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Human and Animal Cloning:
Medical Breakthrough or Problem?
Erica Roberson
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
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The purpose of this paper is to show, through scholarship, the positive and negative aspects of human and animal cloning. There are many perspectives on cloning. Some people believe that cloning can be used for infertile couples, to cure diseases, and to save lives. People could live happy and healthy lives without ever worrying about infertility, diseases or death. The stresses of everyday life would be optimally and ultimately wiped away. Calvin B. Harley, a scholarly author, points out that cloning can be beneficial to human health: “Animals such as pigs, which have organs structurally similar to those of humans, have been used as organ transplant donors” (68). Research has been done to show that cloning organs can save people’s lives. Cloning has also been shown to be used for medicinal purposes. Diseases can be treated and cured through the process of cloning. Cancer and other diseases could be totally obliterated from society, according to this belief. Julian Savalescu, another scholarly author, points out the many benefits of cloning, such as treatment of disease: “Human cloning could be used in several ways to produce cells, tissues or organs for the treatment of human disease” (88). Cloning could be used in bone marrow for the treatment of cancer. Healthy cells could be retrieved from the marrow while the patient is in remission. If the cancer returns, there are healthy bone marrow cells to help the patient get better. This could be a major breakthrough in cancer research. Cloning could also be used for infertile couples to be able to have a baby of their own. They would not have to worry about not being able to have children. There are many practical uses for cloning, and it can be very effective for people with diseases or other sicknesses. Sickness could be cured and pain could be obliterated. This would be an ideal situation for anyone that is sick or has a disease. Cloning could possibly mean a pain-free life for patients with harmful diseases. It could mean that people would never worry about pain and suffering again.

Some people believe that cloning is wrong, no matter what the circumstance may be. Some believe that cloning is playing God. They believe that to clone a human or animal would be blasphemous towards God. They also believe that giving of life should be left in the hands of God. There has been much debate among theologians and lay people about the subject of human and animal cloning. Oliver O’Donovan, an author, views cloning as a way of begetting, or giving existence to another human being. It is something other than the natural way of procreation. “the connection is good for the man- woman relationship, which is protected form debasement and loss of mutuality by the fact that it is fruitful for procreation” (16). He says that procreation should be the only means of reproduction. He says that God told the world to be fruitful and multiply, but God did not mean cloning other individuals. God intended for males and females to procreate within the bounds of marriage, and this means of procreation would be the only true means of reproduction. Others who argue against cloning believe that it is altogether too risky. People have imperceptions of cloning the perfect animal or person, and that cannot happen. L.D. Van Vleck, another author, takes a perspective based on the cloning of animals for breed improvement: “Cloning, on first impression, suggests a perfect way to improve performance of farm animals” (120). He says that clones may or may not be identical. Many people want to clone identical beings from something else. This is not guaranteed, though. There are many problems with animal cloning. Inbreeding and spread of diseases may occur. Animals could have severe drawbacks from the process of cloning. They could be delayed developmentally or have serious diseases. He says cloning is very risky and should not be explored. “traditional methods of animal improvement and genetic evaluation will be needed for the effective implementation and economic evaluation of cloning technology”(120). He says there is no other way to reproduce but through procreation. As O’Donovan says, cloning is unnatural and procreation is the key to successful reproduction.

With different perspectives on cloning, there is no compromise between the arguments about human and animal cloning. People like Harley and Savalescu, firmly believe that cloning can have some healthy benefits. It can be used to cure diseases and save lives in the future. They feel that cloning is the next step in the future of the world. It is a natural process that should be explored, according to them. Others like O’Donovan and Van Vleck, believe that cloning is harmful and unnatural. It is not right to play God, and it can have some very unhealthy drawbacks. Diseases and inbreeding in any species is very likely in this type of situation. In severe cases, death can occur. The two sides do not ever seem to meet in the middle and compromise. There is no agreement between the two arguments. The arguments for and against human and animal cloning are very great and convincing.

Dolly, a sheep cloned in 1997, has been the center of much controversy. She was cloned from an adult cell, meaning that cloning is possible for anyone or anything. Cloning is possibly in the future of humanity. Scientific studies have been done to see if Dolly was an “accident”, and these studies have proven that she was not. Scientists carefully examined the cloning of this animal and came to the conclusion that cloning is possible. Adam Greene, a scholarly author, discusses the skepticism of human and animal cloning. He points out that there are numerous myths about cloning. He talks about identical twins and how they show that cloning is not optimal. “Genetically identical individuals are not novel and they project distinct personalities” (342). Even identical twins have different characteristics. Identical twins are not totally the same. They have different personalities and many other different characteristics that make them unique to each other. Like Calvin B. Harley, Adam Greene discusses Dolly and the effects of her conception. He even talks about how she was conceived. He takes a different perspective than Harley and shows the negative side of human and animal cloning. Harley says that cloning animals can have a good effect on human health. Cloning organs of animals, for instance, could give new meaning to organ transplantation. People could have new organs ready for them at any time they need them. It could have benefits for human health and save people’s lives. People would not have to die to allow someone else to have an organ. Greene says that cloning is not optimal, and it serves no healthy purpose. It can be very dangerous, and one can not clone an identical being, due to the fact that personalities will be different among other characteristics.

