Opinions On Cloning


The fear of "human cloning" is essentially stupid and superstitious. It's medical technology. We are made of flesh that follows the same biological rules, is made of the same atoms, as all the other animals. This is part of our heritage; the fear people have of it is perverse, and a sign of conspicuous failure to think things through.

What's the Big Deal?

I recently read a story where the discovery that it is possible to clone goats led to "warnings" that technology involved could lead to the cloning of humans.

Well, duh.

Next thing you know, they'll be finding out about possible medications by studying the effects of chemicals on lab animals.

An "ethics specialist" at Montreal's McGill University, Margaret Somerville, was quoted as saying "Where I do have a major concern is that we do not transfer this technology to human.s That is not right. I believe it is inherently and morally wrong to clone humans. That is the big worry," she told Reuters.

Why is this a big worry?

What's the big deal? We've known for years that we are formed by the interactions of tiny little bits of DNA. What's wrong with that?

Slippery Slope

So far as I can tell, the argument against cloning goes like this. If we could clone people, we might do stupid or immoral things with this power.

Okay, so where's the argument? If we could forge steel, we might do stupid or immoral things with this power. It's technology. It's our heritage. We are tool-using animals; this is a tool.

Cloning means that some day you could maybe be your own organ donor. That's good. That's medicine we could benefit from.

I don't see anything "morally wrong" with there being clones of people. Why not? There are twins, should we kill them?

Would it be bad if there were lots of duplicates of only a few people? Probably. So... let's not do that. Any objections? Okay.

We're Animals Too

Some people figure cloning of animals is okay, but not cloning of humans.

Hey, guys. Guess what. We're animals too.

Are we special animals? Almost certainly; if nothing else, we're the most advanced tool users on the planet. (At least, I assume we are.) Are we God's greatest creations? I personally think so, although I have no real evidence. Does that mean we're not animals? No.

We are animals. We eat. We shit. We fuck. We make smaller animals similar to ourselves, which grow up and repeat the process. We die. We are subject to disease. We have fur, for crying out loud. We are animals, and there's nothing wrong with it.

Trying to pretend that we can have special technologies which apply only to animals, and not to us, is stupid. Now, that doesn't mean we should all go get ourselves cloned. It means that we shouldn't just reject the idea of human cloning out of hand. It may be there are things it would be good for. Maybe someday, parents whose children are killed by freak diseases or accidents will be able to try again, even if they're no longer fertile. Maybe some day organ transplants will have a short waiting list for everyone.

It's a complicated issue, and needs to be looked at frankly and rationally, not with superstitious fear.

About this article

This is a fairly young document; I just wanted to put it up because I had some ideas and wanted to get them written down. More will come, in time. Feedback eagerly consumed; you can always reach me at some email address, most likely 'seebs@plethora.net'.