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Clubbers who take the “love drug” ecstasy really might be “loved up”. Studies in rats suggest the drug causes a brain surge of oxytocin – the hormone that helps bond couples, as well as mothers to their babies.
Earlier research found increased oxytocin in the blood of people who had taken ecstasy. However, many drugs increase blood oxytocin without raising it in the brain – something thought necessary for any “pro-social” effects.
Iain McGregor at the University of Sydney in Australia, and his colleagues studied the effects of ecstasy in rats, which, like people, become more sociable on the drug. “It’s very characteristic behaviour. They lie next to each other and chill out,” McGregor says.
The team gave the rats the equivalent of two to three ecstasy tablets in an adult human and found that the drug activated oxytocin-containing neurons in an area of their brains called the hypothalamus. When they gave the rats a drug that blocked brain receptors for oxytocin, the increased sociability almost disappeared.
Why it didn’t disappear entirely isn’t clear. It could be that the dose of the receptor blocker was too low, or that other brain chemicals, such as dopamine, are also involved in triggering the sociable behaviour, McGregor says.
“Sensual, not sexual”
The finding ties in with reports from people on ecstasy about how they feel, McGregor points out. Rodent studies have shown a massive surge of oxytocin after orgasm in males. “It’s interesting that guys on ecstasy feel more sensual than sexual,” McGregor says. “It could be that raising oxytocin levels puts them in that sort of post-orgasmic state where they’re actually not very good at performing sexually but they feel really good about the person they’re with.”
McGregor’s team now plan to investigate the levels of oxytocin in rats’ brains after they’ve taken MDMA, and to see which parts of the brain in particular are affected.
They suspect that the oxytocin release might be implicated not only in the pro-social effects of ecstasy but also in the reinforcing effects. There is much research to be done on how drugs of abuse affect oxytocin in the brain, says McGregor. “What we know at the moment could be written on the back of a postage stamp.”
With free speech, it's like that:
Erectile dysfunction is mostly a vascular disease. An Egyptian professor found the solution. Botox injections into the penis, once every six month. A simple procedure that even nurses can handle.
According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 12.4 million Americans aged 12 or older tried Ecstasy at least once in their lives, representing 5% of the US population in that age group.
Results of the 2007 survey indicated that 2.3% of eighth graders, 5.2% of tenth graders and 6.5% of twelfth graders had tried Ecstasy at least once.
92% of those who begin using Ecstasy later turn to other drugs including marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and heroin.
IMAGINARY LOVE PILL
OFF WITH THE MASK
Ecstasy is often called “the love pill” because it heightens perceptions of color and sound and supposedly amplifies sensations when one touches or caresses another, particularly during sex.
But Ecstasy often contains hallucinogens, which are drugs that act on the mind and cause people to see or feel things that are not really there. Hallucinogens can throw a person into a scary or sad experience from the past, where he or she gets stuck without even realizing it.
The image of Ecstasy as a “love pill” is one of many lies that are spread about the drug.
Ecstasy is emotionally damaging and users often suffer depression, confusion, severe anxiety, paranoia,1 psychotic behavior and other psychological problems.
“Rave parties are okay so long as you don’t take Ecstasy. But as soon as you start, you think people who advise you to stop are idiots. You start to believe you have found something great and others must not try to tell you the contrary. When you start liking Ecstasy, it’s too late, you’re sunk.”
Butea superba is a plant long used in certain systems of traditional medicine, including traditional Thai medicine. Available in dietary supplement form, the roots of Butea superba contain compounds said to improve sexual function.
In scientific studies, Butea superba's roots have been found to contain a variety of flavonoids (a class of compounds with antioxidant effects).
Uses for Butea Superba
Thought to act as an aphrodisiac, Butea superba is typically used to in alternative medicine to enhance sexual performance and treat erectile dysfunction.
In addition, Butea superba is sometimes used in alternative medicine for such health problems as diarrhea and fever.
Butea superba is also purported to improve fertility.
Benefits of Butea Superba
So far, most of the evidence for Butea superba's potential health benefits comes from preliminary research on animals. For example, several rat-based studies published in recent years show that Butea superba may aid in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. These studies include a report published in the journal Andrologia in 2012, in which tests on diabetic rats determined that Butea superba may help improve erectile function by stimulating circulation.
In addition, a rat-based study published in the journal Fitoterapia in 2006 found that treatment with Butea superba helped to increase the animals' sperm counts.
While few studies have tested Butea superba's effects on human health, one clinical trial published in the Asian Journal of Andrology in 2003 suggests that the herb may help treat erectile dysfunction.
Analyzing findings on a group of volunteers (ages 30 to 70) with erectile dysfunction, the study's authors found that three months of treatment with Butea superba extract led to significant improvement in erectile function for most of the patients.
Although little is known about the safety of regular use of Butea superba, some findings from animal-based research indicate that the herb may have adverse effects on blood chemistry and testosterone levels.
