Should Human Cloning Be Allowed? No, It’s a Moral Monstrosity
Published December 5, 2001
The Wallstreet Journal
By Eric Cohen
Dr. Michael West, the lead scientist on the team that recently cloned the first human embryos, believes his mission in life is “to end suffering and death.” “For the sake of medicine,” he informs us, “we need to set our fears aside.” For the sake of health, in other words, we need to overcome our moral inhibitions against cloning and eugenics.
The human cloning announcement was not a shock. We have been “progressing” down this road for years, while averting our gaze from the destination. Now we have cloned human embryos. That means that women’s eggs were procured, their genetic material removed, the DNA from someone else inserted, and the resulting cloned embryos manufactured as genetic replicas of an existing person. In Dr. West’s experiments, the embryos died very quickly. But the hope is that someday these embryos will serve as a source of rejection-free stem cells that can help cure diseases.
For now, this is science fiction, or a rosy form of speculation. No one has ever been treated with “therapeutic cloning” or embryonic stem cells. There have been no human trials. But it is true that this research may work in the future (though the benefits would likely be decades away). In addition, beyond cloning, scientists have larger ambitions, including “tinkering” with DNA before it is placed in an egg, and adding designer genes that would make clones into “super clones,” stem cells into “super stem cells.”
Yet while Dr. West and his colleagues say that they have no interest in creating cloned humans — on the grounds that doing so is not yet safe — they do not seem too frightened by the prospect of laying the groundwork for those who would do just that. “We didn’t feel that the abuse of this technology, its potential abuses, should stop us from doing what we believe is the right thing in medicine,” Dr. West said.
The Senate, it seems, is also not very concerned. Majority Leader Tom Daschle wants to put off until spring a vote on the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, which the House passed by 265-162 in July. And on Monday, the Senate chose not to consider a six-month moratorium on all human cloning. As Sen. Harry Reid has said, a moratorium for “six months or two months or two days would impede science.” And that, he believes, we cannot do.
It is understandable that many senators want to avoid a decision on this controversial issue, and no surprise that those driven by a desire to advance science and to heal the sick at any cost resist a ban. But as the ethicist Paul Ramsey wrote, “The good things that men do can be complete only by the things they refuse to do.” And cloning is one of those things we should refuse to do.
The debate is usually divided into two issues — reproductive cloning (creating cloned human beings) and therapeutic cloning (creating cloned human embryos for research and destruction). For now, there is near-universal consensus that we should shun the first. The idea of mother-daughter twins or genetically-identical “daddy juniors” stirs horror in us. Our moral sense revolts at the prospect, because so many of our cherished principles would be violated: the principle that children should not be designed in advance; that newborns should be truly new, without the burden of a genetic identity already lived; that a society where cloning is easy (requiring a few cells from anywhere in the body) means anyone could be cloned without knowledge or consent; and that replacing lost loved ones with “copies” is an insult to the ones lost, since it denies the uniqueness and sacredness of their existence. For these reasons, Americans agree that human cloning should never happen — not merely because the procedure is not yet “safe,” but because it is wrong.
Many research advocates say that they, too, are against “reproductive cloning.” But to protect their research, they seek to restrict only the implantation of cloned embryos, not the creation of cloned embryos for research. This is untenable: Once we begin stockpiling cloned embryos for research, it will be virtually impossible to control how they are used. We would be creating a class of embryos that, by law, must be destroyed. And the only remedy for wrongfully implanting cloned embryos would be forced abortions, something neither pro-lifers nor reproductive rights advocates would tolerate, nor should.
But the cloning debate is not simply the latest act in the moral divide over abortion. It is the “opening skirmish” — as Leon Kass, the president’s bioethics czar, describes it — in deciding whether we wish to “put human nature itself on the operating table, ready for alteration, enhancement, and wholesale redesign.” Lured by the seductive promise of medical science to “end” suffering and disease, we risk not seeing the dark side of the eugenic project.
Three horrors come to mind: First, the designing of our descendents, whether through cloning or germ-line engineering, is a form of generational despotism. Second, in trying to make human beings live indefinitely, our scientists have begun mixing our genes with those of cows, pigs, and jellyfish. And in trying to stamp out disease by any means necessary, we risk beginning the “compassionate” project of killing off the diseased themselves, something that has already begun with the selective abortion by parents of “undesirable” embryos.
Proponents of the biogenetic revolution will surely say that such warnings are nothing more than superstitions. Naive to the destructive power of man’s inventions, they will say that freedom means leaving scientists to experiment as they see fit. They will say that those who wish to stop the unchecked advance of biotechnology are themselves “genetic fundamentalists,” who see human beings as nothing more than their genetic make-ups. Banning human cloning, one advocate says, “would set a very dangerous precedent of bringing the police powers of the federal government into the laboratories.”
But the fact is that society accepts the need to regulate behavior for moral reasons — from drug use to nuclear weapons research to dumping waste. And those who say that human identity is “more than a person’s genetic make-up” are typically the ones who seek to crack man’s genetic code, so that they might “improve” humans in the image they see fit. In promising biological utopia, they justify breaching fundamental moral boundaries.
C. S. Lewis saw this possibility long ago in “The Abolition of Man.” As he put it, “Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.” In order to stop the dehumanization of man, and the creation of a post-human world of designer babies, man-animal chimeras, and “compassionate killing” of the disabled, we may have to forego some research. We may have to say no to certain experiments before they begin. The ban on human cloning is an ideal opportunity to reassert democratic control over science, and to reconnect technological advance with human dignity and responsibility.
Source Notes Copyright: 2001 The Wall Street Journal
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How We Feel about Human Cloning
Guest post by Joshua May
Suppose you desperately want a healthy child to build a family of your own. As is increasingly common, however, you can’t do it naturally – whether from infertility, a genetic disease you don’t want to pass on, or a non-traditional relationship. If you seek a genetic connection with the child, there are some limitations to the main alternatives: adoption, surrogacy, and in vitro fertilization. You may yearn for more options.
How would you feel about cloning? Take the nucleus of a cell from yourself or a loved one, then put it into an egg that will eventually develop into a baby that shares nearly all the genes of the donor cell. The resulting baby will simply be a kind of ‘delayed twin’ of the donor.
Most people believe this is immoral. There’s a bit more support for therapeutic uses that merely create new tissue, for example. But, at least in the US and UK, people overwhelmingly condemn cloning for the purposes of creating new human lives. In fact, a recent poll suggests there is little disagreement in America over this issue, where human cloning is among the most widely condemned topics (alongside polygamy and infidelity).
That’s what people think, but how do they feel ? Controversial bioethical issues often generate intense feelings. Some bioethicists treat cloning in particular as a line in the sand that we mustn’t cross, for fear of sliding down a slippery slope to a dystopia.
Consider Leon Kass, who played a major role in public policy as chair of George W. Bush’s President’s Council on Bioethics. Kass argues that there is wisdom in repugnance toward human cloning, allowing us to ‘intuit and feel, immediately and without argument, the violation of things that we rightfully hold dear’. As opposed to mere unease or sadness, Kass and some others have argued that disgust is such a powerful and distinctive emotion that we should take it seriously as a moral guide when deliberating about ethical issues.
An empirical claim lurks. Such bioethicists assume that people in general share their reaction of repugnance. Besides, if we can uncover the emotional reactions people tend to feel toward disputed moral issues, then we can better understand why they hold the beliefs they do. Does the prospect of cloning humans make us sick? Scared? Sad? Angry? Excited? At ease?
In my paper , I provide some initial evidence that people (at least in the States) feel primarily anxious and curious about human reproductive cloning. These were the most frequently self-reported negative and positive emotions, not disgust, fear, sadness, anger, excitement, amusement, comfort, or joy. Now disgust was interestingly the third most commonly reported negative emotion when selected from a pre-set list. But only about one third of participants selected it, and even fewer mentioned disgust before seeing such a list. Moreover, the term ‘disgust’ is used in many ways, sometimes just to indicate one’s moral disapproval rather than an emotion. For example, writer Philip Pullman once condemned a ban on sending prisoners books in prison, calling it ‘disgusting’ . Such uses of the term may well be to merely signal one’s disapproval, not to report an emotional reaction that is guiding one’s judgment.
