James Thomson discovered human embryonic stem cells. In an interview, he makes several candid comments about the ongoing debate. One of the most important is set forth below. Dishonest cloning advocates are now claiming that therapeutic cloning does not create a human embryo or a human life, and that cloned embryos can never become babies. As Thomson notes below, this is garbage. (Note the clear desire of the interviewer to get Thomson to answer that there is a difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning even though they involve the same procedure.)

“QUESTION: The people who use nuclear transfer generally say that the technique [somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning] is optimized for producing the stem cells rather than making babies. They would not want to equate this with the process that produces embryos that were fit for implantation, and they’d argue that they’re using the reproductive process differently …

ANSWER: See, you’re trying to define it away, and it doesn’t work. If you create an embryo by nuclear transfer, and you give it to somebody who didn’t know where it came from, there would be no test you could do on that embryo to say where it came from. It is what it is.

It’s true that they have a much lower probability of giving rise to a child. But by any reasonable definition, at least at some frequency, you’re creating an embryo. If you try to define it away, you’re being disingenuous.

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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