With the latest cloning news, lots of folks are once again coming out saying that they would never favor reproductive cloning like the Raelians claim to have accomplished, but they support theraputic cloning. This is an easy position to take when the face of reproductive cloning is the Raelians, and the face of theraputic cloning is cuddly celebrities and kids with horrible diseases.
But as Will Saletan points out, this is a logically ridiculous position:
The first cloned baby—Eve or whoever comes after her—won't be fertilized. If fertilization is a prerequisite to humanity, as Hatch and Feinstein suggest, that baby will never be human. You can press the pillow over her face and walk away.
If Hatch and Feinstein don't want to live in that world, they'd better find another way to explain why it's OK to clone a human embryo to give it death but not to give it life.
I responded on the Fray. My prediction is that this "theraputic but not reproductive" argument will continue to be discredited, especially if there are any successful cases of thereaputic cloning.
It's an interesting irony. Thereaputic cloning and reporductive cloning come from the same technology, yet their futures are diametrically opposed. The success of one will likely mean the failure of the other. Given the choice, I'll root for reproductive cloning, which would likely be used less, and at least doesn't doom the embryos.
I'm not excited about either one, though.