Human Cloning: The Wisdom of Repugnance?

Human cloning is a controversial issue nowadays. Some people and scientists are for it, but other groups, including the powerful and influential church, are against it. The issue was brought up lately due to the claims of “Raelian” scientists that they have cloned a human. There are many arguments that people provide as to why cloning is not good, one of them is Kass’s repugnance argument.

Kass believes cloning is repugnant and wrong. He argues that since all morally repugnant things (such as incest, mutilating a corpse, or rape) are wrong, and human cloning is repugnant, so human cloning must be wrong. And to assure that human cloning is repugnant, he says that a lot people, “from intellectuals to people from the streets” think that human cloning is “offensive” and “repulsive”. He says they “recoil” from ideas such as the mass production of humans, identical parents and children, and “narcissism as to who to clone”… He finds no reason for cloning humans compelling, and can see many misuses and abuses resulting from it, so it must be wrong, and should be banned.

In other words, Kass is saying that it would be wiser to avoid cloning humans because it would lead to many problems and misuses, just like it would have been wiser to avoid creating the nuclear bomb “for the sake of the advancement in science” because it only lead to the worse. Kass’s argument misses a point, one must bear in mind that such discoveries only lead to the worse if we let them to, and man, being an intelligent creature, should not allow any abuse or misuse of his creations and discoveries, but should always prevent evil and seek to make the world better. It’s not the idea of human cloning that’s evil, it’s man’s bad intentions and tendencies.

human cloning

Some people object to Kass’s argument because they believe that human cloning is a right of theirs, and they should have the freedom to reproduce. They also say that human cloning will also lead to progress in the “genetic knowledge and technique”.  Contrary to Kass, these people don’t find human cloning repugnant and unethical, but rather interesting and useful.

Another argument that Kass gives against human cloning is the “profundity of sex argument”. He says that sex is the natural way of reproduction, and it uses 2 parents of the opposite sex. This makes cloning unnatural, because it is asexual and requires only 1 parent. Kass says that cloning turns natural procreation into manufacture, which is not natural.

Although cloning is not the “natural way”, and it’s true that bad things might result from cloning, we should not forget that cloning might also lead to good things. Why be pessimistic and negative; consider the positive things and benefits too. Cloning can be used for making human organs and reduce suffering. Cloning also leads to more knowledge and answers. If cloning is used for good causes, why should it be banned? Furthermore, the success of human cloning doesn’t mean that it is going to replace the natural way of reproduction, it would just be an extra option. Moreover, new laws or a universal consensus could be made concerning clone relations, living conditions, and whether the “parents” are fit to raise the clone.

Another point that one must remember is that issues such as the clone “growing up in the shadow” or ‘”prejudice against clones” are not solely restricted to clones, but apply to any other normal children. It’s the environment and the upbringing that matters. Baby clones are no different than normal babies.  Just like clones, some normal children turn out to look exactly like one of their parents… it’s no big deal.

Discovering that you look like someone else is not a shocking thing, it could be a good thing that the child will be happy about. And besides that, a clone child that finds out that he’s a clone could like the idea and be proud of his being a clone of someone else that he considers “himself” or “another me”.

Let’s put aside the complicated disagreements about the interpretations of religion… in the future, if technology improved, and experiments of human cloning all worked, producing a perfectly healthy clone, would people still consider cloning to be unethical? It is interesting to see how far man can go, and what the results of his experiments will be. If it works, human cloning will definitely be a revolutionary step in history and the life of man.

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