Skepchick Quickies 3.22


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I'm kind've an animals rights guy and I find it ironic that this is said:
    //If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise." From Anne.//

    I fully agree with this, this attack on women's right is bullshit, and there are some horrible accounts on it that Marilove posted.
    However, when people go on to say "but it's okay to stick shit in animals whenever we want", I urge people to think how they might feel if they were that animal.  No doubt the use of animals has been crucial to scientific advancement and will continue, but I don't believe it's really %100 ethical.  Fortunately, research conditions for animals is generally much better than those in industrial slaughterhouses. 
    Clearly this is not a popular opinion here, but so what.

    1. Animal rights is a matter of ethics, not science, so there's nothing unscientific about having an ethical position, unless it's informed by some sort of unscientific belief.
      If you were referring to the Nickelodeon thing, the author seems more concerned about PETA and HSUS distorting science than their defending the interests of animals.

    2. You should probably find an article on animal rights and comment on that rather than try to derail this thread in a way that is insulting and unnecessary. Comparisons between treatment of women and treatment of animals, regardless of your intent, are pretty misguided and won't help your case.

      1. Except your comment only works when you think it's a bad thing to compare humans with non-human animals. 
        I love how they make my whole favourite philosophy subject of animal rights sound so silly and non-sciency. Gee, we animal rights freak never thought long and hard about this topic at all. I'm always open to discussion but this article is rather condescending. It really would help if the writer actually thought of animal rights as a philosophical concept and not something only weird hippies with too much time on their hands believe in. 

      2. //Comparisons between treatment of women and treatment of animals, regardless of your intent, are pretty misguided//
        Are comparisons of human experience and animal experience really misguided?  I'd say that's a pretty subjective thing to say and reflects YOUR opinion, not any truth.  To make it clear, I mean for my argument to be quite subjective.  What I'm really saying is that "if humans don't like to be hurt/oppressed, then why do we turn around and do it to animals" and that is a moral judgement.  Let's take factory farming for example, to me there's not really much moral difference between making a person stand in a little cage all their life and then putting a bullet in their head for their flesh and making an animal do so.  It's still pretty fucking horrible to me. 
        I don't see why disagreeing with someone's premise is "insulting", aren't disagreements in skepticism *supposed to happen?*.  To make it quite clear, I DO believe in the cause of feminism and would like to see its goals continue to be accomplished.  In fact if more people see the goals behind feminism, then perhaps they will start to see other forms of oppression and think twice about some of the other injustices in society.
        And yes, I'm sure it won't earn too many friends around here, but as Heina pointed out in one of her articles, atheism and even skeptical feminism isn't monolithic in belief.  I'm sure you'll find quite a few people who are both skeptical and feminist who are vegetarians/vegans and believe killing animals is wrong. 

        1. Personally, I'm confused as to why we're talking about factory farming when Isis's article is specifically about anti-animal research animal rights supporters. 
          I think you read it as her saying all animal rights people are nutters, while I read it as her specifically talking about the nutty animal rights people. There are extremists in every group and the anti-animal research proponents are not immune to that.

      3. You should probably find an article on animal rights

        There are 4 articles linked here, not just the one regarding ultrasound and rape. Somehow you seem to have overlooked the fact that one of them is "on animal rights". (The big clue was the phrase "the animal right nutters" in the preview quote.) 

        1. It does make me feel like there's more worry about "cute little baby animals" than about women being violated. 

          1. There is more worry about an article posted here that feels condescending to me (a few of us, actually) than one that I agree with and I've seen posted elsewhere. That does not mean we care less about women's rights than animal rights, it just means we don't like to be told we're crazy for believing animals have more rights than is generally acknowledged. 

          2. I understand, but I think Isis's post is being blown out of proportion and her comments are being applied to topics that she didn't address at all.
            (replying to ihatemusic, not myself, just can't reply to her this far out in the thread)

        2. Also, I thought the nutters comment was funny because it's refering to a cartooon duck and turtle. From a children's show. 

  2. A doctor speaks out, but where is the AMA on forced raping of women? What is the AMA position on mandatory lies to patients? Why is the AMA silent on withholding critical health information from women?

    1. Probably a mix of agreeing with the new laws and being too afraid to speak out against them.  They don't want to be labeled as a "liberal" organization I'm sure.
      A lot of professional organizations, non-profits, and corporations would much rather save face than stick up for the oppressed.

  3. I don't think ddp was meaning to make an equal comparison. I think he was just trying to express a viewpoint that I share: I was a little surprised to see the "animal rights" article posted. I don't really see how animal rights and skepticism overlap beyond "Yes, animal models actually do provoide us with useful scientific information concerning human health." Anything else – any moral arguments, any calling people nutjobs, seem to me to be outside the scope of the site. I thought the article linked was a little pointless and over the top, with only glancing skeptical interest.

