Utilitarian Consequentialist Perspective: Ethics of Cloning
The emergence of a cloned ewe called Dolly in 1997 was a shock to the entire globe. Since an animal had been successfully cloned, it was only natural for scientists to try to replicate human beings. In 2001, a U.S. Company that deals with Advanced Cell Technology announced their first attempt towards making a human clone.Â Even though the experiment failed, the developments in biotechnology sparked a lot of interests regarding the morality and ethics of human cloning. This essay explores the bioethical issue of human cloning and how it challenges the absolute worth of the life of a human being from a utilitarian consequentialist perspective.
Utilitarianism is a prominent ethical theory that assesses the rightness or wrongness of actions or ideas based on their implications for the mass population. Utilitarians view morality as an opportunity to make life better or to increase the good things on the planet by reducing the bad aspects. They think that what makes ideas and actions justified is their positive contribution to the human race. A person or entity is thus forced to develop calculations that will balance things out to generate the most happiness. Additionally, consequentialism allows morality to generate all forms of overall consequences (Vaughn, 2015).
In the issue of human cloning, a utilitarian viewpoint would argue that it is essential to weigh the pleasure and pain that the idea or action will produce. Cloning entails the procedure of acquiring genetic material from one living organism to formulate an identical copy of it artificially. The outward appearance of the clone and organism will appear similar, but they will both have different personalities and attitudes. Human cloning possesses benefits such as the creation of additional living organisms that people need, regenerating an extinct species, providing infertile couples with children, compensating for the loss of a child, elimination of the birth defects, tissue and organ harvesting, amongst others (Vaughn, 2015).
According to Vaughn (2015), the adverse implications of human cloning include the possibility of using the clones as slaves, experimentations on human beings, the lack of individuality of a clone, uncertain future outcomes regarding the health of the clone, aggressive genetic illnesses, social divide, etc. Human cloning is considered morally wrong by everyone who comes into contact with the potential dangers of the process. A significant portion of the clones dies after or before they are formed. They also obtain different malformations and abnormalities. Up to now, not even animal clones have successfully been created. It is thus disheartening to even contemplate a human child arising from a similar process.
However, human cloning from a utilitarian consequentialist perspective is set to benefit many people on earth. From the standpoint, it is viewed as morally justified. Genetically altering the chromosomal composition of a person so that he or she can be free from defects would be ethically right. However, the uncertainty that arises from cloning makes it difficult to develop a concise analysis of the positive implications of the process. For example, the clone ewe, Dolly, was a remarkable creature who broke the boundaries of human thinking to usher in the prospects of human cloning. However, a few years later, Dolly exhibited signs of premature aging as well as genetic diseases (Vaughn, 2015).
It is thus not right for scientists to be provided with the go ahead to dive into genetic engineering due to the uncertain outcomes of human cloning. At this early stage, a utilitarian consequentialist perspective of the bioethical issue is a bit hazy because it appears as if many individuals will not benefit from the scientific procedure. But there is also the aspect of a few mistakes saving millions of lives and ensuring the survival of the human race particularly at a time when the environment is in danger, and they are numerous incurable illnesses. Fortunately, with the introduction of computer simulations, it will be easier to examine the positive implications of human cloning to the general population since they will be no urgency to conduct human and animal experiments.
Vaughn, L. (2015). Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton & Company.