Cloning is the process of creating a living being that is genetically identical to its parent being. This process is done by removing the nucleus of a cell from a parent being and placing it into the nucleus of an egg cell. This causes a new being to be created “from the beginning,” that is an exact replica, a clone, of the original parent. Cloning is a very seriously and passionately debated topic. So many strongly supported and vehement arguments for and against cloning make it a very difficult matter to wade through, and it seems no one is able to be completely objective.
Arguments Against Cloning
One argument against cloning is that by making people or animals “designable,” it would thus objectify them. It would create a view of living things as commodities signed to posses certain traits as opposed to living individuals. In humans, individuality would be a thing of the past. If a person was designed by another person to look or function a certain way, what might that do to their sense of self? And would that mean that non-clones would looked down upon clones? Or if a person was just a copy of their mother, how would that person ever manage to look upon themselves as an individual?
Another argument against human cloning is that a clone would, consciously or subconsciously, be raised as a copy of another person. For example, “a child might be constantly compared to the adult from whom he was cloned, and thereby burdened with oppressive expectations.” (Wachbroit, 2). How would this person’s family treat them? Growing up in such a manner could inhibit the personal, emotional and intellectual development of the cloned child.
Cloning animals may make farming too competitive, leaving farmers unable to afford the “best” of particular breeds to go bankrupt. It would also make some things like dog shows obsolete because anyone could own or create a prizewinning animal.
For the religious community, cloning is an attempt by man to “play God” and is offensive to them. They feel no one has the right to dabble in that sort of science.
If cloning were to become widespread, it might lead to a decline in genetic diversity and a rise in birth defects. It could also inhibit the natural evolution of a species, like cows or pigs.
Arguments For Cloning
Cloning animals could be beneficial by providing a good-quality source of food in areas of the world where nutritious food is scarce. By providing herds of otherwise nonexistent animals, impoverished areas could diversify their diets or even avoid starvation altogether. It could also provide copies of the healthiest, hardiest animals that would more easily survive the harsh environments in which some of these people live.
Cloning parts of humans could be beneficial by creating a supply of viable organs and tissues without creating entire people who might have to suffer for it. “Such cells, tissues, and organs would neither trigger an immune response nor require the use of immunosuppressive drugs.” (Pros and benefits 1).
Cloning could also reduce the number of pregnancies a woman would have to go through to have a larger family. If a woman wanted to keep from repeatedly interrupting her career, she could have an embryo turned into identical twins, and be able to resume her life much faster.
Cloning might also assist families who want to reproduce but cannot. They could still have a child with a genetic link to themselves and their families, even if they couldn’t, for one reason or another, have a child on their own. In addition, cloning could help to combat the spreading of many genetic disorders.
What I Think
I think that, ultimately, cloning can be a very beneficial process. I feel that raising the number of healthy animals in a place of low food supply is a great idea. I also feel that cloning desperately needed organs for people in need of a transplant could save the lives of thousands of people who die every year on transplant waiting lists.
I don’t think that cloning entire humans (except, maybe, in the case of cloning an embryo to produce identical twins) is a good idea at all, however. A person’s identity would be stripped from them, and unrealistic expectations would be applied. A person’s individuality is so precious. Being born identical is different, I think. Instead of being an identical clone of a parent, you are simply a twin. And twins seem to, in general, turn out all right.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Oracle ThinkQuest Library
University of Maryland