Cloning More Ethically Acceptable than Global Warming
One day soon, human clones will walk among us. Does the thought send a shiver up your spine? How about the notion of eating french fries from a potato engineered with jellyfish genes to make its leaves bioluminescent? We should consider our responses to both issues now, before reality comes knocking at the door. Several groups have announced intentions to clone humans, and the bioluminescence gene has already been successfully incorporated into potato plants.
If those prospects make you squirm, you're not alone. The public's emotional response to the issues of human cloning and biotechnology far outstrips its response to global warming and widespread species extinction. When Dolly the sheep was first cloned by Scottish scientists, political leaders around the world sensed the negative reactions among their constituents and moved to pass legislation banning the new technology in humans. Any new developments in the area stir up fresh controversy, such that the cloning issue is frequently featured on the front page of major newspapers. These articles seem to suggest that apart from a few mad scientists, most everyone agrees that cloning humans is wrong.
But why is it so wrong? Consider the Monitor's quotes from the experts. Professor Chen, vice-president of Beijing University, says about human cloning, "There isn't a controversy. There's no real discussion. We know it's wrong and not natural." John White, who is secretary for science policy at the Australian Academy of Science, is equally willing to speak authoritatively on the issue: "We clearly oppose cloning whole human beings. There are too many troubling ethical and moral issues."
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...oss of biodiversity, humans are playing God to the extreme and are seriously harming the organisms themselves, as well as existing and future generations of humans. If tinkering with the genes of God/Nature's creations is wrong, then surely the complete extinction of thousands of species - of God/Nature's creation - and the complete transformation of His/Her planet is the ultimate evil. For the sake of consistency and morality, we must get passionate about these issues.
Since Dolly the sheep hit the headlines in 1997, many people think of cloning whenever they think broadly of "ethical issues." Genetic engineering conjures the same reaction for similar reasons. But cloning and genetic engineering are nothing but small moral peanuts in relation to our negligent treatment of the organisms that grace this planet and render it habitable for humanity.
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