Jason Brown for Professor V.’s English 101- 226, 18 November 1998, posted here 12/2/1998.
Cloning humans has recently become a possibility that seems much more feasible in today’s society than it was twenty years ago. The process used in cloning has been practiced on livestock for quite a few years with good results. The techniques have been proven to work, and with the rapid growth of technology in this field, human cloning can one day be very beneficial to our society. Human cloning has potential to save lives and make better the quality of life for future generations. This is why human cloning should not be banned.
Many people who oppose this viewpoint are mostly misinformed about cloning. Television, books, radio, and people’s own imagination have given the practice of cloning a bad stereotype. The main opposing argument is that clones will not have any uniqueness or personality of their own and that they will grow up to be just like their donors. This is where many people are wrong.
Nature has been producing clones for millions of years through the process of identical twins. Identical twins have the same genetic makeup of each other, yet develop into separate individuals with distinct personalities (Cole). This shows that genetic makeup does not play a big role in our individuality, but that our individuality comes from our environment.
Bioethicist Gregory E. Pence argues that each clone would be different because as a fetus it would be exposed to many different chemical and nutritional influences that would alter the way the brain responds to stimuli (qtd. in Roylance). This shows that human clones will have their own identity. “Identity is uniqueness, not sameness,” explains Stanford philosopher John Perry, who specializes in the study of identity, “Identical twins are not identical, but only the same, and there is a major difference” (qtd. in Cole).
Cloning is exampled in Magill’s Survey of Science as combining bits and pieces of DNA from different sources and combining them in bacteria. We have come a long way since cloning bits and pieces of bacteria. This has given scientist practice to start on larger organisms such as humans. Here are some of the most beneficial ways in which cloning can help humans.
Human cloning could provide our society with an answer to the shortage of organ donation. We could have an immediate supply of many organs, tissues, and blood types without the wait of someone else dying in order to receive them. No longer would a mother have to tell her dying child that he will have to wait for a bone marrow transplant. Once the cloning of a cell has been done and the cell has begun to divide, it does not necessarily have to develop into an entire person. The cells would be controlled so that they mature into specialized cells or even complete organs. There would be no rejection from the body since the cloned cells would have the same DNA as the donor (Nash).
Another possible medical advance that could be developed through cloning research is the diagnosis and even curing of genetic diseases such as diabetes. Before the embryo is implanted it could be analyzed for genes that cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, and diabetes to name a few. This procedure is already being used in other countries such as England. This way an embryo with the highest chance of good health and survival could be selected for implantation. This could rid our society of genetic defects for our children to produce longer living and healthier humans for the future ( Benot).
The most poignant argument in favor of human cloning would be to help couples that cannot conceive a child naturally. There are many couples in this world which cannot pass on their genes for the purpose of procreation. Pence says that human cloning would give them a chance to give birth to a child that is genetically related to them. Using in vitro fertilization to produce embryos and then cloning those embryos would give a couple more chances to produce offspring. This way the parents can be assured that their genes will be passed on to future generations (qtd. in Roylance).
Dr. Richard Seed envisions a cure for cancer through cloning. Cancerous cells look normal in the early stage of the disease, then later become deformed. We could take early cancerous cells and replace their destructive nuclei with a nucleus cloned from a normal cell, thus stopping cancer before it has a chance to keep spreading (qtd. in Weingarten).
We can also duplicate genes from the past. The DNA does not have to be from a living human. Every cell has the same genetic blueprint as another, therefore we could clone anyone from the past, as long as their DNA was preserved. Human cloning could assist in recreating cultures that were lost in history, such as the ones lost during times of genocide (Vere). We could also regenerate the lost links between man and ape to see how ancient man might have really looked like. We would be able to help preserve endangered species like the African Rhino from becoming extinct by cloning them and setting them free in the wild without the need for protection. This way our children would not have to see pictures of extinct animals, but pet them in zoos.
It is evident that human cloning has immense potential to better humanity. Only research will lead to its improvement and perfection. To ban this research will result in the loss of a technology that will someday cure diseases, prevent deaths, and give infertile couples a chance to have a child of their own. Which action, banning or not banning, is really the less ethical choice? To let this technology slip through our fingers would prevent us from improving the quality of life for all of humanity. This is why human cloning should not be banned.
Benot, Dr. B. Human Cloning and Re-Engineering. 29 Feb.1996. 17 Nov.1998.<http://cac.psu.edu/~gsg109/gs/em01003.html>.
Cole, K.C.. “Upsetting Our Sense of Self.” Los Angeles Times. 28 April 1997. 15 Nov. 1998.<http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/SCIENCE/REPORTS/CLONING/mon1.html>.
Magill’s Survey of Science. Vol.6. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1991. p. 2735
Nash, Madeleine J. “The Case for Cloning.” TIME. 9 Feb.1998: p.81.
Roylance, Frank D. “Cloning: A Philosophical Defense.” The Sun (Baltimore, MD) 16 Feb. 1998, Final ed.: 2A. NewsBank NewsFile. CD-ROM. NewsBank, inc. 15 Nov. 1998.
Vere, Steven. The Case for Cloning Humans. N.d.15 Nov.1998.<http://www.best.com/~vere/cloning.html>.
Weingarten, Gene. “Strange Egg.” Washington Post (DC) 25 Jan. 1998, Final ed.: F1. NewsBank News File. CD-ROM. NewsBank, inc. 15 Nov. 1998.