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The science of cloning has had its share of controversies ranging from the ethical nature of the science itself to the supposed blasphemous nature of man playing God with nature. This view on cloning is the result of popular media and the entertainment industry which has portrayed cloning in a bad light for the sake of view ratings and ticket sales. It has been portrayed as being dangerous with having the capability of producing Frankenstein monsters or huge clone armies and most insidious of all the ability to replace people with no one ever knowing (de Grey 2006). With the science of cloning still in its infant stages it is highly doubtful such development would come to pass any time soon. Not only that but the benefits of cloning far outweigh it’s potential costs such as new ways of reintroducing extinct species back into nature, the commercialization of the cloning process to the food manufacturing industry towards the creation cloning factories for the creation of domestic animals for consumption and even the cloning of human body parts and tissues to replace those lost in accidents (de Grey 2006). This paper will examine the different benefits of human and animal cloning and will also seek to answer how the negative connotations in relation to cloning came to be.
Benefits of Animal Cloning
With the current levels of technology in cloning today it would be impossible to be able to create a clone of an animal from a single cell and have it grow to maturity in some sort of massive birthing tube. That is for the technology today though who’s to say what may happen 50 to a hundred years from now. If the abhorrence towards cloning continues science may lose the chance to be able to solve a vast majority of the problems that most societies face today due to the apparent short sightedness of a few people (Turnpenny 2007). The technology could one day help to replenish the depleted stocks of fish in the oceans today, case and point the blue fin tuna. The total current population of the blue fin tuna has now come down to 2% of its original population sixe since the 1980’s. Humanity’s voracious appetite for the fish can and probably will lead to its extinction in the near future.
Attempts at methods of conservation have failed and it seems inevitable that the fish will go extinct. If there was a way to increase the population of the species without comprising consumer demand then shouldn’t society pursue that option? The science of cloning could provide that answer one day in the future wherein through the potential commercialization of the technology it would be able to supply both the demands of a growing population as well as conserve nature (Turnpenny 2007). Though this is all purely conjecture movies such as 6th Day which show the potential of the technology shows that it could be possible if it were allowed to grow and expand unhindered by similar conjecture as to its potential for abuse and destruction.
Benefits of Human Cloning
Amputations, third degree burns, organ failure and a host of similar problems have always presented a challenge to doctors. For one thing you can’t just give a person a new arm, leg or foot at times its either the use of a prosthetic or the challenge of finding a genetically compatible donor who is willing to give up the body part, something which rarely if ever occurs
(Cobbe 2006). As for organ failures a transplant is usually needed but in such cases the waiting list is fairly long and not everyone will be able to be accommodated (Cobbe 2006). It is reasons such as these that the science of cloning began in the first place, for if science was able to create body parts and organs for people who need them the most then doesn’t this show that the science of cloning is an ethical one? (Pearson 2006). Through cloning people could live longer, recover from otherwise fatal injuries and as shown in the movie 6th day cloning could have the possibility of making humans immortal. Immortality though is a different ethical matter, humans are meant to die since if the species didn’t the Earth would be overcrowded suppose though it was possible to keep the best and brightest of humanity around for that much longer? The possibilities of accelerating the current level of humanity is there through that process. More discoveries could be made, newer and even better forms of technology could be devised. Cloning holds all of these possibilities for the human species if only society would reach out and grab it.
Cloning in Popular Media
Popular media and the entertainment industry have portrayed the science of technology as a Pandora’s box waiting to be opened (Maio 2006). Connoting the technology with the possibility of creating Frankenstein like monsters or evil clone twins. It must taken into account that to most of the general public television and movies act as their window to the world, so much so that they readily believe and assimilate what knowledge is imparted to them from the media. As such the result of programming portraying the science of cloning as having the potential to create havoc in the world a lot of people are against it due to the simple fact that as a result of media programming they take for fact what is actually fiction (Maio 2006). This is not helped by the fact that the entertainment and the media industry don’t seem to want to correct this erroneous belief in fact they continue to propagate it for the simple fact that it creates high viewer ratings and ticket sales.
Based on the findings of this paper it can be said that the science of cloning can be beneficial to humanity if used properly and that it is only due to the propagation of the media that the science of cloning is considered blasphemous and unethical when in fact it has the potential to help humanity in several of the problems the species faces today. As such it can be said that if the way in which the media portrayed cloning would be changed then maybe, just maybe public sentiment towards the science would improve as well.
List of References
Turnpenny, Lee (2007). Is Cloning’ mad, bad and dangerous?. European Molecular Biology
Organization Vol 8 (1). Retrieved on March 23, 2010, from
Cobbe, N. (2006). Why the apparent haste to clone humans?. J Med Ethics [online] Vol 32(5):
298-302. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & Institute of Medical Ethics. Available from
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649076/?tool=pubmed > [23 May 2010]
Maio, Giovanni (2006). Cloning in the media and popular culture. EmbO Rep [Online] Vol 7(3)
241-245.European Molecular Biology Organization. Available from
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1456881/?tool=pubmed > [ 23 May 2010]
de Grey, A. (2006). Life extension, human rights, and the rational refinement of repugnance. J
Med Ethics [Online] Vol 31(11): 659-663. Available from
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1734045/?tool=pubmed > [ 23 May 2010]
Pearson, Yvette (2006). Never let me clone?: Countering an ethical argument against the
reproductive cloning of humans. EMBO Rep [Online] Vol 7(7): 657-660. Available from
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1500819/?tool=pubmed > [26 May 2010]
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