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Should UBC experiment on monkeys?

Animal welfare group wants to spare monkeys from Parkinson’s experiment on campus


 

The University of British Columbia has gotten a lot of unwanted attention lately for its proposed study of Parkinson’s disease. According to documents obtained by The Province, the university plans to inject four rhesus monkeys with substances to mimic Parkinson’s disease in humans. The monkeys will be tested and subsequently euthanized for post-mortem analysis. A group called “Stop UBC Animal Research” has said it will launch an “adopt a monkey” campaign, which will offer to buy the monkeys from the university and send them to a primate sanctuary. According to Anne Birthistle, a member of the animal welfare group, Stop UBC Animal Research will pay “whatever it takes” to save the monkeys.

This is not the first time UBC has made headlines about its use of animals in research. Back in November, Stop UBC Animal Research filed a complaint with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act commissioner when the university failed to provide details of its use of animals in experiments within the required 20 days. Needless to say, the lack of transparency didn’t inspire warm thoughts among UBC’s critics.  A month prior, Stop UBC Animal Research paired with PETA to stage a naked protest in downtown Vancouver with the aim of bringing attention to the estimated 100,000 animals used in research at UBC annually. That demonstration, needless to say, didn’t inspire proud sentiments among the more pragmatic thinkers of the animal welfare movement.

But now UBC is again on the defensive as Birthistle and her allies claim that the university does not need to be testing on animals. “We have computer modeling and technology, and human tissue samples,” she told The Province. UBC Vice-President Research John Hepburn responded to the allegations in a letter to the paper, writing, “The truth is that scientists regard the use of animals in research to be a privilege, to be used only when no alternative exists.” Back in October he said, “We wish we understood organisms well enough that we could model them on a computer. But that is way off in the future. Essentially, the same thing is true with doing things in Petri dishes . . . A group of cells, even if they come from a liver, are not a liver, so if you want to test the impact on an organ or a whole creature, you do have to use an animal.”

The medical contributions of animal research are undeniably invaluable. Whereas some animal testing has, and continues, to be used for more frivolous uses like makeup and haircare, there are many historical advances where animal research has led to life-saving medical breakthroughs. The chemical isolation of insulin in 1922 was a direct result of Frederick Banting’s experiments whereby he tied the pancreatic ducts of dogs. The vaccine against polio was made available in 1955 after an estimated 100,000 rhesus monkeys (same as in the proposed Parkinson’s experiments) were killed in clinical trials. And in 1960, heart valve replacement surgery was pioneered as a way to save patients with valvular disease after surgical testing on dogs.

The examples go on, but the point is that these medical breakthroughs would not have happened if it were not for testing on animals. I am not a medical researcher, so I am in no authoritative position to debunk John Hepburn’s claim that the alternatives to animal testing are, at present, not equally viable. If indeed his point is valid, animal welfare activists would be better served to advocate for the most ethical and humane treatment of animals currently used for medical study (animal welfare regulations in Canada are devastatingly loose; adherence to the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s policies is, as I understand, voluntary), as well as the promotion of continued study and development of alternatives to animal testing. In the meantime, UBC needs to adopt a more transparent approach to discussing its use of animals in medical research. Silence can’t possibly inspire public faith.


 

Should UBC experiment on monkeys?

  1. “…Dr Albert Sabin, the inventor of the polio vaccine, regretted that the vaccine was “long delayed by the erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys”. Heart-valve replacements, penicillin and many other therapies were similarly delayed because of misleading test results in animals. People died as a result of those delays. Smoking cigarettes and eating lots of cholesterol were given the thumbs-up by animal experimentation. Probably no two mistakes have cost as many lives. Now millions of women on hormone replacement therapy are at twice the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, thanks to tests in monkeys which predicted the opposite. How many more people have to die before we admit there is a problem with animal testing?…”

  2. They should stop experimenting on monkeys and start on people instead, right?

  3. to Ryan Campbell:

    Did you read what I posted. If you did; read it again because you missed the entire point.

  4. and I don’t think “start” is really the right word. “continue” would be a better word. Do you not understand the big picture?

  5. No! No! No! If UBC want to experiment on sentient beings then they can experiment on themselves and their colleagues. Enough taking advantage of innocent, helpless beings!

  6. Shame on UBC for experimenting on innocent animals! I’m a UBC alumni and had no idea this was going on. I’ve donated a lot of money to UBC over the years but won’t give the university another dime until it stops this madness.

  7. Monkey Kong would be unhappy if he read this.

  8. Compartmentalizing is the act of splitting an idea or concept up into (sometimes more or less arbitrary) parts, and trying to enforce thought processes which are inhibiting attempts to allow these parts to mix together again. This process is performed in an attempt to simplify things, and to defend against anxiety

    I’ve seen people do this to simply the vivisection issues, ie. by saying the animal rights activists are extremists who don’t value human life. In fact, its the exact opposite.

  9. We should attempt to maximise the progress in curing many diseases that still continue to plague the human race. Im not sure about those animal lovers, but if i had a choice over developing drugs and therapies to cure diseases that many of our parents will have when they get older or reducing medical developments in order to save animals, the answer is simple to me.

  10. to Lesley: Maybe they should put their money where their mouth is and take their own medicine. I’m certainly not going to take it.

  11. Rob: You still don’t get it. But I have empathy because I didn’t fully get it either at first. The experiments don’t work. They cause harm not help. They have another purpose unrelated to human health.

  12. Incredulous that a modern university would commit such horrendous atrocities on innocent, tiny, victims in the name of science, when time after time it is proven animal subjects do not provide accurate comparisons to humans. Why do you continue to do these experiments? The public is outraged. This must stop.

  13. “…Large sums of money spent experimenting on monkey brains will mean less money is available for scientists studying human brains. Worse still, findings from marmoset/macaque monkeys are likely to mislead neuroscientists as they have in the recent past, often with tragic consequences. For example, dozens of treatments for stroke have been developed in primates but all of them have failed in humans and harmed people in clinical trials.
    The public has long been sold the idea that cures for human disease will be found via animals. It is time the public knew that this is an expensive and dangerous lie. Until animal experiments – which are ‘utterly futile’ according to Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, chair of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence – are abandoned in favour of state-of-the-art medical research, we will not see cures for the illnesses that plague us, and will continue to suffer the consequences of useless and outdated research.”

  14. Pingback: Hormone Replacement Therapy News » Blog Archive » Should UBC experiment on monkeys? – – Macleans OnCampus

  15. “Since the regimentation of Medicine by quacks and medical gangsters in control of the American Medical Association, this organization has become one of the most vicious rackets in the country.” – Dr. Charles Lyman Loffler, as cited by Morris Bealle in The Drug Story, 1949

  16. Maureen,

    I read the first link you sent, and after taking a look at that factually incorrect garbage, I dismissed your arguments entirely.

