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Feb 13 2014

Demonstrate calmly for pro-science

Brianne writes fairly frequently about her experiences as a clinic escort, dealing with shrieking fanatics who stand on sidewalks harassing people going into family planning clinics. They’re hideous and awful and have lost all sense of perspective and humanity, and they’re also remarkably ineffective…unless, of course, their goals are to make other people miserable and to expose their own obsessive inhumanity.

They have a lot in common with another group, animal rights protesters. Sanctimonious assholes, all of them. They’re all over UCLA, and they’re busy protesting researchers’ homes, at least when they’re not too busy planting bombs around the neighborhood or setting cars on fire or vandalizing people’s property.

Look at that person comparing animal experimentation to the Holocaust; it makes me wonder, do they intend to elevated monkeys to the status of Jews, or are they simply equating Jews and monkeys? Can we please not trivialize the murder of humans by pretending it has the same moral equivalency as biomedical research?

I think they, like clinic protesters, have forgotten the difference between expressing an idea/protesting against another idea, and harassment. They also lose all right to put themselves on the side of right in the Holocaust comparison when they say things like this, about UCLA researcher David Jentsch:

And later, the leader of the group whispers to the reporter:

“Wasn’t Jentsch’s car burned or something?” Then, above the din of chants, she adds, “I don’t know how to put this—I only wish he were in it.”

How can they compare researchers to Mengele when this is what they advocate?

I’ll be watching that asshole; I don’t want that piece of garbage and his family living in this neighborhood. He ought to be experimented on.

This weekend, there will be a counter-protest on the UCLA campus. If you value scientific research, you should go. If you believe in ethical research conduct and think these bloody-minded lunatics are actively undermining the responsible monitoring of research, you should go. If you’re just a decent human being who has had enough of idiot fanaticism, you should go.

They’re meeting at 10:15am on 15 February at the Franz Hall lobby on the UCLA campus. Go there, be civil and intelligent, and show people how ideas should be argued — don’t set any cars on fire, don’t harass your opponents’ children, don’t destroy their homes. Not that I’d expect anything less than rational behavior from the science side.

108 comments

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  1. 1
    cervantes

    While I have no quarrel with your sentiments, I’m not sure the right way to frame this is “pro-” and “anti-” science. These people have a strong ethical position. While some of them make factual claims that aren’t true, that isn’t the essence of the conflict. They aren’t denying the validity of scientific conclusions, they are opposing the exploitation of (mostly vertebrate) animals in the conduct of scientific research. Opposing research that harms human subjects is not “anti-science,” it’s the standard ethical position of scientists everywhere. The position of these people is analogous, although you don’t agree with it.

    In fact, it is not the accepted ethical standard that research animals should be treated as humanely as possible and that alternatives to experimentation on live animals should be sought and used whenever they provide comparable value. Scientists, in general, do care about the suffering of animals and do try to minimize it. This is not a question of science denial, it’s a question of where one situates the fulcrum of ethical balance. Let’s not make a category error here.

  2. 2
    hillaryrettig

    It is a low tactic, PZ, to lump all AR activists in with the extremists, especially since I know you know better. Here’s just one example out of many of an antivivisectionist who hasn’t “forgotten the difference between expressing an idea/protesting against another idea, and harassment.”

    http://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html

    And, btw, some antivivisectionists/AR activists are actual Holocaust survivors:
    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1996-11-24/news/1996329113_1_hershaft-animal-reform-movement-farm-animal

    Feel free to explain to him why the comparison isn’t valid.

    You’ve done this before. It’s really weird to see you resort to the same dishonorable tactics – strawman, cherry picking, etc. – that you deplore in religionists and others when faced with this issue. Can you not see yourself doing this?

  3. 3
    hillaryrettig

    @1 Cervantes – nicely put.

  4. 4
    PZ Myers

    The cherry picking is in the assumption that the scientists are not committed to the ethical operation of their work, and that the animal rights fanatics are. The reverse is true.

    Follow the link and watch the video. What the nutjobs in LA have been doing is utterly indefensible. Planting bombs? Setting cars on fire? Intimidating children?

    Like I said at the end, if you “believe in ethical research conduct and think these bloody-minded lunatics are actively undermining the responsible monitoring of research”, there’s one clear choice here.

    I’ll also bet you that if you interviewed those protesters, you’d also find a whole bunch of anti-science sentiment: they’re probably hysterical about GMOs, freaking out over vaccinations, and are full of New Age nonsense.

  5. 5
    nomadiq

    I attended one of these counter-protests on the UCLA campus a few years back. It was great to see the numbers of people who showed up to challenge these violent animal rights protesters.

    I see Hillary’s point above, PZ used a wide brush. But to be honest, the scientific community at UCLA is not concerned about peaceful and logical animal rights advocates. There may be differences, but both sides there can at least listen to each other. However, this counter protest is to protest the actions of a large segment of AR activists who are radical militants, illogical and definitely anti-science in their ideology. They lie, they are arsonists and they threaten death. They believe they can achieve goals through thuggery and intimidation. Its a practice that deserves protesting, no?

  6. 6
    catof many faces

    Anti vivisectionist? really? well yeah i guess we shouldn’t practice surgical techniques.

    So what things are anti vivisectionists against SPECIFICALLY? Which research was done unethically? Vivisection has a lot of very valid uses.

    Apologies for being a bit brusque here, but the protesters really get under my skin, so to speak.

  7. 7
    PZ Myers

    #5: Exactly. I’ve had conversations with the rational side of the anti-experimentation movement: we actually have a lot in common. Like almost all scientists who work on animals, we really like these organisms, and we probably have a greater appreciation and respect for their actual natures than those fanatics in the video. We spend a lot of effort trying to meet ethical standards of care — even if we were a bunch of callous bastards, we are bound by legal and institutional requirements.

    You want to argue? You want to staff a booth at a student event that lists your gripes with animal research? You want to volunteer for the research review committee? Go for it. There is no objection.

    It’s the destructive behavior of those protesters that has to be shut down, not their opinions.

  8. 8
    hillaryrettig

    “I’ll also bet you that if you interviewed those protesters, you’d also find a whole bunch of anti-science sentiment: they’re probably hysterical about GMOs, freaking out over vaccinations, and are full of New Age nonsense.”

    …and now we’ve got unsupported assertions. Stop digging, PZ.

    I know way more AR people than you do and if you interviewed a cross section of them, I’ll bet that you actually wouldn’t find much more of an antiscience bias in them than in the general liberal-thinking population, and quite possibly less. With the possible exception of the minority ecofeminist movement (minority even within the AR+feminism overlap and NOT inclined toward violence, btw) , I have never seen anyone discuss antiscience views either officially or in a major capacity in an AR meeting.

  9. 9
    hillaryrettig

    @5 Nomadiq ” a large segment of AR activists who are radical militants, illogical and definitely anti-science in their ideology. ”

    not so large, actually. in fact, tiny. but they do attract a lot of attention, especially since they play the role of useful idiot to corporate agribusiness who use them as an excuse to silence all opposition.

    I can’t stay on for the full debate that is likely to ensure, but for the record I do agree that AR shouldn’t be using violent tactics.

