back to division zero. If we succeeded in doing that, we'd have a cure for cancer right now. Maybe this won't work, but you don't even think about these concepts until you seriously start thinking about the science of human cloning.”

Amidst all the “what ifs” and “maybes” of his argument there’s probably a good point. The thing is, it seems to be that when he gets down to explaining his opinion, Seed gets somehow lost, unable to articulate his arguments coherently. Therefore, can we really trust someone who cannot sustain an understandable argument, with the future of the human race?

He has a qualifying point, however: “I can't see any side effects from this, certainly when compared with chemotherapy.” But surely, to be able to see something, you need to have performed it, and this kind of technology is still, as yet, a complete unknown. He cannot, he does not have the sufficient knowledge to make the prediction that there may not be the kind of side effects presently suffered by the admittedly unpredictable, but proven, present methods of controlling cancer.

This is the other major objection the public have to genetic engineering and cloning, the fact that we just don’t know enough about it to be steamrollering ahead into something that is still so unpredictable. This fear, bordering on paranoia in some, was increased greatly in 1989 when a genetically engineered version of the L–Tryptophan antidepressant drug caused the deaths of thirty seven people and a further one thousand five hundred people were permanently disabled. L–Tryptophan is used as a supplement against depression, which increases the serotonin (“a molecule of happiness”) synthesis in the central nervous system, therefore helping to regulate mood, appetite and sleep. However, in order to cut costs on the production of L–Tryptophan, the cultures had been genetically engineered in order to increase production, but to do this they had to cut out the purification stage in the production of the drug, therefore making it toxic. As a result, there was an outbreak of Eosinophilia – myalgia syndrome (a flu like neurological disease), and the sale of L–Tryptophan was banned in the United States and many other countries.

The case of L–Tryptophan was, and still is, a highly documented case of “how genetic engineering went wrong” and, naturally, causes people to panic; if nearly two thousand people are seriously damaged for life by a mistake with a fairly straight forward antidepressant, what could go wrong when someone like Seed – who isn’t even a trained biotechnologist or embryologist, he’s a physicist – tries to clone a human baby? Ah yes, he “can't see any side effects from this”. Surely though, it’s understandable that the public have some fears over the issue.

Once again, however, it is blown up into a bigger affair by the fear that an extended knowledge of biotechnology may lead to the either accidental or intended creation of a “super bug” which would have a huge effect upon biological warfare, especially in this age of paranoia and terrorism. Fear has increased greatly in recent years with the speculation that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was created, and spread intentionally in the late 1970s through the Hepatitis B vaccination in San Francisco, of gay males, as a way of either creating the before mentioned super bug, or “as a means to rid society of ‘undesirables’ ”, as claims T. R. Keske, an American scientific writer. HIV has, of course, spread and caused world–wide deaths and epidemics, and whether this was simply a matter of scientific course with no particular or suspicious beginning, or whether it was a “covert experimentation” procedure, it has clearly caused people to panic. Will delving into the unknown realms of cloning and advanced genetic engineering therefore release something even worse than HIV onto the human race?

It is however, undeniably true that often people’s objections to genetic engineering are highly sentimentalised; “as a mother”, “as a Christian”, “as a humanist”, “as a human being”, “as an individual”… But it is this very sentimentalising of a situation that makes us human, that makes us able to make moral and ethical decisions; it is this sentimentalising that we risk loosing altogether with the destruction of our individuality through the advancement of human cloning.

But, it reaches a point where debate is futile. It is nearly two hundred years since the birth of Frankenstein’s monster, and nearly ten years since the birth of Dolly. Advanced genetic engineering has been experimented with, and as we’ve seen through the work of Ian Wilmut, it has succeeded; Dolly led a fruitful, comfortable, normal (albeit a slightly short) life, and she, as an “experiment” was a success. Now, as the President of the Christian organisation “Probe Ministries”, Dr. Ray Bohlin says, “we cannot put the genie back in the bottle. Therefore, we must engage the discussion as to how this technology can be used to cure disease and not become another snare to degrade and dehumanise people’s lives”. Of course, if Richard Seed is to achieve his aims and create a ‘pain–free’ cure for cancer, without creating a ‘super bug’ at the same time, then the whole world will owe him a huge debt. All we can do is hope that this doesn’t lead to us all looking around a crowded room in a hundred years time and seeing nothing but real life copies of the thing we all treasure the most – ourselves.


