Why Human Cloning Scares Me

Cloning is a technology often present in science fiction for a variety of reasons. At first glance, it sounds like a cool technology that could lead to life extension, quick and easy transplants, and having another you around to get all the things done you don’t have time to.

While many examples set by science fiction involve the quick and easy building of an exact replica using a series of molds, chemicals, and lights, the fact of the matter is that a clone has to be developed from a single cell and born as any other creature would be. Replacing the sperm with a single cell and inserting it into an empty egg is the current cloning process in a nutshell.

The end result is basically an identical twin of the original subject, only this subject would be older than the twin.

The FDA has approved animal clones for human consumption, with no requirement of special labeling on the part of the manufacturer. Ethical issues aside, it should take at least 20 years to study the long-term effects of adding an imperfect being created by an imperfect being to your diet. Who’s to say that the replacement of a sperm cell with a skin cell doesn’t cause some strange mutation we don’t currently have the technology to detect?

Still, human cloning raises a number of questions for scientists. Some of these will list the potential benefits of the technology while others will list moral and potentially physical risks that might result. As of right now, the practice is illegal in the US and many other countries around the world.

Is It Possible?

At the present moment, a full human clone only exists in speculation. However, in 2008, five cloned human embryos were created by scientists at the Stemagen Corporation lab in La Jolla. These embryos were a proof of concept to the idea that stem cells could be gathered to treat patients. Essentially, these stem cells could be used to grow replacement parts for someone in need that would not be at risk of rejection. The science is interesting and has potential, but the consequences of the technology could create a severe moral dilemma.

If you believe the news out of Clonaid, a human baby has been cloned that goes by the name Eve. Of course, this Raelian-tied project has since been disassociated by even the official Raelian site. That said, Clonaid has claimed to have cloned a number of individuals since then and is currently rumored to have cloned the late Michael Jackson. This rumor was neither confirmed nor denied by Clonaid.

Why It Scares Me

These five embryos were considered to be at a stage where they could be feasibly transplanted into a woman’s womb and grow into an actual living person. Whether or not this would actually work has yet to be tested, but all indications appeared to show that human cloning is actually possible given today’s technology.

Cloning animals has been done, and genetic testing has allowed scientists to create rabbits that glow in the dark, salmon that contain eel and bug DNA, and plants that create their own insect poison. Imagine what a lab at the hands of a crazed dictator or mad scientist (North Korea, anyone?) could come up with down the line.

This doesn’t even take into account the severe moral dilemma of playing God. Creating life from a skin cell and empty egg is certainly not a natural process, and there’s no telling what type of problems can come about for the clone. What is your quality of life like knowing that you’re a science experiment, and a clone of someone else. Identical twins are one thing, but this is something entirely different.

Even in a scenario where the clone itself could be left dormant and grown for spare parts, we as people have no way of telling exactly what might happen years down the line.

Religious or not, it doesn’t take much to understand why human cloning could be a bad idea. We are still discovering potential health risks in foods we’ve eaten for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. How could we even hope to predict or understand the potential problems associated with cloning that risk the health and well-being of the cloned.

37 comments On Why Human Cloning Scares Me

  • Meh, Cloning isn’t that big a deal. It’s just another method of reproduction. People just gripe about it because they are worried about losing their sense of identity and the morality of “playing god”. I think it makes people fear that they aren’t in control of their lives. If I was cloned would that clone make the same decisions I would or like the things I like. 

    People have always created other people. That’s how it works. Identical twins aren’t the same person. A clone of me wouldn’t be me. In all likelihood a clone would probably put some effort into not to even being like me, to have it’s own sense of identity and self worth.  Artificial insemination, frozen semen, sperm banks, invitro fertilization, are all not a big deal. Cloning shouldn’t be either. 

    The act of cloning does not bother me one single bit. 

    It’s more a matter of what happens to a clone that worries me.  Would he or she be denied human rights. Would politicians force them to be destroyed to placate angry or misunderstanding masses. Would it be subjugated or be forced into slavery or organ harvesting or storm troopering.

