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sohma_hatori
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« on: December 11, 2008, 06:26:32 AM »

Greetings everyone,

My brother and I, have been discussing about science fiction lately. Our discussion turned on cloning human beings and he asked me whether the Orthodox Church is against cloning. I couldnt give him a straight answer as I am not familiar with the Church's standing on this issue. How does the orthodox Church regard cloning, and how does it view the case of people who are cloned (if there are any), and their identity as human persons with a soul?

Would love to hear from you!  angel

Sincerely,
Wilbur
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 10:15:32 AM »

I don't thing there would be a problem if say pigs organs are manipulated through genetics to be used in human transplant. Anything having to do with a human clone, is I believe strongly condemned.
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2008, 02:13:32 PM »

This article, in presenting the various viewpoints of many of the world's religions on human cloning, I think does a decent job presenting the Orthodox Christian perspective:  The Ethics of Human Cloning - At Issue http://www.enotes.com/ethics-issue-article

Excerpt of Introduction:
Quote
Similarly, Orthodox Christian churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, see no situation in which cloning human beings would be acceptable. They see human reproductive cloning as an attempt to create human beings in man’s image rather than God’s. According to Father Vsevolod Chaplin, archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church, “If human clones are bred for the egotistical reason of giving one person a second, a third, a hundred or more lives, then a profound moral crisis arises. . . . What sort of person would it be, knowing that he, of all people, was somebody’s copy?” Reverend Demetrios Demopulos, parish priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and a holder of a PhD in genetics, writes, “As an Orthodox Christian, I speak out in opposition to any attempt to clone a human being because hu- mans are supposed to be created by acts of love between two people, not through the manipulation of cells in acts that are ultimately about self-love.”

Other articles you may find informative:

From the British Medical Journal http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0999/is_/ai_n27573143
Quote
Russian Orthodox church threatens excommunication for human cloning: The Russian Orthodox church has said that it will excommunicate any Russian doctors and scientists doing research into human cloning, as well as people who receive or use cloned stem cells for medical treatment.

From the Orthodox Church in America http://www.oca.org/news/4
Quote
Oyster Bay Cove, NY -- The recent cloning of a sheep from a single adult cell opens the way to the cloning of other species, including human beings. Although no one can prevent scientific research and experimentation from proceeding in this direction, the question arises as to whether the United States government should ban or regulate this activity and provide it with public funding.

The world-wide body of Orthodox Churches adheres strictly to the view that human life is sacred: that each human being is created as a unique person "in the image of God." Accordingly, the great majority of Orthodox ethicists will insist that all forms of eugenics, involving the manipulation of human genetic material for non-therapeutic purposes, are morally repugnant and detrimental to human life and welfare.

Various cloning techniques using animals have been developed over the past ten years, promising enhancement of human life through the creation of new drugs, proteins and other useful products. Such endeavors deserve public support and funding. The prospect of human cloning, however, raises the specter of the "slippery slope" in the most direct and ominous way. In a "fallen" world, where rights outweigh responsibilities, cloning techniques using human cells will inevitably lead to abuse: the commercialization of "prime" DNA, production of children for the purpose of providing "spare parts," and movement toward creation of a "superior" class of human beings.

Moreover, scientists at present are unable to determine if a selected cell contains mutations or other defects that could produce crippling deformities or mental retardation in the cloned child

In light of these factors, the Orthodox Church in America urges emphatically that a government ban be imposed on all forms of experimentation to produce human clones and that government funding for such activity be denied. A moratorium on this activity is urgently needed.
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 10:24:15 PM »

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How does the orthodox Church regard cloning, and how does it view the case of people who are cloned (if there are any), and their identity as human persons with a soul?

Fwiw, the only relevant thing that I came across on the Antiochian website was this page.
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2008, 03:56:43 PM »

the case of people who are cloned (if there are any), and their identity as human persons with a soul?

Not to be difficult, but there are plenty of people who are cloned and are human persons.  That's what happens with identical twins. 

