The Raelians: Building Better Humans? [The Publisher’s Ring]



The Raelians: Building Better Humans?

“Cloning may be good and it may be bad. Probably it’s a bit of both. The question must not be greeted with reflex hysteria but decided quietly, soberly and on it’s own merits. We need less emotion and more thought.”

- Richard Dawkins

I expected feedback on my last column, “What the modified can do for the mutants of the future”, which outlined how body modification could help prepare humanity for major morphological changes in generations to follow. However, I’d written it sort of tongue-in-cheek, so I was very surprised when I got a personal email from Rael — yes, that Rael. The email told me that it was important that we talk and urged me to call him at Clonaid in Geneva.

   
Sidebar: More info

The Raelian Message – Homepage
Clonaid – Corporate site
RAR/The Raelians – For skeptics


Rendering of the Raelian embassy, with Rael.

BME members are welcome to contact Rael c/o BME at
Rael@bmezine.com. Any mail sent here for the next week will be forwarded directly to Rael’s private address. Please do not use this address after April 7th (2004) as it will cease forwarding at that point.

For those of you who don’t know, the Raelians are an organization — some would say “alien sex cult” — that believes in scientific creationism — that “aliens” came to this planet and manipulated primitive DNA in order to create humans. In 1973, French journalist Claude Vorilhon (who now goes by “Rael”) was contacted by a small alien being who told him that their race, the Elohim (“those who came from the sky”, as described in Genesis), had been the ones who had created human life on Earth, and that mankind had mistaken them for gods and built religions around them. Because of the moon landing, they felt we were mature enough to hear the truth, and dictated the Raelian message.

This book instructed humanity to build an embassy for the Elohim, as well as working to “catalyse a society adapted to the future”. Their faith (apologies to Rael for referring to it as such) believes that science will save us and allow us to “paint a new multi-coloured tapestry of humanity, giving people freedom and choice to be themselves and fulfil themselves just for the pure pleasure of being.” Now, before you write the Raelians off as a UFO cult, realize that not only have they sold a million copies of their “holy book” and not only do they have 60,000 active members around the world — primarily doctors, research scientists, and futurists — but they control Clonaid [clonaid.com], the now vindicated human cloning corporation long accused of being a fraud… until it started pumping out “increasingly perfect” human clones for wealthy Raelian parents.

Rael has given me permission to include the following transcript of our telephone conversation here. My apologies for any typographical errors, this was transcribed quickly.


BME:
I have to admit I was somewhat surprised to get an email from you.
RAEL:
I understand that.

My people been casually following your website for some time now, as we have many other future-culture sites. We agree with you that it’s physical form that is the foundation for humanity — and the seat of power. After all, of the 43 Presidents you’ve had [Rael assumed I was American], forty of them have been taller than the man they bested. Phsyical form dictates who the next President of the United States will be more so than politics or any other issue — and thus physical form dictates the future of humanity.

It’s bigger than just winning an election though — I just like that example because it’s a really easy way to prove to anyone that physical form comes before mental form in terms of how we interact with the world. But it’s physical improvement that will propel us into the future — and for that we need to embrace a really wide view of what it means to be human. That’s why we’re contacting you — because you can bring this message to the mainstream and to the young people of this world, who will be the ones bearing children that are homo raelianis.

BME:
I’m not sure what you mean by that.
RAEL:
Raelian babies. Raelians by birth. The message of the Elohim is “be more” — that’s what caught our attention in your last article. Your mistake though is believing that the future is from random mutations. Forty-five thousand years ago primitive man mistook the Elohim for gods, and their science for magic, just as primitive man would do if he saw today’s 21st century man. People need to realize that we are now those gods — and as gods, we have “permission” so to speak to make ourselves in our own form.
BME:
I agree totally — but I don’t understand how your research with cloning falls into this all.
RAEL:
Two words: Raw. Materials.
BME:
What does that mean?
RAEL:
When I was a teen, I remember reading about experiments done by Hilda Prösholdt with Hans Spemann on altering what they called “developmental mechanics”. Spemann and Prösholdt experimented with the transplantation of tissue from part of one embryo’s blastopore to another embryo altogether. After almost three hundred embryos had been surgically modified, six were born successfully. They were “new animals” that had parts from both embryos! Even though Prösholdt had done most of the work, Spemann was later given the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1935 for this work.

