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The Birthmark ()

    [H]e was confident in his science, and felt that he could draw a magic circle round her within which no evil might intrude.
        -The Birthmark

    Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
        -J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad-Gita, July 16, 1945, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Eyebrows were raised and feathers ruffled this week, when Leon R. Kass, appointed by George W. Bush to head the President's Council on Bioethics, asked the newly chosen members of the Council (including Stephen L. Carter, Francis Fukuyama and Mary Ann Glendon) to read Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, The Birthmark, prior to their first meeting.  Even the English majors among us were sent scurrying to find this less well known work, which thankfully is available on-line.  And what do you find when you track it down?  Well, it turns out to be a well turned American Frankenstein tale that obviously appeals to Mr. Kass for its portrayal of a "man of science" with more than his share of hubris.  Condescending sniping from libertarians and the Left has already begun.

The scientist, named Aylmer, is married to an almost perfectly beautiful woman, whose one slight imperfection is a birthmark on her cheek.  Despite her near flawlessness :

    [H]e found this one defect grow more and more intolerable with every moment of their united lives. It was the fatal flaw
    of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they
    are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain. The crimson hand expressed the ineludible
    gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould, degrading them into kindred with the lowest,
    and even with the very brutes, like whom their visible frames return to dust. In this manner, selecting it as the symbol
    of his wife's liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death, Aylmer's sombre imagination was not long in rendering the birthmark
    a frightful object...

Convinced that his mastery of science will surely allow him to remove this blemish and bring her to perfection, Aylmer convinces his wife to allow him to experiment on her, to improve upon nature :

    'Aylmer,' resumed Georgiana, solemnly, 'I know not what may be the cost to both of us to rid me of this fatal birthmark.
    Perhaps its removal may cause cureless deformity; or it may be the stain goes as deep as life itself. Again: do we know
    that there is a possibility, on any terms, of unclasping the firm gripe of this little hand which was laid upon me before
    I came into the world?'

    'Dearest Georgiana, I have spent much thought upon the subject,' hastily interrupted Aylmer. "I am convinced of the perfect
    practicability of its removal.'

    'If there be the remotest possibility of it,' continued Georgiana, 'let the attempt be made at whatever risk. Danger is nothing
    to me; for life, while this hateful mark makes me the object of your horror and disgust,--life is a burden which I would fling
    down with joy.  Either remove this dreadful hand, or take my wretched life! You have deep science. All the world bears witness
    of it. You have achieved great wonders. Cannot you remove this little, little mark, which I cover with the tips of two small fingers?
    Is this beyond your power, for the sake of your own peace, and to save your poor wife from madness?"

    'Noblest, dearest, tenderest wife,' cried Aylmer, rapturously, 'doubt not my power. I have already given this matter the
    deepest thought--thought which might almost have enlightened me to create a being less perfect than yourself. Georgiana,
    you have led me deeper than ever into the heart of science. I feel myself fully competent to render this dear cheek as faultless
    as its fellow; and then, most beloved, what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect
    in her fairest work! Even Pygmalion, when his sculptured woman assumed life, felt not greater ecstasy than mine will be.'

    'It is resolved, then,' said Georgiana, faintly smiling. 'And, Aylmer, spare me not, though you should find the birthmark
    take refuge in my heart at last.'

How perfectly Hawthorne, even 150 years ago, captures the deluded pride of the man of science, certain that this figurative mark of Cain (it is even shaped like a hand) will yield to the ministrations of reason and science and that he will be able to improve on God's work, will be able to make a perfect human.  That peremptory "doubt not my power" is particularly devastating.

As Aylmer whips up concoctions that even he doubts the ultimate wisdom of using, Georgiana can't help but be alarmed :

    He more than intimated that it was at his option to concoct a liquid that should prolong life for years, perhaps interminably;
    but that it would produce a discord in Nature which all the world, and chiefly the quaffer of the immortal nostrum, would
    find cause to curse.

    'Aylmer, are you in earnest?' asked Georgiana, looking at him with amazement and fear. 'It is terrible to possess such power,
    or even to dream of possessing it.'