    Aside from that, it’s the things that this will make possible in the future that we should worry about and ban. The organ harvesting or replacement parts. What does it mean to be a person? Who gets human rights and who doesn’t. If they can grow a person who is brain dead or even has no brain does it have rights? Can we just grab a pair of kidneys when we feel like it? If we could, would it change the meaning of what it is to be human? Would this new meaning then be applied to people who weren’t cloned but just disabled or comatose? Would they loose their rights and be made organ donors? What if we could transplant a person’s consciousness into a new cloned body? Who would get to live forever and who wouldn’t? Is a perfectly healthy body that was never awakened as an individual a person? Is it abuse to deny them a chance to be an individual? If you genetically alter someone that never existed to not have parts needed for thinking or feeling emotions or anything that would possibly make it socially acceptable to raise them to have their organs harvested have you harmed that person by denying him/her what he/she could have been?

     When you ask: “what is your quality of life like knowing that you’re a science experiment, and a clone of someone else? I would say that has very little to do with actually being cloned and more to do with how it’s treated after. I imagine at first there will be some study or observation required. That doesn’t mean their lives will be bad though. If someone made a clone and loved it as a child and a person and had all rights, privileges, and opportunities we all have I doubt he or she would tell you that they would rather have never existed.

    If you take cloning for what it is, a method of reproduction, and don’t burden it with all the the baggage of what it would make possible cloning in itself is not the problem or the issue really. It’s what happens next.

    • While I see your point, I couldn’t imagine living my life knowing that I will look exactly like someone older than myself. There’s a subliminal impact associated with individuality. Knowing what you’re going to look like twenty years later sort of throws out some of the natural development of the individual. You’ll spend your life compared to your elder self. 

      I’m not a religious type, but there is a line I draw when it comes to creating life. Another form of reproduction? I disagree. It’s an unnatural process that exists nowhere in nature. The side effects of which could present themselves generations in the future.

      • Your clone isn’t all that likely to look EXACTLY like you. There are many factors that will influence your appearance. How much fat you have on your body, how much sun you get (freckles), were you a live birth or a c-section, did the doctors need to pull on your head with those baby forceps when you were born warping your still soft facial bones those can warp just coming out of your mother. The clone would probably look more like a close relative than an exact copy.

        Lots of people spend their lives in the shadow of their parents or relatives and are compared to them over their lives. (Baldwins, children of anyone successful, etc)

        Exists nowhere in nature? How about off the top of my head um twins. How about any organism that gets busy with Mitosis. Or the fact that mitosis in itself is utterly essential to almost all life otherwise nothing would have like any cells at all. Or anything that reproduces asexually. It exists everywhere in nature. Bacteria, fungus, etc. It actually exists MILLIONS if not BILLIONS of places in nature. On top of and inside everything and every one that has ever existed (except, ironically, in some super clean room labs) cloning, occurs EVERYWHERE!

        • Twins are NOT an example of this process. For one, twins are the result of a cell split, not a non-reproductive cell being inserted in an emptied reproductive cell. Twins are either the result of a cell split or two independent eggs being fertilized. Either way, you’re not building a human out of a skin cell.

          Are you really comparing human reproduction to single-celled organisms that split themselves in two? This isn’t a natural process no matter how you put it. You’re creating life from matter that is not intended to create life.

          • I am comparing a genetic copy to a genetic copy. The method, implementation, and means to that end may differ but the result is the same.

