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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 18:21 GMT
Should human cloning be banned?
We discussed human cloning in our weekly phone-in programme, Talking Point. Our guest was Professor Richard Gardner of the Royal Society.

  Click here to watch the programme  

The group which claimed the first birth of a cloned human last week has said a second such baby was born to a Dutch lesbian couple on Friday.

Brigitte Boisselier, Chief executive of the US-based Clonaid organisation told a French news agency the child, a girl, weighed 2.7 kilograms (six pounds), but would not specify in which country the natural birth had taken place.

Sceptical international scientists are still awaiting DNA proof that the first baby - a girl named Eve - is indeed an exact genetic match of her 31-year-old American mother.

US President George W Bush has called on Congress to outlaw human cloning while French President Jacques Chirac described the development as "criminal and contrary to human dignity".

This Talking Point discussion has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

I can understand the idea of being able to recreate organs and limbs for people, but believe cloning human life is very disturbing. Progression through science is all very well, but when dealing with a living being you have to draw the line somewhere. We have no right to play God and I can only see problems arising from this. Has anyone even stopped to question over the mental state of the cloned humans? They'll be ridiculed and in the limelight for life. And for no fault of their own.
Brad, UK

If human cloning is to be banned, will someone please tell me who/what is going to enforce this ban? I foresee a minefield of problems looming here!
Alan Hall, UK

The best thing we can opt for is to have our best minds at the forefront of research instead of letting a misguided sect take the reins

Niaal, Australia
How long will the scientific elite debate the issue while fanatics stumble blindly onto the world stage? Surely the best thing we can opt for is to have our best minds at the forefront of research instead of letting a misguided sect take the reins.
Niaal, Australia

I feel that human cloning should definitely be banned. What it is doing is upsetting the natural balance of nature. The original purpose of science and technology was to aid us in our pursuits of a better life for human kind but human cloning makes no sense whatever achieving this. Is our thirst for advancement in science worth forsaking our ethical beliefs? I hope not.
Grace, Singapore

Once collective human knowledge crosses a barrier, it is difficult to reverse it through social, political or religious constraints. How could an effective ban on cloning be defined and why should we do it? I wonder if many people who are vocal against cloning really understand the process, the results and potential benefits in treating genetic and congenital defects. Also wonder why we did not have this kind of a reaction against test tube babies, which is also an unnatural process.
Anuj Rikhye, Toronto, Canada

Our energies should go into managing cloning, not banning it

Michael, Canberra, Australia
The question is wrong. Human history has shown that one a technology is developed, it will be used. Our energies should go into managing cloning, not banning it.
Michael, Canberra, Australia

For all the moralistic bluster about human cloning, has anyone really considered what the legal status of the resultant children would be? If a person is a clone, will they be afforded full human rights? This is surely a dichotomy. If you give them human rights, then you tacitly condone the means by which they were conceived. If you withhold such rights, then you are saying that not all human are created equal, and you might as well scrap human rights altogether.
L Moran, New Zealand

I think human cloning is great. Glad science beat bad legislature. Genetic Research will allow us to save our own lives, and increase our own potential as human beings. Life will be longer, and happier. Also it opens many doors for more creative and imaginative thinking. No knowledge is inherently bad. Cloning is no more evil then a copper vein in a mine. It waits to be discovered and used by someone for better or for worse.
Matt Joyce, United States

My main objection to cloning is not the morality issue but that cloning is idiotic. The reason we have thrived as a species is that sexual reproduction is a more successful strategy than asexual reproduction because it mixes and matches genes. Cloning is voluntary asexual reproduction. In cloning, reproductively we're turning ourselves into amoeba. I don't think we'll ever have enough knowledge to consciously guide human development in the right direction. Even worse, the idea of cloning is built on a myth. Given that we are formed by both nature and nurture, another person with your genes is going to be you. It's an insane alliance of vanity, egoism and science.
Gary Pollard, Hong Kong

Where do we ban cloning - in our country or throughout the world? We can ban it where we live, but what about a country half way around the world? How do we force, or at least convince, them to ban it in their society? We cannot. Do we let them continue what we consider inhumane? It's for the world leaders to decide on an international platform.
Hamza Sheikh, Houston, TX, USA

How long is the US going to stop latest developments in the world? Like Napster was freedom of music and now it is dead - the same way now for cloning. Are we coming to the death of a civilization as when in earlier times, new inventions were banned? A definite loss for science and human race.
Vinay, NYC, USA

Just because we can doesn't mean we should. Look at the atomic bomb. Technology is great, but at what cost? We are eventually going to be the death of ourselves. And it will all be because we didn't know when to say no. I am all for medical innovations, and progress, but cloning humans, is just going too far.
TH, United States

Of course one should understand those parents who have lost their children and want them back. But the problem is that it cannot clone an identical child. I don't mean the appearance, but the character and the inner world of the child that they have lost.
Ann, Moscow, Russia

Scientist shouldn't even think of cloning human beings, they should concentrate more on improving human lives not creating human beings. This could lead to destruction.
Etim, Calabar, Nigeria

Troubling as cloning may be, it is only a technology. Cloning has the potential to vastly improve the quality of life for many people. Religion and Politics should keep their hands off of science.
James J., Galt's Gulch, Bermuda

There is a big difference between therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. The former could save lives, the latter should not be permitted.
Lilliam H, Geneva Switzerland

Why did they even announce the incident to the press?

