Playing God by Manipulating Man: The Facts and Frauds of Human Cloning

4. "Therapeutic" and "reproductive" human cloning

Finally, in all such cloning techniques, the immediate product would be a new living innocent human being. That is why the current framing of the cloning debates only in terms of "therapeutic" and "reproductive" is so deceptive and purposefully leads people to disregard the existence of, and thus the consideration of, all other human cloning techniques. The real issue is that regardless of the cloning technique used, all cloning is "reproductive" -- i.e., results in the immediate reproduction of new living human beings. The terms "therapeutic" and "reproductive" refer merely to the purpose or reason why human beings are cloned. Some ingenious researchers, like those mentioned earlier in Missouri, are now even trying to reframe the debates again by claiming that "therapeutic" cloning is not cloning at all -- since the immediate product is only a bunch of stem cells! Sound like a familiar tactic (like a "pre-embryo substitute")? Rather, they claim, only "reproductive" cloning is cloning!42

But fortunately most people have not fallen for this false distinction between "therapeutic" and "reproductive" human cloning -- as the Vatican's Mission to the United Nations has made clear:

Every process involving human cloning is in itself a reproductive process in that it generates a human being at the very beginning of his or her development, i.e., a human embryo. The Holy See regards the distinction between "reproductive" and "therapeutic" (or "experimental") cloning as unacceptable by principle since it is devoid of any ethical and legal ground. This false distinction masks the reality of the creation of a human being for the purpose of destroying him or her to produce embryonic stem cell lines or to conduct other experimentation. Therefore, human cloning should be prohibited in all cases regardless of the aims that are pursued. ... Based on the biological and anthropological status of the human embryo and on the fundamental moral and civil rule that it is illicit to kill an innocent human being even to bring about a good for society, the Holy See regards the conceptual distinction between "reproductive" and "therapeutic" (or "experimental") human cloning as devoid of any ethical and legal ground.43


  1. "The immediate product of human cloning is not a human being" (thus opening the door to the destructive use of these earliest human embryos, including both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning, using all cloning techniques);

  2. "The product of the SCNT cloning technique is "virtually genetically identical to the donor cell" (thus by-passing the definition of the real SCNT cloning technique which would then be allowed including both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning);

  3. "Cloning is defined only in terms of the SCNT cloning technique" (thus leaving out of consideration all of the other kinds of cloning techniques in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning);

  4. "Cloning is defined only in terms of "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning (thus leaving out of consideration all cloning techniques other than SCNT in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning);

  5. "Only 'reproductive' cloning is cloning; 'therapeutic' cloning is only stem cell research" (thus leaving out of consideration the cloning of human embryos for destructive research purposes, using any and all cloning techniques, in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning);

  6. "The twinning and fusing of some early human embryos means that they are not human beings or human persons yet" (thus opening the door to the destructive use of these earliest human embryos in all cloning techniques, in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning);

  7. "There is no such thing as 'regulation'" (an actual statement by a leading scientist who is a proponent of human cloning, attempting to deny the reality of cloning by means of twinning, in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning).

Scientifically, then, empirically -- according to 100% of the expert specialists in the field of human embryology worldwide -- there is no question or confusion whatsoever that the immediate product of both human fertilization and of human cloning -- and all continuous, contiguous, growth and developmental stages thereafter through adulthood -- is an already fully existing unique living human being. The massive corruption of these scientific facts in both the abortion and in the cloning debates, however, should give us great pause as to just how profoundly science itself has been so grossly manipulated -- thus manipulating us all. As the Church has duly noted:

[EV III.58]: [W]e need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. ... Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as 'interruption of pregnancy,' which tends to hide abortion's true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth. 44

Yet despite the massive efforts to try to get the accurate science into the public debates, proponents of human cloning refuse to acknowledge the objective, internationally sanctioned, scientific facts of human embryology. Many scientists working in the areas of human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research have probably never even taken a formal graduate course in human embryology in their careers, nor do they particularly care. Note the sheer arrogance -- and ignorance -- of the response to one of my students who contacted a well-known IVF researcher about the dubious use of the term "pre-embryo" on their IVF website:

