Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
hawkinsssable
Promoted
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 7:46 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby hawkinsssable » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:48 pm UTC

jseah wrote:Yes, the police are not pressing charges.

The article in question wrote:No arrests have been made following the 12-hour drama, which took place on Saturday, although the university says that it will press charges against the protesters.
I don't imagine they're going to hand over more animals at the same time as pressing charges.
I also don't imagine the protestors had any illusions that they would hand over additional animals after they left.


Izawwlgood wrote:I am curious to hear hawks response to my post, because I'm under the impression that they have a very incorrect view of what animal testing actually encompasses and how it is conducted, as I indicated in that post.

... is the sole reason I'm replying. Defending a deeply unpopular position you're not particularly committed to feels pretty exhausting - but actually having somebody want you to? Sure, I'll give it a shot.

To be clear (in a way I didn't even attempt to be in my other posts): I don't really know what to think of animal testing for medically useful or potentially medically useful purposes. I've got too many conflicting intuitions, and conclusions either way in all but the most clear-cut scenarios leave me feeling incredibly, incredibly uncomfortable. I don't have any particular sympathy for the Stop Green Hill researchers. I'm also aware most reseachers aren't heartless, cruel monsters; more than one member of my family and more than one friend have or are currently involved in animal research. Each of them holds the completely functional attitude of professional detachment which is occasionally momentarily broken when, for example, noticing that the stomach of a pregnant, recently-euthanised mouse is still moving about a minute after said euthanasia. I would feel terrible if any one of them lost months, let alone years, of research. I'm being difficult and badly paraphrasing some chunks of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation not because I think I personally have anything worth contributing here, but because I find the whole attitude represented in the article and the smug, self-satisfied circle-jerk that is this thread deeply, deeply irritating. And yes, this is largely because I have a chip on my shoulder:

Spoiler:
In grade 2, I went snorkeling with my parents. I found the fish - even the plain ones - beautiful, and couldn't reconcile this with eating them. So I stopped eating fish.
In grade 4, I watched a doco on the McLibel trial. Part of it inadvertently drove home the message that "burgers are the corpses of mistreated cows!", and fuck, my brain couldn't resolve that cognitive dissonance. So I stopped eating meat, and being the social fuckwitted child I was, decided to research, practice and deliver a 10-minute speech during class time on the ethically shoddy practices of McDonalds. During question time, somebody asked if I was a vegetarian, and I said I was.
This went down about as well as you'd expect. Even though I very, very quickly learned to not bring vegetarianism up and certainly not defend it, I immediately went from being a generic, well-liked kid to the subject of moderately serious bullying that extended, in one way or another, until the end of high school. This ranged from childish and annoying (shoving meat in my face, loudly remarking how delicious that meat pie was, constant attempts to prove me wrong through saying stupid shit like "you're going to die because you can't live without meat"), genuinely nasty (finding a bunch of pictures of dead and/or dismembered animals, name-calling, concerted efforts to get a rise out of me) and physically violent (the kind that leaves you winded, not the kind that leaves you bleeding.)
Since grade 3, every time I get asked why I'm a vegetarian I say something completely self-deprecating. The responses, though, are more often than not the same kind of idiocy I'd hear in primary school - "But don't you know that they are DEAD ANYWAY? Don't you know that animals don't feel pain? Don't you know that your choices are WRONG?" No matter how flippantly you explain your decision, most people just can't wait to let you know how wrong you are.
My mother-in-law, drunk, has shouted some stupid shit along the lines of "There's no way I'm letting my daughter procreate with a fucking vegetarian."

In my experience, I have never, ever met a vegetarian or vegan nearly as obnoxious as meat-eaters. It's just that you lucky meat-eaters only have obnoxiousness directed towards you by the tiny subset of the population that doesn't eat meat, and so we kinda stick out.

It also seems to me like these kinds of experiences leave you with a pretty shitty range of options. Either 1) give up on your beliefs and choke down meat until it feels normal again, 2) work hard to conceal them ("I just don't like the taste"; "It's a health thing") and settle for opting out of a system that seems straightforwardly evil rather than trying to change it, or 3) become increasingly angry and frustrated. I chose 2.

Even though I'm not condoning what the Stop Green Hill folks did, I can kinda understand why people who chose option 3 end up wanting to fuck other people's shit up.


Anyway. I wish there was somebody properly to make the case against animal testing posting in this thread. I'm not, because - again - all I've got is a mess of ugly feelings both ways. Still, in their absence I'll give it my best.

Izawlgood wrote:1 ) All animal experimentation goes through a review board. There are certainly examples of organizationis failing to meet those standards, but they are the outliers. If you wanted to make a factual statement, it should have read 'very few animal trials cause significant amounts of pain'.

I don't know how many behavioral experiments are around at the moment that involve inflicting pain for the sake of measuring behavioral responses - probably not very many? - but pain, sickness, per-euthanasia death seem pretty common in some of the experiments I'm familiar with. It's also not like animals undergoing experimental procedures, especially 'lower' ones like mice and rats, are routinely given analgesics or other painkillers when they undergo experimental procedures. Possibly partly because the expression of pain is so different in these animals? Mice, I know, tend to behave normally, but with some very subtle quivering.

(I think, though I could be misremembering, that this was determined by inflicting different degrees of injury on a cohort of mice, then examining their behaviors.)

izawlgood wrote:2 ) Review board; pain minimized, animals sacrificed humanely. The more you post the more I'm under the impression you get all your information from PETA.

Is this any different to point 1?
Oh, right, I see. The barbed insult about getting my information from PETA.
Look - I have no loyalty to PETA. I'm not familiar with them, outside of people loudly criticising such-and-such thing they've done - always, in the cases I'm familiar with, completely trivial things that people simply don't get outraged about unless it's PETA doing it. ("They advertise using scantily-clad women? I might have been seen 50 other examples of this today, I'm going to direct ALL my outrage at THIS one!") But that "you must read PETA" somehow counts as an insult seems, to me, to speak volumes on how completely marginalised even weak animal rights / strong animal welfare groups are.

More to the point: As many, many other posters have already pointed out, 'pain minimised' and 'sacrificed humanely' means very, very little if you believe we have about as much right to humanely euthanise and arbitrarily inflict (minimised) pain on animals as on people. It doesn't have to be a case of 'do it better' so much as 'don't use sentient beings in this way, unless - maybe - there's a really, really good reason to.'

izawlgood wrote: ) You seem to be under the impression that people go into science because experimenting on animals is fun. You are wrong. The claim that the vast bulk of experimentation is conducted with no intent to produce results of significance is a statement as ludicriously fallacious as the claim that 'most business owners enjoy lighting their inventory on fire'. Again, all animal research goes through a review board, and any research project that isn't supported by strong logic and previous findings isn't going to be approved for animal testing.


I don't think anybody is under that impression. They are, however, under the impression that the threshold that needs to be crossed before research on animals can be justified is far, far, far too low, and also that 'significance within a certain highly specialised field' =/= significant enough to justify inflicting harm on animals. The behavioral experiments I paraphrased Singer on? He (and I) put them forward as radical examples of non-malicious, genuinely curious people attaching practically no value on the suffering they were producing. This - not the high proportion of evil scientists - is the problem, and it's a problem that extends far beyond research.

Besides, it's not like there's anything particularly unique about publishing for the sake of publication and career advancements; some very successful academics I'm familiar with have made whole careers out of writing, essentially, very slight variations of the same thing in a broad range of first, second and third-tier journals. (Presumably, the manuscripts aren't always reviewed by somebody familiar with their work.)

Re: the last sentence -

ABC Radio wrote:Natasha Mitchell: So tell us about that epiphany you've had in your own field/research.

Mike Calford: Well this came about from analysis that my colleagues at National Stroke Research Institute Geoff Don and David Howes undertook, they were concerned that a number of animal experiments had suggested some drugs would be useful as first aid treatments in stroke, a particular sort of stroke an ischemic stroke, that's where a blood supply is stopped to part of the brain. And in a number of animal experiments it said yes, certain drugs would be useful but when these went to human trial they proved not to be useful. They went back and reanalysed the animal experiments using this meta analysis method and what they found is that really there was very little efficacy in those experiments. And that was essentially because of bad design in those experiments.

Natasha Mitchell: You're talking about something like nearly 8,500 studies and really no outcome, and quite a lot of animals, quite a lot of simulated strokes in various animal models.


Izawlgood wrote:4 ) Wrong; the worst the protestors did was destroy promising data that may have led new therapies. This represents more than just a few years of inconveniencing some people; ever see the movie 'Medicine Man'? We have no way of knowing (and now, never will!) if one of those mice had a mutation that could have unlocked part of the mystery of some human neurological disorder, and it is entirely possible that such a mutation won't pop up again when the lines are restored.
Let's interpret this from the hypothetical perspective of somebody who might want to trash a research lab.
Your argument - which jseah made much better up here - is that... it's impossible to tell which research will directly or indirectly contribute useful, breakthrough knowledge we can use to help people. Therefore, even when the importance of animal research is not direct or obvious, we should carry it out.

We have 22 million people in Australia. We use almost 7 million research animals annually (excluding insects - the majority are fish, mice and rats). For somebody who cares about the wellbeing of these animals about as much as the wellbeing of these people, something seems pretty obviously wrong with this ratio.

izawlgood wrote:5 ) The problem with these activists is that they have thrust their morality in the livelihoods of others, and you're here getting bent out of shape because we have the audacity to condemn the activists for their actions. So, yes, what I would like to do is thrust that bunny in their face and demand to know why they think it's worth more than a human life; it is quite evident that they haven't thought about it very carefully.

