The Discoveroids and Human Cloning

The news is all over the place. PhysOrg wrote about it yesterday: Meet Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the first monkey clones produced by method that made Dolly. They say:

The first primate clones made by somatic cell nuclear transfer are two genetically identical long-tailed macaques born recently at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai. Researchers named the newborns Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua — born eight and six weeks ago, respectively — after the Chinese adjective “Zhonghua,” which means Chinese nation or people. The technical milestone, presented January 24 in the journal Cell [Cloning of Macaque Monkeys by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer], makes it a realistic possibility for labs to conduct research with customizable populations of genetically uniform monkeys.

[…]

The lab is following strict international guidelines for animal research set by the US National Institutes of Health, but Sun and Poo [senior author Qiang Sun and Muming Poo, a co-author] encourage the scientific community to discuss what should or should not be acceptable practices when it comes to cloning of non-human primates. “We are very aware that future research using non-human primates anywhere in the world depends on scientists following very strict ethical standards,” Poo says.

As might be expected, there’s an immediate reaction from the Discovery Institute. This just appeared at their creationist blog: With Monkey Success, Cloned Human Baby Is Closer. It was written by Wesley J. Smith, a Discoveroid “Senior Fellow” and a lawyer. His specialty is “Human Exceptionalism,” which is Discoveroid code for “In His Image.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Cloning research continues apace. Human embryos have been manufactured via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) — the same process that created Dolly the sheep — and allowed to develop to the blastocyst stage, the point that an embryo can be implanted into a uterus.

Those embryos were then destroyed for stem cell research. But they could just as readily have been implanted in an attempt at bringing the embryo to birth. In other words, contrary to some accounts, human cloning has been and is being done, since the act of cloning is SCNT — not implantation, gestation, or birth.

Maybe so, but that’s irrelevant for the moment. Then Wesley says:

And now, the first cloned primates have been born. [Quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Okay, what does Wesley think about it? He tells us:

The successful births came from DNA taken from fetal, not adult, cells. That is the usual course in this research. Eventually — probably sooner rather than later — scientists will successfully create monkey clones from adult cells and bring them to birth successfully. At that point, there won’t be much — other than some further technique refinement and self-restraint — to prevent scientists from taking the knowledge garnered in those experiments and moving on to bringing cloned human babies to birth.

We’ve already figured that out. So what’s the Discoveroids’ “scientific” view of it? Wesley continues:

In the United States, that would be perfectly legal (except in a few states). There is no federal legal prohibition — although it can’t be funded by the government. Nor are there any international protocols preventing such a use of human cloned embryos.

At the end of his brief post, Wesley declares:

I think there should be [a law against human cloning]. I also think human SCNT should be legally prohibited. People can disagree with that, but good grief, we aren’t even talking about it.

That’s all he says — no reasons are given, no principles are cited, no hint as to how anyone’s rights would be violated (assuming one voluntarily consents to be cloned) — he just doesn’t like it, and for that alone it should be illegal. As always, the Discoveroids are showing us that they are at the cutting edge of science.

Addendum: [This was our comment below, but we like it enough to add it here.] The creationist objection to human cloning is just another example of the ancient fear of man trespassing on things that are the domain of the gods. It’s “scientists playing god.” It goes back to the Tower of Babel. A more modern version is when Dr. Frankenstein “went too far” and created his monster. To the simple mind, there are “things man was not meant to know.” The humorous flip-side of this is when a creationist tries to play scientist.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

22 responses to “The Discoveroids and Human Cloning

  1. We all know that anyone who advocates or does beneficial research or scientific or medical work that interferes in any way with human reproduction is automatically a criminal and a godless atheist Darwin lover fto the religious
    core of the Bible Belt and the fringes thereof. Clearly , this is more proof of the godless darwinian conspiracy ! Is anyone wondering why the Dark Ages were so , ahem, dark? PLUS, this work comes from godless, communist china. Like everything else.

  2. “the cutting edge of science”
    Rather the cutting edge of ethics of science. Ah well, what do you expect from IDiots like those from Seattle, who always whine about Darwin inspiring the Holocaust ‘cuz survival of the fittest?

    “Is anyone wondering why the Dark Ages were so , ahem, dark?”
    Not ‘cuz religion, given the Babylonians doing astronomy for centuries because they wanted to read the signs of the gods and given the intellectual enterprise called scholasticism. Rather centuries of barbarian invasions, We can thank the Normands for us understanding nothing and knowing little of the intellectual achievements of the Irish from say 500 – 850 CE. We only have John Scotus Eriugena left – a very intellectual and religious man.

  3. I know that everybody disagrees with me, but I think of “dark ages” as being dark because we don’t know much about them. The same meaning of “dark” as in a “dark horse” – an unknown contestant – the “dark continent” – Europeans didn’t know much about Africa in the 19th century – the “dark side of the Moon” – all sides of the Moon receive sunlight at some time, but one side was unknown before the space age – “dark matter”/ “dark energy” – unknowns.

