Stem cells and cloning
Stem Cells and Cloning – Society and Christian Ethical Issues
Cloning is a scientific process that refers to duplication of biological materials. The process is used to produce embryos thus giving rise to cells called embryonic stem cells. In the recent past, there have been ethical debates surrounding the scientific cell transfer aimed at two issues; the cell nuclear transfer for reproduction for example; reproduction of a child; for the production of embryonic stem cells for scientific purposes.
There have been various uncertainties relating to the science and safety of nuclear cell transfer as a source of nuclei. So far, five mammalian species had been largely used to produce cloning cells for studies. Data obtained from investigation of these cloning processes has clearly illustrated the problems involved, only a few of the cloning processes has been successful. Most of the cloned animals did not survive and the few that survived always experienced defects at birth (Bellomo, 2006, p. 123). Also, the females that carry the cloned embryos always face severe complications which may lead to death as a result of complications. Also, there has been uncertainty about the effect of cloning on the normal development of an aging cloned species. According to experiments, when somatic cell continues to divide, they age continuously, and there are some cells that are normally defined to occur before senescence. Hence the health effects to the resulting infant are known having been formed with an aged nucleus (Plows, 2011, p. 67).
The society has to make a decision on the technology that they would wish to use to better their life. Since the technology shows a great promise in the development of a mechanism of human improvement and also shows great promise for treatments of diseases such Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury among others, the process has ethical concerns. The embryonic stem cell does not only depend on their safety, but also on the acceptability to the society as a whole (Benjamin, 2013, p. 34). According to Paul Billing (founder of GeneSage), cloning is not safe and is an unnecessary biological process. He believes that there is no right whatsoever for a human to have a genetically related child. He argues that the advantages of stem cells have been wildly exaggerated and there is no effective treatment from the biological process. Therefore, he does not favor the nuclear development technology (Plows, 2011, p. 112). Issues have also been addressed in the difficulty of creating a schedule that regulates human reproductive cloning system. First consideration made was on the safety of the process, and there is not enough experience with the new technology. Women are the major endangered species since their bodies would act as reservoirs which have been argued that they are instrumented, and their dignity lowered. Also, cloning is a very expensive and labor intensive process, and therefore it would not be a viable option to improve human race since it can only be afforded by very rich individuals. There are also concerns that cloning development has moved so fast without any proper monitoring and the society might reject it completely. The society should be provided with clear information about the research, its advantages and limitations or otherwise the society are made to believe that scientists might be using the process to interfere with human race (Plows, 2011, p. 34).
Cloning is a science that was unknown at the time the Bible was being written. Therefore, it is difficult to relate the concept to definitive citations of the Bible. In Christian view there have been a lot of debates relating to the topic. In one way, the scriptures are interpreted to support cloning. According Romans 8:19-21 it shows that it is a role for humans to fix any defect in creation and try to bring species into better form using any available means possible hence the idea is, any scientific development that is aimed at improving God’s creation is allowed (Monroe & Miller, 2008, p. 223). On the other hand, there are issues regarding the use of science on the betterment of God’s creation. Christians have the fear that cloning will overcome the role that God bestowed upon human race as stewards of his creation. According to the Holy Bible, God created everything for him, and all living things were made to reproduce a certain kind. Altering species may otherwise be termed as manipulation thus not reserved as per the creator according to Genesis 1:11-25 (Monroe & Miller, 2008, p. 245). Similarly, cloning is seen as an attempt impede God’s plan to restore his creation. Also according to Genesis chapter 3 creation was affected by rebellion of mankind which is also considered as the origin of death and change towards of the genetic makeup hence a Christian professional might consider stem cells and cloning as an attempt of the human race trying to reverse the curse that God placed on mankind and in which him alone has the remedy through Jesus Christ according to Romans 8 (Monroe & Miller, 2008, p. 236).
A Christian healthcare professional may also consider that stem cells and cloning interferes with the normal process ordained by God for life. From Psalms 139 it is seen that God has a plan for every living creature hence the use of any scientific genetic exploitation to form life outside the normal God’s plan is seen as jeopardy of God’s development of life and affects one’s prospects of spiritual life (Bellomo, 2006, p. 56). Therefore, stem cells and cloning is seen as an advance to defiance of God, and in the event, cloning produces better species that God’s original creature then mankind could exalt himself above God. According to Genesis 11, if man exalts himself above God, certainly God would realize and stop man’s progress. Similarly, a warning is communicated in Romans 1 by God for those individuals who worship their creation other that of God that a destruction follows them. As a Christian professional, there exist fear that genetic improvement could lead to provocation of God attracting punishment (Bellomo, 2006, p. 121).
The above evidence from The Bible tends to advance the argument that a Christian healthcare professionals ought to advocate against cloning. Cloning is seen as jeopardy of God’s perfect creation, a competition for supremacy between the professionals who perform it and God whose works and deeds are considered perfect by Christians (Bellomo, 2006, p. 223). Therefore a Christian professional should not get involved with this technology.
There are very meaningful reasons for the human race to pursue the stem cells and cloning technology; it shows great promise of development of human race as well as the possibility of treatment of diseases. However, there a lot of ethical concerns about the new development that gives every reason for the society to reject it. Issues relating to safety especially the women, financial requirements and other uncertainties.
- Bellomo, M. (2006). The Stem Cell Divide: The Facts, the Fiction, and the Fear Driving the Greatest Scientific, Political, and Religious Debate of Our Time. American Management Association.
- Benjamin, R. (2013). People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier. Stanford University Press.
- Monroe, K. R., & Miller, R. B. (2008). Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues. University of Carlifornia Press.
- Plows, A. (2011). Debating Human Genetics: Contemporary Issues in Public Policy and ethics. Routledge.
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