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With the technological knowledge in the world growing from day to day, there is no way to predict where science may lead us in the future. Just a few years ago, cloning was something of a fictional nature that most scientists had thought about, but never seriously considered it as an experiment. Recently, animals have been cloned, and cloning has become no less than true reality. In a few more years, the knowledge on how to clone humans could be present. Before that advancement arrives, we need to ask ourselves if this knowledge of cloning is a beneficial idea or a destructive one. Cloning will have negative effects on our society in the future because: cloning devalues uniqueness of the individual cloned, clones could be used in crimes or used as weapons, cloned animals that are reintroduced into the ecosystem could cause the ecosystem to change drastically, people who try to clone their dead loved ones will be shocked to find that the clone may resemble the person that they love, but it really isn't the person that they love, finally, animals that are cloned for medical reasons don't deserve to be brought into this world just to be used only for their organs and other body parts. If something isn't done to avoid cloning humans before it is too late, then cloning could upset the balance of our society drastically, possibly causing irreversible mishap in the world as we know it today.
The knowledge on how to clone humans doesn't exist yet, but the knowledge on how to clone animals is presently being utilized in research labs worldwide. Standard cloning involves taking DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) from a cell of a particular species and transferring it into an egg cell from another animal belonging to the same species or another one. Before this process can take place, the nucleus from the original cell must be removed from that egg. The result is then implanted into the surrogate mother. This mother will then provide the food and nutrients for the embryo to develop until the mother gives birth to the clone. Until recently, the surrogate mother had to be of the same species, but now, with recent technological advances, one species can now give birth to a different species ("Science and Technology" 100).
The laundry list of complaints about cloning begins with the fact that cloning humans decreases the value of uniqueness of the individual. According to ABC News, "About 87 percent oppose cloning humans, and 93 percent don't want to be cloned themselves" (Rembert 15). With statistics that strong, it proves that the extent to the public's opposition to the cloning of humans. The Vatican has always been known to be truthful to what they say. The church has a great deal of influence on many people's opinions, and the church believes that human cloning is also immoral because it violates the human dignity of the individual ("Vatican"). How would you feel if you found out that you were a clone? You probably wouldn't feel like a person that was truly meant to step foot on this earth. You would probably feel like a nobody, someone's creation. John Colvin, a writer for The Humanist magazine, says that if cloning is used frequently in our society, " human biodiversity will be diminished and human evolution will cease" (Colvin 39). People will start to look and act more like each other, and if one person's genes contains vital information for the future and he/she doesn't reproduce sexually, it would be shared with another individual and evolution of the human race will never take place again. Fr. Frank Pavone, a well-respected writer for the church, feels that clones would also feel less of human beings because "value is intimately tied to uniqueness" (Pavone). If people were being cloned one after the other, then there wouldn't be much diversity in the society. This will also diminish the value of uniqueness.
Some other possibilities of cloning that can also upset our economy include such unlawful behavior as using cloning for crime or as a weapon. In an article released last year on cloning by Pamela Schaeffer, who is a writer for the National Catholic Reporter, Schaeffer says that all it takes is for one cell to start the cloning process and that cell can be taken without the donor even knowing about it (Schaeffer 21). If a person was to obtain someone else's cells, then it would be possible for that person to clone those cells and create an individual that looks exactly like the person that the cells were taken from. The person that cloned the cells could force their newly developed clone to commit any type of crime possible. This is an example of a case of fraud or framing. Since the clone committed the crime, and is an exact replica of the person that was cloned, it would be extremely difficult and almost impossible to prove the framed person innocent by claiming that it was a clone, and not the person that was cloned. Dr. Patrick Dixon, who is a doctor opposed to cloning, and has written several articles on the effects of cloning, states "there are powerful leaders in every generation who will seek to abuse this technology for their own purposes" (Dixon). A tyrannical leader of a country could clone an army of his/her elite soldiers to create a super-army of human clones to be used for domination and war. Nobody knows the number of criminals in the world right now, just waiting for the science field to announce the development of human cloning. With so many individuals who are possible abusers of cloning, and with so many ways to abuse the technology, nobody knows how many negative directions that cloning could take us. It may soon be possible to clone Adolf Hitler or any other oppressive figure from our past. The only thing that would be needed is a cell, perhaps even some of his bone marrow from his skeleton. Other individuals, such as John Colvin believe that a person could also clone a subclass of slaves (Colvin 39). With the ability to clone people, there is nothing to stop the production of slaves. The slaves may be used to do labor for the crimes for their owner. Slavery is illegal and when the time comes that humans can be cloned, there will be nothing to stop people from cloning slaves and abusing the technology in many other ways.
