Final Blog Post

It is common to think that emotions interfere with rational thinking. In the ‘Chariot Allegory’, Plato describes emotion and reason as two winged horses that are pulling a chariot. One of the horses represents rational, moral impulse or the positive part of nature; while the other horse represents irrational passions or lustful nature.  The activities of one system are automatic and often emotional, whereas the activities of the other are controlled and never emotional. The automatic system gets things done quickly, but it is prone to error. The controlled system’s mission is to keep a watchful eye and to make corrections when necessary. In everyday life decisions, this duality often arises as the individual train of thought may be influenced by any of those at a given point. For example, whether to go eat dessert instead of doing physical activity; often selection to eat sweets comes from the emotional thinking and the desire for quick satisfaction. On the other hand, often the decision to engage in physical activity comes along with the logical reasoning that it is, in the long run, the choice that will bring the most benefits. In a similar fashion, the public’s opinion on alternative new reproductive technologies is based on the same dichotomy of how each method might affect -emotionally and logically- the population. While most of the rash decision-making emotions are usually excluded from legally binding actions; emotions and feelings remain involved due to fictive kinship that people develop over experiences -or lack of- through each of their lifetimes, hence, any reproduction alternatives should be considered on a case by case basis. When a society is faced with a new technology, the instinct is to -at first -reject it. But as time goes on it becomes more acceptable because its implications are more and more understood by the population.

A 2010 Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life study of more than 230 countries and territories found out that “Worldwide, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group” and that “There are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84 percent of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion,”. With the same analysis projecting that these numbers will increase as the population rises to 9.3 billion by the middle of the century. It is safe to say that religious involvement is most times included in these experiences. Contrary to alternative reproductive methods like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy, which have been taken into the mainstream due to the longevity of their existence, cloning is the new method of reproduction that has not been involved as mainstream yet. Many have understandable reservations and hesitancies given certain circumstances under which the being is conceived and the means to ‘achieve’ life. However, I believe these are due to lack of understanding of what it entails. The restrictions range in origin but they mostly fall under the same “ethical” and/or “religious” classification. In terms of ethics, there is debate over the right of the parent to decide how the child is going to look like and the limitations on the use of the technology to avoid exploitation of its capacities. But as IVF and Surrogacy have made their way into the mainstream, so it should cloning be allowed to develop and become part of society.

Regardless of unethical considerations of the artificial reproduction of humans, there is a debate on whether it is feasible to clone livestock to fight issues like hunger, prevent pollution, and avoid the suffering of animals. On March 22nd of this year, the New York Post published an article discussing the word of Rabbi Yuval Cherlow – a prominent Orthodox in Israel – following Rabbi Menachem Genack, who is the head of New York’s Orthodox Union’s kosher division. Rabbi Cherlow said that “cloned meat produced from a pig shall not be defined as prohibited for consumption – including with milk”. He argued that when the cell of a pig is used, and its genetics are used in the production of food, the cell loses its “original identity” and therefore cannot be defined as “forbidden for consumption”. Jewish Law or Halakha has very clear rules on dietary restrictions, including what should or should not be eaten by the Jewish people. When the genetic material is used to generate the meat of a specific animal it is no longer that animal from which it came from. Likewise, as Broyde explains, the Halakha views cloning as less than the ideal way to reproduce people, but when there is no other method available then it accepts having children through cloning – it even considers it a mitzvah (commandment/good deed). He recognizes that while cloning science will proceed, some caution must be put in place of uncertainty. The natural tendency to prohibit the unknown is itself morally commendable virtue unless the activity is prohibited because of its consequences not being understood. In this case, the prohibition of what is not understood is under Jewish tradition regrettable. Jewish tradition commands those capable of discussing and resolving such matters to do so. The analysis is submitted to allow others to comment and critique it, and Jewish law will develop an established policy concerning various topics, in this case, cloning.

