The pace of scientific study and discovery has not slowed in the last decade. Every day, scientific journals and the news media report on fresh and deep findings that appear to unlock doors that it was never known to exist. Scientists have often endeavored, via their studies, to enter the very heart of the cosmos and reveal the principle of what comprises human beings. Human cloning is one of the most significant scientific accomplishments in recent years. Human cloning is the laboratory-assisted duplication of a strand of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to create a duplicate human. It involves removing DNA from a donor’s cell and inserting it into another cell to create a new embryo with the same genes, thereby creating a duplicate of the donor (Rahbaran et al., 2021). Cloning has various benefits, particularly in the medical profession; nonetheless, with such a massive advancement comes reflection and frequent worry about its usage. Human cloning should not be legalized based on a wide range of ethical, environmental, religious, and societal reasons, such as the human soul, global legal framework, resource shortages, and social disturbances.
Current International Regulations
At the moment, strict restrictions prohibit the practice of reproductive cloning, with SCNT illegal in 70 nations as of 2015. Several international measures have also been implemented, including the Council of Europe’s 1998 Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine on the Prohibition of Human Cloning, World Health Organization resolutions on the implications of cloning for human health in 1997 and 1998, and the European Union’s 2000 (amended in 2007) Charter of Fundamental Human Rights (Romanovskiy & Romanovskaya, 2021). All three publications center their opposition to reproductive cloning on the premise that the purposeful production of an identical human being violates “human dignity”, and so constitutes biological and medical malpractice.
Reproductive cloning is believed to violate human dignity since the act of creating an identical replica of a person’s DNA deprives the original of their agency. Those who embrace this viewpoint use a conventional Kantian perspective, believing that dignity is inextricably related to the ability to have a distinct identity. The occurrence of identical twins undermines the argument’s core principle. Genomes do play a part in our development, but they are unlikely to be a determinant of our identity. To begin, since uniqueness is accountable for one’s dignity, it must be considered that having a sibling with identical DNA compromises a twin’s dignity, robbing them of the intrinsic human characteristic of a distinct identity.
Several people argue that this predetermined view of genes’ roles is simply incorrect because personality is made up of an immensely complicated set of qualities, and genetics have just a little influence in shaping who we are as people. The life cycle of a clone is not set to mimic the originator’s – clones may make their own decisions, and possessing an identical genome does not limit this liberty. It is believed that human cloning might improve human dignity because it may well help to accentuate, underline, and show off with clarification (Shafique, 2020). This is entirely apart from anybody’s intents, the enigmatic capabilities that compose and express human dignity.
For some, it is not the technological cloning of a genome that is wrong but the likelihood that this process may be used to benefit the parents. Skeptics claim that clones might be created for unethical purposes and then mistreated once born. Examining Kantian ethics, where the morality of an action is judged by its purpose rather than its effects, this argument would establish human cloning to be unethical owing to the parent’s selfish motives (Jain, 2021). Christof Tannert defends this by asserting that cloning “only serves the selfish interests of a creator,” basing his claim on Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative: “act so that people treat humanity, whether in their person or the person of any other, always as an end, never as a means only” (Shafique, 2020). This exemplifies the wickedness of reproductive cloning, as its technology may enable individuals to use humans (the clone) for egocentric objectives rather than recognize their humanity. However, this is a gloomy premise that suggests reproductive cloning is being abused. Although Kant’s moral principles may be applied to current individuals, they do not account for contemporary technical advances, leaving us with little direction in judging whether or not human cloning is ethically justifiable. Kant’s works date back to 1785, making their relevance to current medical technologies questionable.
Whereas the Bible does not expressly address human cloning, there are ideas in Scripture that may give further light on the topic. Cloning necessitates the use of both DNA and embryo cells (Rahbaran et al., 2021). From the religious perspective, the core of the debate on the topic is about defining what is human and what constitutes a human being (Evans, 2020). John H. Evans earned his Ph.D. at Princeton, and he has been involved in the field of ethics for decades. He published six books, and he is currently a co-director of the Institute for Practical Ethics as well as a professor at the University of California San Diego. While science can describe a human as a biological organism, religion offers a more metaphysical explanation, which is centered around the idea of soul and divinity.
