Asexual Reproduction?

Scientists have generated mature human embryos from cloned adult skin cells.

The scientists say they have no interest in bringing a cloned human being to term, which seems to placate people and the law. But it is the practice of destroying these embroyos that is the abomination! A cloned human being would not be, any more than identical twins, though the damage to the family is also a severe evil (since if you are cloned, your child would be your twin).

Anyway, we have discussed this point before. I would like to raise another question. What we have here is asexual reproduction. We have already separated sex from procreation. We have also separated procreation from sex. (Artificial insemination at least uses the sexual cells. This method dispenses with that, finding a skin cell sufficient.) Reportedly, an artificial womb will soon be feasible.

Do you think, in the future, that pregnancy will become obsolete? That, once we can generate children without child-bearing–with its accompanying morning sickness, 9 months of discomfort, labor pains, etc.–that this will catch on? Does this also mean that marriage and the family itself will become obsolete?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • fw

    Do you think, in the future, that pregnancy will become obsolete?

    no

    That, once we can generate children without child-bearing–with its accompanying morning sickness, 9 months of discomfort, labor pains, etc.–that this will catch on?

    no

    Does this also mean that marriage and the family itself will become obsolete?

    no

    No more and no less than allowing two homos or lesbians to obtain a marriage license in Massachussetts seems to have generated any newsworthy assault civilization as we know it at all. And it´s been a few years now…..

    There is a God. He IS in charge. We are not He.

    That being said…. I could see a government controlling reproductive freedom. Maybe overturning Roe v Wade would create the legal framework and set the legal precidence for that unintended consequence?

    and no, I am not in favor of abortion/murder.

  • fw

    Do you think, in the future, that pregnancy will become obsolete?

    no

    That, once we can generate children without child-bearing–with its accompanying morning sickness, 9 months of discomfort, labor pains, etc.–that this will catch on?

    no

    Does this also mean that marriage and the family itself will become obsolete?

    no

    No more and no less than allowing two homos or lesbians to obtain a marriage license in Massachussetts seems to have generated any newsworthy assault civilization as we know it at all. And it´s been a few years now…..

    There is a God. He IS in charge. We are not He.

    That being said…. I could see a government controlling reproductive freedom. Maybe overturning Roe v Wade would create the legal framework and set the legal precidence for that unintended consequence?

    and no, I am not in favor of abortion/murder.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I actually just submitted a column on this very subject to the American Spectator Online. Haven’t heard if they’ll publish it, though.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I actually just submitted a column on this very subject to the American Spectator Online. Haven’t heard if they’ll publish it, though.

  • S Bauer

    Brave New World, anyone?

  • S Bauer

    Brave New World, anyone?

  • fw

    Hey brother Lars, you willing to share?

  • fw

    Hey brother Lars, you willing to share?

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Ah, I think it would be inappropriate to tell the story here before they print it there.

    It’s actually a short-short story, set in a future where all reproduction is asexual.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Ah, I think it would be inappropriate to tell the story here before they print it there.

    It’s actually a short-short story, set in a future where all reproduction is asexual.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I wouldn’t be totally surprised if, at some point in the future, some percentage of the population chooses these unnatural means of reproduction in order to ameliorate some problem, perceived or otherwise, with the natural method. That said, it’s a ridiculously complex and expensive way of going about it (to say nothing of any possible moral implications), and I seriously doubt it will ever be common. Whether it’s due to a rash of unforeseen health complications from the process, or a pushback from health insurers to minimize cost, natural reproduction will likely always have its advantages. Or else God would have designed us otherwise.

    Maybe it’s just that I’m in the middle of reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I’m reminded of the attitude in the 20th century towards agriculture — “science/technology can solve every problem and make everything better!” I believe public perception has begun to turn on that issue. I’m guessing (well, hoping) a similar change will eventually make its way into the world of reproductive “advances” as well.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I wouldn’t be totally surprised if, at some point in the future, some percentage of the population chooses these unnatural means of reproduction in order to ameliorate some problem, perceived or otherwise, with the natural method. That said, it’s a ridiculously complex and expensive way of going about it (to say nothing of any possible moral implications), and I seriously doubt it will ever be common. Whether it’s due to a rash of unforeseen health complications from the process, or a pushback from health insurers to minimize cost, natural reproduction will likely always have its advantages. Or else God would have designed us otherwise.

    Maybe it’s just that I’m in the middle of reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I’m reminded of the attitude in the 20th century towards agriculture — “science/technology can solve every problem and make everything better!” I believe public perception has begun to turn on that issue. I’m guessing (well, hoping) a similar change will eventually make its way into the world of reproductive “advances” as well.

  • http://joeburnham.com Joe Burnham

    I’m not sure when the shift came, but at some point feminism moved from celebrating the feminine (and thus the vocation of being a woman) to the elimination of gender. The one holding point up until now has been reproduction. While abortion has been a “useful tool” in their battle, in the end, if the species was going to continue, reproduction had to occur. It appears that the final resource for a gender free society is now in place (or soon will be).

