Prof Robert Lively
Cloning: Is it Even Logical or Even Ethical?
Science is improving faster than society can handle, especially when its dealing with cloning humans. Cloning is one of the most controversial topics amongst the world. People are defending against their religion and even their morals. There are so many legal actions and social agreements that need to be looked at before a conversation starts about cloning humans. Should scientist be able to clone pigs with human cells, should infertile couples be able to reproduce asexually in terms of cloning? With all the dangers and failures that have occurred in the past, is it even safe? Also, is cloning embryos ethical, since they are considered living organisms. This essay will cover the history and concerns of cloning.
“The noun clone comes from the Greek word for twig or branch.” (New Atlantis 11) When the term was introduced in 1903, it was only used when referring to biotechnology. The “definition” of cloning for society now, was completely different in the early 1900’s. Cloning was described as production to make more stem cells for plants and even enhance their performance. There was no talk or consideration that there would be a possibility of cloning individuals of any sorts. Before there was any conversation of cloning anything but plants, there were only cloning of biological entities, particularly cells and biological molecules, exclusively DNA. (New Atlantis 12) Animal cloning began to surface in the 1960’s. To be more specific, there were on experiments on animals themselves until the 1990s. Most of the experiments that were considered to be with animal cloning were cloning embryos. The very first conversation that was brought up about replicating humans was done by a biologist, J.B.S Haldane. His talk was inspired by his friend Aldous Huxley, who wrote “Brave New World.” Although Aldous never specifically brought up the cloning of humans, it still brought out a lot of conversation.
Back then, like today, there were many arguments debating whether it was ethical or not to clone anything with humans or animals. Most of the arguments that were against cloning contained questions if it is painful for the next individual that is created, if the next individual will have malfunctions and the cost of the experiments. A lot of people who are religious were offended by the ethics of cloning. Obviously cloning isn’t traditional and some people view reproduction as God’s job and it should only be his job till the end of time. Another argument is that the bible says, it is he who made us and are his” (Psalm 100). Although there was much negative talk about cloning, there were many more people were excited about it, especially since the idea was brand new. There were so many beliefs that they could take the qualities of the superior being. (New Atlantis 13) There was a rage that scientists could make high class organs and even twins! People believed that these experiments could even benefit more that sexual reproduction. This infuriated many people especially Paul Ramsey, an ethicist and theologian. He said, “to attempt to soar so high above an eminently human parenthood… is inevitably to fall far below—into a vast technological alienation of man…setting sexual love and procreation radically asunder entails depersonalization in the extreme.” (New Atlantis 15)
Throughout all the years of debating, its really important to point out that society never had, and probably never will, a clear and precise definition of cloning. Many of the ideas and how society pictures the results of cloning is from books, TV shows and movies. Many movies that portray any sort of cloning tends to make it sound very dangerous or the individuals that are cloned have no mind or soul. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, shows that clones are just carbon copies with no mind to itself, or in Godsend, the clones were murderous. The impact of these media outlets influencing the general public like this is very important because it can affect someone’s reasoning to think cloning is unethical because in most cases, these shows and movies are the only exposure to cloning.
So, how can cloning help society? Today, there is a huge line to wait to find a suitable organ for someone. People are waiting for someone who is either dead or alive, so they can receive their organ. Being able to provide a backup system for someone whos organs have failed, can be life saving. . One of the biggest benefits is being able to recreate organs or tissues. This could be very helpful for people who are suffering from kidney failures, loss or lack of brain cells, or even tearing an ACL. With being able to reproduce organs, scientists will be able to create a superior need. Because the cells are coming from an individual themselves, doctors wont have to stress about the chance of the body not taking the organ. (Human Cloning.) The DNA will also be an exact match to the patient as well. Also, being able to clone organs and perfect them for specific needs, could really help with the shortage of organs. There would be no surgeries from any sort of second party, just the individual who needs the new organs.
Another reason to encourage the laws for cloning, could be to help doctors get a closer look on diseases, cancers and even birth defects. The amount of potential the science world could get to understand the human body would heighten. Potentially, patients with diseases like Alzheimer’s, could get injections to immediately see results of getting rid of the disease. (ConnectUS.)
If everyone holds the right to reproduce, why can’t infertile couples be able to reproduce their own child? Infertile couples have been going through pains emotionally and physically to produce their own child. Being able to clone can become another option for people to have their own baby. These experiments can even help out gay couples who are unable to have a child that is genetically related to them. There will be no need for a surrogate or even insemination. This is very exciting for these situations because it can be a very independent situation now with cloning. According the University of Arizona, infertility treatments are only 10% successful. These treatments are so expensive, and because the success rate is so low, people are running out of money for these treatments.
While President Bush was in office he stated, “Life is a creation, not a commodity. Our children are gifts to be loved and protected, not products to be designed and manufactured. No human life should be exploited or extinguished for the benefit of another. (President par. 15). This brings up the next argument with human cloning, would any clone be their own person? Some people are questioning if the child is going to grow up to have any sort of uniqueness to them. It makes sense, if a child is taking every trait from someone, how can they grow up to be their own person. Phillip Kitcher in his article, “Why There’ll Never Be Another You,” says that if he was wanting his next child to excel in football, he would be able to control to get another trait from someone who excelled in football. His argument is stating that this child will have no choice to pick their direction of their life. (Kitcher 1997). This opens a whole new world to parents who want their child to be either smart, sporty, or even look a certain way. These parents are going to be able to push their child in a direction they want because they got to choose what they wanted their child to be like. The world we live in today, parents are already getting very picky with their status, which school their child will get into, and which sports their child will pursue. Should these laws encourage these behaviors? Should it be up to the parents to choose their child’s life?
This could start another war of discrimination. Since parents are going to want to clone a “perfect” child and if these cloning experiments turned out to be successful, children who are not cloned will not be favored. Brendan Tobin, co-author of LiveScience says when the world is shared by clones, there needs to be a responsibility to make sure these clones will get the same and equal human rights. Cloning will be very expensive, so it will be discriminating to people who wont be able to afford it.