            My point was more that cloning in the terms of creating a genetic copy from an earlier generation is everywhere and that it’s the most common form of reproduction on the planet…

          • Moneyman462

            i seriously have to agree with you on this one matt. although he may have some valid points of what would happen to the clones, would they have rights ect… it’s undeniably an unnatural process and even if they differ from you from different life experiences, it’s still your DNA, it’s still you. even closer to you in a physical and mental sense than a clone assuming the cloning would work without side effects that would change the clone. and that… is pretty freaking creepy. I mean great make a rabbit glow in the dark, it’s cool maybe but the natural factors of life shouldn’t be altered. (such as the way reproduction occurs)

  • i have to say cloning in itself is neat for fiction however in real life it is just to weird it give you that squeeze in your stomach like something just isn’t right, however i do think this can lead to other things like stem cell usage it if you got amputated lets say it would be really nice to be able to use your own cells with a stem cell and re-grow the arm “naturally” i can see this happening, however human clones creepy to say the least, animal clones to many ugly possibilities like mutation was mentioned and the FDA needs to at LEAST regulate to put a label on the product if nothing else

  • I will have to concede that as for science fiction,this is good reading.However,the ethical reality of this is a very hard to swallow type of reality.The mere fact that mankind is playing God in itself is tantamount for an open invite for a biblical wrath of god to came about.its completely unethical.It is messing with life. 

  • You may not like the idea of cloning, so don’t clone yourself. On the other side, let scientists do what they want. Just because cloning goes against most people’s ethics doesn’t mean that this technology is wrong. It might have some undiscovered benefits, and some people may prefer to have clones, not everybody is the same.

    It appears that at least in the US, our government is spending way to much time dealing with ethics. For example, marriage and drugs. Just because the majority of people have the same opinion, doesn’t mean that we should force the minority to live the way we live our own lives.

    I was watching this video recently, and I think you should watch it if you have the time. It explains some of the technology that is being developed today, but how it can be improved for the future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7r1SEhISaE

    Of course, some people will still prefer to live a normal life, but they shouldn’t take the opportunity from others. Also, about your comments on North Korea, I think they have some good ideas. I’m proud that some other countries are developing new technology for space exploration. In the future, it is very likely that humans as a civilization will be doing a lot more traveling to outer space, and probably even new planets other than earth. The US government seems to be against this technology because of their spending cuts. Research from other countries will help us gain more knowledge on space travel. Plus, the International Space Station is some great proof of what we can accomplish if we can come together, put aside our differences, and work together to build something never thought of possible before.

  • Nice article, but I doubt the author has any legitimate understanding of science and the nature of morality and the universe.

  • I agree pretty much with everything Casey has said – human cloning happens already in identical twins, triplets, etc… and your environment shapes you as much as your genes, if not more.  With the right upbringing, my clone could turn out to be a right obnoxious toad…!

    There’s one problem for me that lies deep in the genetics – Dolly the sheep may have had a genetic makeup that was older than she was:


    I’d be interested if anyone has any up-to-date links to research on this.  The idea that a clone may age genetically quicker than “the original” (for want of a better phrase) – now that would be a serious ethical issue for me.

    • While I don’t believe twins are the same thing as human cloning (again, split cells are different from artificially created ones using non-reproductive cells) I didn’t know about the potential for speedy aging. That’s a bad thing as it would potentially indicate a greater risk of early onset cancers. Prostate cancer impacts something like 80% of men over 80. Imagine clones being subject to that early in life. It wouldn’t be so grand.

      • “The end result is basically an identical twin of the original subject, only this subject would be older than the twin.” Thats in your article…

        The aged genetics thing has yet to be confirmed (as far as I know) and are probably more likely to be a problem resulting from implementation of cloning rather than the concept. It was the first one. My first iPhone didn’t have copy/paste but I gave it some leeway. Lets clone some cows till we get a better handle on it and have some burgers, people.

        Besides 1 cloned sheep is hardly enough of a study to say definitively that cloning causes premature genetic aging.

        • Poor wording on my part, though twins has multiple meanings. I’m not a scientists, nor a doctor. I assume you’re not either given our discussion thus far. 

          I’m scared, truly, that we could compare the first clone to a cellphone. So, let’s start cloning humans in a process of trial and error until we get it right. Each cloned human would be a life, one not unlike your own that would suffer through whatever issues result from imperfect science. Sorry, I’m not sold on it being the same as natural reproduction.

          YES natural reproduction has an element of risk as well, but that risk is natural, not imposed. We do not purposely create an element of risk. If we did, we’d be monsters.

