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HOME > Review > What is ClonAid
What is ClonAid?

CLONAIDô was founded in February 1997 by RaŽl who is the leader of the Raelian Movement, an international religious organization which claims that life on Earth was created scientifically through DNA and genetic engineering by a human extraterrestrial race whose name, Elohim, is found in the Hebrew Bible and was mistranslated by the word "God". The Raelian Movement also claims that Jesus was resurrected through an advanced cloning technique performed by the Elohim. Basically another ploy on the old science fiction premise that Aliens are God.

What do they believe will be achieved by cloning a human? Here is a quote from Rael:

"Cloning will enable mankind to reach eternal life. The next step, like the Elohim do with their 25,000 years of scientific advance, will be to directly clone an adult person without having to go through the growth process and to transfer memory and personality in this person. Then, we wake up after death in a brand new body just like after a good night sleep!" RaŽl

And as RaŽl says, don't be mistaken in thinking that this is 22nd-century science fiction. All this will happen within the next 20 years! He has written a book to prepare us for an unimaginably beautiful world, turned into a paradise, where no one needs work anymore!

Okay, so we have established that this group believes that aliens are God and started mankind by cloning themselves and that man should pursue cloning in order to transfer his consciousness into a fully grown human. My question at this point is why is this being taken seriously? Human cloning is inevitable. It will happen somewhere and sometime, but I just don't the the Raelian's are the people to accomplish this.

It's immoral using today's techniques

Many ethicists argue that cloning people would compromise their freedom and individuality, that it is equal to manufacturing humans. Don't worry, I am not going to get ultra-religious on the properties of a soul, etc. That being said, the clones that have been produced often have severe problems such as developmental delays, heart defects, lung problems and malfunctioning immune systems. Some cloned mice that seemed normal suddenly, when they reach the equivalent age of 30 for a person, grow grotesquely fat. Cloned mice also tend to have developmental abnormalities, taking longer to reach milestones like eye opening and ear twitching. Cow clones are often born with enlarged hearts or lungs that do not develop properly. The jury is still out on the clone and the aging process. Dolly the sheep was cloned from a six year old sheep udder cell (six years old is ancient for a sheep). Initial experiments with Dolly indicated that her telomeres were shorter and she was aging faster than she should age (Nature, 1999). Later experiments with cloned mice showed no accelerated aging.

In biotech and pharmaceutical development you make the assumption (although not always true) that what is seen in animals will directly translate to humans. Knowing the problems that have been encountered with animals, who in their right mind would try to do this with a human being? Maybe someone who thinks aliens started the world by cloning themselves and releasing their clones to become feral beasts. That is what really scares me...

How many clones do they claim to have produced?

On December 29th, Boisselier said a second cloned baby is due to be born next week to a lesbian couple in northern Europe. Boisselier had previously announced that four other couples, including the lesbians, were expected to give birth to Clonaid-created clones by early February.

Rael claims that there are over 2,000 people on the waiting list to pay the $200,000 they are charging for creating clones of themselves or loved ones. Obviously , $400,000,000 in revenue is a big draw.

When will we know the truth?

On December 30th, the baby was to come home to the United States. Clonaid has agreed that Michael Guillen, a former ABC News science editor, will line up the DNA testing experts. Guillen, who holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and taught physics at Harvard before going into television journalism, said, "I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this story." The testing will probably take a couple of weeks once the samples are collected. (this never happened)

What will be the implications?

My biggest concern is that in the rush to pass laws regarding cloning that many of the therapeutic aspects of cloning will be lost as well. The use of cloned cells to produce new organs is something that could revolutionize medicine. I would hope that in the rush to cover up this that our elected officials would not pass broad sweeping laws that would interfere with research that could lead to transplants without the need for damaging immune suppression drugs.

Links:

Cloinaid website: http://www.clonaid.com/
To err is human - but to clone one divine at theLabRat.com: http://www.thelabrat.com/review/humancloning.shtml
How stuff works page on cloning: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/genetic/human-cloning.htm

Some Books on the Subject
The Ethics of Human Cloning - This slim volume is the best introduction to the ethical debate over human cloning now available, as two of America's most respected public intellectuals tangle over the question of whether it's a good idea to let people make genetic duplicates of themselves. Kass is firmly against human cloning; Wilson, although not exactly an enthusiast, sees no essential problem with it as long as cloned children are raised in loving, two-parent households. The book is divided into two parts, with each writer laying out an initial position followed by mutual critiques. Kass seems to get the better of the exchange, but both writers present their views clearly, with occasional humor. (Wilson at one point shrugs off the concern that cloning will replace sexual reproduction: "Sex is more fun than cloning.... Procreation is a delight.") This outstanding book will shape a debate that's only just gotten underway. - Amazon.com

Yes to Human Cloning: Eternal Life... - The words from Rael himself. Find out about cloning, the Elohim, and how he thinks this will bring humans eternal life.

Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies... - Nussbaum and Sunstein have collected a comprehensive set of essays on the implications of cloning, which has not been attempted with humans as of this writing, but almost surely will be within a few years. The editors include Ian Wilmut's original research paper reporting the existence of Dolly, the cloned sheep, as well as ethical analysis papers by popular science writers such as Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins. Four fiction pieces round out the collection. Opinion pieces on topics ranging from the soul of a clone to clones raised for body parts are the most interesting essays in the bunch. In the horror-scenario category, Andrea Dworkin takes the position that in a world where cloning is possible, men will clone only compliant women, at last gaining the control over reproduction they've always wanted. (Dworkin ignores the fact that no gene for compliance has yet been isolated.) Questions of nature versus nurture will presumably be answered in the brave new world of cloning, and many of the writers in Clones and Clones imagine the ramifications of finding out how much our lives are predestined by our DNA. Read this book before you donate your cells to the local lab. - Amazon.com


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