Data on people’s reactions don’t directly support the morality or immorality of human cloning. But there are various implications.
First, it’s not so clear that there’s a ‘widespread’ reaction of repugnance to human cloning that we should heed. Our emotional reactions are more complicated and varied. Even if there are sound arguments against human cloning, arguments from repugnance rest on shaky ground.
Second, we should be careful to attribute certain reactions to the populace without some empirical data in support. We should scrutinise, for example, talk of ‘the widespread repugnances of humankind,’ as Kass has put it.
Finally, I hope this initial dataset will motivate further research on how we think and feel about various contemporary moral issues. The kinds of reactions people have can illuminate their concerns and the nature of the moral disagreements that animate public discourse.
When it comes to human cloning, for example, we now have some evidence that people don’t necessarily feel repugnance toward it and thus don’t perceive cloning as violating things they hold dear. The combination of anxiety and curiosity may indicate instead that the morality of human cloning is question because it’s perceived as novel and unpredictable.
Read the full paper here .
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Human Cloning pp 65–101 Cite as
The Moral Status of the Cloning of Humans
- Michael Tooley
Part of the Biomedical Ethics Reviews book series (BER)
This essay is concerned with two questions. First, is the cloning of humans beings morally acceptable, or not? Second, if it is acceptable, are there any significant benefits that might result from it?
I begin by drawing a distinction between two very different cases in which a human organism is cloned: The first aims at producing a mindless human organism that will serve as a living organ bank; the second, at producing a person. I then consider each of these in turn.
The moral issues raised by the former are the same as those raised by abortion. For this reason, I do not discuss such cloning at length, though I do indicate, very briefly, the reasons for thinking that it is not morally problematic.
The rest of the essay then focuses on the question of the moral status of cloning in cases in which the goal is to produce a human person. Here I begin by distinguishing between the question of whether such cloning is in principle morally acceptable, and the question of whether its use at the present time is morally defensible. The second of these questions I consider only briefly, but I do argue that the attempt to produce persons via cloning at the present time is open to serious moral objections. I then turn to the first question, and there I argue, first, that cloning that has the goal of producing persons is not intrinsically wrong; second, that such cloning would have a number of potential benefits; and, third, that none of the objections that have been directed against this sort of cloning can be sustained. My overall conclusion, accordingly, is that both sorts of cloning are in principle morally acceptable, and potentially beneficial to society.
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Notes and References
onceel, J. F. (1970) Immediate animation and delayed hominization. Theological Stud. 31 , 76–105. Donceel refers to Rahner, K. (1967) Schriften zur Theologie 8 , 287.
See, for example, Matthew 7 :13–14 and 22 :13–14.
Di Berardino, M. A. and McKinnell, R. G. (1997) Backward compatible. The Sciences 37 , 32–37.
Hart, R., Turturro, A., and Leakey, J. (1997) Born again. The Sciences 37 , 47–51.
Brock, D. W. (1998) Cloning human beings: an assessment of the ethical issues pro and con, in Clones and Clones, Nussbaum, M. C. and Sunstein, C. R., eds., Norton, New York. See the section entitled “Would the use of human cloning violate important human rights?”
Bouchard, T. J., Jr. (1997) Whenever the twain shall meet. The Sciences 37 , 52–57.
Brock, D. in the section entitled “Would the use of human cloning violate important human rights?”
Feinberg, J. (1980) The child’s right to an open future, in Whose Child? Children’s Rights, Parental Authority, and State Power, Aiken, W. and LaFollette, H., eds., Rowan and Littlefield, Totowa, NJ.
Jonas, H. (1974) Philosophical Essay: From Ancient Creed to Technological Man, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
See, for example, the discussion of this issue in Bouchard, pp. 55,56. 11 Brock, D., in the subsection entitled “Human cloning would be a new means to relieve the infertility some persons now experience.” ‘Ibid.
Kitcher, P. (1998) Whose self is it, anyway? The Sciences 37, 58–62. It should be noted that, although Kitcher mentions this idea as initially attractive, in the end he concludes that it is problematic, for a reason that will be considered in the subsection “The Cloning of Humans to Produce Persons”
lbid., p. 61.
Ibid., p. 61.
Bilger, B. (1997) Cell block. The Sciences 37 , 17–19.
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Brock, D. W. (1998) Cloning human beings: an assessment of the ethical issues pro and con, in Clones and Clones, Nussbaum, M. C. and Sunstein, C. R., eds., Norton, New York.
Callahan, D. (1993) Perspective on cloning: a threat to individual uniqueness. Los Angeles Times, November 12 , B7.
Di Berardino, M. A., and McKinnell, R. G. (1997) Backward compatible. The Sciences 37 , 32–77.
Donceel, J. F. (1970) Immediate animation and delayed hominization. Theological Stud . 31 , 76–105.
Feinberg, J. (1980) The child’s right to an open future. in Whose Child? Children ‘s Rights, Parental Authority, and State Power, Aiken, W. and LaFollette, H., eds., Rowan and Littlefield, Totowa, NJ.
Fletcher, J. (1974) The Ethics of Genetic Control, Anchor Books, Garden City, NY.
Gurdon, J. B. (1997) The birth of cloning. The Sciences 37 , 26–31.
Hart, R., Turturro, A., and Leakey, J. (1997) Born again? The Sciences 37 , 47–51.
Jonas, H. (1974) Philosophical Essay: From Ancient Creed to Technological Man Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Kitcher, P. (1997) Whose self is it, anyway? The Sciences 37 , 58–62.
Macklin, R. (1994) Splitting embryos on the slippery slope: ethics and public policy. Kennedy Inst. Ethics J . 4 , 209–226.
Meade, H. M. (1997) Dairy gene. The Sciences 37 , 20–25.
Robertson, J. A. (1994) Children of Choice: Freedom and the New Reproductive Technologies Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Robertson, J. A. (1994) The question of human cloning. Hastings Center Report 24 , 6–14.
Wilmut, I. (1996) Sheep cloned by nuclear transfer from a cultured cell line. Nature 380 , 64–66.
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Tooley, M. (1998). The Moral Status of the Cloning of Humans. In: Humber, J.M., Almeder, R.F. (eds) Human Cloning. Biomedical Ethics Reviews. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59259-205-0_3
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An area of relative agreement, areas of controversy, the way forward, acknowledgements, conflict of interest statement.
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Ethics and cloning
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Matti Häyry, Ethics and cloning, British Medical Bulletin , Volume 128, Issue 1, December 2018, Pages 15–21, https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldy031
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Scientists have cloned animals since the late 19th century, but the crucial step for ethics was the cloning of the first mammal by somatic cell nuclear transfer in 1997. This suggested that scientists could also clone, and possibly enhance, human beings.
This survey examines ethical literature on cloning since the 1960s.
The one ethical area of agreement in this issue is that we should not try to create new human beings by somatic cell nuclear transfer now.
Ethicists disagree, however, on what justifies this norm. Some appeal to preference satisfaction and freedom from external constraints, others question this approach by more profound religious and moral considerations.
The discussion is currently not progressing, as the same arguments have been in use since the 1970s.
Philosophers should prepare deeper analyses of the presuppositions of the ethical arguments used in the discussion before the issue surfaces again.
Cloning in science and science fiction
Cloning in the context of medicine, biotechnology and molecular biology means the production of entities, individuals and populations that are genetically identical or near identical with the original organism or part of an organism from which they are derived. In its spontaneously occurring form, cloning is the way in which bacteria and several plants and animals reproduce asexually.
The earliest recorded scientific experiments in cloning animals are from the 19th century and involved frogs, sea urchins and salamanders. 1 Scientists believed that each cell division results in two new cells that have only half of the genetic material of the original. Experiments with frog embryos seemed to confirm this. When researchers burned one embryonic frog cell after the first division, the other cell only developed into half a frog. However, parting sea urchin cells at the same stage produced two complete sea urchins. The same happened with salamanders, and further observations showed that, at some point, later divisions did in fact result in the emergence of more specialized tissue instead of entire copies of the original individual.
