Alan discusses whether or not a human clone would have a soul.
I was recently asked on Twitter weather a human clone would have a soul just like you and me. In order to answer this question, you have to understand what cloning is. Cloning is simply a form of reproduction. In other words, it’s just another way to create a human being. There are many different ways you can create a human being.
We can create human beings through in vitro fertilization. That’s where you take a sperm and egg, and in a science lab, you combine them together. You later place that newly formed human being into a woman’s uterus and have that human being grow. There’s also the old-fashioned way through human sexual intercourse.
Cloning is another way to create a human being. Here’s how cloning works. They call it somatic cell nuclear transfer. That’s just a fancy term for these three simple steps. Don’t try this at home, but here’s how you clone someone. Imagine we’re going to clone me. We take a woman’s egg. Her own DNA is in the nucleus. It has those 23 chromosomes of her in the nucleus. The first step of cloning is to remove the nucleus out of that egg.
Then, we take some cell from my body, maybe a skin cell or a heart cell. Since all of my cells contain all 46 chromosomes of my DNA, we could remove that DNA from one of my cells and then implant in the egg that had its DNA removed. We take my DNA material and put it inside the egg. Now, I have an egg with all 46 of my chromosomes fully inside the egg.
The final step is to give a little electrical stimulation, which causes it to grow and reproduce just like it would if it was a newly conceived human being from a sperm and egg. Theoretically we would then place the newly developed human being into a woman’s uterus. They haven’t perfected this process yet because whenever they go through the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer, the clone isn’t able to survive.
But here’s what would happened if they were able to complete this successfully. That is, if they took the DNA material from me, put it in a denucleated egg, stimulated it and it were to survive; it would create a genetic duplicate of me. It would create a clone of me. It would in essence be an identical twin brother of mine. Instead of being my same age, it would be 40 years younger than me.
The point is that a human clone of me would be just like an identical twin of mine, just much younger. To answer the question of whether a clone would have a human soul, all you have to do is ask this following question: When you have twin identical brothers, do both of those brothers have souls? The answer is yes. Identical twins both have souls. The same is true with regards to human cloning. If we were to create a human clone of another person, that clone would also have a human soul in the same way an identical twin brother has a soul. After all, a clone would just be a human being created in a different way.