          • My point with the cellphone was that the first one isn’t going to be perfect and it’s just going to get better (minus antenna issues… You’re holding that cloned baby wrong…). I wasn’t trying to de-humanize the issue.

            “So, let’s start cloning humans in a process of trial and error until we get it right.”
            I was talking about just making some cows first. Nobody is going to just start cloning people (aside from Michael Jackson) till they get it right. That’s just hysterical.

  • don’t scare me god is in control anyway, and it is he who gives life – nothing has changed under the sun!

  • Wolfee Darkfang

    Often when people complain about people “playing god” they are putting artificial handicaps on god’s abilities. Some people even think medicine is playing god, or being intelligent. What they always fail to realize is when they pray for a miracle, perhaps that medicine is the miracle. After all they always say god works in mysterious ways. Personally I am for human cloning if the subject is not physically alive, to be used to generate organs. If we end up duplicating people, or creating intelligent life, I’d say let it live a healthy life though.

  • Very interesting! 

  • A literary treatment on some possible consequences of cloning/cultural changes: J. Neil Schulman’s “The Rainbow Cadenza” is an interesting book

  • Phooey. Let’s just burn all the heretics. Myself, I would
    start with the Environmentalists and the Precaution Principle folks, burn them
    first. Others might prefer to begin with the makers of thermonuclear weapons or
    MTV. To each his own. Why have bloody laws about this sort of thing? I can see
    a small polity like a State in the USA having a bizarre rule, say requiring the
    ingestion of broccoli or prohibiting the inhalation of marijuana fumes. After
    all, dissidents could just relocate. But a big polity like the continental
    states USA EEU Russia China India Brazil they ought not to do such things; it’s
    too bothersome to flee from one to another, especially if they are all doing
    that sort of thing as well, just with different prejudices in charge. 

    Clone away. Whenever the clone reaches the stage where a
    non-cloned individual has rights, so does the clone. Things that would be
    illegal, unethical, immoral, or otherwise not to be done to a non-cloned
    person, should not be done to a cloned one. The only difference is that the
    power disparity and the range of intervention are far greater in the case of tie
    cloned. Perhaps they would need an Ombudsman then…

  • it maybe scary but who is going to stop it?

    • Right now, international law is doing its part. Though, that doesn’t exactly stop the world leaders that don’t recognize any laws they themselves do not agree with.

      • I have more of a problem with international “leading nations” imposing laws on other nations that they don’t have input in or a choice to follow than the nations not following them. It’s like England and the early Colonial United States and all that taxation without representation. If a nation says “hey we don’t agree with this” they get slapped with an embargo or an occupation of “so-called-peacekeepers” carrying guns.

        It’s not right to imperialistically assume authority to impose your social, political, religious, environmental and economic views on other nations with other priorities and values just cause you talked it over with your buddies at the UN.

  • I think we should be putting the same amount of thought, effort, and drive into decreasing our ever expanding population; not finding ever more exotic ways of exacerbating the problem.  Cloning, and any other medical wonder should certainly be pursued.  However, I feel that an equal, and preferably greater, effort should be put into the problem of our over burgeoning population.  Then, if and when we can do the things that seem so scary and impossible today, like moving consciousness from one physical body to another, etc., we’ll be able to do so in a spirit of optimistic adventure.  Not in a world full of war, shortages, pestilence, and desperation for all but a wealthy few, due to the depredations that billions upon billions of humans (no matter how advanced) have inflicted on our only home.

    Cloning?  Sure, but only after we stop consuming everything in sight, as fast as we possibly can.  Just my opinion.

  • This goes back to my earlier point about burdening cloning with everything that it could make possible.

    Glow in the dark rabbits are not clones. Genetic manipulation and genetic alterations are not cloning. 

    It’s like saying people shouldn’t use photocopiers because people can doctor images in Photoshop.