Given these potential health risks, consulting a physician prior to using Butea superba is advised.
It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.
Learn more about safe use of Butea superba and other dietary supplements here.
Alternatives to Butea Superba
Several natural remedies show promise in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. These remedies include ginseng and maca (two herbs widely available in dietary supplement form). What's more, making certain lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and managing chronic stress) may help fight erectile dysfunction.
Additionally, some natural substances may help improve sexual function in women. For instance, research suggests that use of DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) may lead to a significant increase in libido and sexual satisfaction in women over the age of 70.
However, it should be noted that DHEA may interfere with the production of male and female hormones, as well as alter liver function. Therefore, it's important to talk to your doctor if you're considering the use of DHEA supplements.
If you're seeking a natural approach to enhancing fertility, acupuncture may be beneficial. In a research review published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine in 2011, for instance, investigators found that undergoing acupuncture may boost fertility in women and improve the outcome of in vitro fertilization (possibly by improving ovulation).
There's also some evidence that use of antioxidant supplements among males with fertility problems may help improve sperm motility and concentration and, in turn, increase the couple's chances of conceiving.
Where to Find It
You can purchase dietary supplements containing Butea superba online, as well as in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in natural products.
Using Butea Superba for Health
Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend Butea superba as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using Butea superba, make sure to consult your physician prior to starting your supplement regimen.
Feminism is the enemy of successful men. Let millions of Arabs migrate to Europe. That will give feminists second thoughts.
In recent years there’s been an ever increasing number of media reports that suggest ISIS and other terrorist organizations have been actively using chemical weapons in their attacks. And these incidents occur both in regular military operations as well as in false flag events that are designed to provoke the international community. The Persian Gulf monarchies and their “influential sponsors” across the ocean have repeatedly demanded ISIS’ use of chemical weapons in Syria be used to blame the Syrian army opposing them.
However, according to the US government, ISIS has been producing chemical weapons both in Iraq and Syria. Washington is recognizing the fact that ISIS has workshops specially equipped for the production of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. In particular, they have become particularly proficient in producing mustard gas (sulfur mustard) that is being put in conventional munitions like rockets and shells.
The fact that ISIS has been actively using chemical weapons and may begin to export them to other countries was confirmed by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan in his interview with CBS News. The intention of ISIS militants to use chemical weapons during the upcoming liberation of Mosul in October was announced by the US Defense Press Office Captain Jeff Davis.
On August 23, ISIS militants used shells filled with chlorine gas against the advancing Iraqi army troops near the town of al-Kiyara south of Mosul, hitting the command post of the Iraqi forces.
On August 2, militants from the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki terrorist group described by Washington as a part of the “moderate opposition” attacked the Salah al-Din District of the Syrian city of Aleppo with chlorine, killing at least seven civilians and leaving dozens more severely injured.
In turn, ISIS allegedly used mustard gas in the village of Al-Jafra in the province of Deir ez-Zor against Syrian troops on April 4.
There is ample evidence that ISIS militants are also creating chemical stockpiles both in Iraq and Syria, while rapidly accumulating components for their production. In particular:
On March 4 in the “palace of Ibn Vardan” in the province of Hama, terrorists stored yellow phosphorus for its subsequent use as an explosive, along with other chemical substances, as well as TNT and sulfuric acid;
On May 5, a column of terrorist vehicles brought chemical weapons to the border crossing of Albu-Kamal in the Iraqi province of Der-el-Zor. The group was allegedly heading to the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
On June 14, terrorists unloaded three trucks of rockets filed with chemical substances in the al-Bilaas area in the Homs Governorate.
Last August ISIS brought a wide range of toxic substances from Iraq that are stored in cold rooms in a former post office in one of the Syrian border settlements.
A large number of shells and containers of sarin were delivered from Turkey and are now stored in the town of Utm al-Kubra in the Aleppo Governorate.
Jabhat al-Nusra militants have also been storing sarin gas imported from Turkey in the Kafr Hamra village in the Aleppo Governorate.
The Syrian city of Idlib has witnessed 100 barrels of American-made napalm being smuggled from Turkey only to be stored in this city. The delivery and transfer of these substances to radical militants was supervised by a Turkish intelligence officer nicknamed “Meymun,” who previously oversaw the activities of illegal armed groups in the assault of the Abu Duhur airbase. Moreover, the Jaysh al Fateh terrorist group has been manufacturing missiles filled with sarin at this same settlement.
It’s also been reported that radical militants have a large underground storage facilities in the Allepo Governorate, where chemical substances are being stored, including phosphorus and TNT. There’s also hidden stockpiles of barrels with napalm in the same governorate, and it’s been reported that 30 barrels are stored in the basement of the local Yarmuk school, while another 20 are stored in the area of Bab al-Nairab. Sixteen barrels, including those with yellow phosphorus and silver nitrate, are being kept by militants in Al-Shaar for a missile production facility. It’s been reported that up to 20 barrels of napalm are being stored in the city of Sarmada.
