In the article by Leon Kass, “Preventing a Brave New World,” the author argues for a worldwide ban on all forms of human cloning. Do you agree with the author’s arguments? Could we realistically allow therapeutic cloning but ban human cloning? What are the ethical questions raised by cloning? Is there any moral difference between applying genetic engineering technologies to humans and applying them to animals and plants? What role should governments play in making policies regarding ethical issues?
If you enjoy discussing hot button issues this is a question for you. This is another gut wrenching contemporary technology that creates a whole new set of issues for us. Don’t think you can answer this question with emotion or off the cuff judgments. This is a complicated technical matter and to answer it meaningfully you must have an understanding of the technical issues involved. Opinion won’t cut it here, we need knowledge – informed opinion. Lay people make a lot of assumptions about cloning that are simply irrelevant to the issue—like “I’m gonna clone my Mom”. No, you’re not. Your “Mom” has a history, a character, a personality. Those things aren’t cloned. Cloning is now a widely used technology and not just in the United States. Keep that in mind. One other caution, this is favorite topic for Hollywood producers. Film producers may have some interesting and important things to say about human cloning but keep in mind they are fiction. For the last 70 years Hollywood has made a lot of movies about foreign space invaders from other planets. We haven’t seen one yet. So movies are not a gage of rightness or wrongness of any action.
The implications of human cloning will no doubt change human history if allowed. I think that Kass is right when he states that “the technological imperative, liberal democratic society, compassionate humanitarianism, moral pluralism, and free markets” are leading us down a path that places us at risk of losing our humanity.” Kass does not say that we will lose our humanity but that human cloning will place us squarely in the path of this reality. When you consider just a few of the external factors that will inevitably exert influence on the application of human cloning, it is hard not to believe that Kass is right. For example, he mentions the “technological imperative” which is not an entity but a predominant attitude of essentiality and urgency that has become immovable within our contemporary culture and society. This technological imperative is the result of the knowledge revolution and has become a powerful and uncontrollable force. Our society is under-girded by this technological imperative to discover and apply our discoveries to reality. We are not satisfied with simply knowing that we can, we have become the “do it” generation that longs to witness the impact of our discoveries regardlesso f the consequences.
In the same manner, Kass makes mention of our liberal democratic society which suggests he believes that our political prowess lacks the strength and integrity to control the application of human cloning. Again, I agree here. Our current liberal democratic government has a tendency to be controlled by powerful corporate institutions whose monetary influence transforms politicians into political puppets who act in their own interest rather than representing the interest of the people. It is for these reasons that I agree with Kass and do not support human cloning in any way, shape or form.
Similar arguments were used to oppose vaccinations, heart transplants, space travel, birth control pills, in-vitro fertilizaton, freezing human eggs, and countless other innovations. Is this just another one of the long line of arguments about the terrible things that will result for this innovation or that one?
You are certainly correct in that there a have been no shortage of arguments against predecessor human reproductive technologies such as birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and the freezing of human eggs. Obviously these scientific advances have made their way into our society unwelcomed or not; this is fact. However, the fact that the above are legally available for us to make use of does not mean that the introduction of these human reproductive advances have offered society worthwhile benefits. The jury is still out here. I’m sure that the arguments against cloning are similar to those against the predecessor human reproductive technologies. Similar arguments posed considered the sacredness of human procreation, and questions regarding when life begins (birth or conception). The last question relates to the issues about using cloned embryos to supply stem cells. What is likely to happen is that human cloning will be allowed on the merit of its medical advantages. What is of greater concern is renegade doctors cloning humans outside of government regulatiatory use.
I’m not sure if the introduction of some human reproductive advances have offered society as a whole worthwhile benefits, but they have sure offered benefits to several in my extended family and also some friends – the opportunity to parent a child. And when I look at these children, I can’t help but believe they were meant to be in this world. I would also say that birth control has arguably been a benefit to society. The choice not to parent is as valid as the choice to have a child. I think reproductive technologies are a different kettle of fish than cloning because cloning implies replication.