Dear XXX: sorry for the confusion. Our website is constantly being updated of late, and as it is such a broad and long established website, there is much apparent inconsistency over terminology. However, to answer your question directly: the term "pre-embryo" has been proposed as the appropriate term to refer to an undifferentiated entity that has not even established whether it will be one or two individuals (twinning?), and in a sense (up till day 3 of development) has not even kicked in its own embryonic genetic gameplan. Hence, the term "pre-embryo", being an entity preceding an "actual" embryo. All glorious semantics really - and frankly it is what it is, and this oddity is still used especially by many in the IVF world who have "graduated" from The Jones Institute in Norfolk, VA. Therefore shd you wish to attempt a "fix" on this term, refer to Howard & Georgeanna Jones. As to "human embryologists" this simply defines them as embryologists working with human embryos as opposed to any other species. Nothing more. You cd semantically take exception to this terminology also, as most "human embryologists" are nothing more than clinical early stage embryo jockeys, with little true appreciation of classical embryology as a discipline within biology - this wd probably include me, who, past day 7 of development has only an amateurish grasp of subsequent embryological development. The question to ask yourself really is: was this really worth worrying abt? sincerely, XXXX45

And these are the "experts" on whom we all depend for their "expertise" in these matters? It all reminds me, as Pieper might say, of Humpty Dumpty in Through the looking Glass: "When_I_ use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less. ... The question is, which is to be master -- that's all!" The next time someone challenges you about the accurate scientific facts of human embryology, ask them what their academic credentials are in human embryology, and insist that they show you how right they are by sending you the xerox copies from the human embryology textbooks from which they get their information! It's a real conversation stopper.

IV. Manipulating the Legislation

But the manipulations go on, especially as all of this gobbleguk is moved through the halls of legislatures that are trying to deal with these human cloning issues. Legislators, politicians and lobbyists -- on both sides of the debate -- seem oblivious to the fact that they are in the process of concretizing into legislation bills that are loaded with much of the false science and other linguistic loopholes discussed above, bills that essentially define millions of living human beings out of existence. By what authority, civil or moral, do they presume to do so? As Evangelium vitae questions:

EV 66 The height of arbitrariness and injustice is reached when certain people, such as physicians or legislators, arrogate to themselves the power to decide who ought to live and who ought to die. ... Thus the life of the person who is weak is put into the hands of the one who is strong; in society the sense of justice is lost, and mutual trust, the basis of every authentic interpersonal relationship, is undermined at its root.46

Legislators too have a civic as well as a moral duty to be certain that the "information" used upon which they draft their bills is solid and accurate, and proven to be so using the relevant academic resources before accepting it -- especially given the deadly consequences in these human cloning issues.

Many countries47 and individual states here have passed or have pending legislation to "ban" human cloning, e.g., Arkansas,48 California,49 Florida,50 Louisiana,51 Massachusetts,52 Michigan,53 Nebraska,54 New Jersey,55 New York,56 North Dakota,57 South Carolina,58 and Wisconsin.59 But just how well do these "total cloning bans" prohibit the cloning of human beings? Before considering a typical "total cloning ban", some general points about legislation might be helpful.

A. General Legal Considerations

(1) What the bill specifically defines

Most cloning bills state that unless something is specifically addressed in the bill, the bill does not cover it -- i.e., it would thus be allowed. For example most cloning bills have the following or similar restriction:

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH- Nothing in this section restricts areas of scientific research not specifically prohibited by this section, including research in the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, organs, plants, or animals other than humans.'"

Therefore, any human cloning techniques that are not specifically articulated in the bill would not be covered by the bill -- and therefore would be allowed. Most of these cloning bills identify only one human cloning technique -- i.e., the somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique. Therefore, all other human cloning techniques would not be covered by the bills -- and thus they would be allowed.

(2) The "intent" of the bill

When erroneous scientific terms are used in a bill, it is often argued that because the intent of the bill was to ban such cloning the courts would defer to that intent. However, this is not necessarily true. Perhaps in civil law cases the courts might allow an intent to override erroneous definitions in the law by deferring to correct definitions in legal precedent. However, in criminal law cases -- i.e., cases in which there are imprisonments or financial penalties such as in these cloning bills -- the intent of the bill would most not likely be favored, and the courts would defer to the precise definition used in the bill. Therefore, as we will see below, the bill would only cover a cloning technique ("SCNT") that doesn't really exist, and would not cover (and would thus allow) such a cloning technique that really does exist.