The word ‘clon’ (without the ‘e’, from the Ancient Greek word for ‘twig’) was devised in the early 20th century by plant physiologist Herbert Webber, who wanted to have a good name for the method of taking a graft of a plant and then making it grow another, genetically identical plant. The word caught on in agriculture, but the notion gained even wider popularity through science fiction, as many authors extended the idea from plants to making copies of human beings. 2 One of the most influential books of this kind has been Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World , published in 1932. The story involves cloning humans by embryo splitting (in the book, ‘Bokanovsky’s Process’): causing fertilized human eggs to divide and creating (in the book masses of) identical genetic copies. Although cloning is not crucial to Huxley’s dystopia, which works mainly by conditioning and pleasure control, the imagery of copying humans that he offered has been central in later ethical debates.
Politically oriented science and science fiction intertwined in discussions that preceded late-19th-century developments in molecular biology. Huxley’s brother Julian, a biologist, was heavily involved in the eugenic movement and provided, no doubt, insights to the Brave New World . Huxley was also influenced by J.B.S. Haldane, another biologist, and especially by his 1924 book Daedalus; or, Science and the Future , an early vision of transhumanism, or humankind taking control over evolution by biology. Haldane went on, in his 1963 speech ‘Biological possibilities for the human species of the next ten thousand years’, to introduce to the scientific community the word ‘clone’ (now ‘e’ included) to denote the creation of super-humans by genetic cloning and enhancements. Appropriately, Haldane stressed in his contributions that the advances he outlined could go horribly wrong unless we develop a robust ethics to match them. 3
Early ethical considerations
Ethicists joined the discussion after John Lederberg, a Nobel Laureate for Physiology or Medicine, advocated in a 1966 article cloning and genetic engineering as appropriate means to improve the human race. 4 Two Protestant theologians were among the first to react – Paul Ramsey and Joseph Fletcher.
Ramsey condemned cloning and adjacent genetic alterations, because he saw that they threaten Christian views on human happiness, morality, personhood, power and procreation. They make happiness seem as an individual experience, although we should define it as a good moral life in a loving family. They turn morality into individual-centred calculations, although it should be a social enterprise. They see personhood as disembodied and abstract, although it is embodied and sexual. They regard power primarily as a struggle against natural forces, although it is one group’s dominance over others. And they reduce procreation to reproduction by perceiving children as projects and products instead of gifts. 5
Fletcher took the diametrically opposite view to Ramsey’s, and argued that humankind would be better off replacing the clumsy traditional way of making babies and the ensuing genetic roulette by well controlled cloning and genetic engineering. Happiness consists of the preference satisfaction of individuals; and the individual’s freedom to do what one wishes is paramount. We should only curtail freedom if others would, without restrictions, come to harm’s way. Persons are rational beings who can choose and control their environment by their choices; and our moral aim is to maximize our personal well-being and the well-being of others. Parenting is a social, not a biological activity; and power over nature, including our own reproduction, is science’s gift to us. 6
As reproductive medicine and molecular biology advanced, the first child initiated by in vitro fertilization was born in 1978 at Royal Oldham Hospital, United Kingdom; and researchers succeeded in blastomere separation, or blastomere cloning, in 1993 at George Washington University, United States. Science fiction remained firmly in the picture, with David Rorvik’s In His Image , published in 1978. Rorvik, a science writer, claimed that he had been a part of a clandestine project to clone a human being, and although experts believe that the book is a hoax, the idea sat deeply in the popular imagination. Theologians, now including Protestants and Catholics as well as Jewish and Islamic thinkers and representatives of other faith traditions continued to keep the issue on the agenda. Their assessments ranged from Buddhist, Catholic and Conservative Protestant condemnation to Hindu, Jewish and Moderate Protestant caution. 7
Secular philosophers warmed up to the discussion mainly as critics of the critical theological views. In a prescient 1982 contribution, British philosopher Ruth Chadwick listed the main objections to cloning, addressed and refuted them from a preference utilitarian point of view. 8 The arguments she tackled concerned unnaturalness, functioning, playing God, rights to genetic uniqueness and privacy, worthwhile lives, preferences, and side effects to society and to the gene pool. On the surface, Chadwick considered none of these unduly alarming. According to her, unnaturalness is a philosophically dead concept; cloned humans could function just fine; accusations of playing God can be replaced by risk assessment; identical twins prove that genetic uniqueness is not always essential; our genetic constitution can become known in other ways; we may or may not prefer to be genetically unique (especially when the alternative is that we do not exist at all); side effects to society need not be so bad; and the impact on the gene pool could probably be controlled.
Chadwick’s list has ever since constituted the core of the standard utilitarian ‘frequently asked questions and answers’ pattern on cloning and other emerging technologies. Authors from different schools of thought can challenge such observations, 9 but the stance within the utilitarian tradition has been unshaken. This is why the truly interesting details of Chadwick’s contribution are in the snide remarks she makes against the unquestioned utilitarian confidence in technology. These touch upon worthwhile lives and possible side effects to society, individuals and the gene pool. Preference utilitarians who want to maximize worthwhile lives are logically committed to the view that we have a duty to turn as many somatic cells as we can into new human beings. This seems a stretch. Moreover, detrimental impacts on society are, if not inevitable, still possible. The industrial production of lower-class citizens, the potentially reduced self-esteem of cloned individuals, and the effects of mass cloning on the gene pool are matters that should be reflected on carefully, not just ignored in the hope that everything will be fine. 10 A thorough risk assessment of cloning combined with genetic engineering would be a start, although philosophers are also becoming increasingly aware of a need to involve citizens in such evaluations, and subsequent decisions. 11
The next scientific milestone was the successful cloning of the first mammal by somatic cell nuclear transfer at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. Researchers removed the nuclei of 277 sheep’s ova and fused the ova with mammary gland cells from other sheep. They managed to get 29 embryos growing, and implanting these to surrogate mother sheep resulted in 13 pregnancies. One pregnancy was carried to term, and a healthy lamb, Dolly, was born on 5 July 1996. 12
Something must have been brewing underneath the surface, because what happened after the Dolly news broke in 1997 was unprecedented. In the ensuing regulative turmoil, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) immediately banned cloning; 13 during the next year Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom had introduced similar bans; and in a few years’ time at least 30 countries had followed suit. 14
Two observations make this ethico-legal development remarkable. First, the entire commotion started with the cloning by nuclear transfer of a nonhuman mammal, an innocuous procedure that has raised no further concerns. After Dolly, scientists have cloned at least cows, mice, rats, goats, pigs, rabbits, cats, horses and dogs by the same method, largely without a raised eyebrow. This indicates that the problem cannot be in the use of nuclear transfer as such. Secondly, researchers have cloned human beings by embryo splitting to create better methods of artificial reproduction, and this work has received the blessing of the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 15 More embryos implanted into the womb increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. The acceptance of this practice by a respected ethical authority suggests that the problem cannot always be the duplication of human beings as such, either. Since the ethical issue exists, however, its core must be in the combination: human beings produced by nuclear transfer. This, somehow, is the justification of the downright bans, instead of moratoria (which are more common in the case of emerging technologies). How exactly, though?
The answer could be that we all wish to prevent the reckless technological design and production of human beings, although the reasons for our wishes may vary considerably. Utilitarians can argue, and many did just after Dolly, that cloning human beings by nuclear transfer is, for the time being, too dangerous, and that we should not attempt it before we know more about the process. Ethicists from other schools of thought have maintained, among other things, that cloning violates our dignity, uses people as means, affronts our uniqueness, 16 and threatens our humanity. 17 The ‘recklessness’ of the procedure is in one tradition interpreted as a matter of risk on physical well-being, and in others as an offence against fundamental moral principles. Add to this that utilitarians root for a moratorium (at best), while many others champion a categorical, complete and interminable prohibition, and the narrowness of the agreement becomes clearly visible. Everything else in the matter is controversial.