Note that her warning is not simply about the power of such an elixir, but that the very ambition to possess it is "terrible."

But, of course, having opened Pandora's Box, Aylmer will not be deterred from his course of action, so he foists a goblet of some foul liquid upon her and, sure enough :

    The crimson hand, which at first had been strongly visible upon the marble paleness of Georgiana's cheek, now grew more
    faintly outlined. She remained not less pale than ever; but the birthmark with every breath that came and went, lost somewhat
    of its former distinctness. Its presence had been awful; its departure was more awful still. Watch the stain of the rainbow
    fading out the sky, and you will know how that mysterious symbol passed away.

    'By Heaven! it is well-nigh gone!' said Aylmer to himself, in almost irrepressible ecstasy. 'I can scarcely trace it now.  Success!
    success! And now it is like the faintest rose color. The lightest flush of blood across her cheek would overcome it. But she is so pale!'

Ah yes, except for that 'pale' part, well might he be ecstatic.  But as the reader will have guessed by now, all is not well :

    'My poor Aylmer,' she repeated, with a more than human tenderness, 'you have aimed loftily; you have done nobly. Do not repent
    that with so high and pure a feeling, you have rejected the best the earth could offer. Aylmer, dearest Aylmer, I am dying!'

The key here is the "more than human" and its suggestion that such perfection is not compatible with humanity.  So did one of the great American authors warn us, at the dawn of the industrial age, of the dangerous allure of science and, more specifically, of the belief that mankind is perfectible by Man's own hand and mind.

Mr. Kass's resort to this story is a none too subtle, and apparently not terribly welcome, reminder to all of us of the potentially disastrous consequences that await when our reach exceeds our grasp.  Just as Aylmer, so today's proponents of genetic engineering are so taken with the potential power they might wield and so convinced of the nobility of their cause that they ignore potential consequences and denigrate those who worry.  Advocates of cloning, DNA manipulation, and similar processes hold out the promise of "perfect" babies and promise to conquer all kinds of diseases, but will not acknowledge the human costs they will incur--in dead fetuses and short lived babies--before they ever reach such a point.  Likewise, they elude the question of who gets to decide what "imperfections" will be fixed in utero or programmed out of the species.  Several years ago there was a controversial play, Twilight of the Golds, by Jonathan Tolins, about parents who are able to determine by genetic analysis that their child will be born a homosexual and must confront the decision of whether to carry the child to term.  Where do we draw the lines once we start selecting "perfect" traits for our children?  Do we scrap the handicapped, the gays, the drunkards, the short, the fat, the dumb, the cross-eyed, the lazy, the bald, the hirsute, etc., etc., etc....?  Of course, our current regime of abortion on demand suggests that it is proper to terminate a pregnancy at any time, for any reason, so there would likely be no limits.

We can already see the demographic problems that this complete lack of moral and ethical standards is creating where "mere" abortion is concerned. Several industrialized nations no longer reproduce at replacement rate.  This means that they will have ever fewer people of working age to support a disproportionately large population of retired folk.  The social disorder that this could provoke is unimaginable.  Similarly when we look at the reversal in gender ratios in a number of nations, we can only cringe in horror at how the abominable situation has occurred and fret at the future havoc it may wreak.  For whatever reason (perhaps the greater likelihood that boys will die during typical childhood activities?) , there tends to be a very slight bias towards males in the sex-ratio of human births (with more girls surviving to maturity and females living longer), yet in countries around the world (especially but not exclusively in China), there are now many more males born than females.  This can only be the result of parents killing off female fetuses in favor of male.  What will increasingly male dominated societies be like?  How will men behave towards one another as they compete for a decreasing pool of mates?  None of the women's groups, libertarians, and leftists who chatter about "a woman's right to control her own body" will so much as acknowledge this unintended consequence of their reproductive politics, never mind face the long-term problems they are helping to create. (Check out how deeply the Washington Post buries the ratio in this story on China)

