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Human Cloning - DOC by DocDoyle


									John Doyle Ethics Human Cloning

The issues of Human Cloning and genetic engineering are something that science has caused us to examine closely in this day and age. Are these actions something that should be done? Is it morally right to create a human in the laboratory as a back-up for another human? Or is it right to create a human to replace a deceased one? We have problems dealing with individual people in this world. How will we ever be able to handle more than one of the same people? This paper will look at the positive and negative aspects of this and show that cloning is something beyond humans. Is it something from the gods that we should not be tampering with? This is believed to be something that can and should be used to extend the life of us humans. I will prove that this is beyond our limits and is not at all ethical. Eugenics has been around for thousands of years. Surprisingly the word was coined by Francis Galton (a cousin of Charles Darwin). It meant the study of human improvement by genetic means. (Boss, 151) This is the belief that the population of humans can be improved by reproducing certain people and not others. Plato discussed it in his Republic and Hitler used this belief in World War II as an excuse to slaughter thousands of Jews. The Human Genome Project makes this belief a reality by showing us what kinds of tampering can be done without killing masses of people. The question is, what difference is there between what Hitler did and what the Human Genome Project is


researching? The ability to genetically engineer and even clone humans has awakened fears of a resurgence of large-scale human eugenics programs. (Boss, 152) This could be used to make a „superior‟ human. But what could that be? To be human means to have free-will and be an individual. A clone is neither. Let me begin here by explaining genetic engineering, cloning and the science behind them. Genetic engineering is the manipulation of the genes in different ways. In vitro fertilization is where conception takes place in a dish and Genetic engineering is the name given to cover both gene therapy and genetic enhancement. Gene therapy is where a good gene is used to replace a bad gene. This does have some promise as it is not actually changing the genetic structure but replacing parts. Genetic enhancement is when there is actually an attempt to improve the genetic code. Regarding gene therapy there is both somatic cell therapy and germ cell therapy. Somatic cell therapy is when normal genes are used to replace something that is defective. Germ line therapy is a bit more complex because it alters the actual genetic structure. Cloning is the process of producing genetically identical individuals through asexual reproduction. (Boss, 153) There are two different ways this can be accomplished, embryo splitting and nuclei transfer. Embryo splitting is the same way that twins or triplets are formed. In nuclei transfer the embryo is actually transferred to another egg. This is the procedure they used to clone Dolly the lamb. There is also a group or rather a religion dedicated to cloning. Clonaid was founded by Rael who is the leader of the Raelian movement. This is an organization who believes we are cloned from aliens and can continue our existence using this science. More about this religion deserves mention later on.


There are currently temporary bans on cloning in several countries. There are many moral issues to be looked at regarding human cloning. To begin with there is human dignity. Each of us is an individual with unique qualities and cloning would undermine this basic human right. Genes are beginning to be patented and this leads to the question of who owns human life. What is the difference between perfection in someone and a disease which is causing them to have less than a perfect life? Things like a person being left or right handed should be left up to fate and not pre-programmed. The issue of nature is a question that seriously needs to be discussed. To have someone else define who we are, as occurs in cloning, removes our sense of self-control over our bodies, which is essential to our self-identity and well-being. (Boss, 157) There are issues about who actually owns the gene. One would think that this was owned by the actual person but, you shed tissue constantly. What if a famous person was cloned using this tissue? Now another person would be created who is exactly like this famous person. There should be certain rights you have to your own body even if it is lost. The next question that develops is who would own these genes. Would that be the original person or these scientists? Scientists and biotech companies are also scouting the globe in search of rare genetic traits that may have future market potential. There is something called the “Vampire Project” that focuses on collecting blood samples from isolated people. (Boss, 158) This amounts to exploiting these people simply for their traits that can be sold on a „market‟. There is no difference between this project and what Hitler was attempting to do through eugenics. This issue of human cloning also causes us to look at what it means for parenthood and especially what the meaning of a family will become in the future. There are


reproductive rights that certain people may have and others may be denied. There are also the rights of non-human animals that are grown with human genes. What rights will they have and where will the line be drawn between human and animal. Why shouldn‟t these animals have the same rights to life as a human, since they do contain human genes? In the 1980 case Curlander v. Bio-Science Laboratories, a California appellate court ruled that a child with a genetic defect could bring a “wrongful life” suit against her parents for not undergoing prenatal screening and aborting her. (Boss, 161) Where would these kinds of cases lead mankind? I would say presumably to everyone suing their parents for not having genes or traits that they personally liked. Leon Kass looks seriously at the issue of cloning and believes that this will turn children into merchandise. This means that human cloning should be banned. His article discusses how cloning has been looked at in the past and how it should be looked at in the future. There is the issue of whether or not someone should save genes from newborns just in case anything happens to them. This issue also has the strength to make sex a thing of the past. As he states “Whether or not we know it, the severing of procreation of sex, love and intimacy is inherently dehumanizing, no matter how well the product.” (183). these clones would be grown like cattle and herded for their organs. This shows that the cloning of humans can become a very unethical issue. It has become something that not only is morally unacceptable but something that rids us of a basic human need, the need for a family. There are a lot of issues related to human cloning related to families, both for and against. The reasons for this are that in this day and age single-family homes are more and more common. There are more lesbians and feministic women now than ever. This gives


