ANALYSIS: Stearns' Congressional Human Cloning Fairy Tale "Ban"; New Age and Transhumanist Legislation for "Converging Technologies"?

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright September 8, 2004
Reproduced with Permission


Although literally no attention has been drawn to it, there is yet another proposed federal human cloning "ban" waiting in the wings - Bill H.R. 916 -- introduced by a Republican Congressman from Florida, Cliff Stearns. But this Bill seems to be cut from a different pattern than the rest. Like similar ineffective "total bans" on human cloning, this Bill too would ban no human cloning - none - thus rendering debates about "incrementalism" mute. Many of the same scientifically erroneous definitions and omissions are used in this Bill as in other similar Bills, rendering it legally impotent.

But there are some "new" attempts at scientific deconstruction here, especially those that define away the entire human organism - i.e., human being -- cloned by claiming that it is just a "cell" - specifically, just an "oocyte". No human being there! But at least, perhaps, there is hope in this Bill for future human beings to be transformed into part of the One, living, breathing interconnected cosmic "Brain".


It would indeed seem that redefining the human organism reproduced asexually as just a "cell", an "oocyte", is the same tactic used currently by, e.g., human cloning advocates Irving Weissman and Michael West, who refuse to acknowledge the objective scientific fact that the product of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is anything other than a "cell", or a collection of "cells" -- "stem cells" to be exact. The actual living human organism, the human being, linguistically disappears into the dense fog of their Big BioTech Fairy Tales.1 Instead, they take the already false distinction between "therapeutic" and "reproductive" cloning one Giant Step further: nuclear transfer technologies are not "cloning" and only produce "stem cells" if the purpose is scientific research. But they are "cloning" if the purpose is to implant these "balls of cells" and bring them to term to make "babies". This is precisely why they can then call the use of SCNT for purposes of research just "stem cell research", since according to their "scientific" definitions, no human being is ever cloned - just "cells".

This is nothing more than just another of a long string of "pre-embryo substitutes" concocted by these genetic engineering researchers,2 the point being that a "pre-embryo" (or its substitute) has a reduced moral status because it is either not yet a human being, not yet a human person, or not yet a human individual - until after 14-days, when (supposedly) twinning can no longer take place.3 Therefore, who could possibly be against "stem cell research", especially given all the cures for all those diseases they promise? Despite extensive scientific and philosophical refutations of the "pre-embryo" for decades now,4 these researchers do keep trying, and can be very imaginative indeed.

For example, while deconstructing the human embryology about even normal human sexual reproduction (fertilization), Michael West (Advanced Cell Technologies) makes the following remarkable claim in one of his many "expert" testimonies before Congress:

"The fertilization of the egg cell by a sperm leads to a single cell called the "zygote". From this first cell, multiple rounds of cell division over the first week result in a microscopic ball of cells with very unusual properties. This early embryo, called the "preimplantation embryo", has not implanted in the uterus to begin a pregnancy ... Should the embryo implant in the uterus, the embryo, at approximately 14 days post fertilization will form what is called the primitive streak, this is the first definition that these "seed cells will form an individual human being ... ."5 (emphases added)

Here West fails to mention that the "zygote" is not just a single "cell"; it is a single-cell organism. And West defines the "human embryo" here as just a "microscopic ball of cells", rather than as a whole human organism, a human being. Then we are "taught" that: "Seed cells will form ... . " What? There is no human embryology textbook that refers to the totipotent cells of the human blastocyst as "seeds" or as "seed cells". None. And these "seed cells" will form an "individual human being"? Sounds curiously like the old McCormick/Grobstein "pre-embryo" argument, although draped in different "language".

The objective scientific fact is that the human being who is always simultaneously a human individual was already formed back at the beginning of fertilization.6 There is no "will form" about it. Already done! How is it that "expert" West doesn't know his basic Human Embryology 101, or is he reading from a different manual?

Likewise, physician Irving Weissman, architect and promoter of the contentious California Stem Cell Research Initiative (among other things), claims in his Stanford Report:

"In normal development, the fertilized egg undergoes 7-9 cell divisions to make the blastocyst, a ball of cells that has minimal specialization. ... For many the blastocyst is a ball of cells like many other cell lines from other tissues, and it would be a violation of their medical oaths not to use these cells to gain valuable medical knowledge that could translate to therapies."7 (emphases added)

Again, for Weissman, like West, even in normal sexual human reproduction there is no organism reproduced, just "cells", similar, he says, to "cells" in many other "cell lines". The human organism has disappeared. Weissman does indeed make a weak attempt to preempt any criticisms from human embryologists about his verbal deconstruction of human embryology, but in the process belies his own defense:

"Technically, one should not use the term embryo to describe a blastocyst produced by nuclear transfer as an embryo, because it was not the product of sperm and egg, although I think that since the embryologists who coined the term embryo could not have known about nuclear transfer technology, it's anyone's guess what they might say now. ... I would hope we could discover ways to process ovaries as byproducts of human tissues from surgeries so that the tens of thousands of pre-oocytes could be made into useful targets of nuclear transplantation."8 (emphases added)