The question of purposely spliting a zygote to make a twin or making a copy from the cells of a child or adult something else I'd guess.

Ebor

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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2008, 12:50:46 AM »

Thank you Ebor for that clarification.

Do human clones that are artificially produced have a unique soul? Ive read the argument about how immoral it is, to clone human beings just to let him for another time or another generation perhaps, but if these "repititions of the self", had a unique soul, wouldn't that disprove the argument?
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2008, 12:55:21 AM »

There is a difference betweeen a fertilized cell splitting into 2 while in utero and a fertilized cell being created from an existing cell (modern Cloning process).

The mystery is in why the fertilized cell seems to split into 2.  Otherwise, we could say that identical twins had no souls.   Shocked
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2008, 11:40:32 AM »

There's nothing magical about whatever humans may be produced by cloning; of course they have souls.
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2008, 11:47:13 AM »

There is a difference betweeen a fertilized cell splitting into 2 while in utero and a fertilized cell being created from an existing cell (modern Cloning process).

The mystery is in why the fertilized cell seems to split into 2.  Otherwise, we could say that identical twins had no souls.   Shocked

Pray tell, what mystery is there in cell division?
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2008, 03:27:13 PM »

Pray tell, what mystery is there in cell division?

A fertilized cell dividing cleanly into two distinct cells is a unique case of cell division vastly different than mere mitosis or meiosis.

When a fertilized cell fails to divide properly, then one sees cases of fetus in situ, conjoined twins and other abnormalities.
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2008, 03:48:27 PM »

Pray tell, what mystery is there in cell division?

A fertilized cell dividing cleanly into two distinct cells is a unique case of cell division vastly different than mere mitosis or meiosis.

When a fertilized cell fails to divide properly, then one sees cases of fetus in situ, conjoined twins and other abnormalities.

Actually there are good biological and evolutionary reasons relating to the development of and self-reproduction of the cell, I'd strongly recommend Richard Jones' Human Reproductive Biology and all your mystery will be revealed as the cold hard science it truly is.

And in the future, please don't offer a scientific opinion unless you are familiar with the current research in the field (or at least the current research as of a quarter century ago for that matter...)
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2008, 03:55:42 PM »

Pray tell, what mystery is there in cell division?

A fertilized cell dividing cleanly into two distinct cells is a unique case of cell division vastly different than mere mitosis or meiosis.

When a fertilized cell fails to divide properly, then one sees cases of fetus in situ, conjoined twins and other abnormalities.
To my limited understanding of biology, the process of zygote division into identical twins is not even the mere division of one cell into two.  Maybe someone else will correct me on this, but my understanding is that the process is more the division of one whole clump of cells into two whole clumps of cells, with each distinct clump eventually growing as a distinct human being.
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2008, 04:15:00 PM »

To my limited understanding of biology, the process of zygote division into identical twins is not even the mere division of one cell into two.  Maybe someone else will correct me on this, but my understanding is that the process is more the division of one whole clump of cells into two whole clumps of cells, with each distinct clump eventually growing as a distinct human being.

The intial group of cells that form zygore are undistinguishable at first, it's simple mitosis; which is why when done in vitro, a cell can be removed from this cluster, for the purpose of genetic testing, making additional copies of the zygote, etc. and the zygote can still develop normally. If a cell breaks off naturally in vivo, the same thing can happen, both zygotes will develop independent of each other and slightly differently because their relative position in the uterus will lead to slightly different exposure to sundry hormones, but the genome will be nearly identical (allowing for minor genetic variation that can has a chance of occuring everytime a cell undergoes mitosis).

It's the presence of hormones on these stem cells that cause them to begin forming into more specialized stem cells and eventually the multitude of types of non-stem cells.
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2008, 06:42:08 PM »

Actually there are good biological and evolutionary reasons relating to the development of and self-reproduction of the cell, I'd strongly recommend Richard Jones' Human Reproductive Biology and all your mystery will be revealed as the cold hard science it truly is.

And in the future, please don't offer a scientific opinion unless you are familiar with the current research in the field (or at least the current research as of a quarter century ago for that matter...)

