Anti-Science Terrorism in California

Anti-scicence? Yes, Anti-science

Instapundit links to the NYT.

The police and federal authorities are investigating firebombings at the homes of two researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The attacks, which the university described as “antiscience violence,” occurred nearly simultaneously before dawn on Saturday, just days after the police in Santa Cruz discovered pamphlets in a coffee shop warning of attacks against “animal abusers everywhere.” The pamphlets included the names, addresses and other personal information of several researchers at the university, according to a news release put out on Friday by the university.

One minor injury was reported. It’s easy enough to condemn the action by these animal rights activists. The condemnation should be nearly universal. It’s the motives and motivations that interest me. At The Volokh Conspiracy, the motivations are addressed, first by commenter Cole M.

Why is it that some animal rights extremists start caring more about the lives of animals than the lives of humans? It baffles me that human beings can, at some point, think that animal lives are somehow more valuable than human lives. Anyone have any theories?

Jeff Boghosian tries to answer:

I don’t think these eco-terrorists are measuring the “value” of humans vs non-human animals. The only example I can think of is a human with full capabilities intentionally causing unnecessary suffering to someone with physical or mental disabilities. While the person with full abilities may be more valuable in terms of economy or utility or social interaction, in most ethical frameworks it would be viewed as immoral, and in some ethical frameworks it would be viewed as okay to take action to stop the individual. Similarly, I don’t think they are measuring the ‘value’ of the researchers vs. the mice.

I don’t understand this analogy at all. It’s not the individual researchers that are the target – it’s the research itself. The list of victims of this act extends – not to the researches, but to those suffering from the maladies and treatments they were researching. And since this was an act of intimidation, it’s already had its effect on the pace of research and on the patients who will not have treatments on time.

In other words, this was no act in defense of the defenseless.

No, they were valuing animals more than humans, which is consistent with Erlich, Carlson and Singer.

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