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"Because we can," ethics in scientific experiments

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Posts

  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    I quickly checked out the wiki, and I'll see if I can find anything more substantial, but for now, it doesn't look like we're disagreeing:
    Wiki says in selected quotes that support me:
    ""there are obviously important differences between human and other animals, and these differences must give rise to some differences in the rights that each have."
    "Singer does not specifically contend that we ought not use animals for food insofar as they are raised and killed in a way that actively avoids the inflicting of pain, but as such farms are uncommon, he concludes that the most practical solution is to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. Singer also condemns vivisection except where the benefit (in terms of improved medical treatment, etc.) outweighs the harm done to the animals used".

    I have no problem with any of those points.

    In the book itself, he goes into how some animals have cognitive capabilities that require additional ethical consideration. If an animal is capable of forging long-term social bonds with other individuals of its species (he uses higher primates as an example), then it is much less ethically acceptable to kill that animal than it would be to kill an animal who does not have that capability. In other words, if there's a possibility that a survivor might miss the dead, or grieve, then we should err on the side of not killing members of that species. We now know now that elephants and some cetaceans are capable of this - I don't think we knew that when Animal Liberation was published. Cows, on the other hand, don't seem to give a shit. So it's much more acceptable to kill cows (presuming we do so quickly and without inducing suffering) than to kill chimpanzees. (That said, contemporary factory farming is horrendously cruel to livestock and comprises the bulk of the meat industry in the US.)

    I think that addresses one of your questions about primate research.

    Alternatively, if an animal is unable to contextualize an experience due to its limited intelligence or lack of communication, then we might have an opposite reaction. A human can be held captive for a short period of time without fearing for his life (for example, during arrest) while a deer will be in abject terror. So we have to take that into account as well.

    So the framework he proposed gave us a fairly grounded, rational way to assess how we should treat particular animal species without appealing to cuteness. As a nation (or as an international community of nations), we don't really implement these principles in a consistent basis. For instance, I would argue that we scrutinize seal hunts more than we scrutinize cattle farming because of PETA campaigns showing fuzzy white baby seals. But at the institutional review board level, those committees tend to make much more sober decisions.

    Thanks.

    That's a bit what I was trying to get into earlier. Not sure if that came through in my posts.

    I think most of the contention with my views were on the human rights/animal rights posts. And I own that, I could have articulated it better.

    Making a blanket statement of animal rights = human rights, and everything that goes with it, is wrong imo. On quite a few levels, it's actually hard to know where to start. "Deer in headlights" comes to mind.

    And to equate it to slavery, is just weird. It goes really weird places.

    Let's take horses. If you equate owning horses with owning slaves, and since horses can't consent they can't work for us willingly, then you've just killed most of the horses and screwed over a lot of poor countries.

    I honestly don't think trying to tie animal rights into human rights is a valid strategy. It doesn't mean animals shouldn't have rights, just that they different rights that work for them.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    While a horrifying prospect, I'm not sure vivisection experiments were inherently useless.

    For example, if it turned out you could attach the dismembered head of a monkey to the body of another for a meaningful length of time that seems like the kind of medical knowledge that would be useful.

    Or the zombie dog experiment, while sickening me to my stomach would have fairly important ramifications if it worked out.

    Which isn't to say that the end is worth the means, but simply that the early characterizations of "for the lols" are misrepresentations.

    Isn't there a reason you're having that sickening reaction? Saying, "well, it's really gross, unnecessary since there are better ways to do the research, and probably horrifying torture for the life form in question, but if it gives us more scientific knowledge I'm fine with it," is kind of a cop out. Especially since you said the ends didn't justify the means in that case.

    Like, that's the kind of thinking that is gonna get us exterminated by the Daleks someday.

    I'm not saying we free all the whales, run naked in wilds and all eat seeds. But presumably people can do a better job with science with out undue torment of living beings.

    Well now we can. And even some of the newer experiments in that field was unnecessary. But earlier ones, as horrifying as they were, were actually needed.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Mortious wrote: »
    Making a blanket statement of animal rights = human rights, and everything that goes with it, is wrong imo. On quite a few levels, it's actually hard to know where to start. "Deer in headlights" comes to mind.

    ...

    I honestly don't think trying to tie animal rights into human rights is a valid strategy. It doesn't mean animals shouldn't have rights, just that they different rights that work for them.

    Yeah. I agree. That's part of the reason I personally try to avoid the phrase "animal rights."

    The other reason is that I find the word "rights" to be problematic in general in these kinds of discussions.

    The short of it is: animals have whatever rights we assign them. But we should assign them rights based on their intrinsic worth as feeling, perceiving, suffering beings.
    Mortious wrote: »
    And to equate it to slavery, is just weird. It goes really weird places.

    Let's take horses. If you equate owning horses with owning slaves, and since horses can't consent they can't work for us willingly, then you've just killed most of the horses and screwed over a lot of poor countries.

    PETA pulls this shit occasionally and is one of the many reasons PETA is a bag of dicks.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    Zilla360
  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I honestly don't think trying to tie animal rights into human rights is a valid strategy. It doesn't mean animals shouldn't have rights, just that they different rights that work for them.

    Yeah, animals aren't people. Treating them as such leads to weird places. However, my original point was more about killing Dr. Mindbender type experiments because A: they're really stupid for the most part, and B: do you really need to create dozens of two headed dogs to prove what a bigheaded dick you are?
    In the Soviet Ogonek, Georgi Blok describes a sensational exhibit at a recent meeting of the Moscow Surgical Society. On the platform close to the guests of honor stood a large white dog, wagging its tail. From one side of its neck protruded the head of a small brown puppy. As the surgeons watched, the puppy's head bit the nearest white ear. The white head snarled.

    The two-headed dog, no freak of nature, was the latest product of Surgeon Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov, chief of the organ-transplanting laboratory of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,891156,00.html#ixzz247SiG4f4

    There is no excuse for that, fucking none. He did it over and over for the sake of proving what a badass scientist he was. He was an asshole.

    manwiththemachinegun on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    VishNub wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    I think this thread, and its timing is interesting. I am working on a medicinal chemistry project for my PhD - the target is an obesity associated enzyme - and we've actually just reached the point where we're making material to try in mice. Fortunately, I don't have to handle the animals directly, our collaborator handles that end of the project.
    This is the example of the sort of thing that I think is hard to defend. I mean, obesity? Has that ever been a problem until the modern day when we managed to get some lifestyles going that allow certain unlucky people to get super duper fat and end up saddled with associated health problems? I can definitely understand why someone would want to do non-human animal testing to cure something like an epidemic threatening to kill a bunch of people (just like I can understanding wanting to use human subjects for the very same reason), but something like obesity? Would we test obesity cures on unwilling humans? If not, why should we test them on unwilling animals?

    I don't want to turn this into another obesity thread, but obesity is "an epidemic threatening to kill a bunch of people." Diabetes is bad news. The preventable/it's your own damn fault distinction you're trying to make here doesn't quite work - there is a number of legitimate genetic disorders involved, and infectious disease is often "preventable" as well. You didn't want malaria? Shouldn't have gone to the tropics!
    By "epidemic" I meant what epidemic literally means, which includes "infectious." I think diabetes (or at the very least the kind of diabetes that you can prevent) is another example of the sort of thing we shouldn't research with test subjects if we aren't willing to use human research subjects. Malaria, as I understand it, can be largely dealt with through mosquito nets and pesticides and whatever, so again that might be something we shouldn't research with live subjects unless we'd be willing to use humans.

