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home : blogs_old : ability and accountability December 17, 2014

Ability and Accountability
By Richard Haddad, Prescott Valley, AZ
"[Children] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
"Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it."

-- Two of my favorite quotes by Jim Henson

Monday, June 14, 2010

Creation and credit for life does not belong to science

 By Richard Haddad

After 276 failed attempts scientists successfully cloned Dolly the sheep in 1997. In February 2003 Dolly was euthanised because she had a progressive lung disease and severe arthritis. She is now on display in the Connect Gallery, National Museum of Scotland.

This month the Ohio Senate passed State Bill 243, a ban on human cloning and human-animal hybrids. Because science has advanced to the point where DNA from animals and humans can be intermixed in scientific laboratories a number of states are drafting similar bills. The Ohio legislation is based on bans in Louisiana and one here in Arizona. Oklahoma is also considering a ban on human cloning. Proponents of the bill believe that to genetically mix humans with animals is morally abhorrent, and such experimentation kills human life. They are concerned that a dangerous principle is guiding scientists - "If we can, we will."

This is not the first time human cloning has captured the world's attention and opened doors to new debate. In December 2002 a controversial group called Clonaid announced the birth of a cloned baby girl named Eve. They claimed the birth would be the first-ever human clone. During the news conference I remember the organization's scientific director, Brigitte Boisselier, standing at the podium and praising her spiritual leader, called Rael. She made a statement that struck me so abruptly it still rings in my memory eight years later. She said, "All things are created by science."

Although few people ever believed the unproven claim, it nonetheless attracted national authorities, mainstream media, and young adults to look further into the Raelians' cult status.

Boisselier is a bishop in the Raelian movement. Raelism is a religious movement in France, founded by Claude Vorilhon, who calls himself Rael. The basic doctrine of Raelism is that extraterrestrials created humans on earth by DNA manipulation, and humans will have immortality through cloning. They teach that these aliens terraformed the earth.

In essence, the Raelian teachings place the miracle of life in the hands of men and extraterrestrials -- that science, not God, is to be credited for all life and everything good that has ever been created.

They proclaim that there are three steps in the advancement of the technique of cloning:

1. Creating genetically identical time-delayed twins;

2. The accelerated growth process to build a whole body in a very short time;

3. Transfer of the mind into the newly created body (a kind of "mind uploading").

By scientific proof of the feasibility thereof, they want to show e.g. that Jesus could have been cloned.

I am not against cloning for medical advancements such as stem cell research. But cloning technology should be used to make life better, not to make life. And there is a real danger if scientists allow themselves to be guided by the "If we can, we will" principle.

But perhaps the greatest wrong is science again trying to push humanity one more step away from acknowledging God.

It's not hard to look back on the history of man and see the fate of civilizations who turned to the pride of their own hearts, or who worshiped things created by the hands of men. They made their kings their gods, and called their work divine.

Now they are gone.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: Good Old Albert

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
Albert Einstein

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: gracie xx

Way late to the thread here, but I am reminded of the story about the conversation between a scientist and God. Scientist says, "God, we can do anything you can, make anything you can, including making man from dirt." And with that reaches down and grabs a fistful of dirt to make his man. God says "Not so fast, make your own dirt."

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Article comment by: Richey Hope

If, as a lot of people believe, Jesus was the product of the world''s only
"Virgin" birth, and Jesus is the "Son of God", but they are the same person,
would not that make Jesus a clone?

Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Article comment by: O.P. Naso

I am sorry, I try to respect others' views, but this is perhaps the worst thing I have read in quite some time. Mostly it is that it is grossly uninformed about subjects such as genetics, cloning, and what science is, yet the author ventures a strong opinion.
The passage about the combination of human and animal genes belies a gross misunderstanding of how genetics works. Human-animal hybrids, in the "Dr. Moreau" sense that the author clearly means here, are the domain of science fiction, and remain such. Ask a geneticist why, and be prepared for a lengthy explanation.
The next point, re: selecting a bizarre cult as representatives of the scientific worldview, has already been addressed. I would add this: "science" generally refers both to a body of knowledge, and to a specific epistemological method used to derive it. It does NOT refer to the natural processes the method observes and the body of knowledge describes. DNA transcribing to RNA and reacting with elements to form proteins form cells is NOT science- this is a natural process that has gone on as long as life has existed. Our observational knowledge of this process comes from science, but what we observe is not itself science, it is nature. If you think the best place to look for the roots of life is outside of nature, you are of course welcome to. But don't blame science for nature.
This leads me to the ethical implications of cloning or other technologies. I too am alarmed by the feeling of inevitability when it is apparent that this or that advance in technology could be used to inflict harm. I am not, however, of the feeling that the solution lies in knowing less, but in taking better care with what we do know. Recall, from the last point, that "science" does not add or subtract one jot from the facts around us, it merely reveals those facts to us as observers. Cloning is a capability that cells have. If you dislike this, blame the creator of cells, not the people who observed that cells clone. Again, don't blame science for nature.

Posted: Monday, June 21, 2010
Article comment by: guy good

It seems to me that the roast-beef-in-a-nutrient-bath that's sliced fresh daily at Arby's is proof that cloning is already used on a commercial basis.

Other than that, the real fear you should have from advancement in this kind of science is the bio-warfare opportunities rather than duplicating your pet cat or growing tails on humans

Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2010
Article comment by: Caesar Neron

Plllt! Quite the Straw Man argument you have going there, except that Raelians aren't scientists, they're cultists.

