On Cloning

On Cloning

On Cloning

On Cloning

Synopsis

Cloning - few words have as much potential to grip our imagination or grab the headlines. No longer the stuff of science fiction or Star Wars - it is happening now. Yet human cloning is currently banned throughout the world, and therapeutic cloning banned in many countries.In this highly controversial book, John Harris does a lot more than ask why we are so afraid of cloning. He presents a deft and informed defence of human cloning, carefully exposing the rhetorical and highly dubious arguments against it. He begins with an introduction to what a human clone is, before tackling some of the most common and frequently bizarre criticisms of cloning: Is it really wicked? Can we regulate it? What about the welfare of cloned children? Does it turn human beings into commodities?Dismissing one by one some of the myths about human cloning, in particular that it is degrading and unsafe, he astutely argues that some of our most cherished values, such as the freedom to start a family and the freedom from state control, actually support the case for human cloning.Offering a brave and lucid insight into this ethical minefield, John Harris at last shows that far from ending the diversity of human life or creating a race of super-clones, cloning has the power to improve and heal human life.

Excerpt

My interest in cloning was kindled when I started thinking about cloning in the light of the birth of Louise Brown on 25 July 1978. I described the technique that eventually produced Dolly in a paper published in 1983, and discussed some possible advantages of the technique in my book The Value of Life which was published in 1985. I am somewhat shocked to find that I have been actively thinking and writing about cloning for more than 20 years. I seem to have been one of the first philosophers to take the idea of cloning, at least as to its positive aspects, seriously, to signal the possible therapeutic advantages that it might bring and to be interested in the ethical and regulatory dilemmas it might create. Since then I have maintained the strong interest culminating in this book which aims to bring all my ideas on cloning together and also to advance the debate about the law and ethics concerning cloning in the light of developments to date.

One of the most exciting things about working in the field of the ethics of science and technology is that there is always some new discovery, or some new application for existing technologies. For this reason (and possibly also because of the essentially controversial and contested nature of ethical debate), ethical issues are never definitively resolved or closed and no 'final' word is possible. What I hope to have achieved

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