The central issues
To be clear, then, the most dramatically contested area here is the cloning of human beings for reproductive purposes, i.e. for making babies who grow up to be fully-grown adults and fully-fledged members of their societies. Research on human embryos, including nuclear transfer clones, is widely allowed for fourteen days after conception; and the subsequent cultivation and scientific and therapeutic use of human embryonic stem cells is in most countries (not all) 18 accepted. Human reproduction is at the heart of the cloning issue, ethically speaking, with the ideas of design and the historically ever-popular theme of enhancing individuals and improving the human race. 19
Asexual reproduction and distorted families
Leon Kass, a conservative American ethicist, asserted in 1998 that cloning is wrong, because it distorts family relationships and our sense of human dignity. 20 Apart from the spontaneous disgust that we feel when we think about unnatural ways of making babies, 21 we have good grounds for rejecting cloning as an asexual form of procreation. The continuous renewal of humanity, according to Kass, relies on heterosexual families and children born as an intended outcome of sex between men and women. Organisms that reproduce asexually are selfish and only concerned with passing on their own genome as a whole. Human beings, in contrast, engage in (hetero)sexual activities for different motives. Men and women come pleasurably together to mix their genomes and to bring about new life that is not identical with theirs. Their own inimitable genome as such dies in the process, but something more important is born: another unique member of the human family that can be taught the ways and faith of its parents and community. Human cloning as an asexual method of creating progeny would distort the sense of family and natural relationships within it. Cloning would irrevocably confuse the essential concepts of being a mother, a father, a child, an aunt, an uncle, and so on, and humanity as we know it would come to its end.
Kass has attracted criticisms from many angles, including appeals to utility, 22 rights and duties. 23 A fresh approach came in 2006 from Victoria Davion, who objected to Kass-type reasoning from an ecofeminist point of view. Her main problem with arguments allegedly based on ‘spontaneous disgust’ and ‘natural sentiments’ was that these feelings are not in fact instincts, but socially constructed intuitions; in the case of cloning, homophobic ones. It is easy to see that she had a point just by looking at the language used by Kass: women, men and sex aimed at having children and raising them in a good mother–father family, surrounded by a traditional heteronormative community. Davion herself also rejected cloning, although ‘naturalness’ was not the reason. According to her, it would be yet another method for ‘wealthy white heterosexual people to reproduce themselves.’ 24
Design, control, deformed societies and confused humanity
Michael Sandel, a philosopher who usually attracts the epithet ‘communitarian’, thinks that cloning is wrong, because it could be the final blow against solidarity in our contemporary societies. 25 If we allow parents to choose their children and their children’s qualities, which is obviously the case in cloning, they will have expectations and a sense of control over their reproductive endeavours. They will see their offspring as a designed object rather than a gift. The gift aspect, or the ‘given’ in our lives, is, however, essential for our fellow feeling, Sandel believes. As long as we recognize that not everything is in our control, we remain committed to mutual help. The more we see ourselves as masters of our own, and our children’s, lives, the less we care about solidarity.
Jürgen Habermas, a philosopher better known for his theory of communicative action, argues ominously that cloning would spell the end of humanity. 26 He argues that apart from being free, autonomous, choice-making individuals with a great deal of self-awareness, we are also partly mysteries to ourselves and others, because we have a ‘grown’, ‘given’, or ‘gift’ element that defines us as much as our conscious decisions and actions. Our belief in freedom, equality and democracy is based on this duality. We treat each other equally, because no one is anybody else’s master or maker, and no one knows exactly what the other is. Habermas thinks that with cloning and genetic engineering this would change. Clones would ‘be known’ to their makers, and could not be their equals in the way that is required for the meeting of peers in democratic decision making. Cloning would end the progress towards freedom and democracy that we (Habermas seems to mean primarily European and related cultures) have enjoyed for two and a half millennia, and in this sense mark the end of humanity. 27
Improving the human race
Many liberal and utilitarian thinkers contested at the turn of the 21st century the new conservative objections as scaremongering and mumbo jumbo. Their counterarguments mostly followed the patterns outlined by Fletcher and Chadwick earlier: preferences should be satisfied, individual freedom should not be restricted, social problems are manageable or not caused by genetics, and appeals to ‘naturalness’, ‘the given in human lives’, and the like are expressive nonsense and have no place in rational ethics. 28 – 32 The interesting development, though, was the increasing insistence on our positive duty to improve the lot of humanity by emerging technologies.
Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler, all influential American bioethicists, drew attention to the fact that failing to use genetic engineering leaves humankind at the mercy of natural chance. 33 Their most interesting suggestion concerned justice. Theories of justice have usually proceeded from the assumption that human nature is unchangeable. The task of the theories has been to work out fair, equitable, sensitive, and effective ways of distributing and redistributing well-being, liberties, rights, and obligations within the limits set by the unchangeable human nature. Buchanan, Brock, Daniels and Wikler proposed, however, that with all the new opportunities provided by advances in gene technology, we could actually change the premises by developing our genetic and biological constitution in a beneficial and responsible way. In addition to asking, what kinds of rules should we have for humans, we should ask, what kinds of humans should we have? Unsurprisingly, the more conservative thinkers did not salute the proposal that they saw as a call to a new kind of eugenics.
The arguments for and against cloning, especially the reproductive cloning of human beings by somatic cell nuclear transfer, have not evolved since the 1997–2007 debates that followed the birth of Dolly. Even then, they were mostly reiterations of earlier clashes between the liberals and the conservatives in the 1960s and 1970s. 34
As science advances, ethicists and theologians will return to cloning again. At some point, scientists in some laboratory will allow human clones to develop beyond the regulated 14 days, report it, and the news will stir a renewed confrontation. Synthetic biology will in the future make possible attempts to create entities that resemble human embryos so closely that this will raise an uproar. 35 Some currently unforeseeable developments will also occur, producing scandals and the ethical re-invention of the old arguments.
In the meantime, philosophical ethicists would use their time well by proceeding to the questions that they have flirted with in the past but seldom seriously addressed. Three general themes stand out. (1) Risk assessment. We should try to conduct a full examination of the benefits and harms of cloning in its various forms, and their probabilities. This can be an impossible task, but if so, we would at least know that utilitarian arguments appeal to hopes and fears rather than concrete assessments of well-being. (2) Justice. Critical appraisals of cloning often mention, in passing, that it would have value for so few people that it is not worth the investment. This may be true, but we should examine cloning in the light of many theories of justice, 36 not just the liberal model employed by Buchanan, Brock, Daniels and Wikler. (3) Meanings. We should study carefully what words and phenomena mean, as Davion did with unnaturalness. What does it mean to have dignity, to be cautious, or to have solidarity? Some answers to these questions exist, 37 but deeper analyses would be useful for future discussions.
The research for this review was conducted within the Academy of Finland project Bioeconomy and Justice (SA 307467) and the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry project The Role of Justice in Decision Making Concerning Bioeconomy (MMM 248774). The author wishes to thank the Academy and the Ministry for their financial support. The author also wishes to thank the two anonymous referees whose comments improved the review.
The authors have no potential conflicts of interest.
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The Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research
- Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
- Focus Areas
- Bioethics Resources
Report from a conference on state regulation of cloning and stem cell research.
"California Cloning: A Dialogue on State Regulation" was convened October 12, 2001, by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Its purpose was to bring together experts from the fields of science, religion, ethics, and law to discuss how the state of California should proceed in regulating human cloning and stem cell research.
A framework for discussing the issue was provided by Center Director of Biotechnology and Health Care Ethics Margaret McLean, who also serves on the California State Advisory Committee on Human Cloning. In 1997, the California legislature declared a "five year moratorium on cloning of an entire human being" and requested that "a panel of representatives from the fields of medicine, religion, biotechnology, genetics, law, bioethics and the general public" be established to evaluate the "medical, ethical and social implications" of human cloning (SB 1344). This 12-member Advisory Committee on Human Cloning convened five public meetings, each focusing on a particular aspect of human cloning: e.g., reproductive cloning, and cloning technology and stem cells. The committee is drafting a report to the legislature that is due on December 31, 2001. The report will discuss the science of cloning, and the ethical and legal considerations of applications of cloning technology. It will also set out recommendations to the legislature regarding regulation of human cloning. The legislature plans to take up this discussion after January. The moratorium expires the end of 2002.