(3) When "intent" is clear

The issue of intent is also especially relevant here, because the drafters of such cloning bills are on public record for years as knowing beforehand that the definitions used in the bills are erroneous.60 Thus they must have intended to use such erroneous definitions in the bills.

(4) Stare decisis: Going incrementally backwards

Consider that once this erroneous science gets passed into law, it ceases to be "science". It is then simply reduced to stare decisis -- legal precedent.61 The Courts have no legal duty to correct such erroneous science. Indeed, they would then only have a legal duty to apply this erroneous science to any and all further related research legislation -- as happened in the application of Roe vs. Wade to Webster, Carhart, etc. To allow such erroneous science to become embedded in the law as stare decisis simply takes us backwards -- incrementally.

(5) So they'll "fix it" later?

These scientific flaws may never be revisited for correction, especially given the political and fiscal currency already depleted, and the rapid addition and accumulation of further legal precedent set in these related research issues.

B. Human Cloning Bills Ban No Human Cloning

The following is typical legislative language found in most "total bans" on human cloning:

Sec. 301. Definitions
In this chapter:62

(1) HUMAN CLONING- The term `human cloning' means human asexual reproduction, accomplished by introducing nuclear material from one or more human somatic cells into a fertilized or unfertilized oocyte whose nuclear material has been removed or inactivated so as to produce a living organism (at any stage of development) that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human organism.

(2) ASEXUAL REPRODUCTION- The term `asexual reproduction' means reproduction not initiated by the union of oocyte and sperm.

(3) SOMATIC CELL- The term `somatic cell' means a diploid cell (having a complete set of chromosomes) obtained or derived from a living or deceased human body at any stage of development.63

Because the Bill uses erroneous scientific definitions, and because the Bill does not specifically address certain kinds of cloning techniques and/or human cloning materials, the Bill is not even a "partial" ban. Indeed, the Bill bans no human cloning at all. None. Be sure to take this list and the references with you when you visit your local politicians to discuss your concerns about the Missouri human cloning bills:

1. "human asexual reproduction": Note that this would apply to all kinds of human cloning techniques, not just the SCNT cloning technique. Note too that the cell(s), or even subcellular materials, used to initiate "human asexual reproduction" could be derived from a normal sexually reproduced IVF human embryo, from a previously cloned (asexually reproduced) human embryo, from human/non-human chimeras, or from genetic materials that are artificially constructed de novo.64 Finally, note that if such materials were genetically altered before use, or if materials are artificially constructed de novo, they would therefore not be derived from any "existing or previously existing" human embryo or human cell. All of these kinds of cloning techniques and the use of such human genetic materials would be allowed by the Bill -- in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning.

2. "by introducing nuclear material": This refers to genetic material (DNA) found only inside the nucleus of the cell. Therefore, the Bill would allow the use of human genetic materials (DNA) found outside the nucleus in the cytoplasm of a cell for human cloning purposes, e.g., those found in mitochondria.

3. "human somatic cells": The Bill is defining "cloning" only in terms of the somatic cell nuclear transplant (SCNT) cloning technique. Therefore this bill would allow the cloning of human beings by means of all other kinds of cloning techniques, in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning, e.g.: germ line cell nuclear transfer (GLSNT); "twinning" (blastomere separation and blastocyst splitting); pronuclei transfer; mitochondria transfer; embryos cloned by means of artificially constructed sperm and/or oocytes; parthenogenesis; production of human/human chimeras and human/non-human chimeras, etc.

4. "into a fertilized oocyte": A fertilized oocyte is already a new human embryo -- a single-cell human zygote, a human being. Therefore the Bill would allow the cloning of a new human embryo by using an already existing human embryo who would be profoundly genetically damaged or killed in the process.

5. "to produce a living organism ... that is genetically virtually identical": The Bill is defining SCNT erroneously; therefore the real SCNT cloning technique would still be allowed. Even as publicly acknowledged and published by many of the drafters of such bills, since only the "nuclear" genetic material (DNA) is removed from the donor cell, the mitochondrial DNA of the donor is NOT transferred to the cloned product (embryo). Furthermore, the mitochondrial DNA of the recipient oocyte is retained in the cloned product (embryo). The cloned embryo would NOT contain the mitochondrial DNA of the donor cell, and it WOULD contain the "foreign" mitochondrial DNA of the recipient oocyte cell. Therefore, in the real world, the product (embryo) cloned using somatic cell nuclear transfer is NOT "genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human organism" being.65 Therefore, the Bill would NOT prohibit human cloning using the SCNT human cloning technique in either "therapeutic" or "reproductive" cloning.

