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Since its conception,cloning has had people arguing different views on why cloning is either one ofthe greatest breakthroughs in the scientific world, or why it is a timebombwaiting to detonate. The topic has created controversy about everything from itsethical validity to its unnatural practice. Predictions of ways it will bemanipulated for misuse have overshadowed the idea of cloning since its humble,successful, and potentially beneficial beginnings. Statements that cloning willbe contrary to human dignity have given cloning an image unacceptable to most.There is much more to be accomplished before human cloning is a reality, sincethere is still more to be done to flex the potential cloning holds. Butdismissing cloning could be a big mistake, since it could be beneficial. Manyfeel it should not be outlawed.
Since its beginnings, cloning has raisedquestions: Is it moral? How can this aid the world? What negative effects will ithave? Since cloning is highly debated, many questions remain about how it works.To answer the questions, the process should be explained.
"Biotechnology has undergone a revolution ever since theintroduction of recombinant DNA, which was discovered in 1970," author BillBrown explains (The Truth About Anti-Cloning ... It's Out There). Cloninginvolves lines of biotechnology and the intricate patterns which lie in our DNA(the foundation of our individual genetic code). The basis of cloning revolvesaround somatic cell nucleus transfer, where the nucleus of one cell is insertedinto another cell whose nucleus has been removed. This procedure has recentlybeen enhanced, allowing this transfer to occur between adult cells. Beforebecoming mature cells, embryonic cells have the potential to become any type ofcell if a certain stimulus is present. The pre-adult cells are manipulated whenthey are able to be changed by another stimulus cell, transforming and creatingan exact copy. When we see that cloning is nothing more than an advancedscientific process, we see that it is a well thought out technique that holdsgreat potential.
So what can this technology be used for? What benefitsdoes it hold for the public? One of the most anticipated uses that cloning couldmake available is the gift of children for infertile couples.
Beingable to replace defective genes (as well as correcting DNA sequences from normalcell clones) would rid the world of some of the most devastating diseases,explains Dr. Seed, one of the most respected doctors involved with cloning."Cloning would benefit many of those ill in the world today," he says.The technology we need to cure millions is at our fingertips, but fear of itspotentially negative use is keeping us from numerous breakthroughs.
Whatis the opposition to cloning? There are three basic arguments: cloning is notnatural; it has potential for misuse; and it's immoral.
The idea thatcloning is unnatural is the most absurd argument. The idea of "playingGod" and "changing the way things should be done" is the mostdebated topic for anti-cloners. Environmentalist Jeremy Rifkin implies thatcloning "throws every convention, every historical tradition, up forgrabs." In other words, if humans no longer come from two humans, what isgoing on? Well, what is unnatural? Why is it bad as soon as cloning emerges?Cloning may be un-natural, but only "in the sense that it is not the processby which humans ordinarily procreate," says Brown.
The problem withthe argument that cloning is unnatural is that many things today are not natural:disease vaccinations, trips to the doctor, your house, even the clothes you wear.If we were to travel back to "natural," we would never have anycreations to improve life. Brown also discusses the "unnaturalness" ofcloning, saying, "Certainly no one would argue that we would be better offif we had remained strictly hunters and gatherers, yet they do argue that sciencemust be halted." Those who endorse this argument should have no right, then,to be in a house, wear clothes, or use technology.
This may seem a bitdrastic, but this is the nature of the argument against cloning. Any ideas toimprove things would be outlawed. Since the discovery of the wheel, we becameunnatural. This argument seems foolish. What if man was never to fight plagues,im-prove daily life, or advance technologically just because the practice is notnatural? This cannot be held against cloning because we have been"unnatural" for thousands of years!
Another major argumentagainst cloning is that it will be misused if the wrong people get hold of it.This drawback is true, but only to the extent that everything around us haspotential of misuse when put in the wrong hands. If we give cloning power to amadman, we might see clonings with negative outcomes. Contrasting this, ifcloning is correctly utilized, the positive possibilities are endless. Thus, thisargument is ineffective since this scenario can occur with any advancement. Thisargument is just a "what if" statement: What if cloning gets out ofhand? What if we clone a notorious killer? What if ...? When used correctly,"cloning is expected to greatly benefit mankind," assures Dr. Seed (TheBenefits of Cloning).
The answers to many of the common problems facedtoday are all curable through cloning procedures. For example, we see the highnumber of donors needed for the many patients seeking transplants. Cloning wouldend the wait for trans-plants since what is needed could be repaired with onehealthy organ, may-be even the patient's organ. "Diabetics could getinsulin-producing cells transplanted into their pancreas, or heart attack victimscould get heart tissue replacements," explains Brown. The point is that manyof today's common medical problems have the potential for healing. Cloning is theanswer.
The last argument is the claim that cloning is immoral. Why? If aclone is basically an identical twin separated by time, it is nothing but ahuman. Some fear human cloning would render the clone a mere organ factory, whichis immoral. But if clones are treated as regular human beings, then they, too,would have civil rights. Therefore anyone who violated the rights of a clonewould be treated as any criminal violating human rights.
Each argumentagainst cloning seems not to endanger the public, but concerns an ethical type ofdanger the anti-cloners worry about. The future of the human race may bedependent on whether or not cloning will be accepted. New technology has alwayshad difficulty being accepted, with obstacles to face and things to prove, butmost, once accepted, prove beneficial. Give cloning a chance.