Society

Dr. Ray Greek on 'Real Science'

| by Dr Ray Greek
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I wrote my first blog for Opposing Views on March 10, 2010. Shortly thereafter, scientists like Dario Ringach challenged me to answer specific questions regarding my position. These questions included the topics of thalidomide, conserved processes, the Nuremberg Code, the development of deep brain stimulation, the use of nonhuman primates in research, and so forth. In response to these questions (and others), I have published the following in peer-reviewed journals. (Most are open access.)

Systematic Reviews Of Animal Models: Methodology Versus Epistemology in International Journal of Medical Sciences. (Accepted, publication pending.)

Book chapter. Animal Models of Cancer in Light of Evolutionary Biology and Complexity Science in The Research and Biology of Cancer. iConcept Press. ISBN 978-14775549-9-9. 2013

Book chapter. Animal Models in Drug Development in Sivakumar Gowder (Editor) New Insights into Toxicity and Drug Testing. ISBN 980-953-307-844-6. 2013

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Letter. Monozygotic twins: identical in name only

The Development of Deep Brain Stimulation for Movement Disorders

Book review. Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing,

Patients are not rodents writ large

Are animal models predictive for humans?

Is the use of sentient animals in basic research justifiable?

The History and Implications of Testing Thalidomide on Animals

Complex systems, evolution, and animal models

An analysis of the Bateson Review of research using nonhuman primates

Animal models in an age of personalized medicine

The Nuremberg Code subverts human health and safety by requiring animal modeling

Animal models and conserved processes

Animal Models and the Development of an HIV Vaccine

Most of the articles are indexed on PubMed and more will be when the journal we published in is eligible for inclusion in PubMed.

As I predicted, there has been essentially no response from the animal model community, even though they were ones that asked the questions addressed in the articles. The points that were considered by the editors and reviewers important enough to be published have been ignored by the vested interest groups. This is understandable as the facts presented refute the case made by vivisection activists and animal modelers in general. Better to attack character and set up straw man arguments than confront facts that you cannot refute. For example, Dr Ringach recently wrote:

Malarkey! If your personal philosophy is one of animal rights, as you assert above, then you should simply state that using animals in medical science is wrong because animals have rights. Period.

This is a false dichotomy, as one’s position on philosophy does not depend on one’s view of science and vice-versa. Indeed, as I have pointed out many times, I readily acknowledge many ways animals can be successfully used in science but that does not mean such uses are ethical. For example, one can acknowledge the scientific reality that building an atomic bomb is possible without agreeing philosophically with their use.

Ringach continues:

After all you are on record stating that you align with PeTA philosophically. I grant the possibility that you do not truly understand what the meaning of "animal rights" is. After all, you also have difficulty understanding the basic difference between using performance measures in simple binary diagnostic tests and assessing the value of an entire field of scientific research. David H. Gorski correctly pointed out the mistakes in your reasoning, and identified your ulterior motives.

Aligning with PETA philosophically can be interpreted in many ways but again a philosophical position is a separate issue from a position on the related science. The rest of the post is essentially an ad hominem. Because Dr Ringach lacks the science to support his position, he attempts to explain the motivation behind why I am wrong before showing where and how I am wrong. Attacking character is not a substitute for reasoned science-based argument. Neither is conflating science and philosophy. The lack of response to my arguments speaks for itself, as does the fact that the vivisection activist community refuses to debate this topic either in the scientific literature or in a university setting. Debates are important and informative. Dr Steven Novella wrote: “During a live debate we can see how the candidates think and what they know and believe about scientific issues. They can also be pushed on specific points if they give evasive answers.” The vivisection activist does not want to be pushed on his evasive answers or his lack of science-based, well-reasoned arguments.

In the final analysis, I have explained my position on evolved complex systems in peer-reviewed journals as well as in books and book chapters. The vivisection activist community continues to respond by committing the post hoc fallacy, contributing all biomedical science advances to animal models because of a temporal relationship, without any science-based explanation of such a stand. In light of who is publishing in the peer-reviewed literature on this specific topic and who is refusing to debate the issue in the scientific literature or even publish the science undergirding their position, even those with little science background should be concerned about spending more money on animal models.