On Science Experimenting on Life

Published on September 10, 2015 (↻ February 5, 2024), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

No matter what information or data you receive as the result of animal experimentation or dissection for scientific purposes, and no matter how valuable the results appear to be, the consequences of such methods are so distorted that you comprehend less of life than you did before.

—Jane Roberts: The Nature of the Psyche.

According to PETA, more than 100 million mice and rats are killed in U.S. laboratories every year. More than 100 million. In the United States alone.

This looks sick to me. This looks to me like torture and murder on a mass, mass, mass scale.

Experimenting with and killing of life seems to be one of the fundamental problems with how we do science.

Just as with humans, we need to stop all this torturing.

Just as with humans, we need to stop all this killing.

Neither from a logical nor a philosophical angle can we understand life by enslaving, violating, and killing it. It’s impossible. Enslaved ≠ free. Violated ≠ respected. Dead ≠ alive.

It’s not just that there should or must be a clear boundary that life—any life—may not be experimented on, tortured, and killed… but that there is a clear boundary.

The end does not justify the means.

There cannot be science that plays with and murders life.

And we don’t have to present science with choices here, for the respectful treatment of life must be non-negotiable.

Indeed, again there’s more to say. But that does apply less to exceptions which we’ll still, after most careful consideration, have to grant, than to our philosophical understanding. Most notably, we approach science, in particular the medical sciences, as if diseases were all “evil.” They come with value judgments, and we don’t consider—consider—that diseases may also be a choice. Once we explore, and actually understand, other angles at the problems our research attempts to solve, we may make most insightful discoveries. But, there’s more to say, and I’m learning just as we all do.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!