Everybody hates people opposed to animal testing - so they are willing to smush together a mix of good, bad, staggeringly bad, and contradictory arguments together, then give themselves a nice little pat on the back for a job well done. This bugs me.

What bugs me more: The refusal to even attempt to figure out why people would act like this, short of - what - them being juvenile, idiotic and ignorant?

What bugs me the most: those repeated suggestions that the protestors / PETA / animal rights people in general are actually working against their interests by alienating people from their cause - and that they should, say, go ahead and get a job on an ethics committee.

But the cause they're alienating people from is your cause, not theirs. And people are already as alienated as they're going to get. Even the most cautious, watered-down animal rights stuff that filters through to the Australian media is automatically met with a barrage of abuse and outright hostility. Accordingly, most of the few essayists I've read on animal rights are so gentle, so thoughtful, so careful to raise questions but never make a point or conclude an argument - fine qualities, sure, but qualities we don't expect from people writing on any other issue. But animal rights isn't like any other issue - it's the kind of issue that makes you the subject of mockery, ridicule and violence from people who don't even begin to understand what your position is, or what it could be. The behaviour on display in that article and in this thread is, it seems to me, basically the exact same kind of behaviour that pushes people so far into the margins of a truly sick society that they are willing to predictably face relatively serious charges in order to deliver a neat little 'fuck you' to the people who have proven incapable of even figuring out what it is they're saying.
Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:29 pm UTC

You need to remember that each of my replies was directly addressing (mockingly at times) a singular paragraph you posted that made, what I feel, was a variety of completely absurd claims about how animal research is conducted.
Now, as for the chip on your shoulder, and how much more obnoxious us meat eaters have it; I want to remind you that we're discussing someone coming into a research lab and trashing the research, not, someone coming into a vegan household and gutting a cow in their living room. People don't hate animal rights protestors per say, they hate animal rights protestors who actively sabotage ongoing research. I feel, anyway. More on that later.

hawkinsssable wrote:It's also not like animals undergoing experimental procedures, especially 'lower' ones like mice and rats, are routinely given analgesics or other painkillers when they undergo experimental procedures.
Depends on the experiment. If you're doing experiments on pain response, then yes, the animals are probably subjected to pain; in such an experimental paradigm, the IRB will likely limit the number of animals you can use. If your experimental paradigm doesn't subject the animals to undue pain, the IRB will likely limit the degree of stress each animal is allowed to experience.

hawkinsssable wrote:hey are, however, under the impression that the threshold that needs to be crossed before research on animals can be justified is far, far, far too low
Which I feel is somewhat invalidated given the nature of the research being conducted at this laboratory. If this was a cosmetics lab, I'd be disinclined to argue this point, but it wasn't.

hawkinsssable wrote:Besides, it's not like there's anything particularly unique about publishing for the sake of publication and career advancements; some very successful academics I'm familiar with have made whole careers out of writing, essentially, very slight variations of the same thing in a broad range of first, second and third-tier journals. (Presumably, the manuscripts aren't always reviewed by somebody familiar with their work.)
I think this happens a lot in academia; you make a major breakthrough/finding, and spend a career hashing out the specifics and range of applications of it. I don't think that's a *problem*, nor is it really fair to phrase it the way you do; for example, discovering DNA in the 50's was a big finding. Do you think Watson and Crick, or indeed, the entire field, should have stopped researching DNA at that point? Some of that research mind you required mammalian models!

hawkinsssable wrote:...it's impossible to tell which research will directly or indirectly contribute useful, breakthrough knowledge we can use to help people. Therefore, even when the importance of animal research is not direct or obvious, we should carry it out.
The two don't follow, and while I agree with the first, the second isn't a given, but, no, that wasn't my point at all. My point was what I wrote; that these animal lines that were destroyed may not be reproducible, as they may not have been completely researched. If you are still uncertain what I'm saying, please say so, and I'll clarify; I was saying nothing of the need to do animal research nor the inability to tell what type of research may or may not be useful or cause a breakthrough.


hawkinsssable wrote:Everybody hates people opposed to animal testing - so they are willing to smush together a mix of good, bad, staggeringly bad, and contradictory arguments together, then give themselves a nice little pat on the back for a job well done. This bugs me.
Well, for starters, I'm going to not make any statements about what may or may not have motivated the researchers;
No, again, I don't hate people who are opposed animal testing. I hate people who are opposed animal testing and break the law to enforce their beliefs, destroy valuable research, and directly impede the progress of knowledge. Mind you, you can do a lot of great scientific research without testing on animals, and if, as a laboratory biologist, you don't want to harm vertebrates, invertebrates, or maybe even unicellular life (this parts a stretch), you can do projects that don't harm anything!
But I also don't think anything you just complained about the 'anti-anti-animal testing' group does is unique to them; plenty of anti-animal testing activists will 'smush together a mix of good, bad, staggeringly bad, and contradictory arguments together, then give themselves a nice little pat on the back for a job well done', so, lets just not hash this point over because it's kind of a moot.

hawkinsssable wrote:What bugs me the most: those repeated suggestions that the protestors / PETA / animal rights people in general are actually working against their interests by alienating people from their cause - and that they should, say, go ahead and get a job on an ethics committee.
Yeah, my suggestion that people not break the law and destroy other peoples lives to support their belief system still doesn't seem that ridiculous to me. If you feel the right to protest includes the right to destroy someone else's livelihood, then I've got very little to discuss with you here. Mind you, I can understand the motivation that prioritizes animal life over a scientists right to conduct research, but I don't agree with it, and I don't think it justifies usurping their right to do research so you can get your way.

hawkinsssable wrote:it's the kind of issue that makes you the subject of mockery, ridicule and violence from people who don't even begin to understand what your position is, or what it could be. The behaviour on display in that article and in this thread is, it seems to me, basically the exact same kind of behaviour that pushes people so far into the margins of a truly sick society that they are willing to predictably face relatively serious charges in order to deliver a neat little 'fuck you' to the people who have proven incapable of even figuring out what it is they're saying.
You seem to be martyring yourself here so, let me just stop you now. There are ample arguments and discussions to be had about the ethical use of animals, but people as far to the right as Jainists will be met with far more seriousness if you discuss your position than if you break into someone's lab and destroy years of work. Start from the beginning, and instead of talking about how you feel ridiculed for having a pro-animal welfare position, discuss your position and why you feel animal testing should cease.

EDIT: And you want to talk about having a chip on your shoulder? I work on neurodegeneration, and collaborate with groups that do mouse model work. This is extremely frustrating to me.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:25 pm UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:During question time, somebody asked if I was a vegetarian, and I said I was.
...
In my experience, I have never, ever met a vegetarian or vegan nearly as obnoxious as meat-eaters. It's just that you lucky meat-eaters only have obnoxiousness directed towards you by the tiny subset of the population that doesn't eat meat, and so we kinda stick out.


Yeah, people are sometimes terrible to those not in their group for whatever reason. Happens in all manner of scenarios, and it's unfortunate, but I don't think vegetarians are alone in this. Humans are all kinds of eager to take sides and be cruel to the other side.

However, I don't have a problem with vegetarians, and I don't think anyone here has expressed a dislike of them. Your choice, you eat what you like. Long as you don't try to force your beliefs on me, and I don't force mine on you, we'll get along alright. Both sides are responsible for being mature about this.

It also seems to me like these kinds of experiences leave you with a pretty shitty range of options. Either 1) give up on your beliefs and choke down meat until it feels normal again, 2) work hard to conceal them ("I just don't like the taste"; "It's a health thing") and settle for opting out of a system that seems straightforwardly evil rather than trying to change it, or 3) become increasingly angry and frustrated. I chose 2.

Even though I'm not condoning what the Stop Green Hill folks did, I can kinda understand why people who chose option 3 end up wanting to fuck other people's shit up.


Nah. Other options exist. As I mentioned, divisions in society happen over all kinds of things. Give up, hide it, or angrily fight it are not the only answers. If there was, damned near every difference in practice would come down to some sort of no-holds-barred fight. That seems undesirable, and very avoidable.

izawlgood wrote:2 ) Review board; pain minimized, animals sacrificed humanely. The more you post the more I'm under the impression you get all your information from PETA.

Is this any different to point 1?
Oh, right, I see. The barbed insult about getting my information from PETA.
Look - I have no loyalty to PETA. I'm not familiar with them, outside of people loudly criticising such-and-such thing they've done - always, in the cases I'm familiar with, completely trivial things that people simply don't get outraged about unless it's PETA doing it. ("They advertise using scantily-clad women? I might have been seen 50 other examples of this today, I'm going to direct ALL my outrage at THIS one!") But that "you must read PETA" somehow counts as an insult seems, to me, to speak volumes on how completely marginalised even weak animal rights / strong animal welfare groups are.

More to the point: As many, many other posters have already pointed out, 'pain minimised' and 'sacrificed humanely' means very, very little if you believe we have about as much right to humanely euthanise and arbitrarily inflict (minimised) pain on animals as on people. It doesn't have to be a case of 'do it better' so much as 'don't use sentient beings in this way, unless - maybe - there's a really, really good reason to.'


I didn't see anyone making fun of PETA because they advertise with scantily clad women. Meh. Doesn't bother me any. There are valid reasons to be wildly skeptical of PETA, though. For instance, they have an immense kill rate among the animals they shelter that far exceeds the average. That's good reason to be skeptical of their purported goals, is it not? They also tend to have a very...one-sided view of issues. Saying you get your information only from them is an implication of bias. And, if true, pretty reasonably so. They don't even pretend to take a balanced viewpoint, and have ties to violent groups. They are sufficiently extreme that they make some people who want animals treated better feel uncomfortable being associated with them.

