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Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council On Bioethics Paperback – October 22, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Established in late 2001 by President Bush to consider the ethical ramifications of biomedical research, the President's Council on Bioethics is made up of 17 scholars representing medicine, law, genetics, government, international studies, psychiatry, philosophy, and ethics. Its first report focuses on three major issues: cloning to produce children (reproductive uses), cloning for biomedical research (therapeutic uses), and various public policies that could be enacted. The council members were divided on their recommendations regarding human cloning, so both a majority and a minority opinion are presented here. While both groups favored a ban on human cloning to produce children, they disagreed in the areas of therapeutic research; ten members recommended a four-year moratorium on cloning for biomedical research, while seven urged the regulated use of cloned embryos for biomedical research. Along with brief background information on human cloning and a discussion of terminology related to the field, the report also includes a glossary and a bibliography. In addition, many of the members have included a personal statement that clarifies their own specific viewpoint. Although the prepublication version of this report is available on the web, the reasonably priced paper copy fairly represents the many opinions and complexities related to human cloning, making it a worthy purchase for convenience and archival stability. Highly recommended for all libraries.
Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Leon R. Kass, M.D. is the Addie Clark Harding Professor at the University of Chicago, and the Hertog Fellow at American Enterprise Institute. A nationally renowned bioethicist, he has written extensively on biology and human affairs; his books include Toward a More Natural Science, The Hungry Soul, and The Ethics of Human Cloning (with James Q. Wilson). He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (October 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586481762
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586481766
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,692,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bill Muehlenberg VINE VOICE on January 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is the result of a special inquiry ordered by US President Bush to examine these contentious issues. Late in 2001 he announced the formation of a bioethics council to weigh into the many related issues involved in the cloning debate. Chaired by bioethicist Leon Kass of the University of Chicago, a panel of experts was quickly convened, and after 6 months of research and reflection, this final report was presented to the President in July 2002.
This 350-page book presents the findings of the Council. The Council was comprised of 18 experts in science, medicine, public policy and ethics. Some were secular, some religious. Some were fully against any form of human cloning - even for research purposes - while others were much more open to therapeutic research involving embryos, whether deliberately created for that purpose, or "surplus" from assisted reproduction programs. The majority however seem quite concerned about all types of human cloning.
The report begins with an overview of the debate, including scientific, historical and ethical components. Terminology is also clearly defined. Then the pros and cons of the ethics of reproductive cloning are examined in detailed. Similarly, the ethics of therapeutic cloning, both for and against, are closely discussed.
The book concludes with public policy options and recommendations. Finally, thirteen Council members contribute personal statements on the proceedings. These include William Hurlbut, Charles Krauthammer, Gilbert Meilaender and William May. In these statements the various authors are allowed to express personal preferences, disagreements, or endorsements of the Council report. Many of these alone are worth the price of the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Thien on March 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found this report to be invaluable in determining where some in the scientific community and many politicians and bureacrats stand on the subject of cloning and stem cell research.
If you favor such research, for whatever reason, whether it be the development of tissues for the cures of disease or for other reasons, the Human Cloning and Human Dignity report will definitely give you an idea regarding the ideology of those who composed the report. The position of many of the members is common and frequently theological in nature, with much of the discussion concerning the subject of the earliest cell divisions, before recognizable human features have developed.
The position against human cloning in the report is recognizable, honest, and thorough so someone hoping to change public opinion in favor of cloning and stem cell research can determine what they need to do to address public opinion on the subject.
I found the report very informative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on April 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
There is a great deal of information provided in this report on the subject of human cloning. There is also a fundamental argument at the heart of the discussion concerning whether human cloning is advisable or not. I tend to agree with the line of thinking of the Chairman of the Comission Leon Kass, who basically argues that human cloning is incommensurate with human dignity, and the future benefit of mankind.

At the heart of such a perception is a belief that limitation is wisely built into the human situation. And that an opening up of 'reproduction' in this way will ultimately undermine our common humanity.

'Cloning' would probably lead to a promotion of a false hope of immortality on the part of those who could afford to have themselves have themselves cloned many times. It will lead to an undermining of our whole sense of family life, and human relations.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 27, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subject of human cloning has gained considerable press recently, due mainly to claims made by various individuals in successfully producing a human clone. These claims have remained unjustified, due to the refusal of these individuals to permit their scientific verification. The successful birth of a healthy human clone would be a major achievement, both from a scientific standpoint, and from an ethical one. It would give humans yet another option of how they are to reproduce themselves, and far from demeaning or devaluing human life, would actually celebrate it. There is no question that the first human clones will be viewed as somewhat of a novelty by many, but like all other humans born as the result of advances in technology, such as in vitro fertilization, they will be accepted as another unique and valuable addition to the human species, deserving of every legal right and every measure of respect.
Having unique fingerprints does not distinguish us as individuals, only our achievements do. It is the total contributions we have made in the entire span of our lives that distinguishes us as individuals. But Leon Kass, the main author of this book, and the chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, has chosen the fingerprint as its focal point. Indeed, in the first sentence in the forward, he states that "the fingerprint has rich biological and moral significance", and that it "signifies our unique personal identity." It is ironic perhaps that he has chosen to address the issue of human cloning by beginning with a purely physical characterization of human individuality. Why worry about how different we are from others anyway? If a handful of clones, all with the same fingerprints, make brilliant contributions to humanity, should we not celebrate this?
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