|Assessing the "Evils" of Human Multiplicity
By Clyde Lewis
I know that I am in the minority when I say that cloning is not evil. I have personal reasons for hoping that cloning will eventually become legal. In the meantime bans exist which I think are dangerous. If we make it illegal to clone purely on moral myths then we will actually see the very result from cloning that we feared the most in the first place.
Itís a very scary word and is the basis for an argument that perpetuates itself. It looks as if anyone can come up with arguments against cloning. We can have elected officials put moratoriums on the science. We can also have a President who might even be (in jest) a clone of his father make laws banning its implementation.
Itís easy to say cloning just doesnít feel right.
We canít base ethical arguments on something that "is just not right."
For many years people were under the impression that interracial marriages were "just not right." People today base their prejudices against homosexual behavior as being "just not right."
It is difficult sometimes to pick up your morning paper and read headlines that appear to be taken from a strange science fiction novel. As we have noted before this is not a test this is the future. We are about to take the next step in our evolution. However there are many people who do not want to evolve and adapt to the new processes that are available to insure survival of the human species.
The methods available seem so new, so alien, and so sudden.
But as I will demonstrate these ideas and practices are not as new as you would think.
I find it difficult to get people to step out of their time and take seriously the ideas that sound absurd at first.
It is the ultimate egotism for anyone to believe that everything that we are told is true, is absolutely true. Everything that we know is constantly in a probabilistic flux.
Even if you think that you have found something that is absolutely true it doesnít necessarily remain that way for very long.
We as humans need to understand this. If we could remove a large part of our rigid thinking, perhaps we would be able to view things with objectivity and allow for the increase of knowledge and busting open the doors of perception.
This is a great time to be alive. It is a time where we are trying to implement the very things that we have been wired for since the beginning of time.
ÖBe fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it, and have dominion fish over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. ĖThe Bible
Now more than ever we are learning that the beliefs that we hold dear probably will not mean as much to us in the future. Or the possibility exists that the beliefs we hold may have a completely different meaning. The nebulous aspects of a belief, the mysteries, and the conundrums may all show themselves.
This is what is meant by Apocalypse. The Apocalypse is a time for the revealing of those mysteries and some people may not be able to handle the new revelations and the new knowledge that man has learned to magnify and implement.
Today the idea of multiplying and replenishing the earth is not limited to the act of procreative sexual intercourse. With advances in biology, genetics, embryology and cloning, man can now multiply and replenish the earth even if he is rendered incapable of doing so through sexual contact.
Cloning is reproduction without the mating of the male sperm and female egg. In sexual reproduction the offspring receives half of its genes from each parent. In cloning procedures the embryo gets itís genes from one individual.
There is a great deal of fear amongst those who believe that this practice goes against nature. There are moral arguments that get tangled somewhere between evolution vs. creationism.
This causes an atmosphere of controversy. It raises questions on whether or not cloning is a sound science or an error prone process that could produce problems in our future.
The most overused clichť is that "man should never play God."
However we take for granted that doctors play God everyday. They hold in their hands the power of life and death.
In order to try an illustrate my frustration over those with the religious fear that cloning is evil and repugnant practice, I must use the Bible to show that cloning was perhaps used as a way to continue the progeny in antiquity.
It needs to be pointed out that at the time the word came forth from the mouth of God in the book of Genesis that man should multiply, he was incapable of doing so through sexual intercourse. This is because he did not have a mate and before his "fall" he was, in essence, sterile.
So how was the creation of a mate accomplished?
Lets let the bible explain how it was done.
"And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. He then took one of his ribs and then closed the flesh thereof. The Rib, which the Lord had taken from man, was used to create woman and he brought her to the man."
It states clearly that man fell asleep and while he slept God engineered a mate by using a piece of Adamís body.
This appears to be the first example of cloning.
This of course sounds a bit like some made up cosmic blasphemy that I am famous for. However it seems to me that it is obvious that Eve or "woman" was in fact a part of Man and was equal to man in every way. This would indicate cloning. The problem that I see is that most people are hung up on the idea that clones do not have souls. That perhaps they are lesser beings.
This is definitely not the case.
There was no question that the mother and father of creation had souls because it is clearly stated in the second chapter of Genesis:
And the Lord God breathed into his (Manís) nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.
Does this indicate that human life begins upon the first breath? Before the first breath does a man have a soul?
After death we assume that the soul has left the body. We say that it has shed its physical shell. There is no breath after death.
The body lies in state breathless and soulless.
Does the reverse psychology apply when it comes to the unborn?
This is a moral conundrum today with advances in embryology and the act of cloning.
Why are there apprehensions about using this new technology?
Apparently in ancient texts like the bible, the practice is common.