We should stop getting too exercised on this issue. The first basis of any credible claim is that it should be testable. Obviously, the group that claimed to have cloned babies do not want to be subjected to independent verification. If they were so concerned about the privacy of the families involved why did they even announce the incident to the press? They could have written a paper in a peer reviewed journal.

How will society respond to adult cloned individuals, particularly if their numbers become plentiful? Will they be regarded by the 'man in the street' as human beings... or a lesser form? Throughout our history peoples branded by others as non-human and sub-human have faced severe discrimination, enslavement, and even extermination. No-one knows the roads which the future will take, but I fear that we are paving a path that may lead to a regrettable destination.
Lesley M, Port of Spain, Trinidad, WI

Many people say that cloning is UNETHICAL. Who defines what is ethical? Test tube babies were unethical a few decades ago when the method was discovered and now it's an everyday routine process.
Nestor Phoenix, London

Cloning is ridiculous. As someone earlier mentioned, the world is already overpopulated. Cloning humans is not only ethically wrong and disturbing, but it is of no good to the human race whatsoever.
Siddarth Nagaraj, Winston-Salem

There is no valid reason humans should be cloned

Jessi, Denver, USA
This cloning is insane. Our Earth is already overpopulated, why should anyone wish to make it more so? There is no valid reason humans should be cloned. A better use for cloning would be to save endangered species and such.
Jessi, Denver, USA

We should outlaw religion, not cloning. Consider how much more peaceful, understanding, wise and spiritually enlightened the human race would be if this horrible scourge could be eliminated. Poverty, injustice and war would be less serious, workable problems. We could even have a reasonable discussion about science and cloning.
Greg, Paterson USA

Before any decision is made, we really ought to wait until the media circus is over. Right now, it's just mob rule. An angry and confused mob exists only on emotion, with no shred of rational thought.
Eric, USA

Come on, if there are people bent on doing something, they will be doing it no matter what. The Prohibition era in the US was one clear example. If you want to control something, put it under limits tight enough to prevent the most dangerous abuses, but not too tight to force someone doing it illegally.
Anonymous, USA

Public opinion is parallel to the Salem witch trials

David, Dallas, USA
It seems to me that in the case of cloning, at least we know what to expect as the result - a relatively normal human baby. What concerns me much more is tampering with DNA, genetic modification. It doesn't matter if the research is on vegetables or other flora and fauna; the 'scientists' making the alterations really have no idea what they may unleash upon our world.
Richard, Tadley, UK

The public is not enlightened enough to make a decision on this topic. Notions based on fictional stories of cloning have biased the public into thinking it is unethical and will be the demise of the human race. Unenlightened public opinion playing into major scientific decisions is parallel to the Salem witch trials. The Raelians made the same claim in 1978! Now they are withholding their "proof", saying that they are protecting the child and parents. They just want the attention from stirring up controversy.
David, Dallas, USA

I think it is one of those great human advancements which no law can stop from happening.
Lang, U.S.A.

What about the health of cloned babies?

Feisal Amour, Toronto, Canada
What about the health of cloned babies? I heard that Dolly the Sheep is not very healthy when compared to normal sheep.
Feisal Amour, Toronto, Canada

The world's reaction to human cloning is reminiscent of the 19th century reaction to Darwin's theory of evolution. Whenever there is a major scientific breakthrough that defies established views an angry reaction of this magnitude is expected. Scientific developments must be allowed to take place - otherwise we would still be in the middle ages.
Nabil, Windsor, Canada

I find the idea that this cult has succeeded in cloning a human ridiculous. Are we to believe that they had the accepted number of failed clones before this one? Where are all the other women whose implanted clones did not make it?
Kevin Kirby, San Francisco, US

What are the benefits of cloning an entire human? What can be gained?

Aaron Pendlebury, Northampton England
I agree with cloning of tissues to recreate organs and help repair tissue in other bodies. I agree with cloning if its purpose is to combat and perhaps eradicate disease. But what are the benefits of cloning an entire human? What can be gained?
Aaron Pendlebury, Northampton England

Allowing the cloning of an entire human body is a slippery slope. Once the precedent is set, and cloning is allowed to continue, then more insidious applications, such as the attempt to create super soldiers or a pure race, is only a matter of time. Will my descendants have to be worried about being a certain percent "organic"?
Gerald, Chicago, USA

A clone-Einstein may have the capabilities of the 'parent-Einstein' but this 'clone-Einstein' need not necessary create another theory of relativity. Think of the possibilities: Man could prevent the endangered species from being extinct; there could be cures for several diseases like cancer.
Tushar, London

While I'm not a Christian fundamentalist, it would shock me if God did not punish us in some way for trying to be Him. More importantly, however, is the fact that there is too much room for abuse.
Andrew Smith, Memphis, TN, USA

The only advantage to the cloning of human cells is that it will eliminate the abhorrent practice of animal vivisection.
Petra Jones, UK

If cloning is godless than there is obviously life without god, which finally once and for all makes god useless. No wonder so many religious fanatics are all worried about this turn of events. I am all for cloning, lets place humanity away from the pre-historical beliefs of current religions and join the 21st century.
Carmen Mattioli, Lisbon, Portugal

Who cares if someone clones themselves?