Additionally, since the cloned human embryo is NOT really genetically identical to the donor, if cloned from a patient for the purposes of using his/her own "human embryonic stem cells" in "therapy", these stem cells would still evoke a rejection reaction from that patient because of the presence in them of "foreign" DNA as well as because of the "missing donor" mitochondrial DNA. Finally, many scientists have grave concerns about the use of germ line cells in sexual or in a-sexual human reproduction for eugenic purposes.66

6. "to an existing or previously existing human organism": Note that human embryos cloned using several other human cloning techniques -- e.g., pronuclei transfer, the use of artificially constructed sperm and/or oocytes, etc. -- would not even be "genetically similar" to an "existing or previously existing human organism". They would be completely genetically unique, having never existed genetically as such before. Therefore the Bill would allow the cloning of such genetically unique human embryos in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning.

7. "'somatic cell' means a diploid cell (having a complete set of chromosomes)": By defining only a "somatic cell" as "a diploid cell", it blurs any distinction between somatic cells and germ line cells. There are two basic categories (or subsets) of diploid cells in the human organism, both of which have a complete set of chromosomes -- somatic cells and germ line cells.67 Since both kinds of cells are diploid, both kinds of cells can be used to clone human embryos using the nuclear transfer cloning technique. The Bill does not refer specifically to the use of diploid germ line cells. Therefore it would allow the cloning of human embryos by means of the germ line cell nuclear transfer (GLCNT) technique in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning. Additionally, since primitive germ line cells are also totipotent,68 the Bill would allow the cloning of human embryos by means of the "twinning" cloning technique in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning.

8. "obtained or derived from a living or deceased human body": Because germ line cells are not specifically addressed, the Bill would allow the cloning of human embryos by using diploid germ line cells in a nuclear transfer (GLCNT) cloning technique, and by the "twinning" of totipotent primitive germ line cells, in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning obtained or derived from any living or deceased body. Because the use of artificially constructed gametes or embryos that never existed before are not specifically addressed, the Bill would allow the cloning of human embryos by means of all cloning techniques using these cloning "materials" in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning.

These are just some of the problems with the definitions used (or omitted) in the Bill. But there is more. Before I mentioned a restriction (above) that most bills include, usually in the section on "prohibitions":

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH- Nothing in this section restricts areas of scientific research not specifically prohibited by this section, including research in the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, organs, plants, or animals other than humans.'"

At least here the Bill acknowledges that there are "other cloning techniques". But, again, the use of specific language in the prohibition would still allow some human cloning. For example:

1. "molecules, DNA": Some cloning of human embryos is accomplished by means of pronuclei transfer. For example, the male pronucleus from the just-fertilized oocyte of one human embryo, and the female pronucleus from the just-fertilized oocyte of another human embryo can be removed by micromanipulation and placed together in an enucleated oocyte, which is then stimulated, and a new cloned human embryo would be reproduced. In fact, such embryos would be human/human chimeras. Human pronuclei are not whole cells, nor whole nuclei, but only parts of nuclei -- just molecules, and they are molecules of DNA. Therefore the prohibition in the Bill would allow the cloning of human embryos by means of pronuclei transfer in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning. The same problem exists with the use of artificially constructed sperm, oocytes and/or embryos.

2. "cells other than human embryos": would not cover the cloning of a single cell -- such as the single-cell human zygote -- using any cloning techniques in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning. Nor would it cover -- depending on when during the fertilization process a new human being begins to exist -- the use of pronuclei transfer in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning, since pronuclei are only parts of a single cell.

3. "tissues": many researchers use the phrase "human tissues" to refer to what are in reality totipotent diploid human primordial germ line cells. Thus the cloning of new human beings by means of twinning these totipotent cells, or cloning them by means of nuclear transfer, in both "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning, would not be covered if the researchers' definition of "tissues" is accepted.

V. Manipulating the Anthropology ("Personhood")

Now, while it is clear scientifically that the immediate product of both sexual and asexual human reproduction is a new living human being, the inevitable philosophical question is posed: "Is it a human person?" And the answer, again, is "yes".69 What is clearly at stake, as the Church keeps constantly trying to tell us, is the corruption of the very concept of "man" -- the anthropology, the "person". And the devastating consequences that would flow from that would include all of us, regardless of how many cells we have in our bodies.

I will address the philosophical issue of "personhood" briefly in a moment. But I think it is critical to point out first that in both the abortion and in the cloning debates, the arguments about "personhood" are essentially irrelevant. What is relevant is if we know there is a human being present and when. As succinctly stated by the Pontifical Academy for Life:

[Pontifical Academy for Life]: From the juridical point of view, the core of the debate on the protection of the human embryo does not involve identifying earlier or later indices of "humanity" which appear after insemination, but consists rather in the recognition of fundamental human rights by virtue of the presence of a human being. Above all, the right to life and to physical integrity from the first moment of existence, in keeping with the principle of equality, must be respected. ... In this great challenge of defending the life and dignity of the human embryo, special commitment is needed on the part of families, and particularly parents, as well as that of the scientific community.70

It is the clear and consistent teaching of the Church that it is always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being -- regardless of any "theories" on "personhood". Still, the judgment that whenever there is a human being present there is always simultaneously a human person present is strongly supported by the Church's teachings. The extensive considerations in the Church's documents regarding abortion and cloning make this crystal clear:

[EV 60]: Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, "from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and ... modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established the program of ...: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization the adventure of a human life begins, and each of its capacities requires time -- a rather lengthy time -- to find its place and to be in a position to act." Even if the presence of a spiritual soul cannot be ascertained by empirical data, the results themselves of scientific research on the human embryo provide "a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? Furthermore, what is at stake is so important that, from the standpoint of moral obligation, the mere probability that a human person is involved would suffice to justify an absolutely clear prohibition of any intervention aimed at killing a human embryo. Precisely for this reason, over and above all scientific debates and those philosophical affirmations to which the Magisterium has not expressly committed itself, the Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit: "The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.

[EV61]: Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings ... belong to God. ... Throughout Christianity's two thousand year history, this same doctrine has been constantly taught by the Fathers of the Church and by her Pastors and Doctors. Even scientific and philosophical discussions about the precise moment of the infusion of the spiritual soul have never given rise to any hesitation about the moral condemnation of abortion.

[EV 63]: This evaluation of the morality of abortion is to be applied also to the recent forms of intervention on human embryos which, although carried out for purposes legitimate in themselves, inevitably involve the killing of those embryos. This is the case with experimentation on embryos, which is becoming increasingly widespread in the field of biomedical research and is legally permitted in some countries. Although "one must uphold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but rather are directed to its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival," it must nonetheless be stated that the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person. ... This moral condemnation also regards procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses -- sometimes specifically "produced" for this purpose by in vitro fertilization -- either to be used as biological material" or as providers of organs or tissue for transplants in the treatment of certain diseases. The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act.71

[Pontifical Academy for Life]: "Judgment - as an act of the human mind - on the personal nature of the human embryo springs necessarily from the evidence of the biological datum which implies the recognition of the presence of a human being with an intrinsic active capacity for development, and not a mere possibility of life. ... The ethical exigency of respect and care for the life and integrity of the embryo, demanded by the presence of a human being is motivated by a unitary conception of man ("Corpore et anima unus"), whose personal dignity must be recognized from the beginning of his physical existence. ... The theological perspective, beginning with the light which revelation sheds on the meaning of a human life and on the dignity of the person, supports and sustains human reason in regard to these conclusions, without in any way diminishing the validity of contributions based on rational evidence. Therefore the duty of respecting the human embryo as a human person derives from the reality of the matter and from the force of rational argumentation, and not exclusively from a position of faith. ... From the juridical point of view, the core of the debate on the protection of the human embryo does not involve identifying earlier or later indices of "humanity" which appear after insemination, but consists rather in the recognition of fundamental human rights by virtue of the presence of a human being. Above all, the right to life and to physical integrity from the first moment of existence, in keeping with the principle of equality, must be respected.72

And so, even on the secular basis of the equality of all human beings, the right to life of these tiniest of human beings must be respected.

