The author of the essay "The Question of Clones" defines human cloning is the concept of creating genetically identical copies of a human being through artificial means. Although the idea had been a serious area of discussion for scientists since the 1960s, it was not until 1997 that the debate truly took off with the birth of Dolly, the world’s first successfully cloned sheep and proof that recreating an entire creature from a piece of tissue was possible. Dolly’s successful birth fuelled intense debate as it became clear that clones were no longer restricted to the realm of science fiction but rather were now a reality for the near future. With animals having been successfully cloned, it would only be a matter of time before the technology to clone human beings became possible.
The question of ethics has always come into consideration regarding new technology or inventions, but the subject of cloning is one that has drawn a significantly greater amount of debate and argument. The critics primarily disapprove of cloning primarily due to moral and ethical reasons. The advocates of cloning, on the other, primarily cite the various medical advancements that cloning could provide. One of the most known voices in the anti-cloning camp is the American physician and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics Leon Kass who wrote an article entitled “The Wisdom of Repugnance” in which he gave several arguments on why cloning research should be banned. His argument primarily revolved around what he considered as the wisdom of repugnance, in which he states that “repugnance is the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond reason’s power fully to articulate it” (Kass, “The Wisdom of Repugnance”). This was then followed up by explaining in detail the problematic question of genetic identity, as well as the negative effects of cloning on parent-child relationships and how it would be reduced from a deep and meaningful interpersonal relationship into a “complete depersonalization of procreation, the complete manufacture of human beings and the complete genetic control of one generation over the next” (Kass, “The Wisdom of Repugnance”). Kass finished his essay with a call for a ban on all research relating to human cloning to be implemented and enforced internationally. Following the “Wisdom of Repugnance”, an indirect reply from the pro-cloning camp came in the form of British bioethicist John Harris in his article “Goodbye Dolly?”- The ethics of human cloning. The article primarily focused on the recently-passed laws in several countries which forbid the pursuit of human cloning research on several ethical and moral grounds. Harris claimed that the basis for these laws were flimsy and lacking in logical and clear explanations, instead being “thin on argument and rationale”, and “appear to have been plucked from the air to justify an instant reaction” (Harris, ““Goodbye Dolly?”- The ethics of human cloning”, 354). Harris espouses that cloning research could lead to some truly ground-breaking discoveries in the field of medicine, and that such was enough to push for its continuation. He used the moral argument that “it is better to do some good than no good”