On Science Experimenting on Life
Post from September 10, 2015 (↻ June 7, 2021), filed under Philosophy.
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.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have questions or suggestions about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message.
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Perhaps my most interesting book: 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer (2013). During my time in the States I started trying everything. Everything. Then I noticed that wasn’t only fun, it was also useful. Available at Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.