    We are willing to and do use human subjects for all of these things. And I hope I'm lucky enough that my project will actually get that far, because that would be fucking awesome.

    Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? If not, I fear we're too far apart in this discussions to come to any useful agreement. My understanding, though I'm getting will outside of my expertise here, is that nets, pesticides, etc can reduce, even dramatically, the incidence of Malaria, but I don't think they've ever been proposed as a panacea. Though that brings up another point, animal testing of pesticides, yay or nay?
    I should've been a little more specific about "human subjects." What I meant was "severely mentally retarded people or young children who cannot consent," because that's the situation animals are in. Now, of course, there are cases where it's okay to use these people for experiments: when their parents of guardians consent, for instance, and the other guidelines are followed, then we're probably good to go. I see no problem in using animals this way: if someone with the animal's best interests in mind would consent to the animal's participation in the experiment, go right ahead!

    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    I quickly checked out the wiki, and I'll see if I can find anything more substantial, but for now, it doesn't look like we're disagreeing:
    Wiki says in selected quotes that support me:
    ""there are obviously important differences between human and other animals, and these differences must give rise to some differences in the rights that each have."
    "Singer does not specifically contend that we ought not use animals for food insofar as they are raised and killed in a way that actively avoids the inflicting of pain, but as such farms are uncommon, he concludes that the most practical solution is to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. Singer also condemns vivisection except where the benefit (in terms of improved medical treatment, etc.) outweighs the harm done to the animals used".

    I have no problem with any of those points.

    In the book itself, he goes into how some animals have cognitive capabilities that require additional ethical consideration. If an animal is capable of forging long-term social bonds with other individuals of its species (he uses higher primates as an example), then it is much less ethically acceptable to kill that animal than it would be to kill an animal who does not have that capability. In other words, if there's a possibility that a survivor might miss the dead, or grieve, then we should err on the side of not killing members of that species. We now know now that elephants and some cetaceans are capable of this - I don't think we knew that when Animal Liberation was published. Cows, on the other hand, don't seem to give a shit. So it's much more acceptable to kill cows (presuming we do so quickly and without inducing suffering) than to kill chimpanzees. (That said, contemporary factory farming is horrendously cruel to livestock and comprises the bulk of the meat industry in the US.)

    I think that addresses one of your questions about primate research.

    Alternatively, if an animal is unable to contextualize an experience due to its limited intelligence or lack of communication, then we might have an opposite reaction. A human can be held captive for a short period of time without fearing for his life (for example, during arrest) while a deer will be in abject terror. So we have to take that into account as well.

    So the framework he proposed gave us a fairly grounded, rational way to assess how we should treat particular animal species without appealing to cuteness. As a nation (or as an international community of nations), we don't really implement these principles in a consistent basis. For instance, I would argue that we scrutinize seal hunts more than we scrutinize cattle farming because of PETA campaigns showing fuzzy white baby seals. But at the institutional review board level, those committees tend to make much more sober decisions.

    Thanks.

    That's a bit what I was trying to get into earlier. Not sure if that came through in my posts.

    I think most of the contention with my views were on the human rights/animal rights posts. And I own that, I could have articulated it better.

    Making a blanket statement of animal rights = human rights, and everything that goes with it, is wrong imo. On quite a few levels, it's actually hard to know where to start. "Deer in headlights" comes to mind.

    And to equate it to slavery, is just weird. It goes really weird places.

    Let's take horses. If you equate owning horses with owning slaves, and since horses can't consent they can't work for us willingly, then you've just killed most of the horses and screwed over a lot of poor countries.

    I honestly don't think trying to tie animal rights into human rights is a valid strategy. It doesn't mean animals shouldn't have rights, just that they different rights that work for them.
    Not even people like me, who make the blanket statement that animal rights = human rights, think that this means non-human animals and humans have exactly the same rights, because some human rights (the right to vote, the right to practice your religion) are rights that animals neither want nor need. What we mean when we make the equality statement is that for the purposes of determining who has rights, non-human animals and humans start from the same position. As pointed out above, for instance, Singer would say that a chimpanzee might have a right not to be killed painlessly, just like a human has a right not to be killed painlessly, whereas a cow might lack a right not to be killed painlessly.

    This is all nebulous stuff that we don't have to deal with, though, because our topic is experiments, and basically the only thing that matters when it comes to experiments are pain and consent. It's not okay to do painful experiments on something unless it consents. Non-human animals are similar to very mentally retarded humans or baby humans in that they can't consent, and they are also similar in that they feel pain, so we should treat non-human animal experimentation like we treat experiments on mentally retarded humans or babies (specifically, orphaned babies with nobody who cares about them, because it gets more complicated when you start to say things like 'well that's not a problem to do it to the baby but it would be wrong because the parents would be sad' or whatever).

  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    I honestly don't think trying to tie animal rights into human rights is a valid strategy. It doesn't mean animals shouldn't have rights, just that they different rights that work for them.

    Yeah, animals aren't people. Treating them as such leads to weird places. However, my original point was more about killing Dr. Mindbender type experiments because A: they're really stupid for the most part, and B: do you really need to create dozens of two headed dogs to prove what a bigheaded dick you are?
    In the Soviet Ogonek, Georgi Blok describes a sensational exhibit at a recent meeting of the Moscow Surgical Society. On the platform close to the guests of honor stood a large white dog, wagging its tail. From one side of its neck protruded the head of a small brown puppy. As the surgeons watched, the puppy's head bit the nearest white ear. The white head snarled.

    The two-headed dog, no freak of nature, was the latest product of Surgeon Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov, chief of the organ-transplanting laboratory of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,891156,00.html#ixzz247SiG4f4

    There is no excuse for that, fucking none. He did it over and over for the sake of proving what a badass scientist he was. He was an asshole.

    I don't have access to the entire article unfortunately.

    But from the excerpt, that's both horrifying, and awesome. That was done in 1955?
    I can see some use coming out of that type of research though, if he was doing new things. If it's just replicating old experiments for funsies though, that's messed up.

    However, to explore the horrifying aspect of it, is it just the imagery? Nothing in that excerpt indicated that the dogs were in any pain, or that they perceived anything wrong with their situation.
    Similar to the insect glueing thing mentioned earlier, but the imagery there was a lot less powerful since they were just insects.

    Can someone actually explain the science behind that though? Does that mean we can actually keep a head alive and conscious using only a ventilator and dialyses machine?

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I'd say having another head attached to you biting your ears is considered cruel and unusual. That's like Dante's Inferno stuff there. That's not even counting the pain from the surgery. Or the fact that the upper third of the puppy was sliced off and kept artificially alive.

    All the dogs died within weeks due to complications from the procedures.
    I can see some use coming out of that type of research though, if he was doing new things. If it's just replicating old experiments for funsies though, that's messed up.

    That's the thing, he didn't do it once. He did it multiple times to show off how awesome Soviet science was. And they slapped a medal on him for it. Whoop-de-crap.