And, of course, the dirty little secret of the cloning debate is that implicit in the support for human cloning is the promise that we'll one day have perfectly compatible spare parts around, in the form of clones of ourselves.  Cloning supporters tend to couch their arguments in more comforting language about alleviating the anguish of infertile couples and wiping out diseases--so called therapeutic uses--which they claim would only utilize the very earliest stage cells of the developing fetus.  But by their very opposition to limitations on research and procedures they pretty much guarantee that these kind of possibly useful and less morally objectionable steps will only be the tip of the iceberg.  This much we know about science, human curiosity, and the soul deadening effect of transgressing moral boundaries even in a limited way, in the absence of strict limits, someone will push theory to its logical conclusion and then test it and, if it works, it will be utilized.  When you build the atom bomb, you drop it on someone; and then everyone wants one.  You may start out only allowing first-trimester abortions in presumably limited scenarios, but before long abortion is just another means of birth control and you've got 30-40 million dead.  You never get the genie back in the bottle.

Here's the relevant section of the Executive Order that created the Council on Bioethics, explaining what it is they've been asked to do :

                Sec. 2.  Mission.

                         (a)  The Council shall advise the President on bioethical issues that may emerge as a
                         consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology.  In connection with
                         its advisory role, the mission of the Council includes the following functions:

                         (1)     to undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of
                         developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology;

                         (2)     to explore specific ethical and policy questions related to these developments;

                         (3)     to provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical issues;

                         (4)     to facilitate a greater understanding of bioethical issues; and

                         (5)     to explore possibilities for useful international collaboration on bioethical issues.

                         (b)  In support of its mission, the Council may study ethical issues connected with
                         specific technological activities, such as embryo and stem cell research, assisted
                         reproduction, cloning, uses of knowledge and techniques derived from human
                         genetics or the neurosciences, and end of life issues.  The Council may also study
                         broader ethical and social issues not tied to a specific technology, such as questions
                         regarding the protection of human subjects in research, the appropriate uses of
                         biomedical technologies, the moral implications of biomedical technologies, and the
                         consequences of limiting scientific research.

                         (c)  The Council shall strive to develop a deep and comprehensive understanding of
                         the issues that it considers.  In pursuit of this goal, the Council shall be guided by the
                         need to articulate fully the complex and often competing moral positions on any given
                         issue, rather than by an overriding concern to find consensus.  The Council may
                         therefore choose to proceed by offering a variety of views on a particular issue,
                         rather than attempt to reach a single consensus position.

                         (d)  The Council shall not be responsible for the review and approval of specific
                         projects or for devising and overseeing regulations for specific government agencies.

                         (e)  In support of its mission, the Council may accept suggestions of issues for
                         consideration from the heads of other Government agencies and other sources, as it
                         deems appropriate.

                         (f)  In establishing priorities for its activities, the Council shall consider the urgency
                         and gravity of the particular issue; the need for policy guidance and public education
                         on the particular issue; the connection of the bioethical issue to the goal of Federal
                         advancement of science and technology; and the existence of another entity available
                         to deliberate appropriately on the bioethical issue.

The hysteria that has greeted the creation of the council and the appointment thereto of Leon Kass and others who are skeptical about the morality of cloning, might lead one to believe that a Grand Inquisition has been set up that will stop all research dead in its tracks and send scientists to prison.  Yet, to the best of my knowledge there is no provision of the Constitution or of Federal law that would allow the council or the President to impose such a ban on research, nor to do aught to those who conduct experiments.  The very limited step that the President took last November was to limit the group of stem-cell lines that those receiving federal money could conduct experiments on.  If he, or the Council, wish to go further and actually ban certain kinds of private research, they'll require Congressional approval and maybe even a Constitutional Amendment.  But what conceivable harm could there be in, for once, hashing out the ethical/moral/legal implications of an issue before we let science barge willy nilly into a future that we might not, on further reflection, find all that inviting?  And what better means, than dipping into the Western canon, to remind people of the eternal tension between our constant desire to push the edge of the technological envelope and to gain new knowledge, on the one hand, and, on the other, our primordial understanding that there are certain things that we, as mere mortals, are just not morally equipped to deal with responsibly?

