Visionary Science or Quackery?
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Missouri State University
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.
- 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.
KeywordsHuman cloning; remedial cloning; Clonaid; Raelians; extraterrestrials; Claude Vorilhon; human embryonic stem cells; bioethics
Topical AreasEthics, Scientific argumentation, Scientific method, Pseudoscience
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Discussion
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Biotechnology |
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