    The other video on Youtube depicting a severed dog's head being kept artificially alive, (which I'm not posting just youtube zombie dog if you want to see it), is considered a hoax by some. The video itself is a reenactment, but many believe the surgery itself was in fact attempted at some point. Another guy named White did the same thing with monkey head transplants. I tend to agree with this guy's judgement.

    http://psychologycorner.com/extreme-science-dr-demikhov-and-dr-white/
    Both doctors justified their research and experiments by the possibility of discovering a way to help paralyzed humans, especially quadriplegics, where head transplant would be the only solution to guarantee life. Dr. White believes such operations will be possible in the not too distant future and he actually tried to find donors and volunteers for the test’s final act : human head transplant. As a psychologist, I know our brain stocks information (such as memories) related to the experiences we encounter in our existence. These experiences are undoubtedly related to our physical body, so I must ask myself what it would be like for a human being to wake up and have memories that pass as his own, as far as the memory is concearned and yet the facts, the body, won’t sustain them. Assuming the operation would succeed, I can’t think of a worse way of feeling trapped in another body and definitely can’t imagine a psychologically normal life for the patient.

    Many desires and plans have been verbalized by Dr. Demikhov and Dr. White, and yet, all they really had on their operation tables at the end were mutilated, paralyzed and dead animals. Is that acceptable if one acts “in the name of science”? I understand the desire to expand human knowledge, but does it need to be done at any expense? According to Darwin, we are the most advanced type of ape, with the highest level of intelligence, but does that mean we are entitled to use the less evolved species for our own intentions? Are we entitled to torture and kill “in the name of science”? Do we need to be that unmerciful selfish ape?

    manwiththemachinegun on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I don't see what would be wrong with programming your robot butler to love butlering. Doing anything else almost seems cruel if that is what he was built for.

    If it's sentient and decided it no longer wants to be a butler what is cruel is forcing it to alter its mind. It's akin to lobotomizing someone because they hate their crappy job.

  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    I don't see what would be wrong with programming your robot butler to love butlering. Doing anything else almost seems cruel if that is what he was built for.

    If it's sentient and decided it no longer wants to be a butler what is cruel is forcing it to alter its mind. It's akin to lobotomizing someone because they hate their crappy job.

    ... I think SKFM has basically stumbled across how the Geth ended up at war with the Quarians.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    I honestly don't think trying to tie animal rights into human rights is a valid strategy. It doesn't mean animals shouldn't have rights, just that they different rights that work for them.

    Yeah, animals aren't people. Treating them as such leads to weird places. However, my original point was more about killing Dr. Mindbender type experiments because A: they're really stupid for the most part, and B: do you really need to create dozens of two headed dogs to prove what a bigheaded dick you are?
    In the Soviet Ogonek, Georgi Blok describes a sensational exhibit at a recent meeting of the Moscow Surgical Society. On the platform close to the guests of honor stood a large white dog, wagging its tail. From one side of its neck protruded the head of a small brown puppy. As the surgeons watched, the puppy's head bit the nearest white ear. The white head snarled.

    The two-headed dog, no freak of nature, was the latest product of Surgeon Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov, chief of the organ-transplanting laboratory of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,891156,00.html#ixzz247SiG4f4

    There is no excuse for that, fucking none. He did it over and over for the sake of proving what a badass scientist he was. He was an asshole.

    I don't have access to the entire article unfortunately.

    But from the excerpt, that's both horrifying, and awesome. That was done in 1955?
    I can see some use coming out of that type of research though, if he was doing new things. If it's just replicating old experiments for funsies though, that's messed up.

    However, to explore the horrifying aspect of it, is it just the imagery? Nothing in that excerpt indicated that the dogs were in any pain, or that they perceived anything wrong with their situation.
    Similar to the insect glueing thing mentioned earlier, but the imagery there was a lot less powerful since they were just insects.

    Can someone actually explain the science behind that though? Does that mean we can actually keep a head alive and conscious using only a ventilator and dialyses machine?

    If you keep a brain oxygenated and nourished you can basically do anything you want, and putting it on ice is the next best thing. Like, you can have somebody technically dead for 30 minutes on the operating room table and you bring him back and he has no neurological deficits at all.

    The brain only appears fragile and needy because it basically kills itself if something goes wrong. Even the heart has the sense to stop, but the brain needs to keep close tabs on the neuron environment, otherwise potassium spills everywhere and caspase and kerblam boom kapow

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    The whole "animals vs. children/mentally handicapped people" thing doesn't seem terribly difficult to figure out, to me. Animals don't have the type of sentience (in the philosophical definition, not the animal rights definition involving 'ability to feel pain', since I believe there are certain species of plant that qualify as 'sentient' under that one) that humans do, or even that some other species appear to (for a slightly broader conception of sentience, involving metacognition and so forth).

    Since animals don't appear to be capable of being aware of pain, since, mostly, animals don't appear to be capable of being aware of anything, in the metacognitive sense that humans are capable of awareness, they're okay to eat and/or experiment on. We try to make the experiments not overly onerous on the animals because we aren't dicks, mostly, and while we are aware that animals aren't sentient, humans tend to automatically empathize with and assign sentient qualities to everything we see, down to inanimate objects.

    We don't eat and experiment on children or the mentally handicapped or prisoners or the infirm or the terminally ill because it is an obvious slippery slope. Once you say it's okay to experiment on this class of humans, you end up with people pushing to expand the edges of that distinction for profit, or because they're racist, or for whatever reason. Easier to just ban it outright and not have to worry about coming up with a working definition for "mentally handicapped enough to do science on", or to safeguard the sanctity of said definition in the future. Also the projection problem referenced above: if we assign human characteristics to refrigerators, computers, and fruit flies, we're obviously going to have a heck of a time avoiding doing the same thing with a brain-dead human.

    Though we do make an exception for organ donors, which is kind of weird.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    I'd say having another head attached to you biting your ears is considered cruel and unusual. That's like Dante's Inferno stuff there. That's not even counting the pain from the surgery. Or the fact that the upper third of the puppy was sliced off and kept artificially alive.

    All the dogs died within weeks due to complications from the procedures.
    I can see some use coming out of that type of research though, if he was doing new things. If it's just replicating old experiments for funsies though, that's messed up.

    That's the thing, he didn't do it once. He did it multiple times to show off how awesome Soviet science was. And they slapped a medal on him for it. Whoop-de-crap.

    The other video on Youtube depicting a severed dog's head being kept artificially alive, (which I'm not posting just youtube zombie dog if you want to see it), is considered a hoax by some. The video itself is a reenactment, but many believe the surgery itself was in fact attempted at some point. Another guy named White did the same thing with monkey head transplants. I tend to agree with this guy's judgement.

    http://psychologycorner.com/extreme-science-dr-demikhov-and-dr-white/
    Both doctors justified their research and experiments by the possibility of discovering a way to help paralyzed humans, especially quadriplegics, where head transplant would be the only solution to guarantee life. Dr. White believes such operations will be possible in the not too distant future and he actually tried to find donors and volunteers for the test’s final act : human head transplant. As a psychologist, I know our brain stocks information (such as memories) related to the experiences we encounter in our existence. These experiences are undoubtedly related to our physical body, so I must ask myself what it would be like for a human being to wake up and have memories that pass as his own, as far as the memory is concearned and yet the facts, the body, won’t sustain them. Assuming the operation would succeed, I can’t think of a worse way of feeling trapped in another body and definitely can’t imagine a psychologically normal life for the patient.

