Summer 2006

Begotten, Not Made

Robert Spaemann

"There is only one admissible criterion for human personhood: belonging biologically to the human family."

Wherever cloning becomes the subject of discussion, viewpoints and arguments begin to diverge wildly. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to bring some order into the debate. The British Parliament’s decision to permit cloning research on human embryos in the first fourteen days of development has two different ethical aspects. Both are questionable, and for similar reasons; nonetheless it is better to keep them clearly distinct. The first regards cloning as such, as well as every intervention into the human genetic sequence and thus into the qualitative identity of future or already existing human beings in the first stages of their development. The second has to do with the “use” of human embryos.

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