To clone? Or not to clone? That is the question which is at
a stalemate in a debate between test tubes and crosses. Cloning
can be divided into two views; the technological point of view
and the ethical point of view, one just as important the other.
But first, what is this scary concept of cloning? According to
scientists, it is the production of a new individual from an
existing one through an asexual process. Genetic material from
the first individual is used to create a new individual that
has the same genetic make up. On the other hand, ethically, cloning
could eventually be the mechanical production of the human being,
a person, which takes away from natural birth and miracle of
life which is sexual reproduction.
a video clip
of Françoise Guigné
I was first introduced to cloning the year Dolly the sheep
was born, the first successful clone using adult DNA. Society
was introduced to Dolly seven months after her birth, February
23rd 1997. The discovery of Dolly aroused ethical groups from
all over the world, as well as scientists searching for the same
results. Presented with the facts, the realization that Dolly
was just the beginning shocked society like all other global
issues. The scientific approach to Dolly's existence was similar
to the following logic of thinking; " Dolly is a mammal.
We have cloned a mammal. Humans are mammals. So why can't we
clone humans?" "Because of morals that is why!"
protest the ethic groups.
Since Dolly has been cloned, 22 mice, seven calves, three
goats as well as seven other sheep have been cloned. On top of
that 15$ million dollars have been set aside in Hawaii for the
research on human cloning. These facts are evidence of the unstoppable
even undesirable research which is ahead and occurring right
Only six months ago in 1998, researchers at the infertility
clinic in Kyeongheo Korea, announced that they had successfully
cloned a human. The goal however was not to clone a human per
se, but to clone specific genetically identical organs for human
organ transplants, providing us with a "reservoir of spare
parts". As well scientists anticipate creating trans-genetic
pigs which would have human genes, heart, liver and kidneys.
This could save the thousands of people who die every year waiting
for organ transplants. This is a very attractive idea but as
human nature takes its place it develops ideas and reaches for
the stars. Therefore organ cloning will only be the start in
humans. Eventually the clone which will come out looking like
an actual baby will be realized. That is when our problems will
The idea of a mechanically made baby is not so-pretty-a-picture.
Psychologically the clone could be extremely effected and the
social consequences devastating. The clone is made in a petri
dish from a dividing embryo. As the clone gets older, it is faced
with the question of "Who are my parents?". In actual
fact the truth is the clone won't have any parents, it will have
an owner. The comparison between that child and a naturally-produced
child is so different that those psychological effects will have
a great impact on the health of the clone. Socially and economically
the legal arrangements are at risk. Who belongs to whom, family
inheritance and even relatives are all factors to be considered.
Moreover, when you look at how and what is being done trough
cloning it is the once built-in natural life cycle which would
be effected. Human beings and animals are different they are
not equal humans were provided with dominance over animals. Therefore
there is also a difference between animal cloning and human cloning.
When experimenting on a human being, you are experimenting on
an actual person who knows how to express themselves with speech
During the second World War experiments on humans were performed.
In some cases humans were stripped and skinned alive, their skin
used on lamp shades. This was not moral. It was wrong. To many
people human cloning is not natural, it is mechanical and therefore
immoral and wrong. It took 277 tries to get Dolly alive. The
question being asked is; "Can we really risk this on human
In cloning, there seems to be a split right down the middle
between the benefits to society, medical research and other uses
for cloning, compared to the moral side as well as the religious
values and views. In terms of the wonderful benefits for society
from human cloning, Thomas Hobbs said it best; Man is NOT for
society, society is for Man.
As well, science, technology and technological advancements
have not always been beneficial. Cloning as a technology can
be represented as a ladder. Rung after rung we keep on reaching
higher, but when we reach the top and finally realize that it
was never secure and balanced at the base, chances are that we're
going to fall right off that ladder.
But like it or not we're on that ladder, we have the technology
to clone a human being. However the question that still remains,
morally and ethically, is: "Will this human clone have a
This article originally appeared
in English Expresso,
an online student publication at
Prince of Wales Collegiate
in St. John's, Newfoundland.