, Research Paper
Cloning: A progression of Acceptance
Throughout history there have been many practices which have at first been looked upon as “wrong” or “unacceptable” for any number of reasons. Some have been medical, such as surgery. Yet others, like x-ray technology for example, have been purely scientific. But as time progressed, these practices become widely accepted, even praised in some cases, by those who had been their greatest foes. In present times we again will see the past repeat itself. The process of cloning humans is now seen as wrong and/or unethical, but in the future, it will be a commonplace occurrence.
Cloning, “The production of duplicate copies of genetic material, cells or entire multicellular living organisms”. (Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia) By now, everyone should know that Scottish scientists have successfully cloned a sheep. “They took a cell from a 6-year-old ewe, added it’s genes to a hollowed-out egg from another sheep, and placed it in the womb of yet another sheep…” (Bailey, 1) This resulted in the first recorded mammalian cloning success. Immediately, the science community went berserk. “The announcement of the success with the sheep was immediately followed up with the announcement that scientists in Oregon had cloned monkeys.” (Bailey, 1) Near widespread panic occurred immediately. The public was extremely frightened at the prospect of having the ability to clone human beings. “President Clinton rushed to ban federal funding for cloning research, and in addition asked privately funded researchers to postpone such research until the ethics of the matter had been determined.” (Vere) This was the same initial fear/shock response that had occurred after nearly every scientific or medical breakthrough in history.
The next questions that arose in people’s minds were “Would a clone be a mindless zombie? A double’?” The answer was and is no to both questions. “A human clone is really nothing but a time delayed identical twin of another person.” (Vere) There would be no real danger of confusing a clone-twin with the original person. As with identical twins, clones would have their own thoughts, personality and opinions. Also, “…no one has ever argued that twins are immoral. This should not be any different.” (Bailey, 2) Once the public is made aware of these facts, acceptance of the process will increase, and research can continue. However, the main problem that scientists have with gaining acceptance of human cloning is the lack of ability to educate everyone with the correct information. “58% of Americans see human cloning as morally wrong. Also, 63% feel that it is against God’s will.” (Elmer-Dewitt, 4) In fact, “As the people become more educated, they will have a better understanding and acceptance of what human cloning could mean to mankind, both physically and technologically.” (Bailey, 4)
In addition, another concern is that without regulation, a very different situation could come about. “Clones could be created to provide spare parts, such as organs that would not be rejected by the predecessor’s immune system.” (Bailey, 2) The simple response to this scenario is this: Clones would be people. You would have to treat them like people. “You don’t forcibly remove organs from one twin to give to the other. Why would we do that in the case of clones?” (Bailey, 3) In essence, the one and only argument that stands up under any considerable analysis is that the technology has not yet been perfected. “Imperfections in technique should not be an excuse to abandon experiments with human cloning. This is one of the best justifications for further research, not a prohibition.” (Vere, 3)
Once the masses have been presented with all of the facts, approval ratings will double, possibly even triple. There is a vast sea of resources in local libraries, magazines and on the Internet just waiting to be found. If one were willing to take the time to do a small amount of research and keep an open mind, the facts would do the convincing by themselves. All through history, when a new idea came along, it was met with fear and contempt. “So why is the impulse to ban cloning so strong? We must be nostalgic for the middle ages and the inquisition. We still want the state to have the power to enforce good morals on everyone, whether they want it or not.” (Bailey, 5) Do we need to continue in the footsteps of 13th century peasants? No. It is ridiculous for us to bury our collective heads in the sand and make brash decisions without first learning about the subject in question. “It is utterly absurd to completely ban a new technological breakthrough just because, initially, it is not perfectly safe.” (Vere, 5) Unfortunately, many of the world’s top scientists however, cannot speak out on any aspect of the topic for fear of the public and/or media backlash. (Elmer-Dewitt, 3)
Also, there need not be only one use of human cloning. “Many legitimate future applications of cloning technology have been envisioned in the areas of organ replacement, skin grafts for burn victims, etc.” Bailey (2) “These would not involve the cloning of an entire person, but only application of the some nucleus transfer technology to grow new tissue or organs for medical purposes.” (Reason Online) Would it not be wonderful to have the ability to create a new spleen or create a new graft of skin for a person’s arm from scratch? Other positive applications of this technology could include: “The cloning of Anne Frank” (Vere, 8), or even “The competition of the clones of Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens at the 2032 Olympics” (Bailey, 5). When people discover the wealth of opportunity, the possibilities, and the shear benefits that human cloning can share, they will realize that the only thing that is preventing this “modern-day miracle” is complacency, and shallow thinking.
In Closing, once people have been presented with all aspects of the human cloning process, both the good and the bad, they will come around on their own. Due to the use of the Internet, network databases, and scientific journals, the education process can begin, but only with the help of people who care enough to educate themselves. The process of human cloning is a subject which in the majority of America is very much taboo due to moral and social constraints. It is also currently seen as morally and ethically wrong. This will change over time, and it will be accepted as commonplace, but only with the desire to educate, and end narrow-mindedness.