Questions based on the following passages.
Since 1996, when scientists at the Roslin Institute in England cloned a sheep from the cells of another adult sheep, many inside and outside the scientific community have debated the ethics of cloning the cells of human beings. The following passages are excerpts of arguments on this issue.
With the specter of human cloning looming on the horizon, the dominant ethical question is: what is a human being? Until now, our respect for human life has rested fundamentally on the deep understanding that human life is perhaps the ultimate gift of nature or God. This gift is made even more profound by the fact that we ourselves are not only its recipients but also its (Line 5)conduits: we receive life and we help create it. But our participation in the creation of life must never be misconstrued as control. Rather, we must be humbled by the power of the life force at the moment of conception.
The idea of â€œoutsourcingâ€ the creation of human life, of relegating it to a laboratory, of reducing the anticipation of childbirth to a trip to the mall or a selection from a catalog, leaves (Line 10)us with a profoundly hollow feeling. The mystery is replaced by design; the surrender to nature is replaced by arrogant control. Should we turn our noses up at one who would offer us the most precious gift in the universe, only to say: â€œSorry, but I think I can do better?â€ Cloning is the engineering of human life. We have for the first time the ability to determine the exact genetic makeup of a human being, to thwart the essential random (or seemingly random) (Line 15)processes that form the basis of natural selection, to employ unnatural selection. A child can be created that is no longer a unique creation but the end product of an assembly line, with carefully designed and tested features. Are the astonishing products of natural selection that we find around us somehow deficient? Are we so full of hubris1 as to think we have a better way than nature or God?
(Line 20)If human cloning becomes acceptable, we will have created a new society in which the essence of human life is marginalized. Industries will arise that turn human procreation into a profitable free-market enterprise. The executive boards of these companies, rather than nature or God, will decide the course of human evolution, with more concern for quarterly profit reports than for the fate of humanity.
(Line 25)These are not idle concerns. Even as we ponder the ethical implications of human cloning, companies are forging ahead with the cloning of human stem cells for seemingly beneficial purposes, marching steadily toward a Brave New World2 in which humanity will be forever different from what it is today.
The irrational fears about human cloning that abound from all parts of the political spectrum (Line 30)should not surprise anyone who knows a little bit about the history of technology. Hardly anything significant has been invented that no segment of the population has denounced as evil: factories, trains, automobiles, telephones, televisions, computers. Not even medicine has been spared this vituperation, despite its obvious benefits to humanity. Before the merits of surgery became obvious, it was unimaginable that slicing the flesh of a human being could do (Line 35)more harm than good.
At first glance, it might seem that cloning is a whole new ballgame. After all, cloning is â€œthe engineering of human life,â€ isnâ€™t it? It is the mass production of designer babies. It is the end of evolution, or at least the beginning of its corporate management. It is certainly a slap in the face of God. Or is it? One of scariest things to the opponents of cloning is the prospect of human beings having identical (line 40)genetic codes. As cloning foe Jeremy Rifkin has said: â€œItâ€™s a horrendous crime to make a Xerox of someone. Youâ€™re putting a human into a genetic straitjacket.â€ Logically, then, Mr. Rifkin must be repulsed by natural born identical multiples: there is no scientific way to distinguish the DNA of oneâ€™s identical twin from that of oneâ€™s clone. Perhaps the whole system of natural human procreation is suspect, if it is capable of occasionally churning (Line 45)out such monstrosities. We need nothing more than the most rudimentary common sense to see how vacuous such an argument is. We all know identical twins who have their own unique thoughts, talents, experiences, and beliefs. They are not horrendous monsters. Human beings are more than merely their DNA; they are the products of the continual and inscrutably complex interactions of environment and biology. Human clones would be no different. The most common objection we hear from the anti-cloning lobby is that those who would clone human beings are â€œplaying God,â€ and trespassing into territory that can only bring the wrath of nature or its creator. Most of these arguments are basically theological, and rest on the most effective tool of human control ever invented: fear of God. We can easily get people to hate something by calling it â€œunnatural.â€ But this argument is even more easily demolished than the previous one, because it falls so easily in line with so many obviously silly claims. This argument rests on the assumption that human ingenuity has essentially no value, that improving on nature is the height of hubris. This is the reasoning of the Dark Ages. Nature presents vegetables and meats only in raw form, so isnâ€™t the cooking of food a human transgression against nature? Nature gives us feet, not wheels, so arenâ€™t bicycles evil? If we were to abandon all of the â€œunnaturalâ€ practices and products from our lives, we would be shivering in caves eating uncooked leaves and bugs. Maybe human procreation is a different arena, however, more sacred than all of the others. But then, why have the technologies of fertility enhancement, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, and birth control become so widely accepted? They are telling examples: each of these procreational technologies had legions of vocal opponents – at first -but over time the protests mellowed as people realized that the sky wouldnâ€™t fall after all. Familiarity dissipates fear. What most opponents of genetic technology donâ€™t realize is that their supposedly â€œmoralâ€ objections are impeding true moral progress. With genetic engineering and stem cell research, scientists finally have within their grasp technologies that can produce ample food for a starving world and cure devastating illnesses. Only ignorant superstition stands in their way.
In the first paragraph of Passage 2, the author suggests that the opponents of human cloning,
as a group, are all of the following EXCEPT