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Attenborough attacked for opposing apes, monkeys used as lab rats – updated


Re nature broadcaster David Attenborough: From Adam Lusher at Independent:

Researchers hit back after Sir David signed open letter to The Independent raising concern at the level of suffering involved in many neuroscience experiments on primates

Sir David Attenborough has been accused of being seduced by “pseudoscience”, as researchers hit back at his demand for an end to the use of certain types of “cruel” brain experiments on primates.

The highly respected naturalist and broadcaster joined leading scientists in signing an open letter to The Independent on Wednesday, saying it was time to stop funding some potentially painful or cruel types of neuroscience experiments on primates.

Um, yeah. Why are they doing this? The Americans ended chimp research for human health years ago because the field was a dead end.* But the field has its defenders in Britain. Just listen to this:

Dr John Isaac, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at Wellcome, the charity which offers funding to researchers, insisted that rigorous criteria had to be met before money could be provided for experiments on any type of animal.

And the apes and monkeys get to leave if they decide they don’t want to be part of the experiment, right? Just like they were people.

Update:  Here’s a proposal: Any time a primate is bred for research, a trust fund should be established, consistent with the animal’s expected longevity (up to 60-year life span?), long after the research is over . The animal could be sold but the fund goes with it. The balance is returned to the owner either when the animal dies a natural death,  an independent panel of veterinarians determines that euthanasia is in the animal’s best interests, or it is put down by court order as a danger to the public. That would cause researchers to be more transparent about why they must use primates for medical or psychological research not intended to benefit the animal. Also, there is no reason the taxpayer should be on the hook for supporting primates at sanctuaries just because someone has decided to breed one. – O’Leary for News

The only reason apes and monkeys would be used for research into human diseases, instead of afflicted humans, is that no benefit is intended to the animal, only suffering and harm. Most people can live with that if it applies to lab mice and rats who live and die by the dozen, in the wild or in the lab anyway. But the instinct that it is unethical to do that to animals that form a relationship with humans seems right.

“In particular, the review concluded: neuroscience experiments on monkeys are of only speculative value to humans; data collected from monkeys used in neuroscience research are misleading and of poor relevance to people due to the important differences between primates and humans in brain structure and function; the significance of results from ethical neuroscience research in humans is being underestimated by researchers.” More.

No surprise there. Stop it now.

* Note: An expensive dead end too, we shouldn’t wonder. Chimps are long-lived, and chimps who were bred and used for research who are sent to new homes in animal sanctuaries may or may not blend in with the wild crowd. Headaches all round.

See also: Most funding for chimp lab research to end immediately (2011).

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I'm confused NEWS. You are now inline with animal's rights activists? Doesn't Genesis stipulate that we are to be 'husbandmen' of the planet? That would imply using all of God's creatures to the benefit of humanity. Your position appears to be monkeys are not closely related to humans, therefore experiments on them will teach us nothing. Can we keep experimenting on rats? And if yes, is that because we can get useful biochemical information from rats about human physiology, but not primates? Can you clarify? As usual your writing is opaque! rvb8
Wasn't it, '...or your own lying eyes,' bornagain77 ? Incidentally, didn't the atheists write the book on pseudo-science in a big way, when it coalesced around Darwinism. Axel
OT:"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" - Chico Marx - Duck Soup
New Study Shows Awe Bad for ‘Science’ (If by ‘Science’ You Mean Atheism) By DOUGLAS AXE = September 14, 2016 Excerpt: Psychology professors from Claremont McKenna, Yale and Berkeley have just published a study that should be “disconcerting to those interested in promoting an accurate understanding of evolution.” Specifically, they’ve identified an insidious factor that has crept into science films and videos, undermining the ability of viewers to be good Darwinists. Awe is the culprit, they say. All those jaw-dropping nature documentaries have been messing with our minds. Most wildlife shows are packaged with the usual Darwinian narrative, spoken in an authoritative tone that isn’t supposed to be questioned. But it seems that wildlife itself, in stunning visual display, is conveying a different message — more powerfully, in fact. Everyone is awed by life, and experiences that accentuate this awe seem to affect us, whether or not we believe in God. The new study suggests that these experiences affirm a sense of faith in theists and a sense of purpose-like natural order in atheists and agnostics, both of which cause problems for instructors wanting to churn out good Darwinists. https://stream.org/new-study-shows-awe-bad-science-science-mean-atheism/
of related note:
Comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes: Searching for needles in a haystack – Ajit Varki1 and Tasha K. Altheide – 2005 Excerpt: we have many characteristics that are uniquely human. Table 1 lists some of the definite and possible phenotypic traits that appear to differentiate us from chimpanzees and other “great apes”2. For the most part, we do not know which genetic features interact with the environment to generate these differences between the “phenomes”3 of our two species. The chimpanzee has also long been seen as a model for human diseases because of its close evolutionary relationship. This is indeed the case for a few disorders. Nevertheless, it is a striking paradox that chimpanzees are in fact not good models for many major human diseases/conditions (see Table 2) (Varki 2000; Olson and Varki 2003). http://genome.cshlp.org/content/15/12/1746.full Animal Testing Is Bad Science: Point/Counterpoint Excerpt: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted that 92 percent of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials because they don’t work or are dangerous.,,, Physiological reactions to drugs vary enormously from species to species. Penicillin kills guinea pigs but is inactive in rabbits; aspirin kills cats and causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, dogs, and monkeys; and morphine, a depressant in humans, stimulates goats, cats, and horses. http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animal-testing-bad-science.aspx
Further notes:
Evolution by Splicing - Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. - Ruth Williams - December 20, 2012 Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,, A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species. On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view%2FarticleNo%2F33782%2Ftitle%2FEvolution-by-Splicing%2F Gene Regulation Differences Between Humans, Chimpanzees Very Complex – Oct. 17, 2013 Excerpt: Although humans and chimpanzees share,, similar genomes, previous studies have shown that the species evolved major differences in mRNA (messenger RNA) expression levels.,,, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017144632.htm Frequent Alternative Splicing of Human Genes – 1999 Excerpt: Alternative splicing can produce variant proteins and expression patterns as different as the products of different genes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC310997/ Widespread Expansion of Protein Interaction Capabilities by Alternative Splicing - 2016 In Brief Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles and thus, in the context of global interactome networks, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,, Page 806 excerpt: As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms (Smith and Kelleher, 2013). http://iakouchevalab.ucsd.edu/publications/Yang_Cell_OMIM_2016.pdf A Closer Look At Human/Chimp Similarities and Differences – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGqtB44AEKU
Of note: "Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles" runs straight into Behe' 'Edge of Evolution":
"The immediate, most important implication is that complexes with more than two different binding sites-ones that require three or more proteins-are beyond the edge of evolution, past what is biologically reasonable to expect Darwinian evolution to have accomplished in all of life in all of the billion-year history of the world. The reasoning is straightforward. The odds of getting two independent things right are the multiple of the odds of getting each right by itself. So, other things being equal, the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable." - Michael Behe - The Edge of Evolution - page 146

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