Preventing a Brave New World
In his argument, Dr Kass strongly condemns human cloning for several reasons which he clearly articulates in his speech. An experienced scholar and scientist in his own right, Dr Kass fervently fights for the national and international ban of all work involving the cloning of human beings in what he terms as a very unnatural thing.
To him, cloning is such a dehumanizing act because it obviously goes against the human act of procreation which is solely designed for the creation of newborn babies. Instead, he sees that soon people would be caught up in the dilemma of having to choose between having to procreate in order to have babies or just deciding to order for them just like any other commodities and have them cloned for them. This, he argues, would eventually wipe out the need for humans to procreate in the long run because cloning would seem a simpler way to get children. Dr Kass not only terms cloning as dehumanizing, but also terms it very evil. Every person interviewed in one way or another also finds the matter of cloning humans abhorrent, detestable and socially unacceptable. Thus, he persuades everyone to seek any legal prohibitions to help prevent cloning by all means possible.
In his four specific objections about cloning, Dr Kass argues that the act of cloning or rather cloning experiments are totally unethical. This is because cloning experiments often involve the death of fetuses and may also result to the birth of deformed children. Human cloning experiments are a very risky process and any human error by scientists performing the experiments would lead to fatal errors causing the production of unhealthy children as well as disabled ones. Consequently, this may mean that the unhealthy or deformed clones would be of no use hence a need to do away with them as they do not meet the requirements. This is what Dr Kass find totally unethical and unacceptable.
Another point that Dr Kass drives home about why human cloning should be banned is the fact that human cloning poses a threat to the virtue of human identity and individuality. A clone would bear total semblance to its parent or sibling from which it was cloned. This would mean that the life of the newly cloned human would be marred with numerous expectations to relive the life of its parent due to total likeness. This would result into lack of identity by the clone as it would try to emulate or be forced to do so by circumstances without its control. Their future would be dictatorially determined by their parents inherently.
Human cloning would also lead to making the human being an artificial product. As a result, this would lead to the creation of an unequal relationship between parent and child simply because the parent would feel some sense of superiority and prowess in creation of a new “product” of total likeness by artificial means. Dr Kass uses the analogy of the manufacturer and the product to base his argument claiming that no matter how good the product may turn out to be, the manufacturer would always stand out to be the superior. Hence, cloning would eventually lead to the disruption of the normal parent-child relationship that exists between children born through procreation and their parents.Another fallback to human cloning which Dr Kass strongly condemns is the likely event of parents coming up with an unreasonable set of expectations for their children. For instance, he claims that, a child born to an athlete or an actor would have to live their entire life emulating the life of the parents from whom they were cloned or be coerced I a particular manner to relieve the lives of their parents due to the exactness in their genetic make-up.
Another fear which Dr Kass expresses about cloning is the future inability to control the use of cloned embryos once they are produced. This, he notes, would be so because cloned embryos unlike naturally conceived ones have a predetermined genetic make-up and would hence seem more appealing because of their ability to bear exact identity of child to parent. Seemingly, embryos begotten from the uniting of sperm and egg due to procreation cannot have their genetic identity determined in advance like cloned embryos whose genetic makeup can be scientifically manipulated to suit the semblance of their parents. This appeal would endear cloned babies to people and make the use of cloned embryos unpredictable once started.
Some of the strengths in Dr Kass' argument against human cloning are portrayed in his claim that the act of cloning human beings is indeed dehumanizing. This is true because dehumanizing in itself means to deprive one of the intrinsic human attributes or qualities. Cloning means that a child lacks the natural qualities inherited from their parents by virtue of birth. Lack of these attributes may make the human clone look more artificial than a natural being. Hence, this exposes them to dehumanizing conditions which are totally out of their control and which they can neither acquire from their immediate environment by the virtue of being clones. On the contrary, this may expose cloned children to stigmatization by other naturally born kids owing to the fact that almost everyone polled about the issue on human cloning found it socially unacceptable. This would mean that for them to live with human clones in the society would be equally hard.
On the same note, Dr Kass strongly argues the predictability of the control of the use of cloned embryos. This is because of the appeal that cloned human embryos would create compared to naturally conceived ones due to the ability to predetermine their genetic makeup. We all know that during the cloning experiments scientists create and test cloned embryos for viability and see if they can actually grow and live a normal life. Those that fail to pass the viability tests would be of no use and are hence destroyed and discarded. Others would be frozen and stored for future use. This, in Dr Kass' arguments, cannot be controlled.
However, Dr Leon Kass fails to convince us on the likeliness of parents to cloned children exerting pressure on their kids simply because they bear an exact semblance in their genetic make-up. It is not possible to ascertain how the expectations of parents to their cloned offspring would exert psychological pressure on their children given that clones are not expected to behave the same way or even have the exact qualities or attributes from their parents since they are totally different individuals except for their matching genetic makeup.
On the other hand, Dr Kass' claims that human cloning would lead to a loss of human identity are unsatisfactory. This is because, he says, that the clone would be like a twin to their parents and would hence have to relieve a life already live through coercion by their parents in what he terms as a despotic act. Well, it would be illogical for him to say so because every child, even naturally born ones, no matter how exact they look like their parents, would usually grow up to have an identity of their own. This identity, even though greatly influenced by their environment, is intrinsic in them and cannot be formed by another person in any way whatsoever.
Hence, even though Dr Leon Kass strongly argues against the cloning of human beings, he falls short of convincing us to believe why based on the reasons he gives. Some of his claims are not only unsatisfactory but illogical. Even though the general human feeling would find human cloning unusually unnatural, there are many more solutions that cloning could bring to human problems such as barrenness/infertility, alternative to genetic illnesses and cure to diseases among others.
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