Cloning and Human Dignity

By Madigan, Timothy J. | Free Inquiry, Spring 1998 | Go to article overview

Cloning and Human Dignity


Madigan, Timothy J., Free Inquiry


All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident.

- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

I was a student at a Catholic high school in 1978 when the first successful in vitro fertilization case occurred, and I well remember the storm of controversy it caused. The events that ensued at the time met Schopenhauer's dictum above. First, comics like Johnny Carson had a field day telling jokes about "test-tube babies." Then several institutions, including the Catholic Church, began denouncing the procedure for being an act against nature. After the birth of Louise Brown though, things quieted down, and now the procedure is relatively routine. The United States alone has almost 300 in vitro fertilization clinics. Now, 20 years later, a new debate is following along the same lines.

The notion of cloning human beings seems to have passed from Schopenhauer's first stage (remember all the "Hello, Dolly!" jokes when Ian Wilmut announced in February 1997 that he had successfully cloned a lamb from an adult sheep) to the second stage. The U.S. Congress is currently debating whether all research on human cloning should be outlawed, and religious organizations of various denominations have urged them to do so. Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Seed has announced that he will open a clinic for this very procedure. As with in vitro clinics, where federal funding for research has long been banned, it is likely that private finance will fill in the gap. Indeed, the Raelians, a bizarre UFO religion based in Switzerland, has offered to fund Dr. Seed in his efforts. Talk about strange bedfellows!

FREE INQUIRY has been in the forefront of this debate, issuing a "Declaration in Defense of Cloning and the Integrity of Scientific Research" in its Summer 1997 issue. Signed by such luminaries as DNA codiscoverer Francis Crick, famed philosopher W. V. Quine, and biologist Richard Dawkins, the declaration was mentioned in articles in the New York Times, Der Spiegel, and several syndicated services. At the time, FREE INQUIRY was something of a lone voice in urging that inflammatory and ill-considered talk about "Frankenstein's monster" coming to life be halted and a better understanding of the implications and consequences of cloning be addressed.

In December 1997, 19 members of the Council of Europe signed a treaty against cloning, primarily because it is "contrary to human dignity and thus constitutes a misuse of biology and medicine." Interestingly enough, Britain - where the first test-tube baby was born, and where Dolly was introduced - did not sign the treaty. It has a strong tradition of defending the freedom of scientific research.

The need to defend human dignity is central to the humanist position. But in my view, it is the opponents of human cloning who are laying the groundwork for discrimination and prejudicial treatment. The main point to keep in mind is that a cloned human being would not be a mere replicant. It would be a unique person. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cloning and Human Dignity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.