We are very close to cloning a person. This we should not do.
Our technology is close enough to human cloning that Brian Alexander of Slate magazine said a year or two ago that anyone with $50,000 and a good cell biologist could do this in a closet. Which only means that someone will do so, and soon.
Mary Shelly must be very sad.
I can just hear the terms of the argument now. Those of us opposed to human cloning will be accused of discrimination against children because of their genetic makeup. We will be accused of "killing children before they are born." People will say that this is the "ultimate rage against a woman's right to choose." Just because illogic is predictable doesn't mean it isn't inevitable. Supporters of human cloning--for whatever reason, many of them will be financial--will not fear to paint their opposition in the most emotionally negative colors possible. But that shouldn't stop us from thinkng hard about this subject, for it is dangerous.
There are two reasons that I oppose human cloning:
1. Children will be killed in the search for the "perfect" or even a "viable" child. It's happening now with in vitro fertilization.
"Today, thousands of women every year are having babies thanks to IVF. The success rate at well-run clinics has risen to between 20 and 30 percent--50 percent after repeated tries. Despite this great progress, there are still miscarriages, just like natural reproduction, and unneeded viable embryos are still discarded, two common criticisms voiced by oponents of cloning. But the downside is accepted as justified to help people have babies."
In other words, what are a few dead children if we get to have our cute live one?
But do we have the right to deliberately kill some children in order to make one? I don't think so. The God who has told us to stand before him and know that he is God, to see this world as his because he made it, and to see each person as important because he made all people, who has told us to walk in humility and obedience in his sight, did not give us the right to create life to destroy it. We don't destroy things in IVF or in cloning, we destroy people.
I have heard people talk of their "miracle babies" who were conceived in laboratories, but the proud and happy parents did not speak of their baby's brothers and sisters who were killed in order to make this "miracle."
Such is a human miracle, for it is the way of this world. We never quite hit the target we aim for. In trying to make a world where all people are equal, we make a world where most are tyrannized. In trying to make life, we make more death than life. No wonder God has told us to be humble before him. In trying to be God, we wind up being demons. Humility is the only way out of this.
Which brings us to the second point--
2. It's our way of playing God. It's another Tower of Babel. The story of the Tower of Babel is the first occasion for humor in the Bible. Where we decide to build a tower with it's "top in the heavens," God has to "come down to see" what we are doing. From our perspective we are ambitious and proud. From God's perspective we are puny and pitiable.
That doesn't stop us from playing God. It only stops us from being God. We continue to try, but all we do is to continue to lie to ourselves, to see ourselves as what we are not.
One scientist said that since having children was such an important event, "who would possibly leave such a thing to chance if he had a choice?" Then, this is likely to become the new pro-choice demand: designer babies. And of course, since that attempt at interesting people in building designer babies from the DNA of super models a few years ago hasn't taught us anything, how long will it be before we go literally excavating for famous and intelligent people's DNA and offering to build babies with the genes of Napoleon or Einstein?
Has our experience with identical twins taught us nothing? Twins, who share identica DNA, are not identical. Oh, they are usually very similar, but sometimes they are very different, too. Twins separated at birth and raised separately with no knowledge of each other have sometimes found at their reunion that they are quite similar. Some even have the same interests, facial expressions, and hand gestures. But some do not. Some are very different even though they look related.
That's because while we can clone the brain we cannot clone the mind. Though we can clone the body we cannot clone the soul. Some people hope to have a kind of immortality by cloning themselves, apparently hoping to clone their souls and minds. But it can't be done. Eternal life is possible through Christ, but not through the Human Genome Project. You are utterly unique and always will be. That's the way that God works. But God's way is not the way that we work. Cloning will not be what we hope it will. It will only be worse.