Man after all has been imperfect for eons now, and we're unlikely, no matter how optimistic the clonophiles are, to achieve perfection any time soon.  So what if we wile away a few more flaw-filled years while we slow the pace of science and consider the danger to our souls.  Must we, like Aylmer, reject "the best the earth could offer", while we chase after a utopian vision of infinitely plastic Man?  Are our blemishes, our oh-so-human morbidities, really so repellent to us that we are willing to court disaster just for the remote possibility of expunging them?  Perhaps so.  But mightn't we discuss it first?  Why the rush to judgment; or lack of judgment?

<Glenn Reynolds (aka : Instapundit) replies :

Posted 1/20/2002 09:05:02 AM by Glenn Reynolds
 ORRIN JUDD takes exception of my views, expressed below, about Leon Kass's use of Nathaniel Hawthorne. But
 I think that Judd actually shares Kass's concerns, which are that the science will work, not -- as in Hawthorne --
 that it will fail.

 Perhaps Kass, and Judd, should read Greg Egan's Diaspora, instead. They may not like that world (in fact, I
 suspect that they won't) but at least it won't be apples and oranges.

To which, Orrin replies :

Perhaps I was overly elliptical, but I don't think it matters whether
such procedures will work.  The moral question is simply : should we
engage in such science without first giving careful thought to the
issues it raises.  Suppose that we knew for certain that we would be
able to clone human beings and that we would eventually become so
proficient at the technique that clones would live "normal" lives with
comparable health and life spans to the rest of us.  But we also knew
that before we got to that point, thousands, hundreds of thousands,
maybe even millions of clones would die prematurely?  How many dead
clones is it worth to us to get to where we can make live ones?

Then once we've got the live ones, can we use them as organ farms?
Can I keep a storage facility filled with clones of myself so that I
have that spare liver waiting?

Or, like in the movie Multiplicity, could I send a clone to work for
me, while I laze around the house?  If war starts, can I send a clone
when I'm drafted?  If I'm sentenced to prison, can I send a clone?

Suppose, as seems inevitable given our monumental narcissism, that
many of us decide to clone ourselves rather than using traditional
sexual reproduction (with its frightening randomness)?  What might be
the evolutionary effects on a species that basically stops producing

Is it seriously the position of libertarians that these are all
decisions that should be left totally in the hands of each

Mr. Reynolds rebuts :

Well, the Hawthorne stories are all cautionary tales, a la Wile E. Coyote, of technology that doesn't deliver
on its promises.  I think it's disingenuous of Kass to be employing them, since he'd actually be thrilled if cloning
didn't deliver on its promises.   That's my point. (Maybe I wasn't clear enough).

I think that cloning of individuals is a canard:  it'll happen, regardless, but all you'll get is identical twins,
and keeping them in cold storage isn't permitted.  Kass thinks we live too long and are too healthy already,
and his real beef is with advancing medical science across the board, regardless of whether it involves
whole-person cloning or mere regeneration:  he's against growing new hearts in petri dishes. I'm not.

Orrin counters :

Um, Mr. Reynolds, cloning of humans can't be both a canard and
something that will "happen, regardless".  If it is going to happen,
do you, as a lawyer, never mind as a libertarian, have no interest in
society establishing some guidelines about how those creatures should
be treated?  And since you believe that cloning is not subject to any
Constitutional restraints, are you content to let the fifty states
each come up with their own laws governing those clones?

Also, I believe we must have different interpretations of The
Birthmark, I understood Aylmer to have succeeded.  He did make his
wife perfect, but in the process he destroyed her.  I think Mr. Kass
and I are fearful that something similar will happen once we turn
science loose on the human genome.  We'll be "perfect" but we will
have sacrificed our humanity in the process.


Bringing this riposte from Mr. Reynolds :

Well, the notions of big armies of clones, a la George Lucas, and masses of
clones used for spare parts is the canard.  The utility of whole-person cloning
is low.  Its impact on popular consciousness is high.  That's why the
discussion focuses on that, instead of, say, new livers.

And Orrin concludes (thus far) :

Ah, but you never know which organ, or organs, you'll need or how
dire the need will be.  Would you expect a system to arise where
you've got a freezer full of spare selves ready to donate a part at a
moments notice, or one where we wait patiently while the organ grows
in a petri dish?

