Contemporary Application – The Ethics of Cloning Human Beings
Cloning is none one of the latest invention of man brought by the progressive advancement in human technology. This subject has caused a tremendous controversy among various fields of studies, such as humanists, medicines, rationalists, geneticists, and most of all, ethics. The process of cloning has been questioned in terms of its moral background, and its stand in rights of fulfillment against value of life and human identity. The public possesses divided opinions regarding this genetic advancement, which precisely conveys pros and cons groups. Since the issues and moral stands of this process are currently under critical debates and social convictions, the applications and researches are not being conducted legally. The disputes brought by such process have created controversy most especially in the field of medical ethico-legal practice. The divine considerations and societal perspectives have induced the negative angle of cloning.
Considering the philosophical and utilitarian perspectives, which are concerned in the process and effects of cloning, objections brought upon by these groups state that cloning commits a divine and natural violation. In the perspective of divine violation, it states that the creation of life is only God’s will alone. The creation of an infant is a way that does not depend on human sexual congress or make possible the divine inculcation of a soul. Cloning removes an individual from conjugal patterns, but it is hard to imagine that God’s desire to bestow unique soul can be blocked by the fact that the infant does not result from an egg and sperm’s joining but instead arises from an embryonic egg’s reproducing itself (Kass & Wilson, 1998 p.63).
Such statement proves to be the irony of the argument; God is the creator, does it make a person a soulless individual if that person is cloned? Does the setting of embryonic production influence the installation of soul? Man is not in place and responsibility to answer these questions; hence, man is not in place as well to conclude whether or not the setting of the soul occurs either in sperm and egg union or inside the uterus.
The argument portrayed in this essay deals with the appropriateness and moral principles in terms of using the systems of cloning in order to provide advance medical care especially in the conditions of organ donations. The process of justifications and analysis of ethical backgrounds are employed in order to give reasonable argumentative statements. The side of this discussion revolves around the ethical stands of cloning used in medical practice focusing more on practical reasons than with moral concepts.
In this argument, the use of cloning for maintenance of lives than for saving lives stand as the utmost goal. Cloning is another essential discovery of man, which supposed to be utilized for the betterment of human race and not to be halted by ethical principles labeled by moral-conscious sects. The process employs scientific complexities related more on genetics and cellular culturing hence, this field is also discussed; however, the aim and focus of the study revolves more on the ethical argument.
The process of cloning is basically defined as the exact copying of something, and this can be from single cell to human being itself. It involves a broad concept of definition that can be cellular cloning, human cloning, molecular cloning, etc. However, it all boils down in the fundamental definition of production of exact copy. It involves the culturing and development of genetic strands of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and other genetic material, such as stem cells, in order to derive the same cellular composition of that same cellular structure.
The argument brought upon by ethical groups is the natural violence that occurs with cloning. This is often asserted by the critics of cloning who do not believe in an active God or considered Atheist. The objection primarily involves the defiance of the natural process of embryonic formation that should occur in the normal physiology of creation. Cloning, as the process dictates, violates such natural system; hence, violating the concept of nature as well (Kass & Wilson, 1998 p.64).
On the argumentive connotation, cloning has not violated any natural principles as justified by the rationale that nature itself induce violations that manifests as congenital anomalies or diseases of disorders that are also not part of the normal cycle. In this statement, the normal process is not actually thought to be normal, but rather labeled only as normal. It is part of human discovery; hence, its creation does not defy the principles of any natural process.
Another issue brought upon the case of human cloning is organ donation, which involves the harvesting of organs from cloned bodies in order to play part in surgical treatments. From the medical perspectives, the cloned organs from the same individual increase the chance of compatibility, and diminish the chance of organ rejection or reaction. By producing another copy of that same organ to replace that same damaged part, one can save a life or alleviate the suffering of an individual (Brody, 2001 p.356).
The concept of organ donation through organ harvesting may not be acceptable in plain principles of ethics. Given a situation, let us analyze the ethics involved in order to depict possible morality in such application of cloning. A person is suffering from tremendous mental disease due to destruction on a specific part of the patient’s brain. The case is primarily congenital in nature, and irreversible even with pharmacotherapy, surgical alternatives or medical interventions. Knowing of course that brain cells do not regenerate, the only means in order to cure such condition is to have those damaged brain cells replaced by healthy brain cells. Fortunately, the restoration of quality of life is still possible through the process of organ donation, specifically brain grafting. However, the necessary brain tissue is not available since, rejection is the only response of the body. By this case, the only measure left is to culture the normal part of the patient’s brain and have it replaced the damaged part. This is the best possible measure in order to improve the quality of life for the patient. Using the utmost and most possible technology is the moral responsibility of the medical providers, and since the only possible intervention left is through genetic therapy, it is indeed ethical to provide such intervention in order to promote the quality of life. It may appear to be a grave taboo in moral principles; however, the major contribution is the promotion of life, which is the primary aim of moral principles.