In the case of Prösholdt’s experiments, she was using newts, producing some with multiple limbs, multiple heads, two hearts rather than one, and other combinations. Later she even managed to create a newt that was partially great-crested newt and part common newt. What was interesting about that experiment though was that the chimera had characteristics of the host (the common newt), even in the transplanted organs that were unique to the great-crested newt. The Elohim encouraged us to think about human morphology, not newts.


Naturally occuring examples of blastopore bud transfers in humans.

BME:
But how did you find a doctor willing to do these procedures? It’s hard enough to find a doctor that’ll do a tongue splitting, let alone something that most people would — no offense — describe as monstrous.
RAEL:
And remember, this was 1974! We didn’t have a lot of options, and it was before we knew how to do the finer genetic manipulations we are now capable of. So we made a tough decision and asked Dr. Josef Mengele.
BME:
I’m sorry?
RAEL:
Yes.
BME:
Josef Mengele, as in the Nazi concentration camp doctor? Hitler’s so-called “Angel of Death”? Wasn’t he executed after the Nuremburg trials?
RAEL:
No. Mengele has never been charged with a crime — he was no longer in Germany at the time of those trials. After the second world war ended, he traveled to Argentina and then not long afterwards to Taos, New Mexico, where his depressurization research helped propel American aviation and then the space program just fast enough to stay ahead of the Russians. After reporters realized that Mengele was working on the Mercury program and threatened to make the story public, the government paid him off and he retired to Brazil.
BME:
Yeah, but… Mengele?
RAEL:
We knew that as a pure research scientist he had proven over and over he could be work in the face of cruelty — this was a man known for speaking kindly to a child before sending him to the gas chamber. We knew we were going to have a lot of children die during our work. That sounds terrible, but we didn’t have any choice, and Mengele had specialized in research with twins. His work with amputations and transplantations was also especially relevant.

There’s actually a movie coming out — Hellboy — that’s loosely based on some of the work that Mengele and the other Nazi doctors did at the camps. Some of the work with heavily modified super-soldiers that Mengele was doing was way ahead of its time. But I digress…

[Note to readers: While I was doing this interview, when he said this I assumed he was lying to me or making it up for some reason, so I did not question it much and just played along. Wikipedia’s entry on Mengele appears to at least partially confirm Rael’s story, as do suplemental searches examining their relationship. Ethically I do not agree with the decision to contract Dr. Mengele, although I understand it.]

BME:
How did you find him? How did you convince him?
RAEL:
Finding him wasn’t hard. Convincing him wasn’t hard either. He was happy to be working in a no-limits lab again. He had done some terrible things in the past — truly horrific and inexcusable things — but he was trying to repay his debt by helping humanity move forward. Unfortunately he died of a stroke a few years later, but all of our work now is still based on what he started.
BME:
What did you do — you said earlier your clones were raw materials?
RAEL:
Mengele had done experiements for the Nazis where he had tried to convert twins into conjoined or “Siamese” twins. The majority of these failed terribly, but he did have some success in the transplantation of embryos from one twin to another. He also developed in vitro fertilization techniques which were able to produce zygotes of identical DNA. This gave us the ability to create enough raw materials in the form of compatible blastopore tissue so we could have more control over the gastrulation process. Originally we’d tried working with non-identical human tissues as well as xeno-transplants but that work was unsuccessful.
BME:
What was the actual purpose?
RAEL:
In the beginning our goals were just proofs of concept. We knew that by controlling the development of the fetus in the womb, we could create new kinds of humans, and eventually we would be able to create a perfect Raelian race of people. So we tried it all. Some of the mutations worked, some didn’t, but, after thirty years of work, we’re getting very close.
BME:
Do you mind telling me about a few of them?
RAEL:
First we did simple bud transfers — these are remarkably easy in relative terms and still comprise the most important part of what we do. For those listening to this that aren’t biologists, a fetus forms by first creating a “mold” — a sort of a biological latice with “markers” on it. Tissue then grows in this mold, eventually becoming all the pieces of a person. Because it’s early in the process, the bud “attaches itself” and does a lot of the work for us. By altering this mold, adding to it, or removing pieces from it, we can change how the human is physically manifested. For example, if you have DNA-compatible tissue, you can move the arm buds from one embryo to another, and create a new embryo with six arms. We’ve also managed to transplant internal organs — we built my own son around a barrel chest containing fully redundant organs. He’s six now. Success rates are low though — about one in ten — but that’s no worse than in vitro fertilization and other procedures most people now believe are acceptable (but were once seen as morally wrong).

