“What we call process is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance.” This quote by Henry Havelook Ellis describes the outcome of cloning that the world has seen so far and will continue to see if strict laws regulating cloning research are not set into place. Due to governmental regulations, cloning research has slowed down. If such legislations continue, the process of cloning will continue to demolish. If these laws proceed, the creation of the human race will remain in the hands of God — not in the hands of scientists. Cloning has shown few positive outcomes and many negative. Cloning research is not something of the recent past, but something that has been a controversial issue for over 50 years (Cloning). If no laws are set into place, cloning will become a major problem. It will terminate natural birth, and create a superhuman race. Cloning trends have been sporadic for over a century. Recent advancements, however, have startled many. They have catalyzed a large uprising against the continuation of cloning research. Ladies and gentleman, cloning is a problem that has sparked many fires and will continue to do so if nothing is done to stop it.
Humans have come a long way in the scientific field with advances in medicine and treatments for God’s ailments, but as far as playing God in order to create a human or any other animal, that is one step that humans can not handle. A clone is defined as a group of organisms, all of which are descended from a single individual through asexual reproduction, as in a pure cell culture of bacteria (Cloning). The main source of the problem, somatic cell nuclear transfer, is actually something far more complex. Somatic cell nuclear transfer is the process by which Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned, was created. DNA coming from a single cell in her mother’s egg, was fused with the mammary cell. The fused cell then developed into an embryo, which was implanted in a “surrogate” sheep. The embryo grew into a lamb, which was genetically identical to the donor sheep (The Cloning Process). This same process could be performed in a human, and a human clone would be formed.
A study of the American people states that 33% of Americans believe that cloning should be banned completely while the other 66% favor research to continue with in reason until something goes wrong (By The Numbers). This shows that Americans are willing to see what cloning has in store for us, but not willing to sacrifice human lives. Raymond Flynn, president of the National Catholic Alliance states that “Human and animal reproduction is now in the hands of men, while it rightfully belongs in the hands of God; (Human Cloning).” Even Alan Colman, the lead scientist at the Roslin Institute, states “I think it highlights more than ever the foolishness of those who want to legalize [human] reproducing cloning.” This is in response to the long and painful death of Dolly. The problem is as clear as day, cloning is not as advanced as it would need to be in order to be successful without complications and history shows us that it has been this way for years.
Cloning is not a new found technology; it has evolved slowly with additions from many top scientists in their fields to become what it has become today. With DNA work dating back hundreds of years, cloning research started over fifty years ago by Robert Briggs and Thomas King. The two scientists successfully added the nucleus of a frog embryo to a frog egg, but eventually the frog egg failed to develop so there was no clone achieved. In 1967, John Gurdon continued the research of Briggs and King and was successful, but his frog died after being alive for only a couple of days. The premature death didn’t deter cloning research for good however. In 1984, cloning took its first giant step with the first sheep being cloned by embryo cell fertilization. In 1997, Dr. Ian Wilmut, head scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, successfully cloned a sheep by an adult cell, rather than the embryo cell. Cloning has come a long way from early predictions to the actual cloning and with this change, a large outcry of opinions has emerged (Cloning).
In a recent CNN poll, 89% of Americans thought it to be unacceptable to clone a human and 66% believed it to be wrong to clone an animal. This information comes from the news that it took the scientists who created Dolly 277 tries before they created a healthy, viable lamb. Since cloning humans is more complicated, “even more deaths and lethal birth defects can be expected during experimentation;” (Human Cloning: Religious and Ethical Debate). In the same CNN poll, 74% of humans believed that scientists were taking God’s powers into their own hands. This is the largest, second to the side affects of cloning (10%), reason that humans disagree with and are fighting hard to change.
A viable argument that has been presented is if someone was to create a medicine or antibiotic to stop an illness, would it be playing God? Cloning is creating a living and breathing object, not aiding the individual to live their own life. As times goes on, more and more advances were made in the cloning research field. Although some advancements have been positive such as discovering the ability to replicate bone marrow for leukemia patients, many negative aspects, such as high mother-death rates from birth complications (1 in 3 mother cows died of complications during birth), have started to affect us at an alarming rate.
