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Ask the Patriarch 218
What is the agnostic view on cloning?

from: Tim K

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I am doing a project for school about views on cloning. My class picked their religions (mainly Christian denominations) to obtain views from. I am however an agnostic. Since I don't belong to a church, I need to find some kind of Agnostic preacher or some thing along those lines to provide advice.

I've come upon your web site and it seems to come close to what I believe. So I'm asking "what is the agnostic view on cloning?"

The Patriarch replies:


I'm going assume you are looking for something more specific than a view on cloning. After all, cloning in general is accepted and widely practiced.

Cloning is one of the fundamentals of agriculture. We rely on it for both fruits and vegetables - not all, of course, but many of them. Without cloning our diets would be far less interesting, and it is questionable whether the earth could support nearly seven billion people. I know of no religion which opposes this type of cloning.

Cloning of animals is getting to be almost routine. There are some religious objections, but generally not particularly influential.

So, if you are raising an ethical question, I have to assume you are asking specifically about human cloning. In considering whether human cloning is ethical, you should ask whether we as humans are that different from other lifeforms? Are we that different from non-human animals? Are we that different from living plants? We are all related when you go back enough generations.

Ultimately agnostics have to make up their own minds on the ethics of cloning. There is no central agnostic authority to hand down this type of judgment. Each agnostic has a personal responsibility to decide for herself or himself what is right and what is wrong, and live accordingly.

That is preferable in my opinion to some church authority making decisions on our behalf. Remember, if a religion has come out with a position on human cloning, it is just a person (or a committee of people) making the decision, not a God - prohibitions on human cloning does not come from holy scripture. No scripture for any major religion states "Thou shalt not clone" or "Thou shalt not clone humans." These commandments are just not in the book. Where they exist, they have been made up by men (rarely do they allow women into to process) who claim scriptural authority even though there are no words that explicitly support the doctrine.

But that does not help you with coming to your own decision. Cloning has been discussed on this web site, mostly humorously, but there are some serious articles. I'll provide some links below. But again, what is expressed here is the views of individuals, not an official agnostic position. Perhaps reading these articles will help you reach your own conclusions on human cloning.