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A famous American couple was involved in a grisly road accident in the evening of the wedding day. After the wedding ceremony, the couple was going to Singapore for their honeymoon. However, as a fate would have it, the wife survived with minor injuries while the husband who was on the driving seat suffered from serious cuts and went for a coma for three months. When the husband finally recovered, the doctors certified that he would never be the same again, but would remain infertile for the rest of his life. Since his reproductive organs had been severely damaged, the wife knew that they would never have children together. After considering numerous options, the only possibility left for the couple to have children was through human cloning. This begs the fundamental question, was human cloning the only option?
For many decades, the issue of human cloning has raised numerous ethical issues since the opponents, and those in favor of cloning have put forward compelling reasons to back their arguments. While scientists argue that human cloning is a fundamental advancement in humanity, theologians, ethicists and psychologists disagree and think that it has led to a moral abyss and degraded human dignity. However, in spite of the numerous debates, no conclusive agreement has been reached on the potential benefits and dangers of human cloning. The main focus of this essay will be to provide an argumentative essay on why human cloning is potentially harmful to the society and should be condemned.
Background of Human Cloning
The issue of cloning is believed to have started in February 1997 at the Roslin Institute in Scotland when Ian Wilmut; a leading embryologist cloned a lamb that was named Dolly. Through this amazing discovery, the world woke up to the possibility that with the use of technology to clone animals was a reality. As a result, questions began to emerge whether cloning of human beings was possible since they fall in the same family of animals. However, with the creation of Dolly, a whole new concept of ethics was introduced to cloning (Kass & James 165).
Cloning has been defined as “the production of genetically identical organisms through the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer”. This means that, through cloning, it is possible to produce a baby with similar genes like the parent. (McGee 112). However, it is essential to note that, a cloned person is not exactly the same as the original person. The clone can only be a duplicate genetic since it is only the DNA that is replicated and the person cannot be a Xerox copy. Furthermore, human personality and behavior is not entirely dependent on genetics and clones may be totally different from the original person.
Arguments in Favor of Cloning
One of the fundamental arguments put forward by proponents of cloning is that, sterile people and those without the ability to get children have an opportunity to have offsprings and live a normal life. Those in favor of cloning argue that if the lamb Dolly was able to be cloned and live a normal life, then it is also possible to humans. Rader (n.p) contends that, if by any chance couples face infertility at any point in their lives, cloning provides them with an opportunity to bear a child. Additionally, for women who are born without uterus, the DNA from the husband can be copulated with eggs from a surrogate mother to produce a baby. Through this scientific process, cloning has been justified on grounds that parents can still have children who possess the genes from one of the parents.
According to Magdalene (2009), cloning should be allowed for rejuvenation purposes especially for heart attack cases (215). For example, cloned healthy heart cells can be injected into damaged heart tissues, thus, leading to cure the heart diseases. Besides, the use of technology can be used to nurture human stem cells, which may be vital in curing diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson. Moreover, the high demand for organs for transplant purposes augment the justification for cloning, and if the practice is not allowed, significant discoveries may be left unrealized.
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Furthermore, McGee observes that the use of technology can be used to clone prominent thinkers, movie stars and the most famous people on Earth. As a result, even if these people age, their generation will still be flourishing. Therefore, cloning will serve both an economic and cultural value of preserving brilliant minds and icons in society (273). For example, the cloning of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton would revolutionize the world the most. Many basket ball fans would welcome the cloning of Michael Jordan to revive their memories of his dribbling tactics. These are just a few examples of fundamental justifications for cloning.
Arguments against Human Cloning
In spite of the arguments raised in favor of cloning, I think that its costs far much outweigh its benefits. The most primary reason to be against human cloning is that it contravenes what God created in reflection of his own image. When God made man, he did so in his own image and cloning clearly violates the likeness of God. After creating man, God said “go yee and fill the world”. Through this, God permitted conjugal union as a sign of human dignity to procreate. However, cloning violates the right of procreation since it removes the activity of child bearing from man and bestows it to the laboratories (Turner 160). As a matter of fact, we all know that only the God is our creator, and proponents of cloning are trying “to act like God” by producing Xerox copies of human beings through scientific methods. No wonder, why religious people condemn cloning as it is a violation of God’s holy laws.
The mere fact that the first experiment of cloning, which gave birth to Dolly the lamb was successful, does not justify that it will be equally successful when used on human beings. As a matter of fact, research had evidently proved that there were 276 failures of experiments done before the final one finally produced a cloned sheep (Kass & James 165). Just imagine if these were 276 human embryos that failed before one of them succeeded? When cloning human beings, the exercise is so inhuman because cloned embryos that do not become successful clones are normally destroyed in research laboratories. This act of injustices against human beings raises fundamental ethical issues since it is “assisted and artificial procreation”, which is affront to human dignity. In August 11, 2001 through a radio address, the former President George Bush strongly opposed human cloning terming it as “deeply troubling” when scientists create human spare parts at their convenience (Turner 175).
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Another significant reason to oppose human cloning is the health risks that arise from mutation of genes. It is a fact that technology can at times be faulty, and you can imagine the nightmare of living with an abnormal baby. As a matter of fact, as the cloned child grows, the genetic material is also growing at the same rate, which could be affected by a variety of factors.
Research on cloned animals has shown that only a few of them survive beyond their third year after production, with many clones resulting into disfigured by-products that have severe abnormalities. To augment this fact, after the cloning of Dolly, several cloned cows died after several weeks of development; a situation that was linked to abnormality of blood in cell production. Besides, the first cloned sheep prematurely died in February 2003 as a result of severe lung cancer and arthritis (Magdalene 12).
In addition to contravening Holy laws of God, the act of cloning out rightly turns human beings into “commodities”. Besides, degrading the human dignity is not enough, cloning not only reduces human life into a “laboratory project”, but also makes clones to be treated as inferior people. This view is supported by the Catholic Church which condemns human cloning. During his speech on January 13, 2003, Pope John Paul II argued that, just like euthanasia and abortion, human cloning is evil since it reduces a human being to a “mere object” (Turner 25).
Questions have been raised as to whether parents would treat and love a cloned child the same way they do a biological one. According to Turner, once children grow up and realize they were cloned, they tend to lose their self-esteem, feel isolated and can engage in deviant behavior. This is because most of them feel that they are just products who were made by technology (70).
In conclusion, I think that the issue of human cloning should not be condoned under any circumstance. In spite of the few arguments raised in support of the process, the fact still remains that, cloning degrades humanity and demeans God as the supreme Creator. Furthermore, I think that we should not be blinded by science and subject human evolution to laboratory experiments to develop spare parts for the human body. Besides, the costs of human cloning far much outweigh its benefits.
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