Joel Baumbaugh, San Diego, CA, USA
I don't understand what the big deal is about cloning... Who cares if someone clones themselves (or someone else)??? It's expensive and even a clone is not an "exact" copy of someone else, and even if they were - what's the problem?
Joel Baumbaugh, San Diego, CA, USA

A critical aspect that is rarely addressed within this topic is the resulting child. Shouldn't there be more attention paid to the fact that person who will be born without two biological parents?
Mark Lampert, Austin, Texas - United States

What if it turns out that a future Pope is a clone? Who will call for his removal then?
T.J. Cassidy, U.S.A.

Cloning should only be approved if its purpose is to cure serious diseases. With the exception of cloning the lead singer out of the Sugababes...
Takis, Athens, Greece

Many people seem to have nothing more than a science fiction concept of cloning, or have tainted their understanding with religious prejudice! Nonetheless, to have such a new and complicated technology applied to humans for the sake of money or publicity is grossly immoral. With such a risk of congenital defect or illness, and having been performed away from the world's eyes, one has to wonder - for every success story we hear, how many failures have there been? At least we've been notified pre-birth! International law will have to be drafted realistically on this one to avoid forcing similar experiments underground.
Mike, Dublin, Ireland

There may be benefits

Siobhan, Ireland
I think every child should have the human right to be unique. Cloning would remove this. Cloning may be scary at the moment because we simply don't know enough about it, but there may be benefits to be gained from cloning that we will all eventually accept.
Siobhan, Ireland

Cloning like any other powerful technology is capable of doing either great good or great evil. There has never been any powerful technology that can not be used for either good or evil (consider any thing from fire to atomic power). Cloning, like any new technology cannot be un-invented.

What we need to do, is put in place laws and regulations to insure that any viable human clone is given all the protections of any other human baby! If the clone is not viable, then we should not insist on it's having the rights of a human foetus/baby. In any case, if human cloning is made illegal it will still go on, just underground, with no legal protections for the clones.
Charles Cady, Phoenix, USA

Will it lead to us having less respect for the preciousness of life - by showing that it can be recreated?
Battle, USA

Self-improvement is just another step in evolution

Dirk Vandenheuvel, Belgium
From reading these comments it is quite obvious that a lot of people don't know a lot about cloning. Improving the species is part of evolution and cloning will ultimately improve the species and eradicate some diseases. It is a natural process that is now in the hand of humans. So if we like it or not, it is going to be used and it is going to improve the species. One could argue that self-improvement is just another step in evolution. We have already taken our evolutionary faith in our own hand in many different fields and cloning is just another means.
Dirk Vandenheuvel, Belgium

Human cloning is now at the initial stage and we must accept more failures but be determined to further develop to such status which is extremely useful.
Jack, UK

If God had meant for man to clone humans, He would not have given Eve to Adam with the ability to give birth; He would have just given Adam the ability to clone anything he needed. Cloning is just another sign that man is trying to become God.
Bob Morris, USA

The only thing cloning will accomplish is the destruction of human dignity.
Steve, USA

Cloning is not going to take hold, because the old-fashioned way of making babies is just so much more fun!
John Johnson, United States

I don't see how cloning can help reduce disease or poverty, or any of the other claims the pro-cloning people here are making. We have already seen with cloning of animals that the "clones" are less healthy than the originals they were copied from. With the cloning of plants we have seen that a single disease can wipe out the entire crop - something that doesn't happen in a more diverse population.
Jonathan Bryce, England

We must be wary of trying to use it to cling to lost loved ones

Matt, UK
The problem for me is the reason people would want to bring such children into the world. If it is as an aid to infertile couples then I support it but we must be wary of trying to use it to cling to lost loved ones. To those who object to this process on religious grounds, I would remind them that the Bible states that humanity was created above the beasts and given stewardship over the earth. Our greatest gift is our intelligence and our ability to grow. The knowledge now exists to create clones and no matter how much we would like to, we cannot wish it away. Christian duty is not to deny this knowledge but to ensure it is only used with wisdom and compassion.
Matt, UK

I think it is a mistake to object morally against cloning. A human clone is nothing more than an identical twin, which happens naturally. There are plenty of technical reasons for banning human cloning.
Desmond Schmidt, Australia

Cloning should not be banned, much of the opposition to cloning stems from the fear of unknown. What people don't seem to realise is that a person and his/her clone are going to be two different persons. Cloning gives us one more way of reproducing!
Deepak Sinha, USA

