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Guest Editorials

Tue Mar 23, 2004

"Unreasonable Fears, Slippery Slopes, and Unnecessary Legislation" - a Reply to Prof. Robertson
By Francis Fukuyama (*)
Prof. Robertson argues against the need for legislation to ban reproductive cloning, as well as the other prohibitions contained in the President's Council on Bioethics' pending report Reproduction and Responsibility, on two grounds. The first is that the new reproductive possibilities are highly speculative and not likely to ever emerge. He argues that other procedures mentioned in the Council's report, like cloning to produce organs and tissues, will never happen. The second objection applies specifically to reproductive cloning: if it could be done safely and effectively, it would benefit some individuals, and therefore should not be banned...

(*) School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC

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Mon Feb 23, 2004

Unreasonable Fears, Slippery Slopes, and Unnecessary Legislation
By John Robertson (*)
Reliance on slippery slope arguments often indicates that other arguments are weak. Francis Fukuyama's call for laws to ban reproductive cloning, creating embryos and fetuses for research, and other things he finds repugnant illustrates the point. Take his call for a federal law against reproductive cloning. He thinks that the Korean report of creating cloned embryos from cumulus cells has moved us "closer to the day when a cloned baby will be born," and therefore should be a wake-up call to get such a ban on the books. But the fact that an event has "moved us closer to the day" that cloning occurs doesn't tell us when in the future that will be, much less why it would be so bad...

(*) School of Law, University of Texas

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Sun Feb 15, 2004

Our Cloning Policy, Hostage to a Stalemate
By Francis Fukuyama (*)
Last week's announcement by South Korean researchers that they had cloned a human embryo and successfully extracted stem cells from it should be a wake-up call to U.S. lawmakers. It demonstrates both the speed with which science is moving ahead, and the urgent necessity to break the current logjam over cloning legislation that leaves the United States as one of the few developed countries without a legal framework in this area. There is almost universal agreement that reproductive cloning -- that is, the implanting of a cloned embryo in a woman's uterus with the intention of producing a child -- should be banned for a host of safety and moral reasons. Congress has not been able to pass such a ban, however, because right-to-life forces have demanded...

(*) School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC

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Tue Feb 03, 2004

What is Enlightment?
By Francis Fukuyama (*)
Kant distinguishes between an "enlightened age," in which mankind as a whole is able to use its own understanding confidently in coming to judgments regarding the deep issues on which religion touches, and an "age of enlightenment," in which the obstacles to achieving enlightenment are cleared away. The latter he saw already emerging in Frederick's Prussia. What is most striking to me in rereading his great essay is both how thoroughly realized his vision of an age of enlightenment has become, and at the same time how far away we are from living in an enlightened age...


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