  • Thomas Ledbetter

    I was hoping for some new and valid objections to cloning, but in the end Matt’s reasons come down to “It’s not natural” “It’s playing God” and “Who knows what else could happen?”  The “playing God” objection is invalid;  we’ve been “playing God”, thank God, for over a century now, and we’re better for it.  “Not natural”, same thing … we do all KINDS of things that aren’t natural, none the least being organ transplants.  The “who knows” objection simply stops progress.  Casey came up with better objections, and (s)he is for cloning.  As to “quality of life like knowing that you’re a science experiment”, just ask Louise Brown, the first “test tube baby”.  That wasn’t natural either, or so the opposition said.  To date I haven’t yet found a really good reason not to clone humans.  As organ donors … that’s not objecting to the technology, but the USE of the technology.  We can do bad things with microwaves, too.  In the end though, there really isn’t much reason TO clone a human, other than curiosity or the challenge of it.  

    • In short, you feel that my thoughts are invalid and stop progress. Cool.

      The not natural part, though… let’s take a long look at exactly how “better” for it we are. GMO corn has been linked to organ failure, genetically modified salmon (if released in the wild) would extinct the existing species within 40 generations. Keep in mind that this modification includes blending insect and eel genes with salmon to create a larger, more food-chain unbalancing creature altogether. 

      Those are just two examples of how progress hasn’t exactly made the world better. Need I add the thousands of creatures that we’ve thrown out of balance through introducing species to environments to which they are not native? Just ask Australians about the rabbit population and how harmful it’s been to the natural ecosystem there.

      Yes, progress has been very helpful. We’re better for it, all right. Sorry, I’m just not sold.

      • The GMO corn thing is not definitively linked to organ failure. They cherry picked about 25 out of the 500 measurements taken, they didn’t retest for false positives, and their claims have not been corroborated. Take that and the fact that it was funded by Greenpeace and you have more than a little reason to be skeptical.

        It was my understanding that the salmon you are referring to were to be grown sterile, don’t swim as fast, and have a lower tolerance for disease than normal salmon and that their “size” genes come from King salmon. I have a hard time believing that they’d just take over. I’d also like to point out that the only reason these GM Salmon exist is that natural salmon are already at risk of extinction. Alot of that has to do with our infringement on their habitat and pollution. Some of it has to do with adult farmed fish carrying things like sea lice to younger wild fish that they can’t survive without antibiotics that aren’t available to them. That is more of a problem with fish farming than it is with GM fish.

        I don’t see extinction as a valid argument against cloning anyway. Cloning would more likely be a solution to that in the future.

        And again, genetic modification is not cloning. A real clone of a naturally occurring organism wouldn’t have much more impact on nature than the original unless it was copied too many times, reducing the gene-pool for future generations

  • I would like to clone my thought process and interact with it like Jarvis in iron man.

  • I would not want to see people or even more than only a handful of animals out of the billions of them on this earth, to be cloned. North Korea cloning people means their army will be bigger than China’s somehow, people cloning would not be real people and God wouldn’t have created them actually, a computer would have, which wouldn’t really have made them humans. What if the clone goes crazy or something?

    Bottom line, I think it’s a kind of pointless technology. What are you gonna do with the clones?

  • I’m gonna clear up the whole confusion for you and/or the
    readers who got scared/confused.


    When you hear the word “cloning” you’re thinking of creating
    exact copies (and it doesn’t take long till someone brings in the argument that
    it would be possible to create “the next Hitler” through “cloning” – which
    isn’t possible, read on)


    I’m gonna use Obama as an example that we’re gonna clone. If
    you read the previous sentence you might be thinking that the result will look
    completely the same, will be 50 years old, interested in politics, etc. Wrong.


    The ONLY thing that would be identical would be their DNA.
    The clone won’t be 50 years old (you’re creating a new person, it will be 0
    years old), he’ll grow up in a different environment/age (so different ideas/views/interests,
    just to give you an example this is possible: back in the day that people
    figured out how to make fire nobody was interested in computers, they didn’t
    exist back then)


    So don’t get it twisted: cloning refers to cloning genetical
    data, not persons/individuals. So next time you see another magazine or
    whatever with a picture of 5 Einsteins on it, all looking the same, don’t freak
    out, it’s misleading.