    1. And I agree with ddp that animal testing isn't 100% ethical, but then again virtually nothing we do is.

      1. Thanks for the reinforcement.  Yes, my judgement is not that animals haven't been helpful, nor that because animals are oppressed, feminism shouldn't still be fought for.  I suppose the comparison I drew was that "knowing what kind of pain this is causing women, extend the compassion and try and see it from some frightened animal's perspective too". 
        And yeah, I resent the fact that people who care about this morally are labeled as "crazy" :P.

    2. Animal rights overlaps with skepticism because of its tie to science and scientific research. I read Isis's piece with a mind to the portrayal of "evil scientists" in media, especially children's programs. It's those "evil scientists" that are doing terrible things to cute helpless baby animals, right? Just for the pure evilness of it all?
      Well, there is a place for animal research still. It is absolutely a complex ethical issue. My stomach turns at the thought of medical research on primates, but at the same time, I wouldn't want human health and mortality to suffer because of a lack of research.
      I've participated in research involving mouse models and the standards even around the treatment of mice is very very strict. There are many many hoops that must be jumped through in order to perform research on animals, as well there should be

      1. //I've participated in research involving mouse models and the standards even around the treatment of mice is very very strict.//
        That's why I brought up factory farming, because I know researchers treat animals better. 
        I think the core argument is here from the 3 of us on the animal rights side of this issue is that we DID find the article condescending to more than just the extremists and we don't like it when we're working to fight for feminism and we're called nutjobs by other feminists for standing up for what we see as something just.

        1. I just think that's a strange connection to make. And do that many people really think that fighting against factory farming is nutty? Not to doubt you, just that it seems like such a logical fight to me.

          1. Ha, let me explain why I say this a bit later, don't want to totally derail your thread.

      2. I think we're pretty well in agreement Amanda. It just seemed a little extreme of Isis to judge this show so harshly on the basis of the sentence "“To help people learn about space, but sometimes the chimps get lost.”,  which I don't think casts scientists as evil at all. If anything it's saying that the chimps are there for a reasonable purpose – to advance science. Going on a tirade about "animal rights nuts" on that alone seemed pretty extreme to me.

        1. Yep. The tone of Isis's article is scornful and reactionary, and does nothing to dispell the stereotype of evil scientists performing horrific tests on helpless animals. 
          The thing is, before I read that article I could see the benefits of ethical testing in rare cases, but that article has made me even more opposed to animal testing than I was before. She's not doing the scientific community any favours with her closed-minded and condescending attitude, in fact I'd be surprised if it doesn't turn a lot of moderate animal rights people into laboratory-burning nutjobs.
          And I really hope for her sake 4chan don't see that article…

  4. Okay, I'm confused. If there's a resurrection and a last judgement that's going to happen in the future, why is everybody talking about people being in heaven or hell right now? Is that actually a doctrine with a name I can look up? I've googled it to no avail.

  5. Do we really have to keep supporting PETA like this? Michael Vick did some animal rights activism, but nobody mentions him without mentioning that he was involved in dog fights. Why does PETA get a pass?

    Hello all skeptical thinkers and Skepchick readers. I have a puzzle for you. I follow and enjoy Skepchick but have judiciously avoided the “animals in labs” topic until this post. I am an MD and formerly performed research using animals. I now claim that animal models do more harm than good to human patients because one evolved complex system, say a monkey, cannot predict drug and disease response for another, say a human. Some pretty well known skeptics vehemently disagree with me on this yet they refuse to debate this topic in the scientific literature or at their university (lets assume it is in Michigan). The following articles more or less explain my position. All are from peer-reviewed science literature.
    Are animal models predictive for humans? at http://www.peh-med.com/content/pdf/1747-5341-4-2.pdf
    Is the use of sentient animals in basic research justifiable? at http://www.peh-med.com/content/pdf/1747-5341-5-14.pdf
    Complex systems, evolution, and animal models  at
    An analysis of the Bateson Review of research using nonhuman primates   at
    Animal models in an age of personalized medicine  at http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/pme.11.89
    None of these articles concern animal rights or philosophy / ethics except as ethics relates to human patients.
    The puzzle is this: What are skeptics to make of the fact that a physician-scientist who is also a skeptic refuses to defend his position on this issue? He will blog about it but will not defend his position in the standard fashion that scientists defend their positions, namely in the literature and specifically in a point-counterpoint debate. Neither will his colleagues. We as evolutionists debate creationists and rightly so. We as atheists debate fundamentalist Christians and rightly so. Why will scientists not debate me on this issue? Am a crank? Do my published articles indicate that I do not know what I am talking about? Am I advocating a position that has the same scientific credibity as homeoparthy?