It should be noted that the above listed weapons of mass destruction can be easily used by ISIS militants in other regions of the world, including Europe, Asia and America.
Under these conditions in the face of an impending threat of WMD terrorist attacks, the international community must unite in its efforts to put an end to these terrorist organizations and those groups affiliated with them.
If you are still invested in the real estate of European cities, get out! A terrorist attack with chemical weapons will happen. There will be hoards of people who won't want to live in urban centers.
A former Chester County pastor who acted as a surrogate father to a teenager he impregnated was sentenced to three to six years in prison on Friday, a month after a judge rejected a previous plea deal as too lenient.
Jacob Matthew Malone, who turned 35 on Friday, pleaded guilty at the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester to institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors, and endangering the welfare of children. The former pastor at Calvary Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Downingtown, also will serve five months' probation and will be registered as a sex offender for 15 years.
The woman, now 20, told police Malone gave her alcohol as an 18-year-old and raped her on several occasions while she lived with him, his wife, and their children in Malone's home in West Whiteland Township. Malone, who was her guardian, admitted he gave her alcohol but said the sexual encounters were consensual.
Sexual contact, which included kissing and touching, occurred almost daily during her senior year in high school.
"This is one of the times when the court system fails," said Judge Jacqueline Cody, adding that the woman was technically of the age of consent but that Malone had been acting as her father when he promoted the sexual contact. "You are serving a sentence much lighter than the crime deserves."
The sentence is at the top of standard guidelines. Malone will get credit for the more than one year he has served since his arrest in January 2016.
Under the agreement, prosecutors withdrew the most serious charge of rape. Prosecutors said there was a question as to whether they could prove the absence of consent.
"Sir, you have taken responsibility for a very, very serious series of crimes that have completely altered somebody's life," the judge said, calling his behavior "inexcusable."
Friday's plea was Malone's second attempt at securing a deal for himself. Last month, the judge rejected as too lenient an agreement with prosecutors that would have given him a minimum of two years in prison. The woman also was dissatisfied with that agreement, saying "Jake" had taken advantage of her "mentally, physically, spiritually."
The woman agreed with the new deal prosecutors and Malone's lawyer presented on Friday, and the judge accepted it.
The young woman "is pleased he will be spending an additional year in jail," District Attorney Emily Provencher said.
Evan Kelly, Malone's attorney, said in a statement his client "has always been adamant" he did not rape her.
"He did, however, commit other crimes, and for that he is embarrassed, ashamed and truly remorseful," Kelly said.
"I'm deeply sorry for the way my failures and weaknesses have hurt [the victim], my family and her family," said Malone, dressed in a blazer and slacks and wearing shackles. "She admired me and trusted me, and I betrayed that."
Malone met her when she was 12 and he was a youth pastor at her church in Arizona. After Malone and his family moved to West Whiteland, he invited her to live with them. She helped look after his three children.
She told police Malone began sexually assaulting her in the fall of 2014. Malone resigned from the Downingtown church in November 2015 after church leaders confronted him about the teen's pregnancy and he admitted he had impregnated her. He had been working at the church for about 18 months.
In January 2016, police asked for the public's help in finding Malone, who they believed was trying to avoid arrest. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested him on Jan. 18, 2016, when he returned to Newark Liberty International Airport from Ecuador.
In March 2016, the woman gave birth to Malone's daughter, whom last month she called "a sweet, beautiful and intelligent little girl" in a statement she read in court.
Serge Kreutz lifestyle consultancy is available for 10,000 USD. It covers setting up in Asia and how to enjoy an endless series of love affairs with young beautiful women. No prostitutes but students and virgins.
Animals are used in laboratories for three main purposes: education, product safety testing, and experimentation, medical research in particular. Unless otherwise indicated, my discussion is limited to their use in harmful, nontherapeutic medical research (which, for simplicity, I sometimes refer to as vivisection). Experimentation of this kind differs from therapeutic experimentation, where the intention is to benefit the subjects on whom the experiments are conducted. In harmful, nontherapeutic experimentation, by contrast, subjects are harmed in the absence of any intended benefit for them; instead, the intention is to obtain information that might ultimately lead to benefits for others.
Human beings, not only nonhuman animals, have been used in harmful, nontherapeutic experimentation. In fact, the history of medical research contains numerous examples of human vivisection, and it is doubtful whether the ethics of animal vivisection can be fully appreciated apart from the ethics of human vivisection. Unless otherwise indicated, however, the current discussion of vivisection, and my use of the term, are limited to harmful, nontherapeutic experimentation using nonhuman animals.