Hell, I'd be all for some pain minimization in animals we eat and the like, but I wouldn't dream of joining PETA. They seem more interested in publicity stunts and pointless media whoring than actually getting anything done.

Mike Calford: Well this came about from analysis that my colleagues at National Stroke Research Institute Geoff Don and David Howes undertook, they were concerned that a number of animal experiments had suggested some drugs would be useful as first aid treatments in stroke, a particular sort of stroke an ischemic stroke, that's where a blood supply is stopped to part of the brain. And in a number of animal experiments it said yes, certain drugs would be useful but when these went to human trial they proved not to be useful. They went back and reanalysed the animal experiments using this meta analysis method and what they found is that really there was very little efficacy in those experiments. And that was essentially because of bad design in those experiments.

Natasha Mitchell: You're talking about something like nearly 8,500 studies and really no outcome, and quite a lot of animals, quite a lot of simulated strokes in various animal models.


Sometimes, yes, a LOT of studies are useless. Or at least, of fairly little use. But they didn't know this in advance. That's how research works. The vast majority of potential cures, etc that are tested out never even make it to market. That's what testing is for. Could testing protocols be improved? Possibly. But wrecking a lab won't accomplish that. Frankly, I don't know the protocols well enough to know how you would improve them, not being a biologist. I'd imagine that to substantially improve on them, you'd need to work in the field yourself extensively.

We have 22 million people in Australia. We use almost 7 million research animals annually (excluding insects - the majority are fish, mice and rats). For somebody who cares about the wellbeing of these animals about as much as the wellbeing of these people, something seems pretty obviously wrong with this ratio.


How many animals get used as food over the same time period. My guess is it's a TON more. And not every animal used in testing dies or is suffering. Some are, sure, but not all. Hell, longer lived animals are probably used over multiple years. Food animals, well...they get used once. And they die in the process.

If you have a real interest in lowering the suffering based on the numbers, attacking a lab is probably not the way to go about doing that.

Everybody hates people opposed to animal testing - so they are willing to smush together a mix of good, bad, staggeringly bad, and contradictory arguments together, then give themselves a nice little pat on the back for a job well done. This bugs me.

What bugs me more: The refusal to even attempt to figure out why people would act like this, short of - what - them being juvenile, idiotic and ignorant?


Well, no, nobody has a lot of interest in coming around to their point of view BECAUSE of their methods. You chat with someone politely, you guys will probably understand each other. You yell slogans while breaking into buildings to trash the place, and...yeah, the desire to chat goes right out the window. Communication goes both ways. If someone acts in a hostile fashion, there should be little surprise that people respond in kind.

What bugs me the most: those repeated suggestions that the protestors / PETA / animal rights people in general are actually working against their interests by alienating people from their cause - and that they should, say, go ahead and get a job on an ethics committee.

But the cause they're alienating people from is your cause, not theirs. And people are already as alienated as they're going to get. Even the most cautious, watered-down animal rights stuff that filters through to the Australian media is automatically met with a barrage of abuse and outright hostility. Accordingly, most of the few essayists I've read on animal rights are so gentle, so thoughtful, so careful to raise questions but never make a point or conclude an argument - fine qualities, sure, but qualities we don't expect from people writing on any other issue. But animal rights isn't like any other issue - it's the kind of issue that makes you the subject of mockery, ridicule and violence from people who don't even begin to understand what your position is, or what it could be. The behaviour on display in that article and in this thread is, it seems to me, basically the exact same kind of behaviour that pushes people so far into the margins of a truly sick society that they are willing to predictably face relatively serious charges in order to deliver a neat little 'fuck you' to the people who have proven incapable of even figuring out what it is they're saying.


And why is the issue like that? It isn't magically like that. It's like that because the visible aspects of the pro-animal rights movement are so often the most extreme ones. The folks screaming strange slogans at the TV while shaking a sign. The people letting animals loose into the wild to die. The people tying themselves to things.

How many folks do you think actually read the essays on animal rights you've read? How many of them do you think have seen the extremists.

The extremists ARE doing your side a gross disservice. You can't grow and convince people by yelling at them. You can't really convince people through violence. Animal rights will never become popular as a movement so long as the extremists continue to dominate that side of the debate.

User avatar
omgryebread
Posts: 1393
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:03 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby omgryebread » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:25 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:Look - I have no loyalty to PETA. I'm not familiar with them, outside of people loudly criticising such-and-such thing they've done - always, in the cases I'm familiar with, completely trivial things that people simply don't get outraged about unless it's PETA doing it. ("They advertise using scantily-clad women? I might have been seen 50 other examples of this today, I'm going to direct ALL my outrage at THIS one!")
Well, I'm certainly pretty hard on other organizations using women in the same way PETA does.

Secondly, there might be a reason the criticism is harsher. I (and I suspect many other people who take issue with the sexualization of women in advertising) am at least somewhat sympathetic to their message. Maybe they aren't fighting the good fight, but maybe it's close to it. So it's really annoying to see them fight using such shitty advertising. And then I'm honestly not sure I have much outrage left for Axe body spray commercials. Whatever, it's expected. And I'm not exactly sympathetic to the cause of getting everyone to smell like 13 year old boys, I don't care nearly as much about how they choose to do so. PETA is an organization I view as wrong, but at least kind of on my side in the larger scheme of things. The disappointment in their tactics compounds the outrage.



As for the main topic:

Antipsychotic drugs are great things. But they have extrapyramidal side effects that can be pretty severe. Muscle spasms, restlessness, even a condition a lot like Parkinson's. And then some animal tests were conducted. They found that atypical antipsychotics may cause less of these side effects than first-generation drugs. They might even be more effective! One of those drugs tested was quetiapine fumarate, now marketed as Seroquel. Seroquel is the drug I'm taking. It's had a great effect at reducing the symptoms of my schizophrenia and has been better for me for a lot of the side effects.

Given the extreme difficulty, danger and ethics involved in testing antipsychotics, it's quite possible that quetiapine fumarate could not have been developed without animal testing.
avatar from Nononono by Lynn Okamoto.

User avatar
hawkinsssable
Promoted
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 7:46 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby hawkinsssable » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:56 pm UTC

izawlgood wrote:But I also don't think anything you just complained about the 'anti-anti-animal testing' group does is unique to them; plenty of anti-animal testing activists will 'smush together a mix of good, bad, staggeringly bad, and contradictory arguments together, then give themselves a nice little pat on the back for a job well done', so, lets just not hash this point over because it's kind of a moot.

Maybe, but none of them are posting in this thread. Instead, we have:
    Post 1: a description of the activists as "anti-science" (based on?)
    Post 2: a joking suggestion the activists should just have been killed in the process of saving the research
    Post 3: assuming the protestors are ignorant, based on the silliest possible interpretation of their motives
    Post 5: ignorance (expanded)
    Post 6: ignorance (repeated)
    Post 8: wishing harm on the protestors
    Post 9: ignorance (repeated)
    Post 11: ignorance (repeated and expanded)
    Post 12: ignorance (repeated)
    Post 13: suggestion that the protestors should have offered themselves up as test subjects instead
    Post 15: ignorance (repeated and expanded); suggestion liberations go ahead and join an ethics board
... and on and on it goes. Nowhere is there any real attempt to engage with the reasons people might have for acting in such a way. Instead, you are still posting things like this...
Spoiler:
Izawlgood wrote:If you're doing experiments on pain response, then yes, the animals are probably subjected to pain; in such an experimental paradigm, the IRB will likely limit the number of animals you can use. If your experimental paradigm doesn't subject the animals to undue pain, the IRB will likely limit the degree of stress each animal is allowed to experience.

Izawlgood wrote:
hawkinsssable wrote:hey are, however, under the impression that the threshold that needs to be crossed before research on animals can be justified is far, far, far too low
Which I feel is somewhat invalidated given the nature of the research being conducted at this laboratory. If this was a cosmetics lab, I'd be disinclined to argue this point, but it wasn't.

Tynmynder wrote:Could testing protocols be improved? Possibly. But wrecking a lab won't accomplish that. Frankly, I don't know the protocols well enough to know how you would improve them, not being a biologist. I'd imagine that to substantially improve on them, you'd need to work in the field yourself extensively.

... where, if I'm interpreting you correctly, you are (quote 1) continuing to point out that there are measures to reduce somewhat the number of animals you can subject to pain and, unless pain is an inherent part of the experiment, reduce the degree of stress you can inflict of them; (quote 2) arguing that the potentially useful nature of the research invalidates the concern that we need to set the bar before animal testing is possible very - perhaps almost unattainably - high; (quote 3) repositioning the debate, again, in terms of making some incremental improvements to animal welfare. Which is followed by this:

Izawlgood wrote:You seem to be martyring yourself here so, let me just stop you now. There are ample arguments and discussions to be had about the ethical use of animals, but people as far to the right as Jainists will be met with far more seriousness if you discuss your position than if you break into someone's lab and destroy years of work. Start from the beginning, and instead of talking about how you feel ridiculed for having a pro-animal welfare position, discuss your position and why you feel animal testing should cease.

EDIT: And you want to talk about having a chip on your shoulder? I work on neurodegeneration, and collaborate with groups that do mouse model work. This is extremely frustrating to me.