  17. Do you have something that doesn’t come from vivisectionresearch.ca? Something credible?

  18. Actually, Ryan, Maureen is right on target in exposing the fundamental flaws involved in extrapolating the results of animal research onto human patients. The scientist at the core of Stop UBC Animal Research’s investigation into the PD research freely admits that animal models of the disease are not working. Why? We are simulating the diseases of an afflicted human being in a healthy animal model, and hoping to explore it as though it were idiopathic in that animal. (Imagine crushing the joints of dogs in order to simulate Rheumatoid Arthritis – scientifically accepted, but logically, not to mention karmically and ethically, flawed.) Doesn’t work. Doesn’t count. Load of rubbish. ‘Parkinsonism’ is the best said researcher and her mates can come up with.
    European researchers are streets ahead (again) because they are quicker to accept a flawed methodology when they encounter it.
    Maybe check out the Dr. Hadwen Trust site to find out more.

  19. I was going to write something about my own observations but I dont see there is a conversation going on although Anne is certainly trying to explain things. If anyone doesn’t like something that I’ve posted then feel free to comment but there’s not need to get emotional and become insulting. This is a very serious issue for many people. The influence of the pharmaceutical companies on the media, the medical profession and the politicians in the U.S. and Canada should be a huge concern to everyone. So while I was doing some research on animal testing after seeing the article in the Province I found a statement made by one Dr. Irwin Bross in 1981. It wasn’t just a statement. It was testimony before Congress that animal tests were not only useless, they actually hindered medical research. So my question was, why isn’t this general knowledge. And with that question, one opens a huge can of worms. Thereafter, I found many more statements made by credible researchers and doctors that testing on animals was, in fact, a risk to public health. And yet, there seems to be fevered insistence on the part of a few people that anyone who says such a thing is some kind of lunatic (who deserves to be insulted). That’s significant in itself.

  20. The research on monkeys and other animals needs to be looked at critically, (not by the fox keeping the henhouse.) Thanks Maureen for providing a sane voice here and many useful links for further consideration. The wholesale waste of animals, deplorable laboratory housing conditions, repeating tests already done, total disregard for the psychological health of captive sentient beings… the animal testing enthusiasts have a deplorable history and a lot of explaining to do.

  21. I didn’t mean that post as an insult Maureen, but what I said is true. The biggest thing that turned me off from your arguments was that first link. I studied at the University of Toronto and have used the labs of the Banting and Best Institute, and that link on the discovery of insulin was so far from being factually correct that it really did make me not want to read the other links.

    Personally, I do think that the ethical standards need to be set higher for animal research, especially when it comes to primates and the like (as opposed to fruit flies). I don’t disagree that animal research has led to dead ends in the past, or that a small minority of researchers doesn’t feel animal testing is useful. The fact that they are a small minority doesn’t necessarily make them wrong either, but neither does the fact that they exist invalidate the vast majority of researchers who do see a value in animal testing, and who have made real and significant discoveries using it. One of my best friends is a biomedical engineer, and I know he wouldn’t be able to do his stem cell research without access to sheep stem cells.

    At the end of the day too, some research cannot be done without testing it on living creatures, and I’d prefer that testing be done on animals first to reduce the risk to humans.

  22. In the issue of Insulin I recommend this piece – http://www.historicgreenslopes.com/documents/Booklet_The%20Discovery%20of%20Insulin%2006.pdf

    It is not a pro-animal-testing piece but does clearly show the links between the animal research (and the clinical research that complemented it) and the discovery and use of Insulin. The article on the anti-viv website is so full of wholes you could use it as a sieve.

    The third link provided is written by the widely discredited Ray Greek. His belief that adverse reactions can be attributed to animal research shows a deep misunderstanding of research (drugs are released onto the market on the basis of clinical trials in humans)

    Many of these claims are concisely, and scientifically, debunked here – http://speakingofresearch.com/extremism-undone/bad-science/

    Maureen, your assertion of “innocent animals” is a misunderstanding as to the nature of ethics. If we are to have “innocent” animals then we must also have “guilty” animals – since animals are not moral agents, both words are meaningless (alternatively we could start calling animals that kill other animals guilty, but I hope you agree the notion is ludicrous).

  23. I agree completely. Animal testing is wrong! We should use humans!

    Now, who are we going to use?

    Are _you_ going to volunteer to have your brain poked and prodded?

    Should we go back to the good ‘ol days of using prisoners, patients of mental illnesses, or people of minority races?

    I didn’t think you’d agree with those suggestions. Hmmmmm… let’s let our loved ones and selves die from Parkinsons!

  24. I dont think I used the term “innocent animals”.

  25. what do you mean “good old days” of using prisoners, patients of mentral illness and people of minority races. I believe that is continuing right to the present. And its my opinion that testing on animals can lead to the same philosophy that allows people to test on humans. I dont think the two are unrelated.

  26. its can also lead to the same philosophy that allows people to torture humans and a psychological state that allows people to ignore misery. These questions are serious and should be dismissed by no one because they are real concerns.

  27. all one has to do is look at the world around us to see what state it is in as far as greed, violence and inhumanity is concerned.

  28. some of the people I have talked to who are most concerned about the animals ARE people who have been political prisons in a system where a team of people trained in torture were visited on them because of their student protests.

  29. My father died of Parkinson’s and as a deeply philosophical, compassionate person he would have been appalled by these experiments.

  30. to sarcasmo: you post reveals a number of assumptions. 1. that if I don’t believe that animals should be tested on then I believe that humans should be tested on. Clearly that is not my point so why do you accuse me of it. 2. that experimentation on humans is not occurring today; 3. that testing on animals will produce a result that is beneficial to humans. You must not have read my post. My question was, and I repeat it: In 1981, Dr. Bross testified before Congress that animal testing was not only useless it had hindered medical research. Why don’t we know about it. Why are some people incapable of having a civilized discussion about it. Why is there so much emotion involved when it is a real concern. There may be examples of animals tests that have proved beneficial. There are also examples of disasters visited on the public as a result of animals tests. Are we able to see the future to see which one is going to be which?

  31. Ryan Campbell: I have actually been researching the issue as far it it relates to the effectiveness of animal testing for about one week as I said because I found many comments by credible researchers that animals testing was risky. So I am not yet familiar with all the sites. It is important to know the background of the people who put information on websites but unfortunately I do not have time to do that. My real point is another: that we should question this as we should question everything.