Playing God 2: the Internet forum

_Ok, the general idea here is that this is a non–fiction forum discussing opinions raised by the following article, "Playing God", and is basically the second half of my assignment… If you don't understand, just leave a comment or email me and I'll explain further! _

  • VF2 writes:*
    I am currently reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the first time and am enthralled by the techniques and innovation Frankenstein uses in his creation of “the monster”. Shelley doesn’t go into them in lots of detail, but I still get a sense of the scientific procedures her hero undergoes. The very preparation for the creation of “the monster” is enthralling in itself! So inventive!
    Scepticism replies:
    I agree with you that Frankenstein is a wonderful novel. The Gothic era never really interested me at all until I came across this book, and I was instantly enraptured. I had to write an essay on it, and so did a great deal of research into the reception of the novel at the time and since, and the impact of the Gothic novel. I read a great deal about how Frankenstein and his monster can be interpreted as a mirror for society.
  • VF2 replies:
    That’s interesting. But surely they talked about the era the book was written in yes? The article says Shelly wrote it in 1818. It’s now 2006. Things have changed.
    Scepticism replies:
    Yes, but in some ways have things really changed? Think about the lack of morality, the lack of democracy and the atrocities we are surrounded by every day, most of which are sanctioned by one person or another…
    VF2 replies:
    I do think you’re maybe reading too much into this. Laws have changed, attitudes have changed. We could not get away with doing the things people did in the nineteenth century now. For example (and I’m aware I may be being slightly extreme), it would not be possible now for Frankenstein to create “the monster”, he’d simply never get away with it.
    Scepticism replies:
    Yes, but would he get away with it morally? I think he would.
    VF2 replies:
    Yes, because he’s creating life, not destroying it.

    • VF2 writes:*
      “Her visions terrified her”. Percy Shelley is said to have run from the room screaming when she told him her plot for the story. And how is it even possible that something this hideous, this nightmarish could survive in our world? Our world of celebrity, our world that centres on the way we look, the way we behave, our intelligence. Kate Winslet is hounded for being “too fat”. Victoria Beckham is accused of being “too skinny”. These are two of the most beautiful women in the world, and their lives are made hell if they don’t, every second of every day, look perfect. The seclusion, the rejection the nineteenth century “monster” suffers in the novel would be nothing compared to what it would suffer today.
      Scepticism replies:
      So, a clone of Kate Moss would be better then? Then, they’d look perfect at least. Thereby fulfilling your criteria.
      VF2 replies:
      You’re being pedantic. Clones would have social problems as well, but I do think that they’re an improvement on the way in which Frankenstein created his “monster”. They are more human for a start.
      Scepticism replies:
      How do you define human? The monster was made up of human body parts. He had a human brain, and a human heart. He had a human’s personality, a human’s way of thinking. He was able to think, and feel, and love. The only things he didn’t have were love and acceptance in return. Is this therefore what you are saying makes us human? If so, would society ever really accept a clone? Would it ever receive the same acceptance and rewards of society that any normal child would? No, of course not. Therefore, if Frankenstein’s creation is not human, neither can a clone be.
      VF2 replies:

    A clone is created through a much more natural process than the monster was. It still develops and is born in the natural way. It has a childhood, a memory, a family. The things the monster never had, and never could have.

    • VF2 writes:*
      Have you ever noticed how the majority of parents try and decide on a name for their child before they are born? Frankenstein never names his “child”, his “monster”, and therefore, he is never really his, he is never anyone’s. If he had named him, or even if Mary Shelley had, then the story would have been all the more heart wrenching, and Frankenstein would have appeared as even more of a villain.
      Scepticism replies:
      But don’t you think that this was one of her reasons for not naming him? The story is condemning of Frankenstein as it is, to have named the monster and therefore enabled the readers to associate with him more closely, would have made it almost unbearable. Notice that Dolly was only named after she was born, after they were almost certain that the “experiment” – her birth – had been a success. Only then could they say “we’ve created the first cloned mammal, and oh yes, she’s called Dolly, isn’t that sweet?” She ceases to be only an experiment, she ceases to even just be a sheep – she becomes someone the public can care about, and therefore they get more public and media attention, which essentially means more support and most importantly, more money.
      VF2 replies:
      Now you’re being cynical. This article acknowledges I think that one of the purposes of cloning is to further technology (whether that be a good or a bad thing), not for money. A clone is a person, and should therefore be named.
      Scepticism replies:
      Ok, so earlier I suggested that a clone of Kate Moss were made. If so, what would you call it? Kate, by any chance? Katherine, Kay, Katie?
      VF2 replies:
      You’d name it as you do any other child. It might be called one of the names you suggested, but it could also be called Emily, Bianca, Victoria, any other name that the mother – Kate Moss – liked. The process of naming would be the same. Dolly wasn’t named after her mother was she? Her name, according to this article, was originated from Dolly Parton.
      Scepticism replies:
      Which came from the fact that she was cloned from a mammary cell. So, her name didn’t have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she was a clone, did it?
    • Scepticism writes:
      If people are made to feel “calm” about cloning because only one cell is transferred, then they need to think more clearly about what this means. The article itself points out that every somatic cell from the human body contains “pairs of chromosomes instead of just a single strand”, therefore meaning that inside every single cell of our body is the genetic material that makes up who we are. The fact that only one cell is transferred is enough to create a direct copy of ourselves, to abuse our own genetic makeup that makes us unique.
      VF2 replies:
      Yes, it is undeniable that this one cell contains enough DNA to create a direct replica of ourselves (and therefore to an extent, yes, our genetic uniqueness is lost), but there is one thing you seem to be completely overlooking. Our genetic makeup does not solely dictate who we are. It may decide what we look like but it in no way defines our personality, or our life choices. This goes back to what I was saying before about if Frankenstein had cared for the monster, he would not have turned out the way he did, and would not have committed the heinous crimes for which he was condemned.
      Scepticism replies:
      Frankenstein’s “monster” was not a clone. He did not know the humans from which he was created (they were, after all, already dead). He was aware of his own deformity, but did not truly understand why he was cursed with it. He says in his story about the DeLacy’s, “…of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man.” (Frankenstein, chapter 13) Essentially, it did not matter that Frankenstein did not care for the monster, that he fled in horror from him. What was important was that he was so hideous, so ignorant, and so alone, that he would never be accepted by society. The reasons for these “faults”? The mistakes of his creation, the blasphemous nature of his manufacture – how can we guarantee that the same price will not be paid by twenty–first century clones? They may not be as ugly, but they will certainly be as “unnatural”.

