The Misstep of Human Cloning


by Marcy Darnovsky
San Francisco Chronicle
January 6, 2003


When an extraterrestrial-friendly religious guru and his orange-haired chemist sidekick claimed last month to have cloned a human baby, widespread doubt about their credibility was accompanied by resounding condemnation from scientists, doctors, clergy and government leaders.

But the odd beliefs and marginality of the Raelians, and the media focus on the important but narrowly defined concern about the "safety" of the procedure, can obscure the full dimensions of the problems we're facing.

In the coming days, as we await the Raelians' next moves, we can hope to hear voices in addition to those of professional scientists and ethicists, along with concerns about the social consequences of cloning as well as about its physical risks.

The prospect of cloned and "redesigned" people in our midst challenges us with the most profound questions of what it means to live together on this planet. As environmentalists, feminists and advocates of human rights, disability rights, civil rights and social justice the world over are proclaiming, the act of...