calls for clone ban
United Nations has called on countries to ban all forms
of human cloning "incompatible with human dignity."
The American religious right claims victory, b}t others
say the declaration is the result of political manoeuvring
influenced by pressure from the United States.
politicization of science policy in the United States
has become a contentious issue in the past several years,
with groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists criticizing
the Bush administration for favoring political interests
over scientific results. Now, that trend seems to be making
including Singapore, South Korea, Belgium and the United
Kingdom blasted the declaration by the divided U.N. committee,
calling it political posturing.
of the annual meeting of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science devoted nine hours of seminars
plus a press conference to what they say is increasing
influence of political interests on sciencm policy. Politics
in America, they say, have inappropriately influenced
not only stem cell research and cloning science, but also
reports on climate change, endangered species policies,
fisheries energy and many others.
the scientific communities in other countries we are ridiculed,"
said Kurt Gottfried, chairman of the Union of Concerned
Scientists, in an interview. "It has certainly lowered
our prestige across the world."
delegates to the United Nations supported a treaty to
ban all cloning starting in 2002. After nearly two years
of negotiations, the U.N. shelved attempts to agree on
a treaty and instead delegates opposed to cloning pushed
for a non-binding declaration as a compromise.
United States is becoming notorious in the eyes of other
countries, Gottfried said, as a nation that has allowed
ideology to become a premise for science. That perception
is sure to have harmful repercussions on the American
science community, he said. Scientists are already leaving
|he country and graduate students are less uninterested
in studying in the United States, he said. When government
agencies allow special interests to overshadow science
in policy making, the credibility and influence of the
agencies themselves are undermined, Gottfried said during
real danger is that these agencies could be harmed in
the long run," he said. "This is an oversight
issue and Congress should really be handling it."