Saturday, November 4, 2017

Clonaid's Burden of Proof

This December, it will be the 15th anniversary of the Human Cloning hoax perpetrated by Brigitte Boisselier of Clonaid infamy who claimed the birth of Eve, the first human clone on December 27, 2002. The whole hoax was conceived 20 years ago by her spiritual leader Rael in February of 1997 when he registered a hollow company in the Bahamas, as Clonaid's website relates.

Rael has maintained in news media interviews that he and his cult, the Raelian Movement, had no involvement in the claim and that it all rested on Brigitte Boisselier, as the scientific director of Clonaid.

But the truth of the matter is, by April of 2001, Clonaid had created a scientific dreamteam, all composed of high level members of Rael's cult. Moreover, in November 2002, Brigitte Boisselier, without the knowledge of Rael, confessed of the hoax to the top echelon of the cult in a meeting at a fellow Guide Réal Thériault’s home, and asked everyone present to keep it under wraps. These revelations came out only in the past year, more than a decade after the hoax, when Damien M., a Raelian Priest (level 4 Raelian Guide and biotech researcher privy to Clonaid's operations) resigned first and then got excommunicated and Daniel Chabot, a Raelian Bishop (level 5 Raelian Guide, planetary responsible of Raelian Teachings and a professor of psychology) resigned. There had been many more resignations and excommunications in the past year, most notably that of Roy Tyrrell, the National Guide of the Australian Raelian Movement and Sophie de Niverville, who Rael had married when she was only 16 and who had remained faithful to him while Rael satisfied himself with his Angels.

Now, to get to the heart of this blog post. From the recent revelations, Rael seems to maintain that as long as no one can prove Brigitte Boisselier did not produce any human clones, her claim is not a hoax and that her innocence must be assumed. Moreover, even if the hoax ever gets busted, Rael would ironically still forgive her since the whole fiasco brought him and his cult media attention.

While this is true in a criminal court case, where the burden of proof falls on the prosecutor to convict the defendant, in the peer-reviewed scientific method, the burden of proof falls on the claimant and not their scientific peers. The latter is a more rigorous method to establish any truths.

So far, Brigitte Boisselier has not been able to prove her claims by publishing any scientific papers nor has she been able to prove the existence of the 13 in total of the human clones (between December 2002 to March 2004) she claims Clonaid has produced.

The difference in the burden of proof in law and science can be found here and here.

Daniel Chabot explains this point in his resignation letter titled “Balance Sheet – 40 Years of Raelism.” Below are the relevant excerpts in relation to the Clonaid hoax that includes Damien M.'s and another anonymous Raelian Guide's [referred as X] interaction with Rael:


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Still on the theme of truth / lie, there is of course the issue of the Cloning that we have never been able to question or evaluate completely. I was one of those who tried to do it a few times, but without success. Someone always found a way to end the debate or to find good reasons to excuse it. That is the lie of the first level: by Brigitte's own admission, there have never been surrogates, never has there been cloning and never a shadow of proof. But I think there is worse. There are"lies upon lies". What I mean is that there were several other lies around this hoax. For example, it has been said that because of it, we've had thousands of new members, which is false and the figures show it. On the contrary, there has been a decline in membership and several resignations, which are still going on today.

Falling membership after Clonaid
What is surprising above all else is that Raël himself continues to propagate falsehoods on this subject. Indeed, during the famous saga of Damien M. (No doubt several members are unaware that Damien wrote to the International Council of the Wise to testify that he knew that the cloning had not taken place and to denounce what seemed to him to go against the messages and the truth), Raël again affirmed that the cloning had been positive for the RM, and had taken many new members (“Not only did it not lose any members but it increased dramatically the number of new members and messages sold...”) ([See below]: email from Raël to Damien on 20 February 2016) .

