Re: What identifies a human? (DNA? Artifacts? ....)

Bill Hamilton (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 12:13:39 -0500

At 10:16 AM 2/28/97, Richard Dimery wrote:
>Surely certainty that being human is more than DNA is that monozygotic
>(identical) twins share the same DNA (don't they?) yet have different

I would agree that DNA is not the sole determiner of personality. Does the
fact that different personalities arise from identical DNA demonstrate
humanity in the sense I was using it (made in the image and likeness of
God)? I don't believe so.

Not that I'm doubting you are aware, but I got the
>impression you were asking for an obvious answer.

Personally, I don't believe there is an obvious answer. I believe the
problem with some arguments over the humanity of ancient hominids is that
both sides believe there is an obvious answer when there isn't one. In the
case of cloning, I wouldn't say that all parties believe there is an
obvious answer, and I suppose that's progress. My point is that we as
human beings may not have the capability to determine by objective means
whether some creature is made in the image and likeness of God. That's a
spiritual condition, and our ability to deal with spiritual issues on our
own is close to nonexistent.

>We had a chaotic time on the TV and radio last night with programmes about
>genetics that the public didn't seem to grasp.

It's the same on this side of the pond. I've heard quite a bit of wild
speculation, including likening this development to the drug epidemic, the
gay rights campaign and the prohibition on school prayer (as examples of
how the world is going to pot)

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr, Ph.D. | Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems | General Motors R&D Center | Warren, MI
810 986 1474 (voice) | 810 986 3003 (FAX) | (home email)