Even though Jewish Law seems to be tolerant towards cloning as an alternative reproductive system; the Catholic church does not seem to share the same perspective. In the Donum Vitae it is stated that “attempts or hypotheses for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through “twin fission”, cloning or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union”. The focus is on the consummation of marriage before conceiving a baby and it only accepts procreation what is considered traditional by the church’s standard. Due to differences within each faith, I cannot consider all religions to be isomorphic. Even amongst Catholic Sects. Protestants had to develop unique moral and theological positions. One way is to turn from the authority of the church as the interpreter of the biblical texts themselves. When, however, our subject is the new reproductive technologies we might guess in advance that this tried-and-true Protestant approach might have limited applicability; for, we are not likely to find a much direct explanation on the subject in the Old and New Testaments. Even though the texts do not give explicit guidance on these alternatives, there are examples that depict the procedures like surrogacy through the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar. Gilbert Meilander argues that this archetype places values procreation highly through the context of the establishment of a stable bond mother and father; nonetheless, the first and greatest command is not to have a family but to love God. He argues that Janet Dickey McDowell’s essay is an example of how one may plea to a vast array of biblical stories to find direction. However, the use of biblical references in different ways, in fact, Paul Simmons finds a symbolic value in accord with certain biblical values explains – when touching upon ‘Biotechnical Parenting –  that “These are parents by design, intention, and purpose. They will recognize their child as the extraordinary gift it truly is. They will not resent the pregnancy as an untimely accident or reject the child as an unwelcome intruder… To such commitment, every parent is called.” When comparing both, McDowell’s and Simmons’s, readings of biblical themes we can begin to see a basic issue emerge – an issue that directs our attention to a duality in human nature.

Furthermore, when analyzing Swasti Bhattacharyya’s book on Hindu Bioethics it is seen that there is no explicit reference to a practical set of rules apart from a set of “theoretical” laws written in the Laws of Manu, however, in chapter 2 there is a summary of the Mahabharata (book for Hindu moral Law) and an extensive reference to the stories of how the three queens Kunti, Munti, and Gandhari overcame the challenges of infertility to provide for their descendants. In these stories, there is an undertone of reproductive manipulation; for example, how Kunti and Madri deal with the curse placed upon their husband to call upon the G-ds to impregnate them or how Gandhari manipulates the product of her conception to bring the births of one hundred sons and one daughter. Bhattacharya extrapolates from these stories to show how they can be used to discuss bioethical issues such as fertility medications, sperm banks, donor artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryonic transfer. Regardless of there not being a stated position on ‘Cloning’ as a viable reproductive pathway, it is safe to induce that the same acceptance is applicable to this relatively new approach to procreation.

In the end, it is hard to separate and classify under which conditions it should be allowed or prohibited to clone a living being. As with any new concept or idea, there is a socio-cultural acclimation period under which society tends to start forming thoughts and ethical standards. Despite the emotional attachment of the start of the vast discourse on the topic, logical reasoning rose upon the lack of information available to the public. Since February of 1997, when the announcement of the first successful cloning of a mammal (Dolly the Sheep), several other mammals have been successfully cloned. Despite it being a highly debated topic with enormous scientific potential, in July 2001 the House of Representatives banned human cloning. Furthermore, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission and the National Academy of Science called for “further consideration of ethical and social questions raised by cloning”. The upheaval of scientific research has led to many countries to partially banning cloning and only allowing research purposed efforts. It took over 25 years for homosexuality to be removed from the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, even though it still has attached the “ego-dystonic sexual orientation”. The initial emotional distress caused by a new idea cannot overshadow the logical reasoning, often the emotional system gets things done faster, but it is susceptible to make mistakes. While the controlled system makes the accurate decisions as well as makes corrections when necessary.


Bhattacharyya, S. (2006). Voices from Hinduism’s Past. In Magical Progeny, Modern Technology (pp. 29 – 48). SUNY Press.

Burton, N. (2015, September 18). When Homosexuality Stopped Being a Mental Disorder. Retrieved from

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (1987, February 22). Instruction on respect for human life. Retrieved from

Krueger, J. I. (2010, June 18). Reason and emotion: A note on Plato, Darwin, and Damasio. Retrieved from

Meilander, G. (1992). New Reproductive Technologies: Protestant Modes Of Thought. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/ISIMKIN/Downloads/GilbertMeilaenderNewRepro.pdf

Modern Reproductive Technologies and Jewish Law. (n.d.). In M. J. Broyde & M. Ausubel (Eds.), Marriage, Sex, and Family in Judaism (pp. 295 – 317). Retrieved from

Pew Research Center. (2012, December 18). The Global Religious Landscape. Retrieved from

The President’s Council on Bioethics. (2002, July). PCBE: Human Cloning and Huma n Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry — Full Report. Retrieved from

Steinbuch, Y. (2018, March 22). Rabbi: Eating genetically cloned pig is kosher. Retrieved from


Blog 2- Isac

When comparing both authors’ approaches to reproductive technology I could identify various differences in the narrative and the arguments each present. The first difference is that Bhattacharya offers comparative analysis when the Hindu approaches are compared and contrasted with those of the Torah, the New Testament and especially Roman Catholic teachings. In contrast, Broyde’s approach is solely based on Jewish Law and its views on reproductive technologies. The Halakha views cloning as less than the ideal way to reproduce people, but when there is no other method available then it accepts having children through cloning – it even considers it a mitzvah (commandment/good deed). In the third chapter of Bhattacharya’s book, there is a narrative of the Mahabharata that is used as an ethical guideline. It explains that in it, there is a priority placed on having children while accepting a variety of creative means to ‘produce’ offspring. In Broyde’s approach, there is a clear intent to explain the reason behind the hesitancy towards avoiding the use of cloning as means of reproduction while in Bhattacharya’s approach there seems to be a more open perspective towards – in general – every type of reproduction system.

Furthermore, it is important to note that in both cases there is a different basis for the narrative used. Even though both touch upon alternative reproductive systems as a possibility alongside respective reasonings, the texts used to argument each of the perspectives is vastly different. In Broyde’s work there is vast reference to the Jewish ‘Law’ – a set of rules that are to be abided by – as well as reference to biblical stories like the Golem on page 306 as well as interpretations from various Rabbis such as in page 304 referring to the comments on the ‘Identical Twin Issue. On the other hand, in Bhattacharya’s book there is no reference to a practical set of rules apart from a set of “theoretical” laws written in the Laws of Manu, however, in chapter 2 there is a synopsis of the Mahabharata and an extensive reference to the stories of how the three queens Kunti, Munti, and Gandhari overcome the challenge of infertility to provide for their descendants. In these stories there is an underlying tone of reproductive manipulation; for example, how Kunti and Madri deal with the curse placed upon their husband to call upon the G-ds to impregnate them or how Gandhari manipulates the product of her conception to bring the births of one hundred sons and one daughter. Bhattacharya extrapolates from these stories to show how they can be used to discuss bioethical issues such as fertility medications, sperm banks, donor artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryonic transfer.

In the latter piece there is more of an emphasis on the importance of women to take control of their reproductive choices (Chapter 3), her approach is interdisciplinary in that she brings up examples and evidence from nursing, bioethics and Hindu culture and religion (with interviews from a contemporary Hindu community in California) this gives the book an appropriate focus on women’s experience throughout. drawing. However, in Broyde’s narrative, there is no such distinction between the roles of each of the biological genders. It clearly defines that a clone is seen as a full human being and that is should be treated as such. It also defines the parent-child relationship as to be equal to the usual parent-child relationship.

These differences are not to be considered specifically because of the differences between Hinduism and Judaism but also because of the specific methodologies of these authors. There is a natural tendency to get away from what is not known, this is mainly because the consequences of the action are yet to be understood. However, not addressing the possibility of knowledge – permanently – is considered regrettable. Jewish tradition imposes an obligation on those who are capable, to resolve the issues and submit a preliminary analysis for others to comment and critique it, after that the Jewish Law or Halakha will establish the policy concerning a variety of issues related to the issue, in the case of Broyde’s piece it would be cloning. Bhattacharya’s methodology – as mentioned before – is interdisciplinary and it draws evidence from nursing, biology, ethics, Hindu culture, and religion as well as contemporary perspectives from a Hindu community; she sets out to examine how key elements of Hindu thought can deal with the complex issues involved in infertility and reproductive technology. Thematic unity is provided by grounding the analysis of creative insights drawn from the epic Mahabharata and the ways it deals with challenges of infertility.

