I have been doing some radio to MO to discuss Amendment 2, which would create an explicit state constitutional right to conduct human cloning research via the somatic cell nuclear transfer procedure. The proponents of Amendment 2 claim to ban human cloning, which is false. But the lie is working. Here is a letter I received today from a Missouri resident and my response. Since it is a private communication, I leave my correspondent anonymous:
This is the actual amendment. As it says, there will be no cloning or cloning research. In fact, it outlaws it. I respect the fact that you have your own opinion and I encourage you to stand by what you believe, but please do not misinform others on what the amendment is about.”
Here is my response:
“It isn’t a matter of opinion, but scientific fact.
They redefined cloning away from its scientific meaning and into a deceptive, and inaccurate advocacy or political meaning. They call cloning the implantation of the product of SCNT (which is an embryo) rather than the actual creation of the cloned embryo. That is junk biology and profoundly deceptive. The actual act of cloning is SCNT. That is what generates new life “asexually.” The initiative redefines the term, so it is inaccurate, to fool the voters. That is how they “ban” cloning when they actually legalize it.
I could define the sky as yellow, or define a stink bug to be a butterfly in legislation. But the sky would still be blue and the stinkbug would still be a stink bug.
You may not care. You may want to legalize what is sometimes called therapeutic cloning. But don’t accuse me of being inaccurate for pointing out to you that they don’t respect you enough–assuming you are a MO voter–to tell you the facts so you can decide how to vote based on accurate information.
I am not blaming my confused correspondent. Most people are ignorant about the science involved in these matters. That is why it is so important for the science sector to be candid and factual about what they want to do and why–so people can make decisions about ethics based on accurate information. Unfortunately, in this worldwide controversy, accuracy and truth are precisely what the science sector generally refuses to provide because they worry if they are honest and candid, they will lose the debate. So, as my correspondent’s note demonstrates, lying works–particularly when the media are willing accomplices.