With cloning research, certain desirable traits can be chosen and a superhuman race could be created. Imagine a world with women having attributes of the most gorgeous woman, and men having the attributes of the most handsome man. This could make for a very dull and boring world due to the lack of variation in physical appearances. Physical traits are not the only possibility for change. Diseases could be wiped out. According to the 2002 World Almanac, nine out of the top ten causes of death in the world are genetics related and 52,606,687.5 humans die of these various causes (Top Killers). A question is posed, what would happen if those 52,606,687.5 humans were still living and more humans were being born at a rate of 14.1 babies for every thousand humans (Against Human Cloning)? Poverty rates (19%) would rise at a considerable rate due to the fact of over crowdedness in our metropolitan areas.
At time of publication, there were 6,275,919,702 humans on earth (By The Numbers). With this information, the new number including the humans that would still be alive because the void of disease and birth, after simple math would be 6,328,526,389.5. With this number, you can calculate the new amount of humans that would be living in poverty at the same rate (19% [NCPA]) in 1998 would be 1,202,420,014 humans in comparison to 1,192,850,491. That is an addition of 9,569,523 humans that will be suffering from malnutrition and poor living conditions. Death is God’s way of population control and if it is your time to go, then it’s your time to go and if these diseases were still around, then these figures would become fact, rather than simple math problems.
Cloning research and public opinion have been factors of each other ever since the first idea of cloning emerged. As new research comes out, people begin to become excited, but as the research becomes more detailed, the general public begins to shy away from the idea.
In the beginning, cloning research was so new, no one really knew anything about it, but people were curious so public opinion was high (73%) in the hopes of a breakthrough. After President Clinton halted all federal funds to aide in the research of cloning, public opinion began to decrease to 17% (Clinton). This shows that the public follows the government in their efforts to seize a program. From the information that has been gathered, many solutions are possible, and hopefully some will come into affect.
The costs standards should be measure on the fact that it costs $1,700,000 to clone a human and up to $1,000,000 to clone an animal (By The Numbers). This is a very high price for the chance to have a replica of yourself or any other human being. The chance that an embryo will take is 1:1000, so the costs of running tests on each embryo can add up quickly (What Would A Human Clone Be Like). The costs should be as minimal as possible.
The problem solution should be measured by the quality of life in the world from cloning. Since our numbers for poverty are high enough already, adding more to the human race could only add to the problems faced in the world today. Another ethical argument proposed by opponents is that cloning encourages parents to value their children according to how well they meet expectations, instead of loving them for their own sake. This would cause stress to the clone themselves and with suicide rates in America reaching almost 30,000 (Top Killers) , this would also add to the problems. Humans should also not have to worry about having a superhuman race. With a superhuman race, there would be no diversity. Diversity is what the world, America especially, runs on and if diversity was void, then the world be mundane. The ethical standards play a large part in the forming of a solution, but the largest part is if it can actually happen (Ethics).
The problem solution should be measured by what changes the world would have to endure because of cloning. Having mass produced children isn’t too far away from reality, but it will never be accepted because there is such a strong religious backbone to our country. Something needs to be done, if not, the world would be in turmoil due to the fact that there would be no disease and diversity. The solution needs to be something that the majority of Americans can agree on, whether that is a total ban or just a partial ban. A key step to a solution was already set into place in 1997 when President Bill Clinton set a ban into place on all federal funds going towards human cloning.
As these standards have been set, many possible solutions could come about. Some solutions seem to be far fetched, but some are quite possible. The following is an explanation of possible null, extreme, and moderated solutions to cloning.
By leaving things as they are, nothing will be accomplished. The costs will still continue to be high even though the federal government will still give out federal grants to the research for cloning. The ethics behind the null alternative will be the same. Humans will still have the to worry about the fact that government legislation could be overturned and cloning could become legal. Even though human cloning seems farther away than the cloning of animals, researchers will still be able to continue in their quest for the perfect cloning process. The feasibility of this is actually very easy. The world will still continue to pursue cloning research, but still without federal aide. If the chance to continue on researching is still there, then many possible outcomes could happen such as a superhuman race and the void of diversity.