  10. 10
    MadHatter

    I used to work at a large University training hospital and we would frequently get these extreme AR groups showing up to harass us. That meant every employee and patient entering or leaving the hospital had to cross them. They’re biggest issue was that dogs were used in the training of young surgeons (which is why I thought of it – vivsectionists and all). I always wondered which one of them wanted to volunteer for a young surgeons practice…

    PZ’s is nearly the only framing you can give this issue. Groups that think intimidation, violence, and terror tactics are appropriate methods of communication are beyond reasoned and logical discourse. Good scientists are already committed to humane methods of research and use of the fewest possible animals. The NIH and the EU research bodies require that you justify any animal use before you can get a grant and there are rules for keeping those animals. If these people really were committed to humane treatment and good scientific practices they would know this and they would work with scientists and granting agencies to ensure that these standards are both adhered to, and improved wherever possible.

    They aren’t though, and I can’t even say they give a damn about the animals. When they aren’t harassing scientists they break into labs, release the animals (which will die without care) and pat themselves on the back. In other words, by and large they refuse to educate themselves about it putting themselves very much in the “anti-science” column.

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    My experience with animal rights nuts backs that up. When I was in grad school, they broke into a circadian rhythm lab and walked off with all the lab animals: mice, quail, various small mammals, all lab-bred and many carrying mutations that meant they could only survive under very specific! sheltered conditions.

    They ‘liberated’ them by opening all the cages along a stretch of I5.

    I speak from experience when I say these activists not only are anti-science, but that their defense of the animals is all a sham.

  12. 12
    cswella

    @2 hillaryrettig:

    And, btw, some antivivisectionists/AR activists are actual Holocaust survivors:
    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1996-11-24/news/1996329113_1_hershaft-animal-reform-movement-farm-animal

    Feel free to explain to him why the comparison isn’t valid.

    As tragic as the experience is for holocaust survivors, I don’t see how this makes him an expert in animal rights.

    @8 hillaryrettig:

    “I’ll also bet you that if you interviewed those protesters, you’d also find a whole bunch of anti-science sentiment: they’re probably hysterical about GMOs, freaking out over vaccinations, and are full of New Age nonsense.”

    …and now we’ve got unsupported assertions. Stop digging, PZ.

    I know way more AR people than you do and if you interviewed a cross section of them, I’ll bet that you actually wouldn’t find much more of an antiscience bias in them than in the general liberal-thinking population, and quite possibly less.

    And now you’ve declared the same assertion, but in the opposite direction.

  13. 13
    cervantes

    I think what Hillary and I are both saying is that we’re encouraging PZ and others to emphasize that scientists do respect ethical concerns about live animal research. Opposing such research is not in itself irrational or “anti-science,” it’s an ethical position. In Habermas’s terms, it’s a “second world” criticizable validity claim (the realm of the good), not a “first world” claim (the realm of the true, including science). People can disagree about it but there is no “truth” about what’s right and wrong. That’s what I mean by saying it’s a category error to say the position is “anti-science.” In order to have a meaningful discussion, both parties have to know what they are talking about.

  14. 14
    julial

    During my surgical training we did dogs. Occasionally they would be stolen, by their students.
    We were responsible for their post-op monitoring and treatment Given our other academic loads it was not possible to give them 24/7 attention. It was upsetting to occasionally find one whose abdominal incision had dehisced and the poor pup was licking or chewing on their viscera. Very upsetting.
    As with many ethical arguments, abortion, euthanasia etc, I agree with cervantes @1 that there is a grey zone in which his ethical fulcrum has to be placed and that persons of good will may differ with where in that zone the placement should be.
    I offer the following only in 80% jest because I can see many difficulties, ethical, political and practical. But in 1978 my inner debate on the subject yielded the following modest proposal with respect to the surgeon training dilemma of MadHatter @10:
    The training subject of surgical students should be the teaching surgeons. It would give the student practice and their trainers an intense interest in the proficiency of their students and post-op pain management. It should result in more empathic treatment of the other patients of the academic surgeons. And no puppies would die painful deaths in the process.
    Curse me if you must, but I never developed the professional dispassion required to remove my emotions from the doctor/patient relationship. It is why I left the business.

  15. 15
    Sastra

    Science-Based Medicine advocate Dr. David Gorski recently wrote an extensive critique of false scientific claims made by Animal Rights Activists who were pushing a petition on Change.org. Although the position is primarily an ethical one, it is also significantly influenced by an understanding of the facts. Or misunderstanding, as the case may be.

  16. 16
    cswella

    @Cervantes:

    Who said that opposing animal research is irrational or anti-science? Everything PZ has stated about this post has been all about the fanatics of that opposition. In the same way that I oppose X, but if anyone agreeing with me started harassing/being violent in protest of X, I’d condemn them too.

    I think they, like clinic protesters, have forgotten the difference between expressing an idea/protesting against another idea, and harassment.

    This statement by PZ contains everything you’d need to know to discern where PZ’s issues with the movement are.

  17. 17
    cervantes

    Cswella, the headline of the post uses the term “pro-science.” That’s a category error.

  18. 18
    xavierninnis4191

    @16
    “They have a lot in common with another group, animal rights protesters. Sanctimonious assholes, all of them.” [italics added]

  19. 19
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Opposing such research is not in itself irrational or “anti-science,” it’s an ethical position.

    Actually it only becomes an ethical position, and not anti-science, when you answer the question:

    There is a potentially new anti-cancer drug. It may cure cancer, or it may be toxic. Which gets the first injection, you or a rat?

    With that question answered as the rat, you then can talk about ethical treatment of animals in testing. Just banning animal testing is anti-science and anti-progress, if there isn’t a viable alternative available. Or you start explaining why human testing of compounds of unknown toxicity, but potentially beneficial, is ethical.

  20. 20
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    My experience of animal rights activists isn’t so much that they are “anti-science”, it’s that they simply don’t get it. They have an ethical objection to working on animals (fair enough) but I’ve never encountered a single one who has a viable alternative, and only a handful who are even willing to discuss it reasonably. Some can be argued down to the position that testing medicines on animals is a necessary evil, but that cosmetic testing is bad (exactly my position), but I’ve met many who would argue that even testing medicines on animals is immoral. And I have friends who are ARA’s and have met many ARA’s through them, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the movement. I find the latter position confusing and unreasonable.

  21. 21
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @cervantes #13

    Opposing such research is not in itself irrational or “anti-science,” it’s an ethical position.

    An ethical position can be (and often are) irrational, and can be anti-science. Opposing needless suffering, attempting to minimise the negative impact on the test animals, and attempting to find alternatives to animal testing is ethical and right and good; but opposing any and all animal testing regardless of the reason is anti-science, at least in practice. Such testing is absolutely necessary to the invention of new and effective medicines, so by logical extension if you oppose any and all animal testing, you oppose the invention of new medicines. That’s anti-science. Hell, it’s anti-humanity.

  22. 22
    petrander

    Although I’m not 100% comfortable with the thought of vivisection, this whole thing reminds of the completely irrational and hypocrital public outcry over GiraffeGate recently:

    Look how professionally and rationally the zoo director, who has been receiving death threats over euthanizing a young giraffe (Really? are we back to a kind of biblical morality with the extra of including animals?): Giraffe Copenhagen Zoo chief: ‘I like animals’

    Please, everyone who wants to stand up for science in the face of public hysteria, go to the Bengt Holst fan-page on facebook and like it: Bength Holst !!

  23. 23
    cswella

    Cswella, the headline of the post uses the term “pro-science.” That’s a category error.

    Yes, protesting the harassers and violent protesters, who through their rhetoric and lying about what goes on, are demonstrably as “anti-science” as anti-vaccination protesters.

    @16
    “They have a lot in common with another group, animal rights protesters. Sanctimonious assholes, all of them.” [italics added]

    I’ll admit it’s a bit broad-brush outside of context, but given the context, I interpreted it as a slam against the violent protesters. Especially sanctimonious in regards to the assholes who kidnap animals and release them to die in the wild.

    You can protest animal research of this kind, and I’m not totally unsympathetic to the situation. But I think you might be taking the wrong offense here. These protesters that are harassing the UCLA in this sense are the “Westboro Baptist Church” of the Anti-Animal Testing movement. Key difference being that WBC are more in line with their beliefs than most christians, but the UCLA protesters are less in line with the movement than the rational discourse protesters.

  24. 24
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    My #20 and #21 appear to contradict themselves; what I am trying to say is that I don’t believe ARA’s to be anti-science in spirit, but in practice their goals, or at least the goals of the “no animal testing ever” branch of the movement, would if realised hinder the advancement of science, particularly medical science.

  25. 25
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, and creationists also claim to love science. They just don’t understand what it is.

  26. 26
    eveningchaos

    I am a vegan but I can’t understand this radical “animal rights” movement. I think they have lost all perspective. I do have compassion for all living things, but I understand that consciousness is a continuum and we draw arbitrary lines as to what organisms are more valued than others. These lines differ between cultures and within cultures. In most cultures we place are own species at the top and complex mammals below, down to single celled organisms and bacteria and viruses at the bottom.

    I made the decision to not eat animals or their byproducts because I know that I can nourish myself without this source of nutrients. If I were in a survival situation or in a part of the world where this diet would be impractical I would adjust as best I can. Biomedical research cannot be done without animal testing. I can assess an organism’s rights by looking at it’s complexity and see that as a factor in granting it rights, and we can weigh this against the suffering that will be alleviated within the human animal world by testing on them to make scientific advances to benefit society. I’m sure these animal rights extremists, when faced with a curable illness would not balk at seeking medical treatment to save their own asses even if that treatment was derived from animal testing.

  27. 27
    cswella

    To be clear, I protest animal testing the same way I protest abortion. Both are currently a necessity due to our technology and limitations. The only solution to these problems is to make them obsolete in the face of better, cheaper methods.

    I would prefer we didn’t have to test on animals, and I would prefer that women didn’t have to get abortions in whatever circumstances are present. And in this statement, the analogy between anti-abortion protesters and anti-animal testing protesters is even more apt. For the choice between either debate, one side has chosen to disregard the benefits gained by the practice in favor of their own moral outrage.

  28. 28
    Dan

    Five people are working on a railroad track in the path of speeding train. If you throw a switch, the train will run onto a side track, saving the workers but running into a cage holding a rat, a rabbit, a sheep, a pig and a chimp. Are you an Animal Rights Activist? or do you throw the switch?

  29. 29
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @PZ Meyers

    I was thinking of making a creationist analogy :) But I think there is a difference. Creationists actively dislike science because it disproves their world view. They are anti-science in spirit. ARA’s simply hold a belief which, if put into practice, would hinder scientific advancement. I don’t think they are generally anti-science in spirit. Most that I have met naively believe that science could operate just as well without animal testing. They have generally been unreceptive to my arguments that it could not.

  30. 30
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    FFS, I’ve read too many creationist emails; I’ve been infected with the extra “E”!

    Sorry, PZ :(

  31. 31
    mnb0

    “Sanctimonious assholes, all of them.”
    Thanks, PZ. I have protested against animal abuse (like vivisection) in the past. So I am a sanctimonious assholes according to you.
    Still I never have planted bombs, set cars on fire, intimidated children or vandalized researchers’ property.
    I have signed petitions, participated in protest marches. Apparently that makes me a sanctimonious asshole. Or you are a bigot, pick your choice.
    Thanks again.

  32. 32
    blueskyscience22

    Thanks for sharing this PZ, the UCLA scientists have endured harassment and intimidation (or as the animal rights extremists call it “educational outreach”) for years, and it’s time to put an end to it. If you are still wondering what it is like to be at the receiving end of such protests, or even to be the neighbor of somebody who is, take a look at the video clips in this blog post.

    http://unlikelyactivist.com/2014/02/04/insecure-bullies-never-like-resistance/

    The scientists being targeted by these extremist home demonstration campaigns have actually taken part in a several debates and forums with more reasonable elements of the animal protection movement, but that clearly makes no difference to the extremists.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2014/02/08/what-would-you-do/

  33. 33
    ChasCPeterson

    I have protested against animal abuse (like vivisection) in the past. So I am a sanctimonious assholes according to you.

    -uses the word ‘vivisection’ instead of ‘animal research’ or something not quiiite so loaded
    -equates research to ‘abuse’
    No real idea whether you’re an asshole or not, but the ‘sanctimonious’? Nearly explicit.

  34. 34
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    From BlueSkyScience22′s first link at #32.

    In the following clip, Progress for Science taunted the neighbor of a UCLA researcher who was afraid to remove her baby from her car while they were screaming. We didn’t take this video and post it online. They did – because they were proud of what they did. That’s how insane they really are.

    Followed by a clip of them doing just that. The neighbour in question had to run past a group of them and shelter next to an occupied cop car before she felt safe. These particular ARA’s are clearly dangerous.

  35. 35
    Rey Fox

    Abortion protester tangent:

    and they’re also remarkably ineffective

    I’m not sure how true this is, because it would be hard to measure without actually knowing of all the women who decided not to get an abortion at least in part due to not wanting to run the gauntlet of protesters, or whose mind was changed by them. I mean, that doesn’t seem likely, but I figure clinics have escorts for a reason.

  36. 36
    Hermes Solenzol

    I tried to post this in the Richard Dawkins website http://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html , but I was given not allowed to do so. He seems to be interested only in friendly opinions. Anyway, here is my answer to his question of why human suffering is different from animal pain:

    As a neuroscientist who studies pain (yes, using animals, if that is a concern) let me try to answer your question. Pain is an emotion that does not take place isolated from other emotions. Pain goes up or down depending on whether your are excited, lonely, angry or in love. The emotional lives of human beings are much more complex than those of animals. For example, most animals do not experience guilt, shame, pride, compassion, envy and many other so-called social emotions that we have. Animal emotions seem to be restricted to the six Darwinian emotions of fear, anger, surprise, disgust, sadness and joy. Because pain is felt is the context of that rich emotional life, it has more meaning in humans than in animals. The pain felt by a primitive animal (like a fish) is similar to the one felt by an anesthetized human: pain sensations reach the spinal cord but have no meaning without the higher brain functions – they produce no suffering. Pain neuroscientist BUD Craig actually showed that pain pathways in the brain of human and apes divide in three branches, connecting to the emotion-processing areas of the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex, whereas other mammals have only two branches. Another way to look at the problem of pain an suffering is from the standpoint of consciousness. An unique characteristic of human minds is what Antonio Damasio called “extended consciousness”, the ability to see ourselves as beings with a past and a future. Animals, on the other hand, live in a continuous present. Therefore, when a human experiences pain, she is aware of the pain that she has experienced in the past and worries about experiencing that pain in the future, whereas an animal is aware only of the pain that it experiences now. Liking human pain with the pain of others and putting it in the context of all her other emotions gives human suffering the depth that animal suffering does not have. All in all, there is evidence in modern neuroscience that human beings belong to a totally different category of beings than non-human animals – we are qualitative different, no just quantitatively different from the size of our intellect. Humans and animals are as different as animals and plants, because humans have lots of properties that animals do not have, can do a lot of things that animals cannot do.

