Human Exceptionalism

Center on Human Exceptionalism

Chromosome under microscope. Genetic concept background
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Practical Council: Important Stuff from the Kass Commission

They keep threatening to do it, and now, they say they have. The flying-saucer cult, the Raelians, announced that its scientists have implanted a woman with a cloned human embryo. “The next announcement will be the birth of a baby,” their chief scientist Brigitte Boisselier, cheerily announced to the world. Whether this is actually true, or whether such an embryo Read More ›

Taking Requests, Doing Harm

The “Hippocratic Oath” sniffed Dr. Sherwin Nuland dismissively in the February 24, 2000 New England Journal of Medicine, “has been embraced over approximately the last 200 years far more as a symbol of professional cohesion than for its content … Ultimately, a physician’s conduct at the bedside is a matter of individual conscience.” What a frightening thought. When I tell Read More ›

Brave New Clarity

Last Thursday, the President’s Council on Bioethics issued its first public-policy recommendations on the issue of human cloning. The report was thorough, well articulated, and exhibited a refreshing moral clarity. That stated, however, my view of the report is mixed. My first impression is that the news is mildly bad, somewhat indifferent, but also very good. Let me explain. FALLING Read More ›

Cells division process, Cell divides into two cells
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Cloning and Congress

WHAT’S LESS BAD: enacting a ban on so-called “reproductive” human cloning that explicitly authorizes cloning for research purposes, or passing no law at all prohibiting cloning in 2002? That is the seeming conundrum facing cloning opponents, since neither side in the great cloning debate apparently can muster the 60 votes needed to pass either a complete or partial cloning ban Read More ›

The New Grim Reapers

Is all human cloning wrong? Should doctors be allowed to kill people in permanent comas and harvest their organs? Would it be moral to deny expensive medical procedures to the seriously ill and disabled in order to provide health coverage for the uninsured? Do elderly people have a duty to die to spare their families and communities the financial and Read More ›

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Anthropology Afoul of the Facts

In 1928, Margaret Mead published Coming of Age in Samoa. An immediate success, this slender volume established Mead as the most famous and most influential anthropologist of the 20th century. For nearly half a century, whether writing scholarly articles from her desk at the American Museum of Natural History in New York or pontificating as contributing editor of the popular Read More ›

Strange Clonefellows

A GREAT DEFICIENCY in the media’s reporting of debates about public policy is their tendency to reduce messy democratic discourse to a sterile, never-ending face-off between “The Left” and “The Right.” One year, The Right launches an offensive and advances a half-mile. The next year, The Left counterattacks and regains the lost ground. This caricature has certainly dominated the reporting Read More ›

Lights of the child
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Science or Propaganda?

LAST WEEK the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) made headlines when it issued a broadside that would, if followed by Congress, grant an open-ended license for biotech researchers to clone human life. True, the NAS recommended that Congress ban “reproductive” cloning, that is, the use of a cloned embryo to produce a born baby. But it also urged that human Read More ›

Closing In on Cloning

THE BRAVE NEW WORLD ORDER is hurtling toward us at Mach speed. With the announcement by Advanced Cell Technology that it has created the first human clones and developed them into six-cell embryos, the country finds itself at an ethical point of no return. Either Congress will ban human cloning, or human cloning will soon be a fait accompli. With Read More ›

baby sleeping
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Wrongful Birth?

Charles de Gaulle once remarked that France without greatness isn’t France. Nowadays, we’re wondering whether France without common sense can still lay claim to greatness, or to much of anything else. The wonderment is more than rhetorical. For the nation that once gave the world the “Declaration of the Rights of Man” now adds to its legal system a concept Read More ›