Environmentalists Stand with Conservatives on Cloning

July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Human cloning is not just a conservative issue anymore, with one of the nation's primary environmental activist groups joining conservatives Friday in calling on the U.S. Senate to ban cloning.

The alliance between Friends of the Earth and conservatives already working to ban cloning could prove to be valuable in persuading the Senate Democratic leadership, which oftentimes yields to pressures from the environmentalist lobby, to take up the issue.

Dr. Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth, told Senate staffers Friday that human embryonic cloning, such as the successful clone by Advanced Cell Technologies last weekend, goes against two cornerstone principles of environmentalists: respecting nature, and the precautionary principle, which can be described with the old adage, "look before you leap."

"The fundamental respect for creation and respect for nature means that you don't try to put yourself in God's position and reengineer all of nature, but that is the disrespect being shown in this case," Blackwelder said.

Environmental groups, he added, are educating its members on the importance of understanding and respecting nature as well as understanding "the interdependence between human beings and the rest of nature."

"What is going on with cloning is leading us dramatically back in the opposite direction, of a total separation from nature which would then be discarded and viewed as a disgustful artifact," Blackwelder said.

Trying to control nature has produced poor results in the past, he said, and the cloning of humans is sure to follow suit.

Blackwelder described what he calls "biological pollution." European birds that were imported to the United States, such as the pigeon or Starling, reproduced so fast that they drove native species away, he said.

"Biological pollution is different from chemical pollution, in that chemical pollution out there is disintegrating, where as biological is replicating," Blackwelder added.

"That is what will be going on when they start engineering the human race: you will have inheritable traits with designer babies, so you have the most flagrant violations of the precautionary principle, by arrogant scientists," he said.

"Also, the attempt to clone human beings and indeed to try to engineer all of life on earth [shows] they want to fundamentally reshape human beings and the rest of nature," Blackwelder said.

He warned that once cloning was allowed in any instance, it is sure to be abused, which could result in the changing of the human race forever.

"We are on the cutting edge of a major decision about the future of human civilization," Blackwelder said. Cloning places the human race "on the edge of the slippery slope that will eventually lead to a reengineering of all life."

"If society allows that, we can guarantee that it will be abused and will be a serious abuse of women, and fundamentally it will be a profound change in nature and in human beings from the way we see them today," he said.

Bill Saunders, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council who has closely followed the cloning issue, said the fact that environmentalists have joined their side is "invaluable."

"Washington is about coalition politics, and I honestly think that cloning is an issue that cuts across the usual lines," Saunders said. "I think it makes it hard to pigeonhole the opposition and to disregard it, because it is broader than that.

"Obviously, conservatives don't agree with everything environmentalists say, and environmentalists don't agree with everything conservatives say, but they are united in opposing cloning, and it makes the coalition strong," he said.

Saunders added that when usually opposing groups align with one another, people usually think about an issue more and forget about towing the party line.

"When you have coalitions that have groups together that aren't usual together, people have to stop and think about an issue, and they just can't react in a knee-jerk way," he said. "I expect more of the left-leaning groups to join as we go along."