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Animal Activists and Vivisection II

As the responses to the previous blog were varied, I will respond to only some thus offending even more of you.

1. Thalidomide. I am writing an article on the history of thalidomide and will save my response to Dr Ringach’s comments for the article. I anticipate it will be published within a year. In the meantime, I suggest Dr Ringach recheck his references and then check the citation index for his references and further work done with those models. It would not hurt him to read Animal Models in Light of Evolution for more on what prediction actually means and how it is used in biomedical science.

2. All three of our previous books are still readily available. As we state on the website:

Why do you not list Drs Greek's first three books on the website?

Because we practice what we preach. The three books written by the Drs Greek are not listed on this website as resources because they are essentially out of date. The information in them is not wrong, but as more information has become available, the arguments made in these books are not as powerful as the arguments we make in Animal Models in Light of Science (due out in 2009), which is a scholarly publication geared for people with doctorates in science. For the non-scientist, we are in production with FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science: A handbook for the scientifically challenged, which is also due out in 2009. We recommend those books and the articles listed on the Resources and Links page.

Sacred Cows and Golden Geese is still the highest ranked of our books on Amazon (most of the time). It is without doubt easier to read than the other books but it is also dated. That happens in science. Things have really happened in science since the late 1990s when we wrote it. Activists can still learn from and use the arguments we make in Sacred Cows but the arguments from FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science: A handbook for the scientifically perplexed are much more current. If activists insist on discussing the issue with vivisection activists, they would be much better served with by FAQs book.

As for Sacred Cows being written for the nonscientist, I have no apologies for that. Read reviews of almost any science book written for the lay population and you will read countless scientists criticizing the authors for dumbing it down. They will then criticize society for not knowing enough about science when a vast majority of society only has the opportunity to learn more about science by reading those dumbed down books.

This is an important point for two reasons.

Number 1. I read Stephen Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time several times. I loved it. Even have it on audio so I can listen to it on trips. HOWEVER, I do not argue string theory with physicists or any point of contention in physics with anyone. I am not an expert on the subject. Reading Hawking’s book educated me a little and I really enjoyed it but it did not turn me into a physicist, even in light of the fact that I took a year of calculus-based physics in college.

Number 2. One reviewer of A Brief History of Time severely criticized Hawking for dumbing it down so much that what he said about physics ended up not being close enough to the real thing to result in a population educated in physics (I am paraphrasing). Well DUH! Any physics book without math is not going to be the real thing. That is a given. I do not know of anyone who read A Brief History of Time who then decided; “Well that settles it. I am a physicist! No need for a formal education.” But the book had merit. It was great! It allowed people like me a brief glimpse into the field that I would never, without that book and others like it, have been able to have.

I have also read and enjoyed Sean Carroll’s excellent books on evo devo and then found essentially the same critical reviews on Amazon. No good deed goes unpunished.

If scientists want to address the real undiluted science for our position then they can find it in Animal Models in Light of Evolution. As Dr Ringach has proven on multiple occasions, he does not want to go there. Sniping on blogs is not the same as addressing issues in public debates or in point-counterpoint articles in the peer-reviewed indexed literature. As I recently stated on the website for The Scientist:

Allow me to reproduce a portion of a letter I wrote to Dr David Jentsch last year:

"Allow me to make 2 points that you may find offensive although they are not meant to be. 1. If animals are predictive for humans then the animal-based research community should come out of the woodwork to debate me and defend their position. They do not. I have asked researchers at universities where animal rights and related issues are not even in the news and no one will debate this issue. I have seen letters from pro animal-based research groups advising these same people to avoid debates at all cost. This is hardly transparent, open, or scientifically honest." (Emphasis added.)

3. I have already addressed, multiple times, most everything else Dr Ringach says and refer the interested reader to previous blogs or our books and articles.

4. “Your website no longer lists your other book: Animal Models in Light of Science . . .” We have never published a book by that name but, as I recall, we did have an article by that name. I have no idea where it might be. I will look however. See above for the book discussion.

5. At least one brochure should be on the website within the month. I will try to put out two for variety sake and for different audiences.

6. In some of the comments there seems to be an implication that I am making money from the books. I WISH! Jean and I finance the books for the most part (doing the research behind the books costs money as does promoting them) and any money from sales goes to AFMA. We now have a donate button on the AFMA website and I really, really encourage everyone to use it. Use it often!

7. As for most of the comments from the AR community, I think they speak for themselves and have no further comment. 


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