To repeat something I tried to make really, really, really clear in my last post (of which the spoilered section about the chip on my shoulder was a part): I am not trying to defend the liberationists' actions; I'm not even trying to defend forbidding the kind of research that was conducted in the lab, the majority of which we know nothing about and the rest very, very little. This is because I don't hold a view on animal testing. Allowing painful experiments for negligible-to-nonexistent benefits seems ghoulish and awful for all sorts of reasons; disallowing limit experiments with clear widespread benefits seems wrong for essentially this reason; and every other possible point on the spectrum makes me feel uncomfortable. I can't do the Philosophy 101 thing and sit down and sort through my intuitions, because they conflict and can't be marshaled into order. I'm not martyring myself for a cause, because as I said a few times in my last post, it isn't my cause; it's a subject that makes me deeply uncomfortable, and that I think should make people uncomfortable rather than dismissive and smug. I bring up the chip on my shoulder not as some kind of badge of honour or symbol of authority (I thought the term was usually used in a negative, discrediting way? feel free to correct me), but to explain why I'm trying to argue a position I find uncomfortable against a position I also find uncomfortable.

But sure. I'll start from the start, and try to make a case that's been hinted at more than enough times by various posters in this thread and, each time, ignored. Maybe, in return, you could start from the start and explicitly and clearly build up the case for animal experimentation rather than just pointing out (for some reason?) that the standards for animal experimentation could be worse and that medically useful research is useful.

In service of this goal:

izawlgood wrote:Yeah, my suggestion that people not break the law and destroy other peoples lives to support their belief system still doesn't seem that ridiculous to me. If you feel the right to protest includes the right to destroy someone else's livelihood, then I've got very little to discuss with you here. Mind you, I can understand the motivation that prioritizes animal life over a scientists right to conduct research, but I don't agree with it, and I don't think it justifies usurping their right to do research so you can get your way.

This argument reminds me strongly but indirectly of the liberal / libertarian perspective on abortion, and everything that's fucked about it. My interpretation of it:
    There is no clear answer to when, exactly, an embryo / fetus becomes a person, and should be granted the same rights as a person. The law shouldn't take sides on these kinds of philosophical questions; because this issue is so difficult and emotionally charged, the government should be neutral on the issue and allow women to make the choice for themselves.
But the implications of this are really, really disturbing. In essence, it's conceding that a developing fetus might well count as a person in all morally relevant respects, an embryo might well morally be the equivalent of a child and abortion might well be as evil as infanticide. But this seems pretty off-key. We don't actually think it's okay for parents to kill their children, and we condemn people who blow up abortion clinics on the assumption that they are, in fact, wrong about their action saving morally relevant lives. Or, at least, I really really hope that most people believe this rather than the liberal / libertarian pro-choice argument.

So: Animal liberationists don't think that there are any morally relevant differences between humans and most animals. The reasoning I'm most familiar with goes something like this:
"What's wrong with racism? Differences in skin colour are real, but they aren't morally significant enough to justify according black people less respect than white people.
What's wrong with sexism? Differences in sex are real and in many ways quite significant, but they aren't significant enough to justify according men more rights and more respect than women. Agreed? Good.
What is it about species membership that is morally significant? There's no more reason to treat species per se as a morally relevant distinction than there is to treat race or sex as a morally relevant distinction. So the difference must be something else.
Like... intelligence? Many animals are quite intelligent, by our standards. Pigs, for example, have very distinct personalities, decent language abilities, proven ability to think abstractly, and elaborate, cooperative social groups. There are many people (acquired brain injury; very severe disability) that would be, on most or all counts, less intelligent than (for example) pigs. Terminal newborns that will live a few short years, tops, might predictably never reach the intelligence of an adult pig. But we generally don't think that low intelligence is appropriate grounds for robbing these people of their rights, or arbitrarily decide we can conduct research on them without their consent.
Like... communication? Again, there are people we are unable to communicate with, and many more that (until recently) we were unable to communicate with. But, again, we don't think it's appropriate to use them for the same purposes we use animals.
Why? Because these abnormal people still feel pain, and they still feel emotion.
But then, so do lab animals.

If they are correct, animal researchers have no right - period - to conduct research on these animals. Seeking to stop such research and make future research unfeasible would be a valid goal, and would kinda outweigh property damage, career setbacks or even the possibility of contributing to a medical breakthrough.
(Human subjects suffering from autism would probably be even more useful for autism research than mice or rabbits, but we don't conduct research on them.)

If their belief system is wrong, then... yeah, their actions were kinda inappropriate. But you've done very, very little - beyond pointing out that review boards reduce suffering a little bit, or beyond pointing out that testing is conducted for more trivial purposes than autism research - to argue against this kind of view, or even indicate that you're aware that it exists.

Tyndmyndyr wrote:Well, no, nobody has a lot of interest in coming around to their point of view BECAUSE of their methods. You chat with someone politely, you guys will probably understand each other. You yell slogans while breaking into buildings to trash the place, and...yeah, the desire to chat goes right out the window. Communication goes both ways. If someone acts in a hostile fashion, there should be little surprise that people respond in kind.

... The extremists ARE doing your side a gross disservice. You can't grow and convince people by yelling at them. You can't really convince people through violence. Animal rights will never become popular as a movement so long as the extremists continue to dominate that side of the debate.

Thing is, I really can't believe that the extremists are willingly risking and facing quite severe punishments / ruining others' perception of their cause because they just didn't think to calmly talk their view through with others, or just didn't reason quite how receptive other people will be.

omgryebread wrote:Well, I'm certainly pretty hard on other organizations using women in the same way PETA does.

Secondly, there might be a reason the criticism is harsher. I (and I suspect many other people who take issue with the sexualization of women in advertising) am at least somewhat sympathetic to their message. Maybe they aren't fighting the good fight, but maybe it's close to it. So it's really annoying to see them fight using such shitty advertising. And then I'm honestly not sure I have much outrage left for Axe body spray commercials. Whatever, it's expected. And I'm not exactly sympathetic to the cause of getting everyone to smell like 13 year old boys, I don't care nearly as much about how they choose to do so. PETA is an organization I view as wrong, but at least kind of on my side in the larger scheme of things. The disappointment in their tactics compounds the outrage.

I respect this enormously, but I thought (maybe - probably?) wrongly that most of the people criticising PETA on those grounds are the same kind of people that directed vitriol at them for daring to make a lighthearted parody of Super Meat Boy called Super Tofu Boy.
Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Tyndmyr » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:21 pm UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:So: Animal liberationists don't think that there are any morally relevant differences between humans and most animals. The reasoning I'm most familiar with goes something like this:
"What's wrong with racism? Differences in skin colour are real, but they aren't morally significant enough to justify according black people less respect than white people.
What's wrong with sexism? Differences in sex are real and in many ways quite significant, but they aren't significant enough to justify according men more rights and more respect than women. Agreed? Good.
What is it about species membership that is morally significant? There's no more reason to treat species per se as a morally relevant distinction than there is to treat race or sex as a morally relevant distinction. So the difference must be something else.


Why not? The difference in DNA required for someone to end up as a different sex or skin color are actually pretty minor. Different species, well, that's usually a pretty large gap. And the ones closest to us, we tend to have somewhat more concern for. Very few people are ok with eating monkeys(though probably more than are ok with eating people). Rather a lot of people are ok with eating cows.

The difference in distinction between skin color and species is actually quite vast. If there is no moral difference between these differences, then why would you stop at animals? Why not give plants rights?

If they are correct, animal researchers have no right - period - to conduct research on these animals. Seeking to stop such research and make future research unfeasible would be a valid goal, and would kinda outweigh property damage, career setbacks or even the possibility of contributing to a medical breakthrough.
(Human subjects suffering from autism would probably be even more useful for autism research than mice or rabbits, but we don't conduct research on them.)


You think there is no valid reason to ever inflict pain? I agree that you'd want to set a bar for pain, and try to minimize it, but NOT researching also will result in pain. Pretty much everyone is on board with that...the disagreements are over how high to set the bar.

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, no, nobody has a lot of interest in coming around to their point of view BECAUSE of their methods. You chat with someone politely, you guys will probably understand each other. You yell slogans while breaking into buildings to trash the place, and...yeah, the desire to chat goes right out the window. Communication goes both ways. If someone acts in a hostile fashion, there should be little surprise that people respond in kind.

... The extremists ARE doing your side a gross disservice. You can't grow and convince people by yelling at them. You can't really convince people through violence. Animal rights will never become popular as a movement so long as the extremists continue to dominate that side of the debate.

Thing is, I really can't believe that the extremists are willingly risking and facing quite severe punishments / ruining others' perception of their cause because they just didn't think to calmly talk their view through with others, or just didn't reason quite how receptive other people will be.


Doesn't matter if they did or didn't think it through, the effects are still the same. They're doing this for attention, sure, but that very attention is almost universally negative because of their acts. When you cast yourselves as the villains, you tend not to win lots of friends.

