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The Raelians

Visionary Science or Quackery?


Author(s)

Scott D. Zimmerman
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Missouri State University
scottzimmerman@missouristate.edu

Abstract

The topics of human cloning and pseudoscience are introduced in this case through the story of Claude Vorilhon, a French auto racing journalist who makes some unusual claims regarding the influence of extraterrestrials on human history and purpose. The case describes Vorilhon’s establishment of a company, Clonaid, whose goal is to produce the first human clone. Students read about the company’s claims of success and consider the evidence as well as the ethics involved. The case is most appropriate for use in an introductory biology course or in a course on biotechnology issues or bioethics.


Objectives

  • Critically analyze sensational “scientific claims."
  • Discuss the scientific method and what we mean by evidence.
  • Learn about the technology behind cloning.
  • Discuss the challenges of human cloning.
  • Learn about the ethical debate surrounding human cloning.
  • Discuss the influence of opinion on the scientific process.

Keywords

Human cloning; remedial cloning; Clonaid; Raelians; extraterrestrials; Claude Vorilhon; human embryonic stem cells; bioethics

Topical Areas

Ethics, Scientific argumentation, Scientific method, Pseudoscience

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Dilemma/Decision, Discussion

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Biotechnology  |  


Date Posted

04/05/04

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