Yet how, one might be curious to ask, has this barrage of pro-abortion, pro-cloning "delayed personhood" arguments flooded these debates? There are several causes, I am sure, but it is important to point to one of the major sources for this conceptual contortion and confusion: bioethics -- which is quite different from the Church's ethics.73 You see, if you change the "anthropology" -- i.e., the concept of "person" -- then you automatically change the ethics which are derived from that anthropology. If you change the ethics, then you change the medical or bioethics that flows necessarily from those ethics. Despite claims to the contrary, this is precisely what bioethics has been doing over the last 30 years, especially in the academy. How is it, you might have asked yourself, that state, federal and even private sector entities justify determining what is "ethical" for the rest of us on the basis of "bioethics"?

VI. Maniuplating the Ethics74

A. Short history of "bioethics"

Bioethics was formally "born" in the 1978 Belmont Report of the National Commission -- mandated by the U.S. Congress in its 1974 National Research Act.75 This commission identified and (oddly) defined the three bioethical principles of "autonomy", "justice", and "beneficence", referred to as "principlism", or "the Georgetown mantra". But bioethics is not "ethics-per-se"; it is only one of a dozen different ethical theories developed through the centuries -- and a very recent one at that. Nor is bioethics "neutral"; it defines itself as "normative"76 -- i.e., it takes a stand on what is right or wrong. Thus how can any one justify forcing that normative ethical theory on the rest of us through legislation in this democratic, multicultural, pluralistic society?77

Furthermore, bioethics is fraught with so many theoretical and practical problems that even many of the Founders of bioethics themselves have admitted that it can't and doesn't work.78 The bioethics literature is full of hot and turbulent on-going debates on whether or not bioethics is a valid ethical theory at all.79 And as one of the original scholars of the Hastings Center wisely expressed when observing the creation of bioethics by the National Commission, "What one fears", he said, "is that the [National] Commission may become the mechanism whereby the speculations of the ethicists become the law of the land. It is already far too easy for abstract notions of right and wrong to emerge as deontological rules which begin their public life as 'guidelines' but culminate in the force of law."80 Indeed, this is precisely what has transpired since 1978, and it ought to give pause to decision makers on all levels understand that to base any "ethical" decisions on bioethics theory or bioethics definitions of terms is dubious at best, and basically indefensible. Indeed, many of the dubious scientific myths discussed here originated with bioethics.81

B. Bioethics and "Personhood": Human Embryos Don't Have It

To claim that these innocent and vulnerable living human beings can be used and destroyed in order to help other human beings -- especially when there are viable alternatives, such as the use of umbilical cord and adult stem cells -- is to legislatively create a subcategory of human beings who may be exploited as a mere commodity for the use of other human beings -- and we've been there before. The argument is that some human beings are not "persons", and other human beings are "persons", and is based on a theory about active "functionality", rather than on the empirical facts about a thing's nature.

Such is the position of many of those in bioethics, e.g., Peter Singer, Director of Human Values at Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey). Singer opines that "personhood" is defined only by the active exercising of "rational attributes" (e.g., willing, choosing, knowing, relating to the world around one, etc.) or "sentience" (e.g., the feeling of pain and pleasure)82 -- a philosophical claim inherently based on passé 17th and 18th century Cartesian, rationalist, and empiricist philosophical systems.83 Time does not permit a further philosophical analysis, but suffice it to say here that these philosophical systems are fraught with inherent contradictions, are academically and realistically indefensible, and were literally laughed out of the academy by the late 1800's. They were recently revived, however, by contemporary bioethics. One reason for their indefensibility is simply that if there are two separate and different things, such as a "mind" or "soul" thing, and a "body" thing, there is no possible way to explain any interaction between these two different and separated things. In philosophical parlance, this is known as the myth of the "mind/body" split -- or chorismos.

