Letter: A non-rational debate please

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I AM writing concerning the tone of your articles on cloning (11 January). Such an attempt to coolly weigh up the pros and cons of cloning, I believe, can only serve to mask the true nature of the debate.

Our belief in the value of human life remains the core value of our society, largely because it has remained free from rational scrutiny.

As a liberal, I find it hard to place myself in debates about abortion, euthanasia and now genetics. However, it is clear that when these have led us into attempts to define what is and is not human life, we have contrived to get into a terrible mess.

Reason has always been a powerful tool in stripping away what has been considered unnecessary and somehow a hindrance to serving what is "fundamental", but we must recognise that is has no means of distinguishing between baby and bath water.

The quality of our decisions about cloning will be vastly improved if we recognise that it must ultimately rest on non-rational criteria - and it is doubtful whether the human imagination is powerful enough to reproduce these criteria in a vastly modified form. I am not a Catholic, but I can see the wisdom in drawing a line in the sand - at least while we reinforce the foundation of our civilisation.

Andrew Bell