    Many desires and plans have been verbalized by Dr. Demikhov and Dr. White, and yet, all they really had on their operation tables at the end were mutilated, paralyzed and dead animals. Is that acceptable if one acts “in the name of science”? I understand the desire to expand human knowledge, but does it need to be done at any expense? According to Darwin, we are the most advanced type of ape, with the highest level of intelligence, but does that mean we are entitled to use the less evolved species for our own intentions? Are we entitled to torture and kill “in the name of science”? Do we need to be that unmerciful selfish ape?

    Agreed, mostly.
    "These experiences are undoubtedly related to our physical body, so I must ask myself what it would be like for a human being to wake up and have memories that pass as his own, as far as the memory is concearned and yet the facts, the body, won’t sustain them."

    Sounds similar to phantom limb syndrome in a way. For people at least, we have treatments.
    So if you're able to remove a human head from a failing body, and re-attach it to another, while (s)he will be a quadriplegic, it is a way to saves lives.

    While the science sounds useful, at least how the articles phrase it, the reasoning behind them sound dubious to put it politely.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    in actuality you guys have nothing to worry about

    journal reviewers are 100x more critical than all of us combined on every aspect of any research, which is why there are so many wrecked careers

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Paladin wrote: »
    in actuality you guys have nothing to worry about

    journal reviewers are 100x more critical than all of us combined on every aspect of any research, which is why there are so many wrecked careers

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1263758.stm

    I hope you're right, but that White guy did a monkey head transplant in 2001 in America. This isn't all ancient history, so yeah, I'm concerned. All these laws and reviews don't seem to be stopping research like this from being carried out. Who the hell is watch dogging these guys? No one apparently. It makes me very critical of scientists who are complaining about being overly 'restricted' in their research.
    "It's entirely misleading to suggest that a head transplant or a brain transplant is actually really still connected in anything except in terms of blood stream to the body to which it has been transplanted.

    "It's not controlling or relating to that body in any other sort of way."

    He added: "It's scientifically misleading, technically irrelevant and scientifically irrelevant, and apart from anything else a grotesque breach of any ethical consideration."

    "It's a mystification to call it either a head transplant or a brain transplant.

    "All you're doing is keeping a severed head alive in terms of the circulation from another animal. It's not connected in any nervous sense." The issue of who someone who had received a head transplant would "be" is extremely complicated, said Professor Rose.

    "Your person is largely embodied but not entirely in your brain".

    He added: "I cannot see any medical grounds for doing this. I cannot see that scientifically you would actually be able to regenerate the nerves which could produce that sort of control.

    "And I think that the experiments are the sort that are wholly unethical and inappropriate for any possible reason."

    manwiththemachinegun on
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    ....

    Though we do make an exception for organ donors, which is kind of weird.

    On a tangential note, I do think that organ donation should be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system that we have here.

    Which reminds me, I've been meaning to opt-in for a while now.

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    in actuality you guys have nothing to worry about

    journal reviewers are 100x more critical than all of us combined on every aspect of any research, which is why there are so many wrecked careers

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1263758.stm

    I hope you're right, but that White guy did a monkey head transplant in 2001 in America. This isn't all ancient history, so yeah, I'm concerned. All these laws and reviews don't seem to be stopping research like this from being carried out. Who the hell is watch dogging these guys? No one apparently. It makes me very critical of scientists who are complaining about being overly 'restricted' in their research.
    The issue of who someone who had received a head transplant would "be" is extremely complicated, said Professor Rose.

    "Your person is largely embodied but not entirely in your brain".

    He added: "I cannot see any medical grounds for doing this. I cannot see that scientifically you would actually be able to regenerate the nerves which could produce that sort of control.

    "And I think that the experiments are the sort that are wholly unethical and inappropriate for any possible reason."

    yeah uh I can't find the citation where this was published at all

    I did find a small article presumably by him (if you can read it) talking about the bioethics involved in growing human brains in animals


    I'm pretty sure if he didn't publish that it didn't help his career any, but if that in the link if you can see it is a picture of him, then he's pretty old for that kind of thing. Also he died 2 years ago

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  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    If it turned out to be a hoax, that would be nice. But somehow the information I've learned in the past few days has left me a bit skeptical.

    In any case, I just hope people are sensitive to this stuff in the future. We've come a long way in the sciences, and I think that progress means our standards should be higher, not lower.

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    If it isn't published it has absolutely no bearing on the actual world of scientific research

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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2012
    VishNub wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    I think this thread, and its timing is interesting. I am working on a medicinal chemistry project for my PhD - the target is an obesity associated enzyme - and we've actually just reached the point where we're making material to try in mice. Fortunately, I don't have to handle the animals directly, our collaborator handles that end of the project.
    This is the example of the sort of thing that I think is hard to defend. I mean, obesity? Has that ever been a problem until the modern day when we managed to get some lifestyles going that allow certain unlucky people to get super duper fat and end up saddled with associated health problems? I can definitely understand why someone would want to do non-human animal testing to cure something like an epidemic threatening to kill a bunch of people (just like I can understanding wanting to use human subjects for the very same reason), but something like obesity? Would we test obesity cures on unwilling humans? If not, why should we test them on unwilling animals?

    I don't want to turn this into another obesity thread, but obesity is "an epidemic threatening to kill a bunch of people." Diabetes is bad news. The preventable/it's your own damn fault distinction you're trying to make here doesn't quite work - there is a number of legitimate genetic disorders involved, and infectious disease is often "preventable" as well. You didn't want malaria? Shouldn't have gone to the tropics!
    By "epidemic" I meant what epidemic literally means, which includes "infectious." I think diabetes (or at the very least the kind of diabetes that you can prevent) is another example of the sort of thing we shouldn't research with test subjects if we aren't willing to use human research subjects. Malaria, as I understand it, can be largely dealt with through mosquito nets and pesticides and whatever, so again that might be something we shouldn't research with live subjects unless we'd be willing to use humans.

    We are willing to and do use human subjects for all of these things. And I hope I'm lucky enough that my project will actually get that far, because that would be fucking awesome.

    Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? If not, I fear we're too far apart in this discussions to come to any useful agreement. My understanding, though I'm getting will outside of my expertise here, is that nets, pesticides, etc can reduce, even dramatically, the incidence of Malaria, but I don't think they've ever been proposed as a panacea. Though that brings up another point, animal testing of pesticides, yay or nay?
    I should've been a little more specific about "human subjects." What I meant was "severely mentally retarded people or young children who cannot consent," because that's the situation animals are in. Now, of course, there are cases where it's okay to use these people for experiments: when their parents of guardians consent, for instance, and the other guidelines are followed, then we're probably good to go. I see no problem in using animals this way: if someone with the animal's best interests in mind would consent to the animal's participation in the experiment, go right ahead!

