In this paper I intend to discuss the ethics of human cloning. The process of cloning humans for mankind’s benefit has long been a controversial issue. But to understand the different viewpoints one might take, one also needs knowledge of what a clone is.
Simply put, a clone is an artificial identical twin. Scientists remove a couple cells from an embryo and basically “inject” the extracted DNA into an empty zygote. The new clone and it’s original will have the same exact appearance and gene makeup. However, the personality can be completely different.
A cloned Hitler would have the capacity for doing the same as it’s original, but it might not choose to do so. Science has not yet perfected this process however. Side effects and deformities, occasionally life-threatening, are a somewhat common occurrence. However, the benefits to be gained from cloning are so numerous that it creates a strong case for pro-cloning activists.
Imagine giving a quadriplegic back their ability to walk. We could cure heart disease, or even clone a new healthy heart for transplanting.On the other hand, “for each blessing of modern technology, a corresponding risk comes into being” (Pojman, p. 895).
Environmentalist ethics shows us that we are creatures of self-interest and if it doesn”t affect you then it’s not a problem. Would creating clones affect the individual? Maybe it would, if only for the better well-being and prolonged lifespan of our race. However, increasing life expectancy can contribute to over population in our future. But if we aren”t around to see the problem, why should we worry about it?It’s easy to see how a Utilitarian would view this issue.
If there’s good to be gained, then go for it. This technology could find answers to questions about our bodies, our genetics, and maybe even about life itself. With so many gains to the human race, it would be hard to have any other view than pro-cloning. Since the Utilitarian view concerns all people, one must wonder how a cloned person would feel about their existence.
Imagine how it would feel to find out that twenty years ago, a bunch of doctors and scientists created you out of technology, not love.I believe Kant would have some interesting views on this topic. He held the idea that human beings have an intrinsic worth. I”m not sure how much worth a clone would have since it would not be a being of nature, but one of science and human achievements.
Kant said to “act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Rachels, p. 131). So if I were to make a clone of myself, I should also see it fit that everyone else can make a clone as well.The population issue comes up again under these circumstances.
Kant also believed that humans should be treated as ends and never as a means only. The purposes of cloning are nothing but means. This act would not be morally permissible under Kant’s human dignity guidelines. We know what human cloning could do for us.
The possibilities for medical advancements are immense. But the capacity for problems is also great. I am something of a Utilitarian, and after weighing all the reasons and effects, I”m all for it.Through human cloning research, we may learn incredible things about ourselves that we never expected to discover.
We may also find cures to many diseases. That in itself can create a population issue as the general life expectancy rises worldwide and more stress is put on our environment. But that’s the only serious issue that I foresee. What many people don”t understand, is that its only scientific advancement, and when it begins, and I mean when, we”ll see breakthroughs the likes of which we can”t yet imagine.