Thus "technically", according to Weissman, the term "embryo" should only refer to the product of sexual human reproduction involving a sperm and an oocyte, but not to the product of asexual human reproduction (e.g., in cloning)! Indeed, according to Weissman there is no full-fledged human being present until after implantation and birth; before that it is just a "ball of cells", and tissues composed of "cells". Think of the implications of that for human embryonic and human fetal research issues! But isn't this a distinction without a difference? Hasn't he has already stated above that the product of even normal fertilization is just "cells"? Isn't any sexually reproduced human "embryo" for him just a "ball of cells"? Thus either way you look at it, in both sexual and asexual reproduction, for Weissman there is just a "cell" or a "ball of cells" - but no human organism.

Clearly, real human embryologists - with Ph.D. degrees in human embryology - would see no biological difference in the human organisms produced either sexually or asexually. They are both new living human beings - not just "cells". Surely they would heartily disagree with Weissman that these human beings are "minimally specialized". Such statements also belie any serious familiarity with the subject matter of human embryology per se. And my guess is that real human embryologists would howl over his fabricated term "preoocytes"! There is no such thing as a "pre-oocyte" - except, perhaps in the minds of those like Weissman.

These "scientific" statements are objectively scientifically absurd, and leave us no alternative but to conclude that these "scientists" simply make up their "science" as they go along - if it gets them where they want to go. It is now an internationally established scientific fact that there is no such thing as a "pre-embryo", thus any and all similar attempts at "pre-embryo substitutes" used to define away the living human being who is the immediate product of either sexual or asexual human reproduction accrue the same scientific admonition so succinctly stated by Ronan O'Rahilly, long time member of the international Nomina Embryologica Committee which determines the accurate scientific nomenclature for human embryology, and one of the founders of the internationally accepted and professionally required Carnegie Stages of Early Human Development:

"The term 'pre-embryo' is not used here for the following reasons: (1) it is ill-defined because it is said to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or to include neurulation; (2) it is inaccurate because purely embryonic cells can already be distinguished after a few days, as can also the embryonic (not pre-embryonic!) disc; (3) it is unjustified because the accepted meaning of the word embryo includes all of the first 8 weeks; (4) it is equivocal because it may convey the erroneous idea that a new human organism is formed at only some considerable time after fertilization; and (5) it was introduced in 1986 'largely for public policy reasons' (Biggers). ... Just as postnatal age begins at birth, prenatal age begins at fertilization." (p. 88) ... 'Undesirable terms in Human Embryology': 'Pre-embryo'; ill-defined and inaccurate; use 'embryo'." ( p. 12)9 (emphases added)

So imagine what the response would be from real human embryologists upon reading the following excerpts from the California Cloning Report recently shepherded through the California legislature by Weissman:

"We define non-reproductive human cloning as the transfer of human cell nuclei into enucleated oocytes to produce human pre-embryos without implanting the preembryos to produce a human child. Such a process would likely be used to create early pre-embryos to be used as sources of embryonic stem cells. As set out below, we would limit the use of such pre-embryos to the period before the appearance in the pre-embryo of the so-called primitive streak, which occurs 14 to 18 days after the pre-embryo's creation. This developmental stage has also been termed the blastocyst or pre-embryo. ... Various committees, in the United States and elsewhere, that have studied embryo research have concluded that the appearance of the primitive streak marks an important step in the moral status of the pre-embryo, and hence, the ethical arguments concerning pre-embryo research. ... Before the appearance of the primitive streak, the pre-embryo is not necessarily one individual --- it could lead to identical twins."10 (emphases added)

Hello? "Pre-embryos" or "cells" - they don't see much difference. Neither is a real human organism - a human being. Nor is there much difference between West's and Weissman's "cell" or "ball of cells", and the use in this Stearns Bill of the term "oocyte" - a cell, not an organism -- as the immediate product of human cloning. They are all simply imaginative variations on the old "pre-embryo" myth, rendering the real living human being as having just a "reduced moral status".


Yet public policies continue to be based on all this "fairy tale" science that has especially pervaded the research and pharmaceutical industries - especially the rapidly advancing "converging technologies" industry. So the question must arise: Is the use of "fairy tale" science any less scientific fraud and misconduct than the ordinary brand of falsification of data? Or is scientific fraud no longer even an issue? If it continues to be used in public policy in this country, then we are in disastrous straits, and serious massive harm to individuals and to society at large can be expected. Even long time feminist and researcher Marcia Angell admits that the huge influence of drug companies over Congress, the FDA, and doctors is harming Americans:

After she stepped down in June, 2000, as interim editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Dr. Marcia Angell decided to write a book about biases in clinical trials. As she was doing her research and writing, she realized that "all roads led back to drug companies." Angell decided there was a bigger story to tell -- about the vast influence the pharmaceutical industry has over how medicine is practiced today.11

What about their vast influence over how biomedical research and politics is practiced today, leading to all this massive "confusion" about the objective scientific fact that the immediate product of both sexual and asexual human reproduction is a new living human being - not just a "cell", not just an "oocyte"?

