The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 26, 1997, Page 4, Image 4

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Doug Kouma
Anthony Nguyen
Paula Lavigne
Joshua Gillin
Jessica Kennedy
Jeff Randall
Erin Gibson
Black sheep?
Endless possibilities
with technology to done
Hello, Dolly.
Not the play, but the cloned sheep. Dolly,
a seven-month-old sheep, is helping usher
in a new era in science—bringing human
ity one step closer to the science-fiction “re
ality” of cloning.
On Saturday, Ian Wilmut at the Roslin
Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland—work
ing with the biotechnology company PPL
Therapeutics—announced that he and his
team had succeeded in cloning a sheep.
And according to experts, the last physi
cal barrier to reproductive technology has
now been breached.
Wilmut and his team managed to remove
a mammary cell from the udder of an adult
sheep, fuse it to an egg from a ewe and clone
the original sheep.
The next step for the team and those who
follow will be cloning transgenic sheep —
animals whereby insertion of a gene or genes
into its DNA can create one that has more
meat, more wool and can make more money
for sheep herders—all the while lowering
the market price for consumers.
Now the public must come to grips with
this new and fascinating development.
Although cloning a living being such as
a sheep is considered creation, we must re
alize that throughout the history of human
ity, we have tinkered with the natural order
of the world. Whether it be producing hy
brid crops or inbreeding animals to give rise
to stock with particular qualities, we, in es
sence, are “creators.”
Cloning a person and cloning a sheep
—although potentially similar in technique
—would entail major differences.
The uproar here is the potential misuse
of the technology to “bring back” the dead
or clone a living person. But the reality is
that even' if such blatantly unethical tech
niques were attempted, they would not re
sult in the creation of the “same” human.
Cloning a new Abraham Lincoln would
not bring back a great American leader. The
new person would not have had the same
experiences and interactions that made Lin
com wno ne was.
If it’s even possible to clone a human,
doing so would only create a being who re
sembled Lincoln physically; his personality
would be dictated by many other factors.
And even if the technology to clone be
comes widespread or falls into the hands of
those who would misuse it, those who fear
a thousand Adolf Hitlers or dictators with
supersoldiers running rampant can rest easy.
Clones would still have to be bom and grow
up, just like children from natural fertiliza
tion. “Nurture” should count for at least as
much as “nature.”
The ability to clone will certainly change
the way we view the world and ourselves.
But rather than dredging up thoughts of a
“brave new world” and scaring ourselves
— after all, this is not another Manhattan
Project, designed to destroy an enemy —
we should realize the potentially positive and
fascinating benefits we all stand to gain.
Editorial Policy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the
Spring 1997 Daily Nebraskan. They do not
necessarily reflect the views of the Univer
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its
student body or the University of Nebraska
Board of Regents. A column is solely the
opinion of its author. The Board of Regents
serves as publisher of the Daily Nebraskan;
policy is set by the Daily Nebraskan Edito
rial Board. The UNL Publications Board,
established by the regents, supervises the
production of the paper. According to policy
set by the regents, responsibility for the edi
torial content of the newspaper lies solely
in the hands of its student employees.
Letter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief let
ters to the editor and guest columns, but
does not guarantee their publication. The
Daily Nebraskan retains the right to edit
or reject any material submitted. Sub
mitted material becomes the property of
die Daily Nebraskan and cannot be re
turned. Anonymous submissions will not
be published. Those who submit letters
must identify themselves by name, year
in school, major and/or group affilia
tion, if any. Submit material to: Daily
Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska Union, 1400 R
SL Lincoln, Neb. 68588-0448. E-mail:
Mehs ling’s
Off the Beam
The Daily Nebraskan’s coverage
of the men’s gymnastic team has
been pathetically small this year.
Why is it that other sports get large
articles detailing their progress and
record while the men’s gymnastic
team gets a Vi-inch blurb or is
tacked on to the very end of an
article concerning the women’s
gymnastic team?
UNL and Francis Allen have one
of the best teams in the nation this
year, not to mention a great tradition
of excellence. I would appreciate,
and expect, a little fairness in the
DN’s coverage of UNL athletic
Simeon Bukacek
No Revelation Here
Gee Cliff Hicks, I must say you
are a gifted writer. You kept my
interest throughout your column
(DN, Monday) even though you
failed to make any grand point.
Let’s see now: Words have
meanings—we can easily strip the
meanings away so that we weren't
offended—because words are just
words and it’s the “idea behind
them” that causes all the trouble.
Hey Cliff, I heard somewhere that
1+1=2. No really, it was quite a
revelation. Sorry Cliff, but it’s just
that all you did was state the
obvious. Although, there was one
thing that you?re really screwy
about. You think if we remove an
offensive word or accept it as just a
word then the idea no longer (<has
anything to hide behind.” Ha ha ha
ha ha, not funny Cliff.
So Cliff, you saying that makes it
OK? Y’ know, if the words you say
are individually accepted they can
still be put together to offend me.
The “idea” is the whole point.
It’s far more offensive for me to
Mxrr Haney/DN
hear “blacks are inferior to whites”
than “blacks are no good n*ggers.”
I fear words no more than I fear
Rainbow Brite. But I’m immensely
afraid to live in a world among those
who are irrational, illogical, uncar
ing, racist, etc. If they didn’t swear
it wouldn’t make a difference. If we
accepted all words, it wouldn’t make
a difference. But it matters when we
accept such ridiculous “ideas” and
put them to practice.
Cliff, you seem like a smart guy.
What I’ve said is no more obvious
than what you said in your column.
However, I think it’s more important
to analyze people’s ideas than the
means (words) for which they
choose to express them.
Jason Flatowicz
Praise be the Word
I hate to rain on Cliff Hicks’ -
astonishing “discovery,” but some of
us did figure out before our sopho
more year of college that words
carry only the power that we ascribe
to them.
I won’t linger on that, though.
Nor will I dwell on the pompousness
with which Hicks proffers his
pseudo-profundities: “So it is here I
remove the smoke and allow you to
see the tricks of my trade ... ” Jesus
be praised, thank you so much, Cliff.
Instead, I’ll just explain where
he’s wrong.
Hicks does have a few things
right. Like I said, it’s true that we
give the abstract symbols called
words their power. And if you follow
that premise to its logical conclu
sion, then yes, offensive words don’t
have power over anyone who won’t
ascribe it to them.
But offensive concepts still will
carry power, and I find it offensive
that Hicks dares to say, “I am a
writer by trade,” and then, two
paragraphs later, “They are ... only
words, folks.”
It’s offensive because, as a writer,
Hicks of all people should appreciate
the power of words.
Words communicate concepts,
emotions. Words are one of the best
ways we have of articulating our
anger, fear, joy, disappointment.
When an offensive word is used
properly, it conveys a potent, potent
message because of its connotations.
. At the other end of the spectrum,
very positive words—like “love” — |
will convey very powerful messages
when they’re used properly.
Hicks needs to understand that if
there’s a problem with offensive
words, it’s not that they shock
people — that’s their job. It’s that
overuse drains them of their power.
In closing, Cliff, our freedom
isn’t limited, as you say, because we
surrender power to our language. We 1
give the power to our words; we just
have to stop abusing them. And our
giving power to our words grants us
the freedom of a wide range of ways
to express ourselves —joyfully,
angrily and even pompously.
Josh Wimmer
__.__ !
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