I’m not aware that human reproductive cloning is illegal. I know the Federal Government will not allow Federal funds to support reproductive cloning, there may be some states that have passed laws against cloning, but I am not aware of what Constitutional power on a Federal or State level would allow the government to forbid human cloning by private parties. Does anyone have any information on this? I’m not sure what you would arrest someone for, creating a human being?
Generally speaking I am not opposed to human cloning, that being said, there some aspects of it that boggles my mind. Let’s pose a scenario in which an imperfect human clone was created, it has health problems that derive from a fault in the cloning process, or mental issues, or both (if we assume that a clone is human), what do we do with it (or is it him/her), do we destroy it, does it get medical care and drain resources, do we treat it like a human or like an object to be discarded? Until we have answers to those questions how can we even consider creating a clone? I mean if Dolly, the cloned sheep, was deformed they would have simply discarded her or experimented on her to see what went wrong, can we do the same on a human clone?
I would think there are some states that may have laws against human reproductive cloning, but I will be interested if the courts will find them enforceable if it goes that far. If I were a business firm in Missouri I would not try to produce a human clone there, but if I were a firm in Missouri I might consider paying someone in China to do it and then reap the benefits if any.
That’s the thing I have with this. Just because there is not a law forbidding something, doesn’t mean there won’t be the potential for dire consequences outside the laws of science or medicine for our actions. We’re asked to debate on all these scientific pros and cons, yet somehow disregard the different views of societies across vast cultural boundaries, of who have many (scientific and non-scientific) ideals about these very issues, and who are willing to bring more emotional, religious, economical, social, philosophical and political biases into it that it may not really matter what science can prove if people are going to fight over it and annex relationships, treaties, potentially resorting to violence, acts of terrorism and the like. If we want to engage globalization and figure out ways to build relationships across all of these boundaries, some will have to make concessions. We can’t just bully everyone to follow us with our ethnocentric or liberalized/politically correct attitudes and expect everything will work out ok. If you think so, just go hang out in Gaza and the West Bank for a while and see what’s going on with that clash of ideologies. We could begin by looking in the mirror and examining our own cross-idealogical and cultural competencies. What do you imagine will be the course of our country, if the United Nations, who has already stated (as referenced in a post earlier) that they believe it to be immoral and unethical, passes an international law forbidding this globally (for human reproduction, research or therapy, all or some)? Will America just disregard the law and risk being kicked out of the UN and the possible severances of many host-nation agreements, treaties, and economic alliance memberships that could follow? I don’t know if we want to risk it on a touchy issue like this with how interdependent we are with many other nations. Don’t just assume that because many may not be opposed to this, or there may be scientific or medical benefits, that these issues hold no merit.
With the pace and growth in the biomedical science, human species have succeeded in cloning sheep, cows, mice, pigs, and goats and technically speaking, it is very much possible to do human cloning now. I would very much agree with the author’s point of view on the negative impact of human cloning on the mankind. Kass in this article is using the word “Repugnance” to even think or argue on a subject like “Human cloning” and goes further to equate this to “Human Bestiality”. He is raising objection to all kinds of human cloning which also includes the creation of cloned embryos for research. I feel that there are more negative effects of human cloning than positive ones (if any). The downside of such highly technical and complicated human cloning exercises is producing unhealthy, abnormal, and malformed children. It is also going to create a whole lot of psychological and relationship issues hitherto unknown as mentioned by Kass in his article. Any effort done to intervene with the natural reproductive cycle would tantamount to playing with the creative forces of the nature. What will be the final outcome of this, we probably don’t know in all its aspects. If I look at the negative sides of this, I find that some of the outcomes are – producing unhealthy children, high failure rate of cloning, social and psychological issues, shift from procreation to mass manufacture. In my mind, Mass manufacturing always leads to standardization and sub-par production of objects and in this case it would lead to creation of “Robo-Humans” if I call it by this term.
