The announcement this past week by a strange group known as Raelians that a baby girl named "Eve" has been cloned shocked many of us.

Most scientists and academics say the claim is probably a hoax especially given the background of the woman who made the announcement.

Brigette Boisselier and her associates believe space alien experimenters created the human race 25,000 years ago using DNA technology.

The Raelians plan to build what they call an "alien embassy" and since they also preach about the power of group sex I can only imagine who their ambassador -- Mr. Heffner? -- might be.

Now, while this is the stuff late night comedians pray for during the holidays, when politicians are mostly out of sight, cloning is more than monkey business.

As you no doubt recall, a sheep known as Dolly was successfully cloned a few years ago. And a number of scientists are reported to be working now on cloning a human being while many remain fearful of what could happen if they succeed.

Some worry about the creation of a mutant -- a Frankenstein-like monster who would haunt and be haunted by the human race.

Others fear that we'll start creating designer kids  in the mold of Barbie and Ken.

Cloning is the unnatural fruit of a culture that has abandoned any sense of the sacredness and dignity of life. If we see ourselves as having evolved from slime, then slime we will become. If unborn babies are merely gobs of tissue and if the elderly face euthanasia -- as in Oregon and Holland -- with the handicapped next on the list as soon as we can be conditioned to accept it, then why not clone humans?

You can't devalue one category of humans without affecting other categories. Either all of life is sacred because it's endowed by our creator, or none is sacred. Just as you can't be partially pregnant, neither can you be partially valuable.

Thirty years after Roe vs. Wade ushered in abortion on demand and led to the deaths of 40 million babies in America so far, we haven't reached the end of this yet. Cloning is only the latest challenge to who we are and whose we are. It won't be the last one. You can bet your life -- or someone else's life -- on that.

And that's Column One for this week.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.