Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

ESCR May be a “Dream”; Bring on the Reproductive Cloning


For years now, I have been arguing that the siren song of human cloning has led many among "the scientists" to dream the dreams of the omnipotent, to toss aside the ethical beliefs of the society they are supposed to serve, toward the end of the achieving an ultimate power--perfecting brave new world methods of eugenical human manufacture.

Rather than be frank about these matters, Big Biotech has propagandized the populace with its hyped promise of CURES! CURES! CURES. But those cures have been slow in coming, cloning has proved very difficult to develop, and the public may be beginning to say no to blank checks for the research, as evidenced by the recent New Jersey vote.

Now a journal article published by Dr Gábor Vajta More, a Danish cloning researcher validates the my analysis. Writing in Reproductive BioMedicine Online (Vol 15. No 5. 2007 582-590), he throws cold water on the stem cell research side of the cloning debate and boosts the need for bringing cloned babies to birth.

First, he notes that scientists still don't understand the cloning process, even in animals. Next, he engages in an extensive discussion of the uses of animal cloning, and then proceeds to discuss human cloning. The hubris of the modern Science Establishment shows, for example, in this arrogant and facile dismissal of ethical objections as merely "emotional."
The intensity of fighting (in arguments, actions and enactments) is most probably unique in the history of modern science. The dominating factor is the emotion. Opponents of human cloning, i.e. the overwhelming majority of humans, are horrified at the idea per se, and
desperately look for rational reasons to explain their prejudice.
No, not "desperately" looking, but easily found. The rational and moral reasons for outlawing human cloning have been well developed and thoroughly aired. (See, for example, my Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World).

Vajta then acknowledges that ESCR has not become all it was cracked up to be:
There is a real (although slight) chance that SCNT in humans will never be efficient enough to be considered as a source for embryonic stem cells. Research in this field is currently paralysed by the low availability of developmentally competent human oocytes [eggs], and the future solution is still unclear...[and]the advancement in this field is far from convincing.

Also, there is a real (and not negligible) chance that the whole embryonic stem-cell therapy issue is just a dream; the great tasks including oriented differentiation, control of proliferation and development of complex structures will remain unresolved, and the intervention will become far more risky and far less competent than expected.
But that's okay: If medical applications are few and far between, we who want to clone should just engage in reproductive cloning, and impliedly all of the genetic alteration possibilities (discussed in the animal discussion) that human cloning could permit:
Accordingly, the future of therapeutic cloning is not entirely safe. From the cloners' point of view, it may not be wise to stake everything on one card, and anathematize reproductive cloning...
[E]ach of the anti-cloning arguments "involves serious problems that prevent them from being a reasonable objection in the context of the infertility cases considered". The almost unanimous, unconditional and unlimited refusal of reproductive cloning can also be interpreted as the majority's attempt to oppress the needs of an unprotected minority. The actual atmosphere does not even allow the members of this minority to realize the possible future solution they are blocked from.
Remember Vajta's anything goes call the next time a scientist says that there is only support among "the scientists" for cloning for biomedical research. That is subterfuge. The reality is that if human cloning can be perfected, there will be no limitations the scientists will accept. The time to stop the human cloning agenda is now.

HT: Neville Cobbe


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