    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

    So how do you feel about exterminators, spring loaded mouse traps, killing animals for food, feeding live animals to other animals (I.e., feeding crickets to lizards), hunting for sport, leather clothing, breeding animals for slaughter etc? We don't have a very high bar on killing animals, so I don't see why the threshold for experimenting on creatures we can kill with impunity should be the same as experimenting on people who we are not allowed to kill. If I can put traps designed to break a wild mouse's neck all over my house, why can't we experiment on mice we breed solely for experiments to improve our lives?

    spacekungfuman on
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  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    VishNub wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    I think this thread, and its timing is interesting. I am working on a medicinal chemistry project for my PhD - the target is an obesity associated enzyme - and we've actually just reached the point where we're making material to try in mice. Fortunately, I don't have to handle the animals directly, our collaborator handles that end of the project.
    This is the example of the sort of thing that I think is hard to defend. I mean, obesity? Has that ever been a problem until the modern day when we managed to get some lifestyles going that allow certain unlucky people to get super duper fat and end up saddled with associated health problems? I can definitely understand why someone would want to do non-human animal testing to cure something like an epidemic threatening to kill a bunch of people (just like I can understanding wanting to use human subjects for the very same reason), but something like obesity? Would we test obesity cures on unwilling humans? If not, why should we test them on unwilling animals?

    I don't want to turn this into another obesity thread, but obesity is "an epidemic threatening to kill a bunch of people." Diabetes is bad news. The preventable/it's your own damn fault distinction you're trying to make here doesn't quite work - there is a number of legitimate genetic disorders involved, and infectious disease is often "preventable" as well. You didn't want malaria? Shouldn't have gone to the tropics!
    By "epidemic" I meant what epidemic literally means, which includes "infectious." I think diabetes (or at the very least the kind of diabetes that you can prevent) is another example of the sort of thing we shouldn't research with test subjects if we aren't willing to use human research subjects. Malaria, as I understand it, can be largely dealt with through mosquito nets and pesticides and whatever, so again that might be something we shouldn't research with live subjects unless we'd be willing to use humans.

    We are willing to and do use human subjects for all of these things. And I hope I'm lucky enough that my project will actually get that far, because that would be fucking awesome.

    Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? If not, I fear we're too far apart in this discussions to come to any useful agreement. My understanding, though I'm getting will outside of my expertise here, is that nets, pesticides, etc can reduce, even dramatically, the incidence of Malaria, but I don't think they've ever been proposed as a panacea. Though that brings up another point, animal testing of pesticides, yay or nay?
    I should've been a little more specific about "human subjects." What I meant was "severely mentally retarded people or young children who cannot consent," because that's the situation animals are in. Now, of course, there are cases where it's okay to use these people for experiments: when their parents of guardians consent, for instance, and the other guidelines are followed, then we're probably good to go. I see no problem in using animals this way: if someone with the animal's best interests in mind would consent to the animal's participation in the experiment, go right ahead!

    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

    So how do you feel about exterminators, spring loaded mouse traps, killing animals for food, feeding live animals to other animals (I.e., feeding crickets to lizards), hunting for sport, leather clothing, breeding animals for slaughter etc? We don't have a very high bar on killing animals, so I don't see why the threshold for experimenting on creatures we can kill with impunity should be the same as experimenting on people who we are not allowed to kill. If I can put traps designed to break a wild mouse's neck all over my house, why can't we experiment on mice we breed solely for experiments to improve our lives?

    We have created an environment, for better or worse (I vote better overall), where we have to control certain animal species.
    There's this thing currently in New Zealand with possums. Nature's Speed bump. They're trying to cull the possum population, with some collateral damage, because if they don't, more animals will die.
    We'e decided, that in this situation, these species are more important than possums. We do that a lot really, and sometimes it's not completely rational.

    A lot of animals, only exist because we're using them for a specific purpose, and they'll most likely be killed.

    I'm wondering if a lot of the objections are that we, as people, can see alternatives. You can imagine a different life for these animal. It seems weird trying to measure potential happiness like that.

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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Mortious wrote: »
    ....

    Though we do make an exception for organ donors, which is kind of weird.

    On a tangential note, I do think that organ donation should be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system that we have here.

    Which reminds me, I've been meaning to opt-in for a while now.

    While I tend to agree, I think there's still a fair contingent of religious folks who think organ donation is wrong. I'm not sure how big or vocal that minority actually is, though.

    You'd at least have to make certain organs exempt from the automatic list to get it to pass into law. People are still pretty freaked out by eye or skin donation, for some reason. Personally I find open-casket funerals far creepier than the idea that my skin could save someone's life.

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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    ....

    Though we do make an exception for organ donors, which is kind of weird.

    On a tangential note, I do think that organ donation should be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system that we have here.

    Which reminds me, I've been meaning to opt-in for a while now.

    While I tend to agree, I think there's still a fair contingent of religious folks who think organ donation is wrong. I'm not sure how big or vocal that minority actually is, though.

    You'd at least have to make certain organs exempt from the automatic list to get it to pass into law. People are still pretty freaked out by eye or skin donation, for some reason. Personally I find open-casket funerals far creepier than the idea that my skin could save someone's life.

    There is an argument that Jews can't be organ donors, so that's a big problem with an opt out system.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    So how do you feel about exterminators, spring loaded mouse traps, killing animals for food, feeding live animals to other animals (I.e., feeding crickets to lizards), hunting for sport, leather clothing, breeding animals for slaughter etc? We don't have a very high bar on killing animals, so I don't see why the threshold for experimenting on creatures we can kill with impunity should be the same as experimenting on people who we are not allowed to kill. If I can put traps designed to break a wild mouse's neck all over my house, why can't we experiment on mice we breed solely for experiments to improve our lives?

    Actually as far as I know those types of traps are being phased out because they're inhumane, since they don't reliably kill the mouse.

    Again: death and suffering are two fairly different concepts. Most animals do not demonstrate the type of extended consciousness that humans do - where we can conceive of and value the distant future, and our continued existence in it (of us or those around us).

    For example, I'm not reliably convinced that cats actually have much of a forward or retrospective thinking faculty: my suspicion is that they're largely driven by habit-forming memory - that is they don't see a person, think of previous good experiences and make an assessment of the situation - but rather just get a feeling about them and then act in the moment based on that.

    Humans have this same faculty, but we also have more advanced ones which can override it (admittedly with considerable difficulty, given the pathology of various mental disorders). For example, we react to knowledge of our perceived duration of existence in the future - whereas I don't think a cat, or many other animals, is really capable of processing that information.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    ....

    Though we do make an exception for organ donors, which is kind of weird.

    On a tangential note, I do think that organ donation should be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system that we have here.

    Which reminds me, I've been meaning to opt-in for a while now.

    While I tend to agree, I think there's still a fair contingent of religious folks who think organ donation is wrong. I'm not sure how big or vocal that minority actually is, though.

    You'd at least have to make certain organs exempt from the automatic list to get it to pass into law. People are still pretty freaked out by eye or skin donation, for some reason. Personally I find open-casket funerals far creepier than the idea that my skin could save someone's life.

    There is an argument that Jews can't be organ donors, so that's a big problem with an opt out system.

    Only if the government putting the law in place is a Jewish theocracy.

  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

    Aside from the moral/logical quandaries that equivalence is going to land you in, which you seem to have acknowledged above, the chief problem I see with that is that you've just more or less stopped all drug development, forever. There's no way you're going to be able to convince an IRB, never mind the subjects themselves, that they should take this pill absent any evidence (which is always or nearly always animal studies) for its safety. This is a problem for several reasons: there are a number of diseases with no known cures, for which we could potentially develop a cure. Equally, or perhaps more pressingly, there are a number of diseases for which the cure we have now is either already ineffective, or will likely become ineffective in the near future.