  32. I’ll agree with you 100% on that point Maureen.

  33. Hi Maureen, my post did not single out a single person! Nor does it make assumptions…they’re actual premises used in this long-standing debate! Clarification/summary:
    – people agree on animal testing or they disagree with it
    – If we want to find cures for things, something might have to be tested. Something might have to be euthanized.
    – If we disagree with animal testing, we’re going to have to use humans—–> ethics argument
    – If we disagree with human testing, we’re going to have to use animals ——-> ethics argument
    – If we cannot poke ‘n prod animals that we’ve birthed purposely for research, how do we choose our human subjects?

    If you look at Canadian universities many(maybe all) have an ethics board. Animal research has to be approved by this board through an application process where the scientists have to prove that the research is a)vital to humans; b)cannot be replicated using computer models, etc; and c)could risk human happiness and well-being if tested on humans. We’re not talking about testing mascara here, we’re talking about saving lives. Please, tell me what can be improved on this form of criteria? Really, a more important point to argue is the humane treatment of lab animals – make sure there is a group that does regular walk-throughs in labs to ensure that food/stimulation/cages/play needs are being met, so that animals are given the respect they deserve for sacrificing their lives for the prolonging of our lives.

    Further, I would hope that all staunch un-advocates of animal testing would refrain from all medical products and services that have been acquired using animal testing, for fear that not doing this would be hypocritical.

  34. * clarification! My sarcasm got the best of me. When I wrote “human happiness and well-being”, I meant “people could die, be eviscerated, lose their cognitive functions, etc.”

  35. Shame on UBC!

  36. Oh, and I forgot to answer your question. You’re very correct. Sometimes we do bad science. Sometimes we get things wrong. The thing about science is that we often don’t know our level of success until we try it and assess the outcome. But also I strongly doubt that researchers are cackling “Muahaahahh” and abusing animals for fun and profit, under the guise of science. I’m kind of betting that researchers are trying to use their funding as efficiently as possible, and to reduce the probability of error as much as possible.

    Like you, I was against animal testing until I read “The Mind & The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force”. It depicts the brutality of animal testing, but also the necessity of it.

  37. from the British Medical Joural

    BMJ 2007; 334 : 197 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39048.407928.BE (Published 15 December 2006)

    Research

    Comparison of treatment effects between animal experiments and clinical trials: systematic review

    Pablo Perel, research fellow1, Ian Roberts, clinical coordinator CRASH 2 trial1, Emily Sena, PhD student2, Philipa Wheble, medical student2, Catherine Briscoe, medical student2, Peter Sandercock, professor of medical neurology2, Malcolm Macleod, senior lecturer2, Luciano E Mignini, researcher3, Pradeep Jayaram, senior house officer4, Khalid S Khan, professor of obstetrics-gynaecology4

    + Author Affiliations

    1Crash Trials Coordinating Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
    2Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh
    3Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales, WHO Collaborative Centre in Maternal and Child Health, Rosario 2000, Argentina
    4Division of Reproductive and Child Health, Birmingham Women’s Hospital, University of Birmingham
    Correspondence to: P Perel pablo.perel@lshtm.ac.uk

    Accepted 7 November 2006

    Abstract
    Objective To examine concordance between treatment effects in animal experiments and clinical trials.

    Study design Systematic review.

    Data sources Medline, Embase, SIGLE, NTIS, Science Citation Index, CAB, BIOSIS.

    Study selection Animal studies for interventions with unambiguous evidence of a treatment effect (benefit or harm) in clinical trials: head injury, antifibrinolytics in haemorrhage, thrombolysis in acute ischaemic stroke, tirilazad in acute ischaemic stroke, antenatal corticosteroids to prevent neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, and bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis.

    Review methods Data were extracted on study design, allocation concealment, number of randomised animals, type of model, intervention, and outcome.

    Results Corticosteroids did not show any benefit in clinical trials of treatment for head injury but did show a benefit in animal models (pooled odds ratio for adverse functional outcome 0.58, 95% confidence interval 0.41 to 0.83). Antifibrinolytics reduced bleeding in clinical trials but the data were inconclusive in animal models. Thrombolysis improved outcome in patients with ischaemic stroke. In animal models, tissue plasminogen activator reduced infarct volume by 24% (95% confidence interval 20% to 28%) and improved neurobehavioural scores by 23% (17% to 29%). Tirilazad was associated with a worse outcome in patients with ischaemic stroke. In animal models, tirilazad reduced infarct volume by 29% (21% to 37%) and improved neurobehavioural scores by 48% (29% to 67%). Antenatal corticosteroids reduced respiratory distress and mortality in neonates whereas in animal models respiratory distress was reduced but the effect on mortality was inconclusive (odds ratio 4.2, 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 20.9). Bisphosphonates increased bone mineral density in patients with osteoporosis. In animal models the bisphosphonate alendronate increased bone mineral density compared with placebo by 11.0% (95% confidence interval 9.2% to 12.9%) in the combined results for the hip region. The corresponding treatment effect in the lumbar spine was 8.5% (5.8% to 11.2%) and in the combined results for the forearms (baboons only) was 1.7% (−1.4% to 4.7%).

    Conclusions: Discordance between animal and human studies may be due to bias or to the failure of animal models to mimic clinical disease adequately.

  38. sarcasmo: “If we cannot poke ‘n prod animals that we’ve birthed purposely for research, how do we choose our human subjects?”

    A person commenting on the Province article said she had obtained information from U.B.C. under the FRA and that some animals had been obtained from the BCSPCA. She also said that some of the testing appeared to be “make work” projects involving the same team of researchers.

    “make sure there is a group that does regular walk-throughs in labs to ensure that food/stimulation/cages/play needs are being met, so that animals are given the respect they deserve for sacrificing their lives for the prolonging of our lives”

    Yes.

    “But also I strongly doubt that researchers are cackling “Muahaahahh” and abusing animals for fun and profit, under the guise of science”

    I don’t believe I’ve heard of many people cackling during animal experiments although I recall its been done at least in the U.S. I wasn’t thinking of cackling at all. It is very hard for people to understand how someone whose stated purpose is to heal the sick, can, on the other hand, deliberately cause disease in a healthy being, watch it become ill and then die and maintain their psychological balance. If I did a job like that I’d turn to drink.

    What can be improved? At this stage: disclosure and transparency. This is a subject of concern to the general public. There was criticism of the Province newspaper for printing this story. The general public, the very people who are supposedly being helped by these experiments are not being informed when it is an obvious issue of concern to them. Why the secrecy?

    And no one knows the answer to my question. What about the testimony of Dr. Bross to Congress in 1981. Was he lying?

