editorial -- January 8, 1998
Welcome, Clone
Dr. Richard Seed's plan to clone a human in the next 18 months has outraged just about everybody. I love it. The physicist's announcement provides a much needed boost toward public acceptance of new genetic technologies.

President Clinton responded to Seed's bold move by reiterating his politically expedient opposition to human cloning. Clinton proceeded to froth-up his lap-dog spokesman, Mike McCurry, who denounced Seed as unethical and irresponsible.1 Big whoop. Politicians are irrelevant to the advance of cloning technology. Although some states like California have passed laws banning human cloning, Seed said he will be willing to move his operations overseas to avoid the law.

Some scientists have joined Clinton in denouncing Seed's plan. They say he is being premature and insist that ethical standards be established before proceeding. This is exactly the wrong approach. Undoubtedly, the establishment of ethical standards by a pre-cloning civilization will look upon the procedure with horribly regressive vision. Seed's major accomplishment may not be the first human clone. Far more important are the cultural and ethical implications of his proposal. By taking such a hasty approach, he might succeed in propelling an old-fashioned value system into a progressive era of human genetic manipulation. The fuddy duddies will be forced to go along, even if they are kicking and screaming.

Other opponents to Seed's plans attack not cloning, his expertise, nor his haste, but his personality. Seed is known for making inflammatory statements at every opportunity. (Hey, I think I like this guy!) He doesn't mice words and doesn't consult advisory panels. He acts: sometimes successfully, sometimes, not. This latest effort, with hope, will be his greatest accomplishment of all.

Related Column:
Saving the Planet With Clones, June 17, 1997

1. Physicist Announces Plans for Clinic to Clone Humans, New York Times, January 8, 1997