And, you're well aware of the propensity for simple and beneficial
ideas to turn into nightmarish government programs, what happens when
the rich elderly have spare parts and the poorer elderly don't?
Can't you just hear Chelsea Clinton's campaign slogan, in 2044 or
whenever :

"A Segway (v. 22.0) in every garage and a clone in every freezer!"



Grade: (A)


See also:

Nathaniel Hawthorne (2 books reviewed)
Short Stories
Nathaniel Hawthorne Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Nathaniel Hawthorne
-ESSAY: The Moral Conservatism of Nathaniel Hawthorne (Russell Kirk, december 1952, Contemporary Review)
    -ESSAY: Was Nathaniel Hawthorne a Conservative? (Lee Trepanier, May 18th, 2023, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: Hawthorne's Necrotic Tissue (S. Dorman, 6/20/24, Mere Orthodoxy)     -Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) (kirjasto)
    -Encyclopædia Britannica : Hawthorne, Nathaniel
    -Hawthorne in Salem
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne Society
    -The House of the 7 Gables (Salem, MA)
    -ESSAY : Y«Chiefly About War Matters (Nathaniel Hawthorne, JULY Y«1862, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ETEXT : The Birthmark
    -ETEXT : The Birthmark
-POEM: Poem of the Day: ‘Oh could I raise the darken’d veil’: Without Nathaniel Hawthorne, how can we understand the return of a bastard puritanism in the Woke movement, or grasp the psychological self-esteem that comes from an ostensible moral self-hatred? (EDITED BY JOSEPH BOTTUM, February 13, 2023, NY Sun)
    -ETEXTS : Hawthorne, Nathaniel. (
    -ETEXTS : Nathaniel Hawthorne (Self Knowledge)
    -The Classic Text : Nathaniel Hawthorne
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne (
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) (American Literature on the Web)
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne : A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) (D. Campbell, Gonzaga)
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne (IPL Online Literary Criticism Collection)
    -The SAC LitWeb Nathaniel Hawthorne Page
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)(Perspectives in American Literature: A Research and Reference Guide, An Ongoing Online Project © Paul P. Reuben)
    -About Nathaniel Hawthorne (Under The Sun)
    -American Writers: Nathaniel Hawthorne (C-SPAN)
    -LitGothic | Nathaniel Hawthorne page
    -ESSAY: Religious Discovery in Hawthorne’s “The Marble Faun” (Michael De Sapio, March 24th, 2022, Imaginative Conservative)
    -ESSAY: Innocence Lost: Reading Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Paul Krause, March 2nd, 2021, Imaginative Conservative)
    -PODCAST: How Nathaniel Hawthorne Distinguished Between ‘Novels’ and ‘Romances’ (History of Literature, January 11, 2021)
    -ESSAY : Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne (
    -ESSAY: Half a Puritan: Hawthorne understood total depravity but missed the gospel (Gene Edward Veith, World)
    -Major Molineaux Site : This is a site exploring the short story My Kinsman Major Molineaux, first published in 1832 by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    -Young Goodman Brown : This is a site exploring the short story Young Goodman Brown, first published in 1835 by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
    -ClassicNotes: About Nathaniel Hawthorne
    -Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864): Teacher's Resource File
    -ESSAY : Anti-Science-Fiction : Why did Bush's bioethics czar order his colleagues to read Nathaniel Hawthorne? (Nick Gillespie, January 18, 2002, Slate)
    -ESSAY : Birthmarks and Bioethics : Why is the head of the President's Council on Bioethics forcing its members to read Nathaniel Hawthorne? (Nick Gillespie, January 18, 2002, Reason)
    -ESSAY : The Crimson Birthmark (William Safire, 1/21/02, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : Cure or quest for perfection? (Ellen Goodman, 1/24/2002, Boston Globe)
    -ANNOTATED REVIEW : of The Birthmark (Janice L. Willms, Medical Humanities)
    -REVIEW : of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Julian Hawthorne, 1886, Atlantic Monthly)
    -REVIEW: of The Marble Faun, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (James Russell Lowell, April 1860, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY: When Franklin Pierce Saved Nathaniel Hawthorne from Financial Ruin: Gary Ginsberg on the Longtime Friendship Between the Novelist and the Future President (Gary Ginsberg, July 8, 2021, LitHub)