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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    So how do you feel about exterminators, spring loaded mouse traps, killing animals for food, feeding live animals to other animals (I.e., feeding crickets to lizards), hunting for sport, leather clothing, breeding animals for slaughter etc? We don't have a very high bar on killing animals, so I don't see why the threshold for experimenting on creatures we can kill with impunity should be the same as experimenting on people who we are not allowed to kill. If I can put traps designed to break a wild mouse's neck all over my house, why can't we experiment on mice we breed solely for experiments to improve our lives?

    Actually as far as I know those types of traps are being phased out because they're inhumane, since they don't reliably kill the mouse.

    Again: death and suffering are two fairly different concepts. Most animals do not demonstrate the type of extended consciousness that humans do - where we can conceive of and value the distant future, and our continued existence in it (of us or those around us).

    For example, I'm not reliably convinced that cats actually have much of a forward or retrospective thinking faculty: my suspicion is that they're largely driven by habit-forming memory - that is they don't see a person, think of previous good experiences and make an assessment of the situation - but rather just get a feeling about them and then act in the moment based on that.

    Humans have this same faculty, but we also have more advanced ones which can override it (admittedly with considerable difficulty, given the pathology of various mental disorders). For example, we react to knowledge of our perceived duration of existence in the future - whereas I don't think a cat, or many other animals, is really capable of processing that information.

    Does this argue for or against animal testing? On the one hand, they can't understand the test will end, so they will fear it more than humans. On the other, they can't understand what they are losing if they undergo the experiment and die.

    If we can move away from animal testing for a moment, I would like to return to the vivisection and other human experiments discussed earlier. I fully understand why we recoil, but do we really think there is no situation I which those types of human experiments on prisoners of war could be justified? Let's say that during WWII we had knowledge that the Germans planned on releasing a horrific nerve gas on our soldiers and it would result in the entire US army dying. Our soldiers come across 5 German operatives who were to be part of the plan to release the gas. As a first step, I assume we would all be ok with the five of them being shot in the stomachs in the field and dying painful deaths, because that is just part of war. If we capture them instead, would we be justified in torturing them to get information out of them which would save our entire army? If we think we would (I personally think we would) then what if instead we use them to test 5 antidotes for the nerve gas, one of which we are pretty certain will work, knowing that at least 4 of the enemy soldiers will probably die a horrible death from the nerve gas?

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    As a first step, I assume we would all be ok with the five of them being shot in the stomachs in the field and dying painful deaths, because that is just part of war.
    I absolutely would not be okay with them purposely shooting them in the stomach to give them the most painful death possible.
    If we capture them instead, would we be justified in torturing them to get information out of them which would save our entire army?
    Nope.
    If we think we would (I personally think we would)
    You assume a lot of really terrible things about the people who post here. Like that they're fine with maximizing the painfulness of a death or willing to torture people for information. Stop assuming other people agree with you on horrible things.

    Quid on
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Quid wrote: »
    As a first step, I assume we would all be ok with the five of them being shot in the stomachs in the field and dying painful deaths, because that is just part of war.
    I absolutely would not be okay with them purposely shooting them in the stomach to give them the most painful death possible.
    If we capture them instead, would we be justified in torturing them to get information out of them which would save our entire army?
    Nope.
    If we think we would (I personally think we would)
    You assume a lot of really terrible things about the people who post here. Like that they're fine with maximizing the painfulness of a death or willing to torture people for information. Stop assuming other people agree with you on horrible things.

    Who said they were intentionally shot in the stomach? Not wanting to have the entire US army killed is terrible? Why didn't you address the final question?

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Who said they were intentionally shot in the stomach?
    If you're going to compare shooting people to experimentation I'm going to assume it's intentional since last I checked there are no sudden, unexpected experiment outs where two guys slice open mice brains and run a current of electricity through them in a fight to the death.
    Not wanting to have the entire US army killed is terrible? Why didn't you address the final question?

    Geneva Conventions are a thing. I, and in theory our government, are against torturing people for information regardless of what they might know. That you're not is disturbing.

  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Quid wrote: »
    As a first step, I assume we would all be ok with the five of them being shot in the stomachs in the field and dying painful deaths, because that is just part of war.
    I absolutely would not be okay with them purposely shooting them in the stomach to give them the most painful death possible.
    If we capture them instead, would we be justified in torturing them to get information out of them which would save our entire army?
    Nope.
    If we think we would (I personally think we would)
    You assume a lot of really terrible things about the people who post here. Like that they're fine with maximizing the painfulness of a death or willing to torture people for information. Stop assuming other people agree with you on horrible things.

    Who said they were intentionally shot in the stomach? Not wanting to have the entire US army killed is terrible? Why didn't you address the final question?

    Who said they were intentionally shot in the stomach?
    - Your sentence was a little ambiguous, I took it like that the first read through

    Not wanting to have the entire US army killed is terrible?
    - For a decent chunk of the world, and the Republican party, yes (zing)

    Why didn't you address the final question?
    - That's a bit iffy for me. Using enemy soldiers as test subjects has a pretty long history of fucked up.

    Overall you present a very messed up situation (since it's war)

    I probably wouldn't. Use animal testing first, then willing volunteers. I could probably rationalize it away as well with things like enemy soldiers will be more likely to surrender etc.

    Edit: Silly draft saving function

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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Who said they were intentionally shot in the stomach?
    If you're going to compare shooting people to experimentation I'm going to assume it's intentional since last I checked there are no sudden, unexpected experiment outs where two guys slice open mice brains and run a current of electricity through them in a fight to the death.
    Not wanting to have the entire US army killed is terrible? Why didn't you address the final question?

    Geneva Conventions are a thing. I, and in theory our government, are against torturing people for information regardless of what they might know. That you're not is disturbing.

    1. The goal of the experiment is not to cause pain though, in most cases. It is incidental to the experiment. We accept the risk of causing pain because we value the goal.

    2. We had a major candidate for the presidency say he wanted Jack Bauer to be in charge of protecting America, and we have water boarded lots of people. Our stance on torture is pretty soft.

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    1. The goal of the experiment is not to cause pain though, in most cases. It is incidental to the experiment. We accept the risk of causing pain because we value the goal.
    And the goal is striven for intentionally. So either your soldiers are shooting people in the stomach intentionally or it's a shit analogy.
    2. We had a major candidate for the presidency say he wanted Jack Bauer to be in charge of protecting America, and we have water boarded lots of people. Our stance on torture is pretty soft.

    Soft my ass it's fucking horrible and I literally fear for my well being because of it. That doesn't mean people on this board agree with it.

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Even prisoners have IRB advocates

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    So how do you feel about exterminators, spring loaded mouse traps, killing animals for food, feeding live animals to other animals (I.e., feeding crickets to lizards), hunting for sport, leather clothing, breeding animals for slaughter etc? We don't have a very high bar on killing animals, so I don't see why the threshold for experimenting on creatures we can kill with impunity should be the same as experimenting on people who we are not allowed to kill. If I can put traps designed to break a wild mouse's neck all over my house, why can't we experiment on mice we breed solely for experiments to improve our lives?

    Actually as far as I know those types of traps are being phased out because they're inhumane, since they don't reliably kill the mouse.

    Again: death and suffering are two fairly different concepts. Most animals do not demonstrate the type of extended consciousness that humans do - where we can conceive of and value the distant future, and our continued existence in it (of us or those around us).

