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Cloning fever has gripped the nation. Families want to clone their dead children, pet owners want to re-create their dead pets, and barren couples want to clone themselves. The resulting argument is nearing abortion on the controversy scale. ‘How can these people want to defy God like that?’ one camp asks, while the other wonders ‘how can these people not see that since the science exists, we are entitled to use it?’. While both sides are making as many valid statements as they are making outlandish ones, the governments of the world are, as a whole, indecisive on the issue.


Religious perspectives range from the wary to the outright belligerent, and the cry ‘man shouldn’t play God’ is heard far and wide. Scientists question the ethics and morality of cloning a human being for any means, be it research, medicinal purposes, or reproduction. The world at large, though, seems to have missed the most important factor in all of this debate: Common sense.


The world’s population in 1800 was around 900 million. In 1900, it was 1.6 billion people. In one hundred years, the population of the planet rose by 80%. Today, the world counts 6.2 billion citizens, a 400% increase. The population explosion began in the 1950s, and if the current trend continues, the population will reach the nine billion mark within 50 years. With such explosive population growth leading to overpopulation, what possible justification can there be for using artificial means to birth a child? Regardless of whether it is ethical, moral or just, cloning makes no sense from an environmental standpoint. It makes even less sense from a fiscal standpoint.


College tuition in the United States is rising beyond the means of many in middle America. Yet barren families are willing to clone themselves at expenses nearing $100,000. Raising a child will cost an estimated $237,000 over the next seventeen years. The average family income in 2001 was just above $62,000. Let’s look at a breakdown:

Mortgage:





$10,000
Child expenses (per child)

$14,000
Food







$8,000
Car payment





$3,000
Utilities





$3,500
Taxes







$18,500
Total:







$57,000



This model leaves just $5000 after expenses per year, for a family with only one child! Now, a second child lowers the tax amount slightly, but the average family also wants to send their child to college. A four-year degree will likely cost more than $80,000. The money that will no longer be spent feeding, clothing and otherwise maintaining a child at home would logically go to that, but everyone knows that just because Junior has left town to go to school, he’s not done raiding your wallet. So the average family saves on food and electricity, but still has to pay for their children to live and for their education. Overall, the money crisis has not ended.


Now, add in a loan for $100,000 with a 15-year term. That’s around $10,000 per year if the rate is good. Suddenly, the parent of a clone is less worried about paying for college, and more worried about paying for the child! The middle-class working family is suddenly saddled with a $5,000-per-year deficit and a child to raise. Considering that cloning and the clones themselves are going to be closely watched, one can expect that medical costs not covered by insurance will be high, as well. This clone, this child, brought into the world to satisfy some misplaced need, will be brought into an environment that cannot support it. It is well documented that the one of the leading causes of divorce is money problems. These families are setting themselves up to have a planned pregnancy that has a greater than 50% chance of destroying their marriage, thus causing no end of problems for the child itself.





The subject of cloning pets is even easier to shoot holes in. The SPCA often campaigns to have your pets spayed, because of the overpopulation of domesticated cats and dogs. Hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals die each year, yet people feel the need to keep ‘Fluffy’s’ legacy alive. One word solves both problems: Adoption. Regardless of how hard it is or how much it costs, it’s less costly and better for all parties involved on many levels. It gives a home to a pet or a child that did not have one, it does not add to an already overpopulated species, and in the case of children, requires that the parents be fit to raise a child.

As the argument over cloning rages back and forth, the one group that suffers the most is routinely forgotten: the children themselves. No child would benefit from reproductive cloning, whether they be the cloned child, or the orphan who is not adopted because a clone took their place. And in the end, the whole human race suffers as our living space gets smaller and smaller. Think before you start donating cells. It’s just common sense.



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Comments

The following comments are for "Beyond God, Ethics and Morality: Common Sense and Cloning"
by Julian

Good, but still plenty of points you missed
I thought this was a good article. You've made a good point argument, while keeping out of the shaky ground. So I comepletely agree with what you've said.

But I did think you've missed a few good points, that really ought to be included....

For starters, clones are not the same as the original. They have different personalities, and probably even look different. Cats especially are a good example, because the patterns and even the colour of the fur are determined by conditions in the womb, so the clone of your precious "Socks" may easily turn out to be a plain black cat.