An extreme stand on the cloning issue is that of making all research and practicing of cloning an offense punishable by death. There would be no costs coming from the cloning standpoint, but the prosecution standpoint would have great costs. When a researcher is found and enough evidence is present, then the researcher would be put into a chair and have a gun pointed to their head and killed. Their organs would be given to the ones that need it. This is not ethical what so ever, but it would cut down on the amount of research at an extreme rate. The human race would become scared and bitter towards the governmental body that is overseeing such a horrible act so the quality of life would start to diminish.
Americans especially would never stand for this type of punishment because of their belief in the Bill of Rights, Amendment V and VI. The only ethical part would be that a family would still have its roots and nothing would be changed. Is this solution truly feasible? No, it will never happen. Humans do not see this as a viable plan of action. It would massively change the world in the way humans think about the government and how humans deal with controversial issues. This is an example of a policy that Saddam would be running under his government, and the world is seeing what his people are thinking about him.
The moderate view of cloning would be to only allow research that has been federally approved. The costs for allowing this could get out of line with corrupt practices asking for more and more money to create a human clone. The costs would have to be raised because that would cut down on the affordability for the average human being. Instead of having a human clone cost $1,700,000, the cost would need to be around $20,000,000. The price jack would also benefit the technology aspect in that there is more money to be spent to improve the already existing technology. There would also be a surge in groups’ attempting to be the first group to have a successful clone. The ethical standpoint would not be able to change no matter what happens. No one will ever be happy.
This solution will not diminish the quality of life in the world due to the fact that it will raise awareness of the problem at hand, but still allow for a technological breakthrough. The feasibility of having government control over who can research and practice cloning is very possible. Changes would have to be made to the government to include very strict laws for those who are trying to break the law, but other than that, it would be a simple transition from free cloning to government regulated cloning. There would be some organization towards it, but there would still be the possibility of corruptness from either the researcher or the government such as bribery and black mail.
Recommended Moderate Alternative
The best view that would be the most cost effective, ethical, and feasible would be one where government would place bans on the rights of scientists who practice and research cloning. Since there is going to be government control, the government has the right to pull the plug on any project that seems to be getting out of control. It would still be cost affective because all money would have to come from outside sources that have already been previously approved by the federal government. The only money that would be spent by the government would be on prosecution of researchers who have continued work after their programs has been seized or those who don’t receive government approval.
The punishments would run from heavy fines to jail time, depending on the severity of the offense. The ethical standpoint will never be totally ethical because many see that it is wrong to create a human being not through sexual intercourse. The ethical part of the solution would be that the government still has control over what goes on. This solution is also very feasible. Giving the government control over cloning research could be very easily done. Many might disagree that this solution would be feasible, but there is always a possibility of a permanent ban on all research.
These solutions are only going to work if people put their mind to it and work at it. These issues will stop dead in the tracks if something is done but if not; it will continue to spiral until becoming out of control.
Cloning research has become a major part in our technology-driven society. If legislation is not passed to control cloning, the negative outcomes of cloning will continue to culminate. The history of cloning shows that there are many problems to be solved in the cloning process, yet cloning advancements are growing at a rapid pace – while the problems are left unresolved. With these advancements, a human’s undesired qualities will become a thing of the past and super-human races will start to evolve. Public opinion and the problem will continue to grow until legislation is passed. A final thought, do humans want a society that is a copy of the previous generation?
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“Cloning.” Issues and Controversies On File, FACTS.com. January 29, 2003. .
Ethics of Human Cloning, The. Cass, Leon R. AEI Press. Washington, DC. 1998.
“Human Cloning.” Issues and Controversies On File, FACTS.com. January 29, 2003. .
“Human Cloning Is Wrong According to America.” CNN.com. January 29, 2003. < http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9703/01/clone.poll/index.html>
“What Would A Human Clone Be Like?” Issues and Controversies On File, FACTS.com. January 29, 2003. .
“Clinton Bans Funds for Human Cloning.” CNN.com. March 20, 2003. http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9703/04/clinton.cloning/
“Against Human Cloning.” BBC.com. April 7, 2003. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/cloning/clonesdanger.shtml
“Human Cloning.”Virginia.edu, April 7, 2003. http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~jones/tmp352/projects98/group1/home.html
“Top Killers.”Aerobic Gardening.com, April 7, 2003. http://www.ritecode.com/aerobicgardening/topkill.html.
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