Rael Explains Cult's Philosophy

Fox News/December 27, 2002

The founder of the religious sect connected to the company claiming to have produced the first human clone said Friday on Fox News Channel's Your World that he pictures a future full of cloned children.

"I see in the future thousands of children being born through cloning, perfectly healthy," said the man who calls himself "Rael," the former French journalist Claude Vorilhon and founder of the Raelian Movement.

The purpose of human cloning, he said, is to make it possible to live forever.

"We can envision getting ourselves eternal life - that is the goal," said Rael. "When you die, you clone yourself and you can live eternally."

On Friday, chemist and Raelian Brigitte Boisselier, announced that the first cloned baby "Eve" had been born healthily to her genetically identical mother. But Boisselier, who has named Rael as her spiritual leader and inspiration, offered no photographs or DNA evidence, saying she'd produce proof in the next few weeks when tests had been completed.

Rael, for his part, has said he met little green space extraterrestrials on a visit to a French volcano in the 1970s and that the creatures told him they formed life on earth through genetic engineering.

"We were created by people who came from outer space. They looked like human beings," he said of the extraterrestrials he claims to have encountered. "We are the fruit of (their) experimentation. They created us in their image, just like the Bible says."

Cloning humans is at the heart of the Raelian theology of "scientific creation," which they describe as an alternative to both Darwinian evolution and creation dogma of the major religions.

The group claims 55,000 devotees worldwide and operates its own theme park, UFOland, near Montreal.

During the 1990s, Quebec granted religious status to the Raelian movement. Its representatives have conducted condom distribution programs aimed at Canadian teenagers. They also have tried to persuade Roman Catholics to renounce their faith, prompting lawsuits.

Clonaid, the first human cloning company, was founded in February 1997, right after Scottish scientists announced the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to have been cloned from an adult.

Rael and a group of investors created Valiant Venture Ltd., a corporation based in the Bahamas, to run Clonaid, a project whose main goal has been to produce the first human clone.

Clonaid says on its Web site that after pressure from the Bahamian government -- which feared the experiments might be conducted on one of its islands -- Valiant Ventures was dissolved. In 2000, Rael handed the Clonaid project over to Boisselier. He said on Fox that he is no longer directly involved in the experiment.

"I am 100 percent psychologically, spiritually in support of what she's doing," he said.

Boisselier formerly taught chemistry at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and worked as marketing director for an unidentified large chemical company in France.

In interviews, she has said her 24-year-old daughter would be among the young women in the movement who would carry cloned babies to term.

Experts have dismissed the notion that Clonaid is capable of producing a human clone, because Boisselier does not have a track record in the field of either animal cloning or human reproduction.

But Rael has said: "Nothing can stop science."

He also discounted the argument of whether human cloning is ethical or not, and said similar arguments were made more than two decades ago when the first test-tube babies were produced.

"Ethics is a word which has no place in science," Rael said. "It's a good word for religious people."

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