Cloning is among the feats in science that many of us, as part of our childish character, ideas, and imaginations, have only visualized before. We used to say in our mind, "what would happen if we create someone who is an exact duplicate of ourselves?" Again we say, "how convenient it would be to have that someone do the things we don't want to do."
Or, "have that someone face the problems we have." Leon Kass (2002), in his article about cloning, has the following definition for the term.
Cloning, or asexual reproduction, is the production of individuals who are genetically identical to an already existing individual.
In addition to reproduction of genetically identical copy of an individual, cloning is also scientifically done on animals and biological living things.
The coming true and emergence of cloning in the study of science, however, resulted to both positive and negative reactions from many critics. Several issues on cloning include the following.
How ethical is cloning?
The issue on ethics in cloning is usually voiced out by people in the religious sectors, or by those who have deep beliefs in their religion. Cloning, as they say, is nothing but a method of developing a "product" (Edwords, 2004) and not a human, raised with questions on the presence of soul in the cloned individual. This issue though, as regarded by most people, is deemed that science and religion are separate elements that cannot possibly be compared (Edwords, 2004).
The effects of cloning on the cloned individual
Aside from the issue on ethics, cloning also presents an issue on how the process can affect the psychological well-being of the cloned individual. This is due to the reason of losing one's uniqueness in identity. This issue, however, is answered by cases of identical twins, how a person with an identical twin is similar to having a clone for an individual.
How successful, in terms of physical and health aspects, is the genetically engineered individual.
The third issue concerns on the results of cloning, in terms of the physical and health aspects of the genetically engineered replica of an individual. Researches and studies are trying to prove results on the hypothesis of whether cloning leads to genetic defects or not.
The effects of cloning to society
Some critics express concerns on the unpredictable consequences that cloning can bring to society at large, in terms of technology and in terms of the evolution of humankind. Both sides of the argument on the association of cloning in the progress of humankind, whether cloning will present positive or negative effects to society, are presented by journalists, scientists, and critics. Also, issues on the mass production of human beings is a case argued regarding the legality of cloning.
Cloning is a subject that presents issues in a wide area of studies.
Technologically, ethically, and socially, many refute and accept its practice. Nowadays, however, the important thing to consider is the extensive study of all the advantages and disadvantages that cloning can bring to all aspects of humankind's living.
In the diverse arguments presented on cloning, there are a number of viewpoints that provide reasons why cloning should be accepted by humankind. First of all, in the argument that cloning can cause genetic defects on the cloned individual, Lee Silver (2001) suggests that scientific studies indicate "that birth defects in cloned children could occur less frequently than birth defects in naturally conceived ones." (Silver, 2001). This is due to the fact that all the negative elements causing defects in normal conception can be genetically eliminated or reduced in the process of cloning.
The second argument to cloning is said that it can cause harm to society. But what about the fact that cloning or genetic engineering provides benefits to human health and environment? Jeff T. Minerd (2002) noted the following benefits of genetic engineering.
A genetic advancements, such as modified microbes and plants, can help eliminate wastes and other toxic chemicals genetic defects (ex. Dwarfism) can be prevented medicines that are genetically engineered can likely increase the span of a human life
Another argument associated to cloning is its effect to humankind's progress. Lee Silver (2001), however, stresses that cloning has no direct relationship on the evolution of humankind since progress is not always upwardly directed.
Finally, if for basis of ethical reasons, Bailey (2000) suggests that restricting research on cloning would mean stopping the process of exploring treatment and cure to diseases such as cancer, which obviously is not good for humankind. As Bailey (2000) stated, "Why should cloning opponents get to impose their values on sick or dying people?... What is so dignified about dyingof cystic fibrosis, diabetes, or cancer?"
Opposing Viewpoint greater percentage of American survey indicates that majority of people opposes cloning. What are the reasons behind this? Leon Kass (2002), a critic who opposes human cloning, has the following reasons that can be considered as disturbing facts of cloning.
That it constitutes unethical experimentation.
It is unethical to attempt experimenting and developing a cloned child or animal especially if the result has physical abnormalities and deficiencies.
As most of the results of previous experiments, only 2 to 3% can be considered as a success.
A that it threatens identity and individuality;
The cloned individual may experience psychological problems in association to his identity with the original one. Similar situation can be possibly experienced by the original version.
A that it turns procreation into manufacture (especially when understood as the harbinger [warning sign] of manipulations to come);
The main threat here is the possibility of placing baby-making as a commercial industry.
A and that it means despotism over children and perversion of parenthood
Peoples' nature of being a parent to their child may be lost due to the idea that the child existed out of design. As Kass (2002) suggests, "human children [cloned children] become their artifacts."
Another disturbing threat and major reason why cloning should not be practice is that cloning can endanger the future generation. Bernard Gert stressed that the negative results in a cloned individual, specifically genetic disorders, are permanent and becomes inheritable to future generations.
How I View Cloning
While there are a number of theoretical reasons that presents beneficial effects of cloning human race, my view to oppose this scientific breakthrough stands. For a number of reasons that the field of science may consider preventive of improvements and progress, the important aspect to what my stand will focus on centers on the preservation of our humanity and being as natural born and creations of what the term human being constitutes.
Imperfection is a part of being human. Even the first creatures of God, Adam and Eve, were created with imperfection. Why do we then need to alter God's design and ingenuity for humans? Why do we need to alter and change our natural being with a "manufactured" one? Do we need to change the current superiority of humans over other living things and creatures on earth into just a mere "product," lowering our status as the most superior creation into just a "manufactured" one?
Leon Kass's opposing viewpoints against cloning are basically among the reasons why human cloning must not be practiced. Both in terms of social and scientific problems that cloning can bring to humanity, it is hard to understand why scientists set their intelligence on making a copy of an already existing living thing, or on designing them into what is desired. It can be viewed that the process of cloning is a process of losing one of the most important aspects of being human - uniqueness. Moreover, it is a process of ignoring the magic and mystery of being human, that in billions and trillions of people on earth, everyone is unique and one of a kind.
It is no question that science is continuously helping humans in their journey of life. Medicines that cure diseases were developed with the help of science. Our way of living, in one way or another, is continuously being improved by science. Nowadays, in times when human cloning is still under research and study and not yet publicly applied as a legal practice, we can say that we live our lives normally. Despite of the many diseases that hit humans, it is but normal for us to find treatment and cure, valuing each of our life to the best we can because of its uniqueness and the fact that it can never exist again once it's lost. However, in issues regarding cloning, the question is this: Will we still value a human life the way we do now if that human life can be designed and produced again?
We can perhaps foresee the subject of valuing life in the way we value our material possessions. This view may be possible specifically for the moneyed class who can easily change something with a new one in the market. The same can go for a cloned human. Once it is defective, the solution is…