It is common knowledge that human beings are purely God’s creations, according to all Abrahamic religions, with a soul or consciousness breathed in by the Creator. Despite human exceptional ingenuity, science still has no explanation for why consciousness or soul exists since it cannot be studied with the existing methodologies due to the deeply subjective nature of the phenomenon. Internal experience has no direct causal link with the physical world but a mere correlational relationship.
In other words, one cannot connect the causal chain between the firing of neurons in the human brain to the subjective experience of pain, pleasure, happiness, and sadness. This is referred to as the Hard Problem of Consciousness (Evans, 2020). Monotheistic religions have a clear stance on the given matter by attributing the phenomenon to the Creator Himself and His will to grant humans their souls. Several scripture principles can be used to explain the Christian perspective on human cloning. First, humans are unique because they were made in the image of God. According to the Bible, a man was made in God’s image and likeness and is unique among all things (Genesis 1:26-27). Human life is something to be respected rather than viewed as a commodity to be bought and sold.
Additionally, since mankind was formed, a Creator must exist, and as a result, humanity is responsible to and subject to that Creator. The Bible teaches differently from what is often believed—secular psychology and humanistic thought would have one believe that man is ultimately responsible for himself. God handed the earth’s management to man when he created him (Genesis 1:28-29, 9:1-2). Accountability to God comes along with this duty. Man is not ultimately in charge of himself, and as a result, he is not in a position to decide the worth of human life. Therefore, science is not the deciding factor in the morality of human cloning, abortion, or euthanasia. The Bible claims that only God has the right to rule over human existence in this manner. It is putting oneself in God’s place to try to manage such occurrences, and an imperfect creation isn’t supposed to do this.
It is not hard to see humans as mere mechanisms in need of maintenance and repair if a man is considered to be just another creature rather than the unique creation that he is. However, people are more than simply a collection of molecules and substances. According to the Bible, God created each of us and has a unique plan for every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11). In other words, there is a process each soul and body is brought into the physical world, and humans have zero understanding about the nature of consciousness. This means that cloning is engaging in an activity without complete comprehension of possible ramifications, and no ethically dangerous endeavor should be done without fully assessing its risks. While certain features of human cloning appear to be positive, humanity has no control over where cloning technology will lead. It is naive to believe that solely noble motives will guide the use of cloning. Man is incapable of exercising the responsibility or judgment that would be necessary to regulate human cloning.
Environmentalists oppose human cloning since genetic engineering has already shown significant negative consequences. One such example is the evolution and survival of some animal species, such as the effect of Bacillus thuringiensis corn genetic modification on the monarch butterfly (Ten Have, 2021). Likewise, the long-term impacts of cloning on mankind should be carefully studied, not just in the short term but also over the years to come. Cloning will indisputably affect the human race positively or negatively. Additionally, it may be expected that if scientists master the ability to clone effectively, the value of life and the ecosystem will rapidly erode. The necessity to protect animal species and people would be gone. This would disrupt the environment since it neither assures the sustainability of the ecosystem nor the survival of varied species.
Moreover, a single illness might exterminate an entire species that is susceptible to that sickness. Genchi et al. (2020), in an article, state that “cloning might lead endangered creatures that have been cloned to be wiped out by the same illness. They may all be prone to the same sickness since they would all have the same genetic makeup (Genchi et al., 2020). Cloning would be an effort to save the lives of animals who are in danger of going extinct, but it could hasten the extinction of the species. It is believed that “if a substantial fraction of a nation’s cattle are identical clones, a virus, such as a particular strain of mad cow disease, may damage the whole population. As a result, that country might face severe food shortages” (Jasim, 2022). Genetic variety refers to the many gene combinations. A species’ chances of survival improve when it has variety.