I still haven’t got my thought around cloning of embryos for research and whether this should be allowed at all. An argument in favour would be that it would help in further research and also potentially be useful for transplantation to repair somatic damage. Argument against would be that we are again playing with nascent life.
Kass, Leon R. (2001). Preventing a brave new world. Human Life Review27. 3: 14-35.
I was struck by your comment that cloning is bad because it is “tantamount to playing with the creative forces of the nature”. Isn’t that what we do all the time, isn’t that what technology largely is? We dam rivers, we fly in space, we fly airplanes, we build artificial hearts, we transplant human hearts, we inject anti-biotics we made in a lab, on and on and on. Is a prohibition on cloning based in not violating the creative forces of nature an argument that comes a little late. Why do you think it is that Kass is having such a negative reaction that he uses prejudicial terminology like “repugnant”?
With respect to the poor success rate of cloning I would remind the class that all the first receipients of heart transplants died within a few minutes or hours of the transplant. Today a very heffty number of humans are walking around happily with transplanted hearts as well as other organs. New technologies often run high risks, is that really a strong argument against cloning?
His (Kass) argument concerning the term surrounds what he believes is an “emotional expression of deep wisdom, which is beyond reason’s power completely to articulate it.” (Winston & Edelbach, 2012, p.321). He takes cloning and genetic engineering akin to incest and child abuse and, ultimately a defilement on human dignity (p.322). Further, he articulates his objections as (p.323):
1) that it constitutes unethical experimentation
2) that it threatens identity and individuality
3) that it turns procreation into manufacture (especially when understood as the harbinger of manipulations to come)
4)and that it means despotism over children and perversion of parenthood.
He’s got a point here, and one cannot scientifically defend his allegations as such without allowing some metaphysics into their thinking. Some questions that I would like some answers to are:
Is there anything fundamentally wrong with people who are naturally procreated?
As disturbingly biased and set in my morale ways, I have to ask if there will be anything that modern humans will regard as sacred in a world of cloning? Money and feeling good all the time can’t be the sacred trust, can it?
Can a dollar amount be placed on a human’s value as an individual (not their portfolio’s net worth)?
Will cloned people be a sort of commodity? If so, who will be held responsible when something goes wrong? The scientist/physician? I don’t suspect anyone we will be able to say it was an ‘act of God,’ will they?
Is there a ‘perfect’ human defined? If so, who will he or she be like?
Do we want everyone to be the same? I want my children to grow up to be happy and productive, but I don’t believe that selecting certain genes or cloning someone who was successful is a sure bet that the child will turn out to be that way, he or she could grow up to be completely void of an identity.
Why mess with a good thing?
If people want to pick and choose what kind of children they will have, what does that say about the value of the ones who don’t meet their expectations? Is a child with a disability undesirable or unlovable? I imagine no one would say yes to both of these questions, but doesn’t the idea kind of cheapen the human race?
Ok, off subject, will blues music die, or will it become something completely different?
These are heavy ideas here. I’m going to try to avoid a hyperbolic existential anxiety attack and do a little bit more research before continuing…my rational mind may be able to place some sense around this, but the horror these questions may reap on my deeper emotions is something that I cannot guarantee I’ll be able to maintain a handle on.
Winston, Edelbach. (2012). Society, Ethics, and Technology, (Update Ed.), (4th Ed.), pp. 321-323. Stamford, CT: Wadsworth Publishing.
Yes, there is often a lot wrong with natural procreation, for example birth deformities, mental retardation, fatal results for the mother, and the list could go on. That is why we have in-utero surgery, birth control, use ultrasound in pregnancy and many other interventions to protect child and mother. Evolution has created a very dangerously enlarged human baby with a huge head that must past through a birth canal that can sometimes not accommodate the child.