    1. You have a “puzzle” for us. OK then I have a question for you.

      Do you feel it is fair and ethical for you to come to this blog to complain about and harangue another blogger for refusing to debate you regardless of the topic?

        1. Stawman? In what way? You asked why this other, unnamed blogger (and others), wouldn't debate you.
          I asked why this is the appropriate place for the airing of that grievance.
          How is that a strawman?

            This post had 4 topics, one of which concerned the use of animals in labs. This particular issues was being discussed before I commented. My comment was therefore on topic not off topic, as your comment suggested in saying “regardless of the topic.” By insinuating that my comment was unrelated and that with my unrelated comment I was haranguing another blogger you made it appear that my issue was a) unrelated to this particular Skepchick post and that I was thus barging in, and b) that my intent was to take issue with another blogger, who I did not name BTW. That is a straw man. My intent was to expand the discussion regarding animals in labs, currently being made, as one of the assumptions appeared to be, and indeed usually is, that such research is vital to the advancement of medicine. My intent was to, as stated, see if anyone wanted to address the issue in light of the facts / situation I presented. Apparently no one did. No problem. But my intent, as I think was obvious, was to ask the question I asked, not to air a grievance. I have my own blog and air my grievances there on a regular basis. My intent was to see if skeptics wanted to discuss an example of what appears to be another skeptic not acting in manner consistent with science and skepticism and professional integrity for that matter and what should we, as the skeptic community, make of that. Further, to see if any skeptics wanted to question the underlying assumptions of the topic they were discussing. Does that answer your question?

            Yes, that answers my question.
            You misunderstood my initial question and you don't know what a strawman is.
            I did not say that your comment was off topic in any way. If you had said that you had a different take on it and explained your view and/or included your links I wouldn't have been bothered.
            I believe that you may very well have a point but the way it was presented was the equivalent of an anti-vaxxer asking in one of Elyse's posts why no skeptics will debate Dr. Wakefield and linking to all their "proof". And before you say that I am equating your ideas with anti-vax, I am not just that your approach was similar.
            As for a strawman. That means setting up a weaker, and therefore easier to dismiss, version of your opponent’s views then dismissing them and since we are neither opponents and I at no time dismissed your view there was no strawman.
            I would suggest that your approach may be the reason for your lack of willing debate opponents and taking it as more than that gives your theory a conspiratorial tone, which may add to the problem.

  7. SInce I sent in the anonymous doctor on TVU article, I'm also submitting Amanda Marcotte's response to said article: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/why-civil-disobedience-isnt-the-answer-in-this-case, in which I think she makes some really good points.
    I think the biggest impact of the original article is that it mkes us realize that so few medical professionals are speaking out (as medical professionals, anyway), or at least that we're not hearing about it. Perhaps Amanda would agree that the time to speak out is while these measures are still being debated in congress.

  8. I love that Mr. Wizard clip. The original series is so interesting! We bought DVD's of some of the earliest seasons for our kids to watch. The later series is so…. *busy*, while the older one is very calm.. lots of time to concentrate on the science, rather than all fast cuts and explosions.
    I am not sure how Don Herbert manages to look about the same age in the 60's show as he does in the 80's show.
    Also, Mr. Wizard > Wonderpets.

  9. Hey, just wanted to chime in here about the Scalzi hosted doctor article on transvaginal ultrasound.
    He closed comments on the article (for professional reasons) but its been reposted (crossposted? whatever) on Jezebel.  So, if you want to comment on it, you'd have to do it there.
    Mr. Scalzi did post a followon post explaining this.

  10. I'm a long time reader and admirer of Skepchick, I love this site.
    However, I don't love your linkage and endorsement of someone who describes those with compassion for animals as nutjobs. 
    If you want to pick on PETA and their misogynistic advertising, be my guest. Just, please don't dismiss caring for the rights of non-human animals as trivial and unreasonable. 

  11. <blockquote>I think you read it as her saying all animal rights people are nutters, while I read it as her specifically talking about the nutty animal rights people</blockquote>
    Let's be clear. I happen to believe most animal rights folks are nutters.  More importantly, PeTA and HSUS have a very clear track record of being liars.  That's really the critical distinction.

    1. Wow. It's sad that you think people who care about the fellow denizens of the earth are crazy. I hear the same rhetoric coming from MRA's who think all feminists are deranged man-hating harpies who are in denial of reality. 
      Sure, there are extremists, and they need to be rooted out and distanced from the cause. But I believe if you can't show compassion for an animal than you're not going to be very capable of showing it to a human being, either. 
      And it's not like scientists have ever lied about anything, isn't it? 

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