Michel Houellebecq Wants To Be Cloned

The controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq explains why he wants to be cloned. He just can’t help it, he says; like most people, he just blindly wants to perpetuate himself. “Such feelings leave no space for freedom and individuality, they aim for nothing but eternal, idiotic repetition”; and yet these feelings “are shared by almost all mankind, and even by the majority of the animal kingdom; they are nothing but the living memory of an overwhelming biological instinct.” As always, Houellebecq’s insights are quite bracing…
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Cloned Cat

New scientific research reveals that a cloned animal, in this case a cat, is not identical to the original organism with the same genes. (Via Metafilter). This shouldn’t be a surprise, given that “identical twins” don’t have identical personalities; but it is noteworthy, just because the superstition that clones are necessarily identical to their originals seems to have such wide currency in the popular imagination nowadays. As can be seen both from the Raelians’ claim that they have produced clones–which in their belief system is a way of attaining immortality–and from the horrified public reaction, objecting to the very possibility of cloning.

Rewriting the Code of Life

Donna Haraway is right. “The boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.” Consider how scientists have recently reprogrammed bacteria to use a new amino acid. That is to say, they have not only introduced a 21st amino acid into the bacterium’s environment–in addition to the naturally existing twenty–but also reprogrammed the bacteria’s DNA to code for this new amino acid, so that the organism has genetic instructions for adding the acid to its proteins….
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