What should the state do at that point? More than 80 invited guests came to SCU for "California Cloning" to engage in a dialogue on that question. These included scientists, theologians, businesspeople from the biotechnology industry, bioethicists, legal scholars, representatives of non-profits, and SCU faculty. Keynote Speaker Ursula Goodenough, professor of biology at Washington University and author of Genetics , set the issues in context with her talk, "A Religious Naturalist Thinks About Bioethics." Four panels addressed the specific scientific, religious, ethical, and legal implications of human reproductive cloning and stem cell research. This document gives a brief summary of the issues as they were raised by the four panels.
Science and Biotechnology Perspectives
Thomas Okarma, CEO of Geron Corp., launched this panel with an overview of regenerative medicine and distinguished between reproductive cloning and human embryonic stem cell research. He helped the audience understand the science behind the medical potential of embryonic stem cell research, with an explanation of the procedures for creating stem cell lines and the relationship of this field to telomere biology and genetics. No brief summary could do justice to the science. The reader is referred to the report of the National Bioethics Advisory Committee (http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/nbac/stemcell.pdf) for a good introduction.
Responding to Okarma, were J. William Langston, president of the Parkinson’s Institute, and Phyllis Gardner, associate professor of medicine and former dean for medical education at Stanford University. Both discussed the implications of the president’s recent restrictions on stem cell research for the non-profit sector. Langston compared the current regulatory environment to the Reagan era ban on fetal cell research, which he believed was a serious setback for Parkinson’s research. He also pointed out that stem cell research was only being proposed using the thousands of embryos that were already being created in the process of fertility treatments. These would ultimately be disposed of in any event, he said, arguing that it would be better to allow them to serve some function rather than be destroyed. President Bush has confined federally-funded research to the 64 existing stem cell lines, far too few in Langston’s view. In addition, Langston opposed bans on government funding for stem cell research because of the opportunities for public review afforded by the process of securing government grants.
Gardner talked about the differences between academic and commercial research, suggesting that both were important for the advancement of science and its application. Since most of the current stem cell lines are in the commercial sector and the president has banned the creation of new lines, she worried that universities would not continue to be centers of research in this important area. That, she argued, would cut out the more serendipitous and sometimes more altruistic approaches of academic research. Also, it might lead to more of the brain drain represented by the recent move of prominent UCSF stem cell researcher Roger Pedersen to Britain. Gardner expressed a hope that the United States would continue to be the "flagship" in stem cell research. Her concerns were echoed later by moderator Allen Hammond, SCU law professor, who urged the state, which has been at the forefront of stem cell research to consider the economic impact of banning such activity. All three panelists commended the decision of the state advisory committee to deal separately with the issues of human cloning and stem cell research.
Two religion panelists, Suzanne Holland and Laurie Zoloth, are co editors of The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics and Public Policy (MIT Press, 2001). Holland, assistant professor of Religious and Social Ethics at the University of Puget Sound, began the panel with a discussion of Protestant ideas about the sin of pride and respect for persons and how these apply to human reproductive cloning. Given current safety concerns about cloning, she was in favor of a continuing ban. But ultimately, she argued, cloning should be regulated rather than banned outright. In fact, she suggested, the entire fertility industry requires more regulation. As a basis for such regulation, she proposed assessing the motivation of those who want to use the technology. Those whose motives arise from benevolence--for example, those who want to raise a child but have no other means of bearing a genetically related baby--should be allowed to undergo a cloning procedure. Those whose motives arise more from narcissistic considerations -- people who want immortality or novelty -- should be prohibited from using the technology. She proposed mandatory counseling and a waiting period as a means of assessing motivation.
Zoloth reached a different conclusion about reproductive cloning based on her reading of Jewish sources. She argued that the availability of such technology would make human life too easily commodified, putting the emphasis more on achieving a copy of the self than on the crucial parental act of creating "a stranger to whom you would give your life." She put the cloning issue in the context of a system where foster children cannot find homes and where universal health care is not available for babies who have already been born. While Zoloth reported that Jewish ethicists vary considerably in their views about reproductive cloning, there is fairly broad agreement that stem cell research is justified. Among the Jewish traditions she cited were:
The embryo does not have the status of a human person.
There is a commandment to heal.
Great latitude is permitted for learning.
The world is uncompleted and requires human participation to become whole.
Catholic bioethicist Albert Jonsen, one of the deans of the field, gave a historical perspective on the cloning debate, citing a paper by Joshua Lederburg in the 1960s, which challenged his colleagues to look at the implications of the then-remote possibility. He also traced the development of Catholic views on other new medical technologies. When organ transplantation was first introduced, it was opposed as a violation of the principal, "First, do no harm" and as a mutilation of the human body. Later, the issue was reconceived in terms of charity and concern for others. One of the key questions, Jonsen suggested, is What can we, as a society that promotes religious pluralism, do when we must make public policy on issues where religious traditions may disagree. He argued that beneath the particular teachings of each religion are certain broad themes they share, which might provide a framework for the debate. These include human finitude, human fallibility, human dignity, and compassion.
Lawrence Nelson, adjunct associate professor of philosophy at SCU, opened the ethics panel with a discussion of the moral status of the human embryo. Confining his remarks to viable, extracorporeal embryos (embryos created for fertility treatments that were never implanted), Nelson argued that these beings do have some moral status--albeit it weak--because they are alive and because they are valued to varying degrees by other moral agents. This status does entitle the embryo to some protection. In Nelson’s view, the gamete sources whose egg and sperm created these embryos have a unique connection to them and should have exclusive control over their disposition. If the gamete sources agree, Nelson believes the embryos can be used for research if they are treated respectfully. Some manifestations of respect might be:
They are used only if the goal of the research cannot be obtained by other methods.
The embryos have not reached gastrulation (prior to 14 to 18 days of development).
Those who use them avoid considering or treating them as property.
Their destruction is accompanied by some sense of loss or sorrow.
Philosophy Professor Barbara MacKinnon (University of San Francisco), editor of Human Cloning: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy , began by discussing the distinction between reproductive and therapeutic cloning and the slippery slope argument. She distinguished three different forms of this argument and showed that for each, pursuing stem cell research will not inevitably lead to human reproductive cloning. MacKinnon favored a continuing ban on the latter, citing safety concerns. Regarding therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, she criticized consequentialist views such as that anything can be done to reduce human suffering and that certain embryos would perish anyway. However, she noted that non-consequentialist concerns must also be addressed for therapeutic cloning, among them the question of the moral status of the early embryo. She also made a distinction between morality and the law, arguing that not everything that is immoral ought to be prohibited by law, and showed how this position relates to human cloning.
Paul Billings, co-founder of GeneSage, has been involved in crafting an international treaty to ban human reproductive cloning and germ-line genetic engineering. As arguments against human cloning he cited:
There is no right to have a genetically related child.
Cloning is not safe.
Cloning is not medically necessary.
Cloning could not be delivered in an equitable manner.
Billings also believes that the benefits of stem cell therapies have been "wildly oversold." Currently, he argues, there are no effective treatments coming from this research. He is also concerned about how developing abilities in nuclear transfer technology may have applications in germ-line genetic engineering that we do not want to encourage. As a result, he favors the current go-slow approach of banning the creation of new cell lines until some therapies have been proven effective. At the same time, he believes we must work to better the situation of the poor and marginalized so their access to all therapies is improved.
Member of the State Advisory Committee on Human Cloning Henry "Hank" Greely addressed some of the difficulties in creating a workable regulatory system for human reproductive cloning. First he addressed safety, which, considering the 5 to 10 times greater likelihood of spontaneous abortion in cloned sheep, he argued clearly justifies regulation. The FDA has currently claimed jurisdiction over this technology, but Greely doubted whether the courts would uphold this claim. Given these facts, Greely saw three alternatives for the state of California:
Do nothing; let the federal government take care of it.
Create an FDA equivalent to regulate the safety of the process, an alternative he pointed out for which the state has no experience.
Continue the current ban on the grounds of safety until such time as the procedure is adjudged safe. Next Greely responded to suggestions that the state might regulate by distinguishing between prospective cloners on the basis of their motivation, for example, denying a request to clone a person to provide heart tissue for another person but okaying a request if cloning were the only opportunity a couple might have to conceive a child. Greely found the idea of the state deciding on such basis deeply troubling because it would necessitate "peering into someone’s soul" in a manner that government is not adept at doing.
