The successful cloning of an adult sheep in Scotland, 1997 is one of the most dramatic scientific revolutions in history for it has opened our minds to the possibilities of cloning a human being. It is instructive to note that the controversies and tensions generated by the act of cloning a human being revolve, mostly, around its morality. Accordingly, the ethical issues that arise with regards to human cloning not only involve its possible failures, but also the consequences of its success.
The subject of our study is therefore to know the risk and uncertainties associated with the current state of the technology, and know how much potential for evil we can tolerate evil in order to obtain what might be good. It is obvious that we live at the mercy of science and its technological offshoot. Without moral considerations, we might find ourselves in an anarchist society, a Hobbesian state of nature. Consequently, we cannot underestimate the power of philosophical reasoning in checkmating the excesses of science and technology.
On this premise, the paper acknowledges that the sanctity of human life in the face of cloning is in serious doubt. At the same time, it is established that it is fallacious to assert that human cloning is against Gods will. What is Human Cloning? Etymologically, the word clone is derived from the Greek klon meaning, a sip or cutting used to propagate; an asexual reproduction. The Macmillan Dictionary of Life Sciences defines a clone as a group of organisms that are genetically identical because they have been produced by some sort of non-sexual reproduction or by sexual reproduction involving inbreeding a pure line. Cloning is mostly used in two broad senses, cell clone and molecular or gene cloning.
On the one hand, cell cloning entails the formulation of a group of genetically identical cells, all arising from a single cell. On the other hand, molecular or gene cloning entails the formulation of many identical gene copies replicated from a single gene into a list of cells. At the heart of cloning is the genetic engineering of human beings. Human cloning, in this vein, is the creation of a genetically identical copy of an existing, or previously existing human being. Human cloning is premised on the principle that the body cells, which are the smallest basic unit of life contains some chemical information which it uses, stores and passes on to subsequent generations. With this principle of life comes the ability to manipulate chemical information. Human Cloning as Essentially a Moral Problem Cloning has come to mean different things to different people and societies. But still, the constant matrix of the concept is that the end-process must necessarily be a carbon or identical copy of an original life form.
On this ground, Gilber Meilaender, a Lutheran theologian asserts that clone entails the production, rather than the creation of a child. Instructively, the technology used in cloning is in sharp contrast to the natural process of reproduction and recombination. Humanity, with the aid of cloning technology, can now produce organisms and species that have been tailored to meet specifications and desires. It is worth noting that human clone falls conceptually is related to technologies such as Invitro-fertilization, whose primary purpose is to enable couples to produce a child whom they have a biological connection with, and Gene transplantation, which is aimed at producing offspring with specific traits. Consequently, it is plausible to assert that human cloning is a kind of biotechnology that involves the use of nuclear somatic transfer in humans for reasons such as reproduction, therapy, transplantation and eugenics. The moral dimension to human cloning comes to light when we conceive human cloning just as Akpanopong has done viz: (i) A biological experiment; with the necessary uncertainties about the safety of the techniques and the possibility of physical harm. (ii) An experiment in human procreation; substituting asexual for sexual reproduction and treating children not as gifts but as our self-designed products. And, (iii) As experiments in genetic choice and design; producing children whose entire genetic make up is selected in advance.  In the same vein, Barcalow gives us an insight into what makes an issue such as human cloning a moral one. According to him, moral issues arise most fundamentally when the choice people face will affect the well-being of others either by increasing or decreasing it, causing either benefit or harm.  Proponents of human cloning see it as a genuine ray of hope while others see it as an affront to Gods divine authority and unnatural. In fact, human cloning is believed tom pose a serious threat to the existence of life on earth. In a letter from a group of Christian organizations based in the Unites States of America to the then American President, Mr. Jimmy Carter, on June 20, 1980, the moral impasse associated with the genetic engineering of the human person was highlighted thus: We are rapidly moving into a new era of fundamental danger triggered by the rapid growth of genetic engineering (of human beings). Albeit, there may be opportunity for doing good, the very term suggests the danger. Who shall determine how human good is best served when new life forms are being engineered? Who shall control genetic experimentation and its results which could have untold implications for human survival?… new life forms may have dramatic potential for improving human life, whether by curing diseases, correcting gene deficiencies or swallowing oil sticks. They may also, however, have unforeseen ramifications, and at times, the cure may be worse than the original problem control of such life forms by any individual or group poses a potential threat to all of humanity. History has shown that there will always be those who believe it appropriate to correct our mental and social structure by genetic means, so as to fit their vision of humanity. This becomes more dangerous when the basic tools to do so are finally at hands. Those who would play God will be tempted as never before.  