Book-related and General Links:

    -SPEECH : Remarks by the President on Stem Cell Research (The Bush Ranch Crawford, Texas, 8/09/01)
    -SPEECH : The Bush Decision on Stem-Cell Research (George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas, August 9, 2001)
    -EXECUTIVE ORDER :   Creation of the President's Council on Bioethics (White House, November 28, 2001)
    -President's Council on Bioethics
    -President Names Members of Bioethics Council (January 16, 2002)
    -ESSAY : Bush Unveils Bioethics Council Human Cloning, Tests on Cloned Embryos Will Top Agenda of Panel's 1st Meeting (Rick Weiss, Washington Post, January 17, 2002)
    -ESSAY : Opinion Journalism at the Post : The Washington Post confuses an editorial with a news story, and takes a shot at the
president's new Bioethics Council. (J. Bottum, 01/18/2002, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY : Kass Commission Names Emerge (Nick Schulz, 1/15/02, techCentralStation)
    -ESSAY : Tallying the New Bioethics Council : Has Leon Kass stacked  the deck? (Ronald Bailey, January 23, 2002, Reason)
    -SYMPOSIUM : Did Bush Do the Right Thing? (Kathryn Jean Lopez, August 10, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : The Incoherent Embryophile (Michael Kinsley, 11/30/01, Washington Post)
    -Center for the Study of Technology and Society
    -THE ISSUES : Stem Cell Research (Washington Post)
    -Coverage of the Cloning Debate (NY Times)
    -Bioresearch Symposium (Reason, November 2001)
    -Commentary on Stem Cell Research (a bioblog from a Harvard post Doc)
    -ARTICLE : The First Human Cloned Embryo (11/25/01, Scientific American)

