Term Paper: Cloning Charles Darwin Believed

Pages: 5 (1428 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Despite persistent scares and technical failures and difficulties, experiments and research on cloning, using aborted fetal body parts, continue in recent years, especially in the management or treatment of patients with severe combined immunodeficiency disease, a genetic condition that affects only a particular body part. It is not like AIDS. The transplants used are pieces of liver and parts of the bone marrow. In treating the George Syndrome, the transplants come from the thymus gland. Transplants are also used in treating other immunodeficiency disorders involving blood cell production and metabolic conditions. When transplants fail, that body part can b cloned. There are more and more records of human babies being cloned under the strictest conditions and with the cooperation of a surrogate mother.

Many problems still confronted today can be addressed with a greater understanding of how genes operate. Genetic engineering involves the environment in the activity as much as it is involved in natural selection (Institute of Philosophy and Public Policy 1999). Simplest traits, like height and hair color, are environmentally determined and genetic researchers assure that the passing on of human values, such as intellectual and moral values, is as limited and as indirect in the natural environment as it is when the offspring is cloned (IPPP).

Persistent objections to human cloning do not emanate from its failures but precisely from its successes. Those who oppose it fear that cloned products or by-products would be morally wrong creatures or would be wronged morally (IPPP), if not deprived of the right to an open future like those reproduced naturally. They fear that an imitation child would be often compared with a natural one and that the "duplicated" creature could have only artificial and limited potentials. The cloned child himself (herself or itself) may be tormented by the realization or awareness of being "only cloned" and thus not develop that sense of worth and self-esteem needed in life. Or else, cloning by itself is viewed as a cruel option.

But these can be contained. A cloned child's self-perception can be developed from its cloning parent. It can learn about its family's medical history and, from there, fashion its own future quite the same way its natural siblings would or can. Its knowledge or understanding of its environment can be as limited or expansive as that of siblings as well. And the fear that parents of a cloned child would go through some suffering in that kind of awareness does not seem to be reason enough not to go into cloning if a particular situation warrants it as the best or only suitable option.

The poor and the marginal are not prevented from having their own children. The lack of appropriate opportunities or health or advantage does not render one undeserving of offspring, either. This is because every kind of life has peculiar difficulties and peculiar joys that other kinds of life respect. If the parents of a terminally ill child decide that the only way to replace a bone marrow in saving the child's life is by cloning because there are no suitable donors, there cannot be objections on anybody's part to let them have that option. Or the dying child could be cloned and a duplicate turned over to the parents as if this were the original (IPPP).

There will be abusers of the best intents and the greatest scientific inventions. There will be control freaks and narcissists who will mis-use these miracles. There are always sci-fi portents that may go out of control. But the promise of medical miracles stands stronger against these portents and society's reproductive policies are in continuous process of guarding against these abuses and excesses. Along with the chronic fear is the increasing commitment to reproductive autonomy and moral responsibility that recognizes "the extraordinary personal importance and private character of reproductive decisions (IPPP)" that holds the effects of that fear in check.


Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. Paperback. Viking Press, 1982

Dixon, Patrick. The Genetic Revolution. Global Change, 1995. http://www.globalchange.com/books/Genes3.htm

Hitler, Adolph. Mein Kampf, 1933. Houghton Mifflin, New York: Hutchinson Publications, Ltd., 1969

Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy. Genetic Encores: the Ethics of Human Cloning. Maryland School of Public Affairs, 1999. http://www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/Fall97Report/cloning.htm [END OF PREVIEW]

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