Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2003
Students take sides on cloning
Bioethicist presents genetic technique to intrigued pupils
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Jonathan Knorr, 17 of École Secondaire Ste.Marguerite d’Youville in St. Albert, was in the dark regarding the various cloning experiments in the world.
That was before he attended this year’s Littlemore Day that featured a lecture on Human Cloning: Addressing Some of the Ethical Questions, at Newman Theological College, 11 March.
“I learned about interesting facts on cloning and how the process goes,” Knorr told the WCR.
“This makes you think whether or not cloning is morally and ethically right, whether we should allow some kinds of cloning.”
Knorr is only one of the 35 students and 15 teachers from nine Catholic high schools in the archdiocese, who attended the lecture by bioethicist Sister Mary Lou Cranston.
Cranston gave a presentation on the historical overview, arguments for and against human cloning as well as some faith response, specifically on the birth of Eve, believed to be the world’s first cloned human baby.
A papal spokesperson said it is “devoid of any ethical and human consideration, while a Muslim cleric in Egypt said, “Science must be regulated by firm laws to preserve humanity and its dignity.”
The Raelian cult, however, believes “cloning is the key to give the human race eternal life and to cure all diseases on earth, but eternal life is the ultimate goal.”
Cranston emphasized in her presentation, “Human cloning has radical implications for us as human beings, as individuals and as a society . . . presently and into the future of human race.”
“We, as individuals and as a human community, must find the courage to ask ourselves the difficult and challenging questions, to listen to our hearts and humbly heed their message to us,” she told the attendees.
Last year, Cranston was one of the consultants to preparing legislation on cloning in Canada.
“As far as I understand it has not gone past final reading yet. And what I know of the third reading, it does not protect the human embryo because it allows research on human embryo,” Cranston told the WCR.
She believes the legislation does not go far enough because of that.
“But I think people can . . . always keep educating like this. Maybe research won’t stop at the bigger level, but we certainly don’t have to be part of it. And we don’t have to use the technology coming out of it.”
Sarah Wyntjes, 17 of Notre Dame High School in Red Deer was not totally satisfied with the lecture.
“It wasn’t as informational as I have wanted it to be. It’s more about ethics and what is morally right or wrong,” said the Grade 11 student. “I think there is nothing wrong with cloning. There is nothing wrong with saving life.”
Wyntjes was confused whether to support the position of the Church.
“I think there is nothing wrong with cloning."
- Sarah Wyntjes
“I was raised a Catholic. I still have that in the back of head that you’re not supposed to.” But for her science outweighs her being Catholic.
When she goes back to her school she wants to try and convince her fellow students that cloning is not wrong because it will save people’s lives.
“It’s going to happen whether we wanted to or not. So if it’s going to happen anyway, why try and stop it and not encourage it to keep going,” said Wyntjes.
Knorr believes some kind of cloning as beneficial. “I’m for it . . . cloning organs, cloning parts, but definitely not for cloning another human being.”
For him it is important to know the reason for cloning and what scientists are cloning.
Leduc’s Marc Hurley, 17 of Christ the King High School said, “Nothing really changed my perspective although I have learned a whole lot about cloning.”
Hurley believes it is morally wrong to clone another human person but to clone human organs is okay.
“Cloning a human person is putting too much power in the hands of people, which I don’t believe is right.”
Hurley hopes to share to his classmates the information he learned from the lecture.