When Damien attempted to lift the veil on this lie, we still lied about the facts, accusing Damien of lies and defaming Brigitte, could we not have listened to him and considered his point of view, he who was at Brigitte's side at the time? In fact Damien was present at that moment, and he asserts that not only was there no functional laboratory, nor methodology available to realize the cloning of a human being, but, moreover, he, like us, was told by Brigitte that it was a media stunt and that it was imperative to keep this information secret! For speaking up, he was treated to the ultimate punishment: expulsion and cancellation of the transmission of his cellular plan.

One thing that many members are unaware of is that several guides and bishops participated in a meeting in Réal Thériault's home, a few weeks before the announcement of the cloning. At that time, Brigitte wanted to prepare us for what was to come and clearly told us that she was about to announce the birth of a cloned baby, that there was no such thing, that it was a publicity stunt, etc.

Unfortunately for all you Raelians of the world who believed that Brigitte had really realized this scientific feat: you were deceived and we who knew it, were accomplices of this hoax, stupidly consenting to Brigitte's request, who demanded that we keep it secret and never even discuss it again!

I invite you to read [below], which presents a discussion between Raël and a person (whose anonymity I preserve [referred to as X]) who had the courage to question him on this subject.

It took a good ten years before a guide had the courage to address the issue at a meeting of Guides in Canada. Think about it: 10 years before daring to break the silence about the subject... If you have doubts about what I have just written to you, ask your National or Continental Guide, or other guides who have participated in this meeting and they will give you their version that you can compare to mine. It is your absolute right to know the background of this story, you who came to the Raelian Movement FOR TRUTH, not for lies. And on that subject, you were lied to!

Despite the fact that the Messages have rigorously condemned the slanderers and usurpers of other major religions, political powers and the media, we have literally done exactly what we have criticized.

Clonaid's Nitro Lab funded by Mark Hunt
In an e-mail addressed to Damien on February 20, 2016, Raël writes: "As long as nobody can prove that Brigitte lied, it's not a lie. She told me she was doing it with her company, and I trusted her and still trust her. She even introduced to me a family who was applying to have their son cloned." This argument, which I challenge (see [below] for more details), demonstrates the support he gives to Brigitte and the credibility (or complicity) he grants her. Clearly, the family he speaks of is that of the lawyer Mark Hunt and his wife, who had invested half a million dollars in Clonaid, in order to find once again their child who died at the age of 10 months (Involvement with Clonaid In 2001, the FDA discovered that the equipment in Raelian-founded Clonaid's human cloning lab in Nitro, West Virginia had been bought by Hunt, who wanted to clone his deceased 10-month-old son, Andrew. Hunt had spent $500,000 on efforts to clone his son. He enlisted Brigitte Boisselier, a French chemist and Raëlian religious leader, to run a secret cloning research lab in Nitro. Following an investigation, Hunt made an agreement with the FDA-OCI to not clone his son within the United States).

Some time after investing, Hunt withdrew from the project blaming Brigitte for wanting to attract the attention of the media. His wife was pregnant with another child and they wisely decided to concentrate on her arrival rather than focus on a hopeless dream. Therefore it cannot be about the cloning of the Hunt's baby, since they had withdrawn from Clonaid and had closed the presumed laboratory well before the announcement of the birth of Eve.

In an interview with RDI on January 3rd, 2003, Raël said: "I do not know where the laboratory is, I do not know the scientists who work there, I do not know the parents or child, I do not know anything[...] I myself wait for proof like everyone else. ". So, why use this argument against Damien and punish him for having testified what he knew and was relevant?

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[X's interaction with Rael]

I no longer have the beginning of the conversation, but basically, from what I remember, He asked me to put on my profile FB 'Raëlian'. I had written to him that I was uncomfortable since I had learned from guides and bishops who had participated in the meeting at Real’s place, that BB had told them that there was no Cloning, that it was a publicity stunt. He replied very aggressively, threatening to take me off his FB if I did not correct my profile, and to give him the names of the people who told me that so that he could punish them immediately because lying is unacceptable !! ! lol!

I then told him that it was trustworthy people who had entrusted me with this secret, and that perhaps Brigitte had failed to tell him that she had shared the info with the guides, and that after all , neither he nor I could swear about what was said during the meeting at Réal Thériault’s, since we were not there.