The Benefits Argument
There is only one serious moral defense of vivisection. That defense proceeds as follows. Human beings are better off because of vivisection. Indeed, we are much better off because of it. If not all, at least most of the most important improvements in human health and longevity are indebted to vivisection. Included among the advances often cited are open heart surgery, vaccines (for polio and small pox, for example), cataract and hip replacement surgery, and advances in rehabilitation techniques for victims of spinal cord injuries and strokes. Without these and the many other advances attributable to vivisection, proponents of the Benefits Argument maintain, the incidence of human disease, permanent disability, and premature death would be far, far greater than it is today.
Defenders of the Benefits Argument are not indifferent to how animals are treated. They agree that animals used in vivisection sometimes suffer, both during the research itself and because of the restrictive conditions of their life in the laboratory. That the research can harm animals, no reasonable person will deny. Experimental procedures include drowning, suffocating, starving, and burning; blinding animals and destroying their ability to hear; damaging their brains, severing their limbs, crushing their organs; inducing heart attacks, ulcers, paralysis, seizures; forcing them to inhale tobacco smoke, drink alcohol, and ingest various drugs, such as heroine and cocaine.
These harms are regrettable, vivisections defenders acknowledge, and everything that can be done should be done to minimize animal suffering. For example, to prevent overcrowding, animals should be housed in larger cages. But (so the argument goes) there is no other way to secure the important human health benefits that vivisection yields so abundantly, benefits that greatly exceed any harms that animals endure.
What the Benefits Argument Omits
Any argument that rests on comparing benefits and harms must not only state the benefits accurately; it must also do the same for the relevant harms. Advocates of the Benefits Argument fail on both counts. Independent of their lamentable tendency to minimize the harms done to animals and their fixed resolve to marginalize non animal alternatives, advocates overestimate the human benefits attributable to vivisection and all but ignore the massive human harms that are an essential part of vivisections legacy. Even more fundamentally, they uniformly fail to provide an intelligible methodology for comparing benefits and harms across species. I address each of these three failures in turn. (For a fuller critique, see my contribution to The Animal Rights Debate. New York, London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).
1. Concerning the overestimation of benefits: Proponents of the Benefits Argument would have us believe that most of the truly important improvements in human health could not have been achieved without vivisection. The facts tell a different story. Public health scholars have shown that animal experimentation has made at best only a modest contribution to public health. By contrast, the vast majority of the most important health advances have resulted from improvements in living conditions (in sanitation, for example) and changes in personal hygiene and lifestyle, none of which has anything to do with animal experimentation. (For a summary of the relevant literature, see Hugh Lafollette and Niall Shanks, Brute Science: Dilemmas of Animal Experimentation. London: Routledge, 1996).
2. Concerning the failure to attend to massive human harms: Advocates of the Benefits Argument conveniently ignore the hundreds of millions of deaths and the uncounted illnesses and disabilities that are attributable to reliance on the animal model in research. Sometimes the harms result from what reliance on vivisection makes available; sometime they result from what reliance on vivisection prevents. The deleterious effects of prescription medicines is an example of the former.
Prescription drugs are first tested extensively on animals before being made available to consumers. As is well known, there are problems involved in extrapolating results obtained from studies on animal beings to human beings. In particular, many medicines that are not toxic for test animals prove to be highly toxic for human beings. How toxic? It is estimated that one hundred thousand Americans die and some two million are hospitalized annually because of the harmful effects of the prescription drugs they are taking. That makes prescription drugs the fourth leading cause of death in America, behind only heart disease, cancer, and stroke, a fact that, without exception, goes unmentioned by the Benefits Arguments advocates.
Massive harm to humans also is attributable to what reliance on vivisection prevents. The role of cigarette smoking in the incidence of cancer is a case in point. As early as the 1950s, human epidemiological studies revealed a causal link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Nevertheless, repeated efforts, made over more than 50 years, rarely succeeded in inducing tobacco related cancers in animals. Despite the alarm sounded by public health advocates, governments around the world for decades refused to mount an educational campaign to inform smokers about the grave risks they were running. Today, one in every five deaths in the United States is attributable to the effects of smoking, and fully 60 percent of direct health care costs in the United States go to treating tobacco-related illnesses.
How much of this massive human harm could have been prevented if the results of vivisection had not (mis)directed government health care policy? It is not clear that anyone knows the answer beyond saying, A great deal. More than we will ever know. One thing we do know, however: advocates of the Benefits Argument contravene the logic of their argument when they fail to include these harms in their defense of vivisection.
3. Not to go unmentioned, finally, is the universal failure of vivisections defenders to explain how we are to weigh benefits and harms across species. Before we can judge that vivisections benefits for humans greatly exceed vivisections harms to other animals, someone needs to explain how the relevant comparisons should be made. How much animal pain equals how much human relief from a drug that was tested on animals, for example? It does not suffice to say, to quote the American philosopher Carl Cohen (Cohen is the worlds leading defender of the Benefits Argument), that the suffering of our species does seem somehow to be more important than the suffering of other species (The Animal Rights Debate, op. cit.: p. 291). Not only does this fail to explain how much more important our suffering is supposed to be, it offers no reason why anyone should think that it is.