Such statements explain why genetic variety is required because one cow’s genetics may have made it resistant to the illness. Jasim’s (2022) article indicates that cloning “can prevent endangered species from disappearing as well as allow healthier human beings” (p. 53). This is not true since even though endangered animals were successfully cloned, all of the clones would soon die from the same disease, putting the animals back at risk of extinction. Finally, cloning would be harmful to the ecosystem.
Furthermore, validations for why human cloning is an unethical process have been provided from societal and philosophical standpoints. Some philosophers worry that human cloning might threaten the family as a whole and society’s view of reproduction (Shafique, 2020). Others worry that the clone’s identity would be confused and that harm may be done to the clone’s psychological growth (Jasim, 2022). Some others even contend that the clone would not be human. The idea that human cloning will encourage the tendency of designer babies and human improvement is the fourth argument (Jasim, 2022). There is widespread consensus that human cloning for the aim of creating an exact genetic replica of a newborn would be immoral in light of these results and social considerations.
Socially, the clones that are to be made will likely be individuals with different thoughts and feelings, yet, this contradicts the objective of the clones’ production. The clones will be created for the sole purpose of donating organs or replacing a deceased individual, thereby fulfilling a need. This procedure disregards the clone’s feelings and the concerned parents or relatives since it does not see the clone as a live human (Jain, 2021). There can be a complete misunderstanding, and the clones could only be formed to meet a need, which would be antithetical to being created for love.
Cloning would also allow people to predetermine the traits they choose in their offspring, leading to the deprivation of family life and offspring personality. The traits that are not selected for a long time will go extinct and dominate in the current society; the children will be given qualities established on the day’s subject. This may seem to be a hyperbolic execution of the societal difficulties created by cloning, but it may also be genuine. Cloned children would grow and acquire attributes according to their parents’ liking, ending up being what their parents envisioned wants them to be, becoming robots with no distinct aspirations and ambitions in life (Shafique, 2020). This would trigger a series of demands that the previous generation would impose on the subsequent generations.
In conclusion, human cloning should be illegal because science has zero understanding of the human consciousness or soul phenomenon, and the practice will likely cause a worldwide shortage and social disturbances. Firstly, the existing global framework on ethics has serious concerns with human cloning, and there are justifiable reasons for them. Secondly, human consciousness is beyond scientific comprehension except for speculation, and engaging in an activity without a full understanding can have massive ramifications. Thirdly, cloning is already well-known to have a dangerous environmental impact, which would be worse with a human involved in the process. Lastly, the fabric of society itself would be disturbed by human cloning.
Evans, J. H. (2020). The social context of religion in the jurisdictions of bioethics. The American Journal of Bioethics, 20(12), 1‑4.
Genchi, G., Carocci, A., Lauria, G., Sinicropi, M. S., & Catalano, A. (2020). Nickel: Human health and environmental toxicology. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(3), 679.
Jasim, Y. A. (2022). A genetic disaster of human cloning. Cihan University-Erbil Scientific Journal, 6(1), 53-56.
Jain, R. (2021). Human cloning: Ethical issues & legal implications. Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research, 2(1), 35-46.
Rahbaran, M., Razeghian, E., Maashi, M. S., Jalil, A. T., Widjaja, G., Thangavelu, L.,… & Jarahian, M. (2021). Cloning and embryo splitting in mammalians: brief history, methods, and achievements. Stem Cells International, 2021.
Romanovskiy, G. B., & Romanovskaya, O. V. (2021). Human rights and modern biomedicine: Problems and perspectives. RUDN Journal of Law, 25(1), 14-31.
Shafique, S. (2020). Scientific and ethical implications of human and animal cloning. International Journal of Science, Technology and Society, 8(1), 9-17.
Ten Have, H. (2021). Genetic Modification (GMOs), General. In Dictionary of Global Bioethics (pp. 559-560). Springer, Cham.