Why We Clone

Cloning has always been a polarizing topic due to the complex ethical dilemmas that it presents. However someone feels about the use of cloning, it has become an integral part of scientific research. This can especially be noticed in the agricultural sector, as we try and provide a healthy and sustainable food source for a rapidly growing population.  When does cloning go from being acceptable, to being dangerous.  Is it okay to eat cloned fruits and vegetables, but not okay to consume cloned cattle?  Every day we unwillingly consume cloned food products, but without these products, there would be massive food shortages throughout the world. What is the difference between consuming cloned fruits and vegetables and consuming cloned meat products?

Who decides what can be cloned and for what purpose?  In Michael Bay’s movie, “The Island,” people are cloned as an insurance policies to provide organs.  Is this not a plausible evolution in cloning policies?  How do we enforce cloning practices around the globe as the scientific technology to produce clones becomes more accessible. What is the ethical difference between cloning humans and cloning animals?  Personally, I feel that unless there can be an enforceable standard on cloning practices, which is unlikely, then cloning will continue to be a sensitive subject. Humans will eventually be cloned for some purpose, malicious or not, and when this happens, important ethical questions will have to be answered.

Luckily, up to now cloning has generally been used for good.  We have been able to take defects out of many of the produce and milk that we consume and are able to sustain an enormous population that will only continue to grow. The idea of cloning will not go simply away, and as a society, we must set a universal standard controlling its use, because no one wants to see a world like the one depicted in Brave New World. However, the limitless scientific opportunities that cloning presents will eventually come to fruition, and will probably be like opening Pandora’s box.  Hopefully the positive uses will triumph over the negative.

-Robert Jeter

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~ by Robert Jeter on February 15, 2010.

3 Responses to “Why We Clone”

  1. This is very interesting. I think few people have qualms with cloning fruits and vegetables, as it is universally agreed upon for the most part that such food does not have feelings or emotions. In my opinion, the ethical concerns really start when “souls” as we have been discussing in class are involved. Cloning a being that will have its own soul seems like such a different situation than cloning a piece of fruit. However, as you said, it’s tricky trying to draw the line between living beings with souls and those without. Who’s to say a cow doesn’t have a soul? The answer to that question could bring up a debate about the ethical implication of raising animals solely for food consumption purpose though…

  2. Like you, I believe it’s important to ask the following question: what is the difference between cloning animals and cloning humans? Both creatures have the capacity for pain, and research has shown that animals may have the ability to discern their own identities, albeit in a relatively crude fashion. Do these capacities mean that animals have “souls”? I am unconvinced, but these are important ethical questions which must be asked by a responsible society.

  3. You bring up an important ethical distinction between cloned fruit/vegetables vs. cloned livestock vs. cloned humans. Its a slippery slope. Eventually if one is deemed ethical and possible, then people will push for the next one.

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