The impact of regulation on universities was the focus of Debra Zumwalt’s presentation. As Stanford University general counsel, Zumwalt talked about the necessity of creating regulations that are clear and simple. Currently, federal regulations on stem cells are unclear, she argued, making it difficult for universities and other institutions to tell if they are in compliance. She believes that regulations should be based on science and good public policy rather than on politics. As a result, she favored overall policy being set by the legislature but details being worked out at the administrative level by regulatory agencies with expertise. Whatever regulations California develops should not be more restrictive than the federal regulations, she warned, or research would be driven out of the state. Like several other speakers, Zumwalt was concerned about federal regulations restricting stem cell research to existing cell lines. That, she feared, would drive all research into private hands. "We must continue to have a public knowledge base," she said. Also, she praised the inherent safeguards in academic research including peer review, ethics panels, and institutional review boards.
SCU Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good June Carbone looked at the role of California cloning decisions in contributing to the governance of biotechnology. California, she suggested, cannot address these issues alone, and thus might make the most useful contribution by helping to forge a new international moral consensus through public debate. Taking a lesson from U.S. response to recent terrorist attacks, she argued for international consensus based on the alliance of principle and self-interest. Such consensus would need to be enforced both by carrot and stick and should, she said, include a public-private partnership to deal with ethical issues. Applying these ideas to reproductive cloning, she suggested that we think about which alliances would be necessary to prevent or limit the practice. Preventing routine use might be accomplished by establishing a clear ethical and professional line prohibiting reproductive cloning. Preventing exceptional use (a determined person with sufficient money to find a willing doctor) might not be possible. As far as stem cell research is concerned, Carbone argued that the larger the investment in such research, the bigger the carrot--the more the funder would be able to regulate the process. That, she suggested, argues for a government role in the funding. If the professional community does not respect the ethical line drawn by politicians, and alternative funding is available from either public sources abroad or private sources at home, the U.S. political debate runs the risk of becoming irrelevant.
"California Cloning" was organized by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and co-sponsored by the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education and Christian Values; the Center for Science, Technology, and Society; the SCU School of Law; the High Tech Law Institute; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Community of Science Scholars Initiative; and the law firm of Latham & Watkins.
Ethical Debate on Human Cloning Essay
Introduction, unethical issues about cloning, ethical issues, works cited.
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Cloning refers to the scientific multiplication and production of new cells to reproduce individuals that resemble their natural counterparts (Craig 3). It involves the duplication and modification of reproductive genes from different individuals to produce individuals that resemble their parents. This essay explores the issues raised by opponents and proponents of this scientific discovery.
Every person deserves the right and freedom to be respected and valued as a human being. Nobody is supposed to discriminate against others because of their origin since all people are equal they were all born of a father and mother and went through the same process before they came to this world (Brown 14). However, cloning is a disrespectful scientific innovation that ignores the natural ways of raising families. In addition, it discredits the process of preproduction that involves having sexual affairs, conception, pregnancy and delivery. Cloned individuals will not have the dignity given to human beings born through natural means.
Secondly, this activity is very inhumane since it involves the destruction of fertile human cells. Human beings are not supposed to be used as specimens for laboratory activities. However, since this experiment cannot be used using other animals; as a result, scientists must look for cells from human beings. This process disrespects human value since it depicts people as specimens (Craig 7). A previous experiment conducted to clone a sheep led to the destruction of more than 270 cells. The result led to only one sheep conceiving even though there were more than ten sheep. This reveals how this process will lead to damages and unnecessary expenses.
Thirdly, natural selection places individuals at extreme ends regarding survival in the future. Natural reproduction ensures individuals produced can withstand all-natural challenges that pose serious risks to their existence (Brown 33). The cloning of Dolly did not give any future expectations and happenings that may interfere with its life. Therefore, this process is more of guesswork than a confident undertaking.
Lastly, this process transgresses societal expectations and exposes people to mechanical activities. There is no way they can rely on scientific innovations to bring up children when they have the same ability (Macintosh 121). Religious teachings regard their supreme being to be in charge of creation. When people create life this is perceived to be challenging nature; therefore, this is an antisocial activity that must be stopped.
Proponents of cloning suggest that this activity enables help, sick people, to get remedies for their complications (Mitchell 56). Cell division and multiplication has enabled doctors to perform successful organ transplants. Therefore, many lives have been saved courtesy of cloning.
Secondly, they argue that this activity will produce individuals of high quality that will be useful in various industrial activities. They will offer a cheap and reliable supply of labor (Kass 76). These proponents insist that cloning will lead to the production of individuals that are resistant to diseases, have a long lifespan and can adjust to various environmental challenges.
Lastly, they are persuaded that successful human cloning procedures will be applied in other fields like agriculture to ensure they produce quality individuals. This practice will be applied in other fields that lack quality individuals to perform various tasks.
Human beings deserve to live a quality life and scientific innovations are providing various ways of improving society to meet human needs. However, cloning is not an alternative to the challenges facing human beings. People are can reproduce without this scientific intervention that is coupled with serious challenges. Therefore, cloning is an unethical issue and it should be banned to avoid exposing human beings to the risks mentioned above.
Brown, Thomas. Gene Cloning and DNA Analysis: An Introduction. New York: Willey-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Craig, Robin. Cloning Around: The Ethics of Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012. Print.
Kass, Leon. Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics. New York: PublicAffairs, 2010. Print.
Macintosh, Kerry. Human Cloning: Four Fallacies and their Legal Consequences. Cambridge Bioethics and Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Print.
Mitchell, Winnie. Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.
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Never Let Me Go
By kazuo ishiguro, never let me go never let me go and the ethics of human cloning.
The science of human cloning is not the primary concern of Never Let Me Go , and Ishiguro takes artistic license with some of the details of how humans are cloned in his novel. Nevertheless, many of his questions about the ethics of human cloning are ones that have been raised and debated in real life.
These ethical questions first came to the popular consciousness in the 1960s and 1970s, when stem-cell research was first beginning to be conceived, and human cloning began to look like a real possibility. The scientists Joshua Lederberg and James D. Watson wrote articles in The American Naturalist and The Atlantic Monthly , respectively, arguing that cloning was dehumanizing and could result in unforeseen ethical problems. Ishiguro's novel could arguably be read as a rejection of the notion that cloning is dehumanizing; indeed, the purpose of Hailsham is to convince the public that the clones are human.
More recently, scientists and the public have made efforts to distinguish between "therapeutic cloning"—that is, the cloning of cells and tissues to help cure diseases––and "reproductive cloning," which would involve creating “whole” individuals. Many countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, allow therapeutic cloning, although there is continuing debate, especially in the U.S., about whether the federal government should fund it. Ishiguro's novel merges the two; reproductive cloning is pursued for therapeutic purposes.
Never Let Me Go Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Never Let Me Go is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Never let me go - What are your first impressions of Hailsham?
What are your first impressions of Hailsham?
This is only a short answer space. Generally, Hlisham is a pleasant place with nice cabins and everything they need. Unfortunately, there is an emptiness about it both educationally and in terms of...
“I tried to bring it up once myself, in the dorm after lights-out … question
A lot of thetime, how you were regarded at Hailsham, how much you were liked and respected, had to do with how good you were at “creating.”What questions does this section raise?
In Never Let Me Go, the equation goes like this: being creative =...
Never let me go - Based on chapters 1 & 2, what genre would you categorise the novel as? Why?
Never Let Me Go takes place in a dystopian United Kingdom, where disease has been eradicated. This apparent blessing has been accomplished by breeding human clones, who are forced to donate their vital organs when they reach early adulthood. Kathy...
Study Guide for Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go study guide contains a biography of Kazuo Ishiguro, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About Never Let Me Go
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Essays for Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
- Never Let Me Go: The Emotions Triggered by Art and Entertainment
- Self-Repression and Dystopia: The Bumpy Road to Freedom in "Never Let Me Go"
- Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go: The Societal Implications
- Never Let Me Go: The Creation of Kathy's Identity
- Never Let Me Go: A Marxist Attack on Science?