Overall, both authors address the topic of reproductive technologies in a similar fashion. They both bring up histories of their respective religions as well as books of law to argue for an idea. Differences arise when looking at the proportion to which each of the authors reach to these sources to argue. It is noticeable that in Broyde’s piece there are more Law-based examples in comparison to Bhattacharya who analyses more in-depth the Mahabharata which in it of itself is a collection of stories like the ones mentioned above. Additionally, the methodologies vary between the authors in a sense that – apart from the fact that they are 2 different religions – each use a different set of resources due to the inherent nature of the state of each faith. In terms, Hinduism lacked a base to which attribute a perspective on reproductive systems, therefore the author saw a necessity for a complete analysis and incorporation of Hinduism into the subject. In turn, Boyde’s work is based upon building on top of something that already existed – i.e the Jewish Law or Halakha.

Blog 1: Isac Simkin

The first 2 chapters of Genesis depict the procedure that G-d used to create the world, they describe what happened in each day of the 7 days of creation. The concept of creation and production of the ‘own kind’ is introduced in the 3rd day, where it describes “plants each yielding its own kind of seed, and trees each producing its own kind of seed-bearing fruit”. Furthermore, in verse 22 of the 1st chapter, it talks about the reproduction of animals “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the water of the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” However, it does not mention the reproduction of humankind until verse 28 in the first chapter where it commands to “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth…”. The first 2 chapters of Genesis do not yet speak about reproduction as an act of love or affection but merely as a purposeful act, to reproduce and fill the earth. In contrast to humankind’s mission, it describes that animals should fill the water of the seas and birds should multiply on earth, but it does not mention that they should “fill the earth”.
In terms of kinship, I found 2 examples that represent the relationship among the living animals or plants with humankind as well as humankind within itself. First, towards the end of the first chapter, it is mentioned that the humankind should “Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.”. When I apply today’s definitions and types of kinship it is evident that this relationship is in no way consanguineal nor affinal, but fictive. I determined this is fictive kinship simply because it does not fit into the other 2 groups, in the first 2 chapters of Genesis there is ‘creation’ out of what appears to be nothing, there is no blood relationship between the living things and the is no affinity or situation in which there is a social process to attribute the relationship between all living things. This initial relationship was imposed by G-d and not agreed upon the living creations. However, in the 18th verse of the second chapter, it says that it is not good for the person to be alone, it needs a “companion”, so it created a “woman-person” and brought it to the man. In comparison with the previous kinship example, this can be considered consanguineal relation. It mentions that the “woman-person” was created from the man’s rib, in fact, in the 22nd verse of the second chapter it says that the woman-person is “…flesh from my flesh.”, in relation to the man-person.
The Jewish and the Cristian Genesis is essentially the same. Both faiths believe in one G-d (Genesis 1:1), hold marriage (companionship) as defined by G-d in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:27) and have a basis for logic, knowledge, and the truth since we are made in the in the image of a logical, truthful G-d (Genesis 1:26). The differences start showing up when analyzing the uses of the beforementioned text, in Christianity the narrative in the Old Testament is used to describe the text is used to ultimately, in the New Testament, introduce the figure of the ‘son of G-d’ by the name of Jesus (Jesus Christ) as the biggest spiritual representation on earth and expand on all of his teachings and the first-century Christianity. In contrast, in Judaism, Genesis is used as the narrative to explain the creation of the world and everything that came with it, such as animals, plants and then humans as well as to introduce the story of the Jewish people rather than a single personality.
Moreover, the differences are also based on the interpretation of the texts rather than a formal normative dispute. This difference can be evaluated when disputing reproductive systems and considering both perspectives. The ‘Donum Vitae’, considered to be the single most famous Christian statement on reproductive technologies. This text explicitly states the prohibition of any use of reproductive technologies with the seldom exception of homologous artificial insemination (IVF) using only the husband’s sperm. The explanation for the restriction is mostly based upon the reading of Genesis verse 24 in chapter 1 where it says, “in one flesh”, this is interpreted as if any of the reproductive techniques were meant to rupture the traditional or the meant-to-be way of reproducing.
