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Does cloning benefit or endanger society?

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Introduction

Does cloning benefit or endanger society? Marley Gibbons-Balfour Case Study: Biology Contents Introduction 1 Background Science 2 Arguments against 4 Arguments for 7 Summary 10 Conclusion 11 Bibliography 12 Introduction Cloning has quickly become one of the most contentious issues in modern society, along with other issues like abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia. Due to the conflicted teachings and ideologies of many people in the world, there is no general consensus about cloning. Some people feel that it could benefit humans (through cures, through solving infertility and through knowledge), while others feel it could endanger humans and is a bad thing (due to ethical issues and due to being unaware of what could happen if it didn't work). Because of this, I have decided to investigate whether cloning actually does benefit or endanger society. I will go about this by collecting 6 sources (3 against cloning and 3 for cloning) and evaluating the evidence they present with the hope of coming to an unbiased conclusion of whether cloning benefits or endangers mankind. I will aim to collect my sources from a number of different places and resources in order to make my final conclusion more reliable. It should be noted that much of what is discussed in the field of cloning is hypothetical as humans have yet to do many of these things. This means that the topic will be very relevant in the future, and therefore I have decided that the target audience for this case study will be teenagers, as they are our future generation. An example of the results that successful reproductive cloning could yield Background Science Cloning is the process of creating an organism or tissue which is genetically identical to another organism or tissue. Genes are sections of DNA, found in the nuclei of cells, which contain information for the production of proteins. A clone has the same genes - and therefore proteins - as the original organism, which is why they are considered to be identical. ...read more.

Middle

Darvonsky did actually say what the newspaper reported she said. The Christian Science Monitor can be considered to be quality media and therefore somewhat reliable. Ms. Marcy Darvonsky has a PhD and is the Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society, an organization which is 'particularly critical of proposals for full-term human cloning'. Her credentials add credibility to the source and show that her opinion should be valued in the debate. Along with this, the fact her evidence is correct suggests that the source is also reliable. Arguments for Source 1 Title: Experts support human cloning From: BBC news article by unnamed journalist - published on 16th August 2000 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/881940.stm#top The basic message behind this source is that therapeutic cloning is beneficial to society as it provides the opportunity for humans to deal with diseases that are currently impossible to cure. The source's evidence for this idea is that embryonic stem cells can develop 'into almost any kind of tissue in the body, including nerves, muscle, blood and bone', and therefore, they can be used to make a new part of the body ('selected types of tissue') which can be used as a replacement for the unhealthy organ or tissue. This evidence is accurate. Stem cells are unspecialized cells which can turn in to any kind of cells. If a stem cell is treated with the right chemicals, certain genes can be switched off, which will result in the desired cell being made. For example, if scientists want to make heart cells, they can treat the stem cells with chemicals. This will turn off all the genes that aren't needed for the production of heart cells. The stem cells will then specialize into heart cells. This could be beneficial to society as it could provide patients with the opportunity to replace their faulty organs. The stem cell used would include the patient's genes, and therefore it is certain that the patient's body would accept the replacement organ; this isn't a certainty for normal transplants. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therapeutic cloning would create a massive ethical challenge and therefore I feel that that was a strong argument. Overall, I have found that most of the arguments supporting cloning assume that the success rate is high. If the success rate of cloning was actually high, these would be strong arguments. The problem is that the success rate is not high, meaning most of the arguments are weak. For example, it is true that cloning would benefit society as it could cure a number of diseases if the success rate was high, but with the success rate as it is now, it will not benefit society. So many resources will be used and it is unlikely that everybody will be cured. On the other hand, most of the arguments opposing cloning would be strong arguments whether the success rate was high or not. For example, if therapeutic cloning had a low success rate, some people would consider it ethically unacceptable; if therapeutic cloning had a high success rate, some people would still consider it ethically unacceptable. On that basis, I believe that cloning endangers rather than benefits society. The uproar from legalizing the practice would be too large and the low success rate renders it pointless at this moment in time. I see why some people would support cloning, there could be massive benefits. I just feel that until the success rate can be increased, there is no real benefit from it. Also, if cloning became common practice it is possible that somebody with the wrong intentions could gain the capability to do it. This is something I'd rather not find out. Regardless of my opinion though, cloning will forever remain a contentious issue. Some religious people may feel that cloning is playing God, while some optimists may feel that the benefits of cloning outweigh the risks. There are too many people in the world too many with contrasting beliefs for there to be agreement over the topic, so ultimately, we will never find an answer as to whether my opinion is correct or not. ...read more.

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