Misinformed editorials

Matt Kuhns

The Daily’s responses to the recent story of a successfully cloned sheep have been glaringly ill-informed.

The February 27th editorial “To Clone or not to Clone” exemplified the lack of understanding that the Daily’s writers have approached this topic with—the author could not even get the original story correct. The editorial stated, “Scientists took genes … and somehow placed the genes in unfertilized genes.” The genetic material was placed in unfertilized eggs, not genes.

Shuva Rahim’s well-written column, in which she dispelled the myth that clones would be exact duplicates of the person cloned, was the one exception. Unfortunately, the Daily’s other commentaries on the cloning story — the Feb. 27 editorial and Joanne Roepke’s column “When Cloning Goes Beyond the Cartoons” — were full of misconceptions and logical fallacies.

Joanne Roepke’s column suggested that ethical questions will provide no restraint whatsoever on cloning research. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

In actuality, the fears of an uninformed public about cloning have led scientists to greatly suppress cloning experiments.

Case in point: Several years ago, a team of researchers obtained some unviable eggs from a fertility clinic.

The eggs had already divided into two or more cells. The researchers split the individual cells apart, and then let them begin dividing again before the cells eventually died.

This experiment could have been performed years earlier, but no one wanted to face the knee-jerk reactions that resulted — even though the process was not even true cloning.

The Daily’s editorial response to the sheep-cloning story was also sadly small-minded. The Thursday editorial closed with the pronouncement that “Cloning is just unnatural. We just hope Mother Nature continues to find ways to foil humankind.”

The logic behind this argument is hopelessly flawed. What technologies aren’t “unnatural?” For example, Cesarean sections are unnatural; does the Daily oppose them as well?

Cloning research could unlock countless new processes to benefit humanity. Unfortunately, as long as people remain ignorant about what cloning is and is not, research will be held back out of fear of a public backlash.

Next time, I suggest that the Daily offer readers a little less philosophy, and a lot more well-researched information.

Matt Kuhns


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