I”m not sure what is scared to you but assuming that is related to religious issues I can understand how this might be a problem. There are are many religions in the world and a number of them would have little problem with this issue. Moreover there are many non-religious persons and a number of societies much less religious than the United States, so if Kass is looking for an international policy on human cloning, specific religious sentiments are likely to have a limited appeal.
You seem to not want to select your children’s genes. But in fact humans do that all the time. We have many social pressures to select a mate in our own social group which is selecting genes. Certain physical things are appealing in the opposite sex, and that is selecting genes. And the world is full of matchmakers and mothers who are always in the market for “a good match” which often has a genetic component in what they are looking for. Doesn’t it make more sense for scientists to select the best genes right in the lab?
I agree there is a problem with selecting a child’s sex since sexual imbalances can become social problems, but we don’t need cloning to have that as a problem, we have that problem now in certain societies.
I don’t think you want to see children with birth defects being born but you seem to think society would lose something if we didn’t have them. Did I understand that wrong, could you explain.
Why is this a different problem, John, from the opposition that often arose in the past over technological innovations often medical ones. There were riots in some countries when officials tried to impose vaccination against small pox and other diseases. Some religious groups do not even now accept medical interventions like blood transfusions and other treatments for reasons associated with their beliefs. There are some who object to birth control techniques. Condoms were once illegal in many states and the pill caused outrage in some circles. Is opposition to cloning just another example of this tendency to fear something that seems new and many of us don’t understand well?
I also don’t align my values with everything Kass suggests. For what it is worth, I was not programmed to reason in the fashion that all morality is either relative or absolute. If I must discuss this in a relative fashion, I can usually find a common ground from the meta-ethical and normative perspective until it concerns such issues as murder, stealing, cheating, etc. I believe those acts to be morally evil and those beliefs/values have been instilled into me by my parents and my culture (and some from consequences of my actions and the drill sgt in basic training, etc.). Luckily for me, I’m not the only one who feels that way and we have laws that forbid them as crimes. I do however, have an altruistic streak in me and will usually advocate for those who are helpless, or oppressed on the raggedy fringes of society…perhaps it comes from a religion, I don’t know. I rarely go to church, perhaps I should go more often. Anyhow, we can argue all day on issues of whether there is good and evil, but where is that getting us in the near term and the long term and what are we going to with it? I don’t understand how comparing old social taboos and laws on birth control or condoms have anything to do with destroying human life for research and science, or possibly setting a course for disaster for generations to come. Is there anything that can be the greatest common moral factor, that people of all faiths or lackthereof can agree on? Yes, no? If there is, than let’s work on defining what they are, and create a code of ethics to guide our actions and use that to shape what kind of future we’re going to allow technology to be a part of or control.
I think that cloning is not something that we should be playing around with, I mean this is something big, there are somethings in this world that we shouldn’t do and I think cloning is one of those things, but this day and time we have so much technology and find many ways to make the life style so much better I have done some research and have found the pro’s and con’s of cloning potential medical benefits and also potential harms and disadvantages. There are alot of great things that can come from this but also alot of harmful things not just now but for generations to come.
I probably used the wrong word . What I meant here was playing with “Natural Procreation and evolutionary process of nature”. Ordinary procreation, whether it results in twins or singletons, is an open-ended process. Each new individual has a unique configuration of genes which leads to an amazing range of human variability. Cloning forecloses the opportunity for genetic surprise and growth among cloned humans, limiting such future people to genetic configurations that have alreday been expressed in the past.
Let’s not forget that mankind’s evoloutionary process is going on for ages and any effort to intervene with this process in a very drastic way by something like Human cloning should be clearly thought through. Here, we are not just talking about the probable high failure rate of cloning but it is more than that as highlighted in Kass’ article. It is about commodification of human being, risking with the diversity of human beings and others. Also, any change using genetic manipulation that we allow to occur would continue to exist in future and would get carried over to future generations with varied and unpredictable implications/consequences.
