By the time you read this, one of four things has happened: (1) Someone has presented conclusive evidence that a newborn baby was, in fact, cloned from an adult. I would sooner bet that the next time you watch The Wizard of Oz the flying monkeys are replaced by flying pigs. (2) Someone is claiming that a newborn baby, who at least has been identified and photographed, is a clone. Someone may very well claim it, but I'm going double or nothing on the flying pigs. (3) Those touting their mystery clone babies as I am writing these words in mid-January will have stopped holding news conferences. (4) They're still holding news conferences, but reporters have stopped showing up for them, presumably to cover the flying pig story.
The Raelians' assertions of successful clone concoction were so widely covered in late December and early January that I need not review the details here. But a couple of points are worth mentioning. First, kudos to Donald G. McNeil, Jr., whose coverage of the Raelian misconception for the New York Times included the following: "Raelians are followers of Rael, a French-born former race-car driver who has said he met a four-foot space alien atop a volcano in southern France in 1973 and went aboard his ship, where he was entertained by voluptuous female robots and learned that the first humans were created 25,000 years ago by space travelers called Elohim, who cloned themselves." It's not clear whether the alien was green, but I am, with envy--I'll never write anything that funny.
This article was originally published with the title The Rael Thing.