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The 21st century Frankenstein

By Mariam Durrani
Wednesday November 28, 2001
Illustration by Josh Hagler

The situation in Afghanistan is deplorable. Fear of anthrax has taken

over the country. Finals are right around the corner. Geez, so much stress!!

Therefore, it seems fitting to tell a story that is far from stressful and borderlines on ridiculous, which brings us to the recent debate over human cloning.

First, a little background information. I am sure you all have heard about the newest craze among scientists. Now that they have conquered most aspects of life on this planet, they want to create life. Dolly, one of more than 200 experimental animals involved in sheep-cloning trials, was the world's first fully cloned mammal. Of course, in the pursuit of one of science's amazing accomplishments, they failed to mention the hundreds of sheep and other animals that were deformed and sick because of mistakes in cloning. Some had unusually large organs or other defects and died quickly.

Now scientists say they are entering the realm of human cloning, not to make human babies, but for therapeutic cloning. This type of cloning is to help find medical treatments for diseases and other sicknesses. Sounds reasonable enough.

But not all scientists think so clearly. England outlawed cloning for the re-creation of human beings but legalized therapeutic cloning. In America, the House of Representatives tried to pass a bill to ban cloning of humans, but the Senate, so far, failed to pass it.

So where does that leave us in this story? For that, I will need to explain

the Raelians. The religion was founded in France in 1973 and claims

55,000 members in 84 countries. The leader, or Rael, formerly Claude Vorilhon, dresses in a white spacesuit-like uniform and says he spreads his message after encounters with creatures that come to Earth in a UFO.

At the official Web site for these people, it states that they are the world's largest UFO-related, non-profit organization working towards the first embassy to welcome people from space. They go on to claim that Moses, Buddha, Jesus and the prophet Muhammed all were chosen by these aliens that Rael met, and that there is no God, but all the religions are teachings from these aliens.

That is a pretty far-fetched idea, but the scary thing is the high number of followers and the amount of money at their disposal.

Okay, so I explained the Raelians. The scientific company Clonaid, founded by the Raelians in 1997, claims to be making a great deal of progress in cloning a human being.

Sunday, Advanced Cell Technology, a Massachusetts lab, said it created

embryos through cloning. However, it claims to be doing this for medical

purposes and not to clone humans.

Scientists said they created a six-cell embryo before it self-destructed. The Clonaid Company says it has cloned to the blastocyst stage, which goes far beyond the microscopic Advanced Cell Tech embryos. This company has been hidden somewhere in the Nevada desert since the Bahamian government pressured it to leave because of claims of progress in human cloning.

The company's chief scientist, Brigitte Boisselier, appeared on CNN recently to discuss her company's cloning quest.

"The only thing I guarantee is that I want a very healthy baby, and I'll do all I can do so that this very healthy baby is presented to you soon," she said. The company has not disclosed any official reports, but it claims to be making progress.

The purpose of this cloning is to create eternal life, and she says many people want to be cloned. I am sure you must be thinking that this whole story has been fabricated. But I am telling you, it's true, and it can get much worse. As crazy as these people sound, they seem to be on their way to achieving their goal.

Even I can't believe it. The first thing that comes to my mind is that these humans, if created, can't be natural. A human is not just a complex system of nerves and muscles. The soul of a man or woman is something that cannot be created by us because it cannot be captured by us. We can hold blood and create it, but we cannot capture a person's spirit. How can you create that?

I think these people will fail. Life cannot be created, and it shouldn't be. These crack-smoking psychos from France need to get a grip on reality, because the only problem I have with their bizarre and amusing claims is the fear that they may be successful and create an abnormal human being.

Something unnatural. Something scary.


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