    -Leon Richard Kass : Curriculum Vitae (Born: Chicago, Illinois, February 12, 1939)
    -Committee on Social Thought (University of Chicago)
    -STATEMENT : The Inhuman Use of Human Beings : A Statement on Embryo Research by the Ramsey Colloquium (First Things, January 1995)
    -ESSAY : The Wisdom of Repugnance (Leon R. Kass)
    -ESSAY : The wisdom of repugnance. (Leon R. Kass)
    -ESSAY : L’Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality? (Leon R. Kass, First Things, May 2001)
    -ESSAY : Ban Stand : CLONING'S BIG TEST (Leon R. Kass and Daniel Callahan, 08.06.01, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : Preventing a Brave New World : WHY WE SHOULD BAN HUMAN CLONING NOW (Leon R. Kass, 05.17.01, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : The End of Courtship (Leon R. Kass, The Public Interest)
    -ESSAY : Dehumanization Triumphant (Leon R. Kass, First Things, August/September 1996)
    -ESSAY : Farmers, Founders, and Fratricide: The Story of Cain and Abel (Leon R. Kass, First Things, April 1996)
    -ESSAY : What's Your Name? (Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass, First Things, November 1995)
    -ESSAY : Proposing Courtship (Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass, First Things, October 1999)
    -ESSAY : Educating Father Abraham: The Meaning of Wife (Leon R. Kass, First Things, November 1994)
    -SYMPOSIUM : The Sanctity of Life Seduced: A Symposium on Medical Ethics (First Things, April 1994)
    -REVIEW : of Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932) (Leon R. Kass, First Things)
    -REVIEW : of BRAVE NEW WORLDS Staying Human in the Genetic Future. By Bryan Appleyard (Leon R. Kass , NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : The Ethics of Human Cloning By Leon R. Kass and James Q. Wilson (AEI)
    -BOOK SUMMARY : The Ethics of Human Cloning By Leon R. Kass and James Q. Wilson (AEI)
    -REVIEW: Liberty, Equality, Dignity: a review of Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics by Leon R. Kass (Andrew Ferguson, November 4, 2002, Weekly Standard)
    -REVIEW : of The Ethics of Cloning (DAVID PAPINEAU, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying. Edited by Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass (Alan Jacobs, First Things)
    -REVIEW : of The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of our Nature. By Leon R. Kass (Molly Finn, First Things)
    -DISCUSSION : Human Cloning Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology say they have cloned human embryos for the purpose of stem cell research. After a Susan Dentzer background report, Gwen Ifill examines the human cloning debate with Ronald Green, head of an
ethics advisory board for ACT; and Leon Kass, bioethicist at the University of Chicago and chair of the President's Council on Bioethics. (Online Newshour, November 26, 2001, PBS)
    -ESSAY : A Moral Appetite : In a new book on eating, Leon Kass says that we are not only what we eat, but also how, why, and with whom. (University of Chicago Magazine)
    -PROFILE : Leon Kass: A national treasure (George Weigel, Ethics and Public Policy Center)
    -PROFILE : of Leon Kass : Irrationalist in Chief (Chris Mooney, Sep/Oct 2001, American Prospect)
    -PROFILE : Leon Kass: The ethics cop (Michele Orecklin, 8/20/01, CNN/TIME)
    -PROFILE : Who Is Leon Kass? Y«(Stuart Shepard, Family News in Focus)
    -ESSAY : The Crimson Birthmark (William Safire, 1/21/02, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : Cure or quest for perfection? (Ellen Goodman, 1/24/2002, Boston Globe)
    -ESSAY : Anti-Science-Fiction : Why did Bush's bioethics czar order his colleagues to read Nathaniel Hawthorne? (Nick Gillespie, January
18, 2002, Slate)
    -ESSAY : Birthmarks and Bioethics : Why is the head of the President's Council on Bioethics forcing its members to read Nathaniel Hawthorne? (Nick Gillespie, January 18, 2002, Reason)
    -ESSAY : The newest issue of the Public Interest offers deep insights into some of the minds on the Kass commission. (David Skinner, 01/24/2002 , Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY : Two Kinds of Spin, Partisan and Literary  (Chris Mooney, 1.22.02, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY : Back to nature : The bioethics czar's new right-hand man is passionately opposed to abortion, public schools, federal taxes and
Democrats (Arthur Allen, Nov. 30, 2001, Salon)
    -ESSAY : The Kass Council: Some Advice (Glenn Reynolds, 01/23/2002, Tech Central Station)
    -ARTICLE : EU moving towards an ageing population (Sharon Spiteri, EU Observer, 17.01.2002)
    -ESSAY : Some for Abortion Rights Lean Right in Cloning Fight (SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, January 24, 2002, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : Twin Room : Cloning does not mean creating disposable people  and harvesting their organs. (Jacob Sullum, January 18, 2002, Reason)
    -ESSAY : Ban all cloning techniques Y«(Kenneth L. Connor, 01/22/2002,  USA Today)
    -DEBATE : Y« Are stem cells babies?  (REASON Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey debates Patrick Lee &  Robert P. George on National Review Online, August 20, 2001)