Rael:
when you say neither you nor I, you are wrong. Me, I can!
for your info there was recently a Guide Level 5 excluded and CPT [Raelian Baptism] canceled for circulating this rumor

X:
Hello Dear Maitreya!
It's amazing what you tell me!
What I understand is that Brigitte surely gave you proof, of his accomplishment, so why are you so uncompromising? With all my love

Rael:
without proof that they lie, we can not question the words of the people we love

X:
Dear Maitraya,

It is with great respect and sweetness that I write to you and above all without judgment, just questions. And before proceeding, I would like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to answer me. I appreciate it enormously.

Your answer surprises me a lot ... I understand that you love Brigitte enormously, and that you want to protect her. It's true that one has difficulty questioning the word of a close friend, otherwise it would not really be a friend, right? I agree with you on this!

But as you say you canceled the cpt of a bishop on Brigitte's word. Is it not extremely severe as a punishment for having questioned a private company that is completely separate from the movement? Especially since this person must also be a close friend of yours ... .What will happen if other guides or bishops confirm that Brigitte also told them that Clonaid did not clone?

They are also people you particularly like since you have chosen them as guides.

I also understand that it must be extremely difficult for you, because in the event that Brigitte did not perform the cloning, she still took a huge risk to make the movement known throughout the world thanks to Clonaid. Somehow it is admirable, but wouldn't it be ethically unacceptable to have used a hoax to make the messages of Elohim known?

With all my love 

Rael:
"I realize that you love Brigitte enormously, and that you want to protect her. It's true that it is difficult to question the words of a close friend, otherwise it would not really be a friend, right? " No it applies to everyone and not just to close friends or not. 

no other bishop has made such remarks and the punishment would be the same for all without evidence. Moreover a serious inquiry has confirmed that she had never held such statements. One must not confuse the charge of having been told that it was not true, with the proof that it was never realized. The first case is defamation. The 2nd revelation a hoax. Even if one day Brigitte revealed (which I doubt) that she never did, the punishments of those who have affirmed that she had said it before, would always be justified. The first case is a lie and the lie about others is unforgivable because its intention is to harm someone. The hoax is a joke without victims. And until proven otherwise it is not a hoax.
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[Daniel Chabot's comments in relation to the conversation above]

Never has one of the guides or bishops who participated in this meeting at Réal Thériault been questioned about this so-called "profound inquiry". Yet we were all the most credible and most important witnesses to clarify the investigation! "The hoax is a joke without victims." I find that there is an unqualified lack of respect for the Raelians who believed in this affair because they trusted. Is it necessary to recall the definition of a hoax: "transitive verb:to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous".

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[Emails regarding Daniel M.'s interaction with Rael]

........................................................................................
From: The Messenger
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 6:02 PM
To: Brigitte B***** ; Mehran S***** ; Damien M*****
Cc: Nicole B***** ; Marc R***** ; Daniel T***** ; Pierre G***** ; thomas.k*****@*****.*** ; 'Réjean P*****' ; Junzo M***** ; inforaeliani@*****.***
Subject: Re: Request for clarifications for my upcoming public apology

As long as nobody can prove that Brigitte lied , it s not a lie. She told me she was doing it with her company , and I trusted her and still trust her. She even introduced to me a family who was applying to have their son cloned. And in the hundreds of media interviews that we got thanks to that I always said that the Movement was not involved at all as Brigitte Company was totally separated. If one day somebody prove to me that she didn't do it then I will accept the fact that she lied. And I will forgive her as it helped the Movement to get many million dollars of worldwide media coverage which suddenly made us known by all the planet. Not only did it not lose any members but it increased dramatically the number of new members and messages sold. And nobody was "ridiculed" in that operation except may be in the eyes of some evolutionist “ scientists”.

Nobody is guilty until proven guilty. That apply in any court of Justice.

And there is absolutely no Satan test in that. Satan tested me once live but never ever speak through my mouth and will never ever test me again. Doubting that is doubting the Elohim.