When has Biology 101 become current scientific research?   Huh
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2008, 07:35:06 PM »

Actually there are good biological and evolutionary reasons relating to the development of and self-reproduction of the cell, I'd strongly recommend Richard Jones' Human Reproductive Biology and all your mystery will be revealed as the cold hard science it truly is.

And in the future, please don't offer a scientific opinion unless you are familiar with the current research in the field (or at least the current research as of a quarter century ago for that matter...)

When has Biology 101 become current scientific research?   Huh
Well, either you worded your example of zygote division incorrectly, or your Biology 101 class taught you wrong. Wink
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2008, 07:41:14 PM »

Are the above referenced stances applicable to the cloning of single organs for transplant purposes, as well?
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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2008, 07:45:02 PM »

Actually there are good biological and evolutionary reasons relating to the development of and self-reproduction of the cell, I'd strongly recommend Richard Jones' Human Reproductive Biology and all your mystery will be revealed as the cold hard science it truly is.

And in the future, please don't offer a scientific opinion unless you are familiar with the current research in the field (or at least the current research as of a quarter century ago for that matter...)

When has Biology 101 become current scientific research?   Huh

It's not, and Human Reproductive Biology ususally isn't Biology 101 either...but that was the point about my rather sarcastic comment about not knowning 'current research' as of a quarter century ago.
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2008, 07:45:17 PM »

Well, either you worded your example of zygote division incorrectly, or your Biology 101 class taught you wrong. Wink

I took it in HS 2 decades ago.   Cheesy
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2008, 10:50:23 AM »

Could an important question be not denying that a person created via cloning was human with a soul, but whether the creation was motivated to USE that person as though she/he was property and had no individuality? 

There have been some very thoughtful Science Fiction stories written on the topic of bioethics that have some of that idea.

Ebor
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2008, 12:24:47 PM »

Could an important question be not denying that a person created via cloning was human with a soul, but whether the creation was motivated to USE that person as though she/he was property and had no individuality? 

There have been some very thoughtful Science Fiction stories written on the topic of bioethics that have some of that idea.

I can't speak for souls, as I find the whole concept laughable, but do you honestly believe that a cloned individual would not receive all the rights and privileges granted to any other citizen? Ultimately we tend to define 'humans' by 'sameness', it seems somewhat absurd that we would make someone a second class citizen or slave because they were too much alike us, we tend to oppress those who are different not those who are the same.
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2008, 12:34:18 PM »

Could an important question be not denying that a person created via cloning was human with a soul, but whether the creation was motivated to USE that person as though she/he was property and had no individuality? 

There have been some very thoughtful Science Fiction stories written on the topic of bioethics that have some of that idea.

I can't speak for souls, as I find the whole concept laughable, but do you honestly believe that a cloned individual would not receive all the rights and privileges granted to any other citizen? Ultimately we tend to define 'humans' by 'sameness', it seems somewhat absurd that we would make someone a second class citizen or slave because they were too much alike us, we tend to oppress those who are different not those who are the same.

Yes, I can believe that someone who has had a clone made of their own genetic material would think of that "other" as their personal property as a matter of "ownership".  Ego and personality can enter into the equation.

 
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2008, 01:49:08 PM »

Could an important question be not denying that a person created via cloning was human with a soul, but whether the creation was motivated to USE that person as though she/he was property and had no individuality? 

There have been some very thoughtful Science Fiction stories written on the topic of bioethics that have some of that idea.

I can't speak for souls, as I find the whole concept laughable, but do you honestly believe that a cloned individual would not receive all the rights and privileges granted to any other citizen? Ultimately we tend to define 'humans' by 'sameness', it seems somewhat absurd that we would make someone a second class citizen or slave because they were too much alike us, we tend to oppress those who are different not those who are the same.

Yes, I can believe that someone who has had a clone made of their own genetic material would think of that "other" as their personal property as a matter of "ownership".  Ego and personality can enter into the equation.

