Reasons For and Against Human Cloning
Recently, the controversy around human cloning has received a lot of news coverage; yet unsurprisingly, a clear and thorough examination of both sides has been lacking from the news media.
Basically, human cloning is the artificial process of making a genetic twin of a person. This means a person could literally become the parent of their own twin sibling or the parent of anyoneís twin.
Scientists are either very close at being able to clone human beings, or scientists have already done so. Human cloning has already become illegal or restricted in a variety of degrees in several countries, thus scientific research has been greatly reduced throughout the world. Furthermore, there has been quite a bit of legislation proposing to completely ban human cloning, and a large amount of legislation proposing to allow human cloning.
Unfortunately, I have not seen or heard a holistic explanation of both sides with all the reasons for and against human cloning, so I am going to list all the reasons that Iíve found so far. Additionally, I am going to address each of these issues on their rational merit.
Reasons for allowing human cloning:
- Infertility: In my opinion, if a couple is unable to conceive a child, then there are plenty of children in orphanages and foster care that could use a home and family. Adopting an orphan is much easier, cheaper, virtuous, and safer solution than trying to clone a human being, not including helping a child in need.
- Genetic Illness: If a person chooses not to have a child that is genetically their own because of a risk with passing on a genetic illness, then again adoption is a better solution for the reasons mentioned previously.
- Vanity: Bringing a child into the world should not about our narcissism, vanity, or an attempt at indirect immortality, because we are all unfairly biased for ourselves and our genes.
- Super Humans: Selecting the most perfect genetic donor in someoneís opinion, whether it is Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, or some other above average person, changes the norms of society. Imagine a world with fewer variations of people who are either super-geniuses or super-athletes. On the other hand, advances in science and technology would grow at an even faster rate and more people would be healthier. I judge this purpose as a sufficiently good enough reason for allowing human cloning; however, I am very suspicious of intentionally making a better race of people. Maybe Iíve seen too many science fiction movies.
- Curing Diseases: The growing scientific field known as regenerative medicine, also known as therapeutic cloning, is allowing thousands of lives to be saved from cloning human cells, tissues, and even organs. Cloning human body parts guarantees a genetic match to prevent organ rejections and also does not require immunosuppressive drugs. However, this research is still in its infancy and requires a lot more time, effort, and money before it matures into saving a lot more people. If human cloning is completely banned, then this type of research would be stopped and a lot of lives would be lost. Therefore, this type of human cloning should also be allowed.
- Body Replacements: One of the stranger reasons for cloning humans is for a complete body replacement. This is only science fiction now, yet it may some day be a possibility in the distant future. While it will always unethical to kill another human being to save another person, what if the cloned human body replacement did not have a brain and was intentionally designed that way from the beginning? What about replacing an aged body with a new body by transplanting the human brain? I'll leave these ethical and fuzzy questions to be answered by the reader.
- Because We Can: Just because science gives humanity the ability to do something does not mean that humankind should. The reasons for doing any action must out weigh the reasons for not doing the action, therefore cloning a person should not be because of capability.
Reasons for banning human cloning:
- Playing God: Whether playing God or playing Devil, I find this reason without any logic what so ever. Mankind is already "playing" God when we cure diseases, fly airplanes, create nuclear energy, or use any advanced technology.
- Religion: I believe it is impossible for anyone to know the true intentions of God if God exists. I donít think God in any religion has directly banned human cloning. I know that the Catholic Pope is against cloning, but I find that at odds with being fruitful and multiplying.
- Determining Gender: In some societies, being able to determine the sex, whether it is a boy or girl, is very important. While I believe that pre-determining the sex of a child is not applicable in modern society, I find no logically moral reasons why this should be banned.
- Sexual Orientation: Some people want to ban human cloning because they believe this is the only method that homosexuals can have children that will most likely be homosexual too. I believe that this reason is caused by fear from ignorance and religion and therefore logically baseless. On the other hand, I believe that if same sex couples want a child, then adoption should be a better option as mentioned above.
- Sub-Human: Imagine a new race of people that are docile with super strength yet low intelligence. Next, imagine how easily for this race to fall into slavery. Cloning humans should be for the advancement of mankind and not the lessening of individuals.
- Embryos at Risk: The process of human cloning increases the risk of harm to embryos and thus to the cloned person throughout their life. This reason is self defeating; because as scientists learn more, cloning humans has the possibility of becoming safer than naturally developing embryos by replacing randomized risks and genetic defects.
- Embryos Killed: During the human cloning process, a lot of human embryos are created and tested for viability. Some are either discarded or frozen for future use. First, it is heavily debated if killing a human embryo that is only a few living cells is murdering a person. I donít think this argument will ever be decided upon. Second, extra embryos can be frozen, so they can avoid being killed too. Third, embryos can also be used in stem cell research, and thus possibly save human lives. And finally with further research, it could be possible to decrease the number of embryos created to only a single embryo.
- Expectations: Expectations of cloned humans to be identical to the genetic original person would undoubtedly cause a lot of psychological pressure, especially while growing up. Since identical twins are genetically the same yet very different people, it is unwise to expect cloned people to behave or have the same intelligence as the original genetic person. Therefore, no one should have any expectations from cloned people.
- Human Rights: A lot of people worry that cloned people would not have full rights, since they are just copies. I find this reasoning absolutely ridiculous, since a person is a person despite their genetic source or if artificially created.
As you can see, I think each and every reason to ban human cloning was logically contradicted or challenged. Even most of the reasons to allow human cloning were opposed too. However, it is only because of the possible medical advances and the possible advantages to the human race that human cloning should be allowed. Just the research of human cloning alone could save a great many lives.
by Phil B.