RELIGION BLOCKS PROGRESS ONCE AGAIN
I am a member of the community of faith, but I must confess that I am heartily ashamed of my fellow religionists who have taken a stand in opposition to cloning. Once again, the religious establishment has chosen to align itself in opposition to scientific progress. I wonder if they will ever learn? History is replete with similar instances where the Church, always fearing anything new and different, has thrown itself into the path of mankind’s quest for truth and enlightenment.
Lost causes espoused by religion in the past have included opposition to heliocentric cosmology, evolutionary biology, and male-female equality. The Church has defended the divine right of kings, execution for minor offenses, and the withholding of the Bible from laypeople. And Southern pulpits formerly defended slavery as a “divinely ordained institution.”
Taking a lesson from history, the Church should have learned by now that scientific progress will not be halted. Cloning will be accomplished, and the Church will only have egg on its face once again. Why not join hands with those who are advancing human achievement? Why not look for the good in what is to come from a deeper knowledge of the workings of the universe?
In the past, a barren woman was thought to be under a divine curse, and a childless couple was admonished to stoically submit to “the will of heaven.” But this has changed with the discovery of fertility drugs and the useful practices of artificial insemination and surrogate maternity. Likewise, it is not difficult to discern numerous benefits that mankind will derive from human cloning. The hopeless condition of a childless person can be rectified in this way. A family’s lineage can be perpetuated by cloning a male who carries on the name. An individual with unique talents can pass on these abilities to one who continues their proper application. A genius can pass along his superior insight to one capable of understanding and expanding it to even greater dimensions. A person with specific property or business interests that he has developed can have an offspring who further enhances these assets and fully appreciates running the business. The world will be a much more harmonious place for all of this.
After all, a clone will be no more odd a creature than a twin or the offspring of a surrogate mother, and so his presence in society should create no more problems than those minor bewilderments where twins are difficult to tell apart. And the well known affection between twins is an exalted example of human love that sets a good example and warms the heart. Also the fact that twins are an accidental occurrence, while clones would be deliberate creations, gives a measure of order to the reproductive process that does not come with natural birth.
The first commandment in the Bible was actually the one made to Adam and Eve: to be fruitful and subdue the earth. Thus, by taking a more firm control over his reproduction, mankind is fulfilling this divine mandate to dominate his world and appropriate all of its secrets and its resources for his advancement. So, to all these modern day religious nay-sayers, my advice is to get with the program, before the parade once again passes them by.
Richard L. Atkins