© 1990 by Jon Franklin
Earth, Animals & Poisoned Apples
How the Luddites are Trashing Science
by Jon Franklin
Thank you very much. Thank you very much for inviting me; It's a pleasure to be here, even though I'm talking about what is frankly one of my least favorite topics. I say least favorite because it's so frightening that even I don't like to think about it.
You know, reporters are a lot like undertakers. We benefit from war, famine and disaster. So when things get so ugly that they frighten US . . . well, that gives you some idea of the proportion of the problem.
My topic today is animal rights, or more specifically the animal rights movement. In fact, though, I am really talking about science, and a reaction to science, and the dangers that I see as a result.
Let me say right up front that I've spent my adult life with scientists, writing about them, and what they do, and the new power for good the scientific culture represents. So I am fundamentally a rationalist.
And my message, as a rationalist, is that science has a problem . . . and THAT, I think, means our whole culture has a problem.
The difficulty is reflected in the fact that science-bashing has become not just permissible but fashionable. And the fact that there are many antiscience movements in progress today. Too many. I'll touch on a number as I go along.
But in the looming tragedy I plan to outline for you today, I will focus primarily on the animal rights movement and its ADVOCATES. They make an excellent example, very present and tangible. They gather like a Greek chorus outside laboratories, waving their placards in front of the television cameras, chanting, in their voices of doom, things like:
Free the Silver Spring Monkeys!
Greedy scientists torture animals!
Animal Research never helped anybody!
Trash the laboratories!
A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy!
Let the crippled children die . . .
That's what they're saying now. Let the crippled children die.
You think not? You think they haven't gone that far? Well, read Peter Singer's latest book. He's the Australian philosopher who wrote ANIMAL LIBERATION.
Let 'em die. It'll make our species stronger, in the long run. And it's good for the environment.
---- PAUSE -----
Two images of the scientist have long vied for dominance in the American mind. In one guise he is the absent-minded professor, the bumbling, over-educated fool who has to be reminded to put on his galoshes. In his alter ego he is Dr. Frankenstein, the mad scientist, the amoral if not immoral creator of monsters and ever more hideous methods of death.
The image has now tilted dramatically in favor of Dr. Frankenstein. The scientist is the one, in popular lore, who created the bomb. Scientists are the corrupters of the earth. Scientists are the ones who made ALAR, and poisoned the apples.
One especially telling study was done by a University of Pennsylvania group. They found that people who watch a lot of television tend to think of science as threatening. The study went further to show that television reinforced this perception . . . television panders, we all know that . . . and so television scientists turn out to be more frequently portrayed as the bad guys than actors representing other professions. Even lawyers came off as nicer folks.
Now . . . it's a rule on television, you know, that the really nasty characters have to get it in the neck before the curtain goes down. So it figures that TV scientists have the highest fatality rate of any occupational group on the airwaves, with 10 percent of them dead before the closing credits.
The message is clear: Science, like crime, doesn't pay. Or, if it does, it shouldn't.
It's no different in the movies, either. Look, for instance, at ET. What did the scientists want to do to this friendly little feller from another world? Why . . . they wanted to cut him up, of course. Vivisection, that was what was on their minds. They were little better than butchers. And you know something? It played real well in Peoria!
The antiscience movement that is growing up in response to this popular change of attitudes is both deep and broad. It hides behind, and feeds off of, a number of otherwise positive movements ranging from environmentalism to feminism. It takes many forms but it is a single entity . . . the same faces show up under the picket signs at animal rights rallies, no-nuke rallies, radical environmental rallies . . . there is a movement here, a new wave, and it's relentlessly anti-science.
This isn't just my paranoia. The people involved SEE themselves as a new wave whose destiny it is to trash this society and set up a new one more to their liking.
These people, or many of the most powerful of them, are straight-out Luddites. Ingrid Newkirk, the head of PETA -- for the uninitiated, that's People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- anyway, Ingrid Newkirk says she's a Luddite . . . and proud of it. To her, science is white male dominance, chemical companies, and cosmetic combines.
You should take a look at the most recent issue of the UTNE READER. It has a centerpiece set of articles which, taken together, are a neo-Luddite manifesto.
A Neo-Luddite Manifesto. Again, those are THEIR words. They're BOASTING about it. And selling magazines like hotcakes. The last time I looked, the Utne Reader was the fastest-growing general interest magazine in the country. Mr. Utne has his finger on the pulse of the left.
And why does science not defend itself better than it has?
It's not like science wasn't warned.
C. P. Snow blew the whistle on what was happening all the way back in the '50s. He pointed out that our culture was undergoing a division into the technological haves and the technological have-nots, into the sciences and the liberal arts.
We need to remember, because it's important, that Snow was an academic himself, more or less, and that the society he observed was the campus society. As a writer as well as a physicist, Snow spent a lot of time being bored at cocktail parties. So the people he described as drifting apart were the English, history and political science professors on the one hand and the mathematics, chemistry and physics professors on the other.
It wasn't that the two groups hated each other, or anything like that. It was just that they didn't have much in the way of common languages or common interests. They tended to look at the world in different ways. It was awkward, sort of, for a physicist and a rhetorician to discuss child-rearing. So they were polite, ate the green olives out of their martinis (remember the days before Perrier?), and drifted on until they found a group they were more comfortable with. So the parties divided up into clumps. Some clumps were humanists, some scientists.
Snow thought the two groups were pretty similar in size, levels of education, religion, and so forth. The only real difference was that some were the technological "ins" and the others weren't.
Now, in hindsight, the split he saw beginning may in fact be the most momentous cultural movement of our century.
The only thing Snow seemed to have been wrong about was the numbers. He saw the two cultures as being equal in size.
But he took his sample on campus, and it was skewed.
If he'd done his counting in the supermarket, he'd have seen that the nonscientific culture was vastly larger than the scientific one. As you go up the socio-economic scale, more people speak science. It's not 50-50 until you get all the way to the top, to the university level.
So these two societies were not equal. One of them, the scientific one, was destined to become very much a minority.
A minority . . . but a minority that would turn out, in the 60s and 70s and 80s, to be a very powerful.
We don't use the term "minorities" to describe such groups. "Minority," in the modern lexicon, means small and weak. If they are small and powerful, we say they are an ELITE.
I have a whole lecture in which I just detail, for an hour, how science has defined our lives in the postwar era. And I mean EVERYTHING. Not just the tools we use but who we are, what we think of ourselves, and our reactions to that.
Henry Ford, with his means of transportation, sowed the seeds of the sexual revolution . . . for the first time a guy could take his girl for, as they said, "a ride." The birth control pill made the feminist movement inevitable.
Technology. The broad expanse of it, from designer drugs to television and computerized check-out counters and auto-dialers that call you at night in mechanical voices to sell you cemetery lots, from MTV to laser surgery to smart bombs . . . science, in our time, is not just a power. It is THE power. It is DEFINING. The rest of us . . . citizens, politicians, just REACT!
We were just starting to face off with ourselves over the issue of abortion, for instance, and along comes the abortion pill which makes the whole argument moot . . . it doesn't matter, now WHAT you think about abortion. Or what the politicians think. Scientists act, the rest of us react. And on, and on, and on, and on. Even scientists themselves have mixed feelings about a lot of these things.
And yet the supremacy of science seems never to be questioned, at least not in scientific circles. It is so incredibly productive, so powerful . . . the rest of the culture NEEDS science so much . . . the humanities NEED the sciences . . . there is not much insecurity among scientists as a group.
Perhaps that's why they don't tend to band together or form a single community. They have no independent lobbying group, like, say, the National Rifle Association or the NAACP. Science takes its power for granted, as a given of the modern age.
This is pretty terrifying, considering the level of science-bashing we're seeing. Dangerous self-absorption. But most non-scientists see it otherwise . . . . They see it as, well . . .
I had lunch with a philosopher the other day, and the word HE used to describe science, the word a whole lot of people use today, is "arrogant."
To a lot of people in this society, that words fits the tongue, fits the times, fits the mood, reflects the final truth about the modern world. Science is arrogant. A bully.
You see, back on campus . . . back where almost everything really important in this society has its beginnings . . . back where C. P. Snow first saw his terrible vision of schism . . . on campus, the division of cultures has turned into something quite sinister.
This division is not a theoretical thing. Professorial salaries have separated. The students in the sciences get fellowships, the ones in the humanities don't. The haves, and the have nots. The differences are real, blatant, and immutable.
Go, today, to any campus. Drive around a while until you locate the most dilapidated buildings, where the poorest students hang out. Go inside, and ask where you are. You will find you are in the English building, probably. Or maybe history or philosophy. This is the intellectual ghetto, where the intellectual underclass lives.
We are two societies, the one that has and the one that has not. Scientists simply do not understand that they are wealthy -- that one electron microscope is equivalent to five fellowships over in journalism.
So . . . is this underclass going to like science?
There is RESENTMENT. And it grows, and grows, and grows.
And when Peter Singer comes up with a book like ANIMAL LIBERATION and declares that a rat has as many rights as a scientist . . . plus the advantage of innocence.
Well, most of his fellow philosophers are going to understand the absurdity of it. Philosophers, by and large, are as smart as rocket scientists, and by and large they would rather their surgeons operated on dogs before they operated on people.
But are they going to reach out, intellectually, and strike down a Singer? Or, humans that they are, are they going to sit back and chuckle about the pandemonium that the book is causing?
And do you blame those philosophers?
Do you dare?
Let's step back from animal rights argument for an instant. Let's forget, for the moments, the arguments Jeremy Rifkin and the anti-genetic engineering lobby, of all the antiscience movements of the left. While we're at it, we might as well step back far enough to include Jerry Falwell, the creationists, and the antiscience movements on the right too. Let's forget the words, turn down the sound, and just look at the pictures.
What are all these people doing? These people with the hate on their faces and the lawyers in their employ? The ones with the ski masks on, and matches in their hands? The religious zealots and the political true believers? The protesters and the saboteurs?
Let me recommend an old reporter's trick. Forget the words. Words are often mere justifications. Look at the actions, the result, the outcomes. Look at what's ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
Where do you think these hate-filled people are trained? Not in biochemistry. How many neurochemists or computer programmers do you found out there with picket signs? How many students from immunology or zoology.
No, they will be from philosophy, history, English, journalism . . .
Hey, folks. Take away the words, and what's happening is very clear. The peasants over in the liberal arts have run amok; they've risen up in defiance of everything science stands for.
Underneath a very thin veneer of logic, they hate you, they're afraid of you, and the old guys (and the old women too) are at best standing idle while their hot-headed young students -- heroes and heroines to many minds -- trash the laboratories.
In many ways their anger is understandable. It has historical precedents in great abundance, and it fits what's happening in our generation. It dovetails with the literacy problem, the political factionalization, the productivity problems . . . it's all very neat.
They identify with laboratory rats because they, too, feel helpless and victimized.
You can read all about it, actually, in Eric Hoffer's little classic, THE TRUE BELIEVER. But, then, scientists don't read things like that, do they? Not as a rule.
That is a big, big problem. Scientists have this power, as a group . . . we've talked about it.
But at the same time there are powers that science lacks.
Science can't sing, and it can't dance, and if you think that's funny, your illusion is as good a measure of the problem as I can think of. Because an artist . . . a film producer . . . a songwriter . . . a WRITER . . . hell, folks, scientists tend to laugh at philosophers but even a PHILOSOPHER can make scientists look like a bunch of idiots when it comes to influencing the minds of that vast undecided America out there. Look at what SINGER did, with ANIMAL LIBERATION. He made life living hell for a generation of biologists.
And where, I ask you . . . where, WHERE is the scientific rebuttal?
Where is the powerful, emotionally-compelling, philosophically-sound argument that trashes Singer's contention?
It is nowhere, that's where it is. Scientists don't write books . . . not REAL books, not books you find in CROWN, say, or B. Dayton’s. Not books for readers. No, writing is an art, and scientists aren't artists.
As a matter of fact, many otherwise wonderful people, scientists I mean, have so much disdain for art that they think they DO understand it.
I have scientists come into my office all the time, grin, plop down, and announce that they're going to take the summer off and learn to be a journalist. I usually grin back and say that's strange . . . I was thinking of taking the summer off and learning thin-film physics.
So what, exactly, has the scientific community done to defend itself and, by extension, the civilization it has created? When the time came for scientists to stand up and be counted in this fight, where were they and what did they do?
True, there was a lot of lip service to giving the public "information," but that usually comes down to dispensing press releases from the mount. Science public relations offices work for scientific institutions and they broadcast the party line, sell the institution . . . peddling some particular brand of science like Sterling peddles soap, say, or General Motors pushes cars. They tend to be REALLY ham-handed about it.
Anyway, most science public information programs focus on giving the public INFORMATION. Now I know this often seems quite logical to scientists, and I suppose it is, but we are not talking about logic here.
We are talking about people who perceive themselves in pain, people who are overwhelmed by a technology from which there is no escape, and they really don't care much for having INFORMATION stuffed down their throats.
People aren't dumb, or at least not THAT dumb, and self-righteous flackery comes off as self-righteous flackery. Thus the very programs designed to throw at this problem usually come off as arrogant -- that word again -- and self-indulgent. They have exactly the opposite effect as is intended.
I should also mention here that most scientists who do put serious energy into this problem are seen as grandstanding and are discounted by their fellows. Carl Sagan, for instance, was a valuable resource. You may not vibrate to him but he played well out there among the unwashed. Still, for reasons you understand perhaps better than I, his popularity was scoffed at by science, who did not support him.
With no honor coming his way for his efforts, I guess he opted for money. I can't say I blame him.
This whole issue, the issue of the scientific voice in our cultural community, is a complicated one, and I'm not going to try to analyze it here. All I think I need to say is that most scientists I have met have put very little thought into it . . . and, at the same time, consider themselves experts on the subject. I find this strange, but true.
So much for public information, as they call it. So, how about political activism? After all, science gets most of its revenue from the taxpayers, via Congress and the president, so science's presence in Washington must be quite impressive.
And it is, in a certain sense. There are whole buildings, whole campuses, devoted to making scientific expertise available to the government.
But the National Science Foundation does not look out for science for the simple reason that it is not paid by them: It is paid by the federal government, and so the National Science Foundation looks out for the National Science Foundation. So does NIH, NOAA . . . that is political reality inside the beltway. If you think differently . . . then meet me outside after this is over. I have some swampland in Florida, and have I ever got a deal for you!
A lobbying group, an effective lobbying group, is one that works directly for the people it represents -- is paid in hard cash, with hard-earned money dug out of the pockets of its constituents, to whom it is strictly accountable. A good model is the National Rifle Association. Another good model, along much the same lines, is PETA.
PETA, you see, or the NRA, doesn't get money from the federal government, so they can use their budgets any way they like. They can target a congressional election. They can print slick brochures. They can send out Christmas cards. They can buy lunch for a congressional aide. They are very, very, effective.
The scientific lobbying group . . . THE PEOPLE WHO REPRESENT SCIENCE IN WASHINGTON . . . let's see . . . who is that? What's its name . . . come' on . . .
(Wait. Let the silence grow three heartbeats.)
Yup. You got it. There IS no powerful lobby group in Washington to look out for the interests of science. Science, alone of the major interest groups in this society, feels it does not need one.
It's fascinating. I, as a journalist . . . and journalists generally make less than the average lab assistant . . . dig deep into my pocket every year to support lobby groups set up to protect the first amendment and other things I consider critical to the practice of my profession. It is a self-imposed tax, a part of my duty as a professional.
Yet scientists' first reactions when I say they should do the same is a look of amazement. What? Me? Support science? It's not in my Grant! Hell, science is supposed to support ME.
I, a journalist, have donated to CFAR, the student group opposing the animal rights movement. But when they try to collect from scientists, well . . . they don't get much.
Quite frankly, science has got to be the stingiest bunch of otherwise nice people in this respect that I have ever dealt with. Perhaps science has been on the public tit for so long it doesn't realize it has to stand up for itself.
The Federation for Biological Research, for instance, which is the mainstay group opposing the multimillion dollar PETA lobby in Washington, doesn't have a big enough slush fund to buy breakfast for a secretary, let alone dinner and dancing girls for a Congressman.
At one point there was a question of doing a fairly nominal research job aimed at PETA, but there was no dough even for a few long distance phone calls.
No wonder you're getting creamed!
Science's most tragic failing is its lack of a sense of community. Physicists, meteorologists, psychobiologists, cardiologists . . . they really don't identify much with one another. There is just no sense of common weal, no brother or sisterhood, no nothing.
There are all kinds of very understandable reasons why that is so, of course. But the reasons get strained when you get down to the disciplines themselves and see that even fellow biologists, EVEN FELLOW ANIMAL RESEARCHERS, don't support one another. At all.
There are examples aplenty, but in keeping with the rest of this talk I'm going to draw on the animal rights battle. Nobody cares. Nobody wants to get involved. Nobody has any courage, or honors anyone else who has. There are exceptions, but they prove the rule.
I have seen institutions fire innocent scientists because they have attracted the wrath of the animal rights activists. They weren't guilty, you see, but they had become dangerous.
Like a herd of elk. They allow the wolves to take the hindmost and the rest don't even look back.
I know of no more shameful episode in all of the history of modern science, for instance, as that of poor Edward Taub, of Silver Spring monkey fame. He was essentially framed, we know now, by a group of animal rights activists.
But what did NIH, his funding group do? Defend him? Nah! Too much trouble, too messy, too dangerous, too complicated. It might put NIH on the line. It might not play well in the Washington Post or on 60 Minutes. So they investigated him, instead, and jerked his grant on evidence that turns out to be, all these years later, without foundation.
And what of poor Dr. Taub? He won his court battle in the end, but to what end? Who knows about THAT? His name is synonymous, in many parts of our society, with mindless cruelty. His work is destroyed. His professional life is ruined. His finances . . .
I used the metaphor of the wolves and the elk a moment ago, but there is a better one. I am reminded of the Russian story about the sleigh full of people who were being tracked by a pack of wolves. Their solution was to throw one of their kind to the wolves, on the theory that would lighten the load and delay the animals.
Very practical, so long as you don't run out of people. But the people get fewer and the wolves get stronger until, finally . . .
Taub, poor fellow, was thrown out of the sleigh.
A lot of other things happened, too, on sort of a different level but having to do with many of the same factors. In the last fifteen years, as science has become decreasingly popular and increasingly distrusted, there has been a proliferation of regulations.
There are thousands, but my favorite are the human research committees that now oversee just about every major scientific institution in the country. And honestly, I don't really have any objection at all to the idea.
I think humans should be damned careful when experimenting with other humans. But at the same time I know that these committees are often used simply to obstruct.
If a sociologist wants to do a survey of her students to find out how many of them prefer asparagus to broccoli, she has to go through the human research committee.
THAT, I submit, is a measure of the trust that society places in science.
And it is also an example of how science is being nibbled to death by bureaucracy and regulation, pecked to pieces by oversight committees and boards, buried by a blizzard of forms to be filled out in triplicate.
Science, docile science, goes along each time, with each new requirement, trying to be reasonable, trying to get along and get back to science.
And that is its Achilles heel.
It is specifically part of PETA's plan of action, for instance, to make animal research so much hassle, and so expensive, that it won't be done any more. And they're succeeding.
Congressmen, weighing the balance and keeping a wary eye on an increasingly antiscience constituency, are generally on the scientists' side. But at the same time, what congressman can come out in favor of gassing Snoopy or dissecting Garfield's brain? So they compromise a little bit . . . you know, appearing reasonable. What's PETA's is PETA's and what’s yours is negotiable.
So the cages have to be a little larger. The dogs have to have a little better pedigree. You have to fill out this form and that report and get checked a little more often. All your work has to get reviewed by NIH a separate time . . . which is a wonderful way for the PETA folks to dump a freedom of information request on you, hold you up for public ridicule, plan a break-in at your lab . . . knock you off, one by one.
And there's always the chance, an increasing chance, that a scientist will come to work one morning to find his other laboratory a shambles, the rats gone, the freezer unplugged, fifteen years of their professional life destroyed and the letters . . .
A . . . L . . . F
ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT
. . . spray-painted across your wall.
And then, if the scientist is as unfortunate as Dr. Taub, the funding agency will come in and, distancing itself, pull the poor schlock's certification and your grant.
As I tell scientists, okay . . . maybe it won't happen to YOU. Still, you've got to think about it. I know I would. You think about it instead of thinking about other things. You install burglar alarms. Instead of hiring another lab assistant, you hire a security guard.
And sure, the price of animals are going up. PETA claims pride in that fact. So, well . . . you put in for more money. Taxpayer money.
Maybe the scientist is doing good work, so NIH pays the extra cost for all this stuff. But because of that, some young post-doc doesn't get his grant renewed.
Other scientists say to hell with it, and drop out. This is becoming increasingly common.
And business, or rather science, continues as usual -- just a little slower, a little less effective, each year.
And in the meantime . . . listen, LISTEN, to the Greek chorus.
I went to a debate the other day, (DOWN IN EUGENE), in which an advocate for the animal rights movement, a lawyer, outlined their position pretty clearly. The university’s lawyers tell me, by the way, that I can’t use his name, even though what he said was said in public, because he’d probably sue me, and it’d cost us a bundle to defend. That’s how it works: PETA can afford lawyers and we can’t.
Anyway, basically what he said is that on an ethical level, on a philosophical level, there is no difference between animals and humans. Therefore animals have rights. Therefore scientists who use animals are the equivalent of slaveholders and murderers. Scientists are no better than the SS at Dachau
He also said -- a common theme -- that the only purpose of animal research is to help scientists get grants and degrees. He, like most animal rights activists, claimed that no animal research has ever helped human beings.
He, and a woman who shared his side in the debate, claimed that all human disease was self-inflicted anyway. It was caused by poor diets, self-abuse, and so forth. Behind these statements is the very Victorian idea that people who are sick DESERVE to be sick.
He did not happen to mention, on that occasion, that scientists would be better off experimenting on humans . . . or at least equally justified. But that's a part of the PETA party line. Ingrid's said it.
By the way, I might mention that on the other side of this debate was a woman whose son has cystic fibrosis. She is of course in favor of animal research. The lawyer I told you about dismissed her opinion as being too emotionally based, whereas HIS argument was the epitome of reason.
Later on in the program something happened that gave me chills. During the question period a young man got up . . . he was wearing a PETA shirt . . . got up and said, to her face, well, why should we sacrifice all these innocent animals for your son? Why not just let him die? To keep cripples alive just weakens the gene pool and helps crowd out the animals and plants.
This seems to be the position SINGER takes in his latest book. And I suppose you can argue anything, at some level. But the point is that this young man actually got up -- a HUMAN act by a HUMAN being -- and directed this question at a woman whose son was dying of cystic fibrosis. THINK ABOUT WHERE THAT LAD'S HEAD WAS!
And remember, while you're thinking about it, that these folks routinely compare scientists to Nazis. And yet Hitler started out with the idea of euthanising . . . God, I love that euphemism, "euthanising: . . . of euthanising the handicapped. And he, too, thought it better to experiment on humans. Like the animal rights advocates.
When this came up in the debate, the lawyer got quite angry. Those were HIS lines! It's the animal rights folks who like to call the SCIENTISTS Nazis, and to compare animal experimentation to the holocaust.
So he got real upset and pointed out that just because the animal rights people had a few things in common with Hitler did not make them Nazis. Hitler probably loved his mother too, but that doesn't make everyone who loves his mother a Hitler. And I'd be the first to concede that, yes, the Volkswagen is a first-rate little car.
However, there ARE similarities, and I want to exercise my freedom of speech here for a moment to point them out. The attitude toward crippled children, for instance, and the ethics of human experimentation.
In the first place, Adolf Hitler himself was an animal rights person and a vegetarian. This is a fact. Goebels, who was proud of shunning the small lie, promised on a variety of public occasions that one feature of the Third Reich would be a new respect for animals, and a phasing out of animal experimentation. This, too, is a fact.
At the same time the Nazi party was busy anthropomorphizing animals it was also at work dehumanizing not just the Jews but generally people who were not up to what was considered par, physically and mentally.
Listen closely to the words of the animal rights advocates. Do you detect the dehumanization of certain groups . . . people who are not physically, psychologically or ethically up to PETA's standards? Scientists, for instance?
As you consider this, remember that recently an organization in California identifying itself with ALF -- the secret society called the animal liberation front -- said that if scientists didn't get the message soon, then ALF would . . . well . . . would have to start killing people. Listen to us . . . OR ELSE.
LISTEN, OR ELSE.
And then, soon after, a woman up in New England apparently attempted to kill the head of a surgical supply house with a bomb. The plot didn't work, the woman was arrested.
PETA threw its hands up and said they didn't know her. You have the perfect right to believe them, if you like.
They also said they didn't know the people who are burning laboratories around the country -- who are breaking into labs and . . . well, you know what they're doing.
Anyway, this issue of animal experimentation is so closely tied to the Nazi party that it was addressed, specifically and in some detail, by the Allies at Nuremberg. The judges there were charged, among other things, with the responsibility of making sure that what happened in Nazi Germany would never happen again.
One of the results of this was the Nuremberg code, by which all civilized societies were supposed to henceforth abide. And one of the things featured prominently in the Nuremberg code was the principle that human beings should never, ever, be experimented upon until the science had first been worked out with experiments on ANIMALS.
What the animal rights folks want to do, in effect, is rewrite the Nuremberg Code . . . the code that was written specifically to prevent another holocaust.
Again, think about it.
Some scientists I know comfort themselves that the antiscience activists are really not very numerous, and it is true that they are not. But I do not find this comforting at all.
For, since they are so few, how have they gotten so far?
Why can they trash laboratories, even burn them, with impunity? How can they get their programs through Congress? How can they win the doting attention of the press? How can they sell so many books? How can they collect the incredible amounts of money they collect?
How have they grown so powerful?
Given their power, it's all the more frightening that their numbers are small.
If you'll study it you'll find that people give money to PETA not because they think Ingrid Newkirk is so great -- though many believe her a heroine -- but because they think the SCIENTIST has got it coming. They want to see the scientist get kicked, hard. They think in plain words that scientists are arrogant, know-it-all sons of bitches.
And I would like to remind you that the Nazi party was also a minority, a small minority. But they flourished, they were allowed to flourish, because of a pathology deep in the German society and the times, the PAIN, they endured.
The average German might or might not love the Nazi, but the issue was larger than that. The average German was angry, frustrated, frightened. And so the Nazi was allowed to express those emotions.
Such is the nature of what the modern age knows as evil: When the intelligent people, the educated people, the wise people . . . when the good people do nothing.
As for the answer . . . you're always supposed to have an answer in a speech like this, aren't you? Well, there is one, and it's obvious, and it's hard.
The answer is that we have to face the reality that science cannot continue as usual. And neither can the rest of the world, the world that takes what science has to offer and then looks down its collective nose at the scientist.
The answer is that the defense of science has got to become a priority. I, as an artist, have to somehow make people who care -- scientists and non-scientists -- pay attention. And then we have to come to some equitable new division of resources between the sciences and the arts. The people who can cure diseases and build computers have to make common cause with the people who can sing and can dance, can paint and can write.
Books have to be written about the real world, in which the scientist is neither friend nor enemy, but player. Movies have to be produced, philosophies have to be philosophized. The rift between the cultures must be healed. Humpty Dumpty has to be put back together again.
That, I think, leaves me with just a few more words to say. Let me borrow them, if I may, from the masked ALF spokesman in California, who said they might have to murder someone.
LISTEN TO US, they said.
. . . or else.