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Creation: Cloning As an Alternative
God created a man, and from one of his ribs, he created a woman. Then, the two of them created a new life. This was all naturally done. It was God’s most wonderful creation. Cloning brings up a life dilemma. Cloning puts in a single or a group of individuals the power of creating and granting life. And this is done by basically duplicating one individual, by creating a twin of somebody else. Furthermore, cloning is a life dilemma because it makes the whole human race to choose one more time between right and wrong.
The first thing that must be cleared up is what is cloning and what is a clone. The biological definition of clone is “an organism that has the same genetic information as another organism or organisms” (”Cloning” 1997). Therefore cloning is the production of a genetically identical duplicate of an “organism” (”Cloning” 1997).
People who argue in favor of cloning believe that it could directly help in curing diseases or to acquire new data for the sciences of embryology. Also, agricultural industry thinks cloning can help them as it improves. Cloning may be able to help the industry to produce better farm animals. The goal is to produce farm animals with ideal characteristics for the agricultural industry and to be able to manufacture better biological products such as high quality milk for humans. For instance, “at Roslin are trying to produce a sheep that produce milk with beneficial proteins for Cystic Fibrosis patients” (Kolata, 24 February 1997).
Scientists also are looking to help the endangered species to increase their population. But, they are mainly focusing their efforts for the improvement of life for humans. For example, “scientists foresee the cloning of pigs to produce organs that humans will not reject” (Wills 22). There are also possibilities that cloning could provide benefits to those who would like children. For instance, couples who are infertile, or have genetic disorders could use cloning to produce a child. Cloning could also provide children who need organ transplants to have a clone born to donate organs. Furthermore, it could help to provide a copy of a child for a couple whose child had died.
On the other hand, people against cloning believe that the biggest problem with the use of cloning is the decline in genetic diversity. Everyone could have the same genetic material and information. Also, if everyone has the same genetic information, then a disease would be able to eliminate all the population. Another argument is that cloning will not help endangered species. Currently, zoologists and environmentalists trying to save endangered species are not having so much troubles keeping population numbers up, but not having any animals to breed that are not cousins. The technique of cloning is not full developed yet. It is just in its developmental stages. Therefore, errors are occurring when scientists carry out the procedure. In his article Harris clearly states that: “For one thing, we’re far from having perfected the procedure with animals” (Harris 5). If scientists try to clone endangered species we could possibly kill the last females of specie. Another problem is the debate about the moral rights of clones. Some say their rights will not be respected because clones are not granted a natural birth. That people would not receive clones with such excitement as a child of a couple who conceived naturally.
Most people do not accept or feel uncomfortable with cloning. In fact, a “national Time/CNN poll found ? that 74 percent of Americans thought it was wrong to clone a human and 91 percent said they would never even consider doing it” (Harris 2). These may be because the human race is taking nature into their own hands by cloning animals or people. Society is starting to question when the line for getting involved in natural events it is going to be drawn. Religious organizations also claim that cloning does not respect the fact that humans have souls. “They also consider its practice unnatural, and claim scientists are taking the work of God into their own hands” (Bruce, 1998).
Most believe that cloning is a way of loosing our uniqueness. People who believe cloning is wrong argue that cloning would deprive a person of uniqueness. They argue that identical twins are not unique from each other, but that they are new in genetic variation and unique from anything that came before them. People also wonder what mental and emotional problems would result if a clone were to find out that he or she was cloned.
On the other hand, some scientists think that people have misconceptions about cloning. In his article Mr. Hopkins clearly states that “without having read a single article, heard a single presentation, or taken a single bioethics class, most Americans have already received training in the ethics of cloning” (1). People do not really know or understand cloning yet. Because of the lack of understanding people tend to fear cloning. To fear the unknown is really a human characteristic. The biggest misconception about cloning is the fact that people think, “one would get an adult copy of oneself” (Hopkins 3). Media has not done anything to help in this matter. They have not explained to the population what cloning is or how it can help the human race. Their information about cloning has been bias to the point where cloning seems to be totally negative.
Cloning really reaches beyond the laboratory where the actual process takes place. It brings very controversial issues up such as religion, ethics, and morality. Ancient Greek’s ethics might be helpful to answer if cloning is ethical or not. “The only ethical system that can effectively speak against cloning is an ethic of individualism”(Husted 1) which states that every person has his or her own uniqueness. But, “Utilitarianism – the ethic of the greatest good for the greatest number – must support human cloning” (Husted 1). There is a chance that cloning would help the human race by helping to improve life for the greatest number of people.
However, human cloning puts human dignity in the balance; it is wrong to create in a laboratory a human being that was already created by the hand of God and nature. Men should not try to modify nature in such a drastically way.
Several implications need to be considered when dealing with human cloning. The legal aspect of human cloning is a very current and controversial issued. This is such a controversial issue because people and individuals at the top of governments do not have a clear knowledge and understanding about human cloning. Scientists who have been working in cloning experiments are really the ones who understand this activity because the complexity and newness of it.
After scientists cloned the first animal [a sheep called "Dolly"], scientists and media raised the dilemma of human cloning. This issue is to the point where President Bill Clinton banned human cloning. As mentioned in Silberner’s article, President Clinton said on this: “we must ratify the ethical consensus of the scientific and religious communities, and ban the cloning of human being”(2).