  39. I doubt that Bross was lying. There is justified skepticism with using animal models because animals have different biological systems than humans. But there are enough similarities to make some (not all) comparisons between the two. Bross (as well as the previously-posted journal article) are legitimate concerns; however, 2 perspectives is insufficient to make a broad generalization such as “animal testing doesn’t give us enough results. We must stop all animal testing.”

    The people whose stated purpose is to heal the sick are thinking about their patients – people being paralyzed from polio, juvenile diabetics who wouldn’t have a future without insulin, and then there’s a bazillion new developments in neuroscience… If animals have to be sacrificed to save hundreds/thousands/millions of lives, I think it’s worthwhile. If animals have to be sacrificed to keep someone’s mom or dad alive, or to prevent someone from enduring 8 years of agony before cancer wins, then I would opt for an animal’s life to be cut short, because we’re dealing with all of humanity here an not just one or two people.

    I couldn’t kill off animals for research, but I’m pretty happy that someone did, because I wouldn’t be here if someone had to wait for computer models to be viable in order for insulin to be invented. But that’s my humble opinion. I didn’t love the idea of sacrificing lentils and chicken for supper, but I had to do it anyway.

    The SPCA is not a no-kill shelter, by the way. It’s very rare to find no-kill shelters that can actually run themselves and avoid killing. The animals handed over were probably the ones that nobody wanted. Sad, but true.

    Many other animals used in labs have actually been born for that purpose, so they wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for research.

  40. Regarding the “make-work” aspect, Maureen…could you grab a source on that? I’m optimistically thinking that the lab was doing some conditioning-type stuff (which can sometimes be healthy and fun for animals). If it’s an abuse issue where the lab techs are acting outside of their research, then that’s something that should be communicated to the ethics board.

  41. sarcasmo: this is the comment:

    UBC does perform unnecessary experiments on animals. Documents I obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from UBC’s Animal Welfare program exposes this reality.

    Dogs obtained from the Vancouver dog pound and the BCSPCA were used in UBC experiments that were inconclusive, had been repeated many times with the same results at other institutions that had previously employed the same UBC staff and appeared to be make work projects.

    I have removed UBC as a beneficiary in my will.

    Donna Liberson

  42. “There really exists no logical basis for translating the result of animals jto man.” (Dr. L. Goldberg, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Quantitative Method in Human Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Pergamon Press, London, 1959)

    In the supplement to the Neue juristische Wochenschrift (New Legal Weekly), in the Zeitschriftfur Rechtspolitik (issue 12, 1975), Prof. Dr. Herbert Hensel, Director of the Institute of Physiology at Marburg University, writes: “Nobody denies that no effect on a human being is predictable with cer­tainty from an animal experiment. But if any scientifically-based prediction is to be at all possible, one must at least be able to indicate a definable probability. Only then is the prediction rational, and only then can a norm be applied to it by means of appropriate guidelines. If this is not the case, then the prediction is irrational. It is only based on personal experience, intuition and chance. It can­not be rationally applied. In the opinion of leading bio statisticians, it is not possible to transfer probability predictions from animals to humans, because neither the tested parameters nor the animal species nor the tested substances can have any validity as random samples in terms of the theory of probability.
    “At present, therefore, (almost 150 years after Claude Bernard!) there exists no possibility at all of a scientifically-based prediction. In this respect, the situation is even less favorable than in a game of chance, for in the latter the chances of success are known… In our present state of knowledge, one cannot scientifically determine the probable effect, effectiveness or safety of medicaments when administered to human beings by means of animal experiments… The example of the Thalidomide disaster, often cited as an argument for stricter testing and also mentioned several times in the justification for the Government’s draft proposals to reform the law relating to medicines, illustrates this problem particularly clearly. Such a medicine-caused disaster could no more be prevented with adequate certainty through animal experimentation today than it could at that time.”

    Is vivisection about as scientific as flipping a coin?

    Dr. G. F. Walker, doctor at the Royal Hospital and at the Children’s Hospital, Sunderland, explains why many doctors defend animal research:
    “During his whole period of study it is impressed on the medical student, mostly by teachers with financial interests, that knowledge of the human body can only be achieved by observing and carrying out animal experiments. Now I know quite well that animal experiments are condemned on all sides on emotional, moral and ethical grounds. For the moment I will not concern myself with these matters of dispute, however reasonable they may be. My own conviction is that the study of human physiology by way of experiment on animals is the most grotesque and fantastic error ever committed in the whole range of human intellectual activity. Like all such errors, this one is defended by its supporters either with presumptuous and confused fanaticism or with self-opinionated excitedness. But this way of thinking is made out to the student to be a public-spirited and unbiased keenness for truth. The fact is that most students, although they are not aware of it, are damaged for life in their mental abilities as soon as they have once been persuaded to pay physiology more than the superficial interest that is taught to them in
    conventional medical studies; one of the most saddening phenomena is the otherwise good-natured and reasonable student who passionately defends animal experiments because his teachers, who have a financial interest in such experiments, have transferred their depravity to him on the strength of their position and personality.” (From his article “Reflection on the Training of Doctors”, in Medical World, Oct. 6, 1933)

  43. “There really exists no logical basis for translating the result of animals jto man.” (Dr. L. Goldberg, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. Quantitative Method in Human Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Pergamon Press, London, 1959)

    In the supplement to the Neue juristische Wochenschrift (New Legal Weekly), in the Zeitschriftfur Rechtspolitik (issue 12, 1975), Prof. Dr. Herbert Hensel, Director of the Institute of Physiology at Marburg University, writes: “Nobody denies that no effect on a human being is predictable with cer­tainty from an animal experiment. But if any scientifically-based prediction is to be at all possible, one must at least be able to indicate a definable probability. Only then is the prediction rational, and only then can a norm be applied to it by means of appropriate guidelines. If this is not the case, then the prediction is irrational. It is only based on personal experience, intuition and chance. It can­not be rationally applied. In the opinion of leading bio statisticians, it is not possible to transfer probability predictions from animals to humans, because neither the tested parameters nor the animal species nor the tested substances can have any validity as random samples in terms of the theory of probability.
    “At present, therefore, (almost 150 years after Claude Bernard!) there exists no possibility at all of a scientifically-based prediction. In this respect, the situation is even less favorable than in a game of chance, for in the latter the chances of success are known… In our present state of knowledge, one cannot scientifically determine the probable effect, effectiveness or safety of medicaments when administered to human beings by means of animal experiments… The example of the Thalidomide disaster, often cited as an argument for stricter testing and also mentioned several times in the justification for the Government’s draft proposals to reform the law relating to medicines, illustrates this problem particularly clearly. Such a medicine-caused disaster could no more be prevented with adequate certainty through animal experimentation today than it could at that time.”