Also, people have had the idea of cloning extinct species to bring them back from the dead and once again into the environment. Nichole Myers, a biologist for WIL Research, studies cloning daily and the effects that it will have in the future, believes that cloning of endangered or extinct animals is a dreadful idea. If a species is reintroduced into a habitat that it isn't adapted for them, then it could throw off the entire ecosystem and cause another species to die out due to competition, or the reintroduced species could prey on another species causing them to die out of the environment (appendix A). Another reason that cloning of animals is bad, according to Tracey Rembert, writer for E magazine, is because if a species is cloned, the species could lose the genes that are resistant to a certain disease, and if a species is cloned many times, similar to what would happen to humans, cloning would weaken the genetic diversity of the animal's species (Rembert 15). If cloning takes place again and again, then the population would be living in one generation and evolution within our species will cease to exist. The Economist magazine says biologists are not able to clone one species within another species ("Science and Technology" 100). Michael Lemonick, a writer for Time magazine, wrote on this subject and found that with this knowledge, scientists are now trying to clone prehistoric animals such as the wooly mammoth (Lemonick 96). With a creature as gigantic and prehistoric as a wooly mammoth, the effects of this animal on the ecosystem today would be devastating, especially if the beast was to become out of control and begins to run amuck, causing mass destruction on earth, damaging the environment, and hurting innocent civilians, all due to cloning.
Not only have scientists thought about bringing extinct animals back from the dead and cloning them, but now they are trying to bring people back alive who have died too. If a loved one died and the opportunity arose to clone that individual, would you have him/her cloned? Before you answer, take into consideration that the clone " would not be the same child, though it would look very similar" (Rembert 15). Environmental factors play a critical role in human development (Schaffer 21). If one child is brought up in one environment and his/her clone was brought up in another, they would be different. They would learn different values, develop different tastes, and make different friends. Like animals, when cloning humans there is also the chance the clone could develop some kind of defect or side effect of cloning that has yet to be predetermined (Lemonick 21). Cloning a person is also very risky because " the genetic material used from the adult will continue to age so that the genes in a newborn baby clone could besay30 years old or more on the day of birth" (Dixon). This means that if an adult were cloned, the clone's genes would be just as old as the cells that the clone was derived from. If the genes were 30 years old at the time of cloning, the genes would be the same age in the newborn clone. Many attempts to clone animals resulted in severe abnormalities due to genetic mutations, and the same mutations are very possible to happen to human clones also (Dixon). Who would want to put a loves one of theirs through this pain, just for the selfishness of trying to keep that person in their life for as long as possible? No person has the power to predict how a clone will turn out, and it may not be a risk that is worth taking just to have a loved one back. Once a mistake is made in cloning humans, there is no turning back, what is done is done.
Many scientists believe that cloning could add great benefits to the health field. For example, organs and tissue of animals or humans could be cloned to help save the lives of individuals who are suffering from a disease. Currently in the United States alone, more than 70,000 Americans who are on waiting lists to receive blood transfusions, organ transplants, or any other part of the human body that could be transplanted from the body of one individual to another. A person may have been born with a serious birth defect, had an accident that left the person unable to function properly, or the person may have a disease that limits their daily activities. According to David Ayares, a research director with PPL therapeutics, scientists are cloning pigs just to use their body organs " their organs are roughly the same size as those of humans, meaning that operations can be performed with a relative snap-out, snap-in simplicity" (8). In order to obtain cloned organs, scientists have to clone the embryo of the animal that will be used to get the replacement tissues or organs, after the clone is grown to the appropriate size, the needed organs are then taken from the animal and utilized for transplants in human beings, leaving the animal who was unwillingly brought onto earth for dead. Until the day comes when a lone organ can be cloned, cloning an embryo just to get an organ is wrong because the clone would have to die after giving up the organ.
