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Parents Pay Cult to Clone Dead Child

By the Epopt in MLP
Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:54:36 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

A short article at Lycos News (quoted in full below) states that

An American couple whose baby daughter died last year is now trying to clone her.

The article continues:

The cloning will be attempted by Clonaid, a company with ties to a religious cult called the Raelians, which believes humans were cloned by extraterrestrials.

The company says the cloning will be done somewhere in the United States using the child's preserved skin cells.

Cloning using private funds is not illegal in the U.S. However, the Food and Drug Administration says such a project would need its approval, and likely would not get it because of unresolved safety issues.

Clonaid has said it has no plans to contact the FDA.

The article is wrong on one detail: the Bahamas-based company's name is actually VALIANT VENTURE LTD. It offers three services: CLONAID®, INSURACLONE®, and CLONAPET®, and a book, The True Face of God, which is available in 22 languages. RAËL, the author of the book and founder of the the RAELIAN MOVEMENT religious organization, was just a humble Formula One racing driver until 13 December 1973, when his life was turned upside down. In a volcano located near Clermont-Ferrand, France, he saw a UFO, seven meters in diameter, made of a very shiny silver metal and moving in a total silence. A radiant being emerged and entrusted Rael with a MESSAGE revealing the true origin of mankind.

Oh, and before I forget: UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information is ENCOURAGED, especially to COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARDS.


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Trying to clone your dead daughter is:
o Sad 23%
o Dangerous 3%
o Stupid 2%
o Sick 16%
o Brilliant 1%
o Inevitable 17%
o Pointless 11%
o Mad? They called me mad at University, but I'll show them! Bwah-hah-hah! 23%

Votes: 118
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o article
o Clonaid
o Food and Drug Administration
o Also by the Epopt

Display: Sort:
Parents Pay Cult to Clone Dead Child | 25 comments (15 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Why ? (3.75 / 4) (#3)
by retinaburn on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:12:35 PM EST

Why does the FDA have jurisdiction over the cloning of humans....i thought maybe the IRS but the FDA. I'd be suprised if cloning was legal through private means. But setting up shop in some other country and then obtaining valid ID for your "reborn" child would be relatively simple.

Hears an interesting point, if at some time cloning humans is possible, could you use the identification from your deceased child on your new child ? ...The fingerprints, retinas should all be the same right ? ...so perhaps legally they are the same person.

And if they are not considered the same person because they were legally dead and then alive, what about people who die on the operating table and are brought back ? ...or those who are declared legally dead only to be found alive (be it lost persons or in a hospital).

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

Fingerprints (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:20:53 PM EST

Identical twins do not have identical fingerprints or retina patterns so presumably clones, being less similar than identical twins would not either.

Identical twins share the same genetic code and much of the same environment, including being in the same womb for nine months and usually getting similar childhood environments. A clone, on the other hand, does not have the same environment in the womb and is going to have a different environment during childhood, if for no other reason that that technology and culture will have changed since the "original's".

People vastly overrate how "identical" a human clone would truly be.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

The FDA... (2.50 / 2) (#10)
by daystar on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:31:14 PM EST

.. has jurisdiction over cloning because they SAY they do. They do that kind of thing a lot.

Oh, to live in a country where arbitrary decisions were handed down by ELECTED bureaucrats...

There is no God, and I am his prophet.
[ Parent ]
Why the FDA has jurisdiction (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:09:17 PM EST

Unless I'm mistaken, Congress has given the FDA the power to approve all medical devices, drugs and biological compounds in regards to their medicinal use on human subjects. The process of cloning a human being, being done on a human being with the use of biological substances, drugs, and medical devices can be construed to come under the jurisdiction of the FDA.

Check out the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

(g)(1) The term ''drug'' means

(A) articles recognized in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, or official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them; and

(B) articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals; and

(C) articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals; and

(D) articles intended for use as a component of any article specified in clause (A), (B), or (C). A food or dietary supplement for which a claim, subject to sections 403(r)(1)(B) and 403(r)(3) of this title or sections 403(r)(1)(B) and 403(r)(5)(D) of this title, is made in accordance with the requirements of section 403(r) of this title is not a drug solely because the label or the labeling contains such a claim. A food, dietary ingredient, or dietary supplement for which a truthful and not misleading statement is made in accordance with section 403(r)(6) of this title is not a drug under clause (C) solely because the label or the labeling contains such a statement.

. . .

