Human cloning has been a contentious subject marked with heated debate. However, most people seem to incline to the position that human cloning at the present time is unethical for a number of reasons including the likelihood of harm to participants and the safety of techniques used. An action is considered ethical if it portrays a commitment to honor other. This is the focus of the utilitarian consequentialist position, to maximize other’s overall good, as well as, the good of one’s self. From a utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint, human cloning is considered unethical. This paper is an evaluation of the utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint concerning the issue of human cloning.
To those in favor of human cloning, their arguments often revolve around the idea of addressing reproduction; however, such arguments tend to focus on the narrow benefits involved (Caplan, 2014). This does not mean that such arguments lack merit; some arguments in favor of human cloning in some way uphold the most meaningful and deepest shared societal values. In anticipation of human cloning, proponents have raised possible benefits including avoiding the risk of genetic diseases, allow couples of the same sex to have children, a solution to infertility, replace lost children or spouses and replication of talent. On the other hand, opponents have their own reasons revolving on the ethics of the technological application. For example, violation of the convention moral norms experimenting on humans, potential harm on cloned individuals and the effect of the technology on the relationship between generations (Devolder, 2013). However, both sides concur on the need to reflection on the social and ethical implication of human cloning.
Utilitarian Consequentialist Viewpoint and Evaluation
Utilitarian consequentialism is founded on the idea that an action is evaluated in terms of pleasure and pain in causes; utilitarianism attempt to weigh the two options in arriving at a moral decision that yields the least pain and most happiness. Concerning the issue of human cloning, a utilitarian consequentialist would weigh the pleasure and pain produced by the technology (Petrillo, 2014). Nevertheless, it does not mean that because human cloning may result in overall happiness for a greater majority, it is ethically accepted. It is true that human cloning has a number of potential positive benefits as mention earlier; however, it also has its own negative aspect. From a utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint, after weighing the perceived pleasure and potential pains, human cloning should not be permitted as it would result in more pain to the cloned individuals and the society since the clones will exist as copies or spare part of the existing humans.
The utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint in human cloning holds some water and is arguable to be valid because allowing human cloning will be like setting the foundation for capacities that can alter humans at the genetic level. It is evident from previous human actions that actions of this nature have had a significant effect on the human genetic pool (Kuhse, Schuklenk & Singer, 2015). For example, the treatment of diabetes using insulin has prolonged the lives of individuals with diabetes that would have died before reproducing and thus has contributed to an increase in diabetes gene in the population genetic pool. Engagement in human cloning without reflecting on the potentially serious and unanticipated consequence would be a great mistake in the human history. Given the importance of what is a stake, the scientist should be modest in attempting to alter human procreation and life, particularly when there is no compelling reason. Alongside the many potential negative consequences to the society and the cloned individuals, this justifies utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint in human cloning.
Though it may not be possible to know the long-term consequences of human cloning, the utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint holds that human cloning should not be permitted as it would result in more pain to cloned individuals and the society. The proponents and opponents of human cloning seem to concur on the need to reflect on the social and ethical implication of human cloning, thus pointing to the justification of the utilitarian consequentialist viewpoint in human cloning.
Caplan, A. (2014). Raymond Waggoner Lectures-Arthur Caplan, What is Wrong With Human Cloning?: The Ethics of Technological Reproduction, 1998.
Devolder, K. (2013). Were it physically safe, reproductive human cloning would be acceptable
Kuhse, H., Schuklenk, U., & Singer, P. (2015). Bioethics: an anthology(Vol. 40). John Wiley & Sons.
Petrillo, S. (2014). Moral Theories and Cloning in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, 27(1).