Cloning is not Replication

This is a bit astray from the economics I usually talk about here, but I just wanted to get something off my chest. I was reading Overcoming Bias today and ran across this passage in the comments, in a discussion of cryonics:

Yes, if you value your own life highly enough, if you have enough money, cryonics can make sense - despite the low probability of success. What I don't get is why anyone would value their own life that highly. Why not preserve enough to make a clone of yourself - and then give the clone a similar education? Are the "random" developmental details of your life *that* important - compared to the genes (in your DNA) and the memes - which can be acquired again - or better, replaced with more modern versions?

What irritates me about this is the assumption that a clone who shares the same "memes" and DNA as me would be as good as me, and that it would be no loss to replace me with it. This is, of course, nonsense. Consider the case of identical twins, who are every bit as much of a "clone" as what is being discussed here. The logic of the argument above is that a twin should be indifferent between living and dying, because after all, their genes will be propagated anyway. But no one believes this.

I take this a touch personally, because I'm an identical twin myself. And it's just stupidity to claim that somehow it'd be just swell if I dropped dead tomorrow because my DNA, which is just that awesome, would survive.

People act as if genetic clones are something mysterious. They're not; I have one already. And if every time people replaced the word "clone" with "identical twin", we'd have much more sensible discussions on these topics.

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A good point

Well said. My mother is an identical twin, so a lot of the talk about the supposed spookiness of human cloning strikes me as pretty ridiculous.

Do note that the comment in

Do note that the comment in question is by Tim Tyler, known to the Overcoming Bias/Less Wrong community for his unusual views on the value of genes. See, e.g., this exchange, in which I unsuccessfully tried to persuade him that humans don't actually care about allele frequencies.

Interesting, thanks for the

Interesting, thanks for the info. It's not a site I normally read, especially the comments, and I'm going to have to stop I think, because I'm getting more and more exasperated with it.

I take this a touch

I take this a touch personally, because I'm an identical twin myself. And it's just stupidity to claim that somehow it'd be just swell if I dropped dead tomorrow because my DNA, which is just that awesome, would survive.

You're probably right, but you should probably get your brother to start blogging here, just in case.

Perhaps I've been mistaken....

Wait a minute -- Curunir is the twin? I thought his brother was the twin. You know, I never can keep those two straight....

Haha, I'll do my best.

Haha, I'll do my best.

Clones less similar than twins

I saw the point made once that since identical twins share the same womb, the same age, and usually the same home environment, that they are much more similar than a clone would be to a DNA donor.