Ethics Of Cloning

.. ts might decide to clone a child with a fatal disease in order to help save the first child. While such cloning for harvest of a one-of-a-kind organ such as a heart is not considered likely to be allowed, the possibility exists. Even if an organ such as a kidney, however, is harvested, to take it from another child created for that purpose is to arguably abuse it. Again, the issue of whether the child is fully human with all the same rights is at issue. Also involved in that case is how the child will be treated.

Would it forever be a second class sibling, cared for but not loved as a true child? (Kluger and Thompson). Indeed, the issue of the division of humanity into the natural and the unnatural is a great concern. It is entirely possible that there would be the creation of a new and stigmatized social class of The Clones (Herbert, Sheler, and Watson). Another danger is the sort of homemade eugenics where families decide the traits and capacities they want in their children. Genetic analysis of embryos may give parents the opportunity to select the best of their fertilized embryos, whatever their definition of best, and destroying the rest (Kevles). Such designer children would potentially skew the entire development of humanity. Also, there are a number of groups already looking upon cloning as a way to further their own agendas. Under the flag of defending reproductive rights, certain gay rights advocates are pushing the idea of cloning as a means of preserving homosexuality in a general population which might otherwise decide to eliminate it.

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Also, cloning has been recognized as giving women complete control over reproduction, possibly eliminating the need for men all together (Manning). Essentially clones are twins to their DNA donors. As such, the possibility is raised that adults who clone themselves set themselves up to be fathers or mothers to their twins. This raises a host of questions. There is, after all, the possibility that much of the cloning to be done will be for purposes of ego.

Generally, it is expected that either adults will attempt to clone themselves so that they may have immortality in a sense. This is also possible with the idea that someone of great intelligence or ability should be preserved for a second round. For example, the common metaphor is should we not create as many Einsteins as possible. But there is little agreement as to how much of the success of great thinkers is attributable to genetics and how much to environment, the era when they live, and factors included in their individual raising. Even if genetics were a major factor, ethicists say that diversity is the main factor in our population that leads to the rise of great men in any field (Kluger and Thompson).

One of the dangers of cloning is that it exactly threatens this diversity. Nevertheless, clones would not be exact copies of their donors. Indeed, even if society desired a hundred Einsteins, there is no guarantee that the clones would find the same path to physics or even become more than ordinary citizens (Herbert, Sheler, and Watson). Another ethical concern is the unknown ramifications for the clones themselves. It is known that over a lifetime, DNA can degrade within a person, causing changes in the sequence as continued replication takes a toll.

Where cloning takes place with adult DNA, it is not yet known whether this would affect the life span of the child created (Herbert, Sheler, and Watson). Also at issue is the possibility that clones would be more subject to disease, and indeed that humanity itself might have greater susceptibility if cloning were to become widespread. Science has long known that when living things share the exact same genetic structure, they become much more vulnerable to viral diseases. Sexual reproduction with its combining of the genes of both parents helps keep the immune system vital and holds communicable diseases at bay. With the increase in killer viruses, this is of major concern (Kenen).

If cloning takes place before sufficient animal studies are undertaken, then there is a risk to the clone that is another reason for not allowing the procedure until more is known. Another disturbing possibility with cloning is the control of the source of the DNA. Since everyone gives off cells all the time naturally, as in lost hairs or skin cells, it is conceivable that a person could be cloned without their knowledge or consent. Each cell given off contains a full complement of DNA. Even such things as blood samples or a trip to the dentist could be the source for such activity. While such action would be essentially criminal, there is no way to stop it from a scientific standpoint. Such drive-by cloning could allow people to fulfill a number of fantasies for the unscrupulous.

The commercial value of an athletic pedigree or a well known singing voice, or the ability to have children of otherwise impossible parents would make such cloning attractive to certain segments of society who prey on others for money (Herbert, Sheler, and Watson). Similarly, it is theoretically possible to clone the dead. While there are more problems with this technologically, if the cells were taken soon after death, the DNA might be harvested and frozen for later use. The social and ramifications of this are not pleasant, and the effects on any child so produced might well be psychologically scarring (Herbert, Sheler, and Watson). Thus, human cloning has a number of ethical pitfalls.

It has been shown through human history that there are many people, individually, in groups, or as governments, who wish to control the future of humanity through its biology. The theories of eugenics have made given structure to these desires, and the greatest danger in them is the idea that humanity should be shaped to some specific ideological or biological model based on preconceived ideas of what the future holds. In reality, no one knows what environmental or social situations humanity will face in the future. Diversity has been the best protector of mankind, making it possible for the population to have all the elements available at any time for what situations must be met. Cloning threatens that diversity, and also threatens our ideas of what it is to be human. Thus, before cloning is allowed, it is absolutely necessary to consider the harm that can be done and move to curb abuses.

