Friday, December 15, 2006

Animal Research Scores Again!

Thanks to animal research, science has provided those afflicted with diabetes yet another beacon of hope.

My neighbor Matthew back in Birmingham was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about six years ago. His parents were so wrought with grief when they heard the news. Poor Matthew had to go through so many changes that a child never should, including indefinite placement on a rigid meal plan and daily blood drawings. Yet despite these ordeals, Matthew confronted the situation with a noble heart. He unquestioningly followed all the procedures the doctors prescribed and voiced his optimism that one day, science would provide a treatment or a cure that would alleviate the hardships of all diabetics. Thanks to the ingenuity of medical science and its commitment to animal research, Matthew's dream may one day come true.

It is because of situations like this that I utterly despise the doctrine of animal rights. If PETA and the Animal Liberation Front had their way, not only would Matthew certainly die (his current treatment would not be possible without animal research), but countless other innocent children would be denied crucial vaccines and medicines. I propose PETA change its name to PUTH, as it is obvious that they advocate unethical treatment of humans.

But I digress. After all, polemics seldom solve problems. So coming soon is a post that clearly outlines why animals don't have rights and why some mistakenly believe that they do.


Derek said...

Scott, instead of focusing on refuting the rights of animals (on which I will most likely wholeheartedly agree with you), I think that you ought to formulate an argument that any rights, aside from those granted by a government, exist. The whole concept of those "natural rights" seems to be some sort of mysticism and silliness that doesn't really belong in analytic philosophy, much like dualism and pragmatism.

As a side note, Megan and I miss you, monsieur. How is everything?

SPM said...


Warm greetings. It is great to hear from you and I am delighted that someone has nourished my famished blog with an insightful comment. I'll be honest. Given my impression that you were a Singerian Utilitarian I had thought you would be one of the first people to challenge my claim that animals don't have rights. Who knew?

Let me get to your comment: "I think you ought to formulate an argument that any rights, aside from those granted by a government, exist. The whole concept of 'natural rights' seem to be some sort of mysticism and silliness that doesn't really belong in analytic philosophy, much like dualism and pragmatism."

A few things. First of all, I think it is unfair to claim that dualism should be entirely written off as mysticism. While I myself am a physicalist and recognize that dualism has very few adherents today, I realize that one of the reasons for this is an incredible lack of evidence/information in the field of philosophy of mind. I suggest you read a few essays on pantheism and protoconsciousness which at the very least leave open the possibility of dualism. Physicalism too has its problems, you need only look to the Knowledge Argument. But I digress. Let me get back to my main point. Today there are many theories (deontological and utilitarian) of rights; it is not my intention here to convince the reader of any particular one (I'll get back to you much later on an ethical theory). However, it is simply a fact that today, many humans are in dire need of the fruits of research that use animals. Yet despite this, many people with power (usually ignorant celebrity activists) give momentum to this movement whose goals, if realized, would bring about devastating consequences for all of us. I choose to fight that movement. That said, I should apologize to you and my readers since I said such a post is "coming soon" and it has been about 2 months. But seeing as how I am up and writing again, I assure you I will get around to it soon.

Reciprocally, I deeply miss you and Megan as well. Vivo muy bien aquí en España aunque un oceano inmenso me separa de mis comañeros norteamericanos. Espero que ustedes me puedan visitar antes de que me vuelva!

Derek said...

That is an important misunderstanding that people have of Singer and his form of utilitarianism. He has never insisted that anyone has rights. Indeed, it is an implication of his and my ethical theories that rights don't exist except as derived from the community. It was an unfortunate byproduct of his views on animal liberation and veganism that the animal rights movement came about and claimed him as its prophet. What Singer does contend, though, is that most animals (including those that humans tend to eat) have interests because they have the ability to suffer and feel emotion of some sort. These interests are all that extend to humans as well, not rights. His principle of equal consideration of interests thus extends to all beings with interests.

As a side note, I would still identify myself as a Singerian Utilitarian despite the slight changes in my ethics that I'll be outlining soon enough.

I agree that dualism shouldn't pushed aside as mysticism without consideration, but the idea certainly suffers from a poverty of realistic explanation. So, it tends to seem like something that would fit the bill as mysticism. There is obviously a lack of knowledge regarding the brain and mind, but there is, on the other hand, a wealth of knowledge about the physical world. Most of it creates very tough uphill battle for dualists in trying to explain how the phenomal qualities can affect the physical part of the body.

Have you read Lewis' response to The Knowledge Argument "What Experience Teaches"? What a brilliant piece from a brilliant philosophical writer.

Also, what are you taking next year? I think I asked before, but I don't remember.