    -ARTICLE : Academy Supports Cloning to Treat Disease (SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, 1/19/02, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : Yes, Don't Impede Medical Progress (Virginia Postrel, The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2001)
    -ESSAY : Should We Stop Science From Cloning Around? (Andrew Ferguson, 11/27/01, Bloomberg)
    -ESSAY : Only Human (Andrew Sullivan, July 2001, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : Reason, Science, & Stem Cells : Why killing embryonic human beings is wrong (Patrick Lee & Robert P. George, July 20, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : A Desire to Duplicate : A grieving family hopes to replace a lost child. A genetics-obsessed sect dreams of achieving immortality.
Is this how human cloning will begin? (MARGARET TALBOT, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY : The New York Times Magazine: Cloned! (Chris Mooney, 2.6.01, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY : The Benefits of Stem Cell Research - And The Costs (Steve Chapman, July 15, 2001, Townhall)
    -ESSAY : A Clone in Sheep's Clothing : A sheep cloned from adult cells opens vast scientific possibilities and ethical dilemmas (Tim Beardsley, 03/03/97, Scientific American)
    -ESSAY : Fetal Positions : In the debate over cloning, it's still pro-choice vs. pro-life. It shouldn't be. (William Saletan, Mother Jones)
    -ESSAY : Clones, Courts, and Contradictions (Linda Chavez, 1/14/98, Jewish World Review)
    -ESSAY : Timid Old World Y«: Angry villagers in academia and on Capitol Hill are crusading for a ban on human cloning (Robert
Tracinski, July 27, 2001, CAPITALISMMAGAZINE.COM)
    -ESSAY : Cloning Reality : Brave New World here we come (Wesley J. Smith, 1/31/01, National Review)
    -ESSAY : The Mad Scientist Bogeyman (Richard Cohen, August 7, 2001, Washington Post)
    -RESPONSE : The Bogeyman Cometh : Girding for battle (Kevin Cherry, August 8, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : Cloning’s D-Day : The House takes up a life-and-death vote. (Kathryn Jean Lopez, July 31, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : Cloning and the New Jacobins (JAMES C. BENNETT , August 18, 2001, MedServ)
    -ESSAY : Stem cell research: "On the one hand, on the other hand" (Lindsay Sobel, 8.15.01, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY : Clones of Contention (Jacob Sullum, August 7, 2001, Reason)
    -ESSAY : Killing Cloning : At the top of the orders of business as the Senate reconvenes from Thanksgiving recess should be a ban on all
human cloning. (Kathryn Jean Lopez, November 26, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : Heredity and Humanity : HAVE NO FEAR. GENES AREN'T EVERYTHING (Francis S. Collins, Lowell Weiss, and Kathy Hudson, 06.20.01, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : Should Cloning Be Legal? : It's not a federal question. (Dave Kopel & Glenn Reynolds, April 16, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : The Basics About Stem Cells (Maureen L. Condic, First Things, January 2002)
    -ESSAY : Between Beasts and God (Gilbert Meilaender, First Things, January 2002)
    -LECTURE : Begetting and Cloning (Gilbert Meilaender, presented to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission on March 13, 1997.)
    -ESSAY : Affirming Ourselves to Death (Gilbert Meilaender, First Things, June/July 1998)
    -ESSAY : Second Thoughts About Body Parts (Gilbert Meilaender, First Things, April 1996)
    -ESSAY : Patenting Life, No (Richard D. Land & C. Ben Mitchell, First Things, May 1996)
    -ESSAY : A Low-Level Form of Civil War (Ronald Bailey, September 8, 2000, Reason)
    -ESSAY : Genes Out of the Bottle (The Editors, 11.28.00, New Republic)
    -ESSAY : Petri Dish Politics : Biotechnology will make it possible for us to live longer and better. So why are some people dead set
against it? (Ronald Bailey, December 1999, Reason)
    -ESSAY : Intimations of Immortality (Ronald Bailey, March 6, 1999, Reason)
    -Making Babies (Frontline, PBS)
    -REVIEW : of Human Cloning: Religious Responses. Edited by Ronald Cole-Turner (Gilbert Meilaender, First Things)
    -REVIEW : of Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning? By Gregory Pence (Jorge Garcia, First Things)
    -REVIEW : of Who Are We? Critical Reflections and Hopeful Possibilities. By Jean Bethke Elshtain (John T. Noonan Jr., NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness? Edited by Michael Ruse and Aryne Sheppard (Michael Scott Moore, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of DARK REMEDY : The impact of thalidomide and its revival as a vital medicine By Trent Stephens and Rock Brynner (John Carmody, Sydney Morning Herald)

    -ESSAY :   The End of Pregnancy : Within a Generation There Will Probably Be Mass Use of Artificial Wombs to Grow Babies (Jeremy Rifkin, January 17, 2002 in the Guardian of London)

    -ARCHIVES : Charles Krauthammer (
    -ARCHIVES : Charles Krauthammer (Jewish World Review)
    -ESSAY : Cloning and stem-cell research (Charles Krauthammer, July 30, 2001)
    -ESSAY : Use the surgeon general post to help nation debate biotechnology issues (Charles Krauthammer, Jewish World Review April 30, 2001)
    -ESSAY : Of Headless Mice...And Men : The ultimate cloning horror: human organ farms (Charles Krauthammer, JANUARY 19, 1998, TIME)