CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 15 . . . . March 29, 2002
Clone Inc., by the nature of its name, looks at cloning and other biotechnologies as methods of profit. The intent of the film is to show that money, not necessarily science, is driving much of the so-called advances in this field. The long term impacts of this area of science have not been fully explored.
The film opens with a number of current and conflicting realities in the area of cloning - a human/pig heart growing in the neck of a goat; the statement that morality, not science limits the advances in cloning; the Christian website which advocates taking the DNA from the Shroud of Turin and cloning Jesus to speed up the Second Coming; the Realians who have gone on record that they will clone humans and claim that science makes eternal life attainable and what could be better than never dying? This is a topic that will generate a wide range of reactions.
Clearly the makers of Clone Inc. see great dangers in the present path on which this branch of biotechnology is moving. Interviews with scientists, philosophers, lawyers, writers, psychologists and economists show the many problems that have not yet been addressed in the area of cloning. The general fear, given our tendencies, is that they will not be addressed before further experimentation is done.
The film uses the advances in in vitro fertilization to show how things go awry. Initially designed to help sterile couples have children, IVF has developed such that couples can select from a catalogue the desirable genetic traits they would like their child to have. The film claims that many prefer to have blond haired and blue eyed children. A brief history of Nazi Germany's eugenics program is provided, but the difference today is that people are selecting these traits on their own. There is no need for forced compliance. Biotech companies promote the concept of healthy babies - something that one of the speakers calls "stealth eugenics." Pushed just a little further, parents will soon become engineers, and the child will become their product. What parent does not want a "perfect" child?
Clone Inc. is a very disturbing film and loaded with material for use in a senior class - Law, Biology, Religion, Ethics, Sociology, Economics, Philosophy. The main problem is that much of the dialogue is in French with English subtitles. For someone expected to take notes during the viewing, much of what is said can be missed. Students may find the subtitles distracting or difficult to read on a small television. Perhaps teachers could view the film and take selections from it for class use. There is a great deal of talk - very interesting, but may not grab the attention of the students for 51 minutes.
Recommended with reservations.
Frank Loreto is a teacher-librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton, ON.
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