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America's Culture War: In the News

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In the News: An Important Note to Our Readers

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

The February 19, 2001 issue of Time magazine screamed on its front cover in big, bold letters, “Human Cloning is Closer than You Think!” On Friday, December 27, 2002, Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, the chief executive officer of a Bahamas-based company known as Clonaid, held a news conference to announce that scientists working for her had succeeded in producing the world’s first cloned human baby (a little girl nicknamed “Eve”). Needless to say, everyone—scientist and non-scientist alike—was stunned by this incredible news.

Previously, various individuals or groups had claimed that they had impregnated surrogate mothers with cloned fetuses, but up until the December 27 announcement, no one had yet announced an actual birth. If Clonaid’s claims are true, Time’s statement is suddenly irrelevant and erroneous, because cloning is here—now.

The key phrase here is, “if Clonaid’s claims are true.” Admittedly, as things now stand, that is a very big “if.” On the very day that Clonaid held its news conference, Dr. Brad Harrub and I began working on an article for Reason & Revelation as our response to the purported cloning of a human being. We understand that our readers expect, and deserve, an in-depth, well-researched response. You look to us for the most up-to-date information on, and an assessment of, matters such as these. And rightly so. That is an important part of our job, and we take it very seriously.

However, long-time readers of R&R are well aware of the fact that we never rush into print on any issue. It is not our policy to offer a “knee-jerk” reaction to media pronouncements, regardless of the sensational nature of their claims, or the subject matter involved (whether it concerns the latest alleged human fossil find, or current progress in human genetic engineering). Rather, we move slowly, research thoroughly, and write carefully. Then, when all the relevant facts are in, we publish.

As this issue of Reason & Revelation goes to press, no verifiable, scientific proof of any kind has been forthcoming to confirm Clonaid’s claim of having produced a human baby via cloning. We are, of course, watching this case very closely (on a daily basis, in fact). As soon as we can verify—one way or another—the veracity of the claim, we will respond accordingly. But not a moment before! Please be patient—and know we are “on the case.”

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