Human cloning is a sensitive subject and needs a closer assessment as to why there is a need for going one step ahead of others. Watching clones work like us and do what an average person does is no crime. Intricacies involved in the evolution of man and the affects of genetic mutilations still need a thorough probe. Until then we cannot say whether there is anything wrong in cloning human beings. Though it should only be restricted to experimentation.
Pankaj Vasudeva, Patiala, India

If the "clone" has the same fingerprints as the original, it's truly a clone. If not, it is merely an identical twin, born years later. If it is truly a clone, this could potentially cause criminal problems.
Nick, Nashville USA

Cloning is a bitter reality and we have to accept it. No matter what anyone does or says it will happen eventually and we can't stop it. It is the interference of humans into Godly matters and is the indication and start towards final day. So we should be ready for a chain of huge disasters to finalize the END.
Muhammad Asif Nazir, Lahore-Pakistan

This is obviously a hoax

Anon, USA
This is obviously a hoax. Zero evidence has been provided, but somehow the media has given it credit. However, someday it will happen. When the time comes, I hope those involved will first consider the realities of the modern world: millions of people live in extreme poverty. Shouldn't this problem be solved first?
Anonymous, Fort Collins, CO, USA

We have the ability to clone, so no matter what steps governments take to prevent it, human cloning will occur simply because we have the ability to do it. We're humans; we have to tinker with everything, even if it might mean our extinction as a race.
Karl Brown, Nottingham, UK

Well, to those who don't know it yet, I've got news for you: Each of us is a perfect clone of God! As the Bible says it well, God creates us to his own image by cloning himself, and therefore allowing us to inherit one of his most powerful features i.e. we can think, therefore create just like him - including cloning. Who is then to blame, God or us? Should we blame him for transferring us his powerful abilities to create or shall we blame ourselves for inheriting and exercising them?
Pascal, France

Before we have a clear picture of the outcomes of such a technologically progressing act, whether good or not, I don't think it is clever to do human cloning. We are not ready for an age when we can decide what creatures can be made. Too many pros and cons of human cloning need to be taken into consideration before this action is legislated and acceptable to the public. By foreseeing the outcomes and thinking of the resolution of the problems we may face in the future can we probably be ready to deal with the challenge of human cloning.
Yichiao, Taipei,Taiwan

Claims that the "uniqueness" of a clone would be violated are wrong, Twins have more genetic identity to each other than any clone created by pro-nuclear injection or somatic cell nuclear transfer. The word clone is unfortunately used to describe too many things and therefore gives the wrong impression to non-scientists who are the people who will (rightly) ultimately decide whether the technology should be banned.
David Bailey, UK

Real scientists do not hide their data from their peers and make claims through the media

Jeremy, USA
These claims of cloned humans do nothing for the advancement of knowledge. Published science is, by necessity, a rigorously peer-reviewed process. Real scientists do not hide their data from their peers and make claims through the media. This is nothing more than a circus. Are these the same people that claim aliens cloned the human race? All they have done is to discredit good, objective scientific investigation and hinder efforts to pursue real research objectives. Scientists are not trying to clone humans, they are far too busy doing real science.
Jeremy, USA

This is a tempest in a teapot.
1) Cloning will never be cheap or easy, relative to sexual reproduction. It is unlikely to occur frequently.
2)The "religious objections" are not well thought out, and remind me of the opposition to test tube babies in the 70s. But the children born of these artificial conceptions do not behave or appear differently from our more "everyday" offspring.
3) It may help us resolves the "nature vs. nurture" issue in childrearing. Example - we clone a famous artist or mathematician. If the clone also develops the aptitudes of its "parent", even though the clone-child is raised in a very different family environment, we will learn something of the nature of genius.
Dan Bostaph, Nashville, USA

It's only a step on the road to reproduction without people. Fertilisation (in whatever form it takes) to birth in the lab - the ultimate goal! The safest, most efficient, and fairest (for the child) method.
Steve, UK

As long as human cloning is not used to "create the superior" race in years to come. I do not feel that it is immoral. If it can be proved that the procedure can be used to alleviate or decrease the risk of life threatening illnesses in society then the process should be welcomed as a step forward in medicine and embraced as an outlook towards a brighter and healthier tomorrow.
Raymond Thomas, Vallejo, CA. USA

Cloning is definitely inevitable

Isaac, Canada
This whole situation reeks of a publicity stunt to gain interest for the religious group responsible. Whether true or not though, cloning is definitely inevitable. Given that, we can only worry about keeping the work within limits and not banning it entirely.
Isaac, Canada

We as a race cannot be trusted with this ultimate knowledge. Does nuclear power ring any alarm bells to anyone? Nuclear power despite what anyone says is clean and safe (properly used). Now it causes more suffering than it stops in the form of a possible war against Iraq, simply because they may posses it. Cloning has a great potential to stop people's suffering worldwide, but will it be misused like nuclear power and go the same way? I think so, it won't be long before some country begins research into creating the ultimate human weapon. The gains from this knowledge will be quickly nullified by misuse that will no doubt occur.
Marc Burton, Notts UK

