Being anti-science does not mean someone cares about animals

For those who have followed my writing, you may remember when I spoke of the futility of writing letters to Ron Johnson. The man does not listen to his constituents, and responds to letters in a demeaning way that evades the issues.

One issue I wrote to him about several years ago was inhumane and unnecessary cosmetic testing on animals. At the time, there was a bill proposed that would make cosmetic testing a thing of the past. The bill had nothing to do with medical testing, yet I received a response from Sen. Johnson that defended medical testing of animals.

Fast forward to the time of COVID, and Republicans like Johnson are suddenly deeply concerned about experiments on animals that they attribute to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Many of the experiments talked about are ones that neither Fauci or the NIH have had anything to do with, but if there is one thing that people like Sen. Johnson is good at it is constructing an alternative reality populated with straw men and red herrings.

The denial of science and the game of pretending to care about animals didn’t start with COVID. The White Coat Waste Project, a right wing think tank that masquerades itself as an animal rights organization, made news when it brought to light some deeply disturbing research on cats being conducted by the USDA. I don’t know of anyone who wasn’t happy to see this study shutdown. The methods employed were horrendous and made little sense, yet I was careful to caution others who share my love of animals to be skeptical about the true motives of the White Coat Waste Project.

Something far more insidious is going on here, and the goal is to shut down the NIH, and further an orchestrated attack on science that traces its roots back to the Scopes Monkey Trial nearly a century ago.

The GOP’s embrace of this attack on science has its roots in the John Birch Society, which had engaged in advancing conspiracy theories on the right in the 1950s. While many a Republican leader has denounced these extremists, they managed to still appeal to Birch sympathizers through a little thing called the culture wars.

The culture wars made it cool to be selectively anti-science by appealing to people who are not comfortable with abortion or evolution.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is difficult not to see a human fetus as a human life. When someone close to me grieves after suffering a miscarriage, I mourn along with them. I also think that the murder of a pregnant woman should be treated as a double homicide. I believe that reasonable people can disagree on this issue.

When it comes to evolution, I think that the discomfort comes from a theist belief that we are separate from all other life forms, and that we are given dominion. It is less about religion than power. It appears to be human nature to feel superior. To err is human… but this lie we keep telling ourselves about how we are separate from everything else only makes us sicker in every possible way. While it may make someone uncomfortable to look in the mirror and recognize features that are simian, denying the obvious does us no favors. All anxiety is separation anxiety.

It is this toxic separation that justifies someone to engage in activities that hurt other life forms including other human beings. If everything was made for us to use and use up, then what does it matter what we do? That line of thought quickly devolves into what it then must mean to be human. It is a dangerous line to cross. It is one that has lead to the enslavement of people, and to a human being put on display at the Bronx Zoo not so very long ago.

Toxic separation leads us to deny the very tenets of science and embrace that which will wipe out our very species. It makes men value the myth of currency more than the sanctity of life. It is this way with COVID. It is this way with climate change.

The common boob won’t realize that an anti-mask/anti-vax movement has nothing to do with personal liberty and everything to do with rich people getting richer, but as we now see people who are sick with COVID being forced to work while sick, the truth should be evident.

Paid sick leave was one positive thing to come out of the pandemic, but now it’s being eroded away. Forcing sick people to work is said to be necessary in the face of worker shortages. If everyone had been vaccinated, maybe COVID could have been eradicated. Without the risk of catching a life-threatening illness, maybe some people would have stayed in the workforce a little longer. We might not have the kind of worker shortage that we have now. Without COVID in the present, workers might have simply argued with their employers, “Remember when you had to give us paid time off if we were sick with COVID? Why shouldn’t we get paid time off when we are sick with other communicable diseases?”

That simple question would have obliterated the lies that have kept American workers in an oppressive system that values profit over human life. We were on the trajectory to seeing a revolution, but by creating a desperate situation that didn’t need to happen, fueled by a manufactured opposition to science from those most likely to suffer the consequences, has just guaranteed that more lives will be lost. More lives lost among the peons, and less taxes paid by the rich. Less regulation to keep poisons out of our air and water, quell future pandemics, and mitigate climate change.

How the hell could anyone think that such people would care about the lives of dogs, cats, mice, and chimpanzees when they don’t even care about the people who put food on their table or the people who teach their children? Once a person makes the justification that certain lives don’t matter, then life itself does not matter.

Don’t be fooled by people opposing science. We are seeing a mass extinction not because God was taken out of our classrooms, but because science was!

Scientific research, including research involving animal subjects, has saved the lives of humans and other animals. If you have ever had the life of a beloved pet saved by a veterinarian, you have benefitted from this scientific research. If you have ever taken a medication to improve your quality of life, you have benefitted from this scientific research.

People who really and truly value life also value science. It does not stand at odds with life; it preserves life. It is our only hope if we are to continue as a species, and it is the only hope for so many other species as well.