Critics of human cloning allege that the results of the process are likely to suffer from compromised identities making it near impossible for them to live worthwhile lives. This paper uses the account of the metaphysics of personal identity offered by Derek Parfit to investigate and support the claim of identity-compromise. The cloned person may, under certain circumstances, be seen as surviving, to some degree, in the clone. However, I argue that rather than warranting concern, the potential for survival by (...) cloning ought to help protect against the misuse of the technology. (shrink)
It is technically possible to clone a human being. The result of the procedure would be a human being in its own right. Given the current level of cloning technology concerning other animals there is every reason to believe that early human clones will have shorter-than-average life-spans, and will be unusually prone to disease. In addition, they would be unusually at risk of genetic defects, though they would still, probably, have lives worth living. But with experimentation and experience, seriously unequal (...) prospects between cloned and non-cloned people should erode. We shall ignore arguments about cloning that focus on the potential for harm to the fetus or resultant human being, where harm is understood solely .. (shrink)
In Islam, the acquisition of knowledge is a form of worship. But human achievement must be exercised in conformity with God's will. Warnings against feelings of superiority often are coupled with the command to remain within the confines of God's laws and limits. Because of the fear of arrogance and disregard of the balance created by God, any new knowledge or discovery must be applied with careful consideration to maintaining balance in the creation. Knowledge must be applied to ascertain equity (...) and justice for all of humanity. Research in Islam must be linked to the broad ethical base set forth in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Whether embryonic stem cell research or cloning is ethically acceptable in Islam depends on the benefits derived from such applications. What is most important for the scholars is to adhere to the concepts of compassion, mercy, and benefit to everyone. (shrink)
In search of a potential problem with cloning, I investigate the phenomenon of telomere shortening which is caused by cell replication; clones created from somatic cells will have shortened telomeres and therefore reach a state of senescence more rapidly. While genetic intervention might fix this problem at some point in the future, I ask whether, absent technological advances, this biological phenomenon undermines the moral permissibility of cloning.
The article questions the assumption that conjoined twins are necessarily two people or persons by employing arguments based on different points of view: non-personal vitalism, the person as a sentient being, the person as an agent, the person as a locus of narrative and valuation, and the person as an embodied mind. Analogies employed from the cases of amputation, multiple personality disorder, abortion, split-brain patients and cloning. The article further questions the assumption that a conjoined twin's natural interest and wish (...) is separation. I first contend that separation is such a radical procedure as to render the post-separation person different from the pre-separation one. Therefore, it is not possible to benefit the pre-separation twin by the act of separation. The article concludes with a critical evaluation of the tendency in bioethics to regard ethical challenges as rivalry between individuals competing for scarce resources. (shrink)
The current debate on the ethics of cloning humans is both uninspired and uninspiring. In large measure this is because of mistakes that permeate the discourse, including the mistake of thinking that cloning technology is strictly a reproductive technology when it is used to create whole beings. As a result, the challenge this technology represents regarding our understanding of ourselves and the species to which we belong typically is inappropriately downplayed or exaggerated. This has meant that important (albeit disquieting) societal (...) issues and species-type concerns have not been fully explored. This paper, intended as a corrective, suggests that we take an alternate view of human cloning as both an enhancement and a reproductive technology. This proposed shift in the framework for analysis counters the current narrow framing of the issues and introduces new questions about the prospect of modifying the species. (shrink)
As we move into a new millennium fraught with terror and danger, a global postmodern cosmopolis is unfolding in the midst of rapid evolutionary and social changes co-constructed by science, technology, and the restructuring of global capital. We are quickly morphing into a new biological and social existence that is ever-more mediated and shaped by computers, mass media, and biotechnology, all driven by the logic of capital and a powerful emergent technoscience. In this global context, science is no longer merely (...) an interpretation of the natural and social worlds, rather it has become an active force in changing them and the very nature of life. In an era where life can be created and redesigned in a petri dish, and genetic codes can be edited like a digital text, the distinction between “natural” and “artificial” has become greatly complexified. The new techniques of manipulation call into question existing definitions of life and death, demand a rethinking of fundamental notions of ethics and moral value, and pose unique challenges for democracy. (shrink)
: There appears to be a consensus in the general community that reproductive cloning is an immoral technology that should be banned. It may, however, be argued, at least from the perspective of the Jewish tradition, that reproductive cloning has many positive benefits. It is thus essential that one carefully weigh the costs and the benefits before deciding on a definitive course of action.
