Re: Dr Zavos `admits' he plans to clone a human

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 03:04:59 MDT

Spike wrote:

> I was delighted at the front and center story in the SF Chron today
> on cloning

One URL:

> They staunchly oppose cloning, yet a perfectly legitimate
> *religion*, the Raelians, claims that to clone is part of
> their religious creed.

>From the Chronicle:
> Clonaid is associated with the Raelian Revolution, a
> group that says life on Earth was originally created
> by extraterrestrials through cloning. The movement
> also claims that these space creatures have delivered
> messages to Rael, the alias for a French ex-race car
> driver who founded the movement, and that Jesus Christ
> was resurrected through an advanced cloning technique.


I don't have the time or the interest to investigate
this line of reasoning. I'll simply state that it
seems highly implausible to me.

- If cloning is a technique that produces organisms
  similar to those from which the source genetic materials
  were taken -- why is there so much evidence on Earth
  for the evolution of organisms through mutation and
  natural selection?
   -- What organisms were cloned?
   -- What was the point of doing so?

- How are the messages delivered to "Rael"?

- Why must "advanced cloning" be used to resurrect Jesus
  when nanotechnology can perform the required adjustments
  to a physical embodiment?

- What is the physical process of "advanced cloning"
  that performs this "miracle"?

Spike, as much as I enjoy with you, any spearing of the
conventional wisdom that "human cloning" is "unnatural",
it seems to me to bring the "Raelians" into the discussion
as a "leg to stand on" is a poor strategy.

Why? Primarily because you have to create plausible arguments
for the "Raelian" position. That has to involve arguments
for their perspective *and* arguments against any other
perspective invoking other "magic" technologies. There
must be a logical explanation for why our world should be
a specific instance of the one of many instantiations of the
many possible realities. If one cannot come up with a reasonable
explanation for why the "Raelian" perspective is more probable than
many other perspectives (Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, etc.)
(even if it happens to be aligned with your position for
entirely different reasons).

I'd put the generalized Christian rejection of cloning
*and* the "Raelian" support of cloning in the same boat.
Both are based on arbitrary positions that have essentially
no supporting evidence or reasoning behind them. They
are based on "faith" and I really doubt "faith" is something
used as a foundation in the Extropian Principles.

There *is* a legitimate biomedical/ethical concern regarding
human cloning. If human cloning produces individuals with
a higher mutational load (= higher birth defects) than normal
reproductive processes then it should be treated with caution.
If the normal processes that cause miscarriage of "natural"
developing humans can miscarry cloned humans with the same
efficiency, then I suspect most scientists concerns are misplaced.
(Read -- most of the testimony/news quotes on the subject
are scientists trying to court public opinion rather than
what they really think or believe. Not a good situation!)

I do not believe that outlawing cloning is a correct approach.
This could be shifted to -- Would you outlaw sex with the
intention of reproduction between individuals who are known
to have genetic defects likely to produce "defective" children?

>From our perspective though, the question of "cloning" humans
for reproductive purposes should be separated from the
"cloning" of tissues for repair purposes. The former is
a "reproductive rights" issue, while the later is a
"survival rights" issue.


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