Cloning - Do It, or Don't Do It?

Darin Stageberg, Counselor/Coordinator

DO-IT participants engage in interesting and meaningful discussions on our discussion lists. We have a group of more than 175 DO-IT Pals, Scholars, Ambassadors, and Mentors. Career Mentors are typically practicing engineers and scientists or college students. Many Mentors have disabilities themselves. DO-IT Ambassadors (Scholars who have graduated from high school and moved to postsecondary programs and careers) are peer mentors to younger DO-IT Scholars and Pals. Mentors help with academic questions, accommodation issues, career steps, and other important topics. The overall idea is that we support one another in setting and reaching personal, academic, and career goals.

Earlier this year, DO-IT participants engaged in a fascinating interactive discussion about cloning of humans that generated many responses involving science, engineering, and technology. Below are excerpts:

  • The topic of your message has been a hot potato in my biology classes this week! Students are actively aware of this event, and asking many, many questions ranging from "How was it done?" to "Is this ethical?" The tenor of our discussions has actually been quite positive.
  • For moral reasons, I oppose human-cloning.
  • Who are we to be Mother Nature? I think, that if this fell into the wrong hands, it could be chaotic! Besides, if we cloned humans for organs, are we going to kill them to take them out? Using a human life to save another? Who decides who is more important? The scientific aspect of this *is* incredible, however. I just think it could be used in more "ethical" ways.
  • I really felt strongly against cloning people after I read the book Brave New World. In this book people are created to fit certain jobs. One of the great things about the United States is the diversity of people. With cloning we could have many people who are exactly the same.
  • Cloning an entire human being is just asking for trouble. Do clones have rights? Better figure that out before we start cloning people.
  • I believe that it is allowable to clone a human if that particular human is in medical need, such as needing a transplant.
  • Good point about using clones for medical purposes, but just as long as it doesn't go too far. Technology almost gives too many options if it ends up in the wrong hands.
  • I am all for the cloning of a human being. Imagine having perfect genetic matches to any organ needed at any time. The average life span for humans will increase dramatically since most people die of failures of certain vital organs. The only problem I could foresee would be the moral complications of the life of the Clone. Should he/she be told that they are a clone? Should they just be used for "spare parts" and how is that morally and ethically justifiable? Even though the person is a clone, they have a soul too.
  • It is wrong to create an exact copy of a whole person because I feel each person is an individual and to go and copy them would be taking their individuality from them.
  • ...I don't think you can mess with God and his ways. Now I know this may seem harsh, but I just don't think you can mess with nature. Remember the movie Jurassic Park???
  • Now that the door is open, I can't see that legislation is going to stop human cloning. I think back to all the fuss when Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant, and many people said that was not rightŠplacing someone else's organs into another person ­ but look how "everyday" that procedure has become, with many types of organ transplants being completely acceptable. Is the fear of cloning mostly because people do not understand it???
  • The idea of cloning humans tends to bother me because I think some people might try to create the "Perfect Society." However, this might be a good way to increase the populations of endangered species.
  • With my personal beliefs, I think it would be WRONG to clone a human.
  • In a society that grades people by whether or not they are perfect, (Let's face it, no one is. Some disabilities and/or handicapping conditions are visible and some are not.) I feel this would only further complicate and hinder those that already have a steep hill to climb.
  • Who we are is not determined by our physical makeup, physically perfect or not, but by each and every thought we think that enables us to overcome each challenge we face in life and our ability to help others do the same.
  • I think people are freaked out. It took me 20 minutes to dictate my fears. Maybe we need more time on this subject.
  • As for restrictions, we should at least start with them. Cloning is something new. We don't know the implications and so on. Best to start cautiously so we don't inadvertently make a mess.
  • ...it comes down to what you believe is morally and ethically right.