If your weekend reading does not already include a rollicking obituary for the brief and unlamented era of human cloning, I have a full review in the new Quadrant magazine which is available online HERE.
The article arises from the Legislative Review earlier this year into Australia's cloning laws - that Review was an opportunity for us to rethink (re-pent) the abuses formerly legislated, even on the pragmatic grounds that newer science renders cloning redundant. As expected, however, the majority of the committee members argued for the status quo - the "yes, cloning has been a dud so far and yes, Yamanaka's method seems to have achieved what cloning could never achieve - but let's just research everything anyway " approach - and thereby the Review recommendations save face for those scientists and social progressives who invested so much energy in this battle of the culture wars back in 2006.
The subheadings of the article are: End of an Era; Humans Second Class; Fraud & Fairy Tales; Reality Check on Embryos; Death Throes; The 2011 Review: Clinging to Cloning.
Cloning is a human desecration and a scientific failure. It has always been unethical, in that it creates human embryos with their destruction in mind; it is now also clearly unnecessary. The Senate vote was carried in 2006 by the argument that cloning was the only possible way to obtain “pluripotent stem cells” that perfectly match the patient. That argument lies in shreds, in part through the failure of cloning to produce results but above all through the discovery of an alternative stem cell technique which is both effective and ethically uncontentious.