To begin with, who am I? I am a hardware analyst for a prominent U.S. corporation working towards getting my degree in Computer Science. My field of interest is in programming and artificial intelligence. My brother is a biologist who studied microbiology and genetics. I am also a Christian of conservative Independent political views.
I support cloning simply because of the beneficial achievements that it will bring around in the field of medicine. I do not accept the fear-spawned belief that cloning is amoral or evil. Nor do I accept that it is against God's wishes or that it is an attempt to 'play' God.
Firstly, let us look at the scientific facts. To begin with, cloning is a normal phenomenon that occurs in nature. Secondly, we cannot clone a personality or a person's beliefs. Also, we cannot clone a person's memory, which means that the idea that cloning would allow a person to live forever is incorrect. Last of all, clones are not produced in glass jars or any other artificial device.
Cloning occurs naturally in many species on earth, including humans. The definition of a clone is 'a genetic duplicate of a person or creature'. By this definition, any creature that asexually reproduces creates a clone every time it reproduces. It clones itself over and over. Also included in this definition of a clone are identical twins. Therefore, any creature, including humans, that is capable of giving birth to identical twins is a natural, biological cloning apparatus.
Going from the evidence that identical twins do not share a single personality, nor do they share a single soul, it is not a function of cloning to create a duplicate of a person's personality. Just as identical twins develop different likes and dislikes, so would a set of identical clones. With this knowledge, we know that it would not be possible to clone an Adolf Hitler and have him try to take over the world, unless the situations under which he was raised and nurtured lead to this type of behavior. In fact, a cloned Adolf Hitler could very well choose the Jewish faith and work to right the wrongs of the Holocaust.
Deriving further from the evidence we also find that identical twins do not share identical memories. It is ridiculous, therefore, to assume that cloning would provide anyone with the ability to live forever. Such beliefs are Science Fiction, not science fact. To accomplish anything of this magnitude would require the technology to transplant a person's entire brain from the old body to the new one. At this time, such a transplant isn't possible without causing serious damage to the brain, as well as not being able to reconnect the nervous system. This would cause paralyzation, perhaps even death.
Furthermore, clones are not raised in glass jars. Every clone produced to date experienced a live birth from a surrogate mother or other form of natural birth for its species (ie. hatching from an egg). Until such a time that we can produce an artificial womb that allows gestation outside the mother's body, this will always be the case. Organs, limbs and other cloned parts, however, could be grown in nutrient solutions, giving us a never-ending supply of donor organs and replacement limbs. Organs could also be cloned from the patient's DNA, making them far less likely to be rejected by the body.
Now, to deal with the moral side of the issue. First the issue of creating life. Second, I will discuss the belief that cloning is against God's wishes and that it is 'playing' God.
Is cloning an attempt to create life? No. Cloning is an attempt to copy life or to reproduce life. Reproduction occurs in every known living species on earth. Cloning attempts to take a single person's DNA and make a genetically identical copy of that person. In other words, cloning is nothing more than a scientific attempt to reproduce the naturally occurring phenomenon of identical twins. A cell culture is taken from a person and is nurtured and manipulated into reproducing the individual's physical make-up. Once the cells have begun, they are place into the womb of a surrogate mother and the clone begins to grow. The clone would gestate for 9 months, just like any other child and would be born, just as any other child. There is no magical 15 minutes in some radiation tank and POOF!, you have a full-grown copy of the original person that shares a soul and thoughts with the original!
From this knowledge, it is easy to see that cloning is simply another way of reproduction that has many medical benefits for those of us already born or to be born. It won't replace sex as the main form of human reproduction! (And I seriously doubt the mental faculties of anyone who believes that it will!) Therefore, if it is simply another way of reproduction, then it is no more against the will of God than artificial insemination. Nor is it an attempt to play God. It is simply another way for infertile parents to have a healthy, normal baby in as normal a fashion as possible. It even surpasses artificial insemination in that the child is the actual biological offspring of its parent or parents.
Most importantly, in a day when Christians are constantly fighting abortion, an act which destroys life, I am appalled that they turn around and condemn the study of a procedure to reproduce life. In our society it seems we give the technology to those who don't want children, but we keep technology away from those who do want children, but cannot have them! This in itself is hypocrisy!
The knowledge that we can gain in the process of perfecting cloning is also of tremendous worth. We can gain the ability to replace damaged organs and limbs at a significantly safer level that does not require donors, clone skin for burn victims, possibly learn to cure cancer and other diseases.
Imagine a world free of cancer, HIV, Alzheimer's, and other deadly and debilitating diseases. Imagine a world where there are no wheelchairs. If such a hope is against God, then what kind of God do we serve? God himself gave us the knowledge to perform such wonderful things so that we might have hope during our time on this world.
Look at the facts. Ask your conscience if you can deny research that might give some heart-broken couple the children they've always dreamed of, or free a small child from the confines of the wheelchair that imprisons him. If you are still against cloning, then you have no conscience, and I pray that God has mercy on your soul.
Written last 10/19/98