Cult has first human clone
December 26, 2002 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Cult says it has first human clone, and it's a girl. Clearly this is an incredible achievement for science, but what consequences will this have on the near and distant future? Is cloning technology being utilized by the wrong people? Some consider the fear of human cloning to be superstitious. But what if somebody taught the clones karate?
posted by luckyclone (33 comments total)
I wonder if the clone is of Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, but born by her daughter. If so, her daughter would be her mother and her child would be a twin to her grandmother... sort of. I see weird family trees as a result of this.
posted by stevis at 9:40 PM on December 26, 2002

Clones: Rednecks of the 21st century.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:05 PM on December 26, 2002

Here is the link to the raelians if anyone's interested. Personally I think they are bluffing, but on the other hand they did send a representive to congress and spoke against the banning of cloning.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:27 PM on December 26, 2002

It will probably turn out to be untrue. I seriously doubt these people have the resources to make something like this happen. About four years ago some random Korean group claimed they were the first to create a human clone, but killed it at an early developmental stage. Not many believed that one.
posted by shoos at 10:29 PM on December 26, 2002

The Raelians, who claim 55,000 followers worldwide, believe life on earth was established by extraterrestrials who arrived in flying saucers 25,000 years ago, and that humans themselves were created by cloning.

Can't help but be a wee bit skeptical about claims made by this lot...
posted by backOfYourMind at 10:31 PM on December 26, 2002

I really needed to get all this in one post, I know, but I keep digging around. So here is the testimony before the US Congress I alluded too. It (somewhat disapointingly) doesn't refer to all the UFO hocus-pocus; its actually a pretty well thought out argument in favor of cloning research. That said, perhaps this is a 'genie out of the bottle' sort of problem: we can pass laws until the Greys come home, but somebody is going to make clones anyway. You can't fight the future.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:42 PM on December 26, 2002

Does anyone else find the basic cloning thing a little uninteresting? I mean, as far as we know, all you get is another standard issue human being. Big deal. Now, if you get some surprising extra features, that would be interesting...or, if you get a model who's synapses are tuned to the original's to such a degree that the clone could quickly absorb its predecessor's ideas and thought patterns, and then amplify them - you know, like Einstein Everlasting - now that would be interesting...but just another human beano...who cares, really?

Now, cloning for spare parts - or spare bodies - or building designer humans - those are whole other juggernauts...
posted by Opus Dark at 11:11 PM on December 26, 2002

Well, once you actualy manage to create a cloned fertilzed egg, the rest is just the application of 30 year old technology. Anyone with a fertility clinic could probably pull it off, after reading the science papers about cloaning.

It's not like building a nuke or fusion plant, which requires billions of capital. You really have all you need in a well-stocked bio lab.

That said, unless they figured out a way to 're-age' the DNA, they are probably going to create a fucked up little girl :(

Of course, IMO, once you fix those problems, clone away!
posted by delmoi at 12:08 AM on December 27, 2002

What was that one movie that said cloning was like making a copy. And a clone of a clone is like a copy of a copy and the more you do it the more it isn't like the original? Is that true or did they just make that up? If so I guess a clone is a copy and isn't exactly like the original. Close, but no cigar. I always want to watch GATTACA when the word clone flies around even though it isn't about clones.
posted by Ron at 12:18 AM on December 27, 2002

Um, I think that was Multiplicity, with Michael Keaton.
posted by luckyclone at 12:33 AM on December 27, 2002

Ron: they just made that up.
posted by delmoi at 2:09 AM on December 27, 2002

Raelians are big in Montreal, my part of the world, and are generally regarded with bemusement. I cringed a bit at the use of the descriptor 'cult' in the write-up; they are a totally non-threatening -- if a bit loopy -- and generally regarded like a family's dotty aunt.

(Well, if your dotty aunt was a silicone-enhanced stripper who wore a six-pointed star medallion, espoused free-love orgies, and spent their weekend's hocking the self-published cosmology tracts of a former French race car driver.)

They've been around for over two decades and have regularly demonstrated their sole talent: Grabbing headlines by taking whatever's topical and hitching their wagon to it. Abortion and sex-ed in the eighties? Rael handed out condoms to school kids. Gay rights in the early 90s? Rael staged free love-ins. Catholic sex abuse scandals in the last year? Rael's followers picketed local Catholic high schools, urging students to sign apostasy pledges.