them ways to rid (man)kind of males. They would become obsolete if cloning were allowed as a way to reproduce. There are many dangers, such as defects, associated with cloning. To clone a human would be to risk these imperfections on a child. This is not very nice (to say the least). The cloned child would not be a surprise to the world the way a normal child is. They would be expected to live up to the expectations of the person they were cloned from. But how can someone be pre-destined to have a certain future. If these clones are defects then they would have the potential to sue their (creators? Parents?) What kind of sick world would exist then? This is not at all an ethical way to begin a life. W. French Anderson discusses some issues with genetic enhancement. According to the utilitarian view that he takes gene therapy would be a moral good. It would alleviate suffering and that is the point of utilitarianism. He does say that somatic cell enhancement would be unethical. It could be medically hazardous, in that the risks could exceed the potential benefits and the procedure therefore cause harm. And it would be morally precarious, in that it would require moral decisions our society is not now prepared to make, and it could lead to an increase in inequality and discriminatory practices. (Anderson, 169) So while there may be some benefits to gene therapy, cell enhancement crosses the line. This most defiantly means that cloning goes past this line as well. Anderson compares gene therapy to taking apart something like a watch. If you take it apart and put the same pieces back in then there should be no problem. But if someone tried to improve it by putting in maybe bigger hands then the whole watch might fall apart. (Anderson, 170) There is no way to know what these adjustments to a human will do. There are other issues requiring the cloning of humans that John A. Robertson discusses in his article. One major question is will this become a form of life or health


insurance? The insurance company could simply not insure a person because they did not fix a certain gene or because they did not have a back-up on hand. What if the person did not want to get rid of certain traits the family carried such as shortness? Who is to decide what is good and bad in someone. The insurance companies already charge more if the person is a smoker or overweight. This leads to the question of whether or not it is ethical to create human clones as back-ups for other humans. There would be no doubt that the richest people would have an advantage. They would have the money and means to create back-ups. Where does that leave everyone else? This is a very moral issue that seriously needs to be looked at. Then there is the question of twins. The claim rests on the notion that the later born child lacks the uniqueness or individuality that we deem essential to human worth and dignity, and that human individuality is largely determined by nature or genome rather that by nurture and environmental factors. (Robertson, 176) The later born would always have to live up to the expectations of the first born. There would also be questions on how the first born would feel about having another him (or her) in existence. The possibility would be there for both to hate each other. A widow who clones her deceased husband to be her new child. The child may be ok if the truth was never told. But for the widow, there would have to be feelings toward the child that could possibly go beyond mother-son. Those details are too disturbing to even think about. If cloning is allowed to become legal and common there will be many repercussions and disasters. According to Biologist Ernest Chargaff this could lead to “an Auschwitz in which valuable enzymes, hormones, and so on will be extracted instead of gold teeth.” (Andrews, Nelkin, 189) There is a certain right that people should have to


their bodies. If you lose money and someone finds it then the money is still yours. Say they go and purchase something with this money. The item they purchased may not be yours but you would have a right to compensation. How would this issue be tackled regarding stolen tissue? This does include the value of your body as an individual. Cloning would take away this basic right and this is unethical. There are some tribes around the world where they use blood and other parts of the body that may not be important for ceremonies. Trying to use these to create different humans would not be understandable to them. After copies were made their existence would be obsolete. The conclusion of this is that human cloning is not morally realistic. There are many benefits to it including but not limited to the perfection of the human race. But is not individuality what it really means to be human and doesn‟t this take away that fundamental right. Cloning can possibly be used to find cures to diseases but then what happens to that clone. Isn‟t the embryo a form of life that should not be destroyed, or is something in the laboratory simply that, something in the lab. As mentioned before let me return to the Raelians. The religions say the son of God was created through Immaculate Conception, I prefer to call this artificial insemination. It is very ironic because I believe they are right about the creation of life. However, I do not think that cloning should be allowed. The reason for this is that I do not believe a soul can be in a clone. There are many reasons for this going from Aquinas to Zachariah Sitchum to Dawkins that will be for another paper.


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