Dr David van Gend has written an article for Quadrant Online on the science and ethics of human stem cell research.

Dr van Gend is a Toowoomba GP and university lecturer and the National Director of Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research. In Cloning: The Blighted Science he explains why embryonic stem cell research is not only unethical but also of no real scientific or medical use.

In 2006, the Australian Senate approved the manufacture of human embryos by cloning by a single vote.

The 2006 legislation, allowing the creation of [an] embryo solely for research and destruction, was such a momentous question of conscience. It established an inferior caste of human offspring, created not for the project of life but for experimentation and death.

Supporters of the legislation argued that the embryos are not "real" human lives, or at the very least, that they don't "matter" - that their destruction is acceptable in the pursuit of science. However, Dr van Gend argues that this is a question of worldview, rather than of science:

We can agree on the bare facts—that the embryo from day one is a living individual member of our species—but whether that individual life “matters” depends on the worldview one brings to the debate.

The 2007 discovery of "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPSCs) obtained from skin cells bypasses the need to clone and destroy embryos, thus doing away with any ethical issues. IPSCs contain "every property of stem cells obtained from embryos", have several technical advantages over embryonic stem cells, and avoid the significant risk of tumour formation.

In other words, cloning is bad science and ethically dubious.

Read Dr van Gend's article for the full story.