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Cloning and souls

Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:49 am
by zoegirl
So here is a question for everyone.

Lately I have seen more references t o cloning and humans (one of the movies I have seen referenced talked about cloned humans as a work force, because they are for whatever reason considered sub-human)

Now it has never occurred to me at all that there would be a difference between a cloned human and a natural born human with regards to the clone having a soul, but I have had students ask me this as well as seeing this idea as part of plots for movies. Considering that there is nothing really different about the physical nature of the embryo....what would be different that would mean it has any difference spiritually?

Unless there is some doctrinal idea that I am missing, why wouldn't clones have souls?

It could simply be that this idea is simply good sci-fi fodder, but now that I think back over some of the questions I have has from students, I wonder if I am the one who is missing something?


Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:23 pm
by narnia4
I don't see any reason why a clone wouldn't have a soul, even if children were "grown" like in The Matrix, but maybe I'm missin something too. I don't see what difference it would make for a conscious, sentient human being with free will.

Now a sentient android like Data from Star Trek, maybe that would be a slightly more controversial question (although less relevant to modern science and less likely to happen)?

Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:39 pm
by zoegirl
See, I'm looking at it this way....I don't think we can separate the physical with the least in part. Of course we are not merely the reactions from our neurons, dependent upon signals and such. But we are more than the sum of our parts and I think once we do have the physiology of a person, I wonder if part of the emergent properties of that brain, of that body, is that soul.

I'm not saying that there's not something mysterious and mystical about it....but not to the point that a clone would be devoid of a soul simply because of the method of development. (nor am I trying to use this as a justification for cloning....just curious as to what everyone thinks.

Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:02 am
by Silvertusk
The way I see it is that God has invested a lot in Matter. Matter is important to God. The new Heaven and Earth will be made out of matter. We will have new resurrection bodies made out out of Matter. Therefore our souls are tied in with Matter. IMHO a soul cannot exist with out the Brain. I really believe God invented this amazingly complex organ called the Brain which we have not even begun to explore - but it needs to be so complex because is harbours our soul.

So if we were to fully clone a human then I believe yes that person will have a soul. Although ethically I think it is morally wrong.


Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:07 am
by Ngakunui
Frankly, I think any sentient being would have a soul, be judged to go to Heaven or Hell, and so on. Regardless if it's "artificial" or not.

Reason being, I often hear people say "Machines can't have a soul no matter how intelligent they are, because they're man made."- well, just about all the human beings since the first ones were man made, through natural process of procreation, but made by humans nonetheless. Therefore, saying that only creatures made by God have a soul is occluding just about all of man kind.

And there's no way that I could tell a self-aware, intelligent thing that it has no soul, in good conscience. Just think of how you would react if you were told you had no soul.

Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:59 am
by Matt DeLockery
Something for us to keep in mind is that there is actually a lot of data (outside the Bible) relevant to this topic that we Christians can use to help evaluate our position. The philosophical word for "soul" is "mind," and there has been a lot of work done on the question of whether humans have a mind that is distinct from the brain. This is like having a center of self-consciousness, or a self-aware "I." If humans really do have a mind, then the question of whether a clone has a soul is the same question of whether it has a mind.

Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:27 am
by Canuckster1127
Don't we already have a natural instance of this sort of thing in identical twins? Each has their own soul and personality despite having identical genetics. I wouldn't expect a clone (which is in effect an identical twin that has a different birthday) to be any different in that that regard.

More to the point in cloning and the greater concern in my mind, is that clones, because they are "artifically" created in a controlled environment may be seen as "inferior" human beings without natural rights. What are the moral and ethical codes that will apply to clones being created and not allowed to enter into consciousness (or are cloned only in part without a brain) who then are used to farm organs? Will clones be deemed a servant or slave class without equal rights? What will the increase of clones in a general population do to the collective gene pool and will this have a deletory impact in terms of genetic diseases increasing (or decreasing in the presence of greater state and medical institutional control.)? There would likely be even more that could arise in the presence of unintended consequenes that we aren't even aware of at this time.

Re: Cloning and souls

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:59 am
by zoegirl
The twin argument is exactly the one I would use and indeed I would agree with what you just seemed obvious to me and I was wondering if I was missing something.