Human Exceptionalism

More Political-Scientist Word Games

In order to win the raging political debate over human cloning, political-scientists have determined that they should stop using the “C-word,” cloning, to describe their agenda and replace it with somatic cell nuclear transfer. This is the mendacious tactic used in Missouri, for example, which claims to outlaw human cloning but which actually explicitly legalizes human somatic cell nuclear transfer.

The reason for this has been clear for a long time: poll numbers change depending on how a question is worded. Thus, as reported in New Scientist, polling shows that if the word cloning is used, majorities oppose it–even for use in stem cell research. But call cloning by the SCNT term, and popular support increases. (Hence, in the fight over Proposition 71 in California, proponents said it outlawed cloning–by which they meant the birth of a cloned baby–but legalized the same procedure, called somatic cell nuclear transfer, for use in scientific research.)

Word games work when the populace is ignorant. Our job as opponents of human SCNT cloning then, is to educate the people that SCNT = human cloning. If we can succeed at that admittedly daunting task, we will eventually prevail in this crucial international ethical debate.

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