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August 27, 2014

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Columnist Susan Snyder: Clone heads bring Vegas a message

It's hard to know where to begin with this one.

The leader of the International Raelian Movement is once again coming to Las Vegas to hawk the belief that all life on Earth was created through cloning by a space alien race called the Elohim.

His Holiness Rael, formerly Claude Vorilhon, also will bring along a researcher who will claim that a company called Clonaid has discovered the key to eternal life.

Of course, these two claims, in and of themselves, are enough to put Las Vegas on yet another list, probably near the top. But another tidbit tucked away in the press release announcing Rael's March 26 briefing at Bellagio is sure to catch some attention:

"The Bible is in fact an atheist book describing the scientific creation of life on Earth," the release says.

(Is the convention industry in a slump, or is someone at Bellagio looking for a new job?)

Rael's followers -- called Raelians, which rhymes suspiciously with aliens -- believe these Elohim people created life here using DNA and cloned humans in their images. Because of this, the Elohim were "mistaken for God," the group's printed information says.

Among other claims to be made at the 11 a.m. news conference next week is that six babies have been created through cloning by Clonaid.

None of the babies is to be there. But then, how would one tell the difference between a real baby and clone? Why, they could fool us with that.

The group also will announce it is moving ever-closer to mastering "memory transfer technology." This supposedly allows a person's memories and knowledge to be transferred to the brain of his clone.

(Great. We'll both stink at math.)

But forget for a moment that you are currently on the verge of re-reading Get Fuzzy and think about it: Do we really want to go here?

At what point in your life do you have your clone self created? If raised from infancy, at what point does this technology introduce certain information to this cloned tot?

How many times do any of us need to do seventh grade?

A couple of sheep out there proved we have the technology to clone life. And the probability of cloning humans was the topic of the new CBS television drama "Century City" this week.

The dorky, destined-to-die show revolves around a law firm in the year 2030. It's sort of "Law and Order" meets "Star Trek." The episode featured a man whose son actually was his clone. The man wanted to create a second clone so it could donate part of its liver to save the terminally ill son-clone.

Stupid.

Except people have conceived children in hopes of producing a baby who can donate an organ to an older, terminally ill sibling. Would cloned people want to be organ farms? Would they have a choice of keeping their livers to themselves?

Imagine the debates in Congress. And how many of those people do we want cloned? (Two words: Strom Thurmond.)

It's all ridiculous, which is why it's in Las Vegas. The curious can learn more at a free public lecture the Raelians are hosting at 7 p.m., March 30 in UNLV's student union.

Does Princeton ever host these kinds of things?

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