There has been a lot of media coverage on the recent claims by Dr. Sergio Canavero that he has successfully transplanted the head of a monkey on to a donor body of another monkey. This story, originally posted by the New Scientist, has since gone viral with some touting miracle cures for paralysis, while others … Continue reading PR, ethics, and the science of head transplants
I was recently contacted by a student who had an assignment to report both sides of a contentious issue, and she'd chosen animal research. To her, there were two sides to the debate – a simple yes or no to research. Yet, as I explained to her, it is not a genuinely two-sided argument. To … Continue reading Animal Testing. Is it really a polarised debate?
Opponents of animal research often portray two of the pioneers of experimental physiology, François Magendie (1783-1855) and his student Claude Bernard (1813-1878), as deranged, vicious, and sadistic individuals who derived pleasure in harming animals. Moral philosophers Peter Singer and Lori Gruen convey this sort of message in their book “Animal Liberation: A graphic guide”. A … Continue reading Crash course in medical history
The philosophy and bioethics community was rocked and in turmoil Friday when they learned that groundbreaking experimental psychologist Professor Harry Harlow had died over 30 years ago. Harlow's iconic studies of mother and infant monkeys have endured for decades as the centerpiece of philosophical debate and animal rights campaigns. With news of his death, philosophers … Continue reading Harlow Dead, Bioethicists Outraged
Scientists use animals in research to elucidate basic questions about biological function in health and disease. Such basic research in the life sciences, like parallel studies in other fields of science, yields knowledge about nature. Such knowledge, in turn, can be applied to a myriad of problems to alleviate suffering, improve our well-being, and make this a better … Continue reading Unpleasant Truths vs Comforting Lies
We previously discussed the anti-vaccination stance of a member of the animal rights group “Progress for Science”. The fact that this individual prefers oregano oil, ginger, garlic, and other herbs over vaccines did not come as a surprise. We have already noted the strong similarities between the arguments espoused by the anti-vaccination and animal rights groups. … Continue reading Gary Francione: “I don’t believe in vaccinations”
A statement of fact can be falsified by presenting a single counterexample. For example, the claim that “Pigs don’t fly” can be proven false by just finding one that does. Similarly, the claim that “we owe the same moral consideration to all sentient living beings” can be falsified by considering scenarios where acting on such … Continue reading Closing your eyes may open your heart
Cheryl Abbate is a self-described feminist, philosopher and military officer. She is currently a Philosophy PhD student at Marquette University and obtained her MA in Philosophy with Bernard Rollin at Colorado State University. She was one of the animal rights activists who asked me questions during the discussion of my talk at UW Madison. Ms. Abbate … Continue reading (Some) animal rights philosophers say the darndest things!