RE: Animal Rights

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Thu Apr 05 2001 - 17:45:26 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote,
> One problem is that a voice of reason might not be what they want.

You may be right, Anders. However, I find people on this list too eager to
jump to that conclusion. One of the most difficult things for a human
intellect to do is to discuss opposing viewpoints as if they are valid or
real. The first instinct is too assume that the self is right and the other
is wrong. Then natural next step is to assume the other must be stupid or
lying about their position. Either way, it becomes deceptively easy to
dismiss the other position as not worthy of negotiation.

It is hard to believe, but I have found that almost everybody really
believes in what they are doing. Even insane people rarely act randomly,
but are actually reacting quite rationally to their distorted perceptions.
Sure, people get caught up in politics, enjoy a good fight, and become more
concerned with their ego than their goal. We sometimes have that problem
here on this list.

Even if one doesn't believe in animal rights or the ability to abolish
animal testing, I think the complaints are reasonable. Animal testing is
horrible. I would hate to think that any of these testers take a kitten
home just for the fun of doing private experiments as a form of
entertainment. The fact is that animal testing is evil. Those that do it
believe that it is the lesser of two evils, and that not curing human
ailments causes worse suffering. If there were a way to achieve better
results without harming animals, I'm sure companies would jump on it.

In other words, I don't think these complaints or objections are
unreasonable. If they are misguided, we need to explain. If they are
valid, we need to work toward a solution. If they are deliberately
misleading, we need to expose them. But we must resist the temptation to
dismiss them out of hand, or to not even try to respond. At best, we might
miss some valid criticism, and at worst, we would appear to be nonresponsive
in the public eye and would be ineffective in countering such criticisms.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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