Human Exceptionalism

Alta Charo Gets it Right That Cloning is not Stem Cell Research

Alta Charo is a wild booster of ESCR and human cloning research. We have gotten along fine when I have debated her, even when she accused me in a luncheon keynote address at last year’s Albany bioethics conference of being a part of the forces that are threatening an “endarkenment” of science and society. (I appreciated that at least she made that baloney charge to my face.)

Charo complains in this story that Wisconsin isn’t doing enough for ESCR, because the legislature has pondered bills to outlaw all human cloning and because the state has not funded the research. (See what I mean about the demand being made by pro-cloning advocates for an ethical and financial blank check?) Paradoxically, she also claims that Wisconsin researchers are happier than California researchers–despite the latter group being due to receive billions in corporate welfare under Proposition 71.

I bring this up because as much as I disagree with her about such matters, in my experience, Charo is candid and truthful about the nature of these technologies and what they are really about. For example, according to the story, she apparently acknowledged the fact that ESCR and human cloning research (somatic cell nuclear transfer) are not the same thing:

Though cloning is not stem cell research, Charo stressed, attempts to criminalize it did send a message about the atmosphere for science in Wisconsin.

Forget for the moment Charo’s drivel about how attempting to outlaw human cloning creates a dark, anti-science atmosphere. (Michigan outlaws all human cloning and has a thriving biotechnology sector. So does Germany–and it outlaws both human cloning and destroying embryos in stem cell research.) The point is that cloning is not a synonym for stem cell research.

Alas, most MSM, dancing to Big Biotech’s propaganda tune, continue to conflate the two different experimental endeavors, evidence of the corruption sown by big money and ideology among so many of our primary institutions–science, journalism, law, academia, etc.–that this debate has exposed.

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