Need Safeguards for Gene-Tinkered Foods

Michael Holloway mhollowa at ic.sunysb.edu
Fri Jul 2 18:03:36 EST 1993


In article <C9I7D0.9r7 at dartvax.dartmouth.edu> James.F.X.Wellehan at dartmouth.edu (Jim Wellehan) writes:
>In article <20tf5t$f25 at max.physics.sunysb.edu>
>mhollowa at ic.sunysb.edu (Michael Holloway) writes:
>
>The
>basic question as it applies to research is, "Is the sacrifice of
>animals for the advancement of science justified?"  This is a moral
>qustion, and any answer is subjective.
>
>I'm not taking _any_ stance on the animal research issue.  This is not
>a question with an objective answer, such as,"What is the substrate for
>this receptor?"  Show me scientific proof of your answer to the
>questions of euthanasia, the death penalty, and drug legalization. 
>When there can be no objective answer, what is right and wrong depends
>on societal and individual mores, and there are at least two acceptable
>positions to take.  

OK, I think I see now.  There are at least two, maybe three, different 
conversations going on here.  As I recall, the thread sort of branched out
from the statement decrying the immediate reaction in academia to treat all
anti-science MOVEMENTS (not individuals) with respect, as though the 
movement's propaganda, no matter how fallacious, had merit.  The movement
in question at the time was the Luddite/antibiotech and there was 
an attempt to compare them with other such movements, such as the "animal
rights" movement.  The self-defeating nature of carrying on a debate with
dishonest and manipulative people who'll stop at nothing to advance an 
agenda was the point of that message.  

It's curious that you have never heard or seen the falsehoods of the "animal
rights" movement.  Again, all you have to do is pick up Peter Singer's book
to see their assertions that animal testing of drugs is of no benefit.  The 
confusion they propagate in equating animal welfare with their bizarre 
philosophy of "animal rights" is also an example of falsification.  

You, on the other hand, are referring to what you see as the core 
philosophical basis of the movement.  I can see your point there.  Despite 
all the "scientific" trappings the philosopher leaders of the movement use to 
dig their self-imposed philosophical hole, at bottom they make a subjective 
decision regarding what they believe to be morally correct.  What you seem to 
be saying is that because it is, to a degree, subjective, any refutation of 
it is also, to a degree, subjective.   I would have to agree with you, even 
though there are, IMHO, some very good refutations of the philosophy in CFAAR 
newsletter articles.  It's hardly unassailable.

>I am
>not taking a stance on the issue.

Which brings us to what may be yet a third point, brought up by another 
poster, though it gets back directly to the first point.  The "animal
rights" movement is not made up by a huge population of philosophers, seated
lotus style on cushions, who have vowed to make their postulates without 
reference to fact.  They are a political movement.  Political movements do 
everything within their power to impose their will on all the rest of us.  
They do it in the real world, making assertions of (yes) fact.  By defending
the "animal rights" movement you have, in fact, taken a stance.  You 
essentially provide them with your endorsement, no matter how luke warm.

Mike



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