Unscripted ignorance in the animal rights community

As many of you are aware, opposition to biomedical research involving animals comes in many forms. Increasingly common is opposition to the scientific value of the work. From pseudoscientists, like Dr. Ray Greek, to opposition groups that specifically target academic research universities, like Progress for Science, many extremist elements make the claim that the study of animal genetics, cellular biology, physiology and behavior simply can’t reveal meaningful insights about human genetics, cellular biology, physiology and behavior.

It’s reasonable to puzzle over the kind of reasoning that could lead to their fundamentally flawed conclusions, and every once in a while, they get “off script” and show you that it is scientific illiteracy that is responsible. The following clip features an recorded statement by Cory Mac, a member of the Los Angeles extremist group, Progress for Science. This is the same group that has revealed its fundamentally hypocritical anti-science, anti-vaccination, anti-medicine beliefs on more than one occasion. The video is short, so follow it to the very end, paying close attention around 1:20 in.

If you listened to the nonsense all the way through, you heard this “esteemed” member of Progress for Science say:

Well, of course, primates aren’t the same as humans.

Well, of course, we humans are primates. We belong to a specific family within the Primate order, and we are no doubt primates.

I am sure animal rights defenders will argue that she simply misspoke, rather than being mistaken. This is a pretty basic fact of science to be wrong about, though, and the fact of the matter is that there is a deep uncurrent of serious science illiteracy in the animal rights movement: a fact often concealed by their practiced ability to spout off scripted challenges. It should be clear that their scientific challenges rest on a huge foundation of misunderstanding and ignorance about the facts of science itself, and it’s our job at scientifically literate persons to point this out to the broader public.

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