I appreciated the Kass article, but I don’t share the total negativity he expressed. I think there is great potential for in utero somatic cell gene therapy, which targets parts of the body affected by disease, for example the lungs with cystic fibrosis. Somatic gene cell therapy are not carried on from one generation to the next. Germ line gene therapy, where a genetic change is made that will be carried forward to the next generation, is more problematic. But take inheritable diseases, Tay-Sachs disease, for example. What would be wrong with getting rid of that disease forever?
we as humans never interferedin the “Natural Procreation and evolutionary process of nature” we would still be eating fruit and grubbing for roots in a tropical rain forest somewhere, living in small groups and not wearing cloths or speaking a language. Now after all this heart transplants, antibiotics, in-uterine surgery to save children, and brain surgery you now want us to stop interfering with mother nature by not doing cloning? Does that argument really hold up given our history?
the interference that we are talking about here is of a very different nature – It is tampering with the human genes which have been instrumental in human’s evolution and progress. What we are trying to do is – interference with the very fundamental block of life – the effects of which at a broad level can’t be measured now but can be done only ex post facto. Secondly, these changes are going to be permanent i.e. changes made can’t be reversed as it sets in motion and gets carried over to the future generations. If later we find that there are severe and drastic consequences of human cloning, can it be easily addressed/repaired/reversed? Any effort to contain or completely remove from the genetic cycle would have severe social, ethical and legal implications. Also, assume for a moment that entire human population is cloned at some point of time ( very wild assumption 🙂 ), how would we measure what was good/better, whom would we compare with to measure the effect ? There would be no reference point. I am not sure if I am making sense here. But the point here is that these changes will be permanent in nature and there would be no going back once set into action or motion.
Secondly, why should we go after Human cloning. What is the benefit of the same? I can understand the argument and benefit of somatic cell gene therapy, embryonic research as pointed out by Doug. But, what is it there as part of “Human Cloning” that can’t be done through natural process/cycle. Somehow, the cost/benefit aspect of this doesn’t really justify for such a misadventure into unknown territory where too many social, ethical and legal questions await us for answering before we even think of embarking on such a misadventure.
In theory, assuming cloning technology advances we could produce “better” human beings than come out of the natural system. If mother nature was so wonderful I would think we’d want to still be wandering through the wild places of the earth living nude, eating nuts and berries and small animals raw. But we had the option to introduce culture into our lives and here we are pretty far from anything like a natural life for our species. But now for some reason we want to stop this particular technology aimed at controlling the conditions of the human reproduction. We have actually done that in a lot of ways by racial prohibitions between marriage among different human groups, by exterminating minorities on occasion, and so on. Cloning can be seen as just another way to improve the population a little less offensive that former methods. I confess to suggesting an extreme case in the same manner as you did, but if the opposition to cloning is all over the place it makes me wonder if there is really a good reason not to do it Iassuming it could be perfected) or are we just having knee jerk reactions to a radical new technology as has happened to many new technologies in the past. What do you think?
Genes natural selection or extermination (via exterminating minorities) are all within the boundary of so called “Natural gene cycle/system”. I am not bringing in/debating the ethics or morality part of doing such a savage act (exterminating minorities etc.) here but only looking at from the genes selection/choice perspective. Mingling or co-mingling with certain sections of the culture/society or marrying within a particular race/group are all examples of natural genes mixing/selection. We have never done some thing as drastic as human cloing in the past ever.
Also, such a serious issue requires a lot of deliberation on the risk aspect of this type of an innovation. Given that neither you nor I have enough facts/data on what would be the repercussions/effects of human cloning on the entire mankind, I would try to look at the risk part of doing vs not doing this type of cloning technology. You would agree as things stand today, there is an immense amount of risk or unknown (as mentioned in Kass’s article) if such innovation is carried out on a mass scale. Whereas the risk of not doing is zero/very less as we would still be able to carry on with the natural cycle of procreation and regeneration. To support “in favour argument”, can someone guarantee me that human cloning is going to create a better culture or better conditions/future for human population. I would certainly ask for the data/facts on the other side of the story to make a valid argument for “Doing the Human Cloning”.