Cloning is simply bravado. We should be thinking in terms of controlling the world's population and restoring the balance in the natural cycle. Our acceptance of cloning only shows us to be an arrogant species.
Prashant, Toronto, Canada

Having a cloned child is a somewhat selfish extension of the current trend of regarding children as a right, not a privilege, but I think that we should focus our efforts on the benefits that this new opportunity can bring us. It is funny that whilst anything relating to birth is decried by the religious minorities in this country as being against god, they are quite happy for medical science to prevent their death.
John T, York, UK

We should focus our attention on setting regulations

Matt W, US
No matter what anyone does or says it will happen eventually. I think we should focus on setting regulations on this practice as a business so when the time comes we will have international laws in place to regulate it and hopefully keep it under control.
Matt W, US

How can anybody create a life when one is not sure of the consequences of such manipulation? I wonder how many people who are vehemently are arguing that these things are bound to happen would be willing to offer themselves or their bodies for all these experiments? A person's right to research and create life doesn't extend to include imposing a life of suffering on someone-else. True, it may not be a life of suffering and scientists are probably only too wary of the process. But still, the fact remains that nothing's proved and the process once initiated cannot be undone. We haven't reached those stages where enough research has been done and it's safe to go ahead with it.
Bharathi, Vijayawada, India

When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, the clergy condemned it as defying the will of God. People are still using God to stop progress. I think it's strange to clone humans and it may be a big mistake, but I don't see it as immoral.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

Instead of producing yet more human beings, it's about time the same effort and money were put into making conditions better for those people already living on the planet. When disease and poverty do not take the lives of millions of people, when children are not systematically abused or murdered, when a new parent can be assured that their offspring will grow up in a safe environment: then is the time to consider cloning.
Jayne, UK

It's not as if we're short of people on the planet

Nina, London
What on earth is the point of cloning humans? It's not as if we're short of people on the planet, or have forgotten how to reproduce. In the event of a nuclear holocaust and there being no other method of continuing the human race then maybe, but why now? To me it's just boys playing sci-fi games without thinking of the moral consequences.
Nina, London, UK

As a pastor, I believe the question of cloning is prophetic fulfilment that says in the last days knowledge will increase. It's just unfortunate that may be those who do the exercise are not "born again" Christians and don't read the bible. Science without the knowledge of God makes one work against the creator.
Pastor A.D. Nkhata, Blantyre-Malawi

I find it strange that so many people out there have absolutely no understanding of the word ethical. The say that cloning is not ethical. From my understanding of the meaning "Being in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession" Now I was a scientist for 10 years and my understanding was always that science was all about the search for knowledge and understanding of things so how can cloning be unethical? Could it be that the people who are labelling cloning as unethical have religious tendencies which makes anything not 100% natural unethical? I do think that there should be controls over the use of cloning technologies but a ban would by definition be unethical for a scientist as it goes against the search for knowledge and understanding.
Lawrence, Edinburgh

Lawrence, Edinburgh. Human cloning clearly is scientifically un-ethical because it is tantamount to unsolicited experimentation on a human being. Within already existing guidelines this is may be acceptable i.e. taken only to a foetal stage before destruction, but to allow it to develop into a child and adult is irresponsible and frankly revolting.
Kevin, Liverpool, UK

This is just pseudo-science at its worst.

Mick B, UK
Clonaid have made it clear that their motivation for this 'experiment' is money. There is no altruistic or scientific motivation behind this, just greed. This child is likely to have horrendous health problems including premature ageing and will, of course, be sterile. Therapeutic cloning is one thing, but this is just pseudo-science at its worst.
Mick B, UK

Cloning is a little like a hammer. A hammer and nails have lots of potential uses from building a shed to putting up a picture. About 2000 years ago some people used this fantastic new technology to nail people to large pieces of wood and hang them up to die. Should we ban this terrible new weapon? Could we ban it? I suspect not. Instead we remember a victim of the hammer whose words laid down an ethical foundation that moved his society beyond crucifixion as a way of solving it's problems. We cannot regulate tools, processes or techniques - once invented there is no easy way to forget. What we need is a more comprehensive ethical framework that can deal with the issues that Jesus never even considered 2000 years ago.
Thom Leggett, UK

Cloning should and must be regulated, but an outright ban would harm the progress of science. People were sceptical and horrified when IVF came about and, of course, people will be now. However, we now use IVF every day. As long as these cloned children are given the human rights endowed on all of us and are brought up correctly, I see having a clone as nothing more exciting than having a twin. I do not believe that cloning will take away individual uniqueness, since the 'parent' and the clone will still be separate people, with different lives and personalities. We can only clone the bones, muscles and organs which make up a person, not that person's individuality.
Matt, England

Sometimes the scientists are blinded by ambition

Ayman, USA
Science is sometimes mad. Do you think that the discovery of the Atomic bomb benefited the human race? Sometimes the scientists are blinded by ambition and end up unleashing devastation on humanity. Also many people seem to in love with the idea that this will lead to immortality. If no one dies, do you think the Earth could sustain such a population explosion? We would end up having to kill people at certain age limits to make room. Doesn't add up. There is a balance - if you mess with it you will find unpleasant consequences.
Ayman, USA

A fundamental part of being human, is to be unique. That completely goes out the window with cloning, and I would wholeheartedly support any ban imposed upon it.
Matt Kowalski, UK

This whole cloning business sickens me for the same reasons it sickens so many others... but what really bothers me is that these "brilliant" scientific minds can't concentrate their efforts into conquering cancer and heart disease - the real threats we face every day. This "bypassing God" business seems quite sick and dangerous to me. I hope it was all a hoax.
Barry, USA

It's almost the same as creating human robots.