Such is the case with Chapter 13 in Judges.
Manoah was unhappy because his wife could have no children. Then one day an angel comes down from heaven and tells her that she will indeed have a child only if she complies with some health changes. She was told not to drink wine or eat unclean foods.
And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson and the child grew and the lord blessed him.
One of the biggest obstacles in allowing cloning to be used for human multiplicity is that notion that "God does not approve of such activity."
If God does not approve then why did he allow it anciently? In the case of Manoah it was an angel or an agent that knew of the reproductive sciences that allowed for his wife to give birth.
There is no question that Samson had a soul. It is also necessary to point out that there are times when conventional methods of reproduction just do not work.
Even in the Bible.
Someone explain (if not by the pure magic of miracle) did the Christ child end up in the body of a Virgin named Mary?
We know that according to the good book the spirit of the Lord fell on her and she conceived. However how did we get a man with the genetics similar to that of God? Are we to determine that God came down and actually had sexual relations with Mary?
Of Course not.
According to Christians, Jesus was God Incarnate. He shared all of Godís attributes. He was a twin made in similitude of the Father. A perfect reproduction.
Jesus himself said that you should follow his example by doing what his father in heaven does.
That included loving one another, being tolerant of others viewpoints, using wisdom and in some cases healing those who are in need of the healing force. This would include healing those who somehow can not multiply and replenish the earth would it not?
We must indeed take into account what happened to Jesus.
Could the same thing happen today?
Of course it could.
There are already people who have predetermined views on what clones are or what they might become and so they decide that clones would or either be soulless, or freaks of nature.
They anticipate some mythological science fiction horror where clones are carbon copies of a person when in reality they are nothing more than a delayed identical twin of the individual.
Could we envision in our future the remote possibility of rallies or "flesh fairs" similar to that which was seen in the movie "A.I." where androids are hunted down and destroyed in celebration of natural "life?"
It would be far more barbaric in this instance because we would justify the hunting and eventual murder of clones or the torture of clones because of our prejudice and ignorance.
It is our ignorance that I feel renders the populace into believing that clones will be worthless automatons.
I know it sounds outrageous now, but history always has a tendency to repeat itself. On a planet where genocide has been attempted many times it is possible that we could let hate, fear, and ignorance get in the way of tolerance and wisdom.
If a clone is literally your delayed identical twin then we must conclude that like an identical twin a clone is a separate individual biologically, psychologically, morally and legally. It is your genetic equal.
Is that repugnant? Is it immoral? Do genes determine fate?
Are we so bold as to embrace genetic determinism?
This is the path that was taken in Nazi Germany. The Naziís believed that genes determined everything about an individual. There are still groups and secret societies that also determine individual worth through bloodlines as well.
It is difficult to even find the source for the recoiling of the consensus regarding cloning.
I have already taken on the religious issue. Hopefully I can gain some ground as to other issues that hang like a dark cloud over the progression of this science.
Science has determined that genetic determinism is false.
Biologists have come to understand the ways that genes operate and they are quite aware of the multiple outcomes where environment affects their "expression."
The genetic contribution to the simplest physical traits, such as height and hair color, are also significantly mediated by environmental factors and quite simply the luck of the draw. This is evident when you see a very overweight individual who has a thinner sibling.
Even the most passionate genetic researchers say that those traits we claim to hold more sacred, namely intelligence, and the ability to have compassion are limited by environmental factors.
So much for the idea that a cloned Hitler would be identical in attitude if he was raised in a different environment.
There is no genetic code for serial killer, mass murderer, homicidal, or genocidal maniac.
How silly is it to even think that an army of Hitlers could be cloned and that every separate individual Hitler would have the same feelings about Jews and world conquest?
Before the public denounces this science I believe there needs to be a move to educate the people. We need to recondition the populace into understanding that clones will not be a bunch of bottled identical fetuses in a baby factory ready for harvest.
If we were to remove the fallacy and educate the public about cloning would the recoiling of such an act by the consensus be lifted?
Would we then begin to have open discussions about the idea of cloning instead of borrowing our ideas from comic book philosophers of our day?
I fear that our ignorance on such matters is opening several doors to trouble.
We open the door to misuse of the science. We open the door to renegade scientists, crackpot scientists, and militants who declare that they will indeed attempt to clone humans without a sound regulatory criterion.
"Back alley cloning" could be the result. What I mean by this is that there are many factors that need to be weighed out before Scientists proceed. There are Scientists that are now planning to clone humans and face losing their practices and their reputations.
Recently Dr. Severino Antinori of Rome received a harsh warning from Italian medical authorities that he risked losing his right to practice in Italy because of his plans to clone humans.
