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America's Culture War: Cloning

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Move Over Dolly

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

Seven and a half years after Nature reported that Dr. Ian Wilmut and his colleagues had successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly, the British Broadcasting Corporation has reported that these same scientists (now world renowned for their involvement in Dolly’s creation) have applied for a license to clone human embryos, in hope of finding a cure for motor neuron disease (MND). Two months ago, scientists at the University of Newcastle were granted permission for the first time to perform therapeutic cloning using human embryos. Now, Wilmut and his team of scientists at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute are hoping to receive permission from England’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to clone human embryos.

Dolly was late twentieth-century news—back when cloning animals still was noteworthy. In the twenty-first century, however, scientists like Ian Wilmut know that human cloning is where the excitement is—the cure-all for every disease under the Sun (or so we are told). But, unlike Wilmut’s previous success in cloning Dolly and keeping her alive, he now wants to clone human embryos that would be destroyed after experimentation. He “has no intention of producing cloned babies” (who can live outside of a petri dish or a mother’s womb). Wilmut’s line of reasoning seems to be that cloning humans is irresponsible, but cloning human embryos, studying them, and then destroying (i.e., murdering) them is acceptable—yes, even allegedly necessary to find cures for diseases like MND.

Aside from the most important fact that the destruction of human embryos is the “shedding of innocent blood” (cf. Proverbs 6:17), and thus a sin against the God of heaven (see Thompson, 1999; Thompson and Harrub, 2001), and, aside from the ethical problems inherent in cloning humans, notice what else Wilmut and his colleagues have in mind. They want to “create cloned embryos with MND.” Wilmut and his team have every intention of creating “diseased embryos” in order to “understand the disease.” Seven years ago they hoped to clone a healthy sheep that could live outside the womb, and after 277 tries, they finally got one. Now, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme as they hope to clone diseased human embryos, with plans to destroy them six days later.

May God’s righteous people stand up and oppose such merciless, inhumane experimentation.

REFERENCES

“Dolly Scientists’ Human Clone Bid” (2004), BBC News, [On-line], URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3695186.stm.

Thompson, Bert (1999), The Christian and Medical Ethics (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2001), “Human Cloning and Stem-Cell Research: Science’s ‘Slippery Slope,’ “ Reason & Revelation, 21: 57-63,65-71,73-79, August, September, October.




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