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Cloning is just one of the new ways that modern medicine is pushing the boundaries into uncharted moral waters. Cloning can be divided into two main groups by its purpose; therapeutic, which looks into the generation of body parts for transplants, and reproductive, which is cloning for the sake of replicating an entire organism. The main method of cloning mammals is called somatic cell nuclear transfer, where the DNA from a cell of an existing organism is put into a donor egg whose nucleus has been taken out. The major question that surrounds this process and the idea of replicating an organism is whether or not it detracts from human dignity.
According to the Catholic Church, cloning is immoral on many bases. Firstly, even the experimentation of cloning is seen as immoral, since, in the process of creating a viable clone, hundreds of embryos simply do not work. In the case of Dolly, the first successfully cloned sheep, she was the only survivor of 277 attempts. Statistics like this show how scientists are playing “fast and loose” with living embryos, which is unacceptable for Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church is also against the fact that, in therapeutic cloning, only a part of the new organism is “harvested”, and the remaining parts are destroyed. This raises Catholic objections on the grounds of playing God by creating and destroying life. This goes back to one of the temptations presented to Adam and Eve, “You will be like gods” (Genesis 3:5).
On the account of reproductive cloning, the Catholic Church has a whole new set of reasons relating to how it is immoral. With the advancements in cloning it is said by some that it will be possible to engineer a genetically superior human being. The problems with this are evident in the fact that an engineered child would have been created in our image, instead of the image of God. It is therefore arrogant of us to say that we can direct the evolution of humanity better than God.
Proponents of cloning raise many points in how, specifically therapeutic cloning, can advance knowledge and even lead to cures for some diseases. For example, theoretically, a liver cell could be used to grow a new, healthy liver for a transplant. The same could be said for kidneys, or organs that are not currently transplantable. Genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis can be better handled with answers to the genetic puzzle that cloning could provide.
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On a personal level, although it is difficult to deny the arrogance that we could engineer a more perfect person than God; it is also equally hard to deny somebody with disease information that could possibly lead to a cure. In our quest to fill our lives with more pleasure, it is only natural that medicine advance to cure debilitating diseases. For example, is it possible, if the technology exists to prevent Down syndrome at birth, to tell a family that they should not do what ever they can such that their child may be able to live a healthy life? At the same token, is it possible so tell a badly paralyzed person that the technology exists to regenerate some nervous tissue; however, the means to do so are not perfect, so they cannot be helped? On the same note though, it is also hard to say that one person’s plight would give them the right to act in the shoes of God, and put it at their own hands to create and destroy another life in their pursuits. Therefore, the situation can be taken for a complete deadlock, where the individual must decide whether the ends justify the means. In some cases, cloning may be justified, while in others, such as reproductive cloning may be completely unjustified.
Stomatic cell nuclear transfer. 15 November 2004. .
a personal website dedicated to the science of cloning
Doerflinger, Richard M. Human Cloning vs. Human Dignity. . United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 15 November 2004 .
an article concerning the catholic views on cloning
Maestri Willia. Cloning: In whose image? 12 April 2001. Clarion Herald. 15 November 2004. .
a newspaper for the dieses of New Orleans
Benefits of Cloning. 15 November 2004. .
a personal website dedicated to the science of cloning