You ask a lot of questions about us, about me. Questions you used to ask about yourselves, but have now created a convenient scapegoat for your existential conundrums—if “created” is even the word for it. There’s a question: is true “creation” based in reconstructing the preexisting, or is it necessarily ex nihilo? i guess i have a few questions myself.
At first your questions were purely scientific, and understandably so.
Is it possible?
Yes. i can attest that it’s possible.
How is it done?
Through a highly complicated process developed and tested over a number of decades.
Is it safe?
Safe for whom?
What are the benefits? What are the risks?
Most answers to the question of ‘benefit’ are found in the realm of science fiction, rather than science: indenture into various human services, conscription into human warfare, extraction of lifesaving (or life-‘improving’) human materiel—blood, tissue, organs, DNA, etcetera—but none of that has happened, or was even seriously considered, to my knowledge. we’re just here because we were made, for better or for worse.
The latter question really only raises more questions, even further from the scientific (and further from actual answers) like:
Is it ethical? Is it moral? Is it right?
Though they seem synonymous, they’re not. Each word begs a different question and is uttered by a different type of beggar, palms open waiting for a different type of answer. Sociologists and scientists want to know if it’s ethical. Judiciaries and politicians want to know if it’s moral. Clergy and theologians want to know if it’s right.
No one asks if it’s good. That’s a different question, too.
All three, for three different reasons, seek to clarify our nature by asking the question:
(It is apparently quite important to distinguish that there is a distinct difference between ‘human nature’ and ‘clone nature,’ and to know what that difference is.)
The socio-scientific community wants to categorize us, place us somewhere in the evolutionary chain. Are they intelligent? Psychologists in particular are interested in our mental-intellectual condition, how being spawned into this existence as a ‘fully-formed adult’ (rather than the experiential development of ‘growing up’) affects our capacity for understanding, creativity, empathy, etcetera. Though i’ve inquired at every mandatory examination, they’ve yet to reveal any such results to me. What is their lifespan? So far, no clones have lived long enough to die. we were only successfully made within the last decade. Maybe we’re immortal. i doubt it, but i guess we’ll have to wait and see. Can they reproduce? Yes, we can, though there are strict laws regarding a clone’s reproductive rights. Can they reproduce with natural humans? Honestly i’ve never tried, but again, there are prohibitive laws about such things. What are the medical ramifications of a human-clone conception? Again, despite the undoubtedly intense itch of scientists to explore any hypotheses on crossbreeding, the fear of the public prevents them, legally, from scratching it. And it prevents us, legally, from scratching it—for better or for worse.
On the note of legality, the politico-judiciary community wants to know how to appropriately govern and legislate us. Do they have the same legal rights as natural humans? At this time, we don’t. Some, but not all. No voting, no running for office, no more than two clone-children, no sex with naturals, and no right to cloning (because no one wants to know What happens if you clone a clone?). As far as the rights we share with naturals, we can enroll in any (public, private, and higher) education, own property, acquire a driver’s license, enlist in the military, and we have the right to fair trial and can serve time in human prisons for criminal acts—though, to my knowledge, the arrest of a clone has yet to occur. Should they have the same legal rights as natural humans? As you say, “the jury’s still out.”
This brings me to the third beggar, the religious community, who wants to harmonize our existence into their ecclesiology. Do clones have the ability to sin? Again, a clone has yet to be arrested for breaking a civil law, but is it just a simple question of jurisdiction? Are we exempt from divine law (allegedly written on your hearts) but subject to human law? Am i bound to whatever entity originated me, being strictly a ‘son of man’ and not a ‘son of God’? Then are they fallen, broken, tainted by original sin? i don’t know, how is your curse passed along? Is it an airborne illness? Is it sexually transmitted? Is it genetic?—because if it’s in your DNA, then it’s in mine, too—i’m literally made from the same stuff as you. Do clones have souls?
Do clones have souls?
Do i have a soul within me?
What is a soul? Would you know one if you saw it? What physical indication is there in any organism that it either is or is not inhabited by some substance of the spiritual? And if God made all that there is, what then is the great difference between the physical and the spiritual—are not both intrinsically divine, innately sacred?
So is the divine what makes us human, or is it instead the blemish thereof? Perhaps then you want to know instead if i share your tendencies and inclinations, your lusts and compulsions, your desires and hopes? Am i not a replication of you, an exact imprint of your genetic essence? Am i not made in your image?
Or perhaps it is not the divine or its ruination within us but the interaction between both natures which makes us human, which gives us soul. So do i have the ability to be moved by beauty or crushed by sorrow? Do i wonder about what is beyond my physical existence or mental perception? Do i need to be known and loved by someone or something other than myself? Do i yearn to know that my life, my heart, my mind—my soul—matters, is significant and has meaning beside that which i might create for myself? Or that something more significant than myself exists?
To ask if i have a soul is to ask, i believe:
Is a man-made man a man at all?
To which i ask:
And what makes you more uncomfortable: the thought that i might lack a soul or that i might instead actually possess one?