In analysing the position adopted by the United Kingdom over therapeutic cloning, this paper will endeavour to examine the question of regulation, its necessity and extent. This will be achieved through considering different models of relevant theoretical discourse before, in applying that discourse to identified systems of regulation, the advantages and pitfalls of each system will be assessed in the hope of reaching a solution appropriate to the sensitive, yet dynamic, needs of the issue.
It will be remembered that the introductory chapter to this paper differentiated between human therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research, with the former concept encapsulating the latter one. In turning to examine the current system of regulation found within the United Kingdom this has particular relevance as it is only the practice of therapeutic cloning – the creation and use of an embryo – which engages with the regulative measures adopted.
In this paper we discuss an objection to human cloning which appeals to the welfare of the child. This objection varies according to the sort of harm it is expected the clone will suffer. The three formulations of it that we will consider are: 1. Clones will be harmed by the fearful or prejudicial attitudes people may have about or towards them (H1); 2. Clones will be harmed by the demands and expectations of parents or genotype donors (H2); 3. Clones (...) will be harmed by their own awareness of their origins, for example the knowledge that the genetic donor is a stranger (H3). We will show why these three versions of the child welfare objection do not necessarily supply compelling reasons to ban human reproductive cloning. The claim that we will develop and defend in the course of our discussion is that even if it is the case that a cloned child will suffer harms of the type H1-H3, it is none the less permissible to conceive by cloning so long as these cloning-induced welfare deficits are not such as to blight the existence of the resultant child, whoever this may be. (shrink)
The possibility of human cloning first surfaced in the 1960s, stimulated by the report that a salamander had been cloned. James D. Watson and Joshua Lederberg, distinguished Nobel laureates, speculated that the cloning of human beings might one day be within reach; it was only a matter of time. Bioethics was still at that point in its infancybioethicsand cloning immediately caught the eye of a number of those beginning to write in the field. They included Paul Ramsey, Hans Jonas, and (...) Leon Kass. Cloning became one of the symbolic issues of what was, at that time, called a biology that would be dominated by molecular genetics. Over a period of five years or so in the early 1970s a number of articles and book chapters on the ethical issues appeared, discussing cloning in its own right and cloning as a token of the radical genetic possibilities. (shrink)
After years of failure, in November 2007 primate embryonic stem cells were derived by somatic cellular nuclear transfer, also known as therapeutic cloning. The first embryo transfer for human reproductive cloning purposes was also attempted in 2006, albeit with negative results. These two events force us to think carefully about the possibility of human cloning which is now much closer to becoming a reality. In this paper we tackle this issue from two sides, first summarising what scientists have achieved so (...) far, then discussing some of the ethical arguments in favour and against human cloning which are debated in the context of policy making and public consultation. Therapeutic cloning as a means to improve and save lives has uncontroversial moral value. As to human reproductive cloning, we consider and assess some common objections and failing to see them as conclusive. We do recognise, though, that there will be problems at the level of policy and regulation that might either impair the implementation of human reproductive cloning or make its accessibility restricted in a way that could become difficult to justify on moral grounds. We suggest using the time still available before human reproductive cloning is attempted successfully to create policies and institutions that can offer clear directives on its legitimate applications on the basis of solid arguments, coherent moral principles, and extensive public consultation. (shrink)
Background The regulation of human cloning continues to be a significant national and international policy issue. Despite years of intense academic and public debate, there is little clarity as to the philosophical foundations for many of the emerging policy choices. The notion of "human dignity" is commonly used to justify cloning laws. The basis for this justification is that reproductive human cloning necessarily infringes notions of human dignity. Discussion The author critiques one of the most commonly used ethical justifications for (...) cloning laws – the idea that reproductive cloning necessarily infringes notions of human dignity. He points out that there is, in fact, little consensus on point and that the counter arguments are rarely reflected in formal policy. Rarely do domestic or international instruments provide an operational definition of human dignity and there is rarely an explanation of how, exactly, dignity is infringed in the context reproductive cloning. Summary It is the author's position that the lack of thoughtful analysis of the role of human dignity hurts the broader public debate about reproductive cloning, trivializes the value of human dignity as a normative principle and makes it nearly impossible to critique the actual justifications behind many of the proposed policies. (shrink)
Carson Strong argues, in that if cloning of humans by somatic cell nuclear transfer were to become a safe procedure, then infertile couples should have access to it as a last resort. He lists six reasons such couples might desire genetically related children. Of these, two are relevant to justifying their access to cloning—namely, that they want to jointly participate in the creation of a person, and that having a genetically related child would constitute an affirmation of their mutual love. (...) According to Strong, these reasons justify at least some infertile couples' freedom to clone themselves. He wants to prevent the widespread use of cloning technology by making it available to only infertile couples and only as a last resort. One way to enforce this restriction, he suggests, is to penalize physicians who carry out disallowed clonings. After all, fertile couples and many infertile couples can satisfy their need to have genetically related children in other ways. (shrink)
The announcement of the birth of Dolly the cloned sheep evoked widespread response from the Christian Churches. These responses are identified, organized thematically, and discussed critically. The churches have viewed reproductive human cloning either with unqualified opposition or with grave suspicion. Some statements have discussed animal cloning, generally granting limited approval, and nonreproductive human cloning, either in opposition or expressing an openness to entertain specific proposals as the technology develops.
