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Should Human Cloning be Banned? (soc essay)

Posted on April 12, 2009 at 7:35 PM

DISCLAIMER: The following essay does not necessarily reflect the views of the author or site. It is simply an exercise in persuasive argument.


Yes, it should be banned. Why? Because it is unethical to conduct research and perform experiments on human subjects; it is immoral to exercise such a field of science in our society; and it is irresponsible and dangerous to make this form of technology legal, let alone available. No matter how many benefits human cloning may afford us, and there are surprisingly few, they are utterly negated by these three points. Not only is human [and perhaps all forms of] cloning dangerous and senseless, but morally wrong and greatly unprincipled. But what is most terrifying about cloning is that it has the ability to change the very foundations and philosophy that we, as a civilization, are built on. What happens when we go too far? What happens when humanity is no longer content in merely seeking knowledge and an understanding of the physical universe, and crosses the line that separates the natural from the artificial; God from man? Do we have the right to govern the evolution of life itself; the authority? Science has proven that we have the ability to reproduce a human being, but it does not stop to question whether we should. The answer is no!

 

Human cloning should be banned because it is deeply unethical to conduct research and perform experiments on human beings. Not only because of its inefficiency and high failure rate, but also because of the mental, physical and emotional pain and suffering the small percentage of successful offspring will have to endure.


More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. More than 100 nuclear transfer procedures could be required to produce one viable clone. In addition to low success rates, cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumour growth, and other disorders. Japanese studies have shown that cloned mice live in poor health and die early. About a third of the cloned calves born alive have died young, and many of them were abnormally large. Many cloned animals have not lived long enough to generate good data about how clones age. Appearing healthy at a young age unfortunately is not a good indicator of long-term survival. Clones have been known to die mysteriously. For example, Australia's first cloned sheep appeared healthy and energetic on the day she died, and the results from her autopsy failed to determine a cause of death.


In 2002, researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reported that the genomes of cloned mice are compromised. In analysing more than 10,000 liver and placenta cells of cloned mice, they discovered that about 4% of genes function abnormally. The abnormalities do not arise from mutations in the genes but from changes in the normal activation or expression of certain genes.


Problems also may result from programming errors in the genetic material from a donor cell. When an embryo is created from the union of a sperm and an egg, the embryo receives copies of most genes from both parents. A process called ‘imprinting’ chemically marks the DNA from the mother and father so that only one copy of a gene (either the maternal or paternal gene) is turned on. Defects in the genetic imprint of DNA from a single donor cell may lead to some of the developmental abnormalities of cloned embryos.


Now ask yourself “Is it ethical to clone a human being? Is it right to shred through hundreds upon hundreds of human embryo’s and foetuses as if they were pencil shavings? Is it just to murder (or as scientists call it, terminate) abnormal or inconclusive babies (or as scientists refer to them as, specimens)? And is it fair for those tiny few clones who survive the sick experiments to live out their short and withered lives in pain and agony, all for sake of medical progress?” The answer is no!


In addition to the terrible statistics from past cloning experiments have generated – and one can only assume the impact will be far worse on human subjects – scientists do not know how cloning could impact mental development. While factors such as intellect and mood may not be as important for a cow or a mouse, they are crucial for the development of healthy humans. With so many unknowns concerning reproductive cloning, the attempt to clone humans is potentially dangerous and ethically irresponsible.

 

It is highly immoral to employ such an order of science into our society, because it undermines almost everything that humanity stands for – equal rights; the value of human life; religious and civil principles, etc.


Not only does the subject of human cloning prove to be seriously disreputable in respects to human rights, but it also could potentially change our society in a greatly detrimental ways. Human cloning would change society by fundamentally altering the concepts of human individuality and reproduction. Cloning would create individuals whose circumstances differ from that of anyone who has ever walked the earth. Just as the industrial revolution created new social classes, cloning would create new classes of people. This new ‘breed’ would usher in an unpredictable new age by dint of its very existence.


How would our society react to having clones in our midst? Would we be accepting, fearful, belligerent or prejudicial? How would clones themselves react to existing? How would clones and normal people interact? Would clones and non-clones experience the same strife that seems to afflict any two dissimilar groups living within the same society?


It is simply immoral to impose such an order of existence into the human civilisation, not just for our sake, but for theirs. Human cloning is not fair on the clones themselves; a clone, by its very nature, will be denied the right of self-determinism; having a genetically identical progenitor, a clone will be unfairly expected to have certain qualities and abilities; human cloning does not constitute human experimentation performed without the permission of the clone; and a clone, at least in the beginning, would inevitably feel that its life is of a lesser quality than that of ordinary persons.


And not only would human cloning destroy us socially, but religiously we would be shattering the ideals of the church, and replacing the very statute of God. If a clone is manufactured, rather born, does it have a soul?

 

It is extremely irresponsible and dangerous to make such technology available. The technology will almost certainly be misused to give an advantage to rich people or those considered genetically ‘superior’, and even more frightening it may be manipulated by those in power to exert force and violence over others to get what they want. So begs the daunting question – what would Hitler have done with cloning technology if it were available in the 1940’s? What if Mussolini, or Stalin, or Franco, or Pol Pot, or Osama had the expertise or access to human cloning? There are powerful leaders in every generation who will seek to abuse this technology for their own purposes. Going ahead with cloning technology makes this far more likely.


Even if human cloning becomes an accepted procedure (God forbid), the technology will be abused and exploited by the wicked and corrupt, to the point where armies of mindless and faceless clones will clash and rage, and humanity, its culture, and its values will crumble and fall in this unethical and morally irrational scientific advance. ‘Human cloning’ is science’s latest atomic bomb … and humanity is its testing grounds.


There is no denying the awesome power science has over our lifestyle, our history, and our future. Technologically, and socially, science will bring us to heights we dared dream. Humanity and science shall continue to advance and evolve, hand in hand, and for the most part we are better for it. But we have reached a place in science that threatens the very dignity of our culture, and integrity of our own beliefs.


Human cloning is wrong. It is wrong in every sense of the word. It seeks a to fulfil a scientific goal which cannot be achieved, nor does it need to be. And even worse it is willing to sacrifice human ethics and morals; conscience and dignity; values and beliefs; and even human life itself to get it. And nothing is worth that. Human cloning should, without a shadow of a doubt, be banned, prohibited, forbidden, and excluded from humanity. Because if just one human life has to suffer – unpermittently, unwillingly, or unquestionably – then human cloning destroys the ends to its own means. And I think by now we all know that more than one person will have to suffer for this sick experiment of man.

 

But what if, by some absolute miracle of God (although I doubt God would be very happy with us at the moment); nevertheless, what if nothing does go wrong? What if not a single human embryo or foetus dies; every human specimen survives; not one clone suffers from physical, mental, or emotional anguish or trauma; society does not become an unethical, immoral wasteland; and no-one seeks to abuse this technology of human cloning? What if everything I have persuaded you will happen, does not happen? Would it still be worth the risk? If humanity is worth anything at all, then the answer is no!


Categories: ESSAYS, Sociology

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