Animal testing and letting go

“Light freezing fog” out there this morning, but we’re promised a balmy 50 degree day later. Can Spring be far? Or Spring Break? We could sure use one.

In Bioethics yesterday, a report on Animal Testing. “Out of sight, out of mind,” was Group 2’s consensus view of our species’ general attitude toward others. Gratuitous harm perpetrated on defenseless animals in the name of human convenience and safety is regrettable, but on the other hand we all love a bargain. We’d rather not commit to spending a few cents more on food and cosmetics (etc.) to signal a humanitarian consumer revolt, if we’re being honest. Painfully honest. But we’re not the ones bearing the pain.

Googling around on the topic, I came across an old (but good) essay on the subject by my old ETSU colleague Hugh LaFollette.

Biomedical experimentation on animals is justified, researchers say, because of its enormous benefits to human beings. Sure animals die and suffer, but that is morally insignificant when compared to experimentation’s spectacular payoffs. As Carl Cohen, a leading philosophical apologist for vivisection, writes: ‘When balancing the pleasures and pains resulting from the use of animals in research, we must not fail to place on the scales the terrible pains that would have resulted, would be suffered now, and would long continue had animals not been used. Every disease eliminated, every vaccine developed,… indeed, virtually every modern medical therapy is due, in part or in whole, to experimentation using animals.

Hugh goes on to challenge this view, very effectively I think. He was a terrific vegan chef, I recall. That’s a skill we all ought to develop, maybe, or support?

In A&P, it was great to hear from some of the less voluble voices in our class. Group 2 reported on Bill Maher, Tim Minchin, nihilism and more. Dustin confessed his God Delusion conversion, and compiled a helpful list of female free-thinkers, just in case anyone doubts their existence.

And that’s all the excuse I need to air my favorite former Roman Catholic SNL cast member.

00:00 – There Is No Santa Claus
07:36 – The Mormon Boys Arrive
14:59 – My Religious History In A Nutshell
17:47 – I Wish I Were A Nun
23:32 – I Rededicate Myself To The Church
27:48 – Sodom & Gomorrah; Abraham & Issac
32:47 – The Ten Commandments
36:46 – The New Testament
41:38 – St. Paul & The Book Of Revelation
45:34 – Psychologically True
48:21 – Jesus Suffered, But So Did A Lot Of People
50:54 – Father Tom Blesses Me & I Get Out Of There
54:42 – I Begin To Drift East, Spiritually Speaking
1:00:37 – God Is Nature; The Galapagos
1:03:37 – Sister Charatina’s Theory Of Evolution
1:08:05 – God Is Love
1:12:39 – Deepak
1:16:09 – I’m Becoming So Cantankerous
1:18:42 – How The Mind Works
1:22:10 – Intelligent Design
1:28:03 – What If It’s True
1:34:47 – Good-Bye To God
1:38:24 – So, I’m Just Another Animal
1:42:49 – Mom & Dad Freak
1:50:11 – Mulan Arrives & Dad Is Sick
1:55:42 – A Funeral
2:02:04 – More Mormon Boys

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