They have embryos that they say are defiitely clones of the donors, but, they can't manage to get stem cells, which is the reason, supposedly, that these experiments are permitted.
I find the science fascinating, the logic flawed, and the ethics missing. The poor embryos, which will wind up in a biology department incinerator, are a complete human, in potentia. At what stage is a human organism an person? At age 21? At birth? But, it's a crime to harm a baby while it's inside it's mother's uterus. So, the legal system tacitly acknowledges an unborn fetus as a person. Do we say that an identical twin isn't a person, that they are only a clone of their twin? Even if these embryos are not producing extractable stem cells, could they be implanted in a human uterus to produce a viable baby? And if they can, will these poor babies be considered human? or will they be property?
In college, one of my required classes was Biological Ethics. I was never quite able to determine where the teacher's feeling lay, on most subjects, which probably meant he was doing a good job. But, my group presentation was on cloning. At the time, cloning was very very new, the first sheep had just been produced. The idea of cloning a human was purely speculative fiction. However, I had examples of how cloning effected society, drawn from classic science fiction. Go read "Friday", by Robert A. Heinlein, and think about what it would be like to be a clone.
Thursday, January 17, 2008