The asexual reproduction of genes, cells and even an organism using the genetic components of another organism has been a cause for decades-old debates. The debates date back to the late 1990s when the first ever clone, Dolly the sheep, was reproduced from the cell of an adult sheep. Following laboratory developments over the years, there is now a theoretical possibility of cloning humans. While the subject on cloning both fascinates and terrifies, the prospect of cloning humans has created the most controversy and debates over the year. The debates have moved from issues of potential harm to the clone to ethical, theological and philosophical issues on the meaning of life and of the body with some arguing that one nucleus is as good as another. Ultimately, the debate around cloning is centered on one major concern, whether cloning means tampering with God’s creation or “Playing God”.
The pursuit of cloning may result in amazing scientific results. First, cloning can be a lifesaver. When vital human organs such as kidneys and hearts fail, they can be replaced with cloned body organs. Cloning can also be used to overcome infertility issues. Through cloning, it becomes possible to produce children with desired genetic makeup and traits and so defective genes and genetic diseases are eliminated (Cole-Turner). Medical researchers also learn a lot about human diseases from animals such as rats. The animals are genetically engineered to carry disease-causing mutations in their genes. Since it takes trial and error to come to conclusive results, numerous samples are required and so genetically identical animals are cloned for such studies. Finally, cloning can be used to revive endangered animals.
Despite the numerous advantages of cloning, not everyone appreciates the scientific development especially those who look at it from a religious point of view. The perception that cloning offends God is one of the frequently used arguments against cloning. According to this argument, reproduction should solely be God’s domain because life is a gift from God (Dabrock 47-54). Humans are only given the responsibility to take care of God’s creation and so cloning oversteps the limits of this responsibility and surpasses the creator’s powers. Cloning is also faced with numerous moral and ethical backlashes. Some believe that the scientific curiosities and motives do not justify the ethical and moral repercussions of cloning. Their major concerns include creating a life with the intention of destroying it whether it is for organ donations or just for scientific experiments. They find this evil and against God’s commands. There are also health and concerns regarding the egg donors and surrogate who are at risk of long term health complications. Also, the embryo could develop deformities upon birth which when coupled up with its lack of consent to be cloned makes cloning unethical. Finally, there are arguments that the cloning violates human dignity and is a breach to individuality (“Cloning | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy”). Each person should be unique without being predetermined but a clone is basically a copy of another being which the society tends to treat as inferior and thus denies them their dignity.
The strong sense of disquiet on cloning among people is well justified. Religious objections to cloning draw attention in the way it undermines God’s authority in what people refer to playing God or changing the course of nature. Cloning also omits the safeguards that God has put in place to protect the welfare and the dignity of his creation. However, for centuries most medical advancements such as vaccines interfere with God’s creation and nature to prevent ailments from taking their toll on organisms. Based on the high mortality rates of children due to genetic defects, cloning should be allowed if it means eliminating animal and human suffering. Also, the proponents of the right to unique identity and dignity ignore the fact that genetic composition does not shape someone’s identity but growing up in a different environment does. In addition, the key religious texts do not make any reference on such medical advancements and so it is impossible to determine God’s will on cloning. As such, the benefits associated with cloning surpass the religious inhibitions and so it should be allowed.
“Cloning | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Iep.utm.edu. N.p., 2019. Web. 14 Feb. 2019.
Cole-Turner, Ronald. Human Cloning. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997. Print.
Dabrock, Peter. “Playing God? Synthetic Biology as A Theological and Ethical Challenge.” Systems and Synthetic Biology 3.1-4 (2009): 47-54. Web. 14 Feb. 2019.