I suspect they don't realize quite how extreme they are, and over-estimate the effects their actions have/will have, though. It's very common for people to base their perception of normality on what they personally believe, for instance.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:52 pm UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:Nowhere is there any real attempt to engage with the reasons people might have for acting in such a way
I assume then that you glossed over the entire exchange wherein I admitted it was my error to guess as to the protestors motivations and thought processes? Or how in the last post to you I said I was no longer going to comment on the protestors motivations and thought processes? So; moving past your insistence that this thread is nothing but animal rights activist-ism...
hawkinsssable wrote:where, if I'm interpreting you correctly, you are (quote 1) continuing to point out that there are measures to reduce somewhat the number of animals you can subject to pain and, unless pain is an inherent part of the experiment, reduce the degree of stress you can inflict of them; (quote 2) arguing that the potentially useful nature of the research invalidates the concern that we need to set the bar before animal testing is possible very - perhaps almost unattainably - high; (quote 3) repositioning the debate, again, in terms of making some incremental improvements to animal welfare.
Quote 1: Yes, that is precisely what I'm saying. Is that a problem?
Quote 2: No, that is not what I'm saying; I'm saying that because this lab was conducting very important and 'useful' research (and sure, we can talk about what defines 'useful'!), objecting to 'useless' animal model research being conducted is an irrelevant statement.
Quote 3: Well, no, it seems he's saying it may be possible to improve animal testing, but that he doesn't know how. And lo!, if you wish to improve them, you should work within the system to develop a more humane model. Which was a point I made earlier, roughly, and was told was me foisting my morality on others.
hawkinsssable wrote:This is because I don't hold a view on animal testing. Allowing painful experiments for negligible-to-nonexistent benefits seems ghoulish and awful for all sorts of reasons; disallowing limit experiments with clear widespread benefits seems wrong for essentially this reason; and every other possible point on the spectrum makes me feel uncomfortable.
I'm not sure how you think the first sentence is true given the sentence that precedes it. You do hold a view; you hold a view that 'neglifible-to-nonexistent benefits' from animal testing is ghoulish and awful for all sorts of reasons, and weirdly, unless I'm misparsing the sentence that follows, that no matter the utility of the experiment, it's too much a gray area to justify. Did I misread the last part? If so, please correct me. Because that was my previous point; this wasn't research of 'negligibly-to-nonexistent' benefit; this was research that could benefit an enormous number of people. Do you find that to be too low a bar still to cause the deaths of a few hundred lab animals?
hawkinsssable wrote:But sure. I'll start from the start, and try to make a case that's been hinted at more than enough times by various posters in this thread and, each time, ignored. Maybe, in return, you could start from the start and explicitly and clearly build up the case for animal experimentation rather than just pointing out (for some reason?) that the standards for animal experimentation could be worse and that medically useful research is useful.
Yes; your point that has been made and as often addressed, is that animal testing may not be necessary. In many cases, it is, and frankly, it is this belief that convinced me, as I stated, that you are getting your information from PETA. Which is less a commentary on PETAs practices (which someone else addressed), and more a commentary on how I feel your information appears biased and uninformed, and incidentally, why I explained to you in a previous post why animal models are necessary, and why trashing these animals in this lab is rather significant.
hawkinsssable wrote:This argument reminds me strongly but indirectly of the liberal / libertarian perspective on abortion, and everything that's fucked about it. My interpretation of it...
I'm not really sure how to respond to that; I feel that issues that recognize the decision should be left to the individual, as in abortion, are not ducking the issue, but recognizing that the human condition and all it's nuance and range of beliefs isn't always broken down to moral binaries.
hawkinsssable wrote:ut then, so do lab animals.
But not all 'lab animals' exhibit the same level of... anything. A rabbit has different sapience than a rat than a zebra fish than a monkey. The fact that you're lumping 'lab animals' into a singular category to discuss the level of pain these animals experience is somewhat problematic; do you mind if we delve into some specifics on the matter, or do you feel that *any* animals exhibiting *any* degree of intelligence invalidates the entire paradigm of testing *anything* on animals? Can you clarify your position a bit before I launch into a tirade of why not only is animal testing necessary, but often far more tailored to the experiment at hand than I believe you may understand?
hawkinsssable wrote:Thing is, I really can't believe that the extremists are willingly risking and facing quite severe punishments / ruining others' perception of their cause because they just didn't think to calmly talk their view through with others, or just didn't reason quite how receptive other people will be.
Well, again, like you said, if activists want to really enact change, the best way to do so may be within the system. Breaking into and trashing labs, to me, only solidifies the impression that these activists are unreasonable people with unreasonable views and unreasonable means of enacting their wants. But I doubt people on IRBs picked the job because they like paperwork, and they are being far more effective at reducing the amount of wasteful animal testing that occurs.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2426
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:48 am UTC

Only so much they can do, though. Sometimes people choose instead to fight for what they see as lost causes, or even make martyrs of themselves, partly to draw attention to a problem and partly because they feel it's a moral imperative separate from any utilitarian analysis of the outcome.

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm not really sure how to respond to that; I feel that issues that recognize the decision should be left to the individual, as in abortion, are not ducking the issue, but recognizing that the human condition and all it's nuance and range of beliefs isn't always broken down to moral binaries.

Right, but there are some things we really do consider to be morally more-or-less absolute. I really think that what you're describing is ducking the issue in a sense, just not necessarily a bad one; it's saying that the state isn't going to take a broad stance on the morality of the issue and letting individuals decide the morality of the action for themselves. The extra considerations of the context and the individual's particular situation come on top of that in that individual's decision-making process. But the meat of the argument is that the action of having a fetus aborted isn't something we're going to treat as a morally impermissible act, so it actually is an argument that takes a side, and it simply permits that individuals who might feel a moral obligation not to abort an unwanted fetus may act accordingly.

Your argument regarding animal testing is similar, but I think not wrongly - it's still true that even in the case of abortion, social campaigns, availability and awareness of contraceptives, and other factors prevent far more abortions than blowing up clinics or legislating them out of existence does. Again, though, many people choose to emphasize that an act is universally morally wrong instead of acting to iteratively reduce it. They want people to be on board with the cause, instead of a much larger number of people who act in accordance with the cause without sharing the view itself; they're trying to change the principle first. I don't think that's a right strategy, but I do think it's a natural one.

I do think your suggestion that activists work at an IRB instead is a bit like asking those PETA activists to work at McDonalds and try to gently talk people into the salad on the basis of its health advantages.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

User avatar
hawkinsssable
Promoted
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 7:46 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby hawkinsssable » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:16 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
hawkinsssable wrote:So: Animal liberationists don't think that there are any morally relevant differences between humans and most animals. The reasoning I'm most familiar with goes something like this:
"What's wrong with racism? Differences in skin colour are real, but they aren't morally significant enough to justify according black people less respect than white people.
What's wrong with sexism? Differences in sex are real and in many ways quite significant, but they aren't significant enough to justify according men more rights and more respect than women. Agreed? Good.
What is it about species membership that is morally significant? There's no more reason to treat species per se as a morally relevant distinction than there is to treat race or sex as a morally relevant distinction. So the difference must be something else.


Why not? The difference in DNA required for someone to end up as a different sex or skin color are actually pretty minor. Different species, well, that's usually a pretty large gap. And the ones closest to us, we tend to have somewhat more concern for. Very few people are ok with eating monkeys(though probably more than are ok with eating people). Rather a lot of people are ok with eating cows.

The difference in distinction between skin color and species is actually quite vast. If there is no moral difference between these differences, then why would you stop at animals? Why not give plants rights?

Go back, reread this, and try the same approach with plants. The argument is something like this:
"The reason it's never legitimate to conduct experiments on highly impaired human beings is that they generally still feel emotions and pain."
"The reason it's never legitimate to conduct experiments on animals is that they feel emotions and pain."

The distinctions between animals and humans are in this context morally irrelevant. Animals are, say, smaller and furrier - but we don't treat Dwarfs with less respect than people with Marfan syndrome, and we don't arbitrarily inflict pain on people with lots of back hair.

The distinction between different kinds of animals is, again, irrelevant. (Are you reading this, Izawlgood? I think you missed it the first time) It might be easier to relate to, say, a Gorilla than a cow; it's also easier to relate to your neighbour than somebody with severe athetoid cerebral palsy who can't walk, talk or feed independently and need assistance communicating. We don't think that the guy you went to school with is less worthy of respect than somebody with severe athetoid cerebral palsy just because differ in their ability to communicate and experience the world differently. Equally, the distinction between animals with a high level of abstract reasoning (like pigs!), those with a little less abstract reasoning but nonetheless rich and complex social structures and social lives (like cows!), and those with only a little of both (like rats, I guess? Though even rats are highly social animals) is about as morally relevant as the distinction between a member of MENSA and somebody with severe autism.

So. Using this framework, go ahead and put forward the argument that there are no morally relevant distinctions between plants and people; it seems pretty obvious to me that 'ability to suffer; presence of a nervous system; consciousness' are relevant, and I at least haven't ever come across anybody arguing that they aren't.

Again, here's what follows (still reading, Izawlgood?) -
  • If you are not okay with arbitrarily conducting experiments on people without their consent, you should not be okay with conducting research on animals.
  • But maybe you don't, say, believe in absolute moral rights, and are okay with conducting research on one group of people to benefit another. In this case, the formula would probably be "If harm to test subjects X number of test subjects < increased well-being of beneficiaries X number of beneficiaries, testing is defensible." (Maybe add a Bayesian kind of multiplier from 0-1 for the degree of uncertainty that the experiment will achieve results that will benefit this second group of people.) If you believe this, it might be okay to test on animals under the same conditions that could justify testing on people. These conditions, however, rarely if ever hold, and there's nothing to indicate that they were true at Green Hill.

Under view 1, the benefits to humans or the measures to limit animal suffering are irrelevant. Under view 2, the benefits to humans and the degree of animal suffering are relevant ONLY IN CONTEXTS where these same factors would justify testing on humans. In the absence of any information on what the Green Hill research involved, I'm going to go ahead and guess that these conditions didn't hold. Given the sheer number of lab animals used yearly (In Australia, which hardly does a sterling job funding scientific research, 7 million animals yearly to 22 million people total) I'm making the educated guess that these conditions rarely if ever hold.