  37. 37
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Pain is an emotion?

  38. 38
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Those scientists, tying monkeys to “those mechanic things” so that they could do their “stupid experiments”.

    How could this possibly sound anti-science? /rhetorical

  39. 39
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Hermes Solenzol

    The pain felt by a primitive animal (like a fish) is similar to the one felt by an anesthetized human: pain sensations reach the spinal cord but have no meaning without the higher brain functions – they produce no suffering.

    This is why fish, when hooked, immediately jump out of the water into a conveniently placed skillet, rather than try their damndest to get away.

  40. 40
    Inaji

    Hermes Solenzol:

    Pain is an emotion that does not take place isolated from other emotions. Pain goes up or down depending on whether your are excited, lonely, angry or in love.

    You’re full of shit, Hermes. The spinal pain I’m experiencing right now is unaffected by emotion. It’s not a fucking mood ring. What does affect it is, oh, quickly bending over (negative) or an injection of dilaudid (positive).

  41. 41
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I wonder if Hermes has a handy citation available…

  42. 42
    Keith Moon
  43. 43
    cswella

    So, when I step on a nail, I feel emotion about it and worry that it’ll happen again, thus it becomes pain? Sounds circular.

    Humans and animals are as different as animals and plants, because humans have lots of properties that animals do not have, can do a lot of things that animals cannot do.

    I call bullshit. We are not as far removed from animals as animals are from plants. We ARE animals, and our differences from other animals are no more varied than a cheetah is faster than most animals.

  44. 44
    cswella

    Well, Paul, you know that these animal rights enthusiasts are atheists who have followed Reason to its logical conclusion – just like you and your New Atheist buddies who have followed Reason to the logical conclusion of blowing up scary brown people because they worship the wrong God.

    …What?

  45. 45
    Feats of Cats

    Animals, on the other hand, live in a continuous present. Therefore, when a human experiences pain, she is aware of the pain that she has experienced in the past and worries about experiencing that pain in the future, whereas an animal is aware only of the pain that it experiences now.

    If that were true, animals would be useless in behavioral experiments anyway. Gonna keep walking on that panel that gives them a shock, because hey, they live in the moment and can’t connect to previously-experienced pain! What a useful model.

  46. 46
    zenlike

    44 cswella

    …What?

    Don’t worry cswella, Keith Moon is a very occasional commenter who has never ever posted anything that’s even remotely understandable.

  47. 47
    susan

    Just an FYI for anyone thinking of joining the UCLA anti-protest, please be aware that this is the weekend for “Jamzilla” and the 405 (closest freeway to UCLA) will be jammed, so you might want to take another route:

    “Transportation and law enforcement officials are urging drivers to avoid traveling northbound through West Los Angeles and the Sepulveda Pass for the duration of the closures.”

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-jamzilla-405-freeway-20140212,0,2425934.story#ixzz2tF0KD5Bl

  48. 48
    Rich Woods

    This evening, there’s a spider visible on the wall to my front and left. I think it’s dying.

    Seven days ago it first appeared on my wall, to my left and behind me. I didn’t remove it because I don’t have any strong feelings about arachnids in my house unless they are spinning a web which gets in my way.

    Over the last seven days the spider has slowly moved from whatever point high up on the wall it came from, to down and below my map of 16th century Lincolnshire, and forward from there across the wall at eye height, such that I can’t possibly miss it when looking at my computer screen. This is a total traverse of just over two metres in that time. In the last two days it has covered maybe 15cm per day. The spider is (as best as I can tell, without looking at specialist sites) a house spider which measures about 20mm from longest left foreleg to opposite right hind leg.

    Its behaviour (sitting out in the open) makes me think it is on its last legs (no pun intended). Then again, after the first day on which I saw it, I thought it was dying. I could have plucked it off the wall and dropped it in the bin (the recycling waste bin, naturally). But I didn’t. Half of me didn’t want to interfere and half of me was curious. For the last five days, since its predicament became obvious, I’ve been trying to work out whether this spider is suffering or not. I don’t know much about arachnids but my best guess is that they have somewhere between five and ten thousand neurons. Do they suffer? Does my particular spider feel the pangs of starvation and/or thirst? Would it be ethical for me to squash it right now, since it really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere which might possibly contain food, or should I just let it wander around and — most likely — die slowly on its own? Should I have squashed it earlier?

    In the time it’s taken me to write this, the spider has made its first move of the evening. Three hours ago its legs were mostly bunched up and I wondered if it had died and was only hanging on to the wall by one leg. Now, it has spread its lower legs out and taken up more a of a typical spider pose.

    Do I continue to study it, or do I not?

  49. 49
    blueskyscience22

    Pro-Test for Science have decided to postpone the rally, in order to give UCLA authorities some space to try new approaches to preventing extremists from harassing and threatening their scientists.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2014/02/13/statement-on-postponement-of-pro-test-for-science-rally/

    We’ll be watching very closely to make sure that UCLA follows up on its committments!

  50. 50
    opposablethumbs

    Hermes Solenzol, you are aware that there is a considerable body of experimentation that shows various non-human species to be not only capable of remembering but also of anticipating and forward planning, right? As it ‘appens, I support in vivo research where there is currently no viable alternative (and obviously not for non-essential purposes such as household products) but you’re doing your argument no favours by implying an absolute and unbridgeable yawning chasm between human and all non-human animals instead of acknowledging that we actually have limited but quite meaningful overlap with quite a few of ‘em.

  51. 51
    David Marjanović

    An unique characteristic of human minds is what Antonio Damasio called “extended consciousness”, the ability to see ourselves as beings with a past and a future. Animals, on the other hand, live in a continuous present. Therefore, when a human experiences pain, she is aware of the pain that she has experienced in the past and worries about experiencing that pain in the future, whereas an animal is aware only of the pain that it experiences now.

    …Are you seriously trying to claim that only humans have a memory!?!?!

    Pain neuroscientist BUD Craig actually showed that pain pathways in the brain of human and apes divide in three branches, connecting to the emotion-processing areas of the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex, whereas other mammals have only two branches.

    [...]

    All in all, there is evidence in modern neuroscience that human beings belong to a totally different category of beings than non-human animals – we are qualitative different, no just quantitatively different from the size of our intellect. Humans and animals are as different as animals and plants, because humans have lots of properties that animals do not have, can do a lot of things that animals cannot do.

    You just contradicted yourself.

  52. 52
    David Marjanović

    Oops, forgot:

    Curse me if you must, but I never developed the professional dispassion required to remove my emotions from the doctor/patient relationship. It is why I left the business.

    Reportedly, sociopaths are overrepresented among surgeons.

  53. 53
    A. R

    My only experiences with animal rights advocates, other than one or two cases online, have left me with a distinct impression that anti-science attitudes are very prevalent. As a scientist who works with animal models of infectious disease (one of those places where cell culture just doesn’t cut it, and human experimentation is out of the question), I’ve received my fair share of death threats, including a number that included what I shall refer to as “violent sexual imagery”. This is a group of people that by and large, I would prefer to avoid at all costs.

  54. 54
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    While Hermes is full of shit on the whole “animals don’t have memory” thing, I will – tentatively – agree that mood does affect pain perception. Basically, here’s why: if you are in pain to the extent that you are bedridden (I’m deliberately choosing an extreme example), but were put in a situation where you absolutely had to get up and move (e.g. your house is on fire), most people would be more capable of getting up and moving than they would be without said stimulus. But that’s because the sympathetic nervous system is powerful. That said, if your SNS remains stimulated for too long, you’ll die.

    Here’s my view of animal research: I’ve done it. I don’t like it. I don’t like seeing a cage of cute, adorable, squeaking rodents, cheerfully grooming each other and being social, and then methodically looking at their ear tags and deciding which ones are getting killed today and which ones will receive a series of painful injections (and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t tell if a rat is in pain – you totally can).

    But here’s the thing. I saw a poster once that encapsulated the argument neatly for me. It showed a child, wearing a hospital gown, sitting in a hospital bed, hooked up to various pieces of equipment. The child was adorable, yet looked sick and weak. What parts of the bed not occupied by the child’s body was overflowing with various stuffed animals, all adorable. The caption: “It’s the animals that you don’t see that are helping her heal.”

    Because that is the crux of the matter for most scientists. Scientists who do animal research don’t do it for the lulz, but because there are sick patients out there who need treatments, and at present the best method we have for finding new treatments is animals. If a better method were to appear tomorrow, I am confident that animal labs the world over would close.

  55. 55
    ck

    Anyone who has ever had a dog knows that they can remember past pain and discomfort and anticipate it when reexposed to the conditions that previously preceded it. Just watch how they react when they realize they’re being taken to the vet.

  56. 56
    dianne

    Want to do something good for animals used in research without compromising scientists’ ability to perform research? Join your local university’s IACUC (animal use committee). They’re required to take a community member and most would be happy to take a reasonable person who is concerned with animal welfare to participate. Those that aren’t…particularly need you.

  57. 57
    sonofrojblake

    do they intend to elevated monkeys to the status of Jews, or are they simply equating Jews and monkeys?

    I think they intend to elevate monkeys (and dogs, and fish) to the status of humans.

    Is the fact that they’re irrational, harassing, violent unpleasant idiots not enough, that you have to manufacture an imputation of anti-Semitism out of… what?

    (I hold no brief for these people. I’ve had to, at various times of my life, regularly check under my car for bombs, the possible planters of which were, for a while, Irish terrorists, then later, for a while, animal rights terrorists. While the Irish achieved more actual killing, it was the AR lot that frightened me more, and it was the AR lot whose actions actually hit closest.)

  58. 58
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Anecdote time.

    I lived with an ALF (Animal Liberation Front) member at the time he committed crimes that amounted in the eyes of the law to terrorism.

    He and a partner broke into a lab on the local uni and took all the cats they’d been experimenting on. I can understand his motivation for doing so, and as I have no idea what they were doing with the cats I can’t speak to how justified that motivation was.

    But what I’m not sure about is why they trashed all the records they found, destroyed all the computers and tried to set fire to the place. The attempted arson failed ironically enough, because they didn’t understand even the most basic science. They placed a lit incense stick in a pan of gasoline and of course the flash point of the gas was high enough to simply snuff the incense when the ember hit the surface.

    This guy was a strict vegan, eschewing even things like wool and honey because ‘animal exploitation’. If I had to guess I’d say that the reason they trashed the research data was because they didn’t want anyone benefiting from the exploitation of animals. That was paramount, any benefit that humanity accrued was undeserved because of that exploitation. He had no pragmatism at all about these issues.

    Of course he had no sense about it either. It seems to me that any data lost by his actions would be made up for by the researchers doing it all again. I can imagine that funding the replication would even be made easier because of sympathy for the researchers.

    Ideologues and their ilk seem to have such a strong focus on their one passion that everything, including consideration of the best outcomes for their stated goals, is relegated to unimportance.

  59. 59
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @FossilFishy

    Of course he had no sense about it either. It seems to me that any data lost by his actions would be made up for by the researchers doing it all again.

    Yeah, this is what I always wonder when I read about stuff like that. By destroying the records, all you’ve done is ensure they’ll do it all over again. *slow clap*

  60. 60
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Hermes Solenzol #36

    For a start, I’d like a citation. Partly because it sounds like interesting work, and partly because without one we are forced to merely take your word for it.

    Second, while your assertion that pain produces more complex responses in animals with more intelligence and complex emotions appears to make some sort of sense on the face of it, it seems facile to merely declare that you can separate humans from all other animals on that basis. Intelligence and emotional complexity differ gradually from species to species; for example all the evidence seems to indicate that dolphins aren’t that far below humans on this scale. Where do you draw the line between fish-level pain, as merely a “red flag” that something is wrong, and actual suffering as experienced by neurologically complex creatures like humans? I would posit that it’s a continuous scale rather than sharp delineations.

    Thirdly, your assertion that animals can’t relate current experiences to past experiences, or plan future experiences based on that learning, is clearly bullshit, as evidenced by the fact that you can train pretty much any animal through negative reinforcement and the fact that animals learning and applying those lessons is fairly well documented among certain species. Again, I would posit a scale based on neurological complexity, and not a simple delineation like you propose.

  61. 61
    Anri

    Hermes Solenzol @ 36:

    Given that you draw a distinction between humans and animals on a strictly biological scale, at what point in our evolutionary history did we stop being animals?

    Citations would be nice, but we can start with just another unevidenced opinion, if that’s all ya got.

    Thanks in advance!

    (Oh, and BTW, if you aren’t planning on engaging – if you did a pigeonesque dump & scoot – you have no standing to complain about anyone being unhappy with unfriendly opinions. Just putting that out there in case.)

  62. 62
    Holms

    #8
    “I’ll also bet you that if you interviewed those protesters, you’d also find a whole bunch of anti-science sentiment: they’re probably hysterical about GMOs, freaking out over vaccinations, and are full of New Age nonsense.”

    …and now we’ve got unsupported assertions. Stop digging, PZ.

    These ‘unsupported’ assertions are actually supported by a long historical trend. The overwhelming majority of the time, a crowd such as this is going to express plenty of anti-GMO sentiment, and other claptrap.

    #33
    No real idea whether you’re an asshole or not, but the ‘sanctimonious’? Nearly explicit.

    In my experience, ‘santimonious’ has a strong correlation with ‘arsehole’ and are virtually synonymous.

  63. 63
    dsiz

    Some things to consider -
    1. These protestors have been engaged in a legal protest campaign. They do home protests as allowed by Los Angeles law, remaining a specified distance from the house of the protest target. These protests happen in front of police from UCLA and LAPD. They are not suspected of nor have they ever been accused of the illegal actions mentioned in this post or the postings of the UCLA researchers. To conflate the two is bad logic.
    2. The researchers repeatedly claim their work is important because animal research was utilized in the discovery of cures for diseases. Instead of justifying the scientific validity of their work by referencing the work of others, how about just sticking to what they’re actually doing themselves? None of the UCLA researchers can point to any cures they’ve discovered. They like to bring up the achievements of others in the past to justify their work, but their own work offers very little in terms of results. Yet they receive millions in tax payer money to do the same experiments year after year on subjects that are not ground-breaking, e.g. the addictive qualities of nicotine.
    3. Not all scientists believe that animal testing is a good way to make medical progress. Drs. Murry Cohen, Ray Greek, and others have written extensively against it. Even the former head of the NIH Elias Zerhouni has concerns –
    “We have moved away from studying human disease in humans,” he lamented. “We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included.” With the ability to knock in or knock out any gene in a mouse—which “can’t sue us,” Zerhouni quipped—researchers have over-relied on animal data. “The problem is that it hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem…We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.”
    http://nihrecord.od.nih.gov/newsletters/2013/06_21_2013/story1.htm

  64. 64
    dsiz

    This is the reasoning behind the research they’re doing -

  65. 65
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Dsiz, I have a potential cure for cancer. It has not toxicity data. Who gets the first injection, you or the rat?
    That question summarizes the argument. If the rat, you will allow experimentation on animals with appropriate controls, which are in place. If neither, you are an anti-science Luddite. If you, start you and your buddies volunteering to take the place of animals in testing.

