[ExI] Human Experimenting

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Wed May 20 20:06:39 UTC 2009

On Wed, 20 May 2009, Stefano Vaj wrote:

> I think that the following remarks may have something to do with the
> subject recently raised on experiments performed with their consent on
> inmates facing execution (or perhaps even just long jail sentences),
> obviously with same trade-off as to their sentences.

Uhm, I doubt my English a little. Do I read you well, do you propose to 
include human experimentation into "new standards"? For the good of 
humanity, of course.

> The closing decades of the last century brought confident predictions
> from both academic and clinical researchers (scientists and physicians
> alike) that the opening decade of this century would see, if not
> definitive cure or control, then certainly the first truly effective
> therapeutic drugs for cancer, ischemia-reperfusion injury (i.e. heart
[... lots of diseases deleted ...]

Well, they were making their predictions based on what? Was there any 
realism in it? If yes, what has happened - has sudden lack of human test 
subjects prevented further advance? If so, than maybe I should mention it, 
that last time such sudden cut in human experimentations happened was in 
1945, with the end of last World War (guess who has been experimenting and 
where the resullts were transferred). After that, I've heard there were 
some "cases" of HE in US, Russia and maybe on much more limited scale few 
other countries. And I am not very happy with how they were conducted, 
behind the people's back and always for their good and wellness.

I simply don't buy such shit.

Maybe, just maybe, trying to eliminate causes of all those diseases, heart 
failures etc would be as beneficial for humanity, without risk of being 
partner or beneficiary of mass murder? Not to mention big and possibly 
growing number of people, who don't dream of artificial heart but rather 
of something such prosaic as mosquito net. Or one meal a day, access to 
potable water, decent school for their kids or safe shelter. In no 
particular order.

Myself, I am for computational models rather than living subjects. This 
means a lot of time and work before anything can be really used. Maybe 
even 50 years. But at least I cannot imagine ethical problems here.

And no, it is not because I have lost my nerves, or balls, or something. I 
have it all, where it belongs.

> In particular, relatively high-risk experimenting calls in question a
> number of other scenarios, such as:
> - self-experimentation by the researcher;

Yes, this is acceptable for me. Provided their free will can be somehow 

> - terminally sick patients;

If they really want to - but most  people would like to take risks only 
if there is hope of gaining something valuable, like health or at least 
life extension. Or so I guess. It may be difficult to tell someone 
something like "we want to take your morphine back and test one substance 
on you, but one way or another no chance to get out alive".

> - embryos, fetuses and anencefalic newborns;

Anencephalics may be "ok" (note the quotes), but I am cautious about the 

> - "volunteers" by way of contractual acceptance of the risk involved.

Oh, how nice. What a big opportunity for misdemeanor... Maybe I should 
start calculating, place myself high enough in this new food chain... 
There are already "volunteers" giving their organs or being treated as 
food, all of it more or (rather) less voluntarily. Actually this 
experimentation idea seems like the next logical step, right? Ok, there 
are also people allowing transplantations of their organs after death and 
I can agree with this approach. After brain death, body can be kept 
alive for some time. I can possibly accept it, if consenting party gives 
their body to scientifical research in such case.

As a practical cynic, I guess as soon as humans give other humans right to 
possibly kill them for humanity's good, humanity will be redefined to 
small circle of criminals, with attitude like "better you die first and I 
benefit". The rest will be treated like animals, which perhaps is 
deserved ("well, you want to be our animal? you will get it").

If somebody plans entering the "small circle", be prepared for mean life 
expectancy of about 10 years. There may be hidden "criminal talents", 
waiting for a chance to take your seat. So any gains from such compulsory 
(or semi compulsory) experimentations will be nullified, and humanity will 
either disapear or fall back to the past. I am talking about long term, 
short term will probably show "stunning progress" or something like this. 
It will be either real or propaganda make-up or mixed.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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