Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Saturday, January 30, 1999 Published at 04:49 GMT


Nothing wrong with clones says Dawkins

Dolly the sheep: Started the ethical debate

Leading British scientist Richard Dawkins says he accepts the idea of human cloning and would not object to his own daughter being cloned.

In an interview for the BBC World Service, Dr Dawkins, an Oxford University biologist and award-winning science writer, said that the process was "really no different" to twinning.

He said: "If I have somebody that I love, and if there was some particularly good reason to have an identical twin. That's all it is, there's nothing new about it, identical twins are clones.

"Anybody who objects to cloning on principle has to answer to all the identical twins in the world who might be insulted by the thought that there is something offensive about their very existence.

"Clones are simply identical twins."

Dr Dawkins, best known for his book 'The Selfish Gene', said he would be "delighted" if he had a cherished labrador that was cloned.

"The only really deep reason people have for objecting to such a thing is that it just offends some deep-seated sense in people - what has been called the `yuk' reaction.

"It's irrational."

He also predicted that human cloning could potentially help some childless couples.

Touching on a familiar theme, Dr Dawkins said he believed religious explanations for the meaning of life and the universe were false.

"I'm a scientist primarily concerned with the truth, and in so far as religions teach doctrines about the origins of the universe, where life comes from, why life is the way it is, they are just plain wrong," he said.

The interview is broadcast by the World Service's Agenda programme at 0730 GMT on Sunday.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Sci/Tech Contents

Relevant Stories

27 Jan 99 | Sci/Tech
California considers human cloning

20 Jan 99 | Sci/Tech
Dolly scientist backs human cloning

16 Dec 98 | Sci/Tech
Human embryo cloned claim scientists

13 Nov 98 | Sci/Tech
Company 'cloned human cells'

07 Sep 98 | Sci/Tech
Scientist says he will clone himself

Internet Links

New Scientist: The Clone Zome

Roslin Institute

Wired: Richard Dawkins profile

Richard Dawkins biography (unofficial)

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

World's smallest transistor

Scientists join forces to study Arctic ozone

Mathematicians crack big puzzle

From Business
The growing threat of internet fraud

Who watches the pilots?

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer