The Science and Medicine of “Progress for Science”

The animal rights group “Progress for Science” (P4S) made one more appearance last night to harass a UCLA professor at his home. Don’t let their name fool you.  The consequences of P4S’s advocacy are backwardness and regression.  To advocate for science you must be familiar with it;  to advocate for progress you must understand medical history.  But it does not take much digging to discover just how detached from facts and science their beliefs really are.  Take for example their views on vaccinations:

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There is absolutely nothing progressive or pro-science about being anti-vaccination. Those who, despite the evidence, continue to advocate against childhood vaccinations are nothing short of a public health hazard who have directly contributed to a rise in avoidable disease and death in our state and elsewhere.  Such groups are not pro-science.  Instead, they have the features of a cult.  

Another commonly held view among animal rights activists is that one’s diet is the source of all maladies and that a vegan diet is an effective remedy to many of them. There is no doubt that science supports the view that eating a good, balanced diet and getting a daily dose of physical exercise are integral components to a healthy life.  But disease, it turns out, can strike at any point in time, in ways you cannot anticipate or prevent.

So what happens when a healthy, young vegan gets sick with… say gallbladder stones?  Do they immediately reach for the oregano oil or yerba santa?  Perhaps ginger or cayenne will do the trick?  Or maybe they will follow the recommendation to use dandelion and milk thistle?

There is no need to ask the hypothetical question, because one can easily discover what P4S member Sarah Jane Hardt did.  Despite her vegan diet, she developed gallbladder stones, and the pain seemed to have been intolerable.  What did she do?  She decided to set aside all her personal beliefs about biomedical research and went to the hospital for surgery —

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I would bet she does not have much knowledge about how cholecystectomies (the surgery she received) were initially developed.  As it happens, it was a naval surgeon named Herlin who first performed the procedure in cats and dogs, leading him to famously conclude:

One can remove the gallbladder without great danger, and this discovery opens the way to a safe approach to stones collected in the gallbladder or impacted in the biliary ducts where they often produce fatal complications”.

In other words, this adamant opponent of the use of animals in research was treated with surgical techniques that were developed as a direct consequence of the work she opposes. Experimental studies on gallbladder surgery are still performed on animals, to this very day, in order to improve the prognosis of individuals that receive the surgery.

So Sarah Jane Hardt can today have a good night.  Thanks to animal research.

Imagine that!

It is doubtful any other member of P4S would act in any other way. They raise no objections when they are the direct beneficiaries of animal research, but they outrageously claim it is compassionate for them to deny the benefits of today’s research to others, including our children and grandchildren.  No, it is not compassionate. Their point of view is nothing short of cruel.

Additional insight into Sarah Jane Hardt’s beliefs are revealed in a view of medical profession that she posted a few days after her surgery regarding the ability of physicians to provide advise on nutrition and diet:

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However, at the same time, she had no trouble at all swallowing the other pills the doctor prescribed:

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Funny…  Topping all this, Ms. Hardt and her friends also had the ethical chutzpah to suggest that UCLA Professor David Jentsch, against who they demonstrate, had firebombed his own car, instead of accepting the claim of responsibility made openly by the Animal Liberation Brigade.  

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Progress for Science has made it clear they cannot find it in themselves to condemn the violence of the animal rights movement.  Carol Glasser, the group’s founder, said:

Whatever we are doing as a movement is not working, it is not saving animal lives. I think it is a waste of our time to demonize people who put their own life, their own  safety, their own health, and their own freedom at risk, because they can’t imagine another way to help the animals.  It is total bullshit of us, to point a finger and demonize them.

Not only do they refuse to condemn those that firebomb cars or homes, but they publicly offer support to convicted animal rights arsonists.  Here is Tyler Lang, another member of the group, offering support for two of them:

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Members of “Progress for Science” masquerade  themselves as peaceful, compassionate, pacifists, and pro-science.

Nothing is further from the truth.

They are scientifically illiterate, cheerleaders of violence, cruel, anti-science and, obviously, dishonest.

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Update: More discussion from David Jentsch here.


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4 responses to “The Science and Medicine of “Progress for Science”

  1. I’m appalled at the attitude displayed by these people. I guess the spectre of losing grant money will make people say or do anything. These folks seem to have given medical researchers a choice. They can call themselves doctors, or they can call themselves scientists, but they can’t be both, because by the claims made here by supposed medical professionals, medicine is not a science. Science is all about predictive power; without it, the entire concept of “theory” is vacuous. And I agree re: cancer and mice… or any other species, for that matter. The research is for human benefit, so it should be performed on humans. I’m sure there are plenty of people with presently incurable terminal diseases who would be happy to volunteer for testing possible cures (we don’t need any more treatments, thank you very much; Big Pharma has grown quite bloated enough on the “treatment” buzzword), and we should also be doing cancer research on habitual sex offenders, particularly the pedophiles, because if anyone deserves cancer, it’s them.

    • Drugs are already tested on volunteer patients with terminal illnesses, they’re called “clinical trials”. Even so clinical trials need statistical power to show the efficacy of the drugs which they are testing, that means eliminating potential drugs from the design process in order to preserve human patients for the clinical trials of drugs which are viable investigatory lines. This is done through a number of means, including computer modelling (which needs animal testing to improve and refine the models), in vitro studies, cell culture studies and animal testing. How do you suggest you’ll test the efficacy of a drug in a living organism (in light of the need to retain clinical trial patients for worthwhile studies) apart from using a selectively bred and appropriate experimental species which suffers from that same disease?

      As for using habitual sex offenders, don’t make me laugh! How do you think drugs are tested? Do you think scientists just give random chemicals to random organisms and see what happens? It’s actually rather more sophisticated than that, picking up an undergraduate pharmacology text book will tell you the basics of rational drug design, I suggest you read one. Plus I can think of rather more productive applications for the required technology to produce limitless supplies of sex offenders used in this proposed research programme, like treating habitual sex offenders to stop them reoffending.

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  3. Reblogged this on unlikelyactivist and commented:

    Progress for Science is a big steaming bag of hypocrisy.