Human cloning means, “the creation of a genetically identical copy of the human.” With the current rate of technological advancement, scientists have been able to not only clone animals but also have been able to create human clones. However, these clones were not allowed to be fully developed and were destroyed in the embryotic stage itself.
There is a massive amount of debate on whether human cloning should be legalized or not (mainly due to religious beliefs), and that is what is going to be discussed in this article.
Human cloning is in no way a new concept.
During the second world war, Hitler wanted to create a whole army of Aryans through the process and it is assumed that if he had had the technology at the time, he would have proceeded with the plan.
Dr. Josef Mengele, also known as ‘the Angel of Death’ was renowned to be immensely interested in the field of genetics and heredity. He conducted various inhumane experiments on identical twins to further his research. So, it is only sane to believe that he would have started cloning humans had he had access to the required technology.
In 1997, the first sheep had been cloned through engineering of human genes. However, this act was immediately deemed unethical and was not to be repeated.
There are different lots of people who have certain ‘opinions’ on cloning. The first lot are the ones who do not support cloning due to it being against their religious beliefs, the second lot are those who are indifferent towards the topic due to a lack of knowledge, and the third lot are those who support cloning.
“The breath of life is given to us by God – not by scientists splicing genes in a lab.”
In most (if not all) religions, it is argued that God is and shall remain the sole creator of life and that we, humans, are his creation and shall not create.
Thus, such an approach deems cloning as completely immoral and unethical. However, it also argues against infertility treatments that help people who are not able to conceive.
This shows us that perhaps, what is right or wrong is what we believe it to be. Humans tend to follow the herd mentality; they are willing to let their own opinions go unheard if it means that those opinions are against the mentality of the herd.
There is another argument against cloning, that is, of the development of an individuality.
Humans are social animals; however, this does not mean that humans do not think on their own or do not form their private opinions, biases, questions, beliefs, etc. Humans form knowledge through experience.
We are not born with the knowledge that we possess today. We develop it by going through the various stages of life, through our firsthand experiences. Cloning would obstruct this process.
We are still not sure if Cloning would imply that the individuality, identity, and personality of the human from whom the sample is taken would be copied into the clone. If this is the case, it would lead to a great conflict, a conflict of beliefs, emotions, cultural values, and what not.
The existence of humans in itself would be brought into question. Education, professional experience, musical knowledge, and many such fields would be deemed unnecessary and we would be back at square one.
There is another interesting and questionable angle to this. Suppose a different-sex couple wants to utilize the facility, after the daughter grows up there ought to be a risk of the father falling for the daughter, romantically, since the daughter would be a carbon copy of her mother. The society would again be posed with a unique, yet serious threat.
Gene Diversity is also impossible with human cloning. Since, the genes of one human are being taken and are not being combined with any other, there would be no chances of diversity. We do not know if this would cause mutations, disorders or diseases and it is extremely risky as a disease with an unfamiliar genetic sequence could potentially wipe out humanity.
We must also not forget what the clone would have to go through. Since the topic is a taboo, the clone would also have to face ostracism from society. People may make fun of the clone or there might be a whole new form of discrimination. This would take a severe emotional and mental toll on the clone as it might be treated as an object.
Even though there are innumerable banes for human cloning, one must not forget the benefits that it offers (potentially).
The main aspect around which most benefits revolve is ‘health’.
In the current system to treat infertility, there is a 30% chance of failure. Instead of using sperm and eggs and having to go through an extremely tedious process, one would have their genetic material directly copied, that too, quite fast (and with a 0% chance of failure). The latter approach is comparatively attractive since it proves to be more effective and efficient.
Cloning could also be utilized by being combined with stem cell treatments. This would help immensely to treat serious conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, and could potentially make such conditions curable. This would be a groundbreaking advancement.
It would also greatly benefit parents who have a dying or deceased child. This technology would enable them to recreate their child (with identical characteristics).
People with disorders of the spinal cord would get a chance to walk again, however, this would require intensive research (to grow nerve cells on the spinal cord).
Moreover, parts of the human body could be regrown without having to undergo synthetic procedures (like silicone implants).
Even though Human Cloning offers a variety of health benefits, it has several major drawbacks, which are more versatile in nature. Though with the pace of technological growth, the possibility of human cloning is only going to advance, it would still pose a dilemma to most as it would be something completely contrary to how most of the population has been brought up. Thus, human cloning is something that our species is not ready to explore and that the idea should be disposed.