As I stood in the the shower this morning, I started to ponder the ethics of human cloning. I have no idea why. My mind tends to be both scattered and extremely active first thing in the morning. This is beside the point.
I was thinking about a Jon Stewart stand up routine that I listened to in which he went on for a bit about human cloning and how truly pointless it really is. As he put it, “There are already six billion people in the world. Clearly, fucking is working.” I would agree on this point. There is no point in cloning an entire human being when we already have unsustainable population growth as it is.
I can, however, see the utility of cloning specific tissues or whole organs for transplant procedures. There is a constant shortage of organ and tissue donors. In this context, human cloning is beneficial and merits increased research and expenditure in this area. On the subject of cloning an entire human being, my opinion is different.
I feel that cloning an entire human being for reproductive purposes would be inhumane. Only 1-2% of all attempted clones are viable and of those, 30% are born with genetic deformities that lead to a low quality of life that most, if not all, of us would find intolerable. I do not believe that the science of cloning has advanced to the point where we can safely and ethically clone human beings or create new organs that are safe for long-term transplant. Cloning is also too expensive and inefficient for widespread use.
Do not get me wrong. I think that the subject of human cloning is fascinating and merits a great deal of research. However, it has not reached the point where it is practical. In this case, practicality is the same as being ethical. Being able to simply grow new, healthy organs safely, effectively, and cheaply is a worthwhile goal and has the potential to greatly expand the human lifespan. It is definitely something that we should pursue.