Secondly are the enormous risks involved. For every clone that makes the headlines by surviving, hundreds are miscarried, or are so deformed at birth that they die soon after. Even the ones that appear normal often have hidden defects. Would you really want to clone a child (and lose thirty others in the process), and have them develop debilitating arthritis at age ten?

So that's two points I thought you should have covered in more detail.

By the way, you might also want to have a look at my poem currently in the poetry section here called "The Clone Song". It's a (rather tongue-in-cheek) commentary on the current enthusiasm for "theraputic cloning". Not quite the same topic, but there is some overlap.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: August 20, 2002 )

Re: Good, but still plenty of points you missed
For starters, clones are not the same as the original.
Secondly are the enormous risks involved.

While these are valid points, they lie almost entirely out of the scope of my argument. Yes, clones are not exact duplicates, and there are risks involved. However, in 20 years when (perhaps), cloning has been perfected and these problems eliminated, my arguments about money and environment are still valid. I'm looking at the larger picture.

-js!?

( Posted by: Julian [Member] On: August 21, 2002 )

good job
Good job! Like Spudley said, you took a controversial topic and pointed out flaws without beating the usual dead horse. Although population vs space is only an issue because everyone tries to live in or near one of the multiple major cities. You have states like Montana and Wyoming that have tons 'o extra space. (if you don't mind the cold!) Also there are many nations that are experiencing negative population groeth, predominantly 1st world countries. I know Germany did have a negative population growth for a while. Sorry, I'm kinda all over the place on this one.

( Posted by: kross [Member] On: August 21, 2002 )

Re: good job
Yeah, I looked into negative population growths. but even if you take out population, you come back to the idea that the people stepping up to get cloned still can't afford it, and probably shouldn't be parents to begin with. We have enough problem educating, clothing, housing and feeding the children in America today, why find non-natural means to add to the problem? Like I said, it's a matter of common sense. Can't have kids? Perhaps there's a reason begind that! Nature's way of telling the human race to knock it off. Hey, when any other race overpopulates an area, disease and starvation get cracking on thinning the herd. Not us, nope. We've got disease in our back pocket, and we're thickening the herd.
-js?!

( Posted by: Julian [Member] On: August 21, 2002 )

re: clones
Population won't be an issue forever. With all the crap we keep pumping into ourselves we'll eventually not be able to have children. Then we have gen engineering, cloning.. and whatever else. They have also isolated the gene that controls aging. It's only a matter of time before they can "arrest" it. When thy do, they expect humans to live 100,000 YEARS before we need a booster shot. We'll be a totally different race once that happens because time as we know it won't mean as much.

Then their's goats producing spider silk as strong as steel. That's right, a light weight t-shirt that can deflect bullets better than kevlar. And you can wash it in warm water. Ouch.

( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: August 21, 2002 )

re: clones
At that point, we cease to be human. Religious arguments aside, the simple definition of mortality will be moot. Once we loose our mortality, our very fear of death, we open up a whole new brand of fear. I, for one, hope never to live forever. Much as I'd like to see where we are in 1000 years, the price of being confined in the same husk for eternity is maddening.

-js?!

( Posted by: Julian [Member] On: August 21, 2002 )

re: Good, but still plenty of points you missed
(sorry I didn't respond right away...!)

For starters, clones are not the same as the original.

I think this /is/ an important point. It would take a lot more than genetics to get around it, and I can't see it happening... not for quite a while yet!

The trouble is that once you accept that a clone will not be the same as the original, cloning pets becomes a complete waste of time - as you said in the article, there are plenty of cats and dogs looking for a home, and if you pick carefully, it's likely to be /more/ similar to your previous pet than a clone would be. And that completely undermines any logic to this sort of cloning.

The other point, I agree is probably outside the scope of what you were writing - and this is something that can be improved with better techniques.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: August 23, 2002 )

re: Good, but still plenty of points you missed
It may be a point to consider, but again, this technology is relatively new. It may be fixed, given time. However, overpopulation isn't getting any better without mass sterilization, selective breeding, and a world war or two. That goes for dogs, cats, and humans.

VeHEMent, anyone? (that's Voluntary Human Extinction Movement).

-js?!

( Posted by: Julian [Member] On: August 23, 2002 )





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