On the first place, morality is created in order to provide regulation and upbringing for the enhancement of the quality of human life. In the case give, cloning is utilized in a therapeutic means of saving the life of an individual and not merely for own selfish purposes.
The over-all process of cloning provides us another regimen of saving the life of an individual. The AMA (American Medical Association) forbids the cloning of embryos or more developed stages for the production of human tissue (Roetz, 2006 p.217). However, with the defense of this paper, if we have the stem cells extracted from either individuals or those that possess usable cells, then the possibility of curing thousands out of one embryo is present. The moral law is for the good of everybody and utilizes the principle of majority’s sake and not just an individual. If such procedure can save lives of two to thousands of people, then morality is still achieved at some point (Levick, 2004 p.162).
The process of cloning is not limited to organ donation and parts cloning; however, it also considers the application of cloning in order to modify traits. Such genetic art is useful in various ways especially in the field of medicine. Recently, there have been a lot of genetic disorders that possess no cure due to the fact that the damaged or the origin of the problem is in the gene itself. The process of gene therapy is the medical intervention utilized in this category.
The process involves the instillation of a normal gene, obtained through either cloning process or natural means, inside the body in order to counteract the proliferation of the abnormal genes that are causing the disorder. Genetic diseases that are candidates for gene therapies include severe immunodeficiency, thalassaemia, and cystic fibrosis. Since these genetic disorders are more often than not caused by defective single-strand gene, gene therapy posses as a potential treatment in order to alleviate such conditions (Wong, 2006 p.169).
The application of cloning in the part of gene therapy proves to be an effective and morally sided function that can be utilized as a potential treatment measure in order to cure the genetic defects that an individual possesses. In this case, the application of gene therapy, supported by AMA, is considered as ethical in nature (Roetz, 2006 p.217).
Moving to another application of this genetic procedure, cloning can also be used to alter the physical attributes of a person especially those that are not preferred by the individual. One example is the color of the eyes, skin color, hair characteristics and other physical characteristics. This application of cloning principles has provided parents another idea of choosing the characteristics of their siblings. However, concerned groups have argued in this type of application, since it violates the natural and divine intervention in the creation of an individual. For them, these characteristics are for God to manipulate and not for humans. The argument has progressed and expanded by the naturalists. For this group, the process of molding the physical attributes occurs by natural occurrence and modification. Such process provides uniqueness in every individuals preventing commonness in the sense (Humber & Almeder, 1998 p.53-54). The advantages of this application outweigh the negativistic thoughts of these moralists. On the other hand, the benefit of this procedure may enhance the self-esteem and self-actualization principles of the family itself, especially if they achieved their preferred traits.
However, the positive arguments on cloning applications are also subjected to limitations. There are actual applications of this procedure that are considered undeniably immoral and destructive in basic sense.
Lastly, one of the theories that have not yet been implemented is the actual cloning of human being itself. In this category, the process of cloning is used in order to attain an exact copy of the individual’s identity. The theory proposes that only physical attributes are copied; however, claims have stated that the actual copy of the person’s over-all personality is possible using this intervention. In addition, with the advent of gene therapy and trait modification, the possibility of cloning human beings with extreme potential is indeed present.
According to the claims of moralists philosopher, Leon Kass, from the book of Pence (1998) entitles, Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning?:
Human cloning would represent a giant step toward turning begetting into making, procreation into manufacture (literally, something “handmade”), a process already begun with in vitro fertilization and genetic testing of embryos (p.27)
Even if the possibility of creating “super-humans” through this type of genetic process, still, the whole concept is wrong for humans to practice. In such case, we are already playing gods; hence, considering such actions as blasphemy towards not only divine acknowledgements and naturalistic principles, but also essence of being humans. Essentially speaking, human intellect also possesses its limitations and scope. There is knowledge that is considered to be forbidden, even though, the curious mind of humans are consumed by the interest to examine such concept.
The betterment and enhancement of quality of life is the utmost goal of science, and not to alter the absolute patterns of human identity imposed.
Brody, B. A. (2001). Medical Ethics: Analysis of the Issues Raised by the Codes, Opinions, and Ethics. Rothstein.
Humber, J. M., & Almeder, R. F. (1998). Human Cloning. Humana Press.
Kass, L. R., & Wilson, J. (1998). The Ethics of Human Cloning. American Enterprise Institute.
Levick, S. E. (2004). Clone Being: Exploring the Psychological and Social Dimensions. Rowman & Littlefield.
Pence, G. E. (1998). Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning?. Rowman ; Littlefield.
Roetz, H. M. (2006). Cross-Cultural Issues in Bioethics: The Example of Human Cloning. Rodopi.
Wong, D. W. (2006). The Ethics of Human Cloning. Springer.