    The “dark theory” – Intelligent Design – no one knows anything about any alternative to evolution.

  4. I hope that everyone here will join me in a solid resolution that Wesley J. Smith should *never* be cloned! Think of the children!!

  5. But aren’t monkeys no closer to humans than are sheep?

  6. So, @TomS, what exactly don’t we know about the Dark Ages?

  7. There are several Dark Ages, such as the Greek Dark Ages and the Cambodian Dark Ages. And I distinguish between the European Dark Ages and the European Middle Ages, the DArk Ages being the Early Middle Ages. We know a lot more about Europe starting with Charlemagne.

  8. I am surprised that PhysOrg claims, “two genetically identical long-tailed macaques” were produced. Any cell in a mature macaque is the result of dozens of cell replications, and during these quite a lot of random mutations in the DNA will have accumulated, simply because DNA replication is remarkably accurate, but not error free. If (as is likely), the cells for the clones were taken from the same tissue sample, the number of differences will be less than the differences from the DNA of the zygote, but still unlikely to be zero. This is not likely to be significant, because most, probably all, of the differences will not be in genes or regulatory sequences. Just call me a pedant.

  9. Hot dog! At last green screen Annie has a real question to research: Would cloned humans have identical souls and would it be the same as the soul of the somatic nucleus donor? (I’m sure someone has settled the question of whether identical twins have the same or different souls, but, as with many religious ideas, I have no clue.) The creation science chaps could do some experiments instead of just prattling about how bad Darwin was.

  10. Epic fail by @TomS.

  11. Michael Fugate

    A reasoned answer to the DI’s insistence on dragging their god into science was written by Leslie Stephen (father of Virginia Woolf) and published in 1903. Much like Hume had already demolished their design long before they revived it, Stephen seems to have demolished their capability to know their god. Reusing long dead ideas seems to be their strong suit.

    “An Agnostic’s Apology” is available for free download in numerous forms here: https://archive.org/details/agnosticsapolog00step

  12. “With Monkey Success, Cloned Human Baby Is Closer. It was written by Wesley J. Smith,” How does a creationist saying this make any sense.

  13. “I know that everybody disagrees with me, but I think of “dark ages” as being dark because we don’t know much about them.”
    On the contrary. TomS, I think your definition can even be sharper. The only sensible meaning of “dark ages” (i.e. not implying the prejudices of the person who uses the term) is an interim-period from which no written accounts are left; both before and after written sources are available. There are quite a few.

    1. Greece between say 800 BCE (Homeros) and 500 BCE (Thales).
    2. Britain between 410 CE (Emperor Honorius’ letter) and 550 CE (Gildas).
    3. The Low Lands (what’s now Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg) between 350 CE and about 650 CE.

  14. Oops, screwed up the tag. Can I once again refind joy and grace in the benevolence of the Great Hand from Above?

    [*Voice from above*] As you requested.

  15. Oh, Our Mighty Curmudgeon, can even you tweak mnb0‘s ramblings into some kind of sense?

    In the meantime — epic fail by @TomS.

  16. I do have my share of failures, but I cannot imagine anything that I do would be so important as to be called “epic”.
    Anyway, there certainly are “dark ages” which are commonly so called because of our lack of knowledge, and mnb0 has mentioned a couple which I have not heard of. One might also mention that “Romer’s Gap” at one time was called a “dark age of paleontology” because of our lack of knowledge of fossils.

  17. Wesley is right. Human cloning (in the usual sense of generating fully formed humans) just got a bit closer, and we need to have a conversation about whether such cloning should be allowed.

    But since Wesley sees no moral difference between a baby and a blastocyte, I don’t see anything new here from his point of view

  18. It has got closer IF monkeys are closer to humans than sheep (e. g. Dolly) are.
    That is true if there is common descent. Is that true if there is a barrier of difference of kinds?

  19. The creationist objection to human cloning is just another example of the ancient fear of man trespassing on things that are the domain of the gods. It’s “scientists playing god.” It goes back to the Tower of Babel. A more modern version is when Dr. Frankenstein “went too far” and created his monster. To the simple mind, there are “things man was not meant to know.” The humorous flip-side of this is when a creationist tries to play scientist. [This is now an addendum to the main post.]

  20. Cloning research continues apace
    I’ve never noticed much sense of humour in the Discoveroids, so this must be an incidental pun.

  21. Two seemingly unrelated future news stories:

    Police Probe Disappearance
    “Police are searching for John Smith, a town resident known for his uncanny resemblance to Microsoft founder Bill Gates”

    Microsoft Founder Bill Gates Receives Heart Transplant
    “In an unprecedented procedure Gates undergoes transplant without anti-rejection drugs of any kind..”