The point isn't that animal testing is unnecessary - it's that (under view 2) it isn't proportional. Under view 1, even this is irrelevant.

Personally - for me (I'm trying to clarify for you, Izawlgood) - this line of reasoning makes me uncomfortable, not least for the implications on how I live my life. But so does every other line of reasoning. I can't sift through my intuitions here. Part of the reason might simply be that I don't want to accept the conclusion and all it implies, which hardly counts as an argument.

I'm not really sure how to respond to that; I feel that issues that recognize the decision should be left to the individual, as in abortion, are not ducking the issue, but recognizing that the human condition and all it's nuance and range of beliefs isn't always broken down to moral binaries.


In which case, you really should, to be consistent, believe that since there is a great degree of controversy regarding at what point fetuses / newborns acquire the moral status of 'actual persons' - with perfectly plausible arguments having been put forward claiming that newborns have no greater moral status than a late-term fetus - you should probably leave the choice of infanticide / 'after birth abortion' up to parents as well.

(Actually, Copper Bezel just did a better job than me here)
Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6785
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby sardia » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:35 am UTC

If we should treat animals like we treat people, can we treat people like we treat animals? Is the whole animal precious, or just part of the animal? If I assemble an animal out of a cell culture, can I no longer experiment on it? What if we just developed animals that never feel pain or emotion? What if I put a paper bag over the fluffy animals so it doesn't look as cute? Is it ok then?

If we're gonna decide on individual choice, what if I assemble a group of like minded people who all believe that animal testing is ok. We form a political unit and enshrine it into law. Is it ok then? What happens to the group when only 1 out 20 people think animal testing is bad?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26727
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:11 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:So. Using this framework, go ahead and put forward the argument that there are no morally relevant distinctions between plants and people; it seems pretty obvious to me that 'ability to suffer; presence of a nervous system; consciousness' are relevant, and I at least haven't ever come across anybody arguing that they aren't.
None of those things are black and white, and most people are comfortable with matters of degree being relevant.

You'll have to define what you mean by each of those things, but however you do so I doubt you'll find the differences between plants and animals, in those dimensions, is as clear as you'd like. Even if we assume that ability to suffer and consciousness both require nervous systems, sponges don't have nervous systems, and Venus flytraps close as a result of an action potential not all that different from how animal nerve cells operate. While I'm comfortable saying plants aren't conscious, I'm also comfortable saying the same thing for large portions of the animal kingdom.

I am meanwhile not comfortable conceding that plants can't suffer, because you haven't defined what it means to suffer.
---
Frankly, I don't care a whit about your particular definitions. The point is that all of the ethical qualities you claim make animals morally more important than plants are matters of degree. The fact that you set the bar really low when deciding which species it's not okay to experiment on doesn't mean those of us who set it much higher are making some kind of logical error.

Nor, for that matter, does it mean someone would be making a logical error to say we shouldn't harm plants, either. They simply set the bar even lower than you do.

hawkinsssable wrote:In which case, you really should, to be consistent, believe that since there is a great degree of controversy regarding at what point fetuses / newborns acquire the moral status of 'actual persons' - with perfectly plausible arguments having been put forward claiming that newborns have no greater moral status than a late-term fetus - you should probably leave the choice of infanticide / 'after birth abortion' up to parents as well.
I'm sorry, were you hoping this would be a nice little "gotcha" reductio argument, and Izawwlgood would be forced to reconsider his views on animal testing lest his logic result in permissible infanticide? Because iirc, Izawwlgood does take that position. As does Peter Singer, for that matter.

However, there's no reason a priori that we should just ignore the rather significant fact that a fetus is living inside of and is utterly dependent on the body of a specific human being, whereas even the most helpless premature newborn is not. Under the position that I myself ascribe to, it is not the rights of the fetus/infant that change at birth, but the rights of the mother.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

jseah
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby jseah » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:32 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:So. Using this framework, go ahead and put forward the argument that there are no morally relevant distinctions between plants and people; it seems pretty obvious to me that 'ability to suffer; presence of a nervous system; consciousness' are relevant, and I at least haven't ever come across anybody arguing that they aren't.
How about... "being human"? Humanity is special, because we are human and therefore it is special to us.

I identify with the species known as homo sapiens and am perfectly willing to sacrifice other things for the wellbeing of humanity in general (be it plants, animals, the environment or hypothetical aliens if/when we encounter them). The trick of course is being smart about it and not doing things that will have knock-on effects that come back to bite you. Sure, I may not view polluting the environment as morally wrong in its own right, but until we can live independently of the Earth, doing so will cause human suffering. After that? Eh, if it's worth it, go ahead!

In the case of animal testing, animals are disposable, common and not human. That's reason enough.
Stories:
Time is Like a River - consistent time travel to the hilt
A Hero's War
Tensei Simulator build 18 - A python RPG

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:37 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:The distinctions between animals and humans are in this context morally irrelevant. Animals are, say, smaller and furrier - but we don't treat Dwarfs with less respect than people with Marfan syndrome, and we don't arbitrarily inflict pain on people with lots of back hair.
I want to interject a point here that is aside your attempt to compare the difference between men and mice to, say, myself and someone with blue eyes; no one is *arbitrarily* inflicting pain on any animals. Researchers are deliberately performing experiments on animals in an effort to better understand how life works. There's nothing arbitrary about that.
hawkinsssable wrote:The distinction between different kinds of animals is, again, irrelevant.
Oh but I disagree! If you are trying to compare *some* animals ability to possess 'complex' thought (Pigs sure have long memories! Gorilla's sure get depressed when removed from their social environment! Bunnies and rats sure don't like bright, exposed spaces!) then you are either trying to establish a benchmark without defining your terms, or, you are suggesting that animals are equal to humans. They are not. You will have an incredibly difficult time convincing me that they are, intellectually or morally, but by all means, we can have that discussion if you want. I would prefer you define your terms first.
hawkinsssable wrote:So. Using this framework, go ahead and put forward the argument that there are no morally relevant distinctions between plants and people; it seems pretty obvious to me that 'ability to suffer; presence of a nervous system; consciousness' are relevant, and I at least haven't ever come across anybody arguing that they aren't.
Sort of; flies have a nervous system but I have absolutely zero moral compunctions with performing what amounts to live dissections on them. Jellyfish have a nervous system, but I don't think anyone would accuse them of having complex thought. Star fish have a only barely more complex nervous system, but demonstrate some social behavior; I don't think anyone would object to putting a star fish in a tank all by itself. So, sure, they are relevant; they are variables that you must consider in the mental calculus that you, the researcher, undertake when you are designing an experiment. I don't care about the sensations my fruit fly experience, because I don't believe they experience pain in way that is comparable to, say, a mouse, so I'll set my N values as high as I can to assure robust data. I do care what sort of pain a mouse experiences, because I find them cute, and will thus seek to minimize A ) the suffering they experience and/or B ) the number of mice I need to use with each experiment. But I feel like I already said this, and you dismissed it.
EDIT: Incidentally, many plants can respond to be physically damaged. Is this a pain response? Does that mean plants feel pain?
hawkinsssable wrote:If you are not okay with arbitrarily conducting experiments on people without their consent, you should not be okay with conducting research on animals.
False; animals are not people, and I do not even remotely put them on the same level. Animals cannot give consent, and we should not seek it from them; as much as this may bother you, I feel even claiming so to be grossly irresponsible, as I feel it evades the responsibility that we, as the most sapient species on the planet and the one capable of most destruction, must bear as stewards of the planet and it's life.
hawkinsssable wrote:In Australia, which hardly does a sterling job funding scientific research, 7 million animals yearly to 22 million people total
Can you provide a citation for this figure?

hawkinsssable wrote:These conditions, however, rarely if ever hold, and there's nothing to indicate that they were true at Green Hill.
Can you clarify why you brought up Green Hill? In case you were confused; Green Hill was the puppy mill that these activists shut down recently, and the event that caused them to form their group. The labs in which we are discussing were at the University of Milan, and were conducting research on neurological disorders in humans, using a mammalian animal model (I believe using just mice and rabbits). You'll find no disagreement with me that puppy mills are pretty shitty and should be illegal.

Also, frankly, I asked you some very direct questions about your beliefs and positions that you have ignored. Based on your responses, and not to be rude, I am convinced that you don't really understand the basis of or methodology to animal testing, but am interested in pursuing this line of discussion with you further, in hopes that you will learn more about it and temper your position accordingly.

And, that said, I feel it is somewhat intellectually dishonest of you to now, I believe, on three occasions claim you do not have a position on the matter.
hawkinsssable wrote:In which case, you really should, to be consistent, believe that since there is a great degree of controversy regarding at what point fetuses / newborns acquire the moral status of 'actual persons' - with perfectly plausible arguments having been put forward claiming that newborns have no greater moral status than a late-term fetus - you should probably leave the choice of infanticide / 'after birth abortion' up to parents as well.
Gmal already handled this, and I'm only responding to this somewhat clumsy attempt to entrap me to indicate that yes, he is correct in his recollection of my position. The article you linked was a reasonable enough read; assuming it wasn't submitted ironically, I didn't really disagree with anything the authors were suggesting. If it was an Onion style submission, then whoops, I am the wrong audience for them.