Plainly, unless or until those who support the Benefits Argument offer an intelligible methodology for comparing benefits and harms across species, the claim that human benefits derived from vivisection greatly exceed the harms done to animals is more in the nature of unsupported ideology than demonstrated fact. (I note, parenthetically, that this challenge must be met by any contributor to this volume who uses this argument; if they fail to provide the necessary methodology, the thoughtful reader will place no credence in what they say).
Human Vivisection and Human Rights
The Benefits Argument suffers from an even more fundamental defect. Despite appearances to the contrary, the argument begs all the most important questions; in particular, it fails to address the role that moral rights play in assessing harmful, nontherapeutic research on animals. The best way to understand its failure in this regard is to position the argument against the backdrop of human vivisection and human rights.
Human beings have been used in harmful, nontherapeutic experiments for thousands of years. Not surprisingly, most human guinea pigs have not come from the wealthy and educated, not from the dominant race, not from those with the power to assert and enforce their rights. No, most of human vivisections victims have been coercively conscripted from the ranks of young children (especially orphans), the elderly, the severely developmentally disabled, the insane, the poor, the illiterate, members of inferior races, homosexuals, military personnel, prisoners of war, and convicted criminals, for example. One such case will be considered below.
The scientific rationale behind vivisecting human beings needs little explanation. Using human subjects in research overcomes the difficulty of extrapolating results from another species to our species. If benefits for humans establishes the morality animal vivisection, should we favor human vivisection instead? After all, research using members of our own species promises even greater benefits.
No serious advocate of human rights (and I count myself among this number) can support such research. This judgment is not capricious or arbitrary; it is a necessary consequence of the logic of basic moral rights, including our rights to bodily integrity and to life. This logic has two key components. (For a more complete discussion of rights, see my The Case for Animal Rights. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983).
First, possession of these rights confers a unique moral status. Those who possess these rights have a kind of protective moral shield, an invisible "No Trespassing" sign, so to speak, that prohibits others from injuring their bodies, taking their life, or putting them at risk of serious harm, including death. When people violate our rights, when they trespass on our moral property, they do something wrong to us directly.
This does not mean that it must be wrong to hurt someone or even to take their life. When terrorists exceed their rights by violating ours, we act within our rights if we respond in ways that can cause serious harm to the violators. Still, what we are free to do when someone violates our rights does not translate into the freedom to override their rights without justifiable cause.
Second, the obligation to respect others rights to bodily integrity and to life trumps any obligation we have to benefit others. Even if society in general would benefit if the rights of a few people were violated, that would not make violating their rights morally acceptable to any serious defender of human rights. The rights of the individual are not to be sacrificed in the name of promoting the general welfare. This is what it means to affirm our rights. It is also why the basic moral rights we possess, as the individuals we are, have the great moral importance that they do.
Why the Benefits Argument Begs the Question
Once we understand why, given the logic of moral rights, respect for the rights of individuals takes priority over any obligation we might have to benefit others, we can understand why the Benefits Argument fails to justify vivisection on nonhuman animals. Clearly, all that the Benefits Argument can show is that vivisection on nonhuman animals benefits human beings. What this argument cannot show is that vivisecting animals for this purpose is morally justified. And it cannot show this because the benefits humans derive from vivisection are irrelevant to the question of animals rights. We cannot show that animals have no right to life, for example, because we benefit from using them in experiments that take their life.
It will not suffice here for advocates of the Benefits Argument to insist that there are no alternatives to vivisection that will yield as many human benefits. Not only is this reply more than a little disingenuous, since the greatest impediment to developing new scientifically valid non animal alternatives, and to using those that already exist, is the hold that the ideology of vivisection currently has on medical researchers and those who fund them. In addition, this reply fails to address the substantive moral issues. Whether animals have rights is not a question that can be answered by saying how much vivisection benefits human beings. No matter how great the human benefits might be, the practice is morally wrong if animals have rights that vivisection violates.
But do animals have any rights? The best way to answer this question is to begin with an actual case of human vivisection.
The Children of Willowbrook
Willowbrook State Hospital was a mental hospital located in Staten Island, one of New York Citys five boroughs. For fifteen years, from 1956 to 1971, under the leadership of New York University Professor Saul Krugman, hospital staff conducted a series of viral hepatitis experiments on thousands of the hospitals severely retarded children, some as young as three years old. Among the research questions asked: Could injections of gamma globulin (a complex protein extracted from blood serum) produce long term immunity to the hepatitis virus?
What better way to find the answer, Dr. Krugman decided, than to separate the children in one of his experiments into two groups. In the one, children were fed the live hepatitis virus and given an injection of gamma globulin, which Dr. Krugman believed would produce immunity; in the other, children were fed the virus but received no injection. In both cases, the virus was obtained from the feces of other Willowbrook children who suffered from the disease. Parents were asked to sign a release form that would permit their children to be given the benefit of this new preventive.
