Human Exceptionalism

Media Fall for “Cloning” Hype–Again!

How many times are the media going to act as Charlie Brown to would-be cloners’ Lucy Van Pelt promising to hold the football? First it was the Raelians making utter and complete fools out of media all over the world by claiming that the first cloned baby named “Eve” had been born. When no proof was forthcoming, the media concluded it was a hoax and Rael and Brigitte Boisselier laughed their heads off at the free publicity they garnered for their little science cult.

From time to time two IVF doctors claim that they have brought a cloned baby to birth. A little while ago, Severino Antinori claimed speciously to have brought cloned babies to birth, as reported here at SHS. No proof, of course, has been provided.

Now, the third stooge, naturalized American doctor Panayiotis Zavos, has weighed in with similar cloning claims. From the story:

A controversial fertility doctor claimed yesterday to have cloned 14 human embryos and transferred 11 of them into the wombs of four women who had been prepared to give birth to cloned babies.

Oh, wait: It didn’t work:

None of the embryo transfers led to a viable pregnancy but Dr Zavos said yesterday that this was just the “first chapter” in his ongoing and serious attempts at producing a baby cloned from the skin cells of its “parent. There is absolutely no doubt about it, and I may not be the one that does it, but the cloned child is coming. There is absolutely no way that it will not happen,” Dr Zavos said in an interview yesterday with The Independent.

That may be because so far cloned human embryos don’t develop.

This is a non story, but the question of opposition to reproductive cloning isn’t really a firm taboo. Science societies opposed it–“for now”–because of safety issues illustrated by many birth defects in cloned animals. But I don’t know of any major science society that has stated it should never be allowed based on moral concerns. Moreover, many in bioethics support reproductive cloning as an aspect of the putative fundamental right to procreate, in any way a woman desires. Besides, we celebrate our social outlaws. The first cloner and mother of a cloned baby know they will own a gold mine: They will sell their stories for millions, the ever terminally nonjudgmental Oprah will fete them on her show, and they will have more fun in the tabloids than the woman who gave birth to eight IVF babies or the first “man” to give birth. And then we will be onto the next unthinkable thing, and the next. Can anyone say, “Fall of Rome?”

In the meantime, the media are nothing but a bunch of suckers.

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