Matt Drudge had a recent story referring to the recent claims of a successful human clone being born under the tagline “DID THIS WOMAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF MANKIND FOREVER?”
Now, I usually like Drudge, but he seems to have joined the general hysteria surrounding human cloning.
I am skeptical that a successful human clone is scientifically possible in the near future, but even if this feat can be accomplished, I see nothing wrong or immoral about the practice. First, the classic argument against cloning, that interfering with reproduction “goes against God’s will” is nonsense. If we take this argument to its natural conclusion, then any human manipulation of genes is immoral. But we are in effect participating in genetic manipulation when we choose one mate over another, or breed a certain variety of a crop over another, or choose to have kids or not. Simply by favoring blondes over brunettes, or mates of a certain race, we are in fact engaging in genetic manipulation – and if man was made in God’s image, than that image is certainly a moving target. Excluding human manipulation of us and our environment leaves us with little choice, but to go back to the caves or trees we originated from – because it is in fact human nature to rule nature, rather than be ruled by it.
Cloning, like any technology gives man power — to improve his life, or to destroy it. In the long run, it is only the productive and life-enhancing applications of technology that make life and further development possible, which is why technology and industry is fundamentally beneficial to human life. The “natural order” for man is as a rational being who applies his creative power to benefit his life by conquering nature – including that of his own body. Because it excludes human achievements from “nature,” the entire notion of going “back to nature” implies a return to our animal nature — a miserable, short, and brutish life scrounging scrubs while trying to eke out a pathetic survival.
Another argument against cloning is that it will lead to birth defects and shortened lifespans. Perhaps so, but so will so does smoking, consuming alcohol and bad diets while pregnant – and mothers are not legally liable for in those cases. Perhaps, if cloning was inherently detrimental to a fetus – for example as random radiation exposure might be, there might be a case for banning it, but in fact, it promises incredible advances in preventing genetic disease and perhaps even improving on the fragile condition from which we have involved. Sure, some people might mess up their kid’s genes, but then stupid people have kids all the time – more than their fair share even, and no one tries to pass a law against that.