Cloning 7 Essay, Research Paper
The announcement one year ago that Scottish scientists had successfully cloned an adult sheep raised eyebrows all over the world. While scientists generally responded with great enthusiasm, ordinary people as well as theologians and ethicists immediately and prematurely responded with outrage. The problem with cloning is not that it is wrong or unethical, but the fact that the general population has been misinformed and frightened about cloning so much that just the word clone has a negative connotation to it.
Many think it would be wrong to clone a human, and have slapped labels such as evil or immoral on human cloning. The source of people s disgust may come from their visions of a science-fiction monster developed in a Frankenstein type of laboratory, a species inferior to us, a world of humans entirely alike (no genetic diversity), or Jurassic Park. The fact is, cloning will not lead to this, and any religious opposition is not firmly based.
A clone is basically a time-delayed identical twin of another (Vere 1). Identical twins have the same DNA composition, but different fingerprints, as will clones. Some say the cloning is repugnant or disgusting, yet they don t see identical twins as repugnant or disgusting (5). If cloning is outlawed and made a crime, who is the victim? Cloned persons shouldn t be the victim just because they were born with the same DNA as another person. Human clones would most likely consider themselves something special, especially when they are the twin of a distinguished individual (5). But there is no guarantee that the clone will be interested in the area that they are expected to, for identical twins often have different interests. Also, identical twins have a 30% chance of being different by intelligence and a 50% chance of being different by personality (3), and these people grow up in the same environment. If a clone is raised in a different environment, as they likely would, these chances of being different would probably be greater.
Cloning also will not diminish genetic diversity and leave us more vulnerable to disease epidemics (5). For example, it would be many years before the world clone population is 10,000 people. If the population in 2050 is eight billion, then the percentage of clones in the world would be minute, less than 1% of 1% of 1% (.0001%). It should also be noted that even if every person in the world was cloned, it would produce five billion humans genetically different (5).
Some people argue that cloned people would not be given legal rights and could be used as slaves. This statement is preposterous. A cloned person would have the same legal rights as any other person. The clone would be human just like any one of us, not a sub-human species that would be inferior. One could not develop a clone to use for organs and other spare parts. Also, a person on the street would not be able to distinguish a clone from a naturally created person.
Do not fear, the chances of a Jurassic Park occurring is very slim. After death, DNA begins to slowly decompose, destroying segments of the genetic code (9). Only a few short fragments of dinosaur DNA have survived the millions of years, but not enough to clone one.
Many think that cloning is wrong for religious reasons, but there is biblical text that prohibit cloning. These opponents say cloning amounts to playing God. But if one thinks about doctors performing heart and organ transplants, use of life-support systems, and vaccines, you cannot help but think that a doctor always plays God. It should be pointed out that similar religious objections were once raised against autopsies, anesthesia, and test-tube babies. Now, autopsies are commonplace, one could not imagine having a surgical procedure without anesthesia, and test-tube babies are hailed as a blessing to infertile couples (World 115). It would only be a matter of time before cloning would be widely accepted. And if others still object to cloning they are in no way obligated to do it, but they must not tell others what to do with their own DNA.
Still another argument against human cloning is that it is too dangerous and the technology has not been perfected. These critics are exactly right, the technology has not been perfected. That is why cloning should still be allowed. It is absurd to place a ban on new breakthroughs just because it is not perfectly safe (Vere 6). Thirty thousand people perished on the Oregon Trail, fifty thousand people die in automobile accidents each year in the US, fatal airplane crashes kill hundreds in a single accident, and thousands choke to death on chicken bones each year (6). Yet people dare not consider banning automobiles, airplanes, or fried chicken simply because the positive benefits greatly outweigh the risks (6). Someday it is even possible that cloning could help save endangered species or bring back ones now extinct (Cohen 1329).
So what is the main problem with cloning? Is it wrong because it is unnatural , or the artificial status of a person would confer them as less an individual? No. The main problem with cloning is that the public has not been completely informed, so they have jumped to a unjustified conclusion. The general public must first learn the facts about cloning before they rant and rave about what is unethical and what is not.
Cohen, Jon. Can Cloning Help Save Beleaguered Species? Science 30 May
Vere, Steven. The Case for Cloning Humans. Webcrawler: 33 pp. Netscape.
Internet. 11 Feb. 1998. Available best.com/ vere/cloning.htm
Woods, Micheal. Biology: A Special Report: Is it Wrong to Clone People?
World Book Year Book: Events of 1997. 1998 ed.