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Human Cloning: Handle With Care

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Human Cloning: Handle With Care Suppose one day you could go into a lab and make the perfect human being. Suppose you could take your own genes and make a copy of them. Think about the possibilities: - The chance for childless couples to raise a family. - The chance for dying patients to harvest the organ they need to save their life. - The chance for a grieving family to replace their lost child one with another just like them. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? And the fact is, since Dolly - the worlds most famous sheep - was cloned , the possibility has become very real. But we must be careful about this. This is real science. It involves real human beings. And there are risks you take when you start to play God. Look at some examples in the field of infertility treatment today which have been reported in the news: - Take the university clinic in that California impregnates women with embryos from couples who haven't given their consent. ...read more.


You might accept one in 273 possibly normal sheep as a result of cloning technique in sheep; but will people accept 12 deformed human fetuses and 200 failed fertilized eggs with an unknown outcome in human beings? To quote Rabbi Elliot Dorff in the Christian Science Monitor: "What do you do with the ones that 'don't work?' " "You don't have a right to destroy any human being," he says, "and it may be that the benefits are not greater than the risks." Then there's the issue of interfering with the process of evolution. Diversity is good in a species. It contributes to the vitality and survivability of species. By getting uniformity, you actually weaken a species. The winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Eric Wieschaus, has reminded us that "Possibly our survival as a species depends on population diversity." He has said he prefers to "define human beings as members of a varied gene pool rather than as aberrations from some ideal form." ...read more.


We have moved on from the basic technology creating near exact DNA copies of the original. Now it is also possible to map the brain from the original to the clone. The individual can achieve perpetual life. Who uses the technology? Powerful and wealthy individuals. Leaders of state and industry. Power struggles emerge between those who have the means to endlessly replicate themselves and those who are new-born. New laws are passed that state that clones do not have the same rights as the original. Now we have the makings of a perpetual slave class. And where is our species headed then? For most of this century, our world has believed in scientific progress no matter what. Anything goes, if it's scientific progress. But just because we can do something, that does not mean we should. And when we turn to issues as enormous as this, we must think very carefully indeed. So I want to leave you with this thought: human cloning may well be possible but let's be very clear: that doesn't automatically make it right. This is an issue that we must handle with care. ...read more.

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