In my analysis, I would consider the “Immense inherent risk in human cloning” as a good reason/argument for not going ahead with Human cloning.
I assume you man reproductive cloning, do you mean to include therapeutic cloning? Do you think there will a different attitude toward cloning when some human clones have successfully been done?
I meant reproductive cloning. Regarding therapeutic cloning e.g. such as embryonic stem cell research, things like regenerative medicine, Somatic cell nuclear transfer etc. seems beneficial for the mankind. I still need to dig down deeper and do more research around this to find out fallout/implications. To answer your question, probably yes, as I don’t look at this issue on the basis of religion or belief. I am taking a purely rational view of creating a better society/culture than where we are today. If we find success in the reproductive cloning and we have delibrated enough on all the associated implications, the social and scientific community/important stakeholders could explore further in this area.
I’ve changed my mind a little on some of these issues over the past decade. I was initially very unhappy when George W. Bush put the brakes on embryonic stem cell research. The promise it showed treating MS and Parkinsons patients, in particular, made me believe it should get a green light. And the embryos to be used would have been discarded, anyway. However, researchers are having more success using adult stem cells than you might have anticipated from the initial debate – without the ethical issues involved. I still think there may be merit in cloning embryos for the sole purpose of producing embryonic stem cells for research purposes, but taking our time developing appropriate policies is important.
I highly recommend the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It tells the story of a poor black woman who died in 1951 of cervical cancer. Before her death, her doctor at Johns Hopkins sent a part of her tumor, without her knowledge, to a doctor who had been working unsuccessfully for twenty years to culture cells which could live and replicate outside the human body. Her cells lived. Known as the HeLa cells, it’s estimated that they have produced over 50 million metric tons of cells used all over the world for research. Her cells were instrumental in developing the polio vaccine, many other disease treatments, gene mapping, cloning and in vitro fertilization. They were even sent into space. In addition to the fascinating science the book discusses (and how far medicine has come since 1951), it raises some important ethical issues. The selling of these cells has generated fortunes in profits, yet her family never received a penny and continued to live in dire poverty – in fact they didn’t know of their mother’s contribution until much later. Her story is really the beginning of the beginning of the technologies discussed in this thread.
Humans play around with the creation of life all the time when they procreate in the old fashioned way. Not infrequently children are produced by adults that may not be very good at having the responsibility for children. Doesn’t it seem more sensible to do these things carefully with planning? You have to have a license to drive a car but nothing is required for two people to produce a baby. Does that seem odd?
Why is cloning immoral for you? I am not aware of any sacred religious text in any society that forbids cloning.
Humans pervert nature every day, Jeremiah, when we use HVAC, wear clothing, use anti-biotics, and eat farmed food. So I’m not sure that argument carries much weight in relation to cloning. Am I missing something?
My moral issues are all born from the unanwered questions. Its not that cloning itself is evil, but it sure could go bad fast.
These are the questions that boggle me:
(These first two questions look at areas where cloning could defy Biblicial authority) Who are the clones parents? What do we do with the mistake embryos/fetuses/children?
Do we have exclusive rights to our own dna? Can dna be stolen? Who has the rights to dna of the deceased?
When cloning is perfected and everyone is doing it, can society decide who gets cloned and who doesn’t?
The term parent doesn’t seem to apply to a clone does it, Jacqueline, except in the sense that people artificially become parents by adopting a child. Someone could stand in or a adopt a clone. [there will be lots of complicated questions should this ever happen]. I hate to tell you about your DNA but you leave your DNA laying around where ever you go. Someone could get your DNA off your coke glass in the cafeteria. So owning DNA is a bit problematic I guess. There has never been a legal decision as far as I know. I’m not sure what the law is about police asking for a sample of DNA.
As to who could be cloned, I assume that cloning if it ever comes will always be costly [think of costs of birthing a natural birth and raising a child then put the costs of cloning on top of that) I would assume that people who could pay for it will be wealthy people again assuming it is even possible and allowed.
As I said before I am skeptic about therapeutic cloning–not against it. I AM against reproductive cloning totally. My point was creating humans in the same process as we genetically engineer animals for food–replicating a human species on an “assembly line”. The recreation of a human being with the manipulation of DNA to make a “copy” is reproductive cloning. I don’t see how anyone thinks it is okay. Of course there is invitro fertilization or surrogate pregnancy–but that is not the same thing (DNA is not manipulated). You can’t “tweek” the DNA programming of an embryo and compromise the life of an embryo. Last time I checked it is ILLEGAL–so religious “text” is irrelevant and does not override state/federal laws.
Comparing HVAC, clothing, antibiotics or farmed food to making a duplicate copy of another human being is the same perversion of nature? I don’t understand that comparision. Reproductive cloning is a serious issue beyond “air conditioning”…this exploitation of humans is a perversion of nature–Jerimiah is absolutely correct. And I as I stated before a degradation of humanity.
How could you tell a child that he/she is a “clone”…that they are basically a replacement or a xerox-copy of the same child that died before them? You don’t think there would be serious, traumatic mental repercussions from child who can not self identify especially knowing they were created as a clone? Not to mention the devasting unpredictable physical outcomes from a Frankenstein cloning experiment—that is why reproductive cloning of humans is not federally funded and ILLEGAL in numerous states.
The same methods used to clone animals like “Dolly” will be used in human cloning. The following quote is of great concern and speaks to more than ethics. There are too many uncertainties at this point.
“It is known that epigenetic and genetic mechanisms are involved in clone failure, but we still do not know exactly how. Human reproductive cloning is unethical, but the production of cells from cloned embryos could offer many potential benefits. So, can human cloning be made safe?”
Susan M. Rhind1, Jane E. Taylor2, Paul A. De Sousa2, Tim J. King2, Michelle McGarry2 & Ian Wilmut, Nature Reviews Genetics 4, (November 2003).
Can we really say that they could produce “perfect” babies? Part of what makes us better as people is our ability to overcome the tragedies of our existence. The physical limitations put upon us by the roll of the genetic dice help to determine who exactly has the strength to overcome them and excel despite them. I can understand the need for people to want to help limit the suffering of children (I’m not a monster. I cry when faced with the suffering of others), but do we all believe that memories can be cloned? I don’t believe memories are a physical thing that can be duplicated. They can be replicated imperfectly, but the brain will always know something is not completely right.
When transplants have happened, some people have spoken about having “memories” (until it’s proven it cannot be simply called a memory) that don’t belong to them we have to wonder if we can ever truly know the memories and how they could surface. I’m not sure I like the idea of clones walking around who possibly share memories of my daughter’s life because she chose to donate her eggs one day because they were offering money, and she needed it.
I don’t want people walking around with her memories (as good as I hope them to be) because what if the person who got them somehow began to believe them, and showed up on our doorstep someday? I know the chance is slim, but I don’t know how well we would deal with seeing someone that looked so similar to my daughter.
Cloning tissues and organs falls under a different category that cloning human beings. I think it would be advantageous to science and medicine to clone tissues and organs. However, the research in this involves fetal tissue which is a completely different ethical discussion. I do not know enough about the procedure be against it. So, with my present understanding I would allow cloning for tissues and organs.
No matter how optimistic I try to be with the topic of reproductive cloning, I find it cruel and unjust to clone a human being with the intent not to let it develop freely as any human would, but to treat it more as a living object to extract data. I also fear that if the cloning of humans becomes a huge success it could eventually have an impact on human reproduction. Stem cell research and therapeutic cloning provides great opportunities to help patients and has the potential to provide great amounts of new information while keeping it at a cellular level.