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Postby Pilosofia » Sat Oct 23, 2004 10:48 am

Many scientific advances are just coming into focus and some have
already come under questioning. Cloning of human beings is just
one of them and for those concerned with this procedure here is
just one question. Please stay within the context of the question.
Thank You.

From a Bahai perspective, will a cloned human being possess a soul?

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Postby Jonah » Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:48 pm

To help get the ball rolling on this topic, let me quote the only statement from the House that I know of. From ... ction.html :
Reports appearing in the press and in scientific literature indicate that the study of the cloning of animals is at an early stage. Many fundamental questions about the biological and genetic features of this process, and its physiological implications, remain unresolved, and will only become clear with the passage of time.

Nothing specific has been found in the Bahá'í Writings on the subject of human cloning. The House of Justice regards it as premature for it to give consideration to this matter and its spiritual consequences. For the present, the believers faced with questions about cloning are free to come to their own conclusions based on their knowledge of the Bahá'í teachings on the nature and purpose of life. However, they should be careful not to make dogmatic statements or to offer their own understanding as a teaching of the Faith. (19 May 1998, to an individual) [14]



Postby urthshine_offline » Sun Oct 24, 2004 1:49 pm

While the nature of the question is to be respected any answer, no matter how informed would only amount to conjecture, due to the fact that there has never been a human clone nor is there a process in place to create one with any assurance that it will live and develope like a normal human being. In my limited understanding of cloning I've learned that cloning of whole organisms, like Dollie the sheep, at present still requires a surregate mother. Cloning an organism in a synthetic womb so to speak is impossible at present is it not? As for the hypothetical question of whether a human being if cloned-in utero or in a synthetic womb-would have a soul I think the answer would lie in whether it lived and deveoloped both physically and spiritually within its capacities. According to the Writings a human being could not exist without a soul. The soul can be describe as the self-reflective will of the individual. If such a creature were created without a soul it wouldn't be a self-reflective being and therefore would lack the essential aspect of creation to be called human, but, if it was self reflective, then it could be considered to have a soul I suppose, baring in mind that God is the One who infused it with a soul. God is not bound by human limitation in this regard. If He can infuse Mary's womb with the Holy Spirit and Manifest, by parthenogenesis, Jesus Christ then I think it is quite possible He can infuse anything with a soul.


Postby Guest » Mon Oct 25, 2004 4:28 am

Of course science has no way to confirm or deny the existence of a soul, and Baha'i lore declines to state exactly who has one and who doesn't, but still...

Why WOULDN'T a clone have a soul? All the medical, social, and ethical problems with cloning aside, once the deed is done, it seems to me that the result would be a human being with rights (and perhaps also with severe medical problems). They would be no more like the donor, than one twin would be like another twin. (And we have no problem with the concept that two twins can have two distinct souls...)


Postby Guest » Mon Oct 25, 2004 10:32 am

In my understanding of the Baha'i Writings everything has a soul, but only the human soul has the self-reflective quality, individuality and the potential to reflect all of the Attributes of God. The rest of Creation reflects a prescribed measure. What I think I said was that if the creature created by cloning had the qualities of a human soul then it would be logical to conclude that it had a soul. On the other hand, the opposite, now that I think about it, would not necessarily mean that it does not have a soul, but we'd be talking about a vegetative state, which I don't know how scientist would figure if it ever had the potential to be more, or a creature that was purely animalistic. Again, this is all conjecture so I can't forsee having much more to say on the matter.

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To Guest of Oct.25th

Postby Pilosofia » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:25 pm

I was interested on your remark that "everything has a soul"
according to the writings I believe you said, could you tell me
where that may be found? If I misunderstood you I sincerely
apologize. :roll:

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End of discussion

Postby Pilosofia » Sun Nov 14, 2004 12:08 pm

Thanking all who responded.

Progress of humanity is constantly progressive, whether choices
turn out to be good or bad ultimately it lies with those making the
choices and those who follow them. Baha'is are at the front of
progressive advancement, but if their voice is not heard and or if
the capacities of human understanding is not being renewed by
studing and thinking on what is being read by Baha'u'llah's writing
then to what other cause can seekers and mankind turn to?

Cloning is just the tip of the iceberg,countless new technological
advances are overshadowing humanities beliefs and culture,
good or bad will be the outcome and many will say "It's God's Will"
others will say "it's humanities fault" whether one or both are true
or false, it matters that one person who arises to blaze forth the
message for this age, otherwise from who else will it come from?

I heard this story whether it's true or not it holds an interesting
thought to think over.

"After an ocean storm the waves washed thousands of sea creatures
on the dry beach many of them dying under the noon sun, a passer
by noticed it and went down into the beach picking up one by one all
the sea creatures he could toss back into the water, suddenly those
passing by on the boardwalk noticed what he was doing and they
shouted out to him it was a waste of time that it didn't matter theres
too many to save,the man raised in his hand one star fish and shouted
back, "It's true,but it matters to this one"

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Postby Dawud » Sun Nov 14, 2004 8:31 pm

One more idea. I wonder if the original question wasn't motivated by the assumption that a clone would be a human creation, whereas a "normal" child would be the result of nature or God. In fact cloning also involves natural material. We are comfortable with the idea that children conceived through in-vitro fertilization have souls, I don't see how this would be any different.

A real difficulty, however, arises from the prospect of artificial intelligence. There's a wonderful science-fiction novel about this question called "Deus X", in which the consciousness of a Catholic theologian is downloaded into a computer program, which is then instructed to figure out if he has a soul or not.

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reply to Dawud

Postby Pilosofia » Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:50 pm

Of course as we know about the process of cloning coming from
a human hair or bone as an example it would be different then
the natural process for conception. Your question is more in line
to my first post which now brings us closer to the question about
the cloning of a human being and also with the ai you mentioned.
However this only a discussion for further understanding I do not want
anyone to get the idea this discussion is fact. My next reply will
have a quote from Abd'u'Baha on this subject in part,it's late and
I need to retire for the night.
I do not seem to be able to find that quote at the time.

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