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keep mixing them up: the Mormons, the Jehovah's witnesses and
others. They knock at your door at most improbable hours, at
the break of dawn say. They sure are strange. The world is packed
with sects, various churches, bizarre religious groups.
take those of the UFOs. Who are those who claim to be extraterrestrials
and advocate that extraterrestrials are coming to rescue us?
Is it Ral, no, Rahel, yeah, Rahelians they call themselves.
You know those who maintain to have cloned a baby girl. Is it
have provided no evidence.
Not them, but sooner or later somebody will clone a human being.
sheep and who knows what other animals have already been cloned.
That poor Dolly is now dead. She died a premature death, suffering
the same ailments that beset an old sheep.
is not a toy everyone can play with. I mean, just look at the
some insist that human beings have already been cloned in some
part of the world but the news has not been made public. Even
way back at the end of the seventies, there was this book entitled
In His Image, published in 1978, on how a rich man had had himself
cloned producing a son that was his spitting image. There was
no end to the controversy the book started. The writer was a
science journalist, I think his name was Rorvik, and he was
accused from all sides of being a liar, a profit-maker.
maybe back in '78 the biotechnologies were not advanced enough
but I think today it is do-able. To even clone a man.
order to have a successful case of cloning, you need a female,
in any case, to carry out the pregnancy. Only, the insemination
does not occur in the usual way. It is the scientist who takes
the nucleus from a somatic cell, from an adult body cell not
from the spermatozoon, and substitutes it into the nucleus of
an ovule. In short, the egg cell no longer has its own nucleus
but that of another person's cell. So the chromosomes do not
mix, those of the father with those of the mother, but you only
have the chromosomes of that person, called the "donator",
whose somatic cell was taken.
the embryo grows and the baby is born, it has exactly the same
genetic make up of its parent: same sex, same eye colour, same
bone and body structure.
I had myself cloned, the baby would be just like me at that
age. But who can tell, if that baby grew up in the same way
as I did, would it have my character or go through the same
experiences that I have gone through?
remains to be seen. Which of the two is more important; genetic
predisposition or environmental influence, the people you meet,
the life you lead?
doubt, both are important, but, can experience lead a person
in a totally opposite direction from the one that is envisaged
by the genetic identity? Who can tell?
obvious fact is that environment can determine the changes in
a man: so, if I had myself cloned, it is almost sure that my
clone would not develop in exactly the same way as I have. One
of the reasons is the time gap of twenty, thirty or maybe more
years between my childhood and his or hers. In that interim
time society, the environment, and living conditions and opportunities
would have changed enormously.
is still the ethical or the moral dilemma: would it be right
to clone a human being? From what I read, the great majority
of scientists are contrary and those in favour of cloning seem
to be nothing more but weird sects like the Rahelians or some
marginal characters in the scientific community.
why ban an option even though it is at present opposed by the
majority of experts?
thing appears clear: the question whether it is right or wrong
to clone a human being cannot depend on the presumption that
the clone would be an identical copy of the donator and would
thereby lose its uniqueness. This presumption, be it desirable
or not, can't come true because the environment plays a role
here and prevents the possibility of the life of one person
becoming a replica of another person's life. And what is more,
there are cases of people with exactly the same genetic make
up in nature - they are called identical twins.
conclude: what arguments are there to support the cloning of
a human being? I can't think of more but one: the freedom of
producing the offspring in the way that the parents find best.
It is true that cloning is a reproductive method that we could
describe as "unnatural" because, in nature, no other
sex-based living creature reproduces itself in this way. But
try to think of all the other things we do in a way not found
in nature. We cook our food, we go around in cars and planes,
we build skyscrapers.
And if new ways of doing things are invented by science and
technology why shouldn't we be able to use them? Even the counter-argument
that by cloning babies their personalities would be way too
exposed to manipulation doesn't go unanswered: babies that come
to life in the most natural way are also manipulated by, or
should we rather say, placed under a strong influence by their
parents from earliest childhood.
who are opposed to human cloning could argue that the freedom
of the donator to reproduce himself in a way he considers optimal
clashes with the freedom of the clone to achieve self-realization
in future: because anyway you put it, a person that is brought
to the world with the genetic make up of his or her parent,
is less free than a person whose genetic identity is a random
mixture of two different sets of chromosomes.
objectors could claim that cloning denies the natural dignity
of a human being because it restricts one person to a certain
"story" and to an exclusive relationship with another
person, the donator. They could also draw our attention to the
perils that the clone is facing if we consider that a great
number of attempts is necessary for cloning to finally be successful
and there is no guarantee that the implantation of the donator's
nucleus into the host's egg cell will be done without damage.
Above all, the objectors of cloning could claim that no man
should have such power over another man's existence as to programme
his or her biological identity or select it with arbitrary and
it's really getting late. The doubt remains:
can we allow the cloning of a human being or not?
DemoKino - Virtual Biopolitical Parliament - Cloning.