(h) The term ''device'' (except when used in paragraph (n) of this section and in sections 301(i), 403(f), 502(c), and 602(c)) means an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including any component, part, or accessory, which is -

(1) recognized in the official National Formulary, or the United States Pharmacopeia, or any supplement to them,

(2) intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals, or

(3) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve its primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of its primary intended purposes.

Between the definitions of drugs and devices, I'm pretty sure that most of process of cloning is covered.

[ Parent ]

Send in the Clones (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by gunner800 on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 07:43:12 PM EST

I think the only sensible way to regard a clone is as a new individual. There will be similarities, especially physical ones, but they would not be identical. As someone said, a clone is even less identical than an "identical" twin. Partly this is because clones (using the current technology) aren't actually 100% genetic copies of the DNA-donor.

Some genetic material resides outside the nucleus. Clones are made with only the nucleus of a cell of the original, so you end up with some genetic material from the "birth" mother. This would probably not make a difference if a woman carried her own clone, though. And its a small portion of the total genetic material.

While I don't have anything against hypothetical clones (they'd be full-fledged human beings, with all rights and responsibilities thereof), I wouldn't want to be one. Too many people expect a clone to be the same person as the DNA-donor. That could lead to a tough childhood. Even before cloning, some couples would (naturally) have a child in order to replace one who has died, and that is a classic bad reason to have a kid.

My more immediate concern is the safety of the procedure. IIRC, Dolly the Sheep was only the first success out of many trials. Many of the prior attempts resulted in miscarriages; I vaguely recall that some "birth mother" sheep died as a result. It's been improved, but its still not a safe procedure.

Better to have a child the old-fashioned way. And funner.

---Ignore poorly-chosen handle for purpose of gun-control discussions.
[ Parent ]

Haha! (3.66 / 3) (#4)
by 11223 on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:18:22 PM EST

That was pretty funny. For more stuff like that, check out Carl Sagan's book The Demon Haunted World, which is mostly about cults like that.

The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

A small reminder. (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by Bad Mojo on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:23:39 PM EST

All I can think of is this quote by Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) from Se7en:

I've been trying to figure something in my head, and maybe you can help me out, yeah? When a person is insane, as you clearly are, do you know that you're insane? Maybe you're just sitting around, reading "Guns and Ammo", masturbating in your own feces, do you just stop and go, "Wow! It is amazing how fucking crazy I really am!"? Yeah. Do you guys do that?

-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

For your delectation (4.00 / 3) (#9)
by pwhysall on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:29:35 PM EST

Even More MLP - here's the TOTL Cult Ov Thee Week entries for Clonaid and The Raelian Revolution.
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
What a Hoot! (1.00 / 3) (#16)
by greyrat on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 01:41:55 PM EST

If I wasn't so fucking pissed at the medical community, I'd be ROFLOL!
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

+1 because it's definately different ;) (2.33 / 3) (#17)
by RangerBob on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 01:45:03 PM EST

It's kinda like me wanting to clone one of my dogs. While it would be her, it wouldn't really "be" her because there's no way I could raise her identically as when I was a child. There's no way her brain would develop all of the same connections that the original did. It's impossible to recreate all of the memories and neural pathways that would make her think the same way the original did. Ignoring the religious thoughts about a soul, there's no way she could ever turn out exactly like how I remember. She could go from being the loving original to a human hating clone dog. This is what people don't think about when they want to clone someone. What you get could be so very different than the original that you regret ever doing it. It could be much more tramatic to bring a loved one back this way than letting them go in the first place.

And then we can look at the religious implications. When you're cloned, do you get yanked out of Heaven and put back into the body? Ok, you could accept that, but what if you have multiple copies made of yourself? Is the soul duplicatable? Does it get torn in half?

What I'd like to see cloning used for is to clone duplicates of things like kidneys and livers. Since they'd be the same as what's in your body now, maybe they wouldn't be rejected by the immune system. Perhaps this type of technology could be what leads to "immortality".

I'm glad somebody brought it up... (OT) (none / 0) (#19)
by Freshmkr on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 03:32:36 PM EST

What I'd like to see cloning used for is to clone duplicates of things like kidneys and livers. Since they'd be the same as what's in your body now, maybe they wouldn't be rejected by the immune system. Perhaps this type of technology could be what leads to "immortality".

Such technology was the subject of the really bad 1978 movie "parts: the clonus horror" in which wealthy people prolong their lives by raising mentally stunted clones on a compound somewhere in California (in real life: Stanford).

