Progress against science?

Later this week, a group called “Progress for Science” will meet on the UCLA campus to proclaim their view that scientific research must be stopped. This is not a new group; it’s the same old activists bearing a new moniker and a slick new website. They are just like their fellow “activists” that claim that climate science is fraud and that man plays no role in global warming. They are just like those that approve of banning embryonic stem cell research. And actually, in their lust for the use of violence to stop medical research, they are exactly like Operation Rescue who sees murdering abortion providers as ethically justifiable.

In one event, the protesters will gather near campus to hold a candle light vigil. They’ve done this before; it’s not new. From experience, their take on a vigil is a strange one.

Instead of honoring those dying from HIV/AIDS in the third world, they will shout down researchers and doctors trying to end that suffering through research. Instead of mourning the orphan children in Sub-Saharan Africa who were born HIV+, they will loudly proclaim their view that no mouse should die to save even one human life. They will – strangely – characterize decades of progress that have led to the life-extending HIV drugs we have today as “fraudulent science”.

Instead of quietly contemplating the life of people dying of brain cancer in the hospital not blocks from where they gather, they will hand out pamphlets encouraging violence against scientists. They will deny that science had anything to do with advances in the treatment of cancer, and they will offer no logical alternative insights into where life-saving chemotherapeutics came from or how they were invented.

Instead of supporting research to conquer addiction to cigarettes – one of the leading causes of cancer and other forms of preventable death in the modern world, they will state their view that those smokers only have themselves to blame. They won’t tell you that the development of the nicotine patch or the drug Chantix came into being because of basic pharmacological studies in animals. They won’t tell you how rat research played a key role in the undoing of the cigarette companies’ arguments that cigarettes weren’t addictive. They will show no concern or empathy at all for those dying.

This sign hung on my front gate during Breast Cancer Awareness Week, when activists marched in the street, shouting threats at my house in an attempt to stop my research. They appeared painfully unaware of the fact that – by trying to stop research – they are advocating for the death of those with breast cancer and other life-threatening forms of illness (addictions being one of them).

Instead of hoping that children with epilepsy will walk out of the hospital seizure-free, they will denigrate and vilify the necessary scientific progress that was done to develop anti-seizure drugs and to perfect the surgical procedures designed to liberate their brain from debilitating convulsions. They will declare it a crime against the fundamental rights of animals to use them even in painless research projects and even if the scientific benefits are undeniable.

When scientist after medical doctor after public policy maker after honest citizen of this country says “animal research is necessary for medical progress”, they will call them liars or ignorant.

When the people trying to make the world a better place by preventing disease and misery walk past their vigil, these so-called activists will feel hatred and anger in their hearts. They will imagine fire bombs and threats as rewards for the progress these scientists try to accomplish.

When anyone – perhaps you – dares to think that a mouse’s life is not equal to that of a human child, they will call them/you misguided and bigoted. When anyone dares to state the view that animal research can be conducted in a humane, responsible and life-giving manner, they will call them a Nazi and hurl threat after threat.

This is what an animal rights vigil looks like.
As I said, it’s a strange one.

The group calling themselves “Progress” for science has a strange view of what progress is. If you believe that progress is a slow and steady transition to a world where scientific fact is denied, where people are allowed to die to preserve the life of mice and where an individual’s personal beliefs justify threatening and harassing them, then this group is made up of the kinds of activists that will bring that progress. As noted above, they have a lot in common with a variety of activists – including those who repudiate basic human rights.

Some “activists” – like the Westboro Baptist church’s members – promote hatred, rather than progress.

But if you believe that progress is a sometimes slow but unwavering transition to a world where everyone – both humans and animals – are healthier and where we all know more about the nature of the universe around us, then scientists are the activists that are creating the change you seek.

Because science pushes forward towards unknown discoveries, it will always be frightening and threatening to a few that do not understand it. But their fear must not be allowed to stop progress – real progress. The progress that all forms of research – including humane animal research – has brought and will continue to bring our world.


  1. Hi David, I agree with your comments. These activists will bring us right back into the dark ages. Instead I suggest people take action and donate some $ to advancing medical research and such causes as for example autism. I blog about this here, I invite all to take a look at one can do to help those in need. Unlike these activists,Research does not operate in vacuum.

  2. The fact is you profit from your abuse of animals and call it science. You have contributed nothing to society; you have only created wealth for yourself. And you have hurt many sentient individuals in the process. Science without morality is what you propose in this essay. But that leads to great evil. Any student of history will teach you that.

  3. Animals used in painless research projects? Activists who advocate the deaths of human beings with cancer? I don’t know where to begin.

    For one, you know what you do. You know damn well. You could draw every victimizing card that aims to demonize those who are logically compassionate and you could even continue to succeed in persuading more people that those fighting for equality are strange, crazy, and self-serving (makes no sense). But you know what the truth is every morning you put your lab coat on and you know you remember their convulsions and their vomit when you try to sleep at night. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe material wealth and illusions of heroism on your part are so important you’ve trained yourself into being desensitized completely.

    Do you believe for even a moment that activists are not human beings like everyone else who, too, have cancers, addictions, and loved ones with various diseases? Of course you don’t. But you use children and other individuals suffering from such diseases as a tactic to gain the emotional support and outrage from those who do not at all understand the Animal Rights community. You are a slave master and you attempt to be a master manipulator. I would pray for you but I don’t believe in a God. Mainly because of people like you. And that picture above of those God loving “f*g” hating bigots by the way are very random and have no place in what you’re trying to address. You are a slave master and a damn slave to the dollar. Shame on you, David.

    1. What I firmly believe is that these “activists” fanatics and don’t give a rats patoot about sick human beings, they are too busy worrying about lab rats to care. Oh, and no cell test nor computer simulation can determine the teratogenic effects of a new drug — for that you need healthy reproductive subjects and rats make good ones lower primates better ones.

  4. This is really quite laughable from a man who earns millions of dollars “researching” cures for recreational drug use in monkeys and has zero to do with any research attempting to find cures for the major human diseases. Nonetheless, his pathetic cries of animal rights activists being against progress or science is blatant hyperbole as well he knows. The fact is that animal research results cannot be extrapolated to humans and to every quote of advances in medical science using animals there are multitudes more that one can quote where animal research has not only impeded cures but has actually harmed humans, not the least of which are the millions of drug recalls one can easily find on the internet. The only people who have anger in their hearts are the pseudo scientists who continue to make millions hiding behind the the armed UCLA police whilst screeching about people who oppose them and refusing to engage in any other type of research so they can satisfy their own depravity and bank account. Duly noted Jentsch never actually talks about his own research and what results he has garnered because there has been none and always uses inflammatory language and the same old tired emotional rhetoric .. “Oh horrible activists are calling me names whilst I’M trying to cure your child!” What a ridiculous man you are.

  5. 7 billion humans and rapidly growing. The world has more than doubled over the past 30 years. Meanwhile our planet is becoming a toxic wasteland accommodating so many people, and most scientists agree the earth needs to be twice as large as it currently is for the resources necessary to sustain so many (it’s not a question of space-but resources). The lack of resources is also a major source of world economic instability, which threatens the survival of the human race (once the world economy collapses, common sense dictates-without religious dogma– WW III will become a reality).

    Is there no science that can cure that? No. You don’t have to be a rocket scientists to figure out our overpopulated world shall become the human race’s own destruction. China (population 1.6 billion) is already toxic. The nuclear waste from Japan circulated in our oceans. It’s a dying planet.
    Have you no solutions? Of course not.

    Is there no cure for human overpopulation?

  6. The funny thing about science is that ***NOBODY*** wants to talk about overpopulation crisis and what it is doing to our environment (making it a toxic wasteland). TED TURNER (“Captain Planet”) spoke of world overpopulation back in the early 1970’s. which was 3.5 billion. Needless to say even with his vast wealth nothing was ever done about it, but it was chuckled off. Well, world population doubled. I fear “Soylent Green” will become a reality. Seriously folks. Is there no cure in your science for overpopulation? No. You want to save the world? GET SERIOUS about the environment and world overpopulation – it may be TOO LATE to do anything about it. Chances are it’s too late. Ignore it. As usual.

  7. How is cutting open even a million monkeys going to help world overpopulation crisis? Pollution? What’s the point of all of this. Soylent Green will become a reality. Within 10 years the world population will be way over 10 billion. There is no way our already overstressed earth is going to survive that. So cut open a few more million monkeys. But it’s ignoring the real issues and our DYING planet due to overpopulation.

    1. They are studying a disease process, not over population — the solution to that lies with individuals.

  8. Due to the DROUGHT (yes, Virginia, Global Warming is real) the cost of meat is going to escalate in 2013 – double, maybe even triple in cost due to the massive loss of grains. It takes 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of meat. The US Government legalized HORSE MEAT and HORSE SLAUGHTER and without a doubt horse burgers will become normal in USA in 2013. But if you can eat a cow, what difference does it make eating a horse. Next dog and cat will become legal produce. Than comes Soylent Green (watch the movie-it’s prophecy). I think it almost amusing you all cut open all of these monkeys and ignore overpopulation crisis, pollution and global warming issues. That’s like spending all of your time trying to find a cure for a headache when cancer is ravaging the body.

  9. Tsk. Tsk David. You know damn well that the HIV/AIDS problem in 3rd world countries is mainly due to reused and dirty medical supplies, specifically needles. There is a real quick solution to that problem but Americans are to greedy to lend a real hand.

    “Making the world a better place”. Oh come on. We have interfered with natures way of balancing things. All science and technology have done is ensure that the next generation will probably not exist as there will not be a living planet to exist on.
    I so much agree with Cetude. The answers to the worlds problems are very simple; it’s the questions that are difficult.

  10. Whether or not animal testing is right or wrong does not justify stalking, harassing, threatening, or intimidation of any kind. The protest group loses the moral high ground when they rely on fear as a weapon.

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