I have chosen to discuss the controversial issue of human cloning based on the Moralist’s perspective. My argument will focus on the immorality or “wrongness” of human cloning.
In a way twins can be said to be a clone of each other for each possesses the exact replication of DNA. However, the act of human cloning is an entirely different matter for, unlike twinning which is a product of a natural process, it is a human engineered effort to make an exact replica of another. According to Glenn McGee, in his Primer on Ethics and Human Cloning, the process is known as Human somatic cell nuclear transfer where it involves “the starvation and subsequent implantation of DNA from specialized non-sexual cells of one organism (human being) into an egg….the resulting egg and nucleus are shocked or chemically treated so that the egg begins to behave as though fertilization occurred, resulting in the beginning of an embryonic development.” In other words another human being is to be produced through an unnatural way or without going through the usual human conception (McGee 2000 ) .
Scientist had claimed that it may be possible to clone a human being. They had successfully done so with animals as proven by the birth of the first clone animal, Dolly sheep at Scotland (McGee 2000 ). Given with the public support, scientist may well perform their first human cloning after they make a series of testing. So given the possibility of creating another human through human means, the moral question follows: Is human cloning right or wrong?
Most religions of the world had held the firm belief that humans are created by a person or Being higher than they are. In the Christian belief, the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were directly created by God. According to Genesis, God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathe a spirit unto him. Then out of Adam’s rib, God formed Eve (Thompson 2). The two then proceeded to make other human beings through sexual reproduction. For thousands of years human reproduction had been done through this manner. What this really is saying is that humans are created by God. Although the succeeding generations were not seen as directly created by God, God in a way is still involved in their creation for they were made in a manner that follows the God ordained way of human reproduction.
Many of those who opposed human cloning had stated that human cloning is wrong for it made man as co-creator with God. Or in other words, man is trying to change the system of the God-man relationship of the higher Creator and the lesser creation. And this is an expression of human pride or vanity (Ramsey 1966). Personally, I agree that human cloning is wrong not only because of the above reason but because human cloning opposes the underlying truth that the appearance of any person on earth had the consent of God. Meaning, you are here because God had seen it fit that you should be born or had the right to occupy a space on earth. In the Biblical perspective, God had expressly confirmed that man is created with a purpose (Erickson 477). To create a man is no child’s play for God for He knew what a man is capable of doing considering the power of choice at his disposal. God created man as a moral being, capable of doing good (that results to good consequences) and evil (that results to bad consequences). Consider, Jesus Christ. Long before he was born, God had already revealed that at the right time, he will be born on earth. Critics of Christ should know that Christ is not only a biblical figure but that he was indeed a historical figure born on the first century AD (Perry 126). Now what I am saying here is that man, which means you and I irregardless of the circumstances surrounding our conception were born at a determined time of God and if we walk in His way we will be unleashing our greatest potential or purposes on earth as God had planned.
So if a clone human being will walk on earth, it is apparent that his existence had no consent with God. He is created by man so in a way man had to determined his purpose on earth. This goes without saying that “cloned humans are under the arbitrary whim, power and manipulation of his human creator”( Haas 1997). It would be morally wrong to throw a human being into a world arena where he is not supposed to be. That would be unfair for the cloned human being. We all knew that no matter how technologically advanced we are, we are still no match for natural disasters. In other words, we are still way below God in intellect or ability and therefore had no way of determining the reason of our being but we rest in the fact that because of his great wisdom everything is in control and that includes what happens to us here. But what about the clone human being. Was he just supposed to float in our midst devoid of purpose?
We must also understand that human beings have their own distinct human personality. In other words, man is unique. Human cloning will violate human norms of individuality, dignity and wholeness which is morally wrong(McCormick 17-24). The human value will decrease if we knew that we can easily replace him with another. God places supreme value to human life, even to the point that He engineered fallen man’s redemption through the death of His son, Jesus Christ. When Adam fell from grace, He was affected. He could have just easily replace Adam with another human being for surely he can create hundreds of others just like him. But we can see through God’s action that human life is precious. So creating a human being is not something that man should meddle with.
