Increase in genetic knowledge has created challenges in our society. Daniel Callahan focuses on these challenges and expresses his worry about the society (soil) on which this genetic knowledge is growing. Callahan asks the question of what kind of society (soil) is most likely be hazardous and introduces three patterns: 1) societies that demonize death and illness; 2) those societies that want to find biological solutions to social problems; and 3) societies with postmodern theory that there is no common social good, only a plurality of individual goods. In his essay Callahan is concerned about what kind of society we out to be and become before genetic technology can be used. I will use Callahans argument that we need to think about what kind of society we want to become to argue against using the genetic technology of cloning. I will use a deontological approach to argue that cloning should be banned because: 1) in our society that cares about individual rights (negative rights, non-interference) and is obsessed with control over death, disease and social behavior, the use of cloning has dangerous implications; and 2) cloning is de-humanizing because it leads to the loss of human dignity and what it means to be human (parts of Hollands argument will be used to support my second claim here).
What sort of society ought we to become? This question is Callahans main concern. After all, the main problem is not with the genetic knowledge, but in what kind of soil (society) that knowledge grows. Callahan argues that “it was not just bad genetic knowledge that led the Nazis astray: it was their culture of racism and anti-Semitism that allowed that knowledge to flourish and take root” (Callahan in Thomas...
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...rference) and is obsessed with control over death, disease and social behavior. Not until we are a society that cares about communal goods and learns to deal with death can we introduce human cloning. Second, I have argued that cloning is de-humanizing because it leads to a loss of human dignity and what it means to be a human. I want to leave the reader with the question of “why are we pursuing human cloning? Are our motives pure? Are we really thinking of communal good or are we focused only on our individual needs and desires? Do we even care about losing our human dignity and what it means to be a human?”
1. Thomasma, David C. and Thomasine Kushner, eds., Birth to Death: Science and Bioethics (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
2. Holland, Suzanne, Why Biotechnology Should Listen to Ethics: The Issue of Human Cloning (1998).
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