Ethical issues in human cloning

While evolving a policy on cloning there are several ethical questions that must be considered. Some of these questions are: Should Human cloning of athletes be allowed? Is it legal? Under what conditions would this principle be acceptable? Would it be morally correct to permit one team to boost its athletes to a state where are placed at an unfair physical advantage over other teams, through the use of cloning methods? Would this constitute cheating? The ethical issues that rise in this case  have to do with cheating versus fair play in games, through the duplication of talented individuals which would place one team at an unfair advantage over another, an advantage gained by artificial means. There is the moral issue of the ethical considerations of using human beings as guinea pigs for the purposes of research. Another moral issue also arises here: Can the unique nature given to man by God be compromised by creating a duplicate carbon copy of a human being? Can man play God and create another man?

The facts of the case:

Cloning refers to the transfer of  somatic nuclear cell transfer in order to create genetically identical human beings, so that the special sports skill and ability of one team member may be duplicated in another (www.ama-assn.org). However, a genetically engineered individual is not necessarily exactly the same as his predecessor, therefore human cloning for sports appears to be illogical (ww.ama-assn.org). Cloning can also be abused by some unscrupulous persons to produce clones without the permission of the person concerned, since they can create a clone using a small part, even hairs from another person’s body.  Moreover, every person has rights and this raises the issue of rights of the clone who has no separate identity. If it is unable to duplicate exactly the talent of the former, there could be unwarranted psychological and social complications for the clone.(www.ama-assn.org). Moreover, cloning would also seriously interfere with the natural human gene pool by introducing unnatural aberrations and interfering with the natural patterns of nature (www.ama-assn.org).

Decisions:

Decisions that could be applied in this case are (a) the University should absolutely forbid cloning (b)The University may consider cloning with framing of proper parameters for its use (c) The University should permit cloning, in the interest of achieving excellence in sports.

The decision I would choose would be the first, because the issue of cloning is so complicated and raises so many legal and other ramifications and complications that it is best left alone. First of all, it is unethical for man to play God and interfere with the natural process of growth and development of skill. In the field of sports, the underlying principle of the Olympic Games or any sporting competition  is to reward  the kind of excellence that is the result of team spirit and achieved by dint of sheer hard work and perseverance. Therefore, using any and all artificial means would be equivalent to cheating. The Foucaultian standard of ethics dictates the integration of individual codes and standards of morality and behavior into the collective morality but not the elimination of individuality[Shogun 1999] which would be the effect of replication through cloning. Scientific research may be used for the good of man in a crisis. Cloning in sports does not address any medical crisis in a human being that will result in the saving of a life, therefore it cannot be considered justifiable in any circumstances. Man’s interference in natural processes has already created problems, sports drugs and steroids are already an issue, therefore team spirit, fairness and truth cannot be sacrificed or compromised merely to win games – this is not the purpose of sport.

                                                       References:

  • Shogan, D: (1999): “High Performance Athletes: Discipline, Diversity and Ethics.”

Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp 88-102

  • “The Ethics of Human cloning.” [Online] Available at:

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/369/report98.pdf

Let's make that grade!