It’s already been done. Back in the mid-1960s in Area 51, the U.S. Government secretly cloned John Denver. The clone was named Robbie Rist and went on to play the role of evil Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch. Apart from their uncanny physical resemblance, both Denver and his clone chose careers as entertainers. Denver was a musician who had a few acting gigs. Rist became a musician after doing a few acting gigs.
Alright, but aside from that…are there any real reasons to fear human cloning? Sure, there are the far-fetched, bizarre hypotheticals that only a moral philosopher would ponder…for instance, what if Bill Gates cloned himself in order to create a master race of Bill Juniors, or just for the sake of getting spare body parts? Of course, we know very well that even with children that are born the old-fashioned way, there are always a small percentage that will die from abuse or neglect…Susan Smith, etc. Such situations are always reprehensible, but will a parent be MORE inclined to cause harm to a child if they know it is a clone of themselves? Would clones really be more likely to be treated as a means only, and not an end in themselves? What are the logical grounds for thinking so?
And there are also vague refrains about “not wanting to play God”, although it is not clear that cloning constitutes “playing God” any more than in vitro fertilization. Perhaps there is a difference from IVF in the sense that with cloning, you know the basic genetic package that will be yielded. Even so, this does not take into account the vast number of ways that environmental factors shape who we become. Is cloning really “playing God”? Are we “playing God” when we give people medicine that lets them live when otherwise they would probably die? Does the Bible, Koran, or any other holy book suggest or give any hint that cloning should be forbidden? Does cloning violate the ethical precepts of utilitarianism, deontology, and/or virtue ethics? Or is it possible that the fears people have are more rooted in thoughts of a Brave New World type dystopia where human reproduction becomes detached from human relationships?
Even if it could be shown that human cloning is a power that could be abused, what does that prove? Does the fact that a power may be abused mean that humans should never try to harness it? It seems to me that if that were a moral command, we shouldn’t have tried to use fire because some people would become arsonists. Likewise, we should never have developed powerful painkiller drugs, because some people would become addicted to them, etc. I find the logic of such arguments untenable.
It strikes me as incredibly egotistical to want too clone oneself. It’s saying that I’m so good that another life form should be started with my DNA. What if the clone doesn’t like his or her DNA and resents you for it. Then you’d really be in trouble.
In the wake of the recent congressional hearings on the possibility of banning human cloning outright, one of the speakers against human cloning was the guy who cloned Dolly the sheep. According to the news report I heard, he said that the failure rate in making clones from adult cells was phenomenally high – they had to clone, what, something like 30 or 80 sheep, who all died in infancy or sooner, before they got a viable one who grew up to become Dolly. And this wasn’t because they “got it right” with Dolly, it was because Dolly got lucky. They still don’t know how to reduce the failure rate to something manageable. It seemed unethical, to the Dolly-sheep-cloning guy, to churn out 30 or 80 dead human baby clones just to get one that would live and grow up.
Well certainly there could be ethical issues if large numbers of young clones were lost. I doubt the idea of killing young humans sits well with anyone, especially if the young humans were somewhat developed. But the issue of whether or not the idea of cloning is immoral ,assuming the technology can be worked out, is more interesting to me.
Like I was saying, You’d have to think very highly of yourself to want to create a clone. The issue of creating a human life shouldn’t be taken lightly. I think anyone who would want to make an exact copy of himself would have to be a real pompous jackass to think that his DNA is so great that other people should have it too. I assume you would have to get permission before cloning someone else (I hope so anyway) and I certainly wouldn’t let anyone clone me. If other people agree with me then the cloning issue doesn’t really even need to be debated. Society would look down on it, doctors would try to talk you out of it, and it will probably never become a very popular technology. Besides I think most people would prefer to create human life the old fashion way.