Proponents of human cloning would argue that if we can clone a human being, then a person dying with heart problems will be cured for his clone can provide him the exact heart needed for heart transplant(Kluger 2001 ). Well, that is good news for we all know how hard it is to find an exact donor of our internal organs, be it heart, bone marrow or kidney. In some cases, it is even impossible to find one. To have a clone to provide the needed internal organs would jus be great. But… we have to kill the clone first to get the organs, right? Cloned human beings are supposed to be real humans ( they are not robots for they possess all the physical aspects of human beings with emotions and intellect and probably a soul as some scientist claimed ) so murdering them is wrong. I wonder what a clone may have felt knowing the fact that at some point in his life he had to be killed in order to cure the “original” him.
Another significant issue would be that according to the scientist, a lot of trial and error must be done first before a successful human clone will be created. In animal clones hundreds of embryo had been tested, were born of defects and had to be killed before they become successful( McGee, 2000 ). This is all right for killing an animal is not murder, although we may face protest from the animal rights activists. But it is another matter for humans. In human cloning, , hundreds of human embryo will inevitably die in the process of testing, so just imagine the human carnage that is going to hit the research laboratories. This is equivalent to massive murder of innocent humans! We are just lucky it was not us on the laboratories to be studied! God was different, when he created Adam and Eve, he was not involved in trial and error because if he was, then we would have to charge him with murder.
I think the human clones will also encounter a lot of problems within themselves. First, they may experience a deep absence of purpose and meaning in their lives. Provided that human cloning will really be successful, like they will operate mentally and psychologically in the same way as we do then sooner or later they will know that they are just a product of advance technology. Since God did not create them, they may feel like an outsider, not a part of God’s plan on humans who were born in a natural way. Perhaps a reader may question of how sure I will be that they will feel this way, well, just look around us, isn’t there so many normal humans whose lives and the lives of others were ruined because of the feelings of rejection and meaninglessness? We all knew that there is more to life, that there is more to wealth, beauty and fame. Many successful, famous, and beautiful people on earth had confirmed that they still feel dissatisfied and empty. Many had found solace and comfort in spiritual pursuits than on physical, material world. To have meaning and purpose is very important for a happy, peaceful human existence. To create a clone human being with no assurance of real purpose and meaning and consent of God is terribly, terribly wrong. We will just add on earth a host of psychologically dysfunctional people. As of now, we have enough of social problems to contend with.
It is not easy to make a human clone for it is expensive to do so. Aside from the fact that it required expert scientists and medical practitioners to administer the process ,human cloning also need advanced laboratory equipments and materials. Only the wealthy then can afford to make a human clone. But the problem is , according to Kluger, “there are many rich evil men in the world who would not hesitate spend a huge sum of money in order to train, control and use human clones for their evil purposes”( Kluger 2001 ).In this way, human cloning helps to propagate the influence of evil in the world. Deliberately exposing humans to more evil is just morally wrong.
As a conclusion, the issue of human cloning had brought to my mind the discovery of the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb was instrumental in ending World War II (this was good) but it had also continuously poses a threat of wiping out the earth. At the hands of the wrong guy, the earth will be no more in seconds. Maybe it is just a matter of time. What I am saying is that not all human technological advancement is beneficial in the long run nor is it right. There are boundaries that God had determined for us to walk in and to cross over that boundaries would result to moral implications.
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. (Grand Raphids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1985).
Haas, J.M. Letter from the Pope John Center. National Bioethics Advisory Commission. March 31, 1997.
Kluger, Jeffrey. Will we Follow the Sheep? Time Online Magazine. June 24, 2001. Accesses January
25, 2008 <http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,137378,00.html>
McCormick, R.A. “Should we clone humans?” The Christian Century.17-24: 1148-1149 November 1993.
McGee, Glenn. “Primer on Ethics and Human Cloning”. American Institute of Biological Sciences. 2000. Accessed January 25, 2008 < http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/mcgee.html>
Perry, Marvin. A History of the World. (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988).
Ramsey, P. “Moral and Religious Implications of Genetic Control.” Genetics and the Future of Man. John D. Roslansky (ed.). (New York: Appleton-Century-Croffs, 1966).
Thompson, Frank Charles. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. ( Grand Raphids, Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1983).