Works Cited Allen, Garland E. Science Misapplied: The Eugenics Age Revisited. Current. 1 Dec. 1996. Online.

Electric Library. Glass, H. Bentley. Eugenics. Colliers Encyclopedia CD-ROM. 28 Feb. 1996.

Herbert, Wray, Sheler, Jeffery L., and Watson, Traci. The World After Cloning. U.S. News & World Report. 10 Mar.

1997. Online. Electric Library. Kenen, Joanne. Clinton’s Bioethics Panel Takes Up Cloning Debate.

Reuters News Service, 13 Mar. 1997. Online. Electric Library. Kevles, Daniel.

Controlling the Genetic Arsenal. Wilson Quarterly. 1 Apr 1992. Online. Electric Library. Kluger, Jeffrey, and Thompson, Dick.

Will We Follow the Sheep? Time. 10 Mar. 1997. Online. Electric Library. Lifton, Robert Jay, and Hackett, Amy.

Nazi Doctors. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Ed. Gutman, Yisrael, and Michael Berenbaum, eds. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. 301-315.

Manning, Anita. Pressing a ‘Right’ to Clone Humans Some Gays Foresee Reproduction Option. USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 1997. Online.

Electric Library. Nazi Eugenic Racial Hygiene Also Recognized in America. All Things Considered. Robert Siegel, host. Stefan Kuhl, guest. National Public Radio.

9 Mar. 1994. Sharp, Deborah, and Sharn, Lori. Big Questions for Humanity. USA TODAY, 25 Feb.

1997. Stolberg, Sheryl. Reproductive Research Far Outpaces Public Policy. Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 1997. Online. Electric Library.

Thomasson, Emma. Germans Press for Ban on Human Cloning. Reuters News Service. 29 Apr. 1997. Online.

America Online. Vatican Calls for Global Ban on Human Cloning. Reuters News Service, 26 Feb. 1997. Online.

Electric Library. Ethics and Morals.

ethics of cloning

Steve Stauff
Grade: B+
Biochemistry in the Real World
Ethics of cloning
Most of us should know of the new scientific technology that has allowed us to clone mammals. First a sheep that was cloned in Scotland, and then a small monkey in Oregon. All this talk about cloning has forced people to think about other possibilities with this new breakthrough.
Most people have come to think about the possibility of cloning humans. Which brings us to the point. Just thinking about that is a little scary. However scientists have proclaimed that within less than a year, cloning humans will be possible. When I think about that it bothers me. Its not an easy thing to accept. The strange thing is, usually, when there is a technological breakthrough people are interested in what the product can do and they accept the new idea and the new thinking that has come up. However with cloning, I do not think people are handling it the way they handled other things when they were first invented.
All these new computer developments are accepted by people because they help us do our work more efficiently or they make tasks easier for us to do. But I do not sense this same thing with this issue. I do not think people are accepting it as well as they have accepted past developments.
The reason for this is that the issue here is different for us. It deals with something new, something that you read about in books and see in movies.
When people saw Jurassic Park and the idea of cloning dinosaurs from DNA found in mosquitoes, I do not think that many were thinking about the possibility of cloning humans just a few years later. I personally did not think it would come at least for another 10 years. Many scientists are skeptical about the issue though and they do not seem to believe that these human clones could happen. These scientists have also considered the health factors of cloning humans.
Cloning humans could lead to the birth of abnormal children. One of the problems with cloning people is that when scientists are cloning a human, they are picking up all the different things that that person has been subject to. The persons cells would have been exposed to chemicals and bacteria and environmental radiation. All of these things could affect the clone and affect the process. Another problem would be that it would be very unpredictable as for how the clone would come out. We would not know about the mutations that it could have gone through and even then, I am sure there would be a hundred other things that would make us think twice.
One scientist said that trying to clone an adult person would be playing genetic Russian roulette. I agree with this statement. What could cloning do?
History has also shown us that we humans do not handle things like this well. Anything that gives us the ability to create and associate power has not worked out well for us. Take nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons enabled us to enter the next level of warfare. But what else did they do? We completely destroyed two Japanese cities and they also led to the beginning of the Cold War.
They created feelings of jealousy and greed and everyone wanted to learn about them and the power that they had. Now if cloning humans became possible, then many, many more of these problems would be created.
The notion of power would be redefined and knowledge of cloning and any advances in it would spread quickly. I think that if they put some limit on cloning like if it was only used for scientific purposes, then it would not be that bad.
I can see how one can say that cloning humans is really great. It shows how far humans have come that they can clone themselves. It could also prove to be an effective tool in different ways.
I think that right now, at this state, cloning is something that we really do not need. In the past we have shown that we do not handle things like this very well and the cloning of humans could very well screw a lot of things up.


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