Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Cloning scientists like sheep have gone astray
A Wall Street Journal news article on embryonic stem cell research, "Experiment Brings Human Cloning One Step Closer" downplays ethical concerns by incredibly asserting, "Never mind the prospect of cloned humans; despite years of experiments, scientists have failed to clone monkeys." A human cloning scientist reinforces this credulous assertion, assuring us that "his lab had tried transplanting entire blastocysts into a monkey's womb, but those experiments hadn't yielded a single successful pregnancy."
A few initial reproductive cloning failures are hardly reassuring: After 277 dead embryos, Scottish researchers finally stunned the world with Dolly the cloned sheep.
Besides the chilling prospect of cloned human babies, human cloning for stem cells also undermines prospects for patient cures. After years of dissension, a consensus has finally emerged that the real promise for patients lies in ethical alternative methods for obtaining powerful stem cells, such as induced pluripotent stem cells and adult stem cells. Unlike highly speculative human cloning, these ethical stem cell methods do not kill human embryos; they enable the vital cooperation and support of the scientific, faith, political and medical communities; and they have already produced dozens of actual therapies to treat diseases in real patients.