Many people would like to rob a bank. Just the thought of all that money sounds wonderful. But, and this is, as often, a huge but, cloning oneself to achieve this goal would be a bad idea. Are you forgetting human nature? You might have the best alibi imaginable. “Me, officer? Why, I was at a party 20 miles away at the exact time of the robbery and, as I’m sure you know, I do not have a twin brother.” But, according to the laws of human nature, isn’t it entirely possible that the clone would simply do a runner? That he’d skip town with the millions and you’d never see him or your loot ever again? No amount of safeguards or bribery could stop your clone from doing that. Especially if it’s my clone. In fact, you’d be better off stealing the genetic makeup from someone you really hate and clone them. Then, when you’ve gained their trust, encourage them to rob a bank with promises they’ll see most of the cash. Then, after the crime, call the police, tell them who did it, and collect the reward money! You see, it’s almost the perfect crime, and a great example of why we shouldn’t clone. If it falls into the wrong hands, ergo, the hands of idiots, ergo, me, then Lord only knows what kind of damage could be done. I say ‘almost the perfect crime.’ I mean, I would have to push the clone off a cliff and then take all his ill-gotten gains, but, still, only a small dimple in my plan, really…
Again, similar issues are faced when the more moral amongst us would say that they would get our clone to do all the boring jobs, such as emptying the dishwasher or picking the kids up from school. To obey, the clone would need an incentive, and that’s just asking for trouble, really. And what if the clone tries a power grab? What if you wake up in the middle of the night with your clone standing over you, holding a pillow pressed firmly against your face? Next thing you know, you’re six feet under with a strange man in bed with your wife. It’s high on my list of concerns, readers. I know what I’m like. This scenario would most certainly happen.
And let’s tumble even further down the rabbit hole. If I desire to clone myself, then surely my clone and its clone and its clone and so on, will want to clone themselves. Soon, they will turn on me and then on each other. Eventually, we’ll end up with a world full of Alan’s, and nobody wants that, although I am tempted by the prospect that we lefties will finally rule the world. Eventually, nobody will know who the original is, probably left cast adrift in some remote wilderness, having lost everything he cherished so dearly. Attempts to treat the clones as a pest and worthy of extermination would lead to all kinds of legal issues, those in favour, old fart types who enjoy hunting foxes, and the those against, the hippies. Nobody will win as the clones start to take over the world. Sure, some will mean well, but there’ll be one who becomes a serial killer and when he clones himself, they’ll start offing all the good clones until only bad clones remain, enslaving the human race, or ‘Others,’ replacing them will more killer clones until the whole world has gone clone barmy or ‘clomy’ as the press will undoubtedly name it. And I ask this: Do you want all this to happen? Do you? Do you, really? Because I sure as hell don’t!
Some would say all this is outrageous baloney, and you may very well be right. Let’s say we treat our clone with respect and dignity. Then what? They’d be riddled with all your flaws and you’d feel awful for subjecting them to such a life, especially if one’s flaws vastly outnumber one’s, erm, ‘non-flaws,’ like is such the case with me. And this raises a further conundrum. Whilst our clones remain close to us initially, over time, they will evolve and become their own person, similar to us in only appearance. They’ll grow into their own humans. Raised differently. With a different education. Different values. A different upbringing altogether. One with religion or one without. And if the cloning took place at the sperm stage, as scientists definitely don’t call it, then the two clones won’t even look that similar. Genetic traits from the mother will see to that. Although if the clones come after this stage, they may very well look alike, I agree. One with long hair, one with short. Oh, man. I can’t imagine going back to short hair. It would be horrifying.
But projecting one’s flaws and negative characteristics onto someone else isn’t the only burden, here. What if your clone becomes better than you do? Better job. Better life. Richer. More attractive. You’ll look at them and think of all that you could’ve become if certain genes had been more favourable or if a certain job interview had gone better. You’ll strive to perfect your life like that of your clone and you’ll become mad with obsession. It’s already bad enough with the way things are now, inject clones into the mix, societal conditioning for perfection will rocket into a deranged state of ultimate delusion.
And I’m sure this is just the tip of an iceberg. When Louise Brown was born, the first IVF baby, the outrage was huge. It caused much debate, fierce on both sides of the divide. Your clone would face similar controversy, wouldn’t it? And cloning is dangerous, too. Cloning decreases diversity, crucial to the survival of the human race. Any fewer than 50,000 individuals would be insufficient diversity to maintain the human race. If cloning got out of hand, a couple of megalomaniacs cloning themselves until the point when the entire human race became a handful of megalomaniac clones, we wouldn’t be around for much longer. Some would say that future technology might combat this problem, but it’s foolish to think that we should just let a problem happen in the hopes that it’ll all work out for the better. “Well, you see, I don’t really see the problem with cheating. Sure, it’s a problem now, but we’ll find a solution in the future…”
Sure, that’s a swell idea. Unless she leaves you the next day, then, you’re absolutely screwed.
I know there are many benefits to cloning, but it’s still not safe enough to practice on humans. Other animals that have been cloned exhibit advanced aging, tumours and many, many other illnesses. Not to mention a short life, which isn’t much of a life, anyway. Not to mention all the fears of controlling a clone, the legal ramifications, the psychological impact, the moral argument, so on, and so forth. I’ve done this question once before, albeit nearly two and a half years ago. There’s no doubt we are now closer than ever to human cloning and that it’s inevitable that it will happen one day and, for the conspiracy nuts out there, may already have happened. But I find myself reaching the same conclusion and, more than that, believing in it more than ever. That we are all unique. That we are individuals who make choices and decisions every day. That have a unique and individual footprint on this Earth and an impact nobody else can claim is their own. That is a very, very precious thing. It’s the only thing we can legitimately own. Ourselves, the lives we lead, the impact we make. That is the story of our lives and to duplicate it devalues life. Even if that clone goes off on a different path, it’s still you. And that means you’re no longer unique.
And that, readers, is a thought that makes me rather sad…
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