Many of the more complex moral difficulties caused to other systems of belief by the development and spread of cloning techniques simply do not arise for the Society of HumanKind. The concept that unites the Axioms is that we are alone in our universe, in the sense that there is no power or entity to whom we owe our existence or who has any continuing interest in our fate. Whether or not we decide to clone each other, or any of the other living specie that share our planet, or even if we choose to create entirely new forms of life, is therefore a matter solely for ourselves. That does not mean, however that the Society has nothing to say on the matter.
In principle the Society supports research into cloning, whether of humans or of any other form of life. It does so because pursuit of its Aim , requires continuous growth in human skills and knowledge. Equally, it cannot condemn the pursuit of knowledge in the specific area of cloning because, in accordance with the conclusions of the Treatise on that subject, it cannot predict where, when or how the Objective of its Dogma will be realised. The development of knowledge and skill in cloning may therefore be an indispensable preliminary to the achievement of its Aim.
What it can, and does oppose however, is any attempt to use cloning, particularly human cloning, to reduce the diversity and variety of life in our environment. The Society will therefore seek to preserve the element of chance which presently influences the characteristics and qualities of the life forms (including ourselves) that inhabit our universe. It does so for the same reasons of uncertainty that led it to support cloning research in principle. If we cannot predict what qualities and abilities we will need to achieve the Aim of the Society , then it is surely better to have greater, rather than less, variety and diversity in the characteristics and potentialities of our species. From the viewpoint of the Society therefore, cloning used merely to reproduce an existing unique individual is purposeless. Indeed, such an action must be counterproductive in terms of furthering the Society's Aim, since the duplicate individual will consume resources which could have been used to support and foster yet another unique member of humanity.
In sum, the Society of HumanKind regards the new science of cloning is an exciting and important development in human skills and knowledge. It has great potential as yet another hedge against any failure in our present system of reproducing ourselves. It can also expect to give us a better understanding of the processes by which we grow and develop the inimitability that gives us our value to each other.
But the Society will take careful note how that new knowledge is used. It will not accept, for instance, that we can know what problems or risks we will face in the future, or what qualities or characteristics we will require, either among our own species or any other, to deal with them. It will therefore, strenuously oppose any attempt to use cloning to produce individuals, whether human or not, that have pre-determined characteristics or qualities.
Equally, and for the same reasons, it will oppose any attempt to clone an already, or formerly, existing individual. No-one can separate a great man or woman from their time, and qualities and characteristics that produce greatness may be entirely inappropriate, and even perhaps pernicious, in another era. In terms of equipping our species to face the unknown perils of the future, cloning a former example of humanity, even an apparently highly successful one, is wasted effort. As such it is unacceptable for the reasons set out in the Essay on the Economy .
Cloning is a welcome addition to our knowledge. But as with every such addition to the progress of humankind, the Society will demand that it should be cautiously and consciously applied to the pursuit of its Aim, and seen to be so.
|Topic for Today||Previous Topics||Society homepage|
©Lawrence Thornton Roach
August, 2001 AD