    For example, I'm not reliably convinced that cats actually have much of a forward or retrospective thinking faculty: my suspicion is that they're largely driven by habit-forming memory - that is they don't see a person, think of previous good experiences and make an assessment of the situation - but rather just get a feeling about them and then act in the moment based on that.

    Humans have this same faculty, but we also have more advanced ones which can override it (admittedly with considerable difficulty, given the pathology of various mental disorders). For example, we react to knowledge of our perceived duration of existence in the future - whereas I don't think a cat, or many other animals, is really capable of processing that information.

    Does this argue for or against animal testing? On the one hand, they can't understand the test will end, so they will fear it more than humans. On the other, they can't understand what they are losing if they undergo the experiment and die.
    Both! There are some thing that are worse to do to animals than humans. A root canal, for instance, because a human knows what's up and (at least for most people) the knowledge that things are going to be over soon makes it a lot more bearable. For animals it's basically just torture. So in some bizarre thought experiment where you had to give someone a painless root canal and someone else a painful one, I think it would make more sense to give the painless one to the animal.

    However, when it comes to killing, I think @electricitylikesme and Singer's book, mentioned earlier in this thread, are right: some animals don't really have any conception of their life continuing into the future in any meaningful sense, and their fellow animals don't really give a shit either, so if you painlessly kill them it's not a huge issue.

    So, for your examples: exterminators - fine as long as they exterminate most sorts of animals painlessly, not okay if they're killing chimpanzees or human beings or certain other animals for whom a continuing life clearly seems to matter. Spring loaded mouse traps - fine if they're painless (unless it turns out mice have some sort of rich social life such that killing mice makes them all sad, which seems unlikely), not fine if they're painful. Killing animals for food: fine if it's done painlessly (excepting animals like human beings, chimps, and probably lots of others like elephants and maybe even stuff like cows and pigs), not fine if it's done painfully. Feeding live animals to other animals: probably not so great unless the other animals give the prey a painless death. Hunting for sport: fine if you only kill certain animals painlessly, etc. or if you're a shitty hunter and don't kill anything. Leather clothing - you can probably guess. Breeding animals for slaughter - sure, as long as they're raised humanely and killed painlessly. You say "we don't have a very high bar on killing animals" but that's completely beside the point. We used to have a very low bar on killing people with the wrong color skin or who stole food or who lived in the territory we wanted to colonize or who we thought were witches. It's irrelevant where our bar is right now. The question is where the bar ought to be.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    VishNub wrote: »
    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

    Aside from the moral/logical quandaries that equivalence is going to land you in, which you seem to have acknowledged above, the chief problem I see with that is that you've just more or less stopped all drug development, forever. There's no way you're going to be able to convince an IRB, never mind the subjects themselves, that they should take this pill absent any evidence (which is always or nearly always animal studies) for its safety. This is a problem for several reasons: there are a number of diseases with no known cures, for which we could potentially develop a cure. Equally, or perhaps more pressingly, there are a number of diseases for which the cure we have now is either already ineffective, or will likely become ineffective in the near future.
    If you look at it the other way, the only way drug development is possible right now is to co-opt a bunch of unwilling subjects who can't even understand what is being done to them and put them through horrendously painful and often ultimately fatal tests in the hopes that we'll learn something. This was recently (we're talking less than 100 years ago) deemed barbaric when done to all human beings, no matter what their race, but it took us a long time to get to even this limited point. Eventually, if people come to their moral senses, so to speak, we'll realize that causing pain to animals isn't any more justifiable than causing pain to humans. I don't know the science at all, and I've heard some researchers say that most animal testing could likely be done without, if not now then in the near future, such that we could move on to the "this is probably safe for humans" stage without doing a bunch of Tuskegee shit on mice. If that's true, then the implications for my view aren't too unfortunate. If that's not true, and widespread pain infliction is the only way to move science forward, then we need to have a conversation about how important it is that we develop whatever drugs it is that we're trying to develop.

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    While a horrifying prospect, I'm not sure vivisection experiments were inherently useless.

    For example, if it turned out you could attach the dismembered head of a monkey to the body of another for a meaningful length of time that seems like the kind of medical knowledge that would be useful.

    Or the zombie dog experiment, while sickening me to my stomach would have fairly important ramifications if it worked out.

    Which isn't to say that the end is worth the means, but simply that the early characterizations of "for the lols" are misrepresentations.

    Isn't there a reason you're having that sickening reaction? Saying, "well, it's really gross, unnecessary since there are better ways to do the research, and probably horrifying torture for the life form in question, but if it gives us more scientific knowledge I'm fine with it," is kind of a cop out. Especially since you said the ends didn't justify the means in that case.

    Like, that's the kind of thinking that is gonna get us exterminated by the Daleks someday.

    I'm not saying we free all the whales, run naked in wilds and all eat seeds. But presumably people can do a better job with science with out undue torment of living beings.

    Is the a reason I have this reaction? Yes, but that doesn't tell us anything, I doubt you or I were labouring under the apprehension that my reactions to things were random, likewise I don't think that it's remotely tenable to hold that our emotional or otherwise internal reactions are necessarily informed or reliable. Can you please clarify what you mean?

    I think you've simply restated your initial objection and mischaracterization with the rest of your question. I'm not sure if it is "unnecessary" - certainly at the time we didn't have the in vitro technologies and techniques we now do, and the sorts of things that they may have discovered like "we can cure decapitation" seem to be of serious rather than frivolous scientific interest. I am not sure if cultures etc... Could allow the decapitation test, which isn't to say it couldn't be done more humanely.

    I think that what constitutes unnecessary" could be a whole discussion in and of itself - does this mean there were technical alternatives or that the information gained (in potential) is "unnecessary"? There's lots to unpack here.

    P.s. I didn't say that the ends didn't justify the means, only that my observation, if true, did not necessitate that the ends did justify the means. There's a complicated moral calculus involved when it comes to questions like "is it necessary to do this thing which might save some other person's life" and what the lesser evil might be is not as simple as

    Tide goes in. Tide goes out.
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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    VishNub wrote: »
    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

    Aside from the moral/logical quandaries that equivalence is going to land you in, which you seem to have acknowledged above, the chief problem I see with that is that you've just more or less stopped all drug development, forever. There's no way you're going to be able to convince an IRB, never mind the subjects themselves, that they should take this pill absent any evidence (which is always or nearly always animal studies) for its safety. This is a problem for several reasons: there are a number of diseases with no known cures, for which we could potentially develop a cure. Equally, or perhaps more pressingly, there are a number of diseases for which the cure we have now is either already ineffective, or will likely become ineffective in the near future.
    If you look at it the other way, the only way drug development is possible right now is to co-opt a bunch of unwilling subjects who can't even understand what is being done to them and put them through horrendously painful and often ultimately fatal tests in the hopes that we'll learn something. This was recently (we're talking less than 100 years ago) deemed barbaric when done to all human beings, no matter what their race, but it took us a long time to get to even this limited point. Eventually, if people come to their moral senses, so to speak, we'll realize that causing pain to animals isn't any more justifiable than causing pain to humans. I don't know the science at all, and I've heard some researchers say that most animal testing could likely be done without, if not now then in the near future, such that we could move on to the "this is probably safe for humans" stage without doing a bunch of Tuskegee shit on mice. If that's true, then the implications for my view aren't too unfortunate. If that's not true, and widespread pain infliction is the only way to move science forward, then we need to have a conversation about how important it is that we develop whatever drugs it is that we're trying to develop.

