Cloning for Fun and Profit
Recently while listening to Ground Zero Radio, the topic of genetics and babies came up. I wish I had called in, because there were some points going through my head that I felt needed to be addressed. I'll give you the quick summary and my thoughts below.
Genetically Fathering vs Legally Fathering
One big topic of discussion is a legal case where sperm frozen before the father's death was used to conceive twins after the father's death. Now the twins want to receive benefits.
Personally, I think that despite the kids being the guy's offspring genetically, they were conceived after the wife knew he was dead and could not provide for them. No money, guys.
Delaying Childbirth and the Issue of Souls
Host Clyde Lewis brought up the topic of science and genetics being able to delay childbirth and take the place of abortion as a more ethical alternative. Two alternatives were given: keeping alive the fully cellular mass of the child at the time of delay to reimpregnate the mother with later, and keeping a tissue sample and using it to restart the pregnancy process later.
The first scenario, being the same cellular mass, seems like it would harbor the same consciousness/soul and therefore could be considered the same as postponing the pregnancy but having the same child later.
The second scenario is where I have some issues. Using a small sample as the basis for restarting the pregnancy process would be more akin to cloning rather than perpetuating and keeping alive the same being. Mr. Lewis postulated that the being would keep its soul through such a process, but cloning procedures with other creatures have shown that, while genetically identical, the clones are very much different beings. Even if the process were done with the same exact genetic code, there's even a possibility that twins (or triplets, etc.) could be created through such a process. If the soul were carried over from the original being and the original pregnancy, which twin would get it? Do they share it? Do naturally occurring identical twins share a soul as well? (ESP-like behavior suggests this could be the case!)
This also made me think of my basil plants. I can snip off part of a basil plant, get it to take root in water, and propagate it into a new plant. Is that what we'd be doing if we "paused" a pregnancy, kept a tissue sample, and then restarted the process later? Would that not be the same as abortion - killing the original being and growing a new clone of it from a clipping? I postulate that, if this process were to be done, is the equivalent of aborting one twin and keeping the other. Just because the genetic material is still there and living does not necessarily mean that the being itself is still there, nor its consciousness or soul.
What do you think? Human cloning as a fix for the moral and ethical downside of abortion... or is it a bigger mess waiting to happen? I strongly recommend downloading the podcast version of Mr. Lewis's show from the link below and giving it a listen. Then, I'd like to hear your take on this issue in the comments section.
Inspired by: Ground Zero Radio from 6/18/2013