  66. 66
    dsiz

    Nerd of Redhead. Wouldn’t your test be more accurate if you did the injection on someone on death row? Why don’t you do that? Many substances which are toxic to humans are not toxic to other species.

  67. 67
    dsiz

    Basically, my point is that one can put restrictions on science due to ethical concerns without being an anti-science Luddite. Your question is a classic straw-man argument. I would expect better from a forum like this.

  68. 68
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    dsiz #65

    Nerd of Redhead. Wouldn’t your test be more accurate if you did the injection on someone on death row? Why don’t you do that? Many substances which are toxic to humans are not toxic to other species.

    Which implies that you think state-sanctioned killing of people is fine, but not state-sanctioned killing of animals. Why is that?

  69. 69
    zenlike

    I stopped watching that video 1 second in.

    ‘Vivisector’, animals being ‘imprisoned’, ‘honoring’ animals. The stupidity, it burns!

    My rule? If your argument is ‘vivisections bad’ without any qualifications, you lose the debate.

  70. 70
    dsiz

    Daz – I posed a question. Which is different from advocating a position. I asked if that would be ok, as it would be more scientifically useful. That doesn’t mean I think it’s ok. My point is that you can oppose something that is scientifically valid for ethical reasons without being an anti-science Luddite, as Redhead suggested. That’s all.

    Zenlike – Oh! So the animals in labs aren’t imprisoned? They stay there of their own free will? It’s stupid to honor animals? Vivisector is not a valid word? Sounds like you’re waging a war on the dictionary.

  71. 71
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    dsiz #70

    Daz – I posed a question. Which is different from advocating a position.

    I beg to differ.

  72. 72
    zenlike

    70 dsiz

    Zenlike – Oh! So the animals in labs aren’t imprisoned? They stay there of their own free will? It’s stupid to honor animals? Vivisector is not a valid word? Sounds like you’re waging a war on the dictionary.

    Point entirely missed, but I expect nothing more from an ARA moron.

    Talking about ‘imprisonment’ and ‘honouring’ animals (and for that matter ‘free will’) is equating animals with humans. I find that concept laughable, since there clearly is an ethical difference.

    Don’t be surprised when putting animals on exactly the same ethical level as humans that some people take this to it’s logical conclusion, in other words, endanger human lives to ‘protect animals’. So no, you and your ilk are not directly responsible for the illegal acts of the extremists but you sure are providing the context for it.

    Using the ‘scary word’ ‘vivisector’ is nothing more then playing on people’s emotions. It would be the same as calling surgeons ‘vivisectors’. Why don’t you call them that? What I’m trying to say, if your first argument is ‘omg vivisection’, then you probably don’t have anything valid or reasonable to say, and debate with you is useless.

  73. 73
    ChasCPeterson

    Not all scientists believe that animal testing is a good way to make medical progress. Drs. Murry Cohen, Ray Greek, and others have written extensively against it.

    Where the hell do people get the idea that physicians (especially psychiatrists) are ‘scientists’?

    This is the reasoning behind the research they’re doing -

    Reasoning? That’s how you introduce a video about prayer and a silent vigil for monkeys? lol
    (btw, love the Orwellian monicker “Progress For Science”)
    Here is the reasoning behind (some of) the research they’re doing:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2007/nov/01/opinion/oe-london1

  74. 74
    dsiz

    Daz – You should try reading transcripts of Supreme Court cases, for instance. You’ll notice that the justices pose questions to elicit conversations that can illuminate the subject being discussed. But I’m noticing from the few responses I’ve gotten here that there is no interest in exploring ideas or logically examining anything. Too bad. I’ll leave you to your opinions which you seem most comfortable to have unchallenged. Not very scientific.

  75. 75
    dsiz

    Wow. I didn’t realize this was a site populated by a bunch of irrational, ill-tempered, illogical people who prefer to flame anyone who disagrees with them. Sayonara weirdos.

  76. 76
    zenlike

    ‘Those scientists accomplish nothing with this animal research’, ‘I found one scientist who agrees with me’, ‘omg vivisections sounds so bad, so it probably is bad’.

    Yeah, if this is your ‘logical scientific reasoning’, then no wonder nobody takes you remotely seriously.

  77. 77
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I didn’t realize this was a site populated by a bunch of irrational, ill-tempered, illogical people who prefer to flame anyone who disagrees with them.

    Ever stop to think that you are the irrational fool here? You certainly sound like a True Believer™, who won’t let themselves and their beliefs be questioned, examined, and changed with evidence.

  78. 78
    zenlike

    Short question dsiz: are you pro-choice?

    Because that video you showed here mirrors exactly those ‘pro-life’ protests videos.

    If someone posted one of those, would you also not laugh them away? Would you take them seriously and really think this person is someone you can argue with in good faith?

  79. 79
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    But I’m noticing from the few responses I’ve gotten here that there is no interest in exploring ideas or logically examining anything.

    On the contrary; your questions—the ones I highlighted—contained two* tacit assumptions. That human beings’ lives are no more more valuable than those of the animals typically used in experimentation. And that death-penalties are morally justifiable.

    *Actually three; the third being that any results will be of no use in veterinary medicine.

  80. 80
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Wouldn’t your test be more accurate if you did the injection on someone on death row?

    Typical asshole avoiding the question. YOU OR THE RAT? Make up your mind and live (or die) with the consequences.

  81. 81
    lostintime

    I hate animal rights extremism and I’m disgusted by the decade of violence that UCLA researchers have faced – if I could be there to support the University I would be. Reading the comments though I’m put off by the all-or-nothing nature of the discussion, even those arguments coming from the ‘science side’. The way in which the debate is presented as being ludditism versus moral clarity is wrongheaded. There are moderate critics of animal research that are crowded out (because of AR extremism I’m sure) but nevertheless I’d like to hear more of this given the moral seriousness of animal cruelty – even though the object of research is to reduce overall suffering. I don’t oppose animal research – it’s essential for medical progress and without it we would be living in the dark ages.

    In this century we’ve seen the eradication small pox, and the cure of hundreds of diseases which were devastating for millions of people – I read about one disease on the ‘speaking of research’ blog where a child was suffering from a condition which caused her skin to ‘fall off’, but which is now being treated. When compared to the life of a rat, or 10,000 rats, the moral case is undeniable. So I disagree with Animal Rights activists who take an absolute stance against research. But what about other kinds of animal research? That blog doesn’t mention less morally clear cut uses of animal use which cause awful suffering and which aren’t necessarily essential for medical progress, but which are on the ‘side of science’. What about psychological research and the cruel experiments that have been conducted in this field? What about weapons research? What about the fact that a lot of research is conducted by pharmaceutical corporations that are motivated by profits – wouldn’t they have an onus to develop ‘me-too’ drugs for non-lethal conditions? Is that research really essential?