I just don't see that, any more than we see one Monozygotic twin claim ownership over the other. Rather, you would have an infant that is exactly your DNA, that has the same genetic potential as you, will have many of the same difficulties, successes, abilities, and disabilities...the relationship would be probably comprable to a parent-child relationship, though I would suggest possibly a stronger bond.

I think you underestimate our evolutionary propensity towards ensuring the survival of our genes.
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« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2008, 10:53:50 AM »

Could an important question be not denying that a person created via cloning was human with a soul, but whether the creation was motivated to USE that person as though she/he was property and had no individuality? 

There have been some very thoughtful Science Fiction stories written on the topic of bioethics that have some of that idea.

I can't speak for souls, as I find the whole concept laughable, but do you honestly believe that a cloned individual would not receive all the rights and privileges granted to any other citizen? Ultimately we tend to define 'humans' by 'sameness', it seems somewhat absurd that we would make someone a second class citizen or slave because they were too much alike us, we tend to oppress those who are different not those who are the same.

Yes, I can believe that someone who has had a clone made of their own genetic material would think of that "other" as their personal property as a matter of "ownership".  Ego and personality can enter into the equation.

I just don't see that, any more than we see one Monozygotic twin claim ownership over the other. Rather, you would have an infant that is exactly your DNA, that has the same genetic potential as you, will have many of the same difficulties, successes, abilities, and disabilities...the relationship would be probably comprable to a parent-child relationship, though I would suggest possibly a stronger bond.

I think you underestimate our evolutionary propensity towards ensuring the survival of our genes.

Twins are, I think, on an equal footing.  One did not create the other.  But an adult ordering a copy of her/himself to be made is, I submit, a different case.  What is the purpose of the copy?  Is it ego?  Or is it to get new organs for transplanting into the 'original'?  or to go to an extreme and still in the realm of science fiction/speculation a young body for an old brain to 'move into'? 

Individuals who look on others as property/ as 'owning' their children are not thinking of genes and the future, but themselves and control in the here and now.  They can't see a gene after all.

Ebor
 
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2008, 11:04:45 AM »

The great secret of cloning exposed ... Immortality
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2008, 11:08:39 AM »

Not necessarily immortality, but often medical. Another possibility is 'replacing' a child or other person, though due to different experiences the 'copy' would not be the same person.   There can be ego involved in the case of 'there should be more then one of me' if the copy is not supposed to supply 'spare parts'. 




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« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2008, 12:49:20 AM »

^ Only if DNA of repeated clones (assuming no mutations) is considered immortal; If true, there goes the ashes to ashes and dust to dust idea and cloning will result in all funeral homes going under like shopping centers and department stores.
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« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2008, 11:10:03 AM »

^ Only if DNA of repeated clones (assuming no mutations) is considered immortal; If true, there goes the ashes to ashes and dust to dust idea and cloning will result in all funeral homes going under like shopping centers and department stores.

Well, it might be "immortality" if each clone was used to transplant the originator's brain to a new young body.  But as individuals if they were allowed to grow and live they would not be the same person, but each one would be different. 

The "Why" of situation is an important question, I think.   There have been some serious science fiction works that consider the ethics of  a situation like cloning or "gengineering" (genetic engineering) or other matters.

Ebor
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« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2008, 03:14:13 PM »

Ebor,

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Well, it might be "immortality" if each clone was used to transplant the originator's brain to a new young body.

I'm curious, are you then saying that the soul resides in the brain, that there is no soul, or something different entirely?
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« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2008, 04:18:31 PM »

Who needs a soul if one is constantly being cloned?
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2008, 04:41:40 PM »

I don't thing there would be a problem if say pigs organs are manipulated through genetics to be used in human transplant. Anything having to do with a human clone, is I believe strongly condemned.

Actually, I wrote a paper on organ donation a few years ago.  You can find the text of that paper on Orthodox Wiki.
http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Organ_donation

I'd have to go back to all my research materials, but I remember that while the Church of Greece has said it has to do more research before establishing a position in reference to xenografts (animal organ donations), other Synods have spoken very strongly against it, as they change or confuse the nature of the recipient.