Love Rael
................................................................
From: "The Messenger" < *****@*****.*** >
Subject: Re: Request for clarifications for my upcoming public apology
Date: February 20, 2016 at 11:53:27 PM GMT-5
To: "Damien M****" < *****@*****.*** >
Cc: "Nicole B*****" < *****@*****.*** >, "Marc R*****" < *****@*****.*** >, "Daniel T*****" < *****@*****.*** >, "Pierre G*****" < *****@*****.*** >, < *****@*****.*** >, 'Réjean P*****' < *****@*****.*** >, "Junzo M*****" < *****@*****.*** >, < *****@*****.*** >, "B*****” < *****@*****.*** >, "mehran*****" < *****@*****.*** >

Dear Damien

well received and apologies accepted.

Do not let the stupid justification feelings derail your thoughts: the first problem was your disrespectful comments on my posts on Facebook, which justified as you were unapologetic, the exclusion from structures [editor's note: Damien resigned first and then got excommunicated]. Then naturally, the brain starts to create justifications and you added the problem regarding Brigitte cloning which has nothing to do with the original problem.

I am quite sure that if you apologize for these comments the Wise council of North America will reconsider your exclusion and reintegrate you in the structures.

Regarding Brigitte cloning, one more time as long as we do not have tangible proofs (sic.) that she didn't do it we cannot accuse her of lying. Which beside being disrespectful to a level 5, can also be damaging to our organization. And our priority should be about promoting the Messages and building the Embassy and not trying to damage the harmony between structure members or trying to find faults in other Guides activities. 

One more time even if one day her cloning is proven to be a hoax I will immediately forgive her as the worldwide media coverage we got thanks to it was better than during the 25 years of diffusion we had before and was worth million of dollars.

Please remember my teaching in the Happiness Academy: we must push together the block of stone in the same direction to reach our goals and harmony between us is more important than who is right and even than the truth. I said that long time ago and it s still valid.

Therefore you must also apologize to Brigitte as insulting a level 5 is not acceptable. You can have doubts about her cloning, but that doesn't allow you to insult her. And you can be sure that if one day it can be proven that it was a hoax she will be the first one to apologize to everybody, and I hope that, like me everybody (including you) will forgive her and thanks to her for the huge service this hoax broad (sic.) to us, (if proven without doubt one day that it is a hoax which is not the case ), but for now I trust her and we must all respect her for the service and total devotion she gave to the Movement.

I will be more than happy if you accept these conditions and reintegrate the structures, as you are an important member of our team, and will warmly recommend the wise council to forgive you and reintegrate you.

Lets push together in the same direction ! 

Love Rael

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[Daniel Chabot's comments in relation to the emails above]

I do not agree about Rael's argument in his email to Damien M., when he says, "As long as nobody can prove that Brigitte lied, it's not a lie. " Here's why:

From a legal point of view, he is right. The one who accuses a person of lying has the burden of proving that it is indeed a lie, otherwise it is defamation. In the present case, I believe that the testimony of Damien M. and the guides to whom Brigitte spoke constitutes admissible evidence on this hoax. Moreover, in the eyes of the law, one must choose between two types of possible errors: (1) condemn an innocent person (false positive); or (2) say that a guilty person is innocent (false negative). Justice, especially towards the criminal, prefers the second error, for it is better to give freedom to a guilty person, than to condemn an innocent man. That is why we say that every person has the right to a presumption of innocence as long as the evidence of his / her guilt has not been demonstrated (balance of civil evidence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases).

