Distorting Science is No Way to Promote Scientific Progress

Date: 04/29/2002

In the April 28 Detroit News, former Senator Connie Mack claims there are “critical differences between cloning humans and somatic cell transfers. Cell transfers involve removing the nucleus of a donated egg cell and replacing it with the material from the nucleus of a somatic cell — such as a skin cell– from the patient being treated. Then the cell is stimulated to begin dividing.”

But the so-called “critical DIFFERENCE” between “reproductive” and experimental cloning is exactly what they hold IN COMMON. Here’s what the National Academy of Sciences says:

“The method used to initiate the reproductive cloning procedure is called nuclear transplantation, or somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). It involves replacing the chromosomes of a human egg with the nucleus of a body (somatic) cell from a developed human. In reproductive cloning, the egg is then stimulated to undergo the first few divisions to become an aggregate of 64 to 200 cells called a blastocyst.” – NAS, “Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Reproductive Cloning” (2002)

Any difference between “reproductive” and experimental cloning is not a difference in the cloning procedure. The difference is simply that some people want to put that blastocyst-stage embryo in a womb and try to produce a live birth, while others want to put that same embryo in a Petri dish and destroy him or her for research. The first approach can be expected to produce about a 99% (supposedly accidental) death rate; the latter will certainly produce a 100% (completely deliberate) death rate. Odd, isn’t it, that some people think the former is morally abhorrent while the latter is morally good? No wonder they have to falsify the science to get the rest of us to agree. But distorting science is no way to promote scientific progress.