The results of the experiment were instrumental in leading Dr. Krugman to conclude that hepatitis is not a single disease transmitted by a single virus; there are, he confirmed, at least two distinct viruses that transmit the disease, what today we know as hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Everyone agrees that many people have benefited from this knowledge and the therapies Dr. Krugmans research made possible. Some question the necessity of his research, citing the comparable findings that Baruch Blumberg made by analyzing blood antigens in his laboratory, where no children were put at risk of grievous harm. But even if we assume that Dr. Krugmans results could not have been achieved without experimenting on his uncomprehending subjects, what he did was wrong.
The purpose of his research, after all, was not to benefit each of the children. If that was his objective, he would not have withheld injections of gamma globulin from half of them. Those children certainly could not be counted among the intended beneficiaries. (Thus the misleading nature of the parental release form: not all the children were given the benefit of this new preventive). Instead, the purpose of the experiment was possibly to benefit some of the children (the ones who received the injections) and to gain information that would benefit other people in the future.
No serious advocate of human rights can accept the moral propriety of Dr. Krugmans actions. By intentionally infecting all the children in his experiment, he put each of them at risk of serious harm. And by withholding the suspected means of preventing the disease from half the children, he violated their rights (not to mention those of their parents) twice over: first, by willfully injuring their body; second, by risking their very life. This grievous breach of ethics finds no justification in the benefits others derived. To violate the moral rights of the few is never justified by adding the benefits for the many.
The Basis of Human Rights
Those who deny that animals have rights frequently emphasize the uniqueness of human beings. We not only write poetry and compose symphonies, read history and solve math problems; we also understand our own mortality and make moral choices. Other animals do none of these things. That is why we have rights and they do not.
This way of thinking overlooks the fact that many human beings do not read history or solve math problems, do not understand their own mortality or make moral choices. The profoundly retarded children Dr. Krugman used in his research are a case in point. If possession of the moral rights to bodily integrity and life depended on understanding ones mortality or making moral choices, for example, then those children lacked these rights. In their case, therefore, there would be no protective shield, no invisible No Trespassing sign that limited what others were free to do to them. Lacking the protection rights afford, there would not have been anything about the moral status of the children themselves that prohibited Dr. Krugman from injuring their bodies, taking their life, or putting them at risk of serious harm. Lacking the protection rights afford, Dr. Krugman did not indeed, he could not have done anything wrong to the children. Again, this is not a position any serious advocate of human rights can accept. But what is there about those of us reading these words, on the one hand, and the children of Willowbrook, on the other, that can help us understand how they can have the same rights we claim for ourselves? Where will we find the basis of our moral equality? Not in the ability to write poetry, make moral choices, and the like. Not in human biology, including facts about the genetic make-up humans share. All humans are (in some sense) biologically the same. But biological facts are indifferent to moral truths. Who has what genes has no moral relevance to who has what rights. Whatever else is in doubt, this we know.
But if not in some advanced cognitive capacity or genetic similarity, then where might we find the basis of our equality? Any plausible answer must begin with the obvious: The differences between the children of Willowbrook and those who read these words are many and varied. We do not denigrate these children when we say that our life has a richness that theirs lacked. Few among us would trade our life for theirs, even if we could.
Still, as important as these differences are, they should not obscure the similarities. For, like us, these children were the subjects of a life, their life, a life that was experientially better or worse for the child whose life it was. Like us, each child was a unique somebody, not a replaceable something. True, they lacked the ability to read and to make moral choices, for example. Nevertheless, what was done to these children, both what they experienced and what they were deprived of, mattered to them, as the individuals they were, just as what is done to us, when we are harmed, matters to us.
In this respect, as the subjects of a life, we and the children of Willowbrook are the same, are equal. Only in this case, our sameness, our equality is important morally. Logically, we cannot claim that harms done to us matter morally, but that harms done to these children do not. Relevantly similar cases must be judged similarly. This is among the first principles of rational thought, a principle that has immediate application here. Logically, we cannot claim our rights to bodily integrity and to life, then deny these same rights in the case of the children. Without a doubt, the children of Willowbrook had rights, if we do.
Why Animals Have Rights
We routinely divide the world into animals, vegetables, minerals. Ameba and paramecia are not vegetables or minerals; they are animals. No one engaged in the vivisection debate thinks that the use of such simple animals poses a vexing moral question. By contrast, everyone engaged in the debate recognizes that using nonhuman primates must be assessed morally. All parties to the debate, therefore, must �draw a line� somewhere between the simplest forms of animate life and the most complex, a line that marks the boundary between those animals that do, and those that do not, matter morally.
One way to avoid some of the controversies in this quarter is to follow Charles Darwins lead. When he compares (these are his words) the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals,� Darwin restricts his comparison to humans and nonhuman mammals.