Unarguably, human cloning is a great challenge to moral reasoning. It persuades us to draw a moral and practical line between cloning to provide children to serve the therapeutic needs of the family and the eugenic aims of producing or mass producing superior human beings. Nevertheless, the mortality of otherwise of human cloning is best appreciated when considering the fears and hopes it has generated. Fears of Cloning a Human Being The emergence of new technologies such as cloning technology creates a new set of social and cultural events and their consequences which the human race must come to terms with. The status and role for such a technology must be defined. In other words, what does human cloning means to us? The interesting thing here is that while some people are skeptical of cloning humans, some others are willing to explore the technology, perhaps based on its perceived benefits. The most commonly cited ethical argument against human cloning originated from the theistic circles. Politicians and scientists with deep religious roots find solace here. Many religions and philosophies teach, for example, that human life is unique, special and is created, determined and controlled by their Deities or the Supreme Being. They believe in the existence of, and in the individuality of, a human soul. Many Christians will be concerned, for example, about whether it will be possible to clone the human soul, along with the human body. If it is possible to clone the soul, what will this mean? In contrast, if a person is cloned, but not their soul, what will this mean? Can a clone without a soul, be destroyed and not offend moral and religious beliefs. It is also feared that many people would divine cloning by assuming the powers, providence and jurisdiction of the Deities or other spiritual powers if the supernatural Universe. Extremists as well as terrorists would see it as an avenue to create armies of their own kinds. Crisis of identity also arises. Human cloning will harm the created child by threatening a confusion of identity and individuality, because she is the work not of nature or natures God but of man… because the cloned person will be a genotype and an appearance identical to another human being, possibly a parent, the child will have a crisis of identity.  Proponents of this submission also hold that it is ethically wrong to create an embryo as a resource for other and for scientific research, as this would result in the emergence of an economy wherein trade in desired human traits booms vis-à-vis ending the special status embryos deserve to be accorded. The possibility of genetic mistakes cannot be undermined. In the contention of this school, it will be hard to determine the status of the clone because cloning a person is in sharp contrast to the time-honored way of human procreation. If the truth must be told, moral anarchy and abuse looms. Hopes of Cloning a Human Being Human cloning offers remarkable insights into the power of creation. The various objections to human cloning are seen as a product of irrational fear by libertarians and advocates of reproductive freedom and peoples right. These groups of people are of the view that the benefit of cloning a human being is limitless and far out weighs its possible dangers. In the area of reproductive health, human cloning can create an avenue for infertile couples to have children of their own biological make-up, detect any genetic defects in the fetus, and enable women who had passed the age of menopause to still carry babies. Women who do not want to pass through the stress and pains of child labor can avail themselves the use of this technology in their bid to be mothers. What a blessing human cloning will be! Proponents of this school also reasoned that clones would be immune from infections and diseases, super intelligent, possessing desired physical attributes and be a perfect sort. Many have even considered human cloning to be absurd and nonsensical. Others see it as an avenue to advance human life. In face, some cultures or societies like African traditional society, where fertile couples with children are celebrated and cherished, where infertile ones are looked down upon with disdain and scorn, cloning could serve as an avenue for infertile couples to be proud parents. It is obvious that we have watched our long cherished ethical codes, virtues and traditions eroded by this new ways of doing things – Science and its technological drive. Indeed, human freewill and its possible misuse have produced people who find it difficult to apply such moral senses and codes. To them is irrelevant and archaic. It is however evident that human cloning is opposed on the basis that the act of cloning a person is intrinsically wrong – a deontological approach, and also because the consequences might be harmful. Though, the end might be good, the means are immoral, not to talk of the harmful impact it might have on the society, family and child. Some objections raised against turning people into instruments of achieving ones egoistic ends are plausible. Nevertheless, the factitious of this world, which we find ourselves, dictates that man must take his destiny into his hands and chart a course for himself. Either he continues to live in perpetual slavery and fear of the known and unknown that constantly lucks at his doorstep or he strives to make this world, which he find himself a better place to live. Truly many people in the world would cherish the prospect of human cloning; the details may differ from one society to another, but the hope is basically the same – to live happily in ideal conditions. Besides, acts with the highest good may involve the breaking of other moral codes. If this utilitarian principle is accepted, acts such as human cloning, which is ordinarily considered to be bad may turn out to be good in the long run. Biblical, we are not only made in Gods image but also to function like Him. Therefore, it is fallacious to assert that human cloning is against Gods will. If it was not Gods will for us to clone, how come He has given us the knowledge and creative capabilities to create the technology to clone? Reference 1 Martin, E.A. (ed.), Macmillan Dictionary of Life Scineces. Second Edition. Canada: Wadworth Publishers, 2000 2 Gine Kolata, Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead. London: The Pengium Press, 1997. p. 18. 3 Akpanopong E. (ed.), Nigerian Clinical Review. Vol. XIX., No. II. Lagos: Steven Medical Publications, 2005. p. 4 4 Barcalow E., Moral Philosophy: Theories and Issues. California: Wadsworth, 1994. p. 4. 5 Jeremy Rifkin, Genetic Engineering May Threaten Humanity, in Biomedical Ethics: Opposing Viewpoints. Julie Bach (ed.) Minnesota: Greenhaven Press, 1987. p. 28. 6 Robert A. Bowie, Ethical Studies. Cheltenham; Nelson Thornes Limited, 2001. p. 231.