Is it ethical to clone humans?

Gabe Hanover gabeh at
Sat Mar 1 20:05:09 EST 1997

	Is it ethical to clone people? Yes.

	If you argue it is against nature to clone a human you are espousing an
argument based on the premise that nature in its pristine state is an
inherently desirable thing. This is not true.
	Only stone age man lived in conformity with nature. It was the alteration
of that natural world that was the means by which we have arrived at our
current modern civilization. Science, engineering, agriculture and medicine
are all based on altering, not conforming to nature. To live in a stone age
culture today means you are most likely poor, diseased, and hungry.
Moreover, there is nothing inherently within the “it is against nature”
theory that suggests its selective application to a particular area of our
current nonconformity with it. Where does one draw the line? Are herb
medicines O.K. but not man-made (unnatural) antibiotics and vaccines? Is
artificial insemination O.K. when it offers the only hope of conception,
but not if a cloned egg is used? The “against nature” argument is simply no
longer a valid criteria upon which to make a moral judgement in our 
“unnatural” modern era.

	If you argue, it’s against God’s will to clone a human, you are faced with
even greater problems. Unless God decides to speak directly to someone on
this subject we can only review holy scripture to try to determine His
will. However, in our current pluralistic world society there is no general
agreement as to what writings comprise the “true” holy scripture. Should we
include Science and Health? The Book of Mormon? The Kabala? The Koran? The
writings of Confucius? The Bagavad Gita? The ancient books, including the
Apocrypha,  left out of the Old and New Testaments? Assuming we get past
that problem, how can conflicting scripture or interpretations be
accurately and truly resolved? Does a majority vote of a college of world
religious leaders make it so? Finally, how do we deal with the absence of
relevant scripture? Look to a religious leader? Will God truly speak
through the mouth of some religious leader, if required, on each new
controversial scientific achievement? I think not. We simply do not have
sufficient access to God’s will to use it as a scientific ethical

	Medical or scientific ethical arguments against cloning fare no better.
Whatever case that can be made against cloning will apply equally to
genetically identical twins. And, thus far, no one has shown there is any
inherent wrong associated with twins, or that they are represent any threat
to society. Twins separated at birth provide a good model for father-son or
mother-daughter cloned twins. They will simply be different people, living
different lives, who happen to have the same DNA. And (gasp!) they look

	It is ethical to clone roses, tomatoes, turkeys and people. It is ethical
because it results in benefits to society. Growers of grains, vegetables
and animals currently achieve identical or nearly identical genetic inbred
strains and breeds resulting in more and better food to be available
worldwide. Cloning offers further  improvement by keeping the benefits of
inbreeding without its disadvantages.

	Human cloning is beneficial because it offers the opportunity of enriching
the gene pool with desirable traits, more freedom of choice to parents and
allows at least one parent possibility of better understanding the
potential abilities and weaknesses of the child. 

	Gene pool enrichment is not new. It is currently taking place through the
existence of sperm banks. Neither are parents choosing of their children’s
characteristics new. It occurs through the medical administration of growth
hormones to affect height, how much food is offered or insisted be consumed
affecting weight and the amount of tobacco and alcohol consumed by the
child’s mother during fetal development impacting intelligence and future

	Human cloning might seem to be a revolutionary possibility when first
brought to one’s attention, but is in fact only another evolutionary step
along the path of understanding ourselves. Being able to increase your
child’s I.Q. by 10 points by DNA manipulation—now that would be

— Gabe Hanover
	gabeh at

More information about the Bioforum mailing list