    The way people are using the term “clones” already exists
    actually: twins!

    Just because they have the same DNA doesn’t mean they
    wouldn’t have freedom of speech/will/thought, human rights, etc. This proves
    all the critics who argue it’s unethical for the reasons listed above wrong.


    People also need to get rid of the stigma surrounding
    creating life (aka “playing God”). Remember Louise, the world’s first
    “test-tube” baby? Another misleading term used by the media. (the babies are
    NOT being developed and raised in tubes people, an ovum is fertilized outside
    of the woman’s body and then put back in). What’s the problem with that? Being
    “created” inside or outside of a woman’s body doesn’t matter. What does matter
    is where you’ll end up being. Will your parents be able to take care of you,
    etc? Would you rather have a baby created through this method (“unnatural” and
    planned) or would you prefer having a baby which is the result of a rape?
    (“natural” and unplanned)? Obviously the former.


    All these contra reasons are simply incorrect. Don’t jump to
    conclusions though, this doesn’t mean you should say “And that’s why I’m pro!”.
    That’s not logical.


    Some reasons such as “bringing back a dead child” is just
    plain wrong. (You wouldn’t get the same child back, you’d get another (a new)
    one). Or “we could create more geniuses like Einsteins”: wrong. Like I said
    before, you’d only copy his DNA, what that person will do and become is
    unknown, he might become an opera-singer! So you need to come up with reasons
    where you can’t argue that they’re wrong.


    Anyways, it will probably never happen (sorry to all the
    science-fiction lovers who were anxiously waiting for it to become a reality).
    It won’t be possible to have no side effects. (just for the record, the
    successful rate of having no side effects has been achieved for the
    fertilization method I described earlier on).


    Next up, I wanna talk about stem cell treatment, the “pro
    life” people in the US have managed to cause confusion between therapeutical
    and reproductive cloning, by associating stem cell treatment with abortion.


    There are 2 common misconceptions:


    1 – the “homunculus-conception of the embryo”


    The child that will result from the embryo (which you can’t
    even see with your naked eye) is already present in that embryo.


    This is completely incorrect. Then that reasoning would mean
    you’d be able to see a very small human when you’re using a microscope to look
    at the embryo, and from there on the human will grow into a baby. You know this
    is not true.


    Check out the picture where former president Bush (who was
    radically against the research) is holding a “Snowflake child” because that
    child was “saved from death”. There aren’t any frozen babies stored in fridges
    people, it’s just fertilized ova.


    There is a lot of inconsistency here. These people say that
    killing “life” (they mean embryos) isn’t a valid reason to save life (here they
    mean actual living humans), but what happened during the Iraq War then? This
    brings me to the second point.


    2 – the “potential” argument


    Some people argue that an embryo has the potential to become
    a human (which is correct) and therefore it has the same value as a human being
    (incorrect). That’s like saying an acorn has the same value as an oak. You know
    this is not the same.


    By that logic, it would be your duty to split cells (this is
    all potential life) and have them all become humans.

    Fertilizing every ovum. (again, all potential life)

    We should also try to create as many embryos as possible out
    of all the cells we have (= cloning!), but where are we gonna start? We have billions
    of them…

    All the embryos should be implanted

    Etc, …


    So what determines the value? 2 things:


    Consciousness – this isn’t the case with an embryo


    Context and intention – for pregnant women, an embryo
    obviously means a lot, it has the potential to become a baby. But all those
    “redundant” embryos don’t mean that much to her. (not to mention women who
    didn’t wanna get pregnant).


    So to round up:


    Creating embryos is ethically legitimate if you’re gonna do
    research for therapeutical cloning


    You can even say that it’s ethically wrong to not do this

  • 6 = human. 7 =god

    Cloning it not a game so why play the role of god it one more to the end when we think is it a good idea ? God makes people not people makeing others !

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