Lesson Plan for Never Let Me Go
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to Never Let Me Go
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
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Wikipedia Entries for Never Let Me Go
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Cloning Moral and Ethical Issues
Cloning is the creation of an embryo by the method of human somatic cell nuclear transfer. This procedure involves implanting DNA cells from an organism into an egg whose DNA nucleus has been removed then chemically treated so that the egg begins to behave as though fertilization has occurred. This results in the creation of embryonic growth of another organism that contains the complete genetic code of the original organism. Through this process, the cloning of mammals has resulted in, to date, hundreds of cloned organisms born. Though this process has produced many live successes, it has proved considerably less likely to produce successful pregnancies than those conceived through sexual reproduction. Replication of an organism’s DNA identity does not occur naturally within mammals. The majority of cloned animals have experienced some type of birth defect, a horrific scientifically proved reality. Therefore, cloning of any form should be illegal due to negative psychological impacts, harmful health effects and its damage to religious beliefs. This unnatural style of reproduction has an overwhelming potential for decisions being made based on reasons of vanity in regard to children. The very nature of the traditional family is in danger of evolving in a strange, unknown and undesirable direction.
The Dolly Dilemma
Successes and failures.
On February 23, 1997 Ian Wilmut, a Scottish scientist, with his colleagues at the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep named Dolly who was the first animal that matured to a fully developed state by the usage of the nucleus of a somatic cell from one animal. The cloning of animals has stirred the debate about the ethical, legal and social aspects regarding human cloning. (Di Bernadino, 1997). Because of the rate of failure as compared to natural conception in animal testing, scientists, scholars and politicians generally agree that human experiments are also likely to result in a number of clinical failures.
At least at this stage of cloning development, attempts to duplicate human DNA would lead to an unacceptable number of miscarriages, abortions and births of massively deformed offspring. “Recent study of mammalian cloning suggests that a number of defects often created in the reprogramming of the egg do not manifest themselves until later in the life of the resulting clone, so that mature clones have often undergone spectacular, unforeseen deaths” (McGee, 2001). The concept of human cloning is a controversial subject that is problematical to comprehend as the physical and psychological needs, present and future, of someone produced by this method are unknown. Societies throughout the world generally believe that human cloning experiments will violate a moral barrier, taking humans into a sphere of self-engineering.
Whether for or against scientific constraint, or the idea of cloning any organism, most everyone universally expresses great concern regarding somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning techniques used for human experimentation. Whatever reasoning brought forth by proponents of human cloning must be measured against the Hippocratic precept of ‘first do no harm’ to satisfy public, political and the medical communities’ ethical threshold. At present level of technological advancement, the considerable threats to the physical welfare of a person created by somatic cell cloning far overshadow any possible benefits of this technique. Dolly the sheep was successfully created only after more than 250 attempts by this method of cloning. “If (cloning) were attempted in humans, it would pose the risk of hormonal manipulation in the egg donor; multiple miscarriages in the birth mother and possibly severe developmental abnormalities in any resulting child” (Brock, 1997).
The obligation to justify such an experimental and potentially dangerous technique as cloning falls to the scientists employing these methods. Common sense as well as standard medical practices would not permit the use of a drug or mechanism on a person simply based on preliminary research such as in cloning techniques without benefit of additional animal experimentation. Innovative therapies much endure rigorous investigation before being implemented on a patient. In cloning, the innovative procedure creates the patient and is thus responsible for any ill effects, physically and socially inherent in the technique. In other words, other types of medicine intended to treat an existing patient is carefully examined before being utilized whereas cloning creates the problem. It is inconceivable that any conscientious physician or scientist would attempt to use somatic cell nuclear transfer to create a human at this early period of experimentation. The scientific community, the public and politicians overwhelmingly agree that, at least for now, regulations are warranted on all attempts to produce humans through nuclear transfer from a somatic cell. (Brock, 1997).
Some argue however, that potential parents are today permitted and even encouraged to conceive, or to carry a baby to term, when there is a substantial risk known to the doctor and patient that the child will be born with a profound genetic disorder. Even if the majority of public opinion considered the decision to have the child as morally wrong, the parents’ rights to reproductive free-will always supersede. “Since many of the risks believed to be associated with somatic cell nuclear transfer may be no greater than those associated with genetic disorders, some contend that such cloning should be subject to no more restriction than other forms of reproduction” (Brock, 1997). Harm is subject to speculation only and cannot accurately be determined until after experimental tests are conducted, not simply in the context of cloning humans, but in any innovative clinical procedure. “The first transfer into a uterus of a human embryo clone will occur before we know whether it will succeed” (Robertson, 1997). Many people, scholarly and otherwise, contend that initial attempts to clone humans would be unethical and immoral experimentation on the un-consenting children and because the results are speculative at best, it would possibly result in children who have mental and physical handicaps and other developmental difficulties.
Religious sensitivities should also be taken into account in the cloning discussion. People should not ‘play God’ are opposed to the scientists investigating the dark mysteries of life, which are only God’s to control and that humans lack the divine authority to decide when life begins or ends. In other words, the fallible human does not have the knowledge, especially knowledge of future outcomes, attributed to divine omniscience and would make a disaster in the attempt. “Men ought not to play God before they learn to be men, then, after they have learned to be men, they will not play God” (Ramsey, 1970).
Creating humans or other living beings by utilizing cloning methods described in this discussion is unethical. Overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that such techniques are not safe at this progression in the state of cloning technology. Even if apprehension regarding the physical and psychological well being of patients were to be resolved, major concerns would continue regarding the destructive influence and the potential for abuse that the technology would cause to both society and to individuals. Human cloning, through somatic cell nuclear transfer, will never be an ethical consideration because it undercuts essential social values that hold together the fabric of society and that cloning will always pose the risk of causing psychological and physical harm to people.
Brock, D.W. “The non-identity problem and genetic harm,” Bioethics 9:269-275, 1995. Web.
Di Bernadino, M.A. “Genomic Potential of Differentiated Cells.” New York: Columbia University Press. (1997).
McGee, Glenn. “Primer on Ethics and Human Cloning.” Philadelphia, PA: University of Philadelphia. (2001).
Ramsey, P. “Fabricated Man: The Ethics of Genetic Control.” New Haven: Yale University Press. (1970).
Robertson, J.A. “A Ban on Cloning and Cloning Research is Unjustified.” [Testimony Presented to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission]. (1997).
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A Speech on “Human Cloning Is Not Moral”
Recently, fully expecting cloning-to-deliver kids, supervises an assortment of potential employments of a consummated innovation: giving a “biologically related child” for a sterile couple; allowing generation for single people or same-sex couples; maintaining a strategic distance from the danger of hereditary infection; making sure about a hereditarily indistinguishable wellspring of organs or tissues totally appropriate for transplantation; “replacing” an adored life partner or a kid who is kicking the bucket or has passed on; acquiring a kid with a genotype based on one’s very own preference (counting one’s own genotype); duplicating people of an incredible reality, ability, or excellence, or people having attributes that are for different reasons alluring to the cloners; and making sets of hereditarily indistinguishable people who may have uncommon favorable circumstances in profoundly agreeable endeavors in both war and peace.
The desire to control or choose the clones of kids to-be through cloning has enchanted in excess of a couple oforthcoming clients, in the United States and around the globe. The human cloning declaration was not a stun. That implies that female gametes were obtained, their hereditary material was extracted and the DNA from the male was being infused and the subsequent cloned undeveloped organisms fabricated as hereditary copies of a current individual.
In any case, the expectation is that sometimes these undeveloped organisms will fill in as a wellspring of free undifferentiated cells that can help fix diseases. It is reasonable that numerous senators need to maintain a strategic distance from a choice on this questionable issue, and nothing unexpected that those determined by a longing to propel science and to recuperate the debilitated at any cost oppose a boycott.
The discussion is typically isolated into two issues — reproductive cloning (making cloned people) and therapeutical cloning (making cloned human incipient organisms for research and destruction).
Our ethical sense revolts at the possibility, in light of the fact that so a large number of our valued standards would be disregarded: the rule that newborns ought not to be planned ahead of time; that babies ought to be really new, without the weight of a hereditary personality previously lived; that a general public where cloning is simple (requiring a couple of cells from anyplace in the body) implies anybody could be cloned without information or assent; and that supplanting lost friends and family with “duplicates” is an affront to the ones lost, since it prevents the uniqueness from getting their reality.
