First Blog: Animal Rights and Understanding Science


I am a physician who objects to research using animals to, among other things, predict human response. In 1999 my wife Jean, a veterinarian, and I founded a not-for-profit called Americans For Medical Advancement. Since that time we have written books and articles on the scientific aspects of using animals in science. We are often misquoted and maligned by those with a vested interest in using animals but we do think our work is educating at least some in society. In Opposing Views I will be blogging and commenting about using animals in scientific pursuits. First however, I need to point out some facts about science in general.

The Internet has been an outstanding educational resource. We wrote two books essentially before the Internet as we know it now and three since. The three latter books are much better, in part because of the facts and articles we could access via the World Wide Web. That having been said, science education is not conducive to learning via Internet. Many controversies can be studied using the Internet, for example creation versus evolution, the validity of complimentary and alternative medicine, and the use of animals in science. But in order to really understand the nitty gritty science behind all these subjects one needs to go back to the last century. One needs to read books.

There is no reason a person who is lacking in advanced science education cannot read and understand science-related topics. However, jumping in without adequate background may not be productive. In order to examine competing scientific claims, a person needs a sufficient education about the science in question. For example, if you want to explore the possibility of perpetual motion machines, a good high school physics course would not be remiss. When I write about more complicated science, I will try to refer the scientifically perplexed to areas on the Internet where some basics can be found. For example, the Wikipedia section on science is a quick, easy, and informative read. If you are interested in really pursuing the topic, contact me and I will recommend books.

But there is another factor to evaluating claims of any kind and that is called critical thinking. Critical thinking is difficult to teach to oneself, but reading the material at the previous link (Wikipedia) and the material from the links provided there will help.

I may from time to time comment on the science behind the philosophy that animals have rights (yes, there is such a thing) but the above will still apply. A modicum of understanding of science and critical thought will allow the reader to understand the topic much better.


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