Further, virtually all of the contemporary bioethics arguments for "delayed personhood" are based on and grounded in very erroneous "science" -- hence their philosophical "personhood" conclusions are automatically invalid.84

Finally, "pushing the logic" of those bioethics definitions of "person" leads to extraordinarily bizarre conclusions -- and it would be wise, I respectfully suggest, not to cement them into legislation. Peter Singer, for example, opines that some human beings are not "persons", and some animals are "persons". Indeed, this is the basis for Singer's recent defense of "bestiality".85 But think about it: if only those who are actively exercising "rational attributes" and "sentience" are "persons", then the following list of adult human beings are not "persons", and thus not ethically or legally protected as real "persons": Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, the frail elderly, the emotionally ill, drug addicts and alcoholics, literally all mentally and physically disabled, -- even all of us when we are sleeping! Richard Frey, a senior bioethics scholar at the Hastings Center, agrees -- arguing that the adult human beings I have just listed be substituted for animal "persons" in destructive experimental research!86 Abstract concepts can lead to concrete, and devastating, consequences in the real world.

"Personhood", then, must be based on the kind of nature a thing possess, not on its active "functionality" -- unless you would agree with the conclusions that necessarily follow from the theories of the likes of Singer, Frey, and most bioethicists. The human being and the human person are inseparable -- from the very beginning of his or her existence.

VII. Other Consequences of These Massive Maniuplations

It is actually impossible to tally just how penetrating the damage caused by the purposeful falsification and propagation of corruptions of the objective scientific facts of human development. But the damage goes far deeper than just the killing of innocent human embryos.

A. On Correct Formation of Conscience

Consider for a moment the consequences on our ability to even form our consciences correctly on these issues. Given the massive "scientific" propaganda that has permeated almost every institution in this country by now, it is almost impossible for anyone to make an informed decision -- and thus an informed choice -- on these matters.87 Again, the Church is keenly aware of this:

[EV 4] ... The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

[EV 58] But today, in many people's consciences, the perceptions of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behavior and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Is 5:20). ... Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things. ... We are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined.88

And as Pieper89 has wisely noted, "The place of authentic reality is taken over by a fictitious reality; my perception is indeed still directed toward an object, but now it is a pseudo-reality, deceptively appearing as being real, so much so that it becomes almost impossible any more to discern the truth." This is precisely what bothered Plato with his own contemporary Sophists. What makes the sophists so dangerous, said Plato, is that they "fabricate a fictitious reality." That the real world in which we all live can be taken over by pseudo-realities whose fictitious nature threatens to become unnoticed is truly a depressing thought. And yet this Platonic nightmare possesses an alarming contemporary relevance. For the general public is being reduced to a state where people not only are unable to find out about the truth but also become unable even to search for it.

B. On Moral Teaching Authority of Church

The Church recognizes too why we must counter these scientific lies and manipulations in our public lives. What is at stake as well are those fundamental and empirically derived moral principles which are essential guideposts we need to choose rightly in decisions regarding such issues as human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research:

When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person.90

And, if you will forgive me for a quick bit of "philosophizing", I would take it one step further. Consider that if the empirically derived definition of individual human embryos and when they begin to exist is erroneous, then the philosophical concept of "human nature" is erroneous. If the philosophical concept of "human nature" is erroneous, then the philosophical concept of "natural law" is erroneous. If the philosophical concept of "natural law" is erroneous, then the theological concept of "the Moral Law" is erroneous. If the theological concept of "the Moral Law" is erroneous, then the moral teachings of the Catholic Church are destroyed. There is, indeed much more at stake in the human cloning debates than just "little embryos".

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, the purposeful falsification and corruption of the objective scientific facts of human embryology in the human cloning debates are nothing more than pure propaganda that has been propagated for the purpose of power and profits. And seen from the perspective that this involves, indeed requires, the death and destruction of millions of innocent living human beings, all cloning of human beings, the using any type of cloning technique, should be totally banned in the legislatures by means of passing bills that are proven to be grounded in the most current and accurate scientific facts. Otherwise, scientifically flawed bills become nothing more than part of the manipulations and deceits themselves. Especially given the fact that the use of human stem cells from adults and from umbilical cords have been clinically proven to mitigate the diseases of many human patients, there is even no need to find "cures" by means of killing human embryos.

As the Church has pointed out, "Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development. Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life."91 To continue in such massive manipulations serves only to further separate the Truth from Reality, and further enslave us all:

At the same time, the Church teaches that authentic freedom does not exist without the truth. "Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery" In a society in which truth is neither mentioned nor sought, every form of authentic exercise of freedom will be weakened, opening the way to libertine and individualistic distortions and undermining the protection of the good of the human person and of the entire society.92

Thank you.

Next Page: Endnotes
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