However, from a scientific point of view, things are totally different. We are faced with the same kind of errors (type I error and type II error), but we do not consider them at all in the same way. The type I error is when results do not reveal anything, but the researcher, on the contrary, believes that his results are significant (which corresponds, in a way, to the false positive). Type II error occurs when the results reveal the existence of a phenomenon, but the researcher does not see it, so he concludes that his results do not mean anything (equivalent to the false negative). In science, as in the legal world, a false negative is preferred to a false positive. However, the approach is completely different than in the legal field. It should be remembered that in the courts, the accused person must prove his or her allegations and the accused person is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Unlike the legal world, the scientific approach requires that the researcher who claims to have obtained significant results demonstrates that these are not false (It is commonly said that in order to accept scientific proof, the null hypothesis (i.e. absence of results) must be rejected in order to admit it. If we do not succeed, we can not conclude that our hypothesis is correct). To be able to claim that such a hypothesis is true (or demonstrated), the scientist must confirm that it is not inaccurate or null. It is for this reason that the scientific method is so rigorous (In order to determine whether the results confirm a hypothesis, statistical tests are used. These hypothesis tests, as they are called, assume at the base that the results say nothing, that is, they are only the result of chance. To be able to reject the so-called null hypothesis (and consequently to avoid the false negative), and thus accept the hypothesis of research (the so-called alternative hypothesis), we must be certain to 95 and even 99 % that the results obtained are not due to chance. It is therefore by rejecting a null hypothesis that an alternative hypothesis is accepted, with a margin of error of less than 5% or 1%.

To simplify, in the legal world, the one who accuses must prove his allegations. In science, the scientist who claims to have achieved results, to have discovered something new or to have innovated in an field, must eliminate the possibility that his results or affirmations may be insignificant or false. In short, it is the scientist who has the burden of proving his allegations.

If we go back to Brigitte's allegations that she cloned human beings, who is burdened with the burden of proof? Is it the scientist who has to prove that she has succeeded in cloning human beings or those who do not believe her to prove that she has never done it? According to Rael, one must believe Brigitte as long as one can not prove the contrary. But if we work according to the scientific approach, it is Brigitte who bears the burden of rejecting the null hypothesis, i.e. she has never cloned a baby, so she has to prove that she did.

So we have a choice between believing that Brigitte has indeed cloned her babies, or in science, which does not believe or reject anything, as long as proof has not been provided. If my religion is truly science, it is quite legitimate not to believe that Brigitte has cloned babies, for without proof, one swims in the dark, the anecdotal, blind belief, which is far from what the messages teach us and what science demands. And to counter once and for all the question of the importance of preserving the identity of the baby and his parents, we must know that scientific ethics protect the right to anonymity of research subjects and it is enough to look at any of the scientific publications, particularly when it is a case report, to find that the identity of the person or subjects who participated in the research is never given. As Damien explained, publishing DNA analysis results between the cloned baby and the stem cell baby would have been a very good start for proof. Or, quite simply, Brigitte could have published her methodology and thus helped to advance research in this field and benefit thousands of people. But none of this has been done, which does not allow us, from a scientific point of view, to reject the null hypothesis (i.e. that there has never been a cloned baby). The rigor forces us to conclude, after almost 15 years after the announcement, that there was no baby cloned by Brigitte and Clonaid. 

All this being said, here is what Raël and all lovers of truth should say: "As long as Brigitte can not prove that she cloned a human being, we can't consider that she did it." Therefore, I find it unfair that Damien should have paid the price in this story and that Raelians for whom science is their religion have been punished because they have questioned these statements of Brigitte.

2 comments:

  1. I just wanted to clarify something. In his letter, Rael talks as if I had been excluded from the structure, and he mentions the wise council reconsidering my exclusion.
    The reality is that I resigned myself from the structure, I was never excluded from it by anyone, and certainly not by any wise council. In fact, in my entire Raelian life, I was never judged by any wise council, although I was summoned twice at a disciplinary council. It's the exact opposite. it was me who accused two bishops and asked the wise council to intervene. The council refused to intervene and this is why I resigned from the structure, because I could no longer support a structure that was promoting lies, manipulations, pseudo-scientific bullshit and science denial.
    When I contacted Rael, it was certainly not to beg him to reintegrate me in the structure (which I had quit voluntarily), it was to ask him to do the job that the wise council had refused to do, to stop the lies, to recognize the mistakes, to take corrective measures, and to finally uphold what I thought were Raelian values but turned out not to be.

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    1. I'll make the necessary edit in due time. Thanks for the clarification. Always very appreciated.

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