    Is vivisection about as scientific as flipping a coin?

    Dr. G. F. Walker, doctor at the Royal Hospital and at the Children’s Hospital, Sunderland, explains why many doctors defend animal research:
    “During his whole period of study it is impressed on the medical student, mostly by teachers with financial interests, that knowledge of the human body can only be achieved by observing and carrying out animal experiments. Now I know quite well that animal experiments are condemned on all sides on emotional, moral and ethical grounds. For the moment I will not concern myself with these matters of dispute, however reasonable they may be. My own conviction is that the study of human physiology by way of experiment on animals is the most grotesque and fantastic error ever committed in the whole range of human intellectual activity. Like all such errors, this one is defended by its supporters either with presumptuous and confused fanaticism or with self-opinionated excitedness. But this way of thinking is made out to the student to be a public-spirited and unbiased keenness for truth. The fact is that most students, although they are not aware of it, are damaged for life in their mental abilities as soon as they have once been persuaded to pay physiology more than the superficial interest that is taught to them in
    conventional medical studies; one of the most saddening phenomena is the otherwise good-natured and reasonable student who passionately defends animal experiments because his teachers, who have a financial interest in such experiments, have transferred their depravity to him on the strength of their position and personality.” (From his article “Reflection on the Training of Doctors”, in Medical World, Oct. 6, 1933)

    “The medical establishment has become the major threat to health.” – Ivan IIlich, in Limits to Medicine, 1976

    Sarcasmo…Ryan Campbell… you shouldn’t wear your love of humanity on your sleeve, people will suspect it’s self-serving and phoney, especially considering your readiness to hurl animals into the flames just so that you may be spared a twinge or two. But, really, you are unwittingly or otherwise sacrificing both animals AND human beings, by applying the results of veterinarian research to clinical trials (human experimentation).

    Dr. med. Hans Fischer, Hohenhausen: “…what vivisectors do to man and animal is high treason. Vivisectors know what they are doing, are precisely aware of how criminal and how dangerous to the State their actions are when they carry out crimes in the service of Science on such people as they consider to belong to the lower classes – like the lord of
    the manor considered the coachman…” (Der Tier-und Menschenfreund. 1914, No. 1)

    Donald J. Barnes, a graduate of Ohio State University, after working for over 15 years on classified chemical and laser warfare research at the Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, quit his job in disgust in 1980. At this point, he decided that the only thing he could decently do to atone for the cruel nonsense he had been misled to participate in was to join the abolitionists’ ranks. In USA Today of April 25, 1988 he wrote under the heading “Animal Research is Wrong”:
    “After reading your editorial, ‘Animal research is needed; don’t ban it,’ for the fourth time, I cannot force myself to believe it was written by one of your regular editors. You adamantly state that animal research is “necessary” for human health, justifying this position with reams of drivel churned out by those who profit from the perpetuation of such research.
    To be perfectly fair, I admit to sharing many of your views only a few years ago when I was involved in laboratory research with non-human primates, a profession which I had dutifully followed for almost 16 years. I was wrong, as you are wrong. The real “facts” demonstrate clearly that the use of non-human animals in medical and biomedical research retards rather than advances the progress of medical science.”

  44. The use of “animal models” is not only cruel and barbaric it is scientifically fallacious. First, all species respond differently to the methodologies and drugs being tested. There are also variations within species (age, sex, etc.). Secondly the “animal models” do not depict the actual human maladies. Attempts to artificially induce symptoms is a vain attempt to mimic the human health problem or injuries. And lastly, animal experiments are part of a research system that includes more reliable studies such as in vitro assays and human trials. Vivisection is even done well clinical human studies are underway or have concluded. If a product fails the animal tests it can still be marketed. Therefore, vivisection can be removed from the research system without any harm to people. And it would certainly stop the animal abuses and waste of scarce helth care funds.

  45. I’m intrigued. What were the dogs being used for? What were the “make-work” projects? What were the living conditions like?

    I’ve been focusing my points on the animal experiments that involve them being killed off. But some research isn’t nearly as awful.

    I remember a prof telling my class about rat research. The rats were being used in learning studies, and the research involved them being run through mazes or placed in pools and swimming around for food. It’s treatment that isn’t unlike teaching a dog to shake paws or trying to keep my kitten off the counter.

    She also mentioned that it was really important in her lab to keep the rats happy and healthy, or else they wouldn’t be able to provide consistent results. There were lab techs assigned the role of “caregiver”, and they would regularly give the rats attention and love.

    Without knowing the nature of the research, it’s possible that the dogs were being used for something similar, and treated as well as they would be treated at the SPCA. Remember that at the SPCA there is a dog walking program and volunteers to give the dogs love, but they’re still kept in tiny cages, which isn’t exactly ideal. And if dogs aren’t adopted, they are killed…so…if a lab gives them a second chance at life, isn’t that alright? Yes, ideally, it would be best for every dog to be adopted to a nice home with a loving family, but it’s not a reality in our pet overpopulation.

  46. “Sarcasmo…you shouldn’t wear your love of humanity on your sleeve, people will suspect it’s self-serving and phoney, especially considering your readiness to hurl animals into the flames just so that you may be spared a twinge or two. But, really, you are unwittingly or otherwise sacrificing both animals AND human beings, by applying the results of veterinarian research to clinical trials (human experimentation).”

    Yeah! Let’s make things personal! Debates are more fun that way!

    So, you must be vegan, then, right? How do you live with yourself while you throw plants into the fire – they’re alive, too!

    Clearly, we have moral differences. I believe in sacrificing some to save the many; you believe in sacrificing no one so that you can watch many (people and animals) die in the future. But also, unless you believe in eating roadkill and dirt, I don’t believe there is any consistency in your claims.

    And unless you refuse to partake in any medical treatments or services that have been discovered using animal testing, I am even more skeptical that you are as morally superior to me as you think you may be.

  47. sarcasmo: I don’t know if its a question of superiority. Some people just are what they are. When something is wrong they just don’t do it. They dont have to work at it; they just do it, painlessly. No one is perfect but I don’t see a doctor and I wont because even though my doctor was a “good” doctor I found the standard of medical care so bad it was shocking. He was pushing pills and other toxins at me and, strangely, to me, at the time, would have the most horrified reaction to the suggestion of anything else. I thought that was odd even at the time but now I believe I understand what it was. At the time, I was at least thankful that the vets were untouched – they were, for time. But now they’ve gone the same way as my doctor.

    A great deal of information has been and is being suppressed or not developed because of big business and money. People are very susceptible to believing what they have been told. Inertia on the part of many is also problem. I hope I’m doing my part in the push forward.

  48. sarcasmo: I don’t know the answers to your questions yet. The make work aspect was of course a concern and I was a bit shocked to find out about the SPCA because I don’t think its general knowledge. I think when people take animals to the SPCA they don’t expect them to be subjected to experiments. I think people should be informed that its a possible outcome. I don’t know why there is a such a disregard for the general public.

  49. I don’t think the issue we’re debating relates to superiority at all. A person claims that I wear my humanity on my sleeve and then make self-serving claims. I was responding.

    I am happy for you that you have had a life free of disease, such that you haven’t needed medical assistance.

    Personally, I owe my life to the medical system. I can say from experience that the pill-pushing doctor is fairly rare, these days, and it’s really important to notify medical boards when there is one of those on hand (to ensure that the person is penalized or removed). I’ve only encountered 2 bad doctors out of 10 in my time.

    I guess in your case, animal testing is irrelevant because you haven’t needed any of those services. But not everyone is as lucky.

    Some fast facts about Parkinsons:
    – PD costs 23 billion dollars per year in the US alone, and $10000 per individual. That’s just in one country. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_disease#Cost
    – 1 million people in the US are affected by PD
    http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/p/parkinsons_disease/stats-country.htm
    – PD also sucks up a lot of hospital resources, taking time from other people who need care, and taking tax dollars that could be spent on animal shelters, the welfare system, daycare, etc: http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/p/parkinsons_disease/hospital.htm

    These are fast facts to be taken as a general sketch of the impact of PD – I’m not interested in splitting hairs about them. Other non-quantifiable impacts are the families of PD patients who have to grieve the loss of their loved ones, help them though their lives. Let’s also think of the increased mortality rate, which means there are less people to go to the SPCA to adopt pets.

    My point is this: what if UBC’s research provides a vital step in finding a cure for PD?

    Yes, there are corrupt businesses, doctors, researchers, etc. That’s why I don’t just accept something that someone tells me, I think critically and realistically about it. That’s also why I refrain from making absolute black-and-white statements, such as “Animal testing is wrong.”

  50. also, Maureen: is it necessarily a case of the public being disregarded? What about the public having the duty to ask questions about what’s happening and to think critically, realistically, and logically about it?

    And when a person surrenders an animal, they surrender all of their rights to it. A person who thinks that process clearly through knows that there is a chance that the pet they’re surrendering is going to die if it’s not adopted, so I hardly see the difference between killing animals that have been in the shelter system for too long and using animals for research. If a pet owner really loves their pet, they’ll find a good home for it themselves.

  51. sarcasmo: Oh, I do need the service but the point is I know I wont get it. I’m what they call a “zebra”. And if I do go to a doctor, the advice I get could be misleading. So I do it myself.

    I have a hard time being against doctors because many of my friends are doctors. But most of them would say something similar to what I’m saying and more. I use alternative things for my health. Its not that I have been free of any illness.

    I think if we just sit on animal testing as a solution we are screwed. Perhaps, in 50 years or so and maybe sooner we won’t have to think about it anymore; I just wish UBC could be a leader. I actually feel embarrassed.

    What did you think of the Dr. Hawden Trust site?

    The SPCA should change their name.

  52. the only people I know who took their pet to the S.P.C.A. were some older people and some new Canadians and in both cases they assumed that the name SPCA meant what it said.

  53. Well, since I’m not arguing for animal testing to be used 100% of the time, I obviously support people who are researching alternatives to it.

    And the do-it-yourself philosophy will help some of the time, but if you end up with an appendix rupture, please get a doctor! :) Seriously, a do-it-yourself attitude is better than going to the doctor all of the time. You know your body best, and we have enough Internet resources that we can diagnose a good chunk of medical issues.

    And the thing is is that we (scientists, that is) aren’t sitting on animal testing at all. We’ve got computer simulations, human subjects, stem cells growing live tissue to work on… the idea of alternatives to animal testing is not Hawden-specific. Scientists will willingly admit the drawbacks of animal testing; however, the difference is that they also realistically know that we don’t have perfectly analogous alternatives yet. Still, at this point in history, some poking and prodding of animals is necessary.

    Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I’ll re-iterate my opinion: it really depends what manner of research the dogs were being used for… if it was humane (ex: dogs running a maze) or cruel (dogs being eviscerated while alive, to test out a new bonesaw, pardon my exaggeration). Research being cruelty is a risky generalization to make.

    The SPCA does the best it can. It’s an overworked organization with few paid staff so they have to find volunteers to run things and they have to deal with animal abuse and neglect on a very regular basis (ie: they have to deal with morally reprehensible people on a very regular basis). The best that can be done with time, space, and resources is a) putting animals in cages; b) taking care of animals; and c) when space gets overfull, killing off the animals to make room for new residents. I urge anyone who thinks they can do a better job at the SPCA to join the board and make some changes – maybe present a project designed to increase adoptions and resultantly prevent dogs from being sent to UBC for research.

  54. Further, hypothetical. The case of the senior and the new Canadians. If they knew that their pets were going to be either killed or used as research subjects, what would they have done with their animals?

    Setting them free into the wild is even less humane because they’re likely to be eaten by something larger. My kitten, if left to her own survival, would get eaten by a bear if I let her go out into the wild. She’s been domesticated.

    I’m sure that they would have asked around for anyone they knew to take the animals first before surrendering them…so…the only other option is to try to find a good home for them…but that doesn’t even guarantee the safe treatment of the animal.

  55. I dk what happened to the dog. We went to the SPCA to get it back and it was gone. Now he’s feeling terrible.

  56. Yes, I draw the line at do-it-yourself surgery.

    I do not understand how mimicking Parkinson’s disease in an animal that doesn’t naturally get Parkinson’s disease provide can possibly be useful.

  57. From the original post: “UBC Vice-President Research John Hepburn responded to the allegations in a letter to the paper, writing, “The truth is that scientists regard the use of animals in research to be a privilege, to be used only when no alternative exists.” Back in October he said, “We wish we understood organisms well enough that we could model them on a computer. But that is way off in the future. Essentially, the same thing is true with doing things in Petri dishes . . . A group of cells, even if they come from a liver, are not a liver, so if you want to test the impact on an organ or a whole creature, you do have to use an animal.”

    It’s a biological system…monkeys are biologically similar to humans…they’re the closest animal we have to humans…so…in order to study PD in the way being mentioned previously, we’ll have to use monkeys or humans.

    I theorize that they’re trying to figure out how PD works so that they can figure out how to combat it. Scientists have probably scanned PD patients with FMRI, PET scans, CAT scans and have had limited results, so they’re now thinking that we can learn some stuff by infecting monkey brains and taking brain slices. Total hypothesizing, though. I’d recommend that you get ahold of the research to understand why it’s being done that way. The study should be testing a hypothesis and acknowledging the question of generalizing the results to human subjects.

