Human Cloning: Commentary on Tharien, Weiler, & Leavitt

- Masahiro Morioka
Integrated Arts and Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University,
Gakuencho, Sakai, Osaka 593, JAPAN

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 8 (1998), 13.

Debates on human cloning still continue around the world. There are some people who declare that human cloning does not have significant moral problems; but on the other hand, many people are hesitant to accept human cloning as a new reproductive technology. Tharien seems to accept human cloning "in certain extreme case," but he adds to say that "we should be very careful to avoid human cloning to guard against potential abuses or make a tragic twist in our genetic experiments." Weiler points out a number of ethical problems human cloning potentially has, but she says in conclusion that most Israeli think that "it is impossible to stop the process and cloning will be a reality. Therefore, I think, it is our responsibility to pay extremely careful attention to developments in our society."

Leavitt seems to me more skeptical about human cloning and new reproductive technology than Tharien and Weiler. He emphasizes the importance of human sexual intercourse as an expression of love. But he never judges the morality of human cloning because he is (and probably most of us are) not "on a high enough spiritual level to judge other people." On the other hand, concerning "cloned headless people as organ farms," he declares that "whoever is born of woman is human, whether they are headless or brainless or whatever. .... So I cannot lend a hand to using any baby, cloned or otherwise, as an organ farm."

I am an agnostic person, but my opinion is very similar to Leavitt. I have objected to the idea of harvesting the brain dead, especially medical experiments on the brain dead body, and "organ farm" ideas in any forms. As Leavitt points out, most of us are not saints. We do not have high spirituality. However, in my humble opinion, we should think again about our "humanity" and "the meaning of life," to become wiser.

As I reported elsewhere, I received a letter from an old woman saying that she wants her baby and if human cloning is possible she wants to try it. And she went on to say that the reason why she wanted her baby was let her DNA live after her death, and thinking about that, she wrote, she can escape from the fear of death. But is this a real medical need we should support at the expense of future unknown risks?

I think this woman has to think again about her whole life and what is the meaning of life and death for herself before considering human cloning. Of course, in our society, it is free to use any technologies and buy any services unless they do not harm others significantly. This is the conclusion coming from our modern ethics. However, what we really need here is not "ethics." We really need "wisdom," wisdom not to buy certain things, not to use certain technologies. I want to have wisdom and courage not to use or buy something that are considered to be ethically acceptable in our contemporary society. Hence, most important thing is not "bioethics," but sort of "bio-wisdom." And this kind of bio-wisdom develops out of our real contemplation on the life and death of ourselves,-- not that of humans generally, but that of ourselves just living here and now. I want to stop and think between bioethics and bio-wisdom.

Go back to EJAIB 8(1) January 1998
See also:
Human Cloning - The Global Response - A.K. Tharien
Israel Faces the Issue of Human Cloning: A Discussion of the Ethical and Social Implications - Yael Weiler
Cloning and the New Ethic: Commentary on Yael Weiler - Frank J. Leavitt

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