Of course, especially because of such orchestrated, penetrating "confusion", they claim that the only "rational" alternative is to seek a "consensus" - as is suggested at the end of this Stearns Bill in its deference to the National Science Foundation and the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences). But a consensus based on what? Objective scientific facts are not determined by a consensus of non-specialized "scientists". Nor are they determined by philosophers, theologians, "ethicists", or policy wonks who have no academic credentials and experience in any science, especially in human embryology and human molecular genetics. Indeed, most of them don't even "believe" in any objective reality at all! This is why professional scientific journals - at least, professionally responsible ones -- require compliance with the international scientific nomenclatures arrived at by the true consensus of true academically credentialed experts in each scientific discipline, as Dr. Angell knows well.


Of even more concern is the overt association of this Bill with both the National Science Foundation and the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences (see end of analysis below). Under the chairmanship of California human cloning advocate Irving Weissman, both of the formal reports on human cloning and on human embryonic stem cell research of the NAS contain very serious scientific flaws, condoning "therapeutic" cloning as just "stem cell research" as well.

Furthermore, given that the recent report of the NSF on "converging technologies" is warped onto New Age and Transhumanist foundations, it is clear that such deconstructions of science will continue, albeit for perhaps different "global" or "cosmic" purposes - the ultimate utilitarian "good". The serious ethical concerns, however, relate not just to this rather gnostic "goal", but also to the means used to get there as well. Yet such ethical concerns about means and ends don't even seem to be part of the current dialogue, even among those for whom it should. As succinctly and enthusiastically put recently by an obvious fan of human genetic engineering at CUA Law School:

So long as procreation continues to remain a central driving force in a marital relationship, and the family the very core of progressive society, efforts will be undertaken to expand the period of fecundity and combat infertility. Genetic planning and eugenic programming are more rational and humane alternatives to population regulation than death by famine and war. Genetic enhancement technologies and the scientific research undertaken to advance them should be viewed as not only aiding (or, sometimes resolving) the tragedy of infertility in family planning, but as a tool for enhancing the health of a Nation's citizens by engineering man's genetic weaknesses out of the line of inheritance. Put simply, healthier and genetically sound individuals have a much better opportunity for pursuing and achieving the "good life" and making a significant contribution to society's greater well being.12

Although this NSF/DOC report on "converging technologies" does cite a need to include the "ethics" involved in attaining their "goals", the question to ask is which "ethics" are they talking about - "bioethics", or what we used to refer to as "federal ethics" or the "Georgetown mantra"?13 If so, then the stage has already been set.

Room does not permit a full analysis of the almost 400-page NSF/DOC report on "converging technologies" here, but I strongly urge people to read it. Much of what we are seeing in these contentious human cloning and human embryonic stem cell debates feeds directly into that report's own published human genetic engineering agenda, including the "transformation of human nature", the redefinition of all scientific terms, and the use of non-experts as "experts" across the spectrum to facilitate "consensus" interaction as they go about engineering an interconnected "cosmic brain".14 Really!? That sounds eerily like what is known in ancient gnostic mythology and philosophy as the universal "Nous" or "Mind".15 Many of those ancient pantheistic materialist gnostic myths are currently quite popular, especially in movements such as "futurism" and "transhumanism":

"Transhumanism" as a political movement was the creation of futurist writers and technophiles in Southern California and Europe in the early 1990s. Most transhumanists embrace libertarian social and political values and reject explicitly racist eugenic philosophies. Some transhumanists distance themselves from "eugenics" by defining that practice as authoritarian and thus unacceptable. Others seek to recast the term in a positive light and to portray Nazi eugenics and genocide as perversions of an otherwise commendable practice. Transhumanists and traditional eugenicists share an obsession with the use of genetic and reproductive technologies to create superior forms of human beings.16

If people haven't cared about genetic and social engineering or transhumanism17 up to now, perhaps they need to consider doing so.18 This is where the real debate is.

In short, this Stearns Bill on human cloning contains numerous fundamentally erroneous scientific definitions and omissions which would thereby legally prohibit no human cloning - either "therapeutic" or "reproductive". Indeed, this Bill would even specifically protect most of the human cloning techniques currently used in articles already published in scientific journals -- as well as in other scientific journals intended for the "New Age Transhumanist Future". Are we are looking at human genetic engineering on a grand - cosmic - scale? With these thoughts and questions in place, let's turn now to a closer analysis of the proposed "total ban" on human cloning by Rep. Stearns.

For more extensive scientific references for both sexual and asexual human reproduction (including the scientific explanation of "twinning"), please see Irving, "Playing God by manipulating man: Facts and frauds of human cloning", at:, and at: For an extensive scientific bibliography from PubMed on human genetic engineering, see Irving, "Scientific References, Human Genetic Engineering (Including Cloning): Artificial Human Embryos, Oocytes, Sperms, Chromosomes and Genes" (May 25, 2004), at For dozens of other articles in these related issues, see Irving Library at

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