While government is trying to draw the line, single individuals keep focusing their efforts in clone human beings. For example, “Seed is a physicist by education who developed a no-longer-used technique for human embryo transfer” (Silberner 1). His statements at a conference show his interest on human cloning: “we are going to have almost as much knowledge and almost as much power as God,” (Silberner 2). He seems to be an individual who can really hurt mankind by his desire for power. He also claimed that he has the financial resources and people to start experimenting. A lot of people think that human cloning will be difficult to stop because not all the countries in the world are taking the same position as the United States. Silver claims in Harris’s article that “there’s nothing that we as a society can do to stop it” (Harris 6). The question really is why do we need to do it? . Larry Dossey MD author of several books on consciousness believes that “just because something can be done, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it should be done” (Harris 6).
There are really different alternatives or possible solutions to the problems cloning claims it can solved. For instance, one of the biggest concerns of people in favor of cloning is the fact that cloning can help infertile couples. There are already systems such us in-vitro fertilization which are working just fine. David Magnus states in Harris article that “we overvalorize genes” (5) meaning that people would prefer the cloning option instead of others such as adoption because by the first one the child would have the parent’s genes. He also believe that “maybe we need to counsel people so the can seriously consider other options, like adoption” (5). It seems difficult to understand how people would go through cloning and its possible bad repercussions to have a baby when there are millions of children in the streets of undeveloped countries and even the United States.
Furthermore, it has not been enough research to demonstrate human cloning is safe. For instance, “it took 277 tries to produce Dolly, and Roslin scientists produced many lambs with abnormalities. This is the main reason why science is holding out on cloning humans” (Wilmut, 1997). The history of cloning is to narrow to start doing it to human beings. Dr. Ian Wilmut, the actual Dolly’s creator and absolute authority in this field states that “we think it would be ethically unacceptable and certainly would no want to be involve in that project” (Henahan 2)
Besides the debate of cloning being ethical or not, much more animal research should be done before even trying human cloning. For some people might be OK to experiment with animals, but human being is a total different issue. Scientist cannot experiment with humans like they do with laboratory mousses. It is totally different. On the other hand, this brings up a different issue and this is the bad treatment scientist give to animals. This will keep on going on if scientist want to perfectionate cloning.
Another major problem is the psychology aspect of human cloning which makes matters worst. Psychologists are debating how a cloned individual would feel about the fact that he or she did not born in a natural way and is a twin of somebody that he or she might never met in his or her life. Also, how society would receive this individual.
Once in time, men created guns and mass destruction weapons. People found its positive side and applications. We did not stop it and we did not think it was unethical. Mass destruction and wars followed this creation. I believe we are in front of something similar, something that can hurt mankind if we do not stop it at the right moment. For instance, if scientist get to clone human beings one of the few imaginable things that can happen is that people may kidnap important people just to clone them. Or even create super soldiers or employees among the most horrible things. Also people need to think about the planet’s resources. These resources are scare and for certain amount of people. By cloning people would be changing the planet’s natural system and environment.
I also believe that cloning violates the rights of both, the new individual and the individual who provide the DNA. Leon Kass, MD professor of social thought at the university of Chicago and author of Toward a More Natural Science states”Identical twins are the result of accident. Clones are the result of design” (Harris 5).
For all these reasons I strongly believe that human cloning is unethical and that it should be banned worldwide. Governments need to draw the line and people need to realize the world they live in is regulate by their actions. Cloning goes against all possible natural things. I think that the risks are much more scary than the benefits humankind can gain from cloning. Let’s do not take in our hands something we cannot handle.
“Cloning”. Encyclopedia. 1997 edition.
Kolata, Gina. “With Cloning of a Sheep, Ethical Ground Shifts.” The New York Times. 24 February 1997: publication web site page.
Wills, Christopher. “A Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing?.” Discover. January 1998: pp.22-23.
Harris, Mark. “To be or not to be?” Vegetarian Times. N. 250, 1998, pp.64-65.
Bruce, Dr. Donald. “Cloning, a Step too Far? (1998, January 5) Society, Religion and Technology. Project, Church of Scotland, [WWW Document]
Hopkins, Patrick. “How Popular Media Represent Cloning As an Ethical Problem.” The Hastings Center Report, v 28, n.2, 1998, pp. 6-8.
Husted, Gladys. “Is Cloning Moral?” Nursing and Health Care Perspectives, v.18, n.3, 1997, pp. 168.
Silberner, Joanne. “Seeding The Cloning Debate.” The Hastings Center Report, v.28,n.2, pp. 5.
Henahan, Sean. “Access Excellence.” Nature Magazine. February 27, 1997.
Foote, Robert. “Artificial Insemination to Cloning: Tracing 50 Years of Research.” 1st ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1998.
Editorial. “Cooling Down Over Cloning.” P. 151. The Lancet, v. 351, n.9097, 1998.
Ramsey, Paul. “Fabricated Man: The Ethics of Genetic Control.” P. 174. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995.
Cole-Turner, Roland. “Human Cloning: Religious responses.” 1st ed. Louisville, KY. Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.
Chawla, Anil. “Molecular Cloning of DNA.” [videorecording]. Strewsbury, MA: Biotech Visions, 1994.
National Bioethics Advisory Commission. “Cloning Human Beings: report and recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. V. 110, 5p. Rockville, MO: The Commission, 1997.
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