      • Scepticism writes:*
        This is exactly what I’m talking about! “Commercial purposes” of clones! The scientists are fuelled by their own egos, desperate to be the first person to create a human clone. They give excuses such as “it’ll solve problems of infertility”, “it’ll help find a cure for fatal diseases”, “it brings us one step closer to God”. But, the problem is that they don’t have a clue whether any of this is true or not. These statements are no more, no less, than excuses enabling them to continue with their egotistical work. If we’re going to start quoting Frankenstein at each other, try this: “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs.” (Chapter 4). If that is not a self–righteous scientist speaking, then what is?
        VF2 replies:
        Scientists are human, and therefore, yes, a certain amount of egotism plays into their work. But I also think that to belittle their aims and ambitions by declaring this is the only incentive is naïve.

      • Scepticism writes:*
        Ok, I’ve been wondering about this; does God still exist in a second hand body? If you are going to clone someone, surely you are no longer made in God’s image, but in man’s, so aren’t we actually taking a step away from God?
        VF2 replies:
        The Holy Spirit was imbued into the human race and passed down (in whatever form, whether spiritually or genetically) from generation to generation. Through logic therefore, surely a cloned child, even though it was not born of “natural selection” would still be “in God’s image”, as it would still be passed on from their parent.
        Scepticism replies:
        But, by defying the natural order of reproduction, do we loose God’s blessing to “multiply”. By which, he didn’t mean cloning, but actually reproducing through sexual intercourse.
        VF2 replies:
        Which, for many centuries – and still to an extent – was considered the “original” sin. The sin for which Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise.

      VF2 writes:
      I think something the entire human race needs to learn to do – and I’m talking about in every sphere of life here, not just in the cloning controversy – is to accept that mistakes are made, and that they should be, they need to be, treated as a learning experience. They do not mean that we should stop ourselves in our tracks and turn back in the other direction. This is an interesting case about the anti–depressant, but it doesn’t mean genetic engineering is always, and always will be, disastrous. To just ban the sale of it is a completely backwards move.
      Scepticism replies:
      I can see your point about learning from mistakes, but this particular mistake cost lives, and so in the interest of the human race, I’d have thought it’s better to avoid such fatal mistakes and preserve sacred lives.
      VF2 replies:
      “In the interest of the human race” sacrifices have to be made. The people responsible must weigh up the loss of a few lives against the potential progress that could save hundreds of lives in the future.
      Scepticism replies:
      “Potential”, “could”, “future” – the results of such experiments are too uncertain. Nothing, nothing, should outweigh human lives. Nothing could be more valuable.

      • Scepticism writes:*
        In this twenty–first century, modern world, when we’re surrounded by technology and development, we seem to loose a part of ourselves every single day in one way or another. I have to wonder, therefore, is cloning really that big a step? It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we have been talking over this one article for so long, and yet I do not even know the first thing about you. Not even your name. I don’t even know if you ever finished the novel.
        VF2 replies:
        I never finished it. I stopped when I reached chapter 5 and realised the monster was about to come to life. Nowadays, when people talk about genetic engineering they always talk about Frankenstein, and like you say, we just don’t know how it will all end. Somehow, therefore it seemed appropriate not to complete the novel.
        Scepticism replies:
        You should do. It’s a good read. And it’s only fiction at the bare bones of it.
        VF2 replies:
        Yes, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? It’s all just that so far – fiction. I think I’ll wait until its fact.
        Scepticism replies:
        Tell me your name.
        VF2 replies:
        You tell me yours.

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April 30, 2006

Pupil accuses tutor of rape…

Come and see…

Oleanna

OLEANNA

by David Mamet

Starring Tom Steward
and Katy Brooke – Bullard

Directed by Katy Whitehead
Co–directed by Martin Arumemiikhide
Produced by Hannah Pidsley

It's on Week Three – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
7:30pm
S018 (ground floor of Social Studies)

FREE ENTRY!

A dynamic, entertaining, emotional play about student – teacher relations and the extremes to which people will go in order to make their voices heard…


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