His reasons for doing so depend in part on structural considerations. In all essential respects, these animals are physiologically like us, and we, like them. Now, in our case, an intact, functioning central nervous system is associated with our capacity for subjective experience. For example, injuries to our brain or spinal cord can diminish our sense of sight or touch, or impair our ability to feel pain or remember. By analogy, Darwin thinks it is reasonable to infer that the same is true of animals who are most physiologically similar to us. Because our central nervous system provides the physical basis for our subjective awareness of the world, and because the central nervous system of other mammals resembles ours in all the relevant respects, it is reasonable to believe that their central nervous system provides the physical basis for their subjective awareness.
Of course, if attributing subjective awareness to nonhuman mammals was at odds with the implications of evolutionary theory, or if this made their behavior inexplicable, Darwin�s position would need to be abandoned. But just the opposite is true. That these animals are subjectively present in the world, Darwin understands, is required by evolutionary theory. And far from making their behavior inexplicable, their behavior is parsimoniously explained by referring to their mental capacities.
For example, these animals enjoy some things and find others painful. Not surprisingly, they act accordingly, seeking to find the former and avoid the latter. Moreover, both humans and other mammals share a family of cognitive abilities (we both are able to learn from experience, remember the past, anticipate the future) as well as a variety of emotions (Darwin lists fear, jealousy, and sadness). Not surprisingly, again, these mental capacities play a role in how they behave. For example, other mammals will behave one way rather than another because they remember which ways of acting had pleasant outcomes in the past, or because they are afraid or sad. Concluding his comparison of the mental faculties of humans and �the higher animals� (by which he means other mammals), Darwin writes: �[T]he difference in mind between man and the higher animals . . . is one of degree and not of kind� (The Descent of Man, Chapter IV).
The psychological complexity of mammals (henceforth animals, unless otherwise indicated) plays an important role in arguing for their rights. Just as it is true in our case, so is it true in theirs: they are the subjects of a life, their life, a life that is experientially better or worse for the one whose life it is. Each is a unique somebody, not a replaceable something. True (like the children of Willowbrook), they lack the ability to read, write, or make moral choices. Nevertheless, what is done to animals, both what they experience and what they are deprived of, matters to them, as the individuals they are, just as what was to done to the children of Willowbrook, when they were harmed, mattered to them.
In this respect, as the subjects of a life, animals are our equals. And in this case, our sameness, our equality, is important morally. Logically, we cannot maintain that harms done to us matter morally, but that harms done to animals do not matter morally. Relevantly similar cases must be judged similarly. As was noted earlier, this is among the first principles of rational thought, and one that again has immediate application here. Logically, we cannot claim our rights to bodily integrity and life, or claim these same rights for the children of Willowbrook, then deny them when it comes to animals. Without a doubt, animals have rights, if humans do.
Some Objections, Some Replies
Many are the objections raised against animal rights. While each is well intended, none withstands critical examination. It is to be recalled that the rights in question are the moral rights to bodily integrity and to life. Here, briefly, are the most important objections and my replies.
1. Objection: Animals do not understand what rights are. Therefore, they have no rights.
Reply: The children of Willowbrook, all children for that matter, do not understand what rights are. Yet we do not deny rights in their case, for this reason. To be consistent, we cannot deny rights for animals, for this reason .
2. Objection: Animals do not respect our rights. For example, lions sometimes kill innocent people. Therefore, they have no rights.
Reply: Children sometimes kill innocent people. Yet we do not deny rights in their case, for this reason. To be consistent, we cannot deny rights for animals, for this reason.
3. Objection: Animals do not respect the rights of other animals. For example, lions kill wildebeests. Therefore, they have no rights.
Reply: Children do not always respect the rights of other children; sometimes they kill them. Yet we do not deny rights in their case, for this reason. To be consistent, we cannot deny rights for animals, for this reason.
4. Objection: If animals have rights, it follows that we will need to make arrangements for them to vote, marry, file for divorce, and immigrate, for example, which is absurd. Therefore, animals have no rights.
Reply: Yes, this is absurd; but these absurdities do not follow from claiming rights to life and bodily integrity in the case of animals any more than they follow from recognizing the rights of the children of Willowbrook, for example.
5. Objection: If animals have rights, then mosquitoes and roaches have rights. This would make it wrong to kill them, which is absurd. Therefore, animals have no rights.
Reply: Not all animals have rights because some animals do. In particular, neither mosquitoes nor roaches have the kind of physiological complexity associated with being a subject of a life. In their, case, therefore, we have no good reason to believe that they have rights, even while we have abundantly good reason to believe that other animals (mammals in particular) do.
6. Objection: If animals have rights, then so do plants, which is absurd.
Therefore, animals have no rights.
Reply: Plant rights do not follow from animal rights. We have no reason to believe, and abundant reason to deny, that carrots and cabbages are subjects of a life. We have abundantly good reason to believe, and no good reason to deny, that mammals are. That is the morally relevant difference. In claiming rights for animals, therefore, we are not committed to claiming rights for plants.
