Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Intentionally faulty definitions for cloning

Here's an AP article from the Akron Beacon Journal that illustrates how the definitions of embryonic stem cells and human cloning can be so easily skewed. (Emphasis mine)

Embryonic stem cell: A cell taken from a developing embryo after a few days of dividing, when it is a ball of about 200 cells, that can become any organ or tissue in the body. The original embryo no longer can develop into a human being.....

Reproductive cloning: Inserting the genetic material from a mature organism, such as a human, into an egg cell and stimulating it to divide into an embryo for implantation into a female uterus and development of a duplicate human being.

Therapeutic cloning: Using the same technique with no intention of growing a new human, but instead directing the rapidly dividing cells to grow into a desired tissue, such as skin or cells that make insulin.

Looking at these definitions it becomes clear to me that their intent isn't to inform individuals of facts but to attempt to influence others to believe that human embryos aren't human beings. They all assume that embryos aren't human beings and that embryos need to develop past some unmentioned threshold to become human beings. Also, notice how the definition for "therapeutic" cloning never mentions that a human embryo is killed and that's where these "rapidly dividing cells" come from.

The sources of these "definitions" are the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a "fact sheet" given to Ohio legislators.

When you examine the glossary at the NIH web site you'll notice that the definitions for embryo and fetus recognize that the unborn are developing human organisms. I'm guessing that the "fact sheet" distributed to Ohio legislators was created by a group lobbying in favor of human cloning or a legislator pushing to pass a law to allow human cloning.

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