We need to start accepting cloning of all animals including humans. At the very least we need to start facing the reality of the inevitable regardless of where your morality stands. Cloning, and specifically cloning humans, is a moral issue that we need to come to terms with. And, by approving cloning under accepted controls and guidelines we can prevent unscrupulous cloners from getting it all wrong and producing horrific results that we will be forced to deal with. The fact is, cloning humans, no matter how you feel about it is coming. You can ban it and call it illegal or morally wrong all you want, but that's not going to prevent it from happening. I'm willing to bet you find murder wrong and illegal? So do I. Has that stopped murder? Nope! Like it or not, you will one day be faced with the reality of a cloned human and you will have to figure out how you're going to deal with it. If we establish controlled, monitored, and careful cloning then we stand a chance at getting it right, or at least controllable. While this is going on, society needs to understand that cloned humans should have no less value or rights than any other human. Certainly the fact that the US Government has already ruled that patents on genomes of a half-human and half-chimpanzee is considered slavery and therefore not patentable is a sure sign the government will recognize any partial to full reflection of a human as a being who deserves equal civil rights. Which is a little odd considering we don't even afford homosexuals full equal rights, but that's a whole other topic.
Consider our advances in decoding a Neanderthal (read this fantastic article: Should We Clone Neanderthals by Zach Zorich). Even though the degradation of the genetic code causes immense complexity in cloning the Neanderthal, there are ways to reach the goal, and progress is being made. The long extinct mammoth is most certainly on its way to becoming another regularly cloned animal (check out this nice read: Cloning the Mammoth). A year ago we had already decoded 70% of its genome.
To yet further our inevitable struggle in dealing with human clones, we must also be forced to consider enhanced human clones - clones that are genetically altered to be better, faster, stronger, taller, or even resistant to fire and cold. The possibilities are endless, given our advances in decoding the genetic code and biomedicine. Though, personally, I like to look at this constructively. I realize your reaction may include fear of being rejected, fear of losing status among the god-like humans that will prevail. However, it's a bit like breeding dogs or plants. We breed dogs, plants and many other things in favor of certain attributes, producing better, prettier or more resilient species. While that sounds bad on the surface, it is, in my opinion, an extension of evolution. I see our ability to create, enhance and produce evolutionary advances as the next step in evolution. Evolving to the point of evolution-at-will. It is our civilization's only hope.
We are a fragile species, profoundly living miraculously. We are here by the skin of our teeth. The tiniest alteration of any one of a million dependencies the human race has would be devastating. Without the ability to evolve, we will be lost. And if evolving into a species that embraces its ability to evolve on demand means we can outlive any of our ancestral versions, so be it. I'm ready for the future, even if it means my own loss of value.
I imagine, if you think about it a while, you'll begin to wonder what it would be like to sit down and chat with another you. Okay, I'm just a little jealous of the future I will not live long enough to see. I imagine how wonderful it would be to talk to myself. Ok, I already do that, but wait, this guy really knows me. Or would he? Would my clone know what I know? Would my clone have memories of what my life was like? Of course not! Your mind and the thoughts within are the result of years of data collection and analysis, molded by external events and a continuous build-up of experiences. Your clone would only know whatever it is that he or she would learn as they develop and their ideas and opinions molded by experiences. Thus, meeting another me, for better or worse, will never happen. Decoding the unparalleled database that is the knowledge and memories we unappreciatively tote around every day has yet proven fruitless.
Or has it? Give us time.
I will ponder this further.