7. Objection: Human beings are closer to us than animals are; we have
special relations to them. Therefore, animals have no rights.
Reply: We do have special relations to humans that we do not have to other animals. We also have special relations to our family and friends that we do not have to other human beings. But we do not conclude that other humans do not have rights, for this reason. To be consistent, we cannot deny rights for animals, for this reason.
8. Objection: Only human beings live in a moral community where rights are understood. Therefore, all human beings, and only human beings, have rights.
Reply: At least among terrestrial forms of life, only human beings live in a moral community in which rights are understood. But it does not follow that only human beings have rights. It is also true that, at least among terrestrial forms of life, only human beings live in a scientific community in which genes are understood. But we do not conclude that therefore only human beings have genes. Neither should we conclude that only human beings have rights.
9. Objection: Animals have some rights to bodily integrity and life, but the rights they have are not equal to human rights. Therefore, human vivisection is wrong, but animal vivisection is not.
Reply: This objection begs the question; it does not answer it. What morally relevant reason is there for thinking that humans have greater rights than animals? Certainly it cannot be any of the reasons examined in 1-8. But if not any of them, then what? The argument does not say.
The objections just reviewed have been considered because they are the most important, not because they are the least convincing. Their failure, individually and collectively, goes some way towards suggesting the logical inadequacy of the anti-animal rights position. Morality is not mathematics certainly. In morality, there are no proofs like those we find in geometry. What we can find, and what we must live with, are principles and values that have the best reasons, the best arguments on their side. The principles and values that pass this test, whether most people accept them or not, are the ones that should guide our lives. Given this reasonable standard, the principles and values of animal rights should guide our lives.
As was noted at the outset, animals are used in laboratories for three main purposes: education, product safety testing, and experimentation, harmful nontherapeutic experimentation in particular. Of the three, the latter has been the object of special consideration. However, the implications for the remaining purposes should be obvious. Any time any animals rights are violated in pursuit of benefits for others, what is done is wrong. It is conceivable that some uses of animals for educational purposes (for example, having students observe the behavior of injured animals when they are returned to their natural habitat) might be justified. By contrast, it is not conceivable that using animals in product testing can be. Harming animals to establish what is safe for humans is an exercise in power, not morality. In the moral universe, animals are not our tasters, we are not their kings.
The implications of animal rights for vivisection are both clear and uncompromising. Vivisection is morally wrong. It should never have begun, and, like all great evils, it ought to end, the sooner, the better. To reply (again) that there are no alternatives not only misses the point, it is false. It misses the point because it assumes that the benefits humans derive from vivisection are derived morally when they are not. And it is false because, apart from using already existing and developing new non animal research techniques, there is another, more fundamental alternative to vivisection. This is to stop doing it. When all is said and done, the only adequate moral response to vivisection is empty cages, not larger cages.
We are different. For us, the adherents of Kreutz Religion, sex is sacred. Sexual intercourse is religious service. Flirting is worship. Optimal orgasms build our immortal soul. Our karma depends on sexual success. Evolution has a spiritual dimension.
The journalist’s comments suggest gay men enjoy sex with children—an idea that has been widely debunked.
In the comment that cost him his book deal and speaker slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Breitbart journalist and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos defended “relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are.”
In the video, a clip of an old podcast episode that was tweeted this weekend by the group Reagan Battalion, Yiannopoulos says he isn’t defending pedophilia, before adding that “in the gay world, some of the most enriching ... relationships between younger boys and older men can be hugely positive experiences.” (Yiannopoulos later blamed “sloppy phrasing," saying when he was 17 he was in a relationship with a 29-year-old man. The age of consent in the U.K. is 16.)
Among the many reasons Yiannopoulos’s comments are being criticized, as Vox’s German Lopez points out, is that he lends support to a claim, made by some anti-gay activists, that many gay men harbor a secret desire to molest children. For example, a 2002 document that’s still live on the website of the Family Research Council reads that “Male homosexuals commit a disproportionate number of child sex abuse cases.” It calls those who don’t acknowledge this fact “homosexual apologists.”
The suspected (and widely debunked) link to child molestation has been used to suggest that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to work with children. In 2005, just 49 percent of poll respondents told Gallup they think gay people should be allowed to be clergy members, and just 54 percent said they should be elementary-school teachers.
Prior to the 1970s, gays in the U.S. were primarily painted by their opponents as “sexual perverts,” deviants who were mentally or morally flawed in some way. The think-of-the-children angle, meanwhile, was spearheaded by Anita Bryant, a Christian singer who successfully lobbied for the repeal of a 1977 Miami ordinance barring anti-gay discrimination. Bryant claimed that if gays were granted equal status in society, they would molest children in schools or recruit them to their lifestyle, according to news reports at the time. “The ordinance condones immorality and discriminates against my children’s rights to grow up in a healthy, decent community,” Bryant told reