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Monday, March 21, 2005

I can be snotty 

Long ago, early in my time living on the Tundra of Minnesota, I took some time out of my lab work to go interact with the Anti Animal Research people who were having their regular freakout near the U o' M medical school. The main focus of their indignation was a professor who studied the physiological effects of cocaine addiction. Her method involved the use of chimps. Now I personally find the idea of coked up chimp to be the near the top of the list of Things I Would Rather Avoid, but as our nearest animal relatives it can be argued that they are a good model system for study.

A couple of friends and I headed over to Northrup Mall to engage the protestors in conversation. The most cogent argument I got out of anyone was that the money being spent to support her research would be better spent on treatment for addicts. My response that perhaps spending some money finding out exactly what cocaine does to a body might be a good way to improve the treatment was met with scorn and derision. We moved on to discussing medical research in general. The premise here was that animal research had never found anything of use to people ever. I countered with the discovery of insulin (which first isolated by injecting fractionated pancreas extracts into diabetic dogs until they finally found the single-component extract that kept the dogs from croaking from diabetes). Again I was met with hand-waving negation. I moved the discussion onto how it seemed to me that my conversational partner seemed to be OK with benefitting from medical research that occurred before she was around, but now that she was around to point out its evils, it should all stop. On the contrary, she informed me that she didn't go to doctors and when she fell sick she used natural healing products. (Here's where I got snotty) "That's the best news I've had all day. The next time you get really sick you're going to die and then I won't have to listen to you whining about things you don't comprehend." I then laughed in her face and refused to talk to her.

It wasn't very nice, but sometimes I'm not a nice guy.


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