With today’s expanding technology, cloning can be done very easily. From a Jewish perspective, cloning is not always wrong. Joshua H. Lipschutz, a scholarly author, discusses the benefits of human cloning. He examines cloning from a Jewish perspective and concludes that cloning is not inherently wrong. He argues that God may have cloned Adam to create Eve. “if God had done it, it must be okay” (106). With this perspective, many people are led to believe that cloning is right. He also says that, when people are cloned, their brains will stay unique. “The human mind is beautiful and immeasurably complex and it is what gives us our uniqueness” (107). He is essentially arguing that clones will look the same, but their minds will be different.

John Evans, another scholarly author, also discusses the religious aspects of cloning. He takes a different approach than Joshua H. Lipschutz, though. He talks about religious opposition to cloning. There has been much debating among theologians and religious groups about cloning. He talks about the many studies and polls taken on people’s views of cloning. “there is general condemnation of human cloning across all respondents”(757). For the most part, human cloning is not excepted among religious groups. He makes many of the same points as Oliver O’Donovan. He says that religious groups feel it is playing God to clone. They have negative attitudes towards cloning because of this.

Yitzchok Breitowitz, a scholarly author, makes some concise points on why cloning should be banned. He also speaks of the religious perspectives on cloning. He speaks of cloning as not a natural way to produce children. He speaks of cloning eventually becoming criminalized. “reproductive cloning will be criminalized in one way or another because the House and the Senate, as well as the President, favor that position”(340). He says that this may happen, and people need to be prepared rather than get caught off guard.

Human and animal cloning raises many positive and negative issues and questions. There are questions of ethics, morality and safety. There are also valid points to show that cloning can be beneficial. Organs can be cloned, and infertile couples can have the chance to have children. These are all very strong and very valid points for and against human and animal cloning.

Cloning is an issue that will probably always be debated, and it is something that will be controversial for as long as it is an issue. The perspectives on cloning are both very convincing and very interesting. There will probably never be a compromise between the two sides of the issue. It is a subject that will always be intriguing and interesting to talk about and think about. It is something that will be debated and issues will be discussed.

Human and animal cloning is a subject that has fostered much debate. It is argued among two camps of scholarly authors. Camp 1 is the group that supports human and animal cloning. Calvin B. Harley, Julian Savalescu and Joshua H. Lipschutz are grouped into this camp. They support cloning for various reasons. They say it could have healthy implications and benefits. It could also save people’s lives. Camp 2 is the group that does not support human and animal cloning. Oliver O’Donovan, L.D. Van Vleck, Adam Greene, John H. Evans and Yitzchok Breitowitz are grouped into this camp. They are against cloning and everything that accompanies the subject. Their reasons include: people should not try to play God, inbreeding and disease could occur and basic religious opposition among other things.

The subject of human and animal cloning has grown over the years. The knowledge of the subject has also grown and matured. There are obviously many different perspectives on cloning, and it fosters much interest. Many people do not have an opinion on cloning, but it should be considered as an issue. Some people say that cloning is morally and ethically wrong. Others say that cloning is only wrong in some instances. Still, others say that cloning is right. These arguments are what makes the subject and debates on cloning so interesting. It is a subject that people and scholars will continually argue about. It is important for everyone to have an opinion on human and animal cloning, because it is quickly becoming a big issue in the world today.

Works Cited

Breitowitz, Yitzchok. “What’s So Bad About Human Cloning?” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 12.4 (2002):325-41

Evans, John H. “Religion and Human Cloning: An Exploratory Analysis of the First Available Opinion Data.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 41.4 (2002): 747-58.

Greene, Adam. “The World after Dolly: International Regulation of Human Cloning.” The George Washington International Law Review 33.2 (2001): 341-62.

Harley, Calvin B. “Cloning: Techniques and Applications in Human Health.” Generations (2000): 65-71.

Lipschutz, Joshua H. “To clone or not to clone- a Jewish perspective.” Journal of Medical Ethics 25.2 (1999): 105-107.

O’Donovan, Oliver. Begotten or Made? New York: Oxford UP, 1984.

Savalescu, Julian. “Should we clone human beings? Cloning as a source of tissue for transplantation.” Journal of Medical Ethics 25.2 (1999): 87-95.

Van Vleck, L.D. “Implications of Cloning for Breed Improvement Strategies: Are Traditional Methods of Animal Improvement Obsolete?” Journal of Animal Science 77 (1999): 111-21.

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