Should we ban human cloning? (I agree with the Democrats!)

Bush gave a speech recommending a ban on human cloning.

I disagree with him. Scientific research should not be restricted in this way.

On the whole I agree with the notion that scientific research shouldn’t be hobbled in this way. Still, I don’t think our country or perhaps even the human species is prepared for the ethical dilemmas that cloning could bring about.

That a president who fawns to the religious right puts the kibosh on cloning is hardly surprising. The religious right gets pretty worked-up over abortion. Imagine the howls if we started cloning bodies for spare parts.

There are a whole bevvy of issues raised by cloning that aren’t easily answered just yet. Assume cloning is a fact and not science fiction. Are there any restrictions on who gets cloned? Can you use them for spare parts? If you die can your clone be considered legally you? If they are legally you how does that impact inheritance? What if Hitler were cloned (Boys From Brazil anyone)? Saddam Hussein? What are the religious implications of cloned people? What’s the status of their soul? How would various religions view something brought about by science and not via the usual man/woman method?

Those are just some issues that spring to mind. I’m sure there are others but I hope you get the point. While I don’t think scientists should be prevented from doing research neither do I think the population at large is ready for the issues should cloning become a reality.

If Hitler or Saddam were cloned, you’d have a boy baby of Austrian or Iraqi ancestry who would not have the experiences or mindset of the original. Either that, or one should imprison both members of each set of identical twins whenever one of them commits a crime.

I understand that. Still, you have to admit that a cloned Hitler tooling around would be a powerful rallying point for fascist types. Who knows what sorts of trouble could stem from that? I’ll admit a second Saddam running around wouldn’t be quite so problematical.

BTW: Go see The Boys from Brazil. Fiction sure but…

And a clone would be a person, not a spare parts depot (unless you are cloning only the part - like a kidney) , and an independent person. It would be like your bio twin, only probably a good deal younger than you and quite probably one that you parent.

As someone who went through infertility, I love the idea of human cloning! I see it as an extention of the fertility treatments and family creation alternatives that couples are currently offered - Donor sperm or eggs, injecting the husband’s sperm into the egg, adoption, etc.

I do see a problem in that apparently their are health problems with the current generation of animal clones. Those would need to be worked out - it wouldn’t be fair to the baby to have premature aging as part of the package. But I certainly don’t think this should be a show stopper.

Clone me up a heart or liver to order, baby. YEAH!

I’m all for it. The fears I’ve heard expressed around it strike me as, at best, silly.

Cloning is bound to require a tremendous amount of trial and error. This means that there will be a phase wherein we are deliberately creating human beings en masse, knowing full well that they will be hideously deformed and/or have no hope of survival. Personally, I find that notion immoral and abhorrent.

I am not sure that it will be the case that there are a large number of human clone errors. Cloning like many other medical procedures will have to be checked out with animal models to perfect the techniques before it is applied to humans. I would think that the number hideously deformed people born will be low probably lower than crude techniques for human reproduction that we use now.

If you outlaw catipults, only outlaws will own catipults…

A similar problem exists with techniques used to save premature babies and babies with various birth defects. Some of them have little hope of survival or are deformed. Yet, we support science in its efforts to save these infants.

There is a world of difference between the two scenarios. Nobody is creating premature infants for experimentation purposes. In contrast, cloning would require the deliberate creation of proto-clones, in the hope of eventually being successful.

It’s one thing to try an experimental medical technique on a premature infant, in the hope that it might work and save future infants besides. It’s another thing to deliberately create human beings, in the hope that you might eventually perfect the technique.

Just because you think something is silly doesn’t mean it won’t be important to other people. I find many of the religious right’s views on abortion silly but that doesn’t make them go away. The status of a clone’s soul is personally silly to me but to some it will be crucial and could form the basis of discrimination should clones start popping up.

Why not a spare parts depot? All scientists would have to do is figure a way to make the growing human brain dead from the get go (no making them brain dead after the fact…they’d just grow that way with no higher brain functions).
You can also now see a path to genetic engineering. People today aren’t going to willingly subject their unborn to unproven and untried genetic manipulation. Got a clone? No problem. Scientists can fiddle with all sorts of things if they have an essentially limitless supply of humans to mess around with. It migth even be all well and good if they learn how to cure Down’s Syndrome and other genetic maladies but what happens when people start choosing for hair color, height, intelligence, physical strength and so on? Are there limits? Should there be limits? If we can engineer a race of Uber-Humans should we?

Again, I’m not a Luddite and generally support the notion of cloning experimentation. I still think, however, that the human race isn’t necessarily wise enough yet to face the some of the consequences that cloning might bring about.

That would only reduce the amount of human experimentation needed. Like it or not, a trial-and-error phase will still be required, wherein we mess around with creating humans.

I wouldn’t count on it. Besides, pre-born deformities are relatively rare, and pre-born deaths are often due to disease and other natural factors. It’s one thing for a human to die of natural causes; it’s another thing to deliberately create humans that are doomed to a rapid death.

Part A : I suggest that fertility treatments, which are statistically much more likely to produce multiple births, are in essence, creating premature infants, in that these extreme multiple births (ie more than 2) are much more likely to be born dangerously prematurely, if they manage to survive til birth in the first place. While the ‘intent’ of the fertility treatment is to create a pregnancy, and not for ‘experimentation purposes’, it’s still a similar ethical position (ie, the deliberate risking of dangerously premature babies). I don’t see how the difference between “but I really, really want a pregnancy and I can’t get pregnant w/o these treatments” and “but this has dramatic potential for good for all humanity” lends it’s weight of ‘ethicalness’ towards the person who has their own self interest top 'o the list.

Part B: Of course you realize that the entire ‘test tube baby’ techqnique was developed exactly this way? are you suggesting that shouldn’t have been done? and now that it has been, what now?

