See item 3 for some of the eminent folk who'll be toasting Tony Blair this Xmas.

Down in the lab on Christmas morn
Unto us a test tube child is born
It has been immaculately conceived
It has to be seen to be believed

with apologies to Seize the Day

Our civilisation is coming to equate the value of life with the mere avoidance of death. An empty and impossible goal, a fool's quest for nothingness has been substituted for a delight in living that lies latent in all of us. When death is once again accepted as one of the many important parts of life, then life may recover its old thrill, and the efforts of good physicians will not be wasted. But I do not see how this can come to pass in a humanistic world... On the matter of cloning, another attempt to escape death, there is little that needs to be said. - David Ehrenfeld, The arrogance of humanism, New York, 1978

Declaration in Defense of Cloning and the Integrity of Scientific Research
The following declaration is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 17, Number 3.

...We see no inherent ethical dilemmas in cloning nonhuman higher animals. Nor is it clear to us that future developments in cloning human tissues or even cloning human beings will create moral predicaments beyond the capacity of human reason to resolve. The moral issues raised by cloning are neither larger nor more profound than the questions human beings have already faced in regards to such technologies as nuclear energy, recombinant DNA, and computer encryption. They are simply new.

Historically, the Luddite option, which seeks to turn back the clock and limit or prohibit the application of already existing technologies, has never proven realistic or productive. The potential benefits of cloning may be so immense that it would be a tragedy if ancient theological scruples should lead to a Luddite rejection of cloning. We call for continued, responsible development of cloning technologies, and for a broad-based commitment to ensuring that traditionalist and obscurantist views do not irrelevantly obstruct beneficial scientific developments.

The signers of the Declaration are Humanist Laureates of the International Academy of Humanism:

Pieter Admiraal, Medical Doctor, The Netherlands

Ruben Ardila, psychologist, National University of Colombia, Colombia

Sir Isaiah Berlin, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Oxford University, U.K.

Sir Hermann Bondi, Fellow of the Royal Society, Past Master, Churchill College,

Mario Bunge, Professor of Philosophy of Science, McGill University, Canada

Bernard Crick, Professor Emeritus of Politics, Birkbeck College, London

Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate in Physiology, Salk Institute, U.S.A.

Richard Dawkins, Professor of Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University

José Delgado, Director, Centro de Estudios Neurobiologicos, Spain

Paul Edwards, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, U.S.A.

Antony Flew, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Reading University, U.K.

Johan Galtung, Professor of Sociology, University of Oslo, Norway

Adolf Grünbaum, Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

Herbert Hauptman, Nobel Laureate, Professor of Biophysical Science, S.U.N.Y.

Alberto Hidalgo Tuñón, President, Sociedad Asturiana de Filosofía, Spain

Sergei Kapitza, Chair, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia

Paul Kurtz, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, S.U.N.Y.

Gerald A. Larue, Professor Emeritus of Archeology and Biblical Studies, U.C.L.A.

Thelma Z. Lavine, Professor of Philosophy, George Mason University, U.S.A.

Jose Leite Lopes, Director, Centro Brasiliero de Pesquisas Fisicas, Brazil

Taslima Nasrin, Author, Physician, Social Critic, Bangladesh

Indumati Parikh, Reformer and Activist, India

Jean-Claude Pecker, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics, Collège de France,

W. V. Quine, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Harvard University, U.S.A.

J. J. C. Smart, Professor of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, Australia

V. M. Tarkunde, Reformer and Activist, India

Richard Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Rochester, U.S.A.

Simone Veil, Former President, European Parliament, France

Kurt Vonnegut, Novelist, U.S.A.

Edward O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus of Sociobiology, Harvard University, U.S.A.

Our time is cursed with the necessity of feeble men, masquerading as experts, to make enormously far-reaching decisions. Is there anything more far reaching than the creation of new forms of life...

This world is given to us on loan. We come and we go; and after a time we leave earth and air and water to others who come after us. My generation, or perhaps the one preceding mine, has been the first to engage, under the leadership of the exact sciences, in a destructive colonial warfare against nature. The future will curse us for it. - Dr Erwin Chargaff, one of the fathers of nucleic acid and gene research