IMDB entry:

A young man escapes from a govenment run project called Clonus only to find out that Peter Graves (Jeff Knight) a candidate for Presidency is a conspirator to keep Clonus a secret. Top government officials are aware of it and support the super secret project, because they are cloning themselves to live longer and better lives, at the expense of their clone counter-part, who is no more than a "slave" as far as human rights are concerned. The ethical and moral values are explored as the escapee (Tim Donnelly) known as Richard returns full circle back to Clonus, only to find his girlfriend lobotimized for government security purposes.
Naturally, the fine folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000 couldn't pass up this gem - it was lampooned in episode 811.

What's the point? None especially, except that some good ideas can result in some exceptionally bad sci-fi. Obviously people would want to clone organs outside of actual humans, and certainly researchers are starting to do this with skin and other tissues.


[ Parent ]

Yanked out of heaven? (none / 0) (#22)
by error 404 on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 06:11:17 PM EST

Only if identical twins are walking around sharing a soul.

DNA is the blueprint, not the building.

Cloning happens all the time. Some of my ancestors moved to America as a result of a cloning disaster. Enough members of that population either moved or died that there are now more of us in the U.S. than in the home country.

This story is unbeleivably sad. If (and that's a very big if) it works, the parents will end up with a kid who will grow up in a dead shadow. The kid won't be their dead daughter brought back. I can see a very, very bad potential outcome here: seriously disabled kid (the technology is just not reliable here, there were a lot of cloned sheep that just didn't quite work) struggling to survive while her parents fail to cope with the death of their other daughter. Fortunately, the more likely outcome is that the cloning will fail to produce anything capable of feeling pain.

The problem that this cloning operation attempts to solve is either unsolvable (the daughter isn't coming back) or has another solution (the parents need to get through their grief). Cloning the child is not a good answer.

The problem with human cloning is that a particular batch of human DNA just isn't worth the trouble. With livestock, there are objective criteria, and you can assign a value to a particular batch of DNA: this cow produces more milk than normal, for example, or this potato is resistant to this blight, so a copy is worth this much more that the garden variety. But with people, the criteria are much harder to pin down. If one person can be fairly said to be better than another, what makes the better person almost always fits into the category where we really don't know whether the DNA is particularly relevant or not. Is a sense of honor genetic? Is creativity? Drive? And if you do find a genetic basis for some characteristic that makes a person more valuable that average, what are the trade-offs? With cattle, for example, the highly specialized breeds that grow fast and large are more susceptible to disease than the older breeds. That's an acceptable trade-off, perhaps (some people are beginning to question it) in cattle, but would it be OK to (assuming we determined that his genius was clonable but so was his pain) to clone Van Gogh? And what about a daughter designed to have the stick-body that is currently falling out of fashion? I can just about guarantee that 10 years from now, my daughter who has a bio-quirk that makes her look anorexic (she eats like a horse) is going to be slamming shakes in an attempt to put on weight.
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Erm. (none / 0) (#24)
by Trencher on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 11:08:25 AM EST

Please explain the comment regarding your cloned ancestors.
I'm intrigued...

"Arguing online is like the Special Olympics. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, you're still a retard." RWR
[ Parent ]
The cloning disaster (none / 0) (#25)
by error 404 on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 11:50:47 AM EST

It wasn't my ancestors that were cloned, but their food supply.

Mammals are very hard to clone. Some plants are trivial to clone. It is easier to clone potatoes than to plant them from seed. All the potatoes in Ireland were clones. So when the blight hit, there weren't any potato varieties or strains resistant to that particular pathogen. If they had been grown from seed, there would have been genetic variety, and some of the crop would have been resistant.
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Clone != self (2.66 / 3) (#20)
by YvRich on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 04:28:46 PM EST

I voted "pointless."

What are the parents trying to do? Get back the same person that their daughter was? That idea's been shot down already in other comments. Or if they want another copy of that particular co-mingling of their genetic codes, then how can you say that this combination is any better than next one you'd get by conceiving a child the old-fashioned (and cheaper) way?

Myself, I do believe in the soul. I believe it's a distinct and separate entity from the mortal body. I also believe that much of the debate surrounding cloning, abortion, and the like is based on a mistaken identification of the body as being the person.

You can clone a person, but the new body won't be occupied by the same spirit as the original (unless the being's really good at multitasking.)

As an aside, I wouldn't mind being cloned! I'd be honored, and extremely flattered, if my genetic code passed the screening requirements that I'm sure would be in place. But I should probably ask my family first -- in varying amounts, it's their code too! They should have a say.

My two cents for the day.

Parents Pay Cult to Clone Dead Child | 25 comments (15 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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