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The Controversy Of Cloning Essay, Research Paper

The Controversy of Cloning

In their book On Moral Grounds: The Art/Science of Ethics, Daniel C. Maguire and A. Nicholas Fargnoli consider the many issues that modern science presents – many of which wouldhave been science fiction only 10 years ago. One of the most debatable new issues is cloning. It is now possible to produce an exact replica of a human being. But is the cloning of human beings ethical? This paper will provide a number of arguments on both sides of the issue.

Harold Shapiro, chairman of the Federal Bioethics Advisory Commission, sees no problem with it. Himself a twin, he feels there are much scarier technological issues to deal with today than producing twins in a laboratory. According to an article by Barry Came with Sharon DoyleDreidger, Shapiro believes that this entire affair is going to end up producing a lot more benefits than costs (Came & Dreidger, 59).

Pharmaceutical companies agree, but they may be in the minority. The idea of cloning scares many people, and a numerous number of doctors are uneasy about the idea as well. Dr. Gerald Klassen, a bioethicist and a professor of medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax,points out that We have the idea that doctors are particularly ethical and that they will always

make the right choices. But then you look at the extraordinarily high participation rate of the medical profession in the eugenics experiments of Nazi Germany. (Came & Driedger, 59). Could cloning turn out like that? Already scientists are talking about the possibility of using cloning to produce spare body parts; replacement hearts and livers, lungs and kidneys. If

this is allowed, it is not impossible to predict the outcome in some countries. Possibly a production of an entire class of sub-people to produce spare body organs. There is no question that this would be a human rights violation.

Came and Dreidger also quote Margaret Somerville of McGill s Center for Medicine,Ethics and the Law, who, while she considers cloning a medical miracle, strongly feels it is ethically unacceptable for human beings. She feels that the disgust most people feel for the very idea is a moral intuition, an innate gut reaction that we ve got to listen to when we sit down and

do our cool logic. Human cloning is a radical shift in the whole nature of the uniqueness of each human from a genetic point of view (Somerville, Came & Dreidger, 59)

In what way does this change our idea of the human being? From a religious outlook, it calls into question human nature. Many theologians feel that to tamper with thecreation of life is to tamper with the very essence of what it means to be human. Herbert Wary,Jeffery Sheller, and Traci Watson quote a number of theologians who have very definite and very negative views on the idea of cloning a human being. Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish

theologians all caution against applying the new experiment to humans, but for different reasons. Catholic criticism comes from the church s belief that natural moral law prohibits most kinds of tampering with human reproduction and while Protestants tend to support using science to fix flaws in nature, Protestant theologians say cloning of humans crosses the line. It places too much power in the hands of sinful humans, who, says philosophy Prof. David Fletcher of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., are subject to committing horrific abuses. Judaism also tends to favor using science to improve on nature s mistakes, says Rabbi Richard Address of the Union of

American Hebrew Congregations. But cloning humans, he says, is an area where we cannot go. It violates the mystery of what it means to be human (Wray, et al, 59).

Scientists tend to argue that this kind of reasoning is silly. They realize the many positive benefits cloning could provide, particularly in the areas of organ transplants and providing infertile couples children. E.V. Kontorovich quotes Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe s perception

of flaws in a society that bans acts of human creation for no better reason than that theirparticular form defies nature and tradition (Kontorovich, PG). Kontorovich adds that Princeton molecular biologist Lee Silver makes a stronger case than many critics do, that cloning would completely redefine human life, but embraces this outcome as a way for us to take control of our

destiny as a species and reshape it as we see fit ( Kontorovich, PG).

But it is this point that the argument moves from ethics to theology. Are we intended to change life as we see fit, or are issues such as life and death the rights of a higher power? Humanists, who place the human being at the center of their universe, would argue one way; theologians, who place God at the center, would argue another. Viewed this way, it would seem that the issue is really not one of ethics at all, but of theology, having to do with the nature

of the human soul and its relationship to God. For this reason, the issue of cloning is likely to join other theological topics which have entered the social world. Clearly, the possibility of human cloning has unleashed a debate that is certain to remain for years to come.


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