Mallory, USA
Cloning is an abomination. If that baby girl is truly a clone, she has been sentenced to a life of cruelty by other humans. Humans have enough problem dealing with other races, religions, and cultures. Cloning is basically throwing in another race. It's almost the same as creating human robots. It just doesn't seem right. I hope cloning is outlawed. I pray for mercy.
Mallory, USA

I don't think cloning in and of itself is wrong - it simply creates identical genetic material, the same way having a twin would. I do, however, worry that someday it could be used to create a certain type of 'designer human'. I don't think this is a possibility in the near future though, and I don't think we should ban human cloning until more research is done into the possible risk and benefits. If we were to always fear something new, then we'd still be stuck in the Stone Age.
Matt, United States

The same arguments that are made against human cloning can and were made about other technological advances like the creation of the telescope or the automobile. The real reasons people are against it are that it is unnatural and new to them and because over the years Hollywood has made a scary depiction of it.
Poyan, Toronto, Canada

Most of the discussion centres on selfishness - cloning yourself, your children, or a lost dog!

P. Burns, England
Science brings us another Pandora's Box. Just how valuable is cloning to society? Most of the discussion centres on selfishness - cloning yourself, your children, or a lost dog! There will be a big price to pay.
P. Burns, England

I think that human cloning should be banned. I mean, is the world dangerously unpopulated? We already have billions of people on earth and we don't need more - at least not by artificial means.
Rahul Gladwin, USA

Whatever happened to natural selection? Why when people are unable to have offspring naturally do they turn to science? This is nature's way of strengthening the gene pool. What's wrong with adoption, there are plenty of children out there who need a family already.
Simon, Singapore

What will the cloned baby think when it grows up? Who is he/she? Does he/she have any human rights?
Hei Hung, Hong Kong

There needs to be a conference consisting of the scientific and ethical leaders of the world to discuss human cloning. This should be done through the United Nations with the end result being a treaty of some kind that the nations of the World can agree upon. When a decision is made and the treaty ratified, then it can be enforced by the United Nations.
Dustin, Sacramento, United States of America

Has anyone actually asked God? Has anyone actually met God? Is there a God? Science is Life; Life is Science - it's going to happen either now or in years to come.
Darran, England

This is truly frightening

Margaret Tidswell, Canada
Man will never win by going against Nature. Genetic engineering, whether it's our food or cloning babies, is opening us up to unimaginable horrors. This is truly frightening.
Margaret Tidswell, Canada

Cloning is inevitable and so long as it is conducted ethically, it can benefit mankind. The more we try to ban it, the more horrors will emerge as we will drive it underground.
Matthew, South Africa

This is historical moment for all people.
Sonja Svegelj, Slovenia

Are we, perhaps, getting two subjects mixed up here? I am against cloning of humans, but very much in favour of cloning stem cells for medical reasons.
Graham Rodhouse, Helmond, The Netherlands

One thing everyone should be clear about is what a "clone" really is. It's just a genetically identical copy of a person. The clone does not (and cannot) have the same mind as the original. So notions of cloning Osama bin Laden are baseless.

Some people alluded to the possibility that cloning may work counter-evolutionary. That's an interesting thought. This includes the whole gamut from effects on the diversity of the genome, the propagation of genetic defects, to possibly that it may impede further human evolution. It'll be great to hear expert opinions on this.

As far as banning cloning, I don't think it'll work, and I don't think it's a smart response. Nothing works like real understanding. Human beings need to understand the basis of life, and like it or not, experimentation is the best way we know of.
Badri Srirangam, SF Bay Area, USA

Cloning technology is at a very early stage and to use it in this manner is highly irresponsible and unethical.
Neil, UK

Surely the only way to learn more is to experiment?

Ashley, Wales
People are saying that we do not know enough about cloning to experiment with it, but surely the only way to learn more is to experiment? However, I think that strict guidelines need to be introduced internationally. Simply announcing to the world that you have created the first human clone is extremely irresponsible.
Ashley, Wales

Cloning is unnatural; it is man playing at being god. Nothing good will come of it, there will be repercussions to cloning other humans, and these repercussions will be negative both physically and psychologically damaging to the clone.
Allan Damien Goodwin, Scotland

The war on human cloning is lost before it is even started. With so much interest in human cloning the stakes are high, and people will do it no matter what bans have been put in place.
James, UK

I think it is ungodly and against all of nature to clone a human being.
Joy Lanford, U.S.A.