Other people have argued that cloning animals to increase the world's food supply would be beneficial to humans. CeresNet, a program run by Georgetown University says it could be done by taking low-cost embryos, clone them, and reusing the DNA again and again to get more food ("Cloning of food animals). This may give a better food supply, but one has to remember that for each developing embryo, there has to be at least one donor female to carry the embryo to full terms. This means that clone animals would not produce more food, because reproduction would move just as fast as cloning would.
In addition, pro-cloning individuals believe that cloning can increase scientific knowledge. Rory Watson, a writer for the British Medical Journal, informs people that animal cloning could benefit in the preparation of vaccines and medicines (Watson 847). Chairman of the Human Genetics Advisory Commission, Sir Colin Campbell, said: "Cell nucleus techniques might be helpful with research into and eventually treatment of serious conditions such as Parkinson's, and various types of cancer" (Mayor 1613). It is true that these are beneficial ideas, but they are not fully tested. There is no way to tell whether these proposals will work until they are tested, which hasn't been completed yet (appendix A). The proposals are yet to be tested because scientists have not found a way to clone humans, therefore they can't find out if these proposals work.
Moreover, parents of twins or other multiples that are identical would argue that their children are unique, so they can each have different feelings, beliefs, and personalities, thus making them individual. This is yet another way of proving that a clone may resemble the original human being, but it's really not the same human being. Cloning is not the same as having twins because cloning is planned, while having multiple babies is something that is rare and unpredictable, which makes each baby very special. Plus, multiple babies have their own DNA structure, while clones have identical DNA structure. No one baby is more important than the other, however a clone would not be as precious as the person who was cloned. This bias is simply associated with the spontaneity and beauty of birth. With all types of multiples, the miraculous and unpredictable nature of human life shines through reminding us that we never know what to expect around that next corner. With cloning that mystery and awe is replaced with statistics and scientific equations.
Obviously, cloning can affect our society drastically. Some type of law needs to be passed and put into effect as soon as possible, stating that the cloning of human beings and animals is wrong and illegal. Passing a law stating this, or even similar to this statement could prevent the many negative affects that cloning will have one our society before it is too late. Once scientists begin cloning human beings, there will no easy way to fix the many destructive effects that are sure to happen. How would we go about morally eliminating a human clone? Can we kill it? Can we lock it up in solitary confinement? Do we leave it on the streets to cause more problems? If a law isn't passed soon, the many negative aspects of cloning stated in this paper may soon be reality for the world. Ranging from criminals cloning humans to be used as weapons in crimes, to large prehistoric beasts rampaging the streets and harming innocent civilians, these worldly problems may soon occur all due to cloning. We must stop this technological advancement before it is too late.
"Cloning of Food Animals." CeresNet 2000.5 Nov. 2000
Colvin, Jonathon. "Me, my clone, and I (or in defense of human cloning)." The Humanist May/Jun. 2000: 39.
Dixon, Dr. Patrick. Don't Clone 3 Reasons. 31 Oct. 2000
Lemonick, Michael D. "Could a clone ever run for President?" Time 8 Nov. 1999: 96.
Mayor, Susan. "UK authorities recommend human cloning for therapeutic research." British Medical Journal 98: 1613.
Myers, Nichole. Personal Interview. 1 April. 2001.
Pavone, Fr. Frank. "What does it mean to be Me?" 31 Oct. 2000
Rembert, Tracey C. "Me and my shadow." E Jul/Aug. 1997: 1521.
Schaeffer, Pamela. "Many oppose human cloning." National Catholic Reporter 22 Oct. 1999: 19,21.
"Science and technology: New kid on the block." The Economist 14 Oct. 2000: 100.
"Vatican: No to human cloning." National Catholic Reporter 22 Oct. 1999: 21.
Watson, Rory. "European parliament wants world ban on human cloning." British Medical Journal 97: 847.