In This Review

Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies About Human Cloning
Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies About Human Cloning
Edited by Martha C. Nussbaum and Cass R. Sunstein
W. W. Norton, 1998, 288 pp

Biotechnology is creeping closer to creepy powers -- powers that an earlier generation of statesmen glimpsed as early as 60 years ago and from which they recoiled in horror. Winston Churchill, in a prescient essay in the early 1930s speculated with undisguised fascination and disgust at what tyrants might do if they could breed men like cattle. Many (not all) of the authors of this interesting collection of essays take a more sanguine view, pooh-poohing the alarms of those who think humanity insufficiently wise for such awesome powers. Thus, for example, the brilliant biologist Richard Dawkins is, as ever, weirdly shrill in his denunciation of religious objections to cloning, declaiming against the clergy with an animus so violent that its origins must be genetic. In a note of inspired whimsy, the editors include a poem and several short stories at the end of the volume. A worthy exploration of a discomfiting topic.