  • http://joeburnham.com Joe Burnham

    I’m not sure when the shift came, but at some point feminism moved from celebrating the feminine (and thus the vocation of being a woman) to the elimination of gender. The one holding point up until now has been reproduction. While abortion has been a “useful tool” in their battle, in the end, if the species was going to continue, reproduction had to occur. It appears that the final resource for a gender free society is now in place (or soon will be).

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    “look at the way…we go out walking close together….I guess you might say…..I’m really beside myself…I’m part of some geneticists’ plan…..made to order carbon copy man….living in stereo it’s all right, I can send myself for pizza so I say…I think I’m a clone now…”

    Sorry. OK, not very sorry. But when life imitates Weird Al, you gotta start to worry. Thankfully we can count on the healthcare industry to price this kind of thing right out of existence.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    “look at the way…we go out walking close together….I guess you might say…..I’m really beside myself…I’m part of some geneticists’ plan…..made to order carbon copy man….living in stereo it’s all right, I can send myself for pizza so I say…I think I’m a clone now…”

    Sorry. OK, not very sorry. But when life imitates Weird Al, you gotta start to worry. Thankfully we can count on the healthcare industry to price this kind of thing right out of existence.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, Bike Bubba, this could easily become cheaper than 9 months of pregnancy care, plus the hospital fees. The state could manufacture just as many people as are needed.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, Bike Bubba, this could easily become cheaper than 9 months of pregnancy care, plus the hospital fees. The state could manufacture just as many people as are needed.

  • Van

    I don’t know scientifically what all is possible. But I will say that women seem to be going to extremes to look “better” or younger. I would think if there is a way to avoid pregnacny and putting their bodies through the toil it takes then they’ll find a way to justify avoiding pregnancy altogether by using an artificial womb. Think already how many women choose not to breast feed because of the “inconvenience” and the toil it takes on their bodies.

  • Van

    I don’t know scientifically what all is possible. But I will say that women seem to be going to extremes to look “better” or younger. I would think if there is a way to avoid pregnacny and putting their bodies through the toil it takes then they’ll find a way to justify avoiding pregnancy altogether by using an artificial womb. Think already how many women choose not to breast feed because of the “inconvenience” and the toil it takes on their bodies.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Dr. Veith, I don’t know that’s the case–as an engineer, I know that we are in many ways “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and just consider that a real womb has a climate control system, protection from outside impacts, provision for feeding and removal of wastes, anti-infection systems, and more.

    You start putting together machines to do that, and you’re talking a monstrous engineering/manufacturing cost, a horrific cost for monitoring the systems (it’s someone’s baby, after all), and an even more horrific cost to insure the legal costs if and when one of those systems turns out to be less than fail-safe–which one or more systems is bound to turn out to be.

    Add to that the other pressures on medicine, and I just can’t see this making sense to any accountant not working for the government.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Dr. Veith, I don’t know that’s the case–as an engineer, I know that we are in many ways “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and just consider that a real womb has a climate control system, protection from outside impacts, provision for feeding and removal of wastes, anti-infection systems, and more.

    You start putting together machines to do that, and you’re talking a monstrous engineering/manufacturing cost, a horrific cost for monitoring the systems (it’s someone’s baby, after all), and an even more horrific cost to insure the legal costs if and when one of those systems turns out to be less than fail-safe–which one or more systems is bound to turn out to be.

    Add to that the other pressures on medicine, and I just can’t see this making sense to any accountant not working for the government.

  • allen

    Are there really people out there who would prefer a copy of themselves to a regular offspring? That’s crazy sick.

  • allen

    Are there really people out there who would prefer a copy of themselves to a regular offspring? That’s crazy sick.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I don’t know… I get a bad feeling when I think of these things, and I have an abiding mistrust of the motives that would drive scientists to tinker around in such ways. I knew a woman who used to work for one of the big genetics companies. She said that such suspicion was well founded.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I don’t know… I get a bad feeling when I think of these things, and I have an abiding mistrust of the motives that would drive scientists to tinker around in such ways. I knew a woman who used to work for one of the big genetics companies. She said that such suspicion was well founded.

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  • Ryan

    Please note, that being adopted, my parents fit partly under the no morning sickness, pain of pregnancy, worry and my family is intact and just fine. Parents, a family, will always be the best environment for children regardless of how they were conceived.

    I’m more concerned about the possibility of things heretofore in the realm of sci-fi and comics books, like engineered super soldiers and clone wars, coming to be.

  • Ryan

    Please note, that being adopted, my parents fit partly under the no morning sickness, pain of pregnancy, worry and my family is intact and just fine. Parents, a family, will always be the best environment for children regardless of how they were conceived.

    I’m more concerned about the possibility of things heretofore in the realm of sci-fi and comics books, like engineered super soldiers and clone wars, coming to be.

  • Joe

    IT may be cost prohibative now but what about 30 years from now?

  • Joe

    IT may be cost prohibative now but what about 30 years from now?


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