Cloning: Time to Apply the Brakes

Author: Doug Sharp
Subject: Biology
Date: 4/2/2001

On February 19, 2001, I was invited to appear on Lansing’s ABC TV affiliate, Channel 53 WLAJ. This program appeared on the 6:00 and 11:00 news as part of an “On Point” discussion. When I arrived, I found I was going to debate a Michigan State University professor of medical ethics. I pointed out that the process they were using was essentially the same as that which triggers the production of identical twins. I maintained that if that is the case, we need to consider that this person that is produced would be given an eternal soul, and the danger in cloning is the perception that this person or the fetus thereof would be exploited, either for spare parts, experimentation, or medical research. This is an extension of the moral dilemma facing abortionists. Is the fetus a viable human being ready for eternity at conception, or is it just a blob of tissue?

I also raised the point that if a clone is allowed to go to term and become a human being, there is the danger that the clone would be discriminated in society, again with the perception that these are soulless human beings. My biggest concern, and it’s because I used to think this way, is that scientists have the temptation to fiddle with the genetic code just to see what might happen. “What if,” they may say, “we mix a little frog DNA in with this batch of clones?” As it is, the success rate for clones in animals is poor, and many times the results are monstrous. This indeed should be a major deterrent to cloning, and my belief, if legislation is to be passed concerning it, is that researchers and donors who produce a clone should be fully and financially responsible for any handicapped individual produced by the cloning process, and any genetic defects found in subsequent generations.

Just because the science and knowledge exists to do something does not mean that it is morally right to do so. It is time to apply the brakes to cloning research. This is a perfect example of where science misses the boat by not considering the spiritual dimension in their research. By not considering God’s wishes or perspective, they reach a conclusion that is incorrect, immoral, or dangerous. The fact that this amounts to tampering with God’s original creation should be undisputed. A US News and World report article states:

All in all, the body may have 2 million or more distinct proteins. And a single protein is so complex that IBM plans to spend the next five years deciphering how just one particular protein forms its unique shape. To do that, the company will need to create a computer 500 times as powerful as any in existence today and 40 times as fast as today’s 40 fastest machines working in concert.[1]

The amazing system of DNA, RNA, and proteins in concert with each other, able to be mapped only with computers far beyond our capability today, is sure indication that it has been created. This is the most elegant, efficient functional set of coding instructions I have ever seen, and they exist in a three-dimensional shape that determines its functionality.[2]

Some cloned mice that seem normal suddenly, as young adults, grow grotesquely fat. There is also the fear that clones inherit the age at which an individual is cloned, reducing its life span. Telomeres within the cell have long been correlated with the age of the cell, shortening with age. It has been shown that cells from clones have shorter telomeres than newborn counterparts.

My belief is that we need to treat the Creator’s genetic code with the respect it deserves, and follow His laws concerning sexual morality, fidelity, and love. If we tamper with the foundation for life and introduce new genetic information not planned by our creator, my guess is that it won’t be long before He decides to intervene.

[1] Fischer, Joanne Schrof. “We’ve Only Just Begun: Gene Map in Hand, the Hunt for Proteins is On.” U.S. News and World Report, 9/3/2000.

[2] Sharp, Douglas. The Revolution Against Evolution Chapter 5, Proteins, DNA, and the Cell.