The question shakes us all to our very souls. For humans to consider the cloning of one another forces them all to question the very concepts of right and wrong that make them all human. The cloning of any species, whether they be human or non-human, is ethically and morally wrong.
Scientists and ethicists alike have debated the implications of human and non-human cloning extensively since 1997 when scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland produced Dolly. No direct conclusions have been drawn, but compelling arguments state that cloning of both human and non-human species results in harmful physical and psychological effects on both groups. The following issues dealing with cloning and its ethical and moral implications will be addressed: cloning of human beings would result in severe psychological effects in the cloned child, and that the cloning of non-human species subjects them to unethical or moral treatment for human needs. The possible physical damage that could be done if human cloning became a reality is obvious when one looks at the sheer loss of life that occurred before the birth of Dolly. Less than ten percent of the initial transfers survive to be healthy creatures.
There were 277 trial implants of nuclei. Nineteen of those 277 were deemed healthy while the others were discarded. Five of those nineteen survived, but four of them died within ten days of birth of sever abnormalities. Dolly was the only one to survive (Fact: Adler 1996). If those nuclei were human, “the cellular body count would look like sheer carnage” (Logic: Kluger 1997). Even Ian Wilmut, one of the scientists accredited with the cloning phenomenon at the Roslin Institute agrees, “the more you interfere with reproduction, the more danger there is of things going wrong” (Expert Opinion). The psychological effects of cloning are less obvious, but none the less, very plausible.
In addition to physical harms, there! are worries about the psychological harms on cloned human children. One of those harms is the loss of identity, or sense of uniqueness and individuality. Many argue that cloning crates serious issues of identity and individuality and forces humans to consider the definition of self. Gilbert Meilaender commented on the importance of genetic uniqueness not only to the child but to the parent as well when he appeared before the National Bioethics Advisory Commission on March 13, 1997. He states that “children begin with a kind of genetic independence of the parent. They replicate neither their father nor their mother.
That is a reminder of the independence that the parent must eventually grant them…To lose even in principle this sense of the child as a gift will not be good for the children” (Expert Opinion). Others look souly at the child, like philosopher Hans Jonas. He suggests that humans have an inherent “right to ignorance” or a quality of “separateness.” Hum! an cloning, in which there is a time gap between the beginning of the lives of the earlier and later twin, is fundamentally different from homozygous twins that are born at the same time and have a simultaneous beginning of their lives. Ignorance of the effect of one’s genes on one’s future is necessary for the spontaneous construction of life and self (Jonas 1974).
Human cloning is obviously damaging to both the family of and the cloned child. It is harder to convince that non-human cloning is wrong and unethical, but it is just the same. The cloning of a non-human species subjects them to unethical treatment purely for human needs (Expert Opinion: Price 97).
Western culture and tradition has long held the belief that the treatment of animals should be guided by different ethical standards than the treatment of humans. Animals have been seen as non feeling and savage beasts since time began. Humans in general have no problem with seeing animals as objects to be used whenever it becomes necessary. But what would happen if humans started to use animals as body for growing human organs? Where is the line drawn between human and non human? If a primate was cloned so that it grew human lungs, liver, kidneys, and heart., what would it then be? What if we were to learn how to clone functioning brains and have them grow inside of chimps? Would non-human primates, such as a chimpanzee, who carried one or more human genes via transgenic technology, be defined as still a chimp, a human, a subhuman, or something else? If defined as human, would we have to give it rights of citizenship? And if humans were to carry non-human transgenic genes, would that alter our definitions and treatment of them(Deductive Logic: Kluger 1997)? Also, if the technology were to be so that scientists could transfer human genes into animals and vice-versa, that would heighten the danger of developing zoonoses, diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans.
It could create a world wide catastrophe that no one would be able to stop (Potential Risks). In conclusion, the ethical and moral implications of cloning are such that it would be wrong for the human race to support or advocate it. The sheer loss of life in both humans and non-humans is enough to prove that cloning would be a foolish endeavor, whatever the cause. Works CitedKluger, Jeffery. “Will we Follow the Sheep?” Time Magazine. March 10, 1997 Vol.
149 No.10 “The Cloning Controversy.” Online Available http://www.sican.
com/explorations. September 23, 1998. “Ethics on Cloning: The issue at hand.” Online Available http://www.time.com/cloning.
September 24, 1998. National Bioethics Advisory Commission. “Cloning Human Beings.” Online Available http://bioethics.gov/pubs.html.
September 24, 1998. Price, Joyce. “Before There was Dolly, There Were Disasters: Scientists failed to disclose abnormalities.” The Washington Times.
March 11, 1997.