The main idea and the urgent message of Leon Kass’s “Preventing a Brave New World” is human cloning is an inevitably unethical action, so neither therapeutic nor reproductive cloning of embryos should be legally allowed. To achieve his goal – persuade the reader that (human) cloning is a bitterly unethical experience – Kass’s constructs a carefully developed argument. This paper explores the exact steps in Kass’s argument against human cloning and assesses this argument’s strengths and weaknesses.
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Leon Karss’s argument against human cloning is based on a set of reasons. In this argumentative text, Kass first outlines his reasons for recognizing human cloning unethical and subject to legal ban. He will then go on to expound on his arguments in the next section of the paper which will be devoted to refuting opponents’ arguments as well as overcoming possible objects. Finally, the paper ends with the conclusion which sums up the unique message of Leon Kass and its prospects to change the consciousness of many young people.
The set of reasons that make up Kass’s argument start with the author’s claim cloning violates the natural flow of things since it defiles people’s given nature as beings with large procreative potential. Next, cloning is believed to be one of the numerous forms of child abuse, more accurately, the“radical from of child abuse”. Generally, Kass’s objections against cloning are classified as four major reasons behind his argument. They are: cloning is unethical since it involves unethical experimentation, cloning threatens people’s identity as well as individuality; cloning converts procreation in a kind of manufacture; it actually means despotism over children and leads to parenthood perversion.
The first reason behind Kass’s argument against cloning is rooted in ethics. Kars rightfully asserts that experimentation necessary for cloning is utterly unethical. To support his reason, the author provides examples from animal cloning experiments and comment on his opinion of their outcomes. He also provides the number of successful cloning attempts: two-three per cent of all attempts have been successful. To further support his opinion, Kass refers to the scientists opinions. Importantly, “nearly all scientists now agree that the attempts to clone human beings carry the massive risks of producing unhealthy, abnormal and malformed children” (Kass, 2009). To stir the emotions of the audience, Kass asks a series of rhetoric question which could otherwise be read as affirmative statements.
Further, cloning will lead to serious issues of identity and individuality threat. According to Kars, the cloned individual will face concerns about his particular identity not just because he or she will be identical, by his or her genotype and outer look, to some other human being, but also because it may appear that he or she is a twin to his or her mother/father. The town relation will get mixed with the child-parent relation.
Additionally, cloning will turn procreation into manufacture, which will be harmful for parents’ perception of their child and for the child himself. Kars explains that in case children are produced by scientific technology rather than as a result of naturally occurring conception during sex they will most likely never upgrade their status as adults’ artifacts. Indeed, “the artificer stands above it, not as an equal but as a superior” (Kass, 2009). To make the matters worse, these artifacts will be the subject of commerce. Today, businesses offer “human eggs for sale” by the mask of donation. Hence, human life will be subject to extensive and nasty commodification.
Also, cloning is a path to despotism over children and will cause perversion of parenthood. The very practice of cloning, as Kass clearly explains, will play a crucial role in changes in the meaning of child-parent relationship. The common understanding of this matter will aggravate since parents might have problems accepting what turns out to be their kid. Children will be obliged to “fulfill the unbroken dreams of their unhappy parents” (Kars, 2009). To make matters worse, rather than having hopes for their kids, parents will most likely develop certain expectations. Such overbearing parents will be unable to maintain open and forward-looking relationships with their children, Yet, what is even worse children will surely hold their parents responsible for all physical illnesses and health problems they have.
The arguments in Kass’s essay are well developed and set on strong reasons. He starts with drawing parallels with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, so that readers may better feel the plight of modern innovations through an insight into the grim future. Kass approaches the problem under different angles: from the perspective of ethics and psychology, as well as from the philosophical and educational perspectives. This is his strongest point. Besides, Kass’s stong point is his reliance on a wide spectrum of findings from different areas of science. In addition, Kass uses emotional language intertwined with scientific examples to convince the audience in worthlessness of human cloning. This makes the reading more persuasive.
As for the weak points of arguments in “Preventing a Brave New World”, they may be his occasional deviation from the main idea. Along with refuting the claims of human cloning proponents, Kass discussed a range of cases that are not directly related to the problem or may be omitted. This is sometimes distracting. Besides, his claim that the debate around human cloning is a golden opportunity for the society “to strike a blow for the human control of the technological wisdom” sounds a bit idealistic and unreal. Even if in the United States, people manage to get cloning legally banned, in other countries it may well become one of the governmental prerogatives. So it would be better if Kass applied more accurate vision of cloning as a threat to the very existence of the human race.
All in all, I basically agree with Krass about the necessity to counteract the attempts of human cloning. Human cloning will lead humans to degradation, extinction, and loss of humanity, just as Aldous Huxley novel describes. Thus, it is high time we prevented the brave new world from gaining control over our lives.