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Cloning, The Human Genome

The human genome is constructed of four simple chromosomes, each of which is represented by a single capital letter; G, A, C, and T. These simple chemicals are the building blocks of life, and act as the blueprints for one of the most complicated biological structures in the known universe; the human. Strands of these chromosomes billions of letters long provide a uniqueness that guarantees individuality in a swiftly growing world. Is not individuality after all one of the most highly acclaimed American ideals? Does it not compose the backbone of freedom, our countrys founding doctrine?

It most assuredly does, and individuality therefore, is one of the most integral parts of human society. The importance of this ideal dictates that we protect it at all costs, because a threat to it, is a threat to the manner in which human society operates. Cloning is precisely that threat. Cloning produces a great variety of moral and ethical problems. The thought of reproducing masses of people with the same genetic makeup is in its simplest state redundant and at odds with the forces of nature, however more importantly it strips people of this much valued individuality.

Cloning is arguably a beneficial science, a technology that will enhance society. However, even the simplest of morals, and most limited understanding of government, dictate that anything which destroys the rights of the individual in essence is a threat to society on a whole. With the support of classical liberalism philosophies John Stuart Mills states That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others (125). The lack of cloning can hardly be considered harm to others.

The cloning of humans is immoral, unethical, and will eventually lead to problematic societies plagued by injustices to the individual and his rights. Cloning cannot be tolerated in society anywhere, not because of the ramifications on the individual countries and their cultures, but more importantly because of the mental state that a clone would inevitably have to cope with. The ability to clone humans is in essence the ability to steal a piece of someones individuality, which we have already closely associated as being a prime evil.

The ancient philosopher Rene Descartes stated That in order to understand the passions of the soul its functions must be distinguished from those of the body (Hallman, 40). That is, the soul and body must have distinctions, and this I agree with for the sake of understanding the mechanics and interactions of the two. However after this has been established the line must be drawn. George Johnson, believes that each person, whether they be a clone or not, should understandably have his own soul created by the composition of previous thoughts and experiences (Nussbaum, Sunstein 69).

The example we are provided with references the unique nature of twins. According to this reasoning, twins grow up together, composed of the same genetic makeup, but because of personal experiences result in different persons (69). If this truly is the case then cloning does not accomplish what it is intended for in the first place. Likewise he argues, clones who share exact genome matches will also become different people as a result of their experiences and perceived knowledge (69). This however is an erroneous statement. The idea that taking a part of someone and then creating a new, unique person seems to contradict itself.

Twins are selected by nature when they are conceived, chosen to become two separate persons sharing only genetic makeup. The fact that they are born together and grow with each other assures that neither of the two develops from the same real beginnings. Twins are a different case because they are created as separate entities before birth and more importantly simultaneously. Cloning is not as close a parallel to the example of twins, as Johnson would have it. In the case of cloning, genes are taken from a person who has already been born, and therefore already been chosen by nature to be completely unique.

Then the clones are reproduced with expectations by society to imitate the individual they were cloned from. Twins are the closest comparison that can be established to parallel the similarities between clones and the person being cloned, yet they are still not the same. Twins are a natural occurring set of clones. While this may be an interesting thought I hardly think that it covers the situations that the issue at hand is dealing with. Steen Willadsen once said, the role of the scientist is to break the laws of nature (Kolata, 157). Cloning falls into this unwarranted category, and therefore should strike a moral cord.

To continue to assault nature in such a way is a mistake that should quickly be reconsidered. Suppose then, giving recognition to the previous points, that someone voluntarily decides that he would like to have a so-called individual cloned after him. They have therefore agreed that they can overlook the ramifications of cloning as it is concerned with individuality and that they can expect to lose something in replace of gaining another chance at passing themselves on into the next generation. This simple reasoning also falls apart under moral examination. Under these circumstances the person is not allowing complete freedom for the clone.

Cloning as it is presented here presents a number of problems, both social and mental, for the clone. In Human Cloning and Child Welfare, Justine Burley and John Harris outline three such problems and their importance in the lives of clones. They explain how clones will be harmed by the ignorant, prejudicial thoughts and actions of people that they will be forced to interact with (paragraph 3). A cloned child under these parameters will, understandably, lead a less fruitful life, hindered by poor beginnings and ultimately be restricted to a lower caste of society.

These reactions have been repeatedly seen in many different social areas including racism, and in opposition to gays and lesbians. These actions are inevitable as long as ignorance plagues society. People are generally fearful of that which they dont understand. This becomes particularly apparent when you examine the case of Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, who is still receiving attention from the media 20 years after her birth (Burley, Harris paragraph 15). This is what Burley and Harris classified as the non-identity problem (paragraph 7).

Unable to identify well with individuality in conjunction with the problem that society posits, the cloned child will be reduced to a state of mental rejection. In addition to this problem the clones will be oppressed by the demands, real or imagined, of the parents or genotype donors (Burley, Harris paragraph 3). Again a moral injustice can be charged against the individual being cloned, this time for not respecting the mental status of the cloned person. According to Soren Holm, cloned persons will be forced to live their lives in shadows of their genotype donors (Burley, Harris paragraph 20).

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