Antinori, who has repeatedly discussed plans to begin human cloning this year, told the La Stampa newspaper that 1,300 couples in America, mostly in Kentucky, and 200 in Italy are candidates for his research Ė and that he plans to start cloning embryos in November. He claims that the cloning procedures are therapeutic for those couples who have no hope of having children.
I hope that Antinori has the wisdom to work out standards and practices so that the procedure will not harm the couples or cause anymore emotional distress.
There needs to be a standard for examining abnormal embryos, abnormal placentas, and screening out clone hosts that have heart and circulatory abnormalities.
There needs to be regulations, rules of practice and ethics. There also needs to be objective debates on the possibilities of failure of a cloning procedure. There is always error in the creation process, even during natural conception.
I have concluded that there is a constant in the universe and that is incompetence. Living in a chaotic world basically guarantees that procedures can cause problems. Everything has the propensity for failure.
Science cannot rule out the possibility of mutation or other biological damage to the clone.
However I have a hard time figuring out how it makes a difference if nature has the ability to generate mentally retarded children or children with various defects.
I guess it is easier to blame God in this instance. You canít sue a God for giving you defective genes. However we has humans somehow come to the brilliant conclusion that Godís "will" is to allow this to happen.
Which brings up another conundrum. Since we are able to pass the blame when a cloning experiment fails, what are we going to do if a human cloning experiment is a success? Does a clone have a right to an open future without a predetermined fate?
Will the clone be constantly compared to the person he was cloned from? This opens up the possibility for oppression and eventually rejection if the clone does not perform to a pre-determined expectation.
These concerns are academic when you consider that children who are naturally conceived get the same "chip off the old block" treatment.
The argument now is that daddy was a gifted athlete and so little Johnny will be one too.
In the future it could very well be the argument that Michael Jordan was a gifted athlete and so his clone will be one too.
Sorry, it just doesnít happen that way.
Roll your eyes if you want, but the process of cloning might just show us where we go wrong in our attitudes and oppressive behaviors against race, ethnicity, and our children.
I could see it now, we would criticize a parent for pushing a cloned child in a predetermined direction and yet we would allow for the abuse of children by parents who own their right to grow and raise their own victims.
Surely we turn the other way when parents force children into believing their religion, or their bigotry.
Surely we worry about the horrible act of experimenting with embryos and destroying fetuses and we care about the child when it is in the womb. But the minute it pops out we donít care as much. Clones would probably get it twice as hard. People claim that cloning is an affront to human dignity.
It needs to be said that no one's life is entirely free of burdens.
To put it in the simplest terms life for all of Godís creatures is Hell!
So before we go around saying that cloning is an affront to human dignity. We may want to look around us and realize that there are many things that are an affront to human dignity.
Isnít decaying from a terminal illness an affront to human dignity as well? What if that human suffering could be cured with stem cell research and even cloning of organs and body parts that could be placed in your own body without the risk of rejection? Is it more of an affront to human dignity to receive the heart of a Baboon or even a pig liver in order to survive?
Long time conditioning and fear will keep things in balance.
That is why I believe that cloning will not be a widespread practice.
It will be as taboo as an abortion.
Self modifying the body through genetic engineering will be more attractive in the future.
All things that can be corrected through genetics manipulation will be fine.
It will be common to ask a doctor for a blue eyed child, or a blonde, or brunette.
No one will bat an eye at Skin farms, where human skin can be grown for burn victims. No one will worry about Limb crafters that will be able to create an arm or a leg for replacement in an hour. No one will scream over electronic eyes, saline breast implants, tummy tucks, or chemical peels.
That is why I believe that the root of consensus cloning revulsion is based fundamentally in the fear of playing God. It is the fear that it is unnatural even though I have attempted to point out that identical twins are similar to clones and that they are indeed individuals with souls.
As far as the argument regarding the soulless clone, it needs to also be said that any theologian that touts this dogma has no credibility.
The "Evil" that comes with cloning can not all be blamed on the very attempt at the science. It is most certainly based in the lack of rationalism.
While we passionately argue over speculations and dogmatic fears we forget that on this planet life is no accident and it always seems to find a way to persevere.
When the words "Let us make man" were written on scrolls many millennia ago we didnít get the details on how they made him. We only know the result of secret science that started the snowball effect that lands us in the place we are now.
Simultaneous Global Evolution.
Could it be that the many generations before were faced with the same opportunities?
That there was no missing link because we were jumpstarted in the same manner by scientists that came from somewhere else?
Are we wired to do the same thing that our creators did in the beginning?
The answers are in the book of life. In the very container that houses the soul.
Who will be the first to open Pandoraís box?
It is manís destiny to explore creation.
He may just find out just who he really is.
Return To Ground Zero
Voice Your Opinion