Animal testing, medicine and poison

Question of the Day May 21, 2011 ~ use medicine animals suffer?

If you knew that animals had suffered in the development of a medicine that would ease your suffering, would you use that medicine?

Complex question.
If it was one that was essential to my life, and there were no alternatives, then without doubt.

I would prefer that animals were not unnecessarily exposed to suffering.

I would prefer humans were not exposed to suffering.
While we have 4 billion human beings who suffer from the lack of basic necessities, I think we need to focus on them ahead of animals.

We support economic and political systems that create suffering around the world.

Most city people get hooked by cute fluffy juvenile animals – without really thinking through consequences.
We have two dogs and a cat that we care for. The dogs are like family members.

[followed by]

Hi OM, christine, Judi et al

Align with much of what you say.

Here in New Zealand, cows live out in the paddocks, eat grass, and live a fairly natural life, apart from coming into the shed twice a day for milking. When I was a kid on dairy farms we had walk-through milking sheds, then we went to herring-bone style sheds. These days most sheds are rotary, and can milk 50 – 80 cows simultaneously, in a continuous rotary process, meaning herds of up to 3,000 are now possible (when I was a kid 200 was a big herd).

Since my brush with cancer, I am completely free of all animal products (including milk and cheese).

Also, on the subject of poisons, there is no such thing as a poison independent of concentration.
Water and oxygen are both vital for life. Yet too much water and we drown, too much oxygen and our haemoglobin locks up and we asphyxiate.

Some things are very toxic in very low concentrations, and some things bio-accumulate as they pass through the food chain. So for some things, can be toxic to top of chain organisms in very low concentrations.

If you have any cancer worries, cheese is one of the worst things you can eat – hard cheeses in particular very strongly acidify the body.

In terms of medicines, it seems to me that something of the order of 70% of ailments essentially have a mental cause. Some very interesting research on the topic – John Sarno (New York School of Medicine) has done some great work. The placebo effect seems to be as strong as most medicines. We can certainly will ourselves into (and out of) all sorts of ailments.

In terms of animals, I have screens on all the windows in my house, and I will encourage any flies to exit the house, rather than just kill them.

In terms of pests, New Zealand has only two species of native land mammals (both bats). Plenty of marine mammals (seals, dolphins, whales etc). Most of the mammals in this land are introduced invaders that are exterminating many of the native species. We need to exterminate most of the mammals, and most of the introduced weed plants, if the native ecosystems are ever going to get back to anything remotely resembling their “natural” order. So at some time in the not too distant future, most of the invaders need to die – over significant areas.

Agree that we need to change the incentive structures within our social systems, to ensure that all humans have their basic needs met, and that we do so in a way that is in harmony with the environment in which we live and on which we depend.

[followed by] Free Will

Hi OM & Judi,

Great discussion you two.

As I see it, it is something similar, and I have a different schema.

For me, the world we get to live in is mostly constructed by external forces. Most of the material world is directly the result of cosmological process, big bang, various levels of condensation, star formation, star explosion, generation of heavier elements by stellar nucleosynthesis, later generations star and planet formation, comets and meteors, plate tectonics, evolution by natural selection, … etc.

Thus we are born with the bodies we have, into the culture we are born into.
We learn language, which is part of the widest sense of culture.

Our brains soak up massive amounts of information, and our intuition is at work at many subconscious levels giving rise to the conscious experience of being.

For me – all of the above is simply the background of being.

In my understanding, free will is the exercise of “will” – where “will” is a software derived entity existent on the hardware of brain/body in the software operating system initially supplied by culture/language.

In my understanding, the only real “freedom” we have exists in the instant between impulse to action (as supplied by the subconscious) and the taking of action. If we can create a “space” in there for “awareness”, then we can bring successively deeper levels of abstracted context to the situation. Intuition is sensitive to context (at all levels – the more levels we influence, the greater our freedom).

It seems that the lowest levels of context are supplied by culture/language, but that our personal intuition allows us to develop ever more complex and abstract contexts.

It seems that every successive level of context delivers a greater level of influence to self generated will over that supplied by culture.

It seems that all we can really do, is to use these new levels of context to provide a new environment to our intuition, and thence to influence the specific impulse to action that arises next.

These three aspects, of creating space, of veto of impulse, and of influence over the next impulse to arise – seem to be at the heart of the notion of free will.

It seems that we are fundamentally at the mercy of the subconscious processes that are at work below our level of consciousness, and at the same time, we are capable of influencing those processes through our ability to alter the “internal context” in which they operate.

[followed by]

Hi Judi

You seem to understand extremely well.

I often experience that “oneness” thing too, I simply have a different explanation for what it is to the explanation supplied by cultures more than 30 years old.

We are related to everything else.
Every sense perception we have is a small slice of the huge (almost infinite) reality that we find ourselves in.
Every intuition we have, is a small slice of the infinite realm of the potentially possible (or sometimes the other infinity of the impossible).
It seems that our intuition is driven out of the way we store and retrieve information as interference patterns. Because every part of an interference pattern contains information about the whole image, every sense impression we have has a little information on the whole of reality within it.
When we open ourselves to the almost continuous flood of intuitions coming from our subconscious and select an appropriate context, we are able to experience this one-ness – the reality of our relatedness to everything and everyone.

As to going beyond the DDT (Dreaded Drama Triangle) – that is quite conceivable to the human mind.
Actually, the human mind seems to be infinitely flexible.
Most of what seem like limits are not structural, but limits imposed by unchallenged beliefs.

It really does seem to be true that the only thing limiting us is our own beliefs.

[followed by]

I disagree profoundly Ian and Thomas!

Yes everything is related, and it is most certainly not the case that everything is symbiotic.

There are organisms that have no benefit at all for some other organisms.

There is a sense in which which any organism that is part of a larger cooperative can stop behaving cooperatively, and behave in ways that are detrimental to the whole. Not the slightest vestige of symbiosis remaining.

Just because there is relatedness does not imply commonality of purpose or outcome.

Just because we are all connected does not imply that we lack free will.

Just because we have free will does not imply that we choose everything about us.

It is possible to exercise free will at some times, and not at others.

It really is possible that there are intentions out there that intend us do good whatsoever.

Reality is much more than a feel-good symbiosis, and it is possible to create symbiosis at many levels.
Reality can be very dangerous indeed.
We have eliminated most of the megafauna that was a significant threat to us (gone – extinct!).

American arms manufacturers produce DU rounds (depleted Uranium), which were used in Iraq. The effect on tanks was as desired – the effect on the population, in terms of vastly increased rates of mutation and severe cancer in children and others was utterly predictable and to be expected, but was ignored because of money – and now that DU dust is being blown around the planet.
Insanity – for profit.
But one small example of a vast panoply of non-symbiotic behaviour for the benefit of a few at huge cost to the majority.

We most certainly are not “fully symbiotic-everywhere everything after all”.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see
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2 Responses to Animal testing, medicine and poison

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