5,000 years

I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.

Geek & Sundry, a page I follow on Facebook, posted this picture, which I found very disturbing.

Naturally, me being me, I immediately posted this:

Um… How is killing innocent animals just to see how they work inside geeky?

To which someone replied:

Science is geeky. Biology is science. Dissection teaches about how things live (biology). Therefore dissection is geeky.

And that, my friends, makes me very sad. Yes, you can say I am a dreamer but I know I am not the only one (on top of Spanish, English and Italian, I am perfectly fluent in movies and songs quotes). But how is it even remotely possible that people can still think dissection ==> science ==> geeky.

As you can imagine, I had to reply.

Two things:
1. It irks me to think about all those “Natural philosophers” as they called themselves, doing the vivisections depicted here. Yes, way back when “scientists” opened the poor animals when th
ey were still alive in order to see how bodies work. These knitted animals are a perfect representation of the original illustrations on old biology [zoology, back then] books, which of course were faithful reproductions of what the illustrator saw on the tray. These knitted reproductions are so perfect they even have the pins to hold the animals down.
2. I am a medical doctor and a molecular biologist. I am as scientific as scientists come. Science runs in my blood. I was a geek and a nerd way before being a geek and a nerd became cool. And I am telling you. Dissection doesn’t teach biology. Dissection teaches torture and murder. Why is it okay to kill animals just to show kids how things live? Anything that needed to be learned, has been learned. There is no need to kill any more poor animals. Even as a seventh grade student I refused to kill any frogs in my biology class because anything I needed to learn I could learn it from the books. As a med student, I refused to kill a dog for my Physiology lab. Again, anything I needed to learn was already in the books and we also now have computer animations to teach new students.
I apologize if I appear patronizing or confrontational. I don’t have anything against you. But I have everything against animal cruelty. I am all for ethical treatment of animals. Even for my PhD research, I chose a lab and a project that did not do animal research. And I am telling you – and anyone else that cares to listen: Dissection is NOT geeky, says the geekiest of all the geek girls on the planet!
I have no hope I will change anyone’s mind with my little soapbox moment.
As I said to one of my son the philosopher’s colleagues the other day: I am both a humanist and a misanthropist, if you can believe it. The funny thing was that he not only could but he did. Believe it, that is. Even quoted another philosopher who wrote about the very same dichotomy. Of course, I should have seen that coming. There was bound to be a philosopher who had philosophized about it already. I suppose I should add to it that I am also a philanthropist, sans the money part, obviously.
Long story short, I both love and hate humans. I care about people and their suffering. Why, I became a doctor, precisely because I wanted to heal people. But by George I hate people too. The things they do. The hurting they cause. The damage. The carelessness. And the stupid. THE STUPID.
I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.

5 thoughts on “5,000 years

  1. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    This could have been written by me. Well, except for the fluency part. And the molecular biologist part. And a few other parts, I’m sure.

    But I totally agree with you. And I love you.

  2. humblepie says:

    I am sort of torn on this.. I can see how you feel, and taking a stance against animal cruelty is definitely a valid and noble cause… I find it’s difficult to do, whilst still living and surviving in an urban setting.. Most of the meat we eat is culled from animals that are hardly living in “happy” surroundings, and are euthanized for our consumption. Unless you are spending more than double on your meat to ensure that you are eating organic products from free range animals, you’re only choosing to turn a blind eye to “animal cruelty”

    I could also go on to say that any research that prolongs human life, reduces suffering, or helps eradicate diseases is also fine in my books, even if it involves animal testing. I don’t see that as cruelty.. I only see it as such when it’s unfair or unjust treatment for no benefit or long term goal.

    Now to address the issue of the wooly dissected frog..

    Everyone deserves to be cute or geeky if they choose. And a biology teacher or scientist, a naturologist, any profession where dissection is part of their normal day to day routine.. whether everyone embraces it or not.. They probably enjoy having wooly guts on their walls, and probably most of their peers and friends would appreciate the display, and why it’s on their walls.

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      A lot of good food for thought in your comment, thank you! And I hear you too. I have chosen to be vegetarian and would like to become vegan too but haven’t quite gotten there yet. Probably never will. I also struggle finding a good balance between a limited income and buying only cruelty-free products, not just food but also hair products, cleaning products, etc. I never wore any make-up so I’m good there. But even finding cruelty-free and environmentally safe body lotion that is not $30 a bottle is hard!

      We will have to agree to disagree on the last two things you mentioned, though. Even as someone who deals with degenerative neurological issues and being a medical doctor myself, I do not condone the torturing of animals for the sake of better health for humans. I simply don’t believe we humans are that special and that important that other lives need to be sacrificed for our benefit. Sorry but not sorry. We are just another species of mammals, as valuable as cats or dogs or monkeys.

      As for the dissection being a normal part of a teacher or scientist routine, methinks you missed my point entirely. Precisely what I was saying was that dissection need not be a normal part of ANYONE anymore. We already have ALL the knowledge we need. We don’t need to keep opening up creatures to learn anything. And if teaching is what you think it merits the continuation of such barbaric practice, then again, I have to disagree because teaching can be perfectly done with computer-generated animations, which not only are more humane but also saves the school system thousands of dollars as no more costly lab reagents, tools and equipment are needed anymore.

      Yes, I do agree that everybody has the right to be cute and geeky. Trust me, I am both. But I also firmly believe that my rights end when the rights of other living creatures start. If me being geeky means perpetuating a barbaric and inhumane practice, then my geekiness it is ethically and morally wrong. That is my stance. Again, feel free to disagree with me. Such is your right and I won’t deny you that. That doesn’t mean I won’t question your ethics or morals but I certainly won’t question your right to disagree with me.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, though. I enjoyed reading it and thinking of the implications and ramifications of it.

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      oh, sorry, Humblepie. I know my reply to you is very long already. But I feel I need to make a clarification. I know that no animals are being hurt in the making of the knitted animals. My problem with those blasted knitted things is the stance of most people that dissection is not only normal but that it is Science and therefore cool and geeky. Again, dissection should not be normal. It should have stopped being normal a century ago. Or at least 40 years ago, when the first computational models started to appear. There is no science in opening an animal up to see what a heart or a liver looks like. Besides, what is there but just the theatricality of it? What possible use can it have in the daily life of any adult? Teach the kids about healthy ways of eating so we can stop this obesity epidemic. That is valuable knowledge. I am appalled to see that most people don’t understand our metabolism and how fats and sugars affect us in different ways. Give the kids good sexual education so we avoid teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases. So many other real issues kids need to learn. I would love to see the budget used for those very important issues. But to spend money on how to kill innocent animals so kids can have a thrill in the name of science for a day and then completely forget about it for the rest of their lives? That is a huge waste of money if I ever saw one. In more ways than one.

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