Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cloning and the use of language

The Truth, the Partial Truth, and Nothing but Evasions - Christianity Today Magazine
It's fascinating to see just what has been happening with the cloning debate. First, the pro-cloning advocates tried to neutralize an unpopular, sci-fi sounding word by adding an antidote 'therapeutic.' Surely, they reckoned, 'therapeutic cloning' sounds OK. But the American public proved more resilient than they expected (and not as dumb); they decided that therapeutic cloning was still cloning. So the same people who had made up this deeply dishonest phrase went back to the drawing board. ....

The results were -- to be fair! -- ingenious. Two bold moves were taken. First, 'cloning' was redefined. No longer could it be allowed to mean what everyone once thought it meant: using the Dolly-the-sheep technology (technically called somatic cell nuclear transfer) to create an embryo. Using cloning to mean, well, cloning, would make it harder to argue the difference between cloning embryos to make babies and cloning embryos to destroy them for experiments. So cloning was redefined as 'the implantation of the cloned embryo.' Only implanted embryos are clones.

Remind anybody here of "terminate the pregnancy," or just, "perform a procedure" to "evacuate" the "uterine contents" or "product of conception"? If you can't outright say what it is you want to do, maybe you ought not to be doing it.

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