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Human cloning

The recent revelation of the birth of the first cloned baby is somewhat worrying. Of course, conclusive DNA evidence has not yet been established, so this could indeed be one of the most obvious(?) hoaxes of the last few years.

Despite the scientific intrigue of the notion of human cloning, there is a huge objection to the whole idea. The religious arguments are clear, but other founded on different concerns are valid also; most seem to stem from the unknown. Fundamentally, there is no real data on the the effects on a single cloned person (degenerative diseases, increased risk of illness, not to mention social reception), or on the longer term effects on society (both at the biological level and the potential pick-and-choose mindset).

I have to suspect that similar arguments were raised in the 1960s regarding space exploration. Of course, things were different then - it was a question of superpower pride; philosophical conerns were nothing compared to beating the other side. Aside from several unfortunate accidents, has the space program adversely affected the human race? Probably not.

I can't help but think of the word 'prohibition'. Surely it's better to conduct this research in a carefully regulated environment (which may be less strict than now), rather than forcing it underground.