CB wrote:I do think your suggestion that activists work at an IRB instead is a bit like asking those PETA activists to work at McDonalds and try to gently talk people into the salad on the basis of its health advantages.
Perhaps; perhaps PETA would have better success if they tried it. They certainly aren't winning any minds over by, to continue the analogy, taking jobs at McDonalds but pooping in peoples food and shouting 'Animal Murders Eat Shit baahahahaha!'.
Last edited by Izawwlgood on Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Belial
A terrible sound heard from a distance
Posts: 30450
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:04 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Belial » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:58 am UTC

jseah wrote:How about... "being human"? Humanity is special, because we are human and therefore it is special to us.


See, the thing about that argument is that you can easily substitute the word "Human" out for other words, and the argument remains equally valid, but also terrible:

"Whiteness is special because we are white"
"Maleness is special because we are male"
"Christianity is special because we are christian"
"Aryan-ness is special because we are aryan"

And on and on.

Which is not me taking a side on animal testing, just that using an argument that generalizes so well to genocide and oppression is not necessarily the best way to be.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

jseah
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby jseah » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:21 am UTC

Belial wrote:Which is not me taking a side on animal testing, just that using an argument that generalizes so well to genocide and oppression is not necessarily the best way to be.
I am aware of that yes, but this is what I personally identify as "my group".
Stories:
Time is Like a River - consistent time travel to the hilt
A Hero's War
Tensei Simulator build 18 - A python RPG

curtis95112
Posts: 638
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:23 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby curtis95112 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:15 am UTC

jseah wrote:
Belial wrote:Which is not me taking a side on animal testing, just that using an argument that generalizes so well to genocide and oppression is not necessarily the best way to be.
I am aware of that yes, but this is what I personally identify as "my group".


Erm.. what?
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sure, but at least they hit the intended target that time.

Well, if you shoot enough people, you're bound to get the right one eventually.

Thats the best description of the USA ever.

jseah
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby jseah » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:02 am UTC

curtis95112 wrote:
jseah wrote:
Belial wrote:Which is not me taking a side on animal testing, just that using an argument that generalizes so well to genocide and oppression is not necessarily the best way to be.
I am aware of that yes, but this is what I personally identify as "my group".


Erm.. what?
Essentially, I regard 'my' special group as 'humans'. Belial's point that having a certain special group can be used to justify past social norms like slavery and genocide is correct. I was just saying that I regard those things as wrong because my group extends to all people, not saying that his argument is wrong.
Stories:
Time is Like a River - consistent time travel to the hilt
A Hero's War
Tensei Simulator build 18 - A python RPG

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:28 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
hawkinsssable wrote:So: Animal liberationists don't think that there are any morally relevant differences between humans and most animals. The reasoning I'm most familiar with goes something like this:
"What's wrong with racism? Differences in skin colour are real, but they aren't morally significant enough to justify according black people less respect than white people.
What's wrong with sexism? Differences in sex are real and in many ways quite significant, but they aren't significant enough to justify according men more rights and more respect than women. Agreed? Good.
What is it about species membership that is morally significant? There's no more reason to treat species per se as a morally relevant distinction than there is to treat race or sex as a morally relevant distinction. So the difference must be something else.


Why not? The difference in DNA required for someone to end up as a different sex or skin color are actually pretty minor. Different species, well, that's usually a pretty large gap. And the ones closest to us, we tend to have somewhat more concern for. Very few people are ok with eating monkeys(though probably more than are ok with eating people). Rather a lot of people are ok with eating cows.

The difference in distinction between skin color and species is actually quite vast. If there is no moral difference between these differences, then why would you stop at animals? Why not give plants rights?

Go back, reread this, and try the same approach with plants. The argument is something like this:
"The reason it's never legitimate to conduct experiments on highly impaired human beings is that they generally still feel emotions and pain."
"The reason it's never legitimate to conduct experiments on animals is that they feel emotions and pain."

The distinctions between animals and humans are in this context morally irrelevant. Animals are, say, smaller and furrier - but we don't treat Dwarfs with less respect than people with Marfan syndrome, and we don't arbitrarily inflict pain on people with lots of back hair.


I can't possibly think of a definition of emotions and pain so generic that it applies to every animal ever, and does not apply to a single plant.

Furthermore, most humans would also not consider it acceptable to experiment on a person who no longer feels emotions and pain. Say, in a coma.

curtis95112
Posts: 638
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:23 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby curtis95112 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:22 pm UTC

jseah wrote:
curtis95112 wrote:
jseah wrote:
Belial wrote:Which is not me taking a side on animal testing, just that using an argument that generalizes so well to genocide and oppression is not necessarily the best way to be.
I am aware of that yes, but this is what I personally identify as "my group".


Erm.. what?
Essentially, I regard 'my' special group as 'humans'. Belial's point that having a certain special group can be used to justify past social norms like slavery and genocide is correct. I was just saying that I regard those things as wrong because my group extends to all people, not saying that his argument is wrong.


And you have no problem with the fact that your system of morality hinges on an arbitrary choice? A choice that would, if made very slightly differently, change your system into one you find abhorrent?
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sure, but at least they hit the intended target that time.

Well, if you shoot enough people, you're bound to get the right one eventually.

Thats the best description of the USA ever.

User avatar
rat4000
r/ratsgonewild
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby rat4000 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:Go back, reread this, and try the same approach with plants. The argument is something like this:
"The reason it's never legitimate to conduct experiments on highly impaired human beings is that they generally still feel emotions and pain."
"The reason it's never legitimate to conduct experiments on animals is that they feel emotions and pain."
Really, just outright stating that the reason we do not conduct experiments on people is their emotions and pain is rather questionable. Most people would say the reason is rather something like the inherent worth of a human being or similar; this is more or less to state that human beings per se have some sort of rights that animals lack. This is intuitively obvious: I'm allowed to eat animals; I'm not allowed to eat human beings. Or are you also advocating moral veganism? If you are, if you want to say that we are not allowed to conduct experiments on anything that feels pain, you'd be ruling out bacteria (and, by the way, making the ridiculous point that I'm not allowed to murder the bacteria that are making me sneeze -- they feel pain, man! Pain!) Unless you want to open the different kettle of fish which is the definition of pain, just to exclude bacteria?

If, on the other hand, you wanted to say that we're not allowed to conduct experiments whose deleterious effect on beings' emotions and pain is more than the beneficial effect on other beings' emotions and pain, you aren't saying anything different from Izawwlgood, whose nick, incidentally, you keep misspelling.

User avatar
Ormurinn
Posts: 1033
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 pm UTC
Location: Suth Eoferwicscire

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:51 pm UTC

curtis95112 wrote:
jseah wrote:
curtis95112 wrote:
jseah wrote:
Belial wrote:Which is not me taking a side on animal testing, just that using an argument that generalizes so well to genocide and oppression is not necessarily the best way to be.
I am aware of that yes, but this is what I personally identify as "my group".


Erm.. what?
Essentially, I regard 'my' special group as 'humans'. Belial's point that having a certain special group can be used to justify past social norms like slavery and genocide is correct. I was just saying that I regard those things as wrong because my group extends to all people, not saying that his argument is wrong.


And you have no problem with the fact that your system of morality hinges on an arbitrary choice? A choice that would, if made very slightly differently, change your system into one you find abhorrent?


To be fair, ALL systems of morality hinge on an arbitrary choice.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26727
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:34 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:To be fair, ALL systems of morality hinge on an arbitrary choice.
They all hinge on one or more unprovable axioms, but I wouldn't say all choices of such axioms are arbitrary.

jseah's own could be made less arbitrary, for example, with a bit of justification for why "humanity" is the best extent for the morally relevant "special group", rather than something smaller (as racists etc. believe) or, more pertinent to this discussion, something bigger, such as all animals.

By not offering any such justification, in fact, jseah's initial post is rather circular and irrelevant to this discussion. It doesn't even count as a counterargument to the notion that we shouldn't test on animals, because it doesn't offer any actual reasons why the special group shouldn't include them.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:49 pm UTC

I'll offer the reason on his/her behalf then. Humans are capable of philosophy, advanced mathematics, language, art, science, culture, and lasting civilization. Animals usually don't. Some have extremely rudimentary versions of that (and yes, most do feel emotions), but we mostly agree we shouldn't eat dolphins and gorillas. Therefore, humans are better than animals.

Obviously this is biased by human thought; Koko the gorilla said she was smarter than humans because she learned to communicate to humans but humans can't speak gorilla.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26727
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:03 pm UTC

But not all humans can do any of those things. I wanted a justification for why only *and* all humans should be in the special group.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
WibblyWobbly
Can't Get No
Posts: 506
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:03 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby WibblyWobbly » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:15 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:To be fair, ALL systems of morality hinge on an arbitrary choice.
They all hinge on one or more unprovable axioms, but I wouldn't say all choices of such axioms are arbitrary.


Just out of curiosity: can you provide an example of such an axiom that isn't arbitrary? It just seems that if the axiom isn't provable (isn't that part of the definition? I digress), at some level it has to be the result of an arbitrary choice. But I'm terrible with fundamental philosophy.

Tirian
Posts: 1891
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:03 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Tirian » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:41 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote: Koko the gorilla said she was smarter than humans because she learned to communicate to humans but humans can't speak gorilla.


[citation needed]

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:21 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:But not all humans can do any of those things. I wanted a justification for why only *and* all humans should be in the special group.


That assumes you believe that I believe that *all* humans should be in the special group...

