The issues being discussed here are those of personal identity, freewill, and authenticity. Nothing else is at stake here, and as it is inevitable that someone will clone a human being at some time or other in the future, I do NOT wish to go on record to deny this person their rights as a human being.

Lets not create a slave race here people.

What I do wish to argue is that by cloning a human being one is left with a "copy" of that human being with awareness but no spontaneous entry into the universe. In essence they are a blank slate upon which the cloner can draw any ideas that they wish. That is presuming that this clone hasn't been created simply for the purposes of harvesting tissue for transplant. In being able to recreate another person totally with all the associated physical attributes, the cloner is then able to map out at least the formative years of that persons life to such a large degree that it is doubtful that any sort of autonomy is left to the person. To those who say that this is the same with ordinary parents, I would point out that the specific physical capabilities and weaknesses of a newborn child are unknown, and can only vaguely be hinted at by examining the parents. There is as much a process of exploration as there is of training of the child, and a healthy respect that one doesn't know the boundaries or limits that define the child as it is unique and hasn't lived before. This also applies to twins. It doesn't apply to clones however, and thus this node.

I mean what IS an individual? Are we our genetics? These are given to us by our parents. Our values? These are given to us by society, and experiences. How do we define ourselves even when we aren't cloned? And what about if we find out that we are a clone of someone who has gone before? This person, willingly or not sets the parameters of our life, be they a scientist or king, we are judged against them, and our improvements hailed as triumphs, and our failures to match them cursed as weakness. I am no longer Joe Bloggs, I am Joe Bloggs 3, created to replace one and two, and expected to be as nice, and good, and useful as 1 and 2. To a certain extent we see this in WASP families with people who are given the same name as their father, and sent to the same school, and who are in the same profession. It can be argued that this person's individuality is robbed by the framework in which they are sent to live their lives, and I would say that this is only compounded when one isn't simply the son of the father, but is an actual clone.

Immortality anyone?

Just raise yourself, as yourself, and pass everything on.

But are you you?

Or are you him?

Who knows.

I certainly don't.

The responses to this wu seem a bit simplistic, at best, however there have been some excellent points raised and a few rather large misunderstandings so I will take this opportunity to take care of them.

First off, just to clear up the majority of the mess right now, READ THE F*KKIN NODE. Especially the first line. We are talking about identity, freewill, and authenticity here. Not once did I imply that Joe Bloggs 2 won't have a soul, or anything of the sort. Sheesh. Still I understand that this is an issue for a lot of people (read Religious people) and so I will deal with it in due course.

But for now, lets take apart a few of the attacks one by one.

The Nature of Clones: What were you thinking man? The Nature of clones is irrelevant! Everyone knows that there are minor differences between each person as they grow, scratches here and there, personal experiences. But we aren't dealing with those later variations, we are talking about formative years, and personal identity is formed in those years, and arguable only slightly changed at later dates.