    You could say similar things about stem cells. Why aren't we developing technology in generating them from multipotent cells that can be harvested harmlessly from a willing adult donor instead of doing the whole fetal thing? It would set back our progress in stem cell research for a couple of generations of cripples and organ failure, but at least more people would be on board. I mean, we are currently, but if your goal is something other than finding cures as fast as possible, then go ahead and divert more research priority to those things that don't actually forward science but make us feel better about it.

    Sometimes we need to learn about diseases in ways that will do great harm to the person with the disease. Like trying to find if a certain contaminant in a working area will kill a person if they get too high a dose. How do we know that? We can't put anybody under these conditions in case the hypothesis is proven. If we do nothing, work continues as usual without evidence of danger. So we use canaries in coal mines, and they die a horrible death of asphyxiation as their lungs can't bear the drop in oxygen saturation. We can replace them now because we know the mechanism and ways to detect danger levels, but we're still in the dark with cancer. You don't see engineers or physicists creating crimes against nature because only biologists are working with a mechanism they cannot replicate or create from scratch.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Does the ban on primate research hamper our advancement of science? Also, what's the reason for it? If it's "we can get the same results for less harm", cool, go for it. If its "wook at his wittle face" then the reasoning gets wonky for me.

    That's sort of reasoning-from-cuteness is often brought up as a foil in these sorts of conversations. The best arguments against animal experimentation do not use any such appeals, however; rather, they appeal to alleged parallels between animals and low-functioning humans like babies and the severely retarded who we, one supposes, would not countenance any such experiments on. This is just a straightforward appeal to consistency, and has nothing to do with how adorable anything is.

    This does suppose that the reason we don't experiment on the severely retarded is an inherently rational one.

    This is true; you can go the other way on both and still maintain consistency.

    Well what I wanted to point out is that we might not be basing all our positions on faculties of the mind, sometimes we seem to base them on genetics or some sense of biology. More to the point, we wouldn't accuse one animal of morally wronging another animal or even deem a hurtful action to an animal by another as morally wrong. And not merely because we think that the attacker animal is unfit to be judged as mentally capable, since we don't try to prevent them doing such harm in most cases. We can stop animals from hurting other animals easily, even if it might cost a little money the morality of it would trump it if we considered suffering as morally wrong no matter what.

    We deem the suffering of animals as morally neutral when done by other animals. Not morally neutral in the sense that we can't blame the animal, but neutral in the sense that the suffering of the other animal is not a moral wrong. Which leads us to the question: "Why are we wrong in causing suffering in those same animals?"

    A lion attacks, kills and eats a gazelle. The gazelle suffers. A lot. Does this mean we must prevent it?

    (You could say that it's for the survival of the species of the lion, but then we might as well argue that for us. At what point does animal suffering outweigh human advancement?)

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    VishNub wrote: »
    The answer to the question "Is there disease/condition you would be willing to use animals as, literally guinea pigs, for testing treatments? " is "yes, I would be willing to use animals any time I would be willing to use people who cannot consent." People have differing ideas about when it's okay to use people without their consent: some people say "never," some people say "only if it's possibly beneficial for the person being experimented on," some people say "only if the disease is super important to fix and it's okay to sacrifice some people for the good of the whole." That question is separate from the animal question and therefore outside the bounds of this thread. For pesticide testing, I could see someone saying something like "malaria kills a fuckton of people, it's okay to sacrifice a few human beings if it means having a good way to fight malaria." If that reasoning is sound, then I think it's also okay to use animals. If on the other hand someone says "yeah, malaria blows, but between the pesticides we already have and mosquito nets and so on, we can do a fairly good job if we just put our resources to good use like Bill Gates, and any further testing on humans would be immoral," then I think they need to be opposed to further animal testing.

    Aside from the moral/logical quandaries that equivalence is going to land you in, which you seem to have acknowledged above, the chief problem I see with that is that you've just more or less stopped all drug development, forever. There's no way you're going to be able to convince an IRB, never mind the subjects themselves, that they should take this pill absent any evidence (which is always or nearly always animal studies) for its safety. This is a problem for several reasons: there are a number of diseases with no known cures, for which we could potentially develop a cure. Equally, or perhaps more pressingly, there are a number of diseases for which the cure we have now is either already ineffective, or will likely become ineffective in the near future.
    If you look at it the other way, the only way drug development is possible right now is to co-opt a bunch of unwilling subjects who can't even understand what is being done to them and put them through horrendously painful and often ultimately fatal tests in the hopes that we'll learn something. This was recently (we're talking less than 100 years ago) deemed barbaric when done to all human beings, no matter what their race, but it took us a long time to get to even this limited point. Eventually, if people come to their moral senses, so to speak, we'll realize that causing pain to animals isn't any more justifiable than causing pain to humans. I don't know the science at all, and I've heard some researchers say that most animal testing could likely be done without, if not now then in the near future, such that we could move on to the "this is probably safe for humans" stage without doing a bunch of Tuskegee shit on mice. If that's true, then the implications for my view aren't too unfortunate. If that's not true, and widespread pain infliction is the only way to move science forward, then we need to have a conversation about how important it is that we develop whatever drugs it is that we're trying to develop.

    You could say similar things about stem cells. Why aren't we developing technology in generating them from multipotent cells that can be harvested harmlessly from a willing adult donor instead of doing the whole fetal thing? It would set back our progress in stem cell research for a couple of generations of cripples and organ failure, but at least more people would be on board. I mean, we are currently, but if your goal is something other than finding cures as fast as possible, then go ahead and divert more research priority to those things that don't actually forward science but make us feel better about it.

    Sometimes we need to learn about diseases in ways that will do great harm to the person with the disease. Like trying to find if a certain contaminant in a working area will kill a person if they get too high a dose. How do we know that? We can't put anybody under these conditions in case the hypothesis is proven. If we do nothing, work continues as usual without evidence of danger. So we use canaries in coal mines, and they die a horrible death of asphyxiation as their lungs can't bear the drop in oxygen saturation. We can replace them now because we know the mechanism and ways to detect danger levels, but we're still in the dark with cancer. You don't see engineers or physicists creating crimes against nature because only biologists are working with a mechanism they cannot replicate or create from scratch.
    I thought fetal stem cells were harvested waaaaay before a fetus can feel pain. Or do they come from fetuses that were aborted? Or what? I don't know anything about stem cells so I can't really address the topic.

    You say things like "sometimes we need to learn about diseases in ways that will do great harm" but what you really mean is "sometimes if we want to learn about diseases we need to cause great harm." I'm sure there are plenty of experiments we could do to human beings that would be a lot better than the current ones we do, but those are held back because you can't get IRB approval for the Tuskegee experiments any more. Is this good? Is this bad? Well it's certainly slowing down science, but on the plus side a lot of people aren't being tortured. I'm just saying that non-human animal torture should count as much as human torture when we do the math, because right now it counts for a lot less, just like how in the Tuskegee experiments, African American torture counted a lot less, for what are basically the same reasons: prejudice against stuff that's different.

    Zilla360
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