November 20, 2006

Anti-science irrationality.

Spot the illogic:
Lindsay Bowers, a spokesperson for Petri and a UW-Madison researcher, who testified during judiciary committee hearings in May [on a bill to toughen the Animal Enterprise Terrorism statute to protect researchers] said she feared researchers were going to leave the field because of threats made against their labs as well as their homes.

[Jean Barnes, director for the Primate Freedom Project], however, said little progress from animal testing has been made since Alzheimer’s has been discovered, citing her own mother’s recent massive stroke and her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She pointed her finger at for [sic] lawmakers knowing little of what happens in labs or homes across the United States.

“If [Congress] thinks that animal research helped people like my mother and her husband, then I’d like to invite them down to spend the weekend with me to change adult diapers,” she said.

16 comments:

George said...

Forbes reported last month that animal research/experimentation labs are a huge, huge growth business in....where else!....China.

Yet another US and UK industry going off-shore.

Why would any company waste a minute doing that work here?

The costs are lower in China. It has the skilled people (mostly). And in a culture where people delight in eating anything that swims, crawls, or slithers, there won't be any protesters, and if there are, they'll be sent to labor camps.

Rick Lee said...

I did some photography work for a facility that does Alzheimer's research. This was important basic research on the mechanics of memory and how it might be affected by the disease. I photographed the researchers in all sorts of labs, etc., but they couldn't even tell me the location of the lab where they kept the animals... for security reasons. This is infuriating and insane.

Bruce Hayden said...

The illogic, as I see it, is Barnes saying essentially that the claim is that primates are being used to solve Alzheimer's, her own mother has Alzeimer's, despite that, and therefore primate testing does no good. Which, of course, fails Logic 101.

Alzheimer's is a devastating affliction. But a failure to solve that, yet, is hardly a reason to oppose primate research, and, indeed, should be a reason to support it.

John said...

Well, argument by anecdote is the American way now, in large part because it's politically useful. For example, looking at endless studies showing Spanish-speaking immigrants are acquiring English fluency as fast as any other immigrant group in our history is boring; reminding everyone they have to press 1 for English when they call a bank is fun. There's tons of this in science-related political discussion, and as long as we do such a poor job educating our population about the basics of the scientific method and there's political hay to be made from ignorance, expect it to continue.

John Thacker said...

For example, looking at endless studies showing Spanish-speaking immigrants are acquiring English fluency as fast as any other immigrant group in our history is boring; reminding everyone they have to press 1 for English when they call a bank is fun.

Well, I suspect that the difference with immigration is that an extremely large immigrant group all speaking the same language ends up producing a different visible effect than many, many groups all speaking different languages. Also, one can make an argument that beyond a critical mass of one language, assimilation might reduce-- acquiring English fluency is not precisely the same thing as not forming a separate society. The proportion or number of people speaking one particular other language was, in general, enough in the past for local newspapers and such, but the number of Spanish-speakers being enough to support TV networks and phone trees is a little different. (It's not as though your bank allows you to push a particular number for Chinese or French as well.)

I don't agree with them, but I think that people look at Canada and feel that a two-language society is more of a problem than a society with one dominant languages and many others from many other immigrant groups.

El Presidente said...

Perhaps Michael J. Fox should weigh in on the issue.

Internet Ronin said...

Translation: I'm stuck caring for my parents. You should have cured these problems already so I would not have to do it. It's all about ME! ME! ME! I want my May-po NOW!

Al Maviva said...

What about experimentation on fruitflies and small worms? Most genetic research is conducted on these animals. Seems to me if we are against animal experimentation, it should cover *all* the animals, not just the ones that make nice housepets.

Tim said...

"What about experimentation on fruitflies and small worms? Most genetic research is conducted on these animals. Seems to me if we are against animal experimentation, it should cover *all* the animals, not just the ones that make nice housepets."

Indeed. I wonder what Ms Barnes thinks about embryonic stem cell research, and if she's even thought about being consistent (as I have no idea what she thinks about ESCR) in her views?

paul a'barge said...

little progress from animal testing

... oh yes, the history of scientific advancement is just a washout with that animal testing thing, isn't it?

I can certainly see humane treatment for animal subjects, and I can certainly see research for products like cosmetics being restrained, but someone needs to put these kinds of folks in stocks in the public square , take down their pants and spank them for their idiocy.

Tibore said...

Lack of progress in discovering treatments does not mean lack of progress in generating knowledge.

Plus, Alzheimers isn't the be-all, end-all of animal research. Other areas of medical and biological inquiry are explored, not just Alzheimers. And, why did Barnes or the reporter choose the arbitrary timeframe "... since Alzheimer's has been discovered"? The bill addresses more than just violence against Alzheimer's researchers. How would an argument about progress or lack thereof in one solitary field destroy the legitimacy of research in other areas? Such as joint replacement (comes to mind because I had a bio professor who explained the sheep experiments that led to the knowledge and practices involved in her own hip ball-joint replacement).

On top of that, arguing that lawmakers know little of what happens in labs or homes across the US is a red herring: Isn't the FDA, the NIH, and other agencies involved with overseeing animal research part of the Executive, not Legislative branch? Granted, that's a nitpick, but my interpretation of Barnes's statement was that it was the lawmaker's area of responsibility to oversee research. I may be reading too much into that, but that's how I read it, and if my interpretation of her intent was correct, then she's misplacing responsibility, and she should be knocking at Executive branches civil servants, not lawmakers.

Harry Eagar said...

I think the Hippocratic Oath should be modified so that doctors are required to find out if people hold views like hers, and, if they do, deny them any treatments that were discovered through animal experimentation.

For example, is it ethical and moral to let a vegan or a PETA who is diabetic use insulin (because if they had been able to stop Minkoff's experiment on the dog, they would have)?

I say no, they should not be allowed to have treatments they would deny to others.

And I say, make it a law, since they want to make their opinion a law.

Revenant said...

Seems to me if we are against animal experimentation, it should cover *all* the animals, not just the ones that make nice housepets.

Organizations like PETA are, in fact, against those sorts of things too.

They may be insane, but they are at least consistently insane -- not like the people who think "animal rights" applies only to things that are cute and fuzzy.

NoAcuteDistress said...

Let's see if I"ve gotten the thrust of Ms Barnes' position: Had the NIH slaughtered/tortured a few hundred baboons AND arrived at a cure for Alzheimer's Disease 'since its discovery," (or at least since it devolved upon her to care for her afflicted mother) she'd be perfectly sanguine about all the primate blood shed?

JorgXMcKie said...

Hey! If 'science' can't come up with an answer/cure for my problem RIGHT NOW, then what damn good is it, anyway?

knoxgirl said...

Translation: I'm stuck caring for my parents. You should have cured these problems already so I would not have to do it

I'd say this about nails it. I was repulse when I read that quote.