Vinny recently wrote this editorial on human cloning for New York University. He is a full time student studying at New York University. He hopes to get involved in film and music production, and looks forward to traveling around the world.
On March 4, 1997, President Bill Clinton made an announcement banning the use of all federal funds towards cloning research, to allow time for scientists, the government, and citizens to consider the issue. Mr. Clinton is currently in the mess of a lifetime, while nothing is getting done in the White House, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich has resigned. Cancer is still uncured, along with AIDS and Parkinson’s Disease. The time is now for people to get together and discuss the issue of human cloning.
Consider the benefits of this technique. Healthy cloned livers and kidneys for transplants, the cloning of bone marrow for children and adults suffering from leukemia, the growing back of the spinal cord for people in wheelchairs, and most fantastic of all, cloning research finds how to turn cells on and off. Once this procedure is perfected, cancer cells would be turned off, thereby curing the disease.
Ever since we rubbed two sticks against a piece of flint for fire, the evolution of technology has allowed us to grow. Then again, growth in technology hasn’t always lead to favorable outcomes. We could say that chemical warfare, nuclear bombs, and heroin are all terrible mutations of helpful technological advances. However I tend to believe that these terrible side effects are weak when compared to the beneficial cures for diseases, worldwide communications, and the upholding of democracy.
The argument against cloning research is that once the technology goes public, cloning humans is sure to follow. Is this realistic? Would armies of beautiful people roam the earth, everyone looking the same? Our natural human tendency towards order and uniqueness would keep that from happening. Now I’m not saying that the cloning of human beings wouldn’t be an unethical and gross misuse of technology, but is that fantasy a reason to ignore the cloning research that has taken place? Should we restrain technology just because of serious side effects? Doctors administer morphine to patients in hospitals. Morphine, a drug used illegally by millions of addicts worldwide. Morphine winds up killing many of these people, but that doesn’t stop patients in hospitals from using it to relieve them of terrible pain, does it? Aren’t we intelligent enough and aware enough in today’s day and age to be objective in this debate and stop underestimating ourselves. How could armies of humans spread across the earth unless we sit back and allow it to happen? Let’s give ourselves more credit than that.
There many things today, that when used correctly, can save lives, yet when used incorrectly can destroy them. When a humans heart stops beating in a hospital, doctors and nurses are trained to use a machine that jolts the body with a surge of electricity, hopefully re-starting the heart. This machine has the capacity to kill someone if used improperly. We don’t let these machines become mass produced and sold out of vending machines. As we use more powerful technology in our day to day lives, the benefits of that technology increase, along with the side effects. Of course it possible for cloning technology to be abused? What is scientifically possible is not always done.
Imagine the cloning of human organs or the cloning of a cell used in a vaccine against AIDS. These steps in technology are not unlike the step of injecting a dead virus into our system for immunity. They are steps, which lead to new horizons, and new answers along with new problems. We can deal with the problems. We are the brink of a new and interesting field of research, with potential risks that can be dealt with. We did it with nuclear power plants, what makes us think we can’t do it with cloning.