How to Ensure that Cloning is Safe
With the Roslin Institute’s successful cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997, Ian Wilmut has taken human scientific advancement beyond the ability to improve our lives and standard of living, to the point where the recreation of our biological self is no longer a distant science fiction fantasy but a technological possibility.
Cloning is a naturally occurring phenomenon; we have common instances of identical twins, of plants undergoing asexual reproduction as well as cells undergoing mitotic division from an original cell in the process of replacement of worn cells in our body. As such, Wilmut’s successful scientific recreation of the biological replica of a mammal such as a sheep now provides human beings with the power to ‘play God’ not only to animals lower in the evolutionary hierarchy, but possibly even ‘play God’ to fellow human beings via the creation of human clones.
This subjugation of the omnipotent powers of Nature into the hands of scientists brings about clear and present dangers especially from the moralist and ethicist viewpoint. Fears of the use of cloning as a means to an end rather than as an end itself, as in the case of cloning a child so as to obtain bone marrow to save another, would lead to failure to recognize the cloned child as a human in his own right. Or the use of cloning by megalomaniacs to produce many more Saddam Husseins or Adolf Hitlers could wreak havoc in an already troubled world. It is perhaps of these fears amongst others, that countries such as the US and UK are pushing for a ban on human cloning. Maybe banning the cloning of humans in these...