  

Cyclolpia in a stillborn child, 1893

Later we examined cyclopia, an almost always fatal condition which “fissures” the face, sometimes leaving a “cyclops” or one-eyed effect, and at other times leaving three eyes, all neurologically functional and integrated into the nervous system. The reason we were interested in cyclopic embryos was their holoprosencephalon, or “whole forebrain”. Most humans have two minds, in that we have a split brain. However, children born with this condition (about one in 16,000) have a partially or fully conjoined monolithic brain, twice the size of a normal human brain. Unfortunately we have had trouble controlling embryonic retinoic acid levels and these children, while remarkably intelligent, have been so violent that we’ve had to destroy all of them before the age of three. It is important to understand and explore these options though, even with these sacrifices.

I’d like to just stop for a minute and remind everyone that our genetics aren’t an accident. Evolution brought us up to a point, and the Elohim brought us to where we are now. They left us tools in our genetic code to do more — all those switches are there for a reason, and if we don’t figure them out, we don’t get to be a part of the future. The Elohim will help those who ask for help, but we need to be proactive about it. That’s why we’re building the embassy, and it’s why we’re doing this research.

While gastrulation is happening, we also discovered that if you split the apical ectodermal ridge (which forms the arms and hands), the end result is mirror-image polydactylism (essentially where the arm ends with two hands facing each other, rather than a single hand). By modifying tissue in the zone of polarizing activity, we can sculpt limbs into nearly any configuration we want.


Three examples on polydactylism in different forms.

BME:
That’s unbelievable… So are children actually being born like this?
RAEL:
My son was the first successful birth, six years ago. All our earlier Raelian babies — we call them the pioneer generation — unfortunately had to be destroyed for various reasons. Since my son, we have had seventeen improved babies born, as well as nearly five hundred clones, mostly de-neuralized ones which generate the income we need to pay for the construction of the embassy and our research. We recently celebrated the birth of our thirteenth “normal” cloned baby as well.
BME:
How are you getting away with this? This can’t be legal.
RAEL:
First, it is legal in Switzerland, and we have had no problems getting the requisite permits for our research. When a child becomes unviable, we work with a doctor in the Netherlands — they allow euthanasia — to have the child terminated. Also, because we are erroneously branded as a “UFO cult” by most of the press, we tend to be ignored… sometimes a good thing as I’m sure you know.
BME:
Why are you telling me all this?
RAEL:
Because it’s time.

We feel that our procedures have reached the maturity level required to start doing public testing. We are approaching you because we feel that those who have faced and lived through the prejudice one gets for voluntarily becoming a physical outcast — no offense intended…

BME:
…none taken…
RAEL:
We hope that those who have voluntarily become physical outcasts will be well prepared for raising children that may be perceived as that as well. We believe that the openness to change and improvement in this community will foster an environment that is perfect for Raelian children.
BME:
But we’re adults — we chose these things. I’m not sure if it’s right to force this on anyone.


Left: Naturally occuring redundant internal organs, rare in humans, but not unheard of.
Right: Grady stiles shows his heavily modified hands on American television.

RAEL:
Well, you can’t have these modifications. We can’t do these procedures to adults, or even children. These procedures only work on very young fetuses.