Soup em up any way you can. Make the next generation stronger faster and smarter. Eliminate disease, make replacement organs, and allow cloning. The clones must have full rights and the process must be perfected - we don’t want an “Alien: Resurection” scenario with mutated freaks in vats. If you have someone cloned, you should be responsible for that persons livelihood until they are at least 18.

It seems to me that building individual organs is more likey than growing a whole body and harvesting the organs. I see no problem with cloning once they can perfect the technique. Can I clone my cat yet?

DaLovin’ Dj

Actually, I do have a problem with fertility treatments, when they are expected to produce multiple births, most of which are expected to die.

As for test tube babies, i.e. in vitro fertilization, I have definite problems with that as well – and as someone who believes that life begins at conception, I don’t think we should have put embryos at risk by developing this procedure. However, even if I didn’t, that scenario is vastly different. In vitro fertilization simply allows the ovum and the spermatozoa to unite, after which natural processes take over. This is orders of magnitude easier and more natural than attempting to perfect cloning – and unlike cloning, it does not require tinkering with the genetic code.

Who’s “tinkering with the genetic code”? A clone is genetically identical to the “ordinary” human being that he or she was cloned from by definition. When a clone is created, no new genetic material gets introduced from any outside source, so we can ignore all the nightmare scenarios that the anti-biotech lobby likes to scare people with, such as adding DNA from some other organism to the human genome during the cloning process.

Um… if genetic material is tinkered with, then this is by definition not a clone.

If you are against In vitro fertilization, then clones would, of course, fall into this category. But otherwise, a clone ban is incoherent. Cloning is ethically no different than using drugs that encourage twinning. You’ve said you have a problem with that,
but most conservatives don’t.

Just to clear up some stuff.

First of all, most of you are clearly confusing reproductive cloning with therapeutic cloning. I don’t know a single Scientist who would be willing to venture into the are of reproductive cloning. Moreover, as far as I can tell, even those in government who are in favor of cloning, are not in favor of reproductive cloning.

Secondly, of course you must tinker with genes to create a clone. You may not be tinkering with the genetic code, but to create a clone you must transfer a somatic cell nucleus into an enucleated egg. This, by definition, is tinkering.

I am strongly against reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning however, may be our greatest hope for curing many diseases. Unfortunately, with the proposed legislation, both will be illegal. It’s throwing out the baby with bath-water if you ask me.

First off, cloning does NOT present any ethical problems. Clones are simply people. We don’t wonder about whether children produced through in vitro fertilization have souls, do we? Anyone who gives the matter a little thought and understands what cloning really is would realize that clones are people.

You can’t kill your identical twin and harvest their organs, just because they have the same DNA as you. If you die, your identical twin does not become legally you.

Every clone will still have to be gestated in a human surrogate mother, every clone will still have to be raised and educated by human parents (of whatever genetic relationship). Who is the clone’s parent? Whoever caused the clone to be produced of course. Right now two people can take donated sperm and donated eggs, fertilize the eggs in vitro, implant the embryo in a surrogate mother, and when the baby is born they are legally considered the parents of the baby. A cloned baby wouldn’t have “No Parents”, the baby would have the parents who created the baby. And if the parents are unfit parents, then the baby should be taken away from those unfit parents, their parental rights should be terminated, and the baby put in foster care until the baby is adopted, then the adoptive parents would be the baby’s parents.

Parenting is not a matter of genetics, it is a matter of actions.

And often people somehow have the idea that clones will be grown in uterine replicators. Well, we may someday develop uterine replicators, but that has nothing to do with cloning. Whatever reproductive technology we have, it can be applied just as easily to regular babies as to clone babies.

Similarly, we can’t force-grow any sort of babies into adulthood, let alone clone babies. And if we could force-grow babies, the morality of force-growing babies into instant adulthood has to be considered independently of cloning. One has nothing to do with the other. Force-growing babies may very well be immoral, so what?

Now, how about the notion that we grow clones, but somehow prevent the formation of their brains. No. First of all, think about how this would work. You are going to have to find a surrogate mother for this headless baby. There are very few women who are willing to be surrogate mothers, I doubt you are going to find many who are willing to gestate a THING rather than a baby. Then the headless baby is born. With no higher brain functions, the baby is going to have to be in an intensive care unit the minute it is born. Who pays for this care? This baby will stay in intensive care for the rest of its life, unless you are planning on killing it and harvesting the organs right away.

And of course, most of the organs aren’t going to be fully developed, they are going to be baby organs. If you need a heart transplant, you are going to have to wait until the baby is at least 10 years old before the heart will be large enough.

Where are you going to find a doctor and an intensive care unit willing to perform this barbaric and disgusting practice of keeping a brain-dead baby alive for years so that you can cut it up like a trout? I’m sure if you are Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il this will be no problem.

Headless clone ranching is a fantasy. It will NEVER happen except very rarely, because only an psychopathic dictator could cause it to happen. The practical difficulties are overwhelming, setting aside the moral difficulties.

That being said, at the present time cloning a human baby would be immoral, simply because the techniques are still extremely unreliable. Any doctor who created a cloned human baby should be disbarred, because it is too dangerous. When cloning techniques and cloning safety is well worked out for animals then we consider the essential moral questions of cloning.

And there really aren’t any. Assuming that one finds in vitro fertillization itself to be moral, then cloning itself is moral, in and of itself. Cloning could concievably be used for immoral purposes, like creating an army of brainwashed clone slaves. But the crime wouldn’t be the cloning, it would be the brainwashing and enslaving. We already have laws against slavery. We already have laws that take children away from unfit parents and allow them to be adopted by fit parents.

Cloning presents no new ethical problems.