Cloning Essay, Research Paper
The cloning of humans is now very close to reality, thanks to the historic scientific breakthrough of Dr. Ian Wilmut and his colleagues in the UK. This possibility is one of incredible potential benefit for all of us. Unfortunately the initial debate on this issue has been dominated by misleading, sensationalized accounts in the news media and negative emotional reactions derived from inaccurate science fiction. Much of the negativity about human cloning is based simply on the breathtaking novelty of the concept rather than on any real undesirable consequences. On balance, human cloning would have overwhelming advantages if regulated in a reasonable way. A comprehensive ban on human cloning by a misinformed public would be a sorry episode in human history.
Fear is one of the main arguments against human cloning, but perhaps this knee-jerk reaction is not at all appropriate for the situation. These negative reservations can be compared to those directed against Galileo and his monumental discoveries in astronomy. Arrested as being a heretic, he was forced to renounce his discoveries under threat of death. One is also reminded of the scientist Listerine who was ridiculed for his theories on germs. These may seem to be accepted facts now, but at the time of their discoveries, they were seen to be dangerous and sometimes even evil. This new research, far from being inherently evil, could revolutionize modern medicine, as we know it.
The Bible and the holy texts of other major religions do not explicitly prohibit human cloning. Consequently, religious opposition to human cloning is not firmly based. There will nevertheless be many who think that cloning humans is “wrong” for religious reasons. These people should of course not participate in cloning. Religious leaders who believe human cloning is wrong are entitled to preach their beliefs and persuade whom they can. They discredit themselves when they propose to jail people that they cannot persuade. Jesus never advocated force to compel people to live according to Christian beliefs. Legal enforcement of religious beliefs is a very poor idea and also a violation of the US Constitution. In contrast with abortion, which involves the termination of the life of a fetus, cloning involves the creation of new life. Consequently, opposition to human cloning is not based on established moral principles. It is also possible to argue that if God had not wanted us to clone mammals or people, he would not have created Dr. Wilmut. By all means remain true to your own beliefs, but don’t tell me what to do with my DNA. I personally wouldn’t want to clone myself, but free people should be free to make that choice without compulsion from society. The accusation of “playing God” is a vague but recurring criticism. We hear it every time there is a major advance in medicine. At one time birth control pills, in vitro fertilization, and heart transplants were criticized on the same grounds. God often performs good deeds, which we should try to imitate. If playing God by cloning humans can have bad consequences, the critics are obliged to specify precisely what those bad consequences might be. So far they have not done so.
Human cloning technology is expected to result in several miraculous medical breakthroughs. We may be able to cure cancer if cloning leads to a better understanding of cell differentiation. Theories exist about how cloning may lead to a cure for heart attacks, a revolution in cosmetic surgery, organs for organ transplantation, and predictions abound about how cloning technology will save thousands of lives. Many people have suffered accidental medical tragedies during their lifetimes. People whose lives have been destroyed or have not been able to reproduce in this lifetime due to tragedy could arrange to have their DNA continued and fund research at the same time. For example: A boy graduates from high school at age 18. He goes to a pool party to celebrate. He confuses the deep end and shallow end and dives head first into the pool, breaking his neck and becoming a quadriplegic. At age 19 he has his first urinary tract infection because of an indwelling urinary catheter and continues to suffer from them the rest of his life. At age 20 he comes down with herpes zoster of the trigeminal nerve. He suffers chronic unbearable pain. At age 21 he inherits a 10 million dollar trust fund. He never marries or has children. At age 40 after hearing about Dolly being a clone, he changes his will and has his DNA stored for future human cloning. His future mother will be awarded one million dollars to have him and raise him. His DNA clone will inherit a trust fund. He leaves five million to spinal cord research. He dies feeling that although he was robbed of normal life, his twin/clone will lead a better life. Through the research leading up to human cloning we will perfect the technology to clone animals, and thus we could forever preserve endangered species, including human beings.
Freedom sometimes means having tolerance for others and their beliefs. In America, some people believe in gun control and some don’t. Some people believe in one religion and others in another. In a free society, we know that we must tolerate some views that we don’t agree with so that we all may be free. For this reason human cloning should be allowed. It is clear that human cloning has enormous potential benefits and few real negative consequences. As with many scientific advances of the past, such as airplanes and computers, the only real threat is to our own narrow mental complacency. In the areas of scientific advancement and cultural achievement, human clones can make major contributions. In specific cases where abuse of cloning is anticipated, these abuses can be prohibited by targeted legislation. With a little common sense and reasonable regulation, human cloning is not something to be feared. We should look forward to it with excited anticipation, and support research that will hasten its realization. Exceptional people are among the world’s greatest treasures. Human cloning will allow us to preserve and eventually even recover these treasures.