Don’t you agree that the role of a good parent is to give their children the best opportunities they can? We all try and make enough money to send our children to a good school… why not give them a 400 IQ if you can? Wouldn’t it be abusive not to do so? If you can make your child eight feet tall, why shouldn’t you? Most men die of heart attacks — my son has two hearts, and barring the unexpected, our doctors expect him to live to at least two hundred if not longer. Because he is purely a product of blastopore transplants, there’s not even any risk that he’ll have genetic abnormalities in the future.

BME:
How can he be a normal human if he’s got two hearts?
RAEL:
All of that is surgical. His genetics are still technically that of a homo sapiens, even though he is obviously much more. If he were to have children in the future in the traditional way, that child would appear as you or I, not as their father… unless, as I hope, he will also bear a Raelian child.
BME:
I guess the obvious thing to point out is that it’s the human spirit that makes people good, not the perfection of their physical form.
RAEL:
Oh, but you are wrong — metaphorically, the most powerful gods are always the most beautiful. The Elohim are beauty. Beauty is love, and Love is what we’re trying to achieve. If our creations are not good, it’s because they are not physically good. That’s all we are. By creating the perfect physical form, we create perfect goodness in that person. Just like you believe that the right tattoo makes a person better, we believe that the right body makes a person better.
BME:
OK… so… what next?
RAEL:
We need volunteers. I’d like you to help me find mothers for the Raelian children of the future. Mothers who can nurture these superhumans, and protect them while they’re young and fragile. We will provide assistance, but it is important to us that these children grow up in the real world, not in a laboratory.
BME:
If you don’t mind, I’ll put up a transcript of this interview on my site, and set up an email address where members can contact you.
RAEL:
That sounds wonderful, I appreciate it, and I look forward to having you in the future with us.

BME readers interested in learning more about this project are welcome to contact Rael’s organization c/o Rael@bmezine.com. He has asked that only women and couples willing to conceive modified children apply. This branch of the work is being made financially possible by Clonaid, who charge wealthy individuals a great deal of money to provide clones devoid of neural-tissue to guarantee the availability of organ transplants should they or their loves ones need them.

Please seriously consider the implications of this type of life before writing. By working with Mengele, Rael has shown that he’s willing to sleep with the devil if he feels it serves his “gods”, and I can’t say that I believe all the details of the story. I’ve tried to provide links in the sidebar for those who wish to research this developing story further and verify Rael’s claims.

The attached illustrations are just ones that I quickly added from my own archives, other than the photos of Rael which are from his website. I anticipate being able to follow this up within about two weeks when I get the supplemental information.

Welcome to the future,


Shannon Larratt
BMEzine.com


Of course this was an April Fools parody article! However, most of the backstory is true, including…

  • 40 of 43 Presidents really have been taller than the person they beat, and height really is the primary factor in US elections (I didn’t check other countries but I assume it’s the same).
  • Rael is real, the story about him is real, and the cult/group is real.
  • Clonoid is real, it is owned by the Raelians, and they have produced clones, they claim. They have refused any independed scientific testing and most people have denounced them as a fraud of some sort.
  • The procedures on newts were real as described, and the Nobel Prize really was given for this.
  • The procedures on humans as described would work and are real, and, at least the less monstrous ones, are things that we should expect to see in our lifetimes I think.
  • Dr. Josef Mengele really did do bizarre experiments with twins, although not in vitro as far as I know. He did move to Argentina and Brazil after the war, and the American government did use his research and that of other concentration camp doctors to further their own nationalistic drives.

That’s about where the truth ends. Mengele of course did not work with Rael, and kept an incredibly low profile because he was a war criminal on the run. Rael and Clonaid have no interest that I know of in producing “modified” or otherwise improved humans. In fact, one of their goals as stated on their website is to create perfect humans and avoid these defects. Cyclopidia and the other defects mentioned are all real and could be controlled, but are usually far less positive than as I’ve described.

Anyway, I hope people enjoyed it and it gave people something to think about. It gave me an excuse to basically write some bad sci-fi, which was a lot of fun for me…

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

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