This question shakes us all to our very souls. For humans to consider the cloning of one another, forces everyone of us to question the very concepts of right and wrong that makes us all human. The cloning of any species, whether they be human or non-human, is ethically and morally wrong. Scientists and ethicist's alike have debated the dangerous implications of human and non-human cloning extensively since 1997 when scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland produced a cloned sheep, named 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 such as animals subjects them to unethical or moral treatment for human needs. The amount of 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 severe 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' (Kluger vol 149). Even Ian Wilmot, 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' (NBA online). 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 dangers is the loss of identity, or sense of uniqueness and individuality. Many argue that cloning creates serious issues of identity and individuality that may force humans to reconsider 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' (Washington Times 1997). Others look simply at the child, like philosopher Hans Jonas. He suggests that humans have an inherent 'right to ignorance' or a quality of 'separateness. ' And 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.
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 for whatever and whenever it becomes necessary. But what would happen if humans started to use animals as host bodies 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 hearts, 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 (Kluger vol 149)? Also, if the technology were such that scientists could transfer human genes into animals and vice-versa, that would heighten the danger of developing zoo noses, 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, for whatever need.
One of the main goals of the government is to protect human life. Some people want the government to regulate cloning and not allow it. Michigan's government believes this and became the first government to place a ban on cloning. As mentioned before, the governor signed laws that prohibit engaging or attempting to engage in human cloning. A Michigan state senator, Mr. Bennett said, "This legislation boils down to one thing: Prohibiting the creation of human life for scientific research. Human cloning is wrong; it will be five years from now; and wrong 100 years from now!" (Kluger Vol 149).
Producing clones for research or to use their parts is unethical. It would be against the code of ethics of a doctor to harm a clone (i. e., use it for an organ transplant). The clone would be a human being and deserve all the rights and privileges that a non-cloned human has. A clone should not be a second-class citizen. It is speculated that they might be considered as such. The American Medical Association holds four points of reason why cloning should not take place.
The points are that there are unknown physical harms introduced by cloning, unknown psychosocial harms introduced by cloning, including violations of autonomy and privacy, impacts on familial and societal relations, and potential effects on the human gene pool (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs 4-6). We just simply do not know at this time about all the dangers that may come from cloning. Cloning would lead to the loss of individuality because ones genetic predispositions and conditions would be known. If raised by a clone-parent or as a sibling to the cloned, one may have great expectations to live up to.
However, the human clones could differ greatly in personality and even grow up with different conditions than the cloned. Even monozygotic twins differ. This could be a great stress to the clone and possibly even the loss of ability to chose for itself (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs 5). Creating humans from other humans and animals from other animals is morally and ethically wrong. Life is to be created as a natural process not a laboratory process. This is a very dangerous issue facing our society and that it should be left alone.
Kluger, Jeffery. 'Will we Follow the Sheep?' Time Magazine. March 10, 1997 Vol. 149 No. 10 'The Cloning Controversy. ' [Online] Available ' web '.
September 23, 1998. 'Ethics on Cloning: The issue at hand. September 24, 1998. National Bioethics Advisory Commission.
'Cloning Human Beings. September 24, 1998. Price, Joyce. 'Before There was Dolly, There Were Disasters: Scientists failed to disclose abnormalities. ' The Washington Times. March 11, 1997.