There's fraud -- and then there's fraud

As if things weren't bleak enough for disgraced South Korean cloner Hwang Woo-suk, it emerged last night that he has been linkurl:offered public support;http://www.clonaid.com/news.php by Clonaid, the UFO cult founded by a former French sports journalist. In a posting on its website, Clonaid, which claims it has cloned several human embryos but is keeping the results secret, tries to draw a parallel between Hwang's recent difficulties and its own activities. The website asks: 'It is interesti

By | January 18, 2006

As if things weren't bleak enough for disgraced South Korean cloner Hwang Woo-suk, it emerged last night that he has been linkurl:offered public support;http://www.clonaid.com/news.php by Clonaid, the UFO cult founded by a former French sports journalist. In a posting on its website, Clonaid, which claims it has cloned several human embryos but is keeping the results secret, tries to draw a parallel between Hwang's recent difficulties and its own activities. The website asks: 'It is interesting to do the mental exercise, for just a few seconds, and ask oneself - why would Dr. Hwang play with the hope of millions of people who are desperately waiting for stem-cell cure to be available for either themselves or one of their relatives? Why would he declare that he has made these lines, if he wasn't able to do it, knowing that millions are watching him and that he would have to deliver them soon?' 'In the same way, how can people believe that Clonaid's announcement of a cloned child being born was a hoax while thousands of parents-to-be were and are counting on us? Thankfully these parents didn't trust the media and today many of them had their baby...' Reading this, my instant reaction was that there are a number of possible reasons why a scientist in Hwang's position might be involved in fraud--perhaps, for example, he felt the pressure of the adulation of the South Korean people. In short, the answer to the question is probably complex. In contrast, however, the reason people don't believe Clonaid's claims is very straightforward. They haven't offered a shred of evidence to support them. Clonaid is closely linked to the Raelians, whose leader, Claude Vorhilon (aka Rael) says cloning is a step toward everlasting life. In their statement they say they believe Hwang did in fact clone human embryos, but has been 'discredited as he wasn't in line with what the political and religious powers of this world wanted regarding the cloning technology.' In consideration of the fact that he's out of a job, Clonaid has apparently offered him a chance to collaborate in one of Clonaid's laboratories.
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