Magazine article Wired

Embrace Human Cloning

Magazine article Wired

Embrace Human Cloning

Article excerpt

Embrace Human Cloning

Why shouldn't science create carbon copies of people? Nature does it every day.

Human clones, it is widely assumed, would be monstrous perversions of nature. Yet chances are, you already know one. Indeed, you may know several and even have dated a clone. They walk among us in the form of identical twins: people who share exact sets of DNA. Such twins almost always look alike and often have similar quirks. But their minds, experiences, and personalities are different, and no one supposes they are less than fully human. And if identical twins are fully human, wouldn't cloned people be as well?

Suppose scientists could create a clone from an adult human: It would probably be more distinct from its predecessor than most identical twins are from each other. A clone from a grown-up would have the same DNA but would come into the world as a gurgling baby, not an instant adult, as in sci-fi. The clone would go through childhood and adolescence with the same life-shaping unpredictability as any kid.

The eminent University of Chicago ethicist Leon Kass has argued that human cloning would be offensive in part because the clone would not be fully a surprise to the world. True, but what child is? Almost all share physical traits and mannerisms with their parents. By having different experiences than their parents (er, parent) and developing their own personalities, clones would become distinct individuals with the same originality and dignity as identical twins or anyone else.

Others argue that cloning is unnatural. But nature wants us to pass on our genes; if cloning assists in that effort, nature would not be offended. …

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