Therefore, Americans concur that human cloning ought to never occur — not only on the grounds that the strategy isn’t yet “safe,” but since it isn’t right. In any case, the truth of the matter is that society acknowledges the need to direct conduct for moral reasons — from drug use to atomic weapons examination to unloading waste. Also, the individuals who state that human character is “more than a person’s genetic make-up ” are commonly the ones who look to decipher man’s hereditary code, so they may “improve” people in the picture they see fit. In a promising natural ideal world, they legitimize breaking major moral limits.
Government-funded schools may not show religion, despite the fact that educating about religion in a mainstream setting is allowed. The Bible might be instructed in a school, yet just for its verifiable, social or scholarly worth and never in a reverential, celebratory or doctrinal way, or so that supports acknowledgment of the Bible as a strict report.
This discussion focuses on state-funded schools; not many people are contending that strict regulation can’t be instructed at non-public schools or that educators at such schools can’t lead understudies in the petition. Furthermore, even in open establishments, there is little discussion about the privilege of each understudy, educators, and other school representatives to rehearse their religion – by, state, imploring before lunch, or wearing strict attire or symbols.
Moreover, as a 2019 review of American youngsters gives a few types of strict articulation are generally normal in government-funded schools. For example, around four-in-ten government-funded school understudies state they regularly observe different understudies asking before games, as per the study. What’s more, about a portion of U.S. teenagers in government-funded schools (53%) state they often or at times see different understudies wearing adornments or attire with strict images. Religion might be introduced as a major aspect of a mainstream instructive program. Project Religion does not belong in public education
ts that “instruct about religion” are designed for showing understudies the part of religion in the recorded, social, scholarly, and social improvement of the United States and different countries. These projects ought to in as yet getting, resistance and regard for a pluralistic culture. While examining religion in this unique situation, religion must be talked about in an impartial, objective, adjusted, and authentic way.
Such projects ought to instruct understudies about the standard of strict freedom as one of the essential components of opportunity and vote based system in the United States.
Education regarding children adds up to strict influence or practice and is obviously restricted in government-funded schools. A state-funded school educational program may not be reverential or doctrinal. Nor may it have the impact of advancing or restraining religion. An educator must not advance or criticize a specific religion, religion all in all, or absence of strict belief. An instructor must not add individual perspectives or promoter those of specific understudies.
In general, there is a basic contrast between showing religion and instructing religion. While it is intrinsically allowable for government-funded schools to educate about religion, it is illegal for government-funded schools and their representatives to watch strict occasions, advance strict convictions, or practice religion.
School authorities and guardians must be amazingly mindful so as not to go too far between “the praiseworthy instructive aim of advancing an understudy’s information on and thankfulness for this current country’s social and strict variety, and the impermissible support of religion illegal by the Establishment Clause.”
However, the school must guarantee that the standard peruser neither advances nor contradicts religion and that the students are just needed to pursue and check the material and aren’t needed to do or avoid playing out any demonstration prohibited or commanded by his religion.
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Cloning – The Moral Issue
Today, the topic of cloning generates more argument then it has ever created before. The controversy over cloning is based, in part, on the fact that there are extreme opposing viewpoints on the subject. Also a major factor in the debate over cloning is a fear of new technology. Throughout history, man has always been slow to adapt to a new technology, or a new way of doing things. We go through all the trouble to adapt to one method, why uproot ourselves and change everything just to do it a different way. This attitude has been evident in the recent past, with inventions such as the automobile and the television. Nuclear power is a prime example of an advanced technology essentially abandoned out of fear. There are very few nuclear power plants left in operation, and there are no new plants being built. This is mainly due to fear of an accident, or to the long lasting effects of this technology.
As with everything, including cloning, there is a negative side. With television, the negative is that children often watch it instead of doing homework, subsequently causing lower grades. It is also believed that television violence influences children into more violent tendencies. A negative to automobiles is the massive pollution a large number of them cause. Entire cities have been put on pollution alert due to toxic smog created, in part, by the automobile. Nuclear power’s major downfall is, aside from the immense destruction caused by an accident, the long-lasting effects of the spent nuclear fuel. Sometimes the negatives outweigh the positives, and the technology is rightfully abandoned, but in mostly this is not the case .
First off, cloning is not just the photocopying of a living breathing human being. It takes a great deal of time and effort to clone a living being. Also, the clone would not have the memories and experiences that the original has. That technology does not yet exist. There are many things that can be cloned; single cells, plants, organs, animals, and eventually entire human beings. The technology to clone a human exists, but we have not moved into that area of cloning yet. This is due mainly to the fact that some people believe cloning violates their morals. Another extremely useful application of the cloning technology would be the cloning of organs or tissues for the body. With this, we could not only cure our suffering and dying, we could prolong our life-span by decades. It wouldn’t be uncommon for people to live to one hundred and fifty years old, or older. If a kidney fails in old age, take the few good cells left and clone a brand new kidney. If someone suffers a massive heart attack, clone a new heart. After more development of cloning, there is even the possibility to repair brain and spinal column damage. These life-prolonging procedures wouldn’t be reserved for the rich and famous, they could be used on everyone.
Take, for example, a man who has drank all of his life. He is now in his 40’s and has severe liver cirrhosis. Without a liver transplant, he will die. And even if he gets a liver transplant, there is no guarantee that it will save him; it could reject. If the man gets a liver, and if it doesn’t reject, he then has to live out the remainder of his life on rejection medicine, and even a simple cold could kill him. Now if cloning was a common practice, the doctors would simply take a few healthy liver cells and clone a brand-new liver for the man. Since the liver is a clone of the original, the liver cells have exactly the same DNA and there is no chance for rejection. So he is guaranteed a liver that will not reject, and he won’t have to spend his life on rejection drugs.
Now there is the subject of cloning an entire human being. It is this side of cloning that generates the most controversy of all. People believe that it is not ethical to clone a human being. These beliefs are based on the premise that God created humans in His image, and their soul is given to them by God. Therefore, it is not our place to create a human being; it is God’s. In their view, we would be playing God, and this should not happen. But science does not recognize that a god created the universe, science believes that the universe created itself out of a “big bang”. From this point of view, God did not create man, and there is no moral boundary to cloning a human being. However, the benefits of cloning a living human being are questionable.
The question asked is, why clone a human? The advocates of human cloning would say that they want to “weed out” genetic faults in people7. This is a viable answer, since we want as few problems as we can have. Also, a great number of people want an image of them to live on forever. A clone would best serve this purpose, since it will look completely identical to the original. There are people that believe that cloning will cure the problem caused by infertile couples. Cloning would allow someone’s image to live on, and they would have a son or daughter to live with.
Now, with the positives and gains of cloning and genetic engineering established, there are of course the few negatives that always slow a technology’s progress. The first such potential negative is that some unscrupulous person might acquire the genes of a monster, Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin, or Saddam Hussein for example. However this is extremely unlikely for a number of reasons. First, the amount of DNA that is recoverable would be negligible, if that. If this small amount of DNA was able to be recovered, chances are it would be heavily damaged or deteriorated, so a clone of this person might not be at all like the original. If, by some far stretch, the DNA was able to be recovered, and was in good enough condition to clone that person, the clone would not turn out like the original. The genetics of a person plays only a small role in the development of that person. Memories, experiences, parents, upbringing, and environment all play a key role in the development of a human being. If Hitler was a monster in the 40’s, chances are that his clone in the 90’s won’t be. The way that he was brought up plays more of a role on his actions and attitudes than his genetics does.
Moral implications exist on both sides of the issue. Would it be fair to clone a historical monster such as Hitler? Even though the clone didn’t kill millions of Jews, his original did, so a great number of people would discriminate against him. He could be attacked for crimes he never committed, he might be ridiculed for reasons he does not know. The mental torment of such a childhood would destroy him. Would it be moral to do this to a human? The answer is no. The cloning of a normal person, one who does not stand out, would be perfectly acceptable, since there is no reason for that person to be acted against unfairly. Through all of this proof, we now have the information to say that cloning must not be banned. The potential that this technology has is unparalleled. Nothing throughout history has had such a heightening effect on the entirety of humanity.
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