There is nothing good that can come out of cloning humans it is evil and dangerous.
Kresimir, Croatia

Lots of people here are saying things like, "Cloning is against God", or that it is a "Godless" and "evil" science. But since no-one knows the mind of God, how can they be sure? Maybe He would like us to become more like Him in our abilities. Since it is impossible to know what God wants us to do in this case, we really should try to stick to real world facts and effects when arguing the benefits and disadvantages of this technology.
Ciaran, UK

Cloning should be banned for now. No one knows the effects it will have on the genome, not to mention possible genetic maladies that may result from an improper cloning procedure. Beyond that, there is the question of whether or not cloning is even ethical. There are serious issues at stake. It would not hurt to wait five or ten years to look this problem over a bit better.
Peter Vevang, USA

Religion and the "aged" always want to suppress the times and changes

Scott, USA
Why not try to advance technology? It's the same thing as learning that the earth was round and not flat. Religion and the "aged" always want to suppress the times and changes
Scott, USA

The people in this world are afraid of changing and think impossible. In the past, most people did not think that the rocket will be exist but it does. I am supporting human cloned for family reason.
Andrew Kucharski, MD, USA

I am a supporter of cloning for therapeutic purposes and I fear that if this is proved true it may set back the advances of the benefits of this technology. Science is like a double edged knife. For every invention can be misused but it is not the invention that is the issue but our state of mind! Let us not repeat history and prevent Galileo's of our time from opening our eyes. It is me and you who are wasting our time contemplating whether we should stop scientists from exploring further horizons.
K A, London, UK

We must learn to separate religion from science

Bob, USA
Until we can look at the human body as a piece of machinery, medical advances will not be made. Cloning of individual body organs would offer a better quality of life for many people that have chronic diseases. We must learn to separate religion from science. If our creator did not want us to have the ability, we would not be given it.
Bob, USA

At the moment there are major medical problems with cloning - there is a significant risk of genetically related disease. Do we want to condemn a person to that kind of life?
Bill, UK

The question of banning is academic, since it would be unenforceable. However, there are plenty of nightmare scenarios in store for us; deformities, premature death, clone psychosis, clones of Osama Bin Laden.. God help us.
Jack Delawney, UK

It's unethical; it doesn't respect human dignity

I think that it isn't possible to clone a human, because with an animal, nowadays, it's difficult and to do it with a human is a dream. It's also unethical; it doesn't respect human dignity.

What exactly are people hoping to achieve with such an experiment? Surely time spent researching cloning would be time better spent exploring ways to help those already in existence, in fighting disease and the afflictions of today's world. Does man's arrogance know no limits?
Tara, London, UK

To all those who say that research that is unnatural should be stopped, if it wasn't for doing the unnatural we would still be living in caves. I bet the first ever religious argument was over whether this new fangled fire stuff was stealing god's light and warmth. It is being unnatural that defines us as separate from animals!

Who wants to tell their son or daughter they were created in a laboratory?
Ryan Battaglia, USA

Tampering with nature is never a good idea

Jane D
Tampering with nature is never a good idea. Animals which have been cloned have acquired medical difficulties which emerged as they matured. Human cloning is selfish, unethical and dangerous - remember, Hitler and the Nazis were working on it! We need to learn to live with the cards that nature has dealt us.
Jane D, UK

I think cloning is against GOD and humanity further more we don't know what those creatures will turn into. Let God do His work and us humans be humans.
Gloria Sakwari, Tanzania

I haven't made my mind up either way, but the religious types should consider this: If cloning is against God, then why did He give humans the ability to find out about how they work or why doesn't He stop it now?
Mark, UK

I don't have a problem with cloning on a philosophical level, but I think it is cruel to experiment genetically with human beings. We don't know how long these cloned children will live or if they will suffer debilitating defects. It is one thing to clone sheep, but irresponsible to clone a human being until we know what the effects will be.
Christie, UK

Sexual reproduction has been amazingly successful - look at the huge diversity of life that it has produced over the past billion years. Asexual reproduction (cloning) really is a step back into the primeval.
Phil H, UK

Will we be sending clones of the Human Race to another planet for survival should the world blow up? What utter rubbish cloning is, along with the shallow minds of the scientists pursuing the dream of eternity. This world will pass and has to end one day. Accept it!
Sheila, Manchester UK

Of course it must be banned. There is no need to clone a human at all. Nothing religious about it, nor good science - just bad morality and no clear obvious use.
Lloyd, London

This is indeed one of these great leaps forward for the human race

Michael Gahan, Cork, Eire
I have to admit that while I am a little concerned about who did the cloning, at the same time I'm very excited about what has just happened. This is indeed one of these great leaps forward for the human race. Let's just make sure we proceed responsibly.
Michael Gahan, Cork, Eire

Here's a thought for all of you out there: Someday you may be cloned without even knowing it. All they need is a wimpy cell - scary? Or something you all are looking forward to?
Walther, USA

