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Old April 30th, 2009, 04:50 AM   #1
trilobite
 
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Default [Intro] Hello All

Hi,

I subscribed to Veg Porn several months ago and don't subscribe to any other porn sites. This site is one I feel completely happy about supporting: non-exploitative of its models, non-heteronormative, non-body-fascist and politically progressive.

Errr.... You are aware the forum rules and conditions contain the following self-defeating clause, right?
"By agreeing to these rules, you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws."

So I've had to agree not to post any messages on this board which are sexually-oriented. This porn site board. No messages which relate to sex. Am I missing something?

While I'm a vegetarian and sometime ideologue, I'm not part of the activist community. Nor am I particularly part of the animal rights movement; for instance, I have mixed feelings about animal research in medicine. Basically, if I'm not prepared to tell people to stop eating meat (which I'm not), I'm definitely not prepared to tell them to stop finding cures to serious medical conditions. Although that said, in my capacity as a professional scientist I am generally dubious about animal research: in most of the animal experiments I know about (which are in neuroscience) the experiment was scientifically justified but the science itself was nothing ethically motivated, and that seems wrong to me.

Does that make me a misfit here? I sort of feel like the Veg Porn community is a lot more AR radical than I am. I suppose that's fair enough given that it's specifically a veg porn site.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #2
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Quote:
So I've had to agree not to post any messages on this board which are sexually-oriented. This porn site board. No messages which relate to sex. Am I missing something?

In fact you should not post anything which has the words "sex", "porn", or "masticate" in it. You should also be very careful about using numbers which have digits 6 and 9 in them, for the fear of being misunderstood and banned.

On the serious note, it's probably just a default installation of forum rules which furrygirl (the ultimate ruler of this site) hasn't bothered to sift through. So i wouldn't worry about that particular part.

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I'm not part of the activist community.

I don't think that you need to call oneself an activist to be on this site, i bet there are other people here already who can relate to you on that one.

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in most of the animal experiments I know about (which are in neuroscience) the experiment was scientifically justified

I'd be interested in hearing of a single experiment which was scientifically justified, which involved animals as test subjects, where the goal was not to find something about that particular species. Mind you, i'm not going to change my stance on animal experimentation, after all human experimentation is more scientifically sound than what is going on today, and i would not support human experimentation.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 05:22 PM   #3
trilobite
 
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Default

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Originally Posted by Volodya
I
I'd be interested in hearing of a single experiment which was scientifically justified, which involved animals as test subjects, where the goal was not to find something about that particular species.

The ones I know about involve things like looking at statistical patterns in neural spike trains of cats forced to look at particular shapes (it turns out from various experiments that these spike trains tend to be "multifractal", which is fascinating). If like me you want to know what sort of overall dynamics are involved in neural information processing, that's really useful to know and is genuinely unlikely to be specific to cats (in fact, experiments causing harm to yet more different species of animals confirms this). You can then run simulations and try to figure out possible reasons for multifractality.

As scientists there's no other way we could have guessed that neural signals have this property, using current technology, without doing something like immobilising an animal (possibly a human) and sticking needles into its brain while it stares at some stupid pattern. The knowledge has been used (with rather limited success) to try and design better prosthetics, but its main scientific application is likely to be in generally understanding the complex dynamics of brains. Which could eventually produce superior robotics technology, treatment for neural disorders, blah blah blah. Possibly. And of course if we'd waited for a while, we might have had the technology to find it out without opening anyone's head like a tin can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volodya
Mind you, i'm not going to change my stance on animal experimentation, after all human experimentation is more scientifically sound than what is going on today, and i would not support human experimentation.

Well exactly. I think that harmful experiments on animals honestly do tell us things that in good faith we couldn't otherwise have known using current technology. The vast majority of scientists aren't deliberate sadists. The issue is that the majority of scientists just assume that "science" is a goal which is worth pursuing more or less regardless of animal welfare. "Sure, we shouldn't waste experimental animals on pointless research, and we should treat experimental animals as humanely as the experiment permits, but in the end they are just animals." That ideology is rarely questioned within the scientific community.

There are definitely historical animal experiments which heavily inform the research that I do, but I don't personally feel I can look at my research and say it's urgent enough to retrospectively justify those experiments. I would probably rather that the experiments had never been done, and that I was doing less advanced science. After all, scientific and technological progress has not always straightforwardly made us wiser or happier. It's not the be all and end all of civilisation: in the end, it's just science.

Last edited by trilobite : April 30th, 2009 at 05:32 PM.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #4
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Default Animal Experiments

I haven't thought about this for a while, because I've been concentrating on stuff which doesn't reference animal experiments, but one of the problems is the language used to describe animal experiments. For reasons of scientific rigor, papers use terms which are as technical and specific as possible. This allows people to understand what was done in the experiment scientifically, but it also has the insidious effect of masking what was done morally.

Nowhere in a scientific paper does it say in plain words, "we opened up a live cat and stuck a needle in its brain", so the average reader can sort of blot this issue out. I suspect if scientific papers on animal experiments were required to describe the harm done to the animal in ordinary language, more scientists would feel uneasy about them.
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