Thursday, August 04, 2005

I read yesterday about the Korean cloning of an Afghan hound. Besides the inane commentary about the particular breed of dog they chose to clone, the article raised the topic of cloning for commercial rather than scientific purposes, and ever since I read the story something has been nagging at me. I don't know that I've really thought it fully through, but the kernal that wants attention is about the intersection of scientific experimentation and some core spiritual beliefs. It seems to me that so many religions attribute a soul to living beings, especially to man, and the fundamental concept is that in the process of creation, a unique soul is formed/assigned/reincarnated, that many religions would be fundamentally threatened by the potential ramifications of cloning research.

I am not particularly religious in any organized fashion, but I do find that I believe in the idea of a soul. I am thinking that even many non-religious people would think like me that there was something to human beings beyond the basic organization of cells into an organism.

So if we clone something, does it have a soul, and if so, how did it get the soul?
If it doesn't have a soul, does that support or challenge the idea of a god?

It seems to me that you could make the argument that scientific experimentation with the concept of cloning could challenge one of the most basic assumptions people have about the existance of a god or about the sacred nature of humans, or any living beings.

Ok I'm sure I've not said anything some ethicist hasn't written extensively and eloquently about, but I'm interested in what others think about this?
Would you see this as a reason to stop experimenting with cloning?
To encourage it?
Not an issue?

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