Friday, November 16, 2007

Would clones have souls?

So the recent news that scientists were able to clone primates has me thinking. Would clones have souls?

Christians believe that human life is valuable because it has an eternal soul that is designed to be in a right relationship with God. It is because humans have souls that we are different and, thus, killing of humans is immoral. However, animals don't have souls so killing them for meat, hides, etc. is morally acceptable.

So, if scientists created a clone, would that clone have a soul? If it had a soul, would there be anything wrong with creating it? If it didn't have a soul, would there be anything wrong with using it as a human-tissue repository?

We are not sure when God imparts a soul into a human embryo. Some argue fertilization, others implantation. Before ultrasounds, people believed the soul was given to the baby at the "quickening". We aren't even sure how to test for a soul. Self-awareness is too broad. Some animals recognize themselves. Deeds is too narrow. I've never heard anyone make an argument that sociopaths truly lack souls, even though they act nearly inhuman.

Further muddying the waters, test tube babies are created and then implanted in a mother's womb, so most Christians have come to accept that creating life outside of the natural process is acceptable. Certainly, cloning fall under that title.

So let's walk through my thinking...

1) A clone is produced and has a soul. This would appear to be analogous to making a test tube baby. Nothing morally wrong here. However, use of this clone as a repository for organs and not treating them like a real person would be immoral. (i.e. it would be immoral to force my clone to give up a kidney if I needed one)

2) A clone is produced and has no soul. This would analogous to having a pet. It doesn't appear to be immoral. And using the clone as a repository for perfectly matching organs would be acceptable. (i.e. it would be morally acceptable to kill my clone for his lungs, if mine needed replacing)

3) Other options?

It would appear that regardless of whether clones have souls or not, cloning isn't morally wrong.

Holes in my thinking and argument? Please note them in the margins.