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The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Cloning Breakthrough Interesting, But No Miracle

“There is hope in bringing Ted Williams back, after all,” cloning and stem cell expert John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania said in an e-mail. The family of Williams, the Boston Red Sox hitter, had his body frozen by cryogenics firm Alcor after he died in 2002.

Gearhart was only half-joking and said the study “may now stimulate the small industry of freezing parts of us before we die to bring us back in the future.”

Frozen mice cloned – are woolly mammoths next? | Reuters

While this is unquestionablye another breakthrough in biochemical science that will certainly have (presently unknown) applications, the above statement is nonsense.  No one can be “brought back” by cloning.  At most, one could produce a similar-looking person with identical genetics.  Individuals, however, are a product mostly of their environment and the way they are raised, and there is no way to control those all-important factors to reproduce a famous ballplayer — or a saint.  Nutritional differences alone would prevent it, among literally billions of other things.

Scientists who make remarks like this (even in jest) do a great disservice by further misinforming an already ignorant public who are afraid of processes they don’t begin to understand properly.  They also raise the hopes of people who need to be working through their grief, not prolonging it.

I wonder if this guy has money in one of those companies?  Hmmmmm?