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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 604)...

    If you have been watching the news recently, you must have seen something about how a company called Clonaid has claimed to have cloned the first human baby. Clonaid is also in a way, a branch of a new religion movement called Raelian that believes man was made a long time ago by aliens who genetically created us in labs. I guess this belief isn't that much different from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic belief, neither can accept that we evolved from "common slime." The leader said that their long term goal is to use cloning to give humans eternal life. What is your opinion on this subject? Do you think these people will ever achieve their goal? Do you think they will be allowed to? If they do, what do you think the effects on this world will be?

    ...and the response:

    Cloning cannot "give humans eternal life." If you, for example, are cloned, your clone will have a consciousness separate from yours. When you die, your clone will live on -- but it won't be "you" who lives on. So whoever it is who has the goal of conferring eternal life on humans through cloning is just talking nonsense. Will they be allowed to clone humans? On that, I have no crystal ball to consult. What effect on the world would human cloning have? Ultimately, cloning is just another method of reproduction -- an artificial way of producing identical twins. Cloning doesn't automatically reproduce character, which is a product of nurture and of life circumstances of unbelievable complexity. Cloning Adolf Hitler will not automatically give Nazis a charismatic leader. Cloning John Wayne Gacey will not automatically give Chicago a serial killer. Cloning Albert Schweitzer will not automatically give the world a great humanitarian. Cloning John F. Kennedy will not automatically give the Democratic party a winning presidential candidate. Cloning Captain Kangaroo will not automatically give CBS a successful children's TV host. As it is right now, every generation produces charismatic leaders, serial killers, great humanitarians, winning presidential candidates, and successful children's TV hosts, so where does human cloning come in? What benefit or threat does it offer that isn't already present in our society? Since, realistically speaking, human cloning offers no benefit (other than the satisfaction of scientific curiosity), who's going to be pushing for it? My answer would be: People who see a way to make money out of it, selling gullible people the absurd notion that cloning will give them eternal life. There are plenty of gullible people, of course, but a cloning scam is not as easy or cheap to run as a Pigeon Drop (which can be run on any street corner with virtually no capital). In sum, I don't see much threat (or benefit) in human cloning. It will be done -- just to prove that it CAN be done -- but it's not going to be the wave of the future.

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