When analyzing the role of reproductive models, there are varied perspectives to be considered. In one side, the Catholic perspective considers the differentiation between the model described in the earlier chapters of Genesis in comparison to the model described when touching upon the biblical families of Abraham and Jacob, the first one described as true. On the other hand, the Jewish perspective is that the reproduction model used by the patriarchs and matriarchs is to be similarly implemented, most times Jewish writers refer to the commandment of “be fruitful and multiply”. Regardless of the method, even if it is homologous or heterologous IVF the person has fulfilled the requirement to reproduce, it is not concerned about the reproductive method used.
In a more general sense, perspectives on Genesis can be developed using 2 interpretations. The first one is the “literally” interpretation which is intended to pursue a straightforward meaning of a verse of a phrase. The second one is the “allegorically” interpretation which is intended to pursue a more thought-out perspective on a verse or a phrase in the Bible. For example, we can evidence this difference in perspectives when looking at the reference to the length of the creation in the first 2 chapters of the Bible. It is said that the world was created in 6 days and then there was an extra day for rest. In a literal interpretation we would not consider the meaning of the words themselves but the world, “should be constituted in accordance with a perfect number, namely six”. However, in an allegorical interpretation, we would consider the meaning of the words in the verse. With this type of interpretation, the meaning of “days” is put into question the metaphysical meaning of what a day is and how it is used in that context. In the Jewish “Understanding of Genesis 1 to 3” by Justin Martin, it says that the term “days” is symbolic rather than literal.
In the same way that the concepts of ‘literal’ and ‘allegorical’ interpretations are applied to the explanation of the Bible, they can be applied to kinship and its respective analysis. In the ‘Donum Vitae,’ there is a vast reference to the concept of family and most times, alongside it, there is a reference to marriage. Its definition is based on the initial framework stated in the “Charter of the Rights of the Family” made only 4 years before the “Donum Vitae”. Without going deep into the charter, in the preamble, the 2nd phrase reads “the family is based on marriage… between a man and a woman…” and then the 3rd phrase reads “marriage is the natural institution to which the mission of transmitting life is exclusively entrusted”. Going back to what Genesis says “be fruitful and multiply” but since it is established ‘literally’ in the charter, the only way of reproducing and transmitting life is marriage and it naturally leads to forming a family. Christianity establishes a very simple and seemingly unobstructed to creating life, leaving out the most form of reproductive systems which are not within marriage. On the opposite hand, in the Jewish perspective, there are 2 different words that are used to symbolize family. The first one is the literal translation of the word ‘family’ to Hebrew (mishpachah) with it is used to describe the larger patriarchal clan including those persons related by blood, marriage, slave ship, and even animals (Exodus 20:10). The second word is referred to in various parts of the Bible, “bayith” or household is also used to refer to kinship in different ways. For example, it represents the clan of descendants or property and people of a determined place or residence on which and on whom one depended. Moreover, in Genesis 7:1 Noah and his household enter the ark, but the concept of household is not limited to just the people that live with him in his physical house, but a larger concept that encompasses the larger clan, the tribe and the nation which, in this case, were descendants of Abraham. In the Jewish interpretation of the concept of family is not a predetermined concept but more of an allegory that can be explained or symbolized in a unique way.
Different faiths are based on beliefs and ideas that satisfy and sometimes take advantage of a population’s lack of understanding of the variety of phenomenon that has occurred and will occur through history. They try to make sense of what seems to be nonsensical or attempt to provide guidelines to live a life that’s ‘good’ or ‘purposeful’. The interpretative differences between Judaism and Christianity are noticeable when analyzing the language and by the way, the messages are conveyed. Both faiths provide guidelines for life, however, the difference arises when these guidelines are interpreted, and their message is preached. Most times, Judaism encourages different interpretations and understandings of the same writings, every year scholarly people of the Tanach go over and study the sacred scripts from top to bottom. This allows a reset of the mind and further compilation of knowledge that can be used to connect the dots in a way that may have never been done before. However, in Christianity, there is no such procedure to further develop understanding. The main method of knowledge impartment is through preaching and persuasion, most times actions are attributed to G-d or Jesus if there is a lack of explanation and the explanations are left to a side. Meanwhile, in Judaism, there might be similar allegations, often there are one or more possible explanations attached to the outcome of a situation. Regardless of their differences, it important to remember that they both come from the same basis. The book of Genesis explains how both of the stories came upon and the narrative changes due to human reasoning and interpretation.