[ExI] Human Experimenting

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Wed May 20 22:03:28 UTC 2009

On Wed, 20 May 2009, Stefano Vaj wrote:

> On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 10:06 PM, Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:
> > 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.
> How would I propose something which is already in place, and is a
> requirement, e.g., for any new drug to enter mass production? The
> issue is exactly the related standards.

Ok, but to be quite frank I call this "lab testing" or "clinical testing". 
And I understand this is ok, standardised, acceptable and in some way 
beneficial. Even if some people have doubts and I can agree with few or 
share them. "Experimentation" on the other hand, is associated in my mind 
with bastards & psychos + helpless people tied to operation table, dark 
basements, subjectising of free human beings etc. Actually, the 
subjectising part is the worst for me. Oh, there are also some big words, 
flushed at masses of idiots lest they revolt (but since they are idiots, 
revolt is not really dangerous, it's just a trouble).

> >> 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?
> I am simply quoting a previous message here. Ask the original poster.

Sorry, I did not see this other poster in your message, even though I 
realised you had been probably quoting somebody. I stay corrected, then.

Still, I would like to understand. Predictions are made based on 
something, in worst case on wishful thinking alone. They have been said to 
not come true - so what happened, other than maybe a small reality check?

> >> 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
> > guaranteed.
> Due note taken.


> >> - 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".
> No, the real issue is: you are going to die no matter what, *but* you
> are not allowed to test such therapy because *we* did not authorise it
> yet.

So I am for giving those people a chance to fight for their lives.

> >> - embryos, fetuses and anencefalic newborns;
> > Anencephalics may be "ok" (note the quotes), but I am cautious about the
> > rest.
> How an anencefalic newborn would be any "better" than, say, a 64-cell
> embryo? :-)

I don't really know and the answer to this question is not easy. Perhaps 
this is why I don't want to make a mistake. I think that no matter why 
people decide one way or another with regard to this issue, they are in 
the dark.

Maybe the criteria for me is that a 64-cell embryo (with no other 
properties stated, like some deadly congenital illness) could have a 
chance to live in other circumstances, while with (practically) no brain 
the chance is zero. Well, there is some anecdotal evidence of nobrainers 
doing all right in politics and (show)business, but other than that, zero.

> > 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.
> Admittedly, this is a sensitive issue. A libertarian would probably
> have no many qualms in recognising the validity of such a contract. It
> remains however debatable whether such agreements should be allowed,
> as they would be most probably entered into under duress, let alone
> enforced.

Well, so maybe there should be some judge involved, too? Not that it will 
eliminate all badness, but maybe make it a little harder.

> > 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").
> I am not a utilitarian myself. I note however that such ethical stance
> is quite popular amongst transhumanist, especially "progressive"
> transhumanists, so I wonder how they would justify an opposition to
> that from their own POV.

Words, words, better them than us, whatever...

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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