My other response to the issue would also be that the emphasis that the Church places with regards to organ donation is always on the GIVING of the organ, NOT the receiving (except to say that one should be grateful to God and to the one who donated it).  The blessing is in the gift of giving, the sacrifice of love, the ability to help another.  It is also clear from the fathers that all healing should be undertaken by both doctor and patient with great prayer and attention not only to body, but to soul as well.  Thus, as a pig can not pray, give, love, nor receive a blessing, my response would be that this is crossing the line. 

I didn't get into cloning in my paper, but everything I read in the process condemned cloning in no uncertain terms.  Interestingly, some of the sources were clear that, should a human clone ever be realized, they would definitely have their own, unique soul. 

This is just offhand.  I'd have to resurrect from the dead my old computer and try to recover my sources to tell you more.  Apologies for the vague nature of my post...

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« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2008, 06:35:54 PM »

Who needs a soul if one is constantly being cloned?

That's like saying, "Who needs a soul if one has a constant supply of new identical twin brothers/sisters?" Twins do not share a common soul, or anything else for that matter except a genome.
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« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2008, 07:10:46 PM »

As a biologist, I don't see any reasons to clone human beings. Indeed, clones are like identical twins. Why make them, for what purpose? So that they will live? But then you might just as well beget children. So that you have a source of organs for transplantation? But that presumes that you deny the clone the rights of a human being, i.e. you are trampling over some very basic human morality. There is a good movie about it, called "Island," with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. God help us to not evolve into individuals and societies who use our fellow human beings as "meat." It's not any better than cannibalism, if you think about it.
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« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2008, 07:26:42 PM »

Who needs a soul if one is constantly being cloned?

That's like saying, "Who needs a soul if one has a constant supply of new identical twin brothers/sisters?" Twins do not share a common soul, or anything else for that matter except a genome.

I was replying to Post #27 and the question posed by Asterikos to Ebor regarding souls.  My post had nothing to do with twins.   Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2009, 12:31:13 PM »

Ebor,

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Well, it might be "immortality" if each clone was used to transplant the originator's brain to a new young body.

I'm curious, are you then saying that the soul resides in the brain, that there is no soul, or something different entirely?

In this case I am not, per se, writing about souls but a situation that some Science Fiction writers have pondered with regard to such matters as ethics and personal liberty. So what I wrote above is considering the mindset of a person who would have copies of his/her body made specifically for the purpose of replacing their original one.  It would be along the lines of cloning ones tissue for replacement organs for transplantation, so the method would be surgical transplantation of the brain, rather as one might have a book rebound in a new cover.  The contents would be the same, but the outside would be new.  The idea being that it is the brain that is the seat of the person, the intelligence, the imagination, the talents, the personality etc.  So someone who had the means and mentality to want a young body could look at the matter that way. 

As a side note, many years ago, when the first "test tube" baby was born, a man that worked at the same place I did declared that such a child was not fully human because of the method of conception.  It is on things like that that I based the idea that for some people, a clone would not be a Human Being but a kind of 'object' that could be owned and used. 

Ebor
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« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2009, 12:36:36 PM »

As a biologist, I don't see any reasons to clone human beings. Indeed, clones are like identical twins. Why make them, for what purpose? So that they will live? But then you might just as well beget children. So that you have a source of organs for transplantation? But that presumes that you deny the clone the rights of a human being, i.e. you are trampling over some very basic human morality. There is a good movie about it, called "Island," with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. God help us to not evolve into individuals and societies who use our fellow human beings as "meat." It's not any better than cannibalism, if you think about it.

I agree with you very much, Heorhij, that it is like cannibalism.  I know about "Island" and there are other works that look at this idea and not just on the matter of cloning but that if through genetic 'engineering' variations of humanity were created, those people would be thought of as "property" to be used or destroyed by the company that brought them into being.  I can imagine that happening all too well, considering how people have treated others in Human history. 

Ebor
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"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Tags: cloning genetic engineering bioethics 
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