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More reading on cloning

Medicine | From the Christian Medical and Dental Society

Issue: "Cloning: Double trouble," March 7, 1998

"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." -3 John 2, NIV Definition--Cloning is a technology developed to produce organisms apart from the normal sexual process. In normal reproduction, an offspring will receive from the parents a combination of genes, or instructions for physical makeup. A cloned organism receives the gene structure of only one gene donor. In March 1997, scientists in Scotland cloned a sheep, producing a genetic duplicate named Dolly. The scientists created Dolly by taking a mammary cell of one sheep (with its genes) and combining it with an egg cell (emptied of its genes) of another sheep. The two cells were united with an electrical charge. Scientists "tricked" the resulting cell into behaving like an embryo and then implanted it into a surrogate mother sheep, where it grew into a viable lamb. This successful cloning came after 276 failed attempts. On December 2, 1997, the New York Times revealed that "the federal government is now supporting new research on the cloning of monkeys, encouraging scientists to perfect techniques that could easily be transferred to humans" (p. A-24). Implications--Before rejecting cloning completely because of its dangers, we should recognize that cloning animals offers potential benefits for medical research, animal husbandry, and food production. However, the potential cloning of a human being raises immense moral and ethical concerns. Cloning raises the prospect of developing human clones for the purpose of harvesting organs, medical research, or trait selection. Rather than viewing each individual as intrinsically valuable, cloned humans would be valued merely for their utilitarian purpose. The Christian Medical & Dental Society specifically opposes the "use of genetic manipulation to augment human attributes." Successfully cloning one sheep required the loss of 276 embryos. With cloning humans an inestimably more difficult task, the loss of countless human lives would be required for a single human clone. The idea of cloning humans also fortifies the false notion that we are simply the sum of our genes-merely passive organisms set on an unalterable genetic course. Yet cloning can never exactly duplicate an individual human being, since we are each influenced by our environment, relationships and personal choice. What the Bible Says--God granted us the ability and authority to "Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:26, NIV). Yet God clearly reserves for Himself the right of life and death for humans (Deuteronomy 32:39, Exodus 20:13, Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 1:11, Hebrews 9:27). God's plan for reproduction is the union of a man and a woman in a marriage relationship. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24, NIV). By removing the need for natural conception, cloning violates the fundamental role of marriage and the family. Cloning humans is an invitation to play God, to decide which individuals and traits are more valuable than others. Any theoretical medical benefits would be far outweighed by the loss of human dignity and life. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 16:25, NIV). Proverbs reminds us, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18, NIV). The drive to clone humans recalls the Biblical Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-8, NIV). Steeped in pride and arrogance, the people ignored limits set by God and attempted to literally elevate themselves to His level. God saw the impending disaster of achieving such power and mercifully intervened to stop their drive toward self-destruction. What You Can Do--History suggests that in science, whatever can be done will be done. We must constrain science within the boundaries of moral and ethical standards. You can help by educating others on the dangers of human cloning and by encouraging your legislators to pass laws to ban cloning humans. Most importantly, pray for God's guidance in the proper use of this new technology. The cloning debate raises the question, "What does it mean to be human?" We can offer answers from God's word: God created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27 NIV). The Christian Medical & Dental Society serves as a voice and ministry for Christian doctors. Its mission is to "change the heart of health care." Founded in 1931, CMDS promotes positions and addresses policies on health care issues; conducts overseas and domestic mission projects; coordinates a network of Christian doctors for fellowship and professional growth; sponsors student ministries in medical and dental schools; and distributes educational and inspirational resources. CMDS also holds marriage and family conferences; provides Third World missionary doctors with continuing education resources; and conducts academic exchange programs overseas. Doctors, medical and dental students, and other healthcare professionals may take advantage of full membership and benefits. Others may advance their values and the CMDS ministry as Friends. Call today to join the CMDS movement or to refer a Christian doctor for membership. Thank you for your interest! Christian Medical & Dental Society P.O. Box 5 Bristol, TN 37621 Ph: (423) 844-1000. FAX: (423) 844-1005 ORDERS: 888-231-2637 CMDS on the Web EMAIL: main@christian-doctors.com

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