If you hold Raelians up as an example of the scientific viewpoint, then I'm sure you won't mind if I use Fred Phelps and Paul Hill to represent the Christian view.

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010
Article comment by: Kentucky Fried

First and foremost I want to correct your use of the word "Scientific proof" because that's contrary to the vary philosophy behind science. Science is based on the idea of empiricism which is about disproof, meaning everything has uncertainty and thus nothing is proven only disproven.

While it seems counter intuitive given recent scientific advances, the scientific method is focused on developing a hypothesis, designing an experiment that can disprove that hypothesis. While in reality experiments yield evidence, and to some people "facts". For more information see Descartes' "Discourse on Method".

What Rael believes and does shouldn't dictate views on what the rest of the scientific community is interested in. Nor should the notion that biology is an attack on divinity. The notion that biology is an attack on your religion and thus should not be allowed to continue in a particular direction, is in effect the state stifling advancement in human knowledge and understanding in the name of honoring the traditions of a specific religion. Meaning it amounts to theocracy.

The fact is that these scientists don't ask anyone to worship them, and even if they did it would be none of your business beyond deciding not to worship them. Your article's conclusion shows that you feel that your religion is threatened by the establishment of a new religion (which is untrue, but that's besides the point) with different views from your own and thus want the government to intercede to protect it. That argument amounts to what most reasonable people would call state sponsorship of religion, and thus is illegal in this country.

In addition to the above argument for the protection of your religion at the expense of what you view as a new potential religion, you express that all of those civilizations fell. However, you fail to note that many Christian and other theistic civilizations have also fallen throughout our history. Historically before the fall of the Roman empire they converted to christianity, and following the fall of the Roman empire what was known as the "dark ages ensued". While I don't blame these things on Christianity, it's worthwhile to note this because it disproves your argument that civilizations based on Christian values enjoy special privileges from the divine.

The real ethical questions related to cloning are the rights of the cloned child. That child should be raised by a family, not be subject to a second class citizen status (I.E. organ harvesting), and treated as a unique and fully different human being.

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010
Article comment by: David Richardson

Raymond - You obviously have no concept of what the theory of evolution is. Before you talk about evolution, you should educate yourself on the subject - Especially on endogenous retroviruses.

Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Article comment by: Prescott Is Lacking Women?

Must be cloned for Prescott Men, right?

Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Article comment by: Shari L.

I am no scientist, I am a journalist. However, my boyfriend is a scientist going into the health field, and he always reiterates to me the main ethics of science, and that is to better human life, not play God, so-to-speak. This does not imply that God exists or does not exist however, it does imply that just because a scientist could, doesn't mean he or she should. Richard, I agree completely with your argument. Too many scientists get excited at the thought of "could," that they don't stop and think of potential consequences. So what if we could clone a human to be genetically perfect? Has anyone stopped to consider the psychological implications in that child's life? That he or she might grow up lacking one of our most innate hierarchy of needs: the need to belong and be loved (a family)? Through cloning, are we only adding to a sense of sociological seperation? What implications will this have on society as a whole? On crime? On progression as a species? On an individual's six degrees of health, and therefore, the health of a nation and a world? The mindset of "because I can, I will" is a very dangerous path to follow.

Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Article comment by: Raymond Buettner

From one Ray to another LOL! You can choose to deny God, that's your choice. A poor one but the fool says in his heart there is no God. Your list of man designed technology is good because man did design, create and make these things because God gave him dominion over the earth to create just as He created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Interesting that the only place we find the definition of a week, a month and year is in the bible, first chapter of Genesis if you want to check it out. Anywho . . . man attempting to create life is a moral issue and a question of how one defines truth. That's a 13 week series you may want to check out called: The Truth Project. Although the sheep is still a sheep, a fly bombarded by radiation is still a fly and everything else man tries to genetically alter is still of the same species or better yet I'll use the word, "kind." Now I'd love to see the scientific proof for a banana becoming a fly or better yet how a rock basically became you from an explosion that occured 4.5 billion years ago. Can't include myself in that one, this guys made in the image of God, approximately 6,000 years ago. Yes man does manipulate the food structure to develop different foods but really how many different kinds of corn do we need? It's still corn the last time I checked so man really isn't creating anything he's simply taking something away to genetically alter the corn and amazingly it's still corn. It just now has less information not more information which I think goes completely against a certain theory that tries to show things are getting bigger, better and smarter. So scientists continue to play god, thinking they can genetically create life because as Richard pointed out "they made their kings their gods, and called their work divine." The scientist, and king for that matter, who understands that they are not god and in turn actually answer to a higher power are the ones who are truly doing good work for the betterment of entire world population. Many of them, whom I know well, believe in an almighty God.

Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010
Article comment by: Ray Jubinville

Dear Richard
It's a wonderful article you have written, wonderful because there was honesty into it. With time certain blockages expressed through your comments will be broken, you will see that indeed everything has been scientifically created. Created by whom will be the more interesting question to ask. Mean while I have a question. Your computer, watch, toaster, fork, under wear, soap, washing machine, car, heck the wheel for that matter, whatever you can think that men uses on earth was scientifically created by men, even what we consider "divine" or "natural" creation like fruits, trees etc we manage to scientifically modified it. Wouldn't be an INEVITABLE course of our existence to CREATE life scientifically...and at our own image too???

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