    There’s also the testing of non-medical products which is still taking place in many countries. This isn’t an indictment of anyone in particular but I’d like to hear a more balanced argument on this issue – because I’m sure it’s not all-or-nothing. PZ voiced doubts in a previous thread about an experiment where monkeys were repeatedly smashed in the head to study concussion. I’d like to know where the line tends to be drawn and under what circumstances a project is deemed to be unacceptable.

  82. 82
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    That blog doesn’t mention less morally clear cut uses of animal use which cause awful suffering and which aren’t necessarily essential for medical progress, but which are on the ‘side of science’.

    Ever bother to look the regulations out there? Or that certain industries must use animal tests due to Federal regulations. The FDA would love to reduce animal testing. But, until real and validated alternative methods are available, it must continue. Those complaining don’t get to decide what is and isn’t necessary.

  83. 83
    lostintime

    Dismissive and puffed up as usual. Yes I have read the regulations thank you, but given the glibness of your post I wouldn’t know what you’re arguing against. Europe has banned cosmetic testing, so in that sense it’s not true that animal testing ‘has to continue’. The same goes for other kinds of research which are more stringently regulated in other countries.

  84. 84
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Europe has banned cosmetic testing, so in that sense it’s not true that animal testing ‘has to continue’. The same goes for other kinds of research which are more stringently regulated in other countries.

    Gee, not one citation to back up your claims. And the FDA is bound by their charter, which is food, drugs, and cosmetics. Given the sue at a drop of the hat nature of some folks, showing you are doing the “best available” testing for irritation is not insignificant. Your reply was glib.

  85. 85
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Lostintime,
    Want to make a billion? Easy, come up with a validated test method that will show eye/skin irritation for cosmetics. No joke. The companies want to stop animal testing, as it is expensive. Just show them that the “best avialable” and validated (FDA approved) test is an in vitro test.

  86. 86
    lostintime

    Gee, not one citation to back up your claims.

    From Speaking of Research February 7, 2014:

    The government wishes to do what it can to export the UK’s best practice abroad… By pushing for better standards elsewhere the UK both helps improve the global welfare of animals, and helps to prevent the temptation for some researchers to conduct studies abroad where regulations are less stringent.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/tag/animal-testing-uk/
    Also this:
    EU bans sale of all animal tested cosmetics:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21740745

    Want to make a billion? Easy, come up with a validated test method that will show eye/skin irritation for cosmetics. No joke. The companies want to stop animal testing, as it is expensive.

    Even better we could ban the testing of new cosmetics and household chemicals when we have perfectly good products that already exist.

  87. 87
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Even better we could ban the testing of new cosmetics and household chemicals when we have perfectly good products that already exist.

    Another Luddite who won’t allow continuous improvement, which has a proven track record, compared to stagnant industries.

  88. 88
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Gotta say, on the subject of fripperies like cosmetics, I’m with lostintime. No way should animals be suffering to any degree, just so we can flavour our armpits or paint our nails an exciting new shade. That’s not Luddism, it’s morality.

  89. 89
    Inaji

    Daz:

    Gotta say, on the subject of fripperies like cosmetics, I’m with lostintime.

    Aye, me too.

  90. 90
    Drolfe

    Fwiw, I think Nerd is closer. Imagine this probably not unlikely scenario: a new compound or chemical process for food or hygiene or cosmetics is developed, this novel invention can create significant, incremental improvements in production efficiencies; those efficiencies result in reduced labor exploitation and/or reduced pollutants (including carbon all along the product chain), by definition.

    We can either reap these efficiencies, necessitating a new round of testing or do nothing and ignore innovations like this. I think it’s kind of bullshit to assume that the motivation behind R&D for anything outside medicine doesn’t have a deeper moral calculus. Not searching for efficiencies also has a moral weight.

    It seems glib to just say: Eat what granny ate! Wash the way granny washed! Look how granny looked! It was good enough for her! How is that not Luddism?

  91. 91
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    My problem with folks the Animal Rights groups are that they aren’t really trying to solve the problem. How do you reduce animal testing? By supplying cheaper and just as reliable alternatives. Animal testing will be cut back to the bare bones, like initial drug testing.

    So, supply monies for creation of artificial skin that mimics the action of real skin, including synergistic allergic effects of trace components. Come up with a way to determine LD50 data without using animals. Etc.

    But no, the ARA folks harass scientists who have jumped through their institutions review boards, got permission, and monies to do the work. That is definitely easier and cheaper, but not as ethical, as funding those alternatives….

  92. 92
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Drolfe #90

    It seems glib to just say: Eat what granny ate! Wash the way granny washed! Look how granny looked! It was good enough for her! How is that not Luddism?

    Don’t be silly. No one here said progress is necessarily bad. But neither does it automatically mean “good.” Great-Granny liked to go watch the bear-baiting of a Saturday afternoon. Just like we don’t consider bear-baiting morally justified anymore, neither should we be making other animals suffer for other things which should be classed as amusement, like a better, nicer, redder lipstick. That it is, unlike bear-baiting, being done at a remove, does not change the fact that animals are suffering so we can have fun painting ourselves in ever-more inventive ways.

    And, FWIW, I disagreed with Nerd on that aspect, and that aspect alone.

  93. 93
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Can anyone provide a single example of animal rights activists killing a human being? Ever? Or are you all just using the same slanderous allegation of “terrorism” that has been used against every rights movement in history?

  94. 94
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    http://youtu.be/IlUKBSFnIRo

    Hey look, I’m a terrorist cuz I posted that link!

  95. 95
    zenlike

    93 dysomniak “They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!”

    Can anyone provide a single example of animal rights activists killing a human being?

    ARA’s wanting to ban every test on animals, even the ones needed for new cancer medication, are pushing for something that will kill people.

    This besides the firebombings by the extremists. Yes, firebombing a place is endangering human livesn thankyouverymuch.

  96. 96
    zenlike

    Also, look up ‘slanderous’. Idiot.

  97. 97
    zenlike

    And besides, I don’t remember a case in which an ARA killed someone, but it was not due to lack of trying:

    In 1982, letter bombs were sent to all four major party leaders in the UK, including the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. (…) The letter bombs were claimed by the Animal Rights Militia (ARM)
    (…)
    From 1983 onwards, a series of fire bombs exploded in department stores that sold fur, with the intention of triggering the sprinkler systems in order to cause damage, although several stores were partly or completely destroyed.[57] In September 1985, incendiary devices were placed under the cars of Dr. Sharat Gangoli and Dr. Stuart Walker, both animal researchers with the British Industrial Biological Research Association (BIBRA), wrecking both vehicles but with no injuries, and with the ARM claiming responsibility. In January 1986, the ARM said it had placed devices under the cars of four employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences, timed to explode an hour apart from each other. A further device was placed under the car of Dr. Andor Sebesteny, a researcher for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, which he spotted before it exploded.[58] The next major attacks on individual researchers took place in 1990, when the cars of two veterinary researchers were destroyed by sophisticated explosive devices in two separate explosions.[59][copyright violation?] In February 1989, an explosion damaged the Senate House bar in Bristol University, an attack claimed by the unknown “Animal Abused Society”.[59][copyright violation?] In June 1990, two days apart, bombs exploded in the cars of Margaret Baskerville, a veterinary surgeon working at Porton Down, a chemical research defence establishment, and Patrick Max Headley, a physiologist at Bristol University. Baskerville escaped without injury by jumping through the window of her mini-jeep when a bomb using a mercury-tilt device exploded next to the fuel tank. During the attack on Headley, which New Scientist writes involved the use of plastic explosives, a 13-month-old baby passing by in a stroller suffered flash burns, shrapnel wounds to his back, and a partially severed finger.[59][copyright violation?] A wave of letter bombs followed in 1993, one of which was opened by the head of the Hereford site of GlaxoSmithKline, causing burns to his hands and face. Eleven similar devices were intercepted in postal sorting offices.[59][copyright violation?]

  98. 98
    lostintime

    The video above is horrible, but then I’ve just seen some footage of a counter-demonstration which took place in January which I’m unsure about. The blog where this video is posted is obviously ideological and one-sided, but the footage shows very aggressive behaviour from the research community towards young women and implicit threats of violence:

    http://aphilosophersblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/speaking-of-logical-fallacies-why-the-speaking-of-research-community-could-use-a-refresher-course-in-critical-reasoning/

    I’m unable to verify this, but the video seems to show David Jentsh shouting in close proximity to a young woman: “By the way, Hitler loved animals. He was a vegetarian like you! Hitler loved vegetarians!” They encircle the silent protesters and continue screaming into their faces, shouting “you’re pathetic”, fuck you”, “you hate humans”, “go home and put some fresh tofu on the grill”. After many sickening protests that have targeted researcher’s families I can understand why they acted in this way, but I was still unsettled the behaviour of the research supporters in this video – it’s a far cry from demonstrating calmly, but maybe if it happened to me I’d do the same. You can judge for yourself.

  99. 99
    dsiz

    Apparently UCLA was so embarrassed by the researchers behavior last time, they asked them not to counter-demo today.
    http://speakingofresearch.com/2014/02/13/statement-on-postponement-of-pro-test-for-science-rally/

    Makes sense, considering this is how researchers try to justify their work -

  100. 100
    zenlike

    Hi dsiz, just reposting the same stupid video doesn’t magically prove your point you know.

  101. 101
    ChasCPeterson

    Can anyone provide a single example of animal rights activists killing a human being? Ever? Or are you all just using the same slanderous allegation of “terrorism” that has been used against every rights movement in history?

    Are you really that stupid and self-servingly humptydumptyish?
    Yes?
    OK then.

    I’ve just seen some footage of a counter-demonstration which took place in January which I’m unsure about.

    Let me guess: the same video embedded above @#64 and then–hey presto!–again @#99?
    yep. Old news.

    dsiz: What are you, on automatic? You think embedding the exact same vid again is going to get a different reaction this time?

    Look, we get it, OK? We all got it the first time: some of the counter=protesters (really just 1 or 2 imo) behaved like jackasses* while these particular brave and saintly Activists stood silent vigil and prayed earnestly for the holy monkey lives.
    Your emothional appeal is noted, again. Of course, again, it has absolutely zero to do with who is right or wrong in any sense, scientific, ethical, or moral. Zero.
    It’s just tone trolling. We see right past that bullshit around here.

    *and yeah, I will readily acknowledge that a couple of them acted like jackasses.
    So what?
    Jentsch’s fucking car was firebombed outside his house. Condone that, dipshit.

  102. 102
    dsiz

    No vivisectors demonstrated calmly for pro-science. No vivisectors demonstrated at all.
    The only people demonstrating in favor of science were the animal rights activists. Because they are the only ones with the courage of their convictions and the only ones on the right side of science and history. I have no doubt those on this forum will continue to advocate antiquated and unethical methods. But you will lose this fight. Because history favors the just.

    ::::An Open Letter to UCLA’s Vivisectors, From Progress for Science::::
    Edythe London and David Jentsch:
    Progress for Science visited your neighborhood yesterday. We spoke out against the unethical, unproductive and wasteful experiments you conduct on our closest relatives. We spoke with the clear and decisive voice of your Los Angeles community, our numbers dwarfing the small contingent of abusive individuals you carted out several weeks ago.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiECGuXixmQ
    You had stated, “We are watching and waiting. When you come back, you will find us waiting for you.”
    http://unlikelyactivist.com/2014/01/19/the-beginning-of-the-end/
    But you failed to appear. You failed to give voice to your “science.” You chose to hide, as you always have, in your gated houses and your windowless labs.
    We see that UCLA begged you not to come, embarrassed by your aggressive antics and screaming “researchers.”http://speakingofresearch.com/2014/02/13/statement-on-postponement-of-pro-test-for-science-rally/
    Your silence is a weapon against the primates you hold captive, invisible, without cameras to document your cruelty to them. But it will not deter us. We will speak when they cannot. We will assemble where they cannot. We will protest what they cannot.
    You claimed your counter-protest was the end of our movement. But clearly, it was not. It was the beginning of your end. It was the beginning of reason and compassion overcoming your antiquated methods and unethical practices.
    We will be back. Will you? Or will you continue to hide in the shadows? Will you continue to claim you are making medical and scientific progress when all you are really making is money? Will you come out into the public square and make your case? We will be there.
    Looking forward,
    Progress For Science

  103. 103
    dsiz

    The link that did not embed above is to the letter explaining the “scientists” no-show… the letter that makes it very clear the university is embarrassed by their own employees. While those of you on this forum refuse to watch the video of how your heros behave, others have, including the university.

    http://speakingofresearch.com/2014/02/13/statement-on-postponement-of-pro-test-for-science-rally/

  104. 104
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Who the fuck cares what lies a True Believer who has shown they have no ethics believes? After all, it was decided by medical ethicists that it was unethical to test drugs on prisoners. That is why YOU dsiz, must be the one to test the drugs, or you must allow the testing to be done in animals. Your hypocrisy and specism is showing, with humans the lowest on your list.

  105. 105
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor Note:

    dsiz

    You are not engaging in discussion, you are pontificating. Repetitively.

    You may be banned from a comment thread if:

    You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.
    Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.
    You demonstrate that you are unwilling to have read previous comments or the opening post.

    [Commenting Rules]

  106. 106
    dsiz

    It is no surprise, Daz, that you would seek to silence anyone who disagrees. It has become quite clear to me in my limited interactions with your community that this is how your ilk operates. I have no interest in discussing ideas with people who are as closed-minded as you. I couldn’t care less if you ban me. Enjoy losing ground, because that’s what is happening to your type.

  107. 107
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    dsiz #106

    It is no surprise, Daz, that you would seek to silence anyone who disagrees.

    I didn’t. I pointed out that your behaviour here has been in breach of the commenting-rules of this blog, in hopes that you would amend your behaviour. That’s my job.

    I have no interest in discussing ideas with people who are as closed-minded as you.

    How very rational of you. You’re fine with harassing and intimidating people at their homes and places of work, but when asked to support your contentions in reasonable debate, where you might possibly persuade people to your point of view, you claim that you cannot be bothered.

    I mean, I assume you have some points you could make in answer to various replies made to you, if only you could trouble yourself to do so, yes?

  108. 108
    lpetrich

    I have a challenge for the more extreme sort of animal-rights activists, the sort who harass animal researchers and who smash up animal-research labs. Are they willing to volunteer themselves for experiments and testing and the like? Seriously.

    Though it must be said that we are not very good lab animals. By animal-kingdom standards, we are very big and very slow-reproducing, and it would be very hard to create genetically-uniform populations of us the way that we’ve done with various lab species. So we are stuck with using species with smaller and faster-breeding individuals. Species like mice and rats and frogs and zebrafish and fruit flies and yeast and Escherichia coli bacteria.

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