This is a step closer to understanding our gene structure and how to correct genetic faults. We have to move on.
Bjørn Tore Nøstvold, Hong Kong (From Norway)

Up to now, cloning humans still symbolizes more the progress of biotechnology than its real contribution to human beings. Even if it could be accepted one day, those who benefit are mostly the rich instead of the man in need, which causes the increasing rich-poor discrepancy.
Gary Lo, Taiwan

This is shocking what these people have done. God will certainly punish them for this hideous crime against mankind.
Youssef, Australia

Why could cloning humans not be as natural as pregnancy? It is because the result could be influenced by the will of the other people - scientists. For one thing, they gain God-like power. For another, they are not so perfect as God, thus mistakes will inevitably occur. To minimize the faults, more kinds of people are needed and more and more problems follow. After all, pregnancy is the best policy.
Gary Lo, Taiwan

Congratulations to Clonaid! This announcement is a new landmark in biotechnology. And while sceptics say they're afraid that the baby won't be in good health, they're just as afraid that it will be.
Anon, UK

What is the use of having a perfect baby?

Tori, USA
What is the use of having a perfect baby or a baby that is just like you? If this is the future then we won't even need to be here to have children.
Tori, USA

In India, burdened with the world's second largest population, we tend to see the cloning of human beings differently. There are already enough members of mankind and that it is vital for the living and for those to come (by natural birth) to live as happily and as well as the circumstances allow them to. It is equally vital not to prevent them from living better. As for infertile parents, there are enough orphans in the world to take care of.
Apratim Mukarji, India

That's great. The next step will be to produce a whole class of love slaves!
Tungsten Powers, Canada

I say this cloning affair is exciting! Hopefully, it will stir up major international debates about ethics and science. The back-and-forth of whether Iraq has weapons was getting rather boring!
Vinu, Canada (at present)

Let the science go forward

Michael Nikolich, Canada
Let the science go forward. There will always be good and bad in every new discovery. It is a human evolution and we all hope the good will prevail.
Michael Nikolich, Canada

The scientist in me is quivering with anticipation. The human being in me is deeply troubled.
Matthew, US

I think cloning is a crime against humanity and God. We have no right to mess with nature in this way. There is too many risks.
Major Muller, Canada

Life should be more special. If one can "clone himself" by genetic technology, then he will not take his life as an important thing. And isn't the cloned baby a human who will have her own ideas in the future? What will she think about this kind of thing that happened to her?
Jeanette, TMU, Taiwan

In vitro reproduction is praised for giving the opportunity to infertile couples to have a baby - why is it so much more shocking with cloning?

Maciamo, Japan
Any ban on cloning will foster illegal cloning and cloning research in countries that do not have or enforce such a ban. This merely precludes many reputable people from research in uses of cloning to advance mankind, while those of questionable motives will defy the ban and exploit both the evils and benefits of cloning.
Jacob Stansbury, Jr., United States of America

I don't see any problem with cloning. Lots of people overreact because they are afraid of what they don't know. If the society had decided to ban planes because humans were not supposed to fly, where would we be now? Furthermore, clones have always existed naturally; we call them twins. In vitro reproduction is praised by some for giving the opportunity to infertile couples to have a baby; why is it so much more shocking with cloning?
Maciamo, Japan
We do not understand enough about the creation of life to explore it in this way

Darrell Murray, South Korea

Cloning should be banned. In all our research and discovery, we need to base our actions on Christian principles, having due regard to God's commandments and the general tenor of scripture.
Geoffrey H Treleaven, UK

As we look back throughout mankind's history, we have always ventured into unknown territory with the arrogant presumption that because we can create something, that we fully understand the implications. Genetic engineering is the ultimate fashion science. Just because we can do something, does that mean we must?
Alex Achucarro, England

Cloning is the best thing that has happened to humanity since the discovery of the wheel or fire. This way we will be able to sustain the population in, say, Europe where the rate of natural human growth is almost negative. We all know that the better the people live, the less they want to make babies.
Walter, LV

Walter, LV - European women of today only want to bring a small number of children into the world because they know it's irresponsible to have too many, and in order to give the children they have the best possible start in life they prefer to limit the number of children. Cloning children when we haven't yet managed to clone healthy sheep yet is sheer irresponsibility too.
Kay, Paris France

I can understand why infertile couples would want to clone to have a child but I think it is wrong to clone a lost child whether they died through accident or disease. You can never replace a child and trying to is just blinding yourself to the fact they are gone. Human existence is reliant on genetic diversity - survival of the fittest - and through cloning you are reducing this diversity and may well be producing a child with a disease which has not yet become apparent in the donor.
Kate, Scotland

I feel deeply for the child whose life is about to be exploited in the name of science. Right now, we do not understand enough about the creation of life to explore it in this way. Technology has given us the ability to jump ahead in our ability to explore the world, but too often in neglecting the little steps between these quantum leaps, we do not earn the right to this new knowledge and create horrible mistakes.
Darrell Murray, South Korea

This Talking Point discussion has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

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