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Thread: Therapeutic Cloning

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2002

    Therapeutic Cloning

    Here is a link to where the following article came from:

    To Clone or Not to Clone: the Debate Continues.
    Almost everyone agrees that cloning a human is wrong, but therapeutic cloning is a matter of saving lives.

    The U.S. Senate is currently debating legislation that would outlaw the cloning of a human being. This is an objective that nearly everyone supports. There is little scientific value in reproducing an identical copy of an existing human being, even if that becomes both possible and safe, which, at this time, it is not. There is a broad consensus in this country that such efforts serve no useful purpose, and more important, there are serious moral, ethical, and theological objections that people from a wide spectrum of traditions share. The problem is that legislation already passed by the House, and now nearing a vote in the Senate, would not only ban the cloning of a human being, but would also make it a crime to engage in "therapeutic cloning" of embryonic tissue that could have an important role in saving lives. The mere fact that the word "cloning" connects the possibility of creating a duplicate copy of an existing human, and the entirely different project of creating embryonic tissue for the purpose of saving lives, somehow clouds and confuses people to the point that they cannot see a difference between these two, distinct activities. The distinction is lost upon many in the Congress, and quite clearly it is lost upon the President of the United States himself.

    Indeed, in one of his most impassioned speeches since last September's terrorist attacks, Bush warned recently that ANY cloning research would inevitably lead to "embryo farms" and "a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts and children are engineered to custom specifications." This sort of rhetoric represents either a deliberate distortion of the issues involved, or ignorance, or both. Therapeutic cloning does not involve the creation of a human being. Period. The purpose of therapeutic cloning is to save the life of a living person rather than creating a duplicate.

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    Here's why therapeutic cloning offers such a powerful prospect for saving lives. The process involves taking an unfertilized egg from a woman and removing its nucleus. In its place, cells from a person who may be suffering from, say Parkinson's disease, are substituted, after altering those cells to remove the genetic aberrations that lead to Parkinson's disease in the afflicted person. In a laboratory, embryonic tissue is then grown, producing new cells that can be transplanted safely into the body of the Parkinson's victim, thus potentially reversing the inherited defect that lead to the disease in the first place. The diseased person's body would not reject the new cells as they were created using embryonic tissue that the body recognizes as its own. A similar process could be used to treat and cure numerous other diseases. Note, this is not a question of creating a human being that is then harvested for "body parts" as the President apparently fears. Rather than creating a new life, the purpose of this procedure is to save an existing person whose life is threatened. Nor can this procedure be characterized as involving the creation of an "embryo farm," to use the President's misleading phrase. Rather, the procedure involves the creation of stem cells designed quite specifically to save the life of a particular human being. I can think of no more appropriate activity for medical science than that of saving lives. Indeed, as a Christian who believes that life is sacred, I find it incomprehensible that other Christians would make such life saving activity a crime. Unless one is so perverse as to believe that God intends for us to suffer whatever diseases that happen to befall us without any effort to find a cure, I can find no rational or ethical basis for opposing the development of a therapy the purpose of which is solely to save lives.

    It should be pointed out that this procedure cannot be used with the stem cell lines that already exist and that the President has already approved for use in medical research. The reason the existing stem cell lines do not offer such promise is that if implanted into a person suffering from Parkinson's disease or any other illness, these cells would be rejected by the body of the disease victim because they were produced from embryos carrying the DNA of two people entirely unrelated to the victim. In fact, the research that the President has already approved, raises far more questions than the research he now opposes. For these embryos were created by a man and a woman for the specific purpose of giving birth to a child. And if you believe, as the President does, that life begins at conception, then chopping and dicing these fertilized eggs for research purposes would be clearly immoral. Add to this the fact that in limiting stem cell research to these few stem cells lines, the President is making those stem cells into a valuable commodity to be traded in the marketplace to the highest bidders. In a sincere attempt to "compromise" with these embryos, the President has in fact, from his own perspective, chosen the greater of two evils.

    For further, in-depth analysis of the issues now being debated in the Senate, you might want to read an insightful article by Columbia University Professor Robert Pollack: Stem Cells, Therapeutic Cloning and the Soul. Who is Robert Pollock? You might want to read my introduction to this molecular biologist who directs Columbia University's Center for the Study of Science and Religion: In Search of God at Columbia
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    Hi all,
    What are you're opinions on this article and on human cloning in general?
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    (Romans 6:23, WEB)

  2. #2
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    Jan 2002
    I have a question: Assuming that there is a high chance (as high as with normal birth) that a cloned human will be healthy, what exactly is wrong with cloning a human being?
    Elen alcarin ar gwath halla ná engwar.

  3. #3
    Old-Fogey:Addicts founder Terr's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Seattle, WA
    <sigh> Cloning is not the emotional issue, genetic engineering is, IMO. The problem is the unwashed masses tend to associate one as always occuring with the other. Cloning people... well, I guess it depends on why. I don't see a compelling reason to let people do so, but I don't see an overwhelming reason not to either. What DOES need to be done is to have some system set up to determine who has legal custody over clones.

    And creating a clone of a person without their express consent for any reason should be flat out. No way.

    Genetic engineering is a whole 'nother discussion, methinks.
    [HvC]Terr: L33T Technical Proficiency

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2002
    A clone would grow in a different womb, would be surrounded by different experiences, and would thus have a completely different psyche and personality. They would share all the genetic traits, and physically be somewhat similar, but they would still take just as long to grow up. A clone would be a seperate individual, and there would be no reason not to treat him/her as normal baby.
    Elen alcarin ar gwath halla ná engwar.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I just think Aldous Huxley was right. No way.

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