Has Rael and co managed to clone a baby? Well, they had set up a secret lab in West Virginia two years ago and seemed close to success until the baby's "father" -- a poor fellow who wanted to clone his dead son -- got to chatty and US officials shut it down. Last year, Boisselier -- who claims to be a scientist but I think got her degree from Crack Jack U -- said a small army of 50 (?) Rael women were ready to bear the first clones.

Even if they haven't managed to clone a baby, they've been the top story on CNN for the last hour. I think that's what they were after all along.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:40 AM on December 27, 2002

after hearing people tell me an invisible genie in the sky made the earth 6,000 years ago, I think the whole flying saucers bit isn't too farfetched.

but I doubt it's a clone.
posted by angry modem at 5:28 AM on December 27, 2002

Yea for cults!

I've not been able to access the Raelian site [perhaps they should clone some of their servers] but I find this cult much more pleasant than the Bush one whose main preoccupation seems to be the suppression of life rather than its creation.

I for one favor new ideas, however loopy, to the old ideas of war/conflict/hatred.
posted by lometogo at 5:30 AM on December 27, 2002

Now they're saying the baby's name is Eve.

Ri-i-i-i-ght. This gets less believable by the minute.
posted by yhbc at 6:49 AM on December 27, 2002

posted by flatlander at 7:40 AM on December 27, 2002

I can't believe no one's said it yet. Where's Yoda when you need him?
posted by rusty at 7:50 AM on December 27, 2002

Oh, all right.

Begun this clone war has.
posted by yhbc at 7:58 AM on December 27, 2002

I'm Rael!
posted by goethean at 8:15 AM on December 27, 2002

Raelians: Big in Montreal
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:41 AM on December 27, 2002

hmm. The director doesn't even look like the same person in photos this week, maybe it's a clone.
posted by mathowie at 8:44 AM on December 27, 2002

I know my golf clubs are clones.
posted by Ron at 9:15 AM on December 27, 2002

"Isn't it rich
Aren't we a pair
Me here at last on the ground
You in mid-air
Send in the cloooones...
posted by ColdChef at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2002

Meanwhile, doesn't this guy claim that HE'S about to present at least a couple of clones sometime in the next couple of months?
posted by briank at 10:07 AM on December 27, 2002

Oh my god. Just saw the story on CNN. Expert testimony by Bill Nye. Well, he is the Science Guy.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:14 AM on December 27, 2002

This reminds me a bit of Arthur C. Clarke's 'Imperial Earth', where cloning of the leader is used to perpetuate the dynasty ruling over Titan.
posted by edsousa at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2002

Some more background on the Raelians from a little more than a year ago can be found here, here, and here.
posted by anildash at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2002

Do I *have* to spell it out for everyone...?

"And I, for one, welcome our new Rael-worshipping clone overlords."

Sorry, but it had to be done.
posted by davidmsc at 9:29 PM on December 27, 2002

feeeeed thee cloonneesss.........................

let them know its christmastime this year !
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:57 AM on December 28, 2002

Seven billion people on this planet. We've populated all seven continents. There's even people who work regularly in Antarctica and cruises for people who have way too much money. Just two hundred years ago there was a whole new world to explore. Since then we've explored it. There's maybe five percent of this planet that hasn't been touched by human beings and that's just because no one can figure out how to turn that five percent into a tourist trap.

This planet ain't gettin' any smaller, and now we got lunatics cloning even MORE people. If these weirdoes claim to have contact with aliens, you'd think they'd waste their time working on interstellar spaceflight so we could find some more elbow room. Alpha Centauri or bust!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:40 PM on December 28, 2002

I take it, then, that ZachsMind will very soon voluntarily remove himself from this planet as a gesture of his commitment to the belief that there are too many people...?

I'm just kidding, Zach.
posted by davidmsc at 9:54 PM on December 28, 2002

This planet ain't gettin' any smaller, and now we got lunatics cloning even MORE people.

This isn't Star Wars: Episode II. We're not talking about cloning "farms" or factories. Human clones, if they happen, would still be born the old fashioned way--one at a time and only after a regular 9-month gestation period.

This really isn't a very big leap from in vitro or other reproductive technologies that most of us are very comfortable with.

Running around like it's freakin' War of the Worlds is going to delay by decades the positive advancements this technology offers.
posted by jpoulos at 12:39 PM on December 29, 2002

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