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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Human Cloning Obfuscation 4



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The LA Times has waded in to the junk biology game, assuring us that no embryos are threatened in human cloning–WHEN THE WHOLE POINT OF HUMAN CLONING IS TO CREATE AN EMBRYO!  From the editorial, “The Specter of Human Cloning:”

The team at OHSU, which disclosed its work in a paper published online by Cell, created embryonic stem cells by replacing the nucleus in an unfertilized human egg with the nucleus from a skin cell, then harvesting the resulting stem cells. This long-sought technique may eventually let doctors create replacement cells for a wide variety of tissues from bits of a patient’s own skin. One advantage to this approach is that, unlike much of the initial work on stem cells, it doesn’t require the destruction of human embryos. That practice drew fierce opposition from some religious leaders and right-to-life groups, although their criticism has faded as researchers switched to adult stem cells and, more recently, regular cells reprogrammed into stem cells through genetic engineering.

Some critics continue to argue that it’s unethical to manipulate the genetic makeup of human eggs even if they’re unfertilized, and others warn about potential harm to egg donors. The biggest ethical issue for the OHSU team, though, is that it artificially created a human embryo, albeit one that was missing the components needed for implantation and development as a fetus.

So it isn’t an embryo, but it is?

Pay close attention: Dolly came from an “unfertilized egg” and became a sheep. Before that, she was a sheep embryo and a sheep fetus. The act of cloning does not get the egg to create stem cells, it produces an embryo.  After that, the cloning is over and the question becomes what to do with the embryo, NOT WHAT TO DO WITH THE UNFERTILIZED EGG!

As to the question of reproductive cloning: The researchers haven’t tried to bring a human baby to birth. They note that they have also not been able yet to bring a cloned monkey embryo to birth. That doesn’t mean they won’t. It’s all just a matter of technology now. Indeed,  until lately, you couldn’t make human cloned embryos. Now scientists can.

The Times argues in favor of a ban on reproductive cloning, but permitting research cloning to proceed:

Still, the federal government needs to set rules that would stop researchers in this country from crossing the line between generating stem cells and trying to bring a cloned embryo to life. Adding a clear prohibition would help assure the public that stem cell research should be embraced, not feared.

AAUGH! The cloned embryo is already alive! 

Here’s the strategy: Big Biotech is always willing to prohibit that which they cannot yet do. But they want authority to conduct the research they can do, which will eventually lead to being able to do what they can’t, at which point the prohibition is revoked because now “society is ready.”

Bottom line: If you want to prevent the eventual birth of a cloned human baby, the only way to do that is prohibit human SCNT. 



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