    Maybe your skepticism might be relieved by other medical breakthroughs that seemed wacky but discovered cures:

    “The chemical isolation of insulin in 1922 was a direct result of Frederick Banting’s experiments whereby he tied the pancreatic ducts of dogs. The vaccine against polio was made available in 1955 after an estimated 100,000 rhesus monkeys (same as in the proposed Parkinson’s experiments) were killed in clinical trials. And in 1960, heart valve replacement surgery was pioneered as a way to save patients with valvular disease after surgical testing on dogs.”

  58. I used to have a great deal of faith in people, particularly scientists. But now, for many reasons, I don’t believe a word they say and I do believe that, for the most part, they care little about public health or public opinion. If they cared when they started out as students, they may have unwittingly stepped into an environment that, in fact, somehow encourages disregard for life and health. Except for friends, I have only experienced high handedness from doctors and dentists and the source of that I do not know. The vets are now going in a similar direction. What I do know is that there is something lacking in their education which has encouraged their attitude and loss of respect for living things, including humans.

  59. One exception: there was once a wonderful doctor at St. Paul’s hospital who rescued me from some doctors in training but not before they had damaged my eye to the point that I had to see a specialist at the hospital for several months.

  60. I don’t think those doctors in training realized that the eye was attached to a life form.

  61. sarcasmo: I think saying animal testing is wrong is a good start. At least its an honest statement. People do and have always done things that are wrong – sometimes for good reasons and sometimes not. The difference is whether we think its necessary or not. I think that is the proper framework for animal testing. Some of the greatest philosophers and scientists in history have said animal experiments are wrong. Were they wrong?

  62. Maureen: I have a difficult time accepting the statement “Some of the greatest philosophers and scientists in history have said animal experiments are wrong.” It so happens that some of the greatest philosophers and scientists in history have said that animal experiments are right. Stalemate!

    In order to assess the claim, we would have to look at individual arguments, assess “greatness”, as well as trying to find a workaround for the fallacy of appeal to authority. The first and second activities are subjective and will be time consuming, but also you would be at a significant disadvantage because historical scientists and philosopher-scientists’ jobs often depended on animal research, and the third, the fallacy workaround…well…is pretty entrenched in the definition of philosophy itself

    I theorize that we disagree because you believe in an absolute rightness and wrongness that needs to be defended, and I’m a local relativist who believes that humans have invented their definitions of “right” and “wrong”, either a) as a means to develop communities, or b) by pretending to “know” and humanizing a deity.

    To me, “rightness” and “wrongness” are not just invented, they’re unattainable ideals that cannot be upheld by any human being with any consistency, so there’s no use getting distracted by them. I still believe in ethics, but I think that people should think critically about them before deferring their thinking to some absolute, impossible ideal.

    So, when you say “Animal testing is wrong.”, I say, “By whose standards?” as well as “In what way is it wrong?” and “For whom is it wrong?” And then, I skip to the more relevant question, the question that is arguable with real statistics, real people dying and suffering, a real cash drain on our society, real standards of humaneness in testing, real potential in our society.. and start arguing in the defense of UBC’s PD research.

  63. sarcasmo: I hadn’t thought of it in those terms. What you say is very interesting to me because you were reminding me so much of my student days at UBC. To me, you are a guy who wants everyone to be happy and I used to know a lot of people like that. I was noticing that your thoughts change slightly now and then because you are trying to make people feel comfortable with their world. That is generally, I think a healthful thing for people to do. For this, I think most people would find you a very appealing personality because you’d probably make most people feel good. I’m an absolutist in one way, because I think there are certain values upon which most people would agree once aware of them — and I think if you could fly to Alpha Centauri you would find them there also: respect for life being one of them. I know you respect life because you want people to be happy and comfortable. But in order to be happy and comfortable people have to turn a blind eye to certain realities or try not to think of them. And this, I believe has a potential for great harm. I think I am this way because life has hit me in the face at times when I have met people who have suffered greatly under certain types of political regimes. And I’ve seen what trauma does to people. There is another unpleasant reality: trauma. People can be very different in terms of culture, religion, individual preferences and beliefs. Their differences can be pleasantly or unpleasantly shocking. But in the end, we are all skin, blood, bone and I believe, spirit or life force. It is that life force that I am compelled to protect.

  64. okay, let’s talk about life force.

    -“Animal testing is wrong”
    – Why is it wrong? Because animal testing destroys life force.
    – Isn’t the same life force in trees, grass, and plants?

    If your answer is no, and animals should be protected MORE than plants and trees, what is the difference between a plant and an animal?
    – and how do you react to books like “The Secret Lives of Plants” which claim that plants sense pain and react in the presence of humans?

    If your answer is yes, then how can a person who believes in this particular combination of beliefs navigate the world?

    Why do I say this?
    – eating lentils, fruit, and other vegetarian and vegan dishes causes far more destruction of life than animal testing
    – eating berries kills plants before they’ve even had a chance to live!
    – using paper destroys trees
    – we grow entire fields of wheat and then ground up the guts for our bread!
    – wearing clothing shortens the life span of innocent cotton
    – etc. etc.

  65. hahahaha “innocent cotton” is very cute. I’ll let you know after I have tortured some rice.

  66. I know about plants. But I did watch part of The Secret Life of Plants again.

    I’m glad I watched it because the polygraphist said this: “there is a profound consciousness – an awareness that binds all things together” This is my point.

    When I sent an email to UBC about the animal tests a few weeks ago I pointed out they do not know the effects on the community or on the individual researchers.

    I don’t speak for all AR activists as all are individuals, some have different points of view than others as do different AR groups. My feelings and beliefs are my own. But if you read about Julie you will see that she is feeling traumatized and that the animals are like her children.

    Its easy to understand why Julie feels the way she does because she is there with the animals. She needs help.

    But the AR activists are different and apparently less easy for some people to understand. The activists also feel the pain, the trauma and that the animals are like their children but they feel this without needing to be there. Unlike Julie, the activists will try to fix it – to stop the pain, of the animals; of themselves; and of growing numbers of people in the community.

    Its hard for some people to imagine what an AR activist is like. But imagine you heard a child screaming on the other side of a wall.

    So how does this affect our community – our profound awareness that ties us all together? How does it affect the quality of our society, our lives, our animals lives, our plants lives? For one, the energies of many of the compassionate people in the community are being taken up with this.

    You said that animal testing “destroys” the life force and I think you mean death. Personally, I don’t think the life force can be destroyed and I am less troubled by death than by torture, loss of freedom, suffering and cruelty. These things trouble me because they sicken us, devitalize our spirit and waste our energy.

    I am also troubled by this: “I don’t know how people disconnect from that, but I was never one of those people. ”

    What has happened to those researchers?

  67. Scroll up to my Parkinson’s statistics. Add the potential lives saved, the reduction of grieving families, etc, etc. Put those in a column labeled “potential pluses”.

    Take the number of monkeys being used for this study, add some researchers to the number, add “potential negatives”.

    I still think that the losses make up for the potential wins.

    But also, those researchers willingly chose that job. They didn’t have to perform science on animals if they didn’t want to. They can quit at any time.

    Yeah, it must suck. A LOT. But a ton of other jobs suck, and we still do them:
    – vets who have to kill off animals
    – animal shelters that have to kill off animals
    – police officers have to shoot people
    – army people have to shoot people
    – social workers have to take children away from broken homes, when children often don’t want to leave their parents, and they’re sometimes stuck in foster care circles
    Should everyone who has to do something that involves harming others quit their job?

    I could half-assedly argue that the monkeys being used at UBC won’t receive torture, loss of freedom, suffering, or cruelty. I bet their pre-research life involved a life in a cage, which isn’t much different from their research lives. And they’ll be treated and loved like pets. The only difference is that they’re going to be injected with something and have their lives shortened.

    But more importantly, are you not killing-adverse then? Are humans capable of killing things and not being sickened/spirit-devitalized/and energy-wasting? Wouldn’t saving lives (as in curing PD) be spirit-revitalizing and energy-increasing?

    But more importantly: I could argue that fruit trees undergo massive amounts of torture! We prune their branches regularly (ie. we chop off their limbs without giving them pain medication), then we rip off their young, mush up their innards and make pies out of their own children. And then, we wait until the trees go to seed and start the process all over again!

    Hmm…given that animal research labs have standards for animal care, and fruit producers don’t, I think fruit trees are the ones really being mistreated here…

  68. It would be wonderful to cure things but I dont believe their is any real motivation to do that. It has to do with money.

  69. Give me a break – basic scientists are in it for the “money”? What money? Do you seriously think that the vast majority of people involved in animal experiments to some degree will ever reap significant profits from their work?

  70. No, I don’t think basic scientists are in it for the money.

  71. Is it your point that the general public should have no concerns about any of this; just take their pills; eat their junk GMO food; and shut up?

  72. Maureen: Can you qualify your earlier statement of belief and relate it to UBC PD research? What’s money got to do with UBC poking and prodding monkeys?

  73. It’s possible there is another road they could be taking. But nobody goes down that road; even looks for that road and never questions they are on the right road because the pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in there being no cure. Those companies have enormous influence on politicians in Canada and the United States, the media, and god knows I’ve seen their influence on doctors although you say that has passed.

  74. You’ve gone off the deep end with your conspiracy theories now, Maureen.

  75. its not a conspiracy theory

  76. Josh: go back to your rose garden.

  77. ..”For polite Canadians, there will be discomfort about Dr. Chopra’s use of the word “corruption” in relation to the federal government. Dr. Chopra’s career spanned tectonic changes in our social, economic and political outlooks. In our competitive, post-modern and relativistic world, we are forced to ask whether the role of national governments should not be to provide a milieu for economic interests. Despite the thalidomide tragedy of the early 1960s, the department that Dr. Chopra joined in 1969 had already been corporatized, particularly to meet the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. However, it was in the Mulroney neo-liberal era of deregulation that the self-styled “nuts” in several transnational pharmaceutical industries persuaded their managements that overseas markets could be penetrated by using Canada as a “stepping stone” and the pharmaceutical lobby in Ottawa subsequently expanded its power and influence. Within Health Canada, the new breed of manager was expected to “reengineer” the organization so that the “client” was no longer the public that Dr. Chopra was sworn to protect, but the pharmaceutical industry. The guardians had become traders. One is left to wonder what psychological profile was needed for these new Health Canada managers to be able to serve successfully in an administrative environment requiring such moral detachment”

  78. Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.

    Theory: A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. Unfortunately, even some scientists often use the term “theory” in a more colloquial sense, when they really mean to say “hypothesis.” That makes its true meaning in science even more confusing to the general public.

  79. 1. Pangloss gave instruction in metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology. He proved admirably that there cannot possibly be an effect without a cause and that in this best of all possible worlds the baron’s castle was the most beautiful of all castles and his wife the best of all possible baronesses. —It is clear, said he, that things cannot be otherwise than they are, for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end. Observe: noses were made to support spectacles, hence we have spectacles. Legs, as anyone can plainly see, were made to be breeched, and so we have breeches. . . . Consequently, those who say everything is well are uttering mere stupidities; they should say everything is for the best.

  80. Can’t, I’m on call tonight, and have been at work since 6 this morning.

  81. Disagreed. Evolution grew noses. Humans needed something to correct eyesight, and the nose made a good platform.

    Legs evolved. Humans decided to put pants on them because humans had reasons for making pants (shelter from weather, decency).

    See: there are multiple ways of skinning the cosmological cat.

    (and then doing research on it – meow! Har har)

    “The Best”; “The Ends” are interpreted by humans. Even if some “Good” exists, it’s arrogance to assume that a human has correct knowledge of it or can tap into something divine and interact with it. By definition (if you hold the same definition as most moral absolutists, “The Good” has to be necessary, universal, and infinite). How the hell can a human actually know something infinite? Not possible.

    However, we can theorize about what it might be like if it exists, and whether it exists in the first place. And humans can choose to have faith in it.

    And it’s since “The Best” is unknowable, it’s risky to slap it onto a version of causality and call it the principle of sufficient reason.

  82. Evolution…hmmmm. When I was growing up there was that constant strife over butter or margarine. One year it would be butter; the next year it would be margarine. It must have messed me up. I never really trusted scientists or the media after that.

    But, did you know that the ancient Egyptians believed we evolved from fish? So, maybe its true. I’ll go with the Egyptians.

    I think what is good or bad comes from the gut. And you have to be consistent with yourself. That means we are all a little piece of the puzzle because everyone is different. Ah… puzzle … that means there is a solution somewhere….or do we just keep going in circles, repeating ourselves endlessly until we get hit by an asteroid.

    You cannot know the face of God because you’ve never seen it. But I think we can tap into the divine every now and again – at least that is what my Romantic Literature Prof told me … and I believed him. But some things pull your energy down… unless you are a murderer, I suppose, then bad things might make you happy. So, that’s how I decide good or bad. Its not a thinking process.

    What is a thinking process for me is I know quite a few business people and stockbrokers. That’s bound to give anyone an insight into real evil.

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