The British Parliament legalized therapeutic cloning in December 2000 despite opposition from the European Union. The watershed event in Parliament's move was the active and unprecedented government support for the generation and destruction of human embryonic life merely as a means of medical advancement. This article contends that the utilitarian analysis of this procedure is necessary to identify the real world risks of therapeutic cloning but insufficient to identify the breach of defensible ethical limits that this procedure represents. A value-oriented (...) approach to Kantian ethics demonstrates that the utilitarian endorsement of therapeutic cloning entails a contradiction of the necessity of human vulnerability and a faulty valuation of the human embryo. The concern is that a narrow utilitarian focus ultimately commodifies human embryonic life and preferences outcomes as the sole determinant of moral value. (shrink)
The technique of nuclear transplantation – popularly known as cloning – has been integrated into several different histories of twentieth century biology. Historians and science scholars have situated nuclear transplantation within narratives of scientific practice, biotechnology, bioethics, biomedicine, and changing views of life. However, nuclear transplantation has never been the focus of analysis. In this article, I examine the development of nuclear transplantation techniques, focusing on the people, motivations, and institutions associated with the first successful nuclear transfer in metazoans in (...) 1952. The conflict between embryologists and geneticists over the mechanisms of differentiation motivated Robert Briggs to pursue nuclear transplantation experiments as a way to resolve the debate. Briggs worked at the Lankenau Hospital Research Institute, a research facility devoted to the study of cancer. The goal of understanding cancer would play a role in the development of the technique, and the story of nuclear transplantation sheds light on the role that biomedical contexts play in biological research in the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
: In this essay, Davion argues that many arguments appealing to an "intuition" that reproductive cloning is morally wrong because it is "unnatural" rely upon an underlying moral assumption that only heterosexuality is "natural," an assumption that grounds extreme homophobia in America. Therefore, critics of cloning who are in favor of gay and lesbian equality have reasons to avoid prescriptive appeals to the so-called "natural" in making their arguments. Davion then suggests anticloning arguments that do not make such appeals.
Bettina Schöne-Seifert and Marco Stier present a host of detailed and intriguing arguments to the effect that potentiality arguments have to be viewed as outdated due to developments in stem cell research, in particular the possibility of re-setting the development potential of differentiated cells, such as skin cells. However, their argument leaves them without an explanation of the intuitive difference between skin cells and human beings, which seems to be based on the assumption that a skin cell is merely part (...) of a human organism, while an embryo is at some point a human organism. An appropriately designed concept of the human organism can explain the difference, but also has the potential of re-dividing the argumentative landscape along familiar lines. (shrink)
Stem cell research is very promising. The use of human embryos has been confronted with objections based on ethical and religious positions. The recent production of reprogrammed adult (induced pluripotent) cells does not – in the opinion of scientists – reduce the need to continue human embryonic stem cell research. So the debate continues.Islam always encouraged scientific research, particularly research directed toward finding cures for human disease. Based on the expectation of potential benefits, Islamic teachings permit and support human embryonic (...) stem cell research. The majority of Muslim scholars also support therapeutic cloning. This permissibility is conditional on the use of supernumerary early pre-embryos which are obtained during infertility treatment in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. The early pre-embryos are considered in Islamic jurisprudence as worthy of respect but do not have the full sanctity offered to the embryo after implantation in the uterus and especially after ensoulment.In this paper the Islamic positions regarding human embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning are reviewed in some detail, whereas positions in other religious traditions are mentioned only briefly.The status of human embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning in different countries, including the USA and especially in Muslim countries, is discussed. (shrink)