And before you get any ideas, most people would be in the 'special group'. My current moral beliefs are more rooted in Utilitarianism than Natural Rights. Basically, assume you can quantify a person's utility. Then determine how much a person adds to total utility NOT including themself. If it's positive, that person is 'good', if not, then not. Figure out what can be changed so that more people are 'good'. It gets very complicated, especially when you measure utility based on other people's utility (e.g., helping a very good person is better than helping an alright person, but helping a bad person is harmful), where it becomes a mathematically unsolvable equation.

It might seem rather heartless when dealing with the disabled or elderly, unless you believe they should be protected simply because the fact that there is a social safety net for everyone adds more to total utility than it costs.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26727
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:51 am UTC

WibblyWobbly wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:To be fair, ALL systems of morality hinge on an arbitrary choice.
They all hinge on one or more unprovable axioms, but I wouldn't say all choices of such axioms are arbitrary.
Just out of curiosity: can you provide an example of such an axiom that isn't arbitrary? It just seems that if the axiom isn't provable (isn't that part of the definition? I digress), at some level it has to be the result of an arbitrary choice. But I'm terrible with fundamental philosophy.
I would say that Mill's essentially linguistic reasoning, "What is desirable is that which is in fact desired, and what is in fact desired is happiness," is fairly non-arbitrary. More generally, I'd say the less arbitrary moral systems are the ones that at least try to get as fundamental as possible. Don't just say what the underlying value is, but explain why it makes sense to take that as such.

CorruptUser wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:But not all humans can do any of those things. I wanted a justification for why only *and* all humans should be in the special group.
That assumes you believe that I believe that *all* humans should be in the special group...
You supposedly offered this reason on jseah's behalf. Why is what you believe relevant?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:10 am UTC

Not very relevant I suppose; I assume Jseah believes that while not all humans can do advanced math, philosophy, etc, most humans have some potential for that, or at least a potential for enabling other humans to do that. If we were not intelligent enough as a whole to be anything more than squirrels, we wouldn't even be able to have this conversation. We can argue over the philosophical question of why we humans have the right to harm animals for our own benefit but not vice versa, but I highly doubt that tigers will pause to ponder the meaning of life while they tear at our throats.

In a few hundred years, whether or not we or any other creatures were miserable or ecstatic will be irrelevant, only what we left behind for the beings alive then will matter. In a few hundred million years or so, the Earth will not be hospitable to any life as we know it. If no species on this planet can find a way off this rock by then, all of this, all of life, all the countless trillions of species, will have been meaningless. Unless of course the immortal soul and heaven and so forth turn out to in some ways true. So far, only humans have shown themselves of even being remotely potentially capable of traveling to another world.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2426
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:44 am UTC

Time horizons are relevant to some moral systems, but not others. Obviously, any moral action is committed in an given present, and the consequences are necessarily in its future, but most people assume that the utility most worth considering is the most immediate consequences of that action. Maybe you could use an interest rate scheme of some kind.

If you're getting uber-teleological and don't believe in an afterlife, then the heat death of the universe is the great equalizer. It doesn't much matter who got off the planet alive at that point.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

jseah
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby jseah » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:28 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:But not all humans can do any of those things. I wanted a justification for why only *and* all humans should be in the special group.

Because I am human.

Frankly, it's just an arbitrary point. I put my boundary at "humans" because I grew up that way. >.>


More relevantly, I mostly think that what happens, happens, and attaching too much value to morality runs the risk of seeing too much information in what essentially is just noise. I mean, it's just a bunny/mouse/rat/monkey. Or a couple of thousand of them. Tragic yes, but not really worth that much effort. Effort is expensive. (for that matter, this also applies to a lesser extent to humans. There's just the consideration that if it could happen to random X human, it could happen to you too and that would be bad)
The world just is, and you do what you can to make it a better one. Beyond that, eh.

Of course, when you actually start discussing what makes the world a "better one", that's when the arguments and wars start. Utility functions.. =(
Stories:
Time is Like a River - consistent time travel to the hilt
A Hero's War
Tensei Simulator build 18 - A python RPG

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26727
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:38 am UTC

jseah wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:But not all humans can do any of those things. I wanted a justification for why only *and* all humans should be in the special group.

Because I am human.

Frankly, it's just an arbitrary point. I put my boundary at "humans" because I grew up that way. >.>
So no justification whatsoever. Gotcha.

Which means that your unjustified assertion that "being human" is in itself morally relevant is no more compelling than hawkinsssable's unjustified assertion that there is no morally relevant assertion. Which is to say, not actually compelling at all.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:29 am UTC

In practice, people value the group they belong to higher than the groups they do not belong to. The further away group x that you don't belong to is from your group, the stronger the effect. Thus, chimps are at least kinda like humans, so we value them a lot higher than bacteria, which are not.

It isn't arbitrary. It's almost certainly an evolutionary advantage. Caring about yourself is pretty standard. Caring about those like you more than say, prey, is also pretty common.

It is entirely possible, and even quite likely, that people have additional groups within humanity that they care about more. Perhaps a bad event in their home town is more important to them than the same event would be on the other side of the globe. One need not be racist, or genocidal or anything of the kind to recognize that not all things can be cared about equally in a practical sense. If I valued the hunger of everyone equally to my own hunger, well, I'd probably be starving, since there's a large amount of starving people in the world. More than I can manage to feed. In practice, not only do I care more about my own hunger than theirs, but clearly, I care more about my own entertainment than their hunger. After all, I do still spend money on entertainment. This doesn't mean I don't care about them at all...but it highlights the difference in value.

This difference may not be exactly the same for all people. Probably wasn't for Mother Theresa and the like. Why do people remember her as great, but despise animal rights activists, when really, all they perceive differently is really just the same thing on a different scale? Probably because Mother Theresa didn't spend her time bombing the factories of rich people.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Probably because Mother Theresa didn't spend her time bombing the factories of rich people.
Many/Most science labs are not equivalent to the factories of rich people, nor are they producing gold plated toilet seats for the bourgeoisie.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:13 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Time horizons are relevant to some moral systems, but not others. Obviously, any moral action is committed in an given present, and the consequences are necessarily in its future, but most people assume that the utility most worth considering is the most immediate consequences of that action. Maybe you could use an interest rate scheme of some kind.

If you're getting uber-teleological and don't believe in an afterlife, then the heat death of the universe is the great equalizer. It doesn't much matter who got off the planet alive at that point.


You are assuming that the heat death of the universe is a certainty. While I don't want risk tearing my colon pulling things out of there, I'm not entirely certain it's impossible that the universe allows for anything at all after the heat death.

As for the interest rate scheme, the problem with that is that, assuming population growth is less than the interest rate, if you could double everyone's utility for enough time at the cost of the extinction of humanity at the end, it's 'worth it'. For example, at just 1% interest, it comes out to 69.66 years. (Select the point where the PV of a future perpetuity is equal to the annuity at the same interest rate, and the solution simplifies to N = ln(.5)/ln(1+i)).

I have trouble caring that 5000 years ago, a proto scientist suffered for daring to claim the gods didn't wrestle the sun across the heavens. What I DO care about is that by preventing that person from developing his/her ideas, it delayed the discovery of Newtonian physics. I care that by the harm inflicted on that person resulted in harm inflicted on other people, which made its way all the way to here. We should work to end many forms of misery because misery often begets more misery which begets more misery that makes its way down (up?) to farther than we can see. It's hard to determine just how much the future suffers or benefits from the actions of the past, but for example, I think we can agree that Alan Turing's torture/suicide delayed some very important delevopements in computer science.

Back to the topic, it doesn't really matter to me that animals were bred just for the purpose of science. It comes down to, 'is this a good use of our resources?'.

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Probably because Mother Theresa didn't spend her time bombing the factories of rich people.
Many/Most science labs are not equivalent to the factories of rich people, nor are they producing gold plated toilet seats for the bourgeoisie.


For $20 I can get you a gold plated toilet seat for the proletariat. A gram of gold is like $50, which becomes 1 square meter of gilding, which can cover, what, 5 toilet seats?

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6785
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby sardia » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:24 pm UTC

Gold plated is overrated, the real luxury is copper plated. It's Antibacterial to boot.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:28 pm UTC

Does that mean pennies are cleaner than quarters? Maybe we should rethink our currency...

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26727
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:37 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't arbitrary. It's almost certainly an evolutionary advantage. Caring about yourself is pretty standard. Caring about those like you more than say, prey, is also pretty common.
As previously established with the Genghis Khan example, rape and murder can also frequently be evolutionarily advantageous. Fortunately for everyone who doesn't want to be raped or murdered, that's not what most people base their morality on.

It is entirely possible, and even quite likely, that people have additional groups within humanity that they care about more. Perhaps a bad event in their home town is more important to them than the same event would be on the other side of the globe.
Yeah, there is certainly a significant subjective component to what people consider ethically important, which I think is entirely reasonable in principle (barring FTL travel, after all, *everything* humanity will do over the course of its entire existence will literally affect *nothing* in most of the universe).

But even if there is a dimension of "similarity to me" in your moral calculus, you still need to define what that means. And while simple genetic relatedness would allow you to include all and only humans in the "special group" that it's not okay to experiment on without their consent, I seriously doubt that anyone's ethical system is based only on that, when you get right down to it.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Fire Brns
Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:25 pm UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby Fire Brns » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:43 pm UTC

Silver plating, antibacterial and antifungal. And it oxidizes better than copper.
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It was the Renaissance. Everyone was Italian.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6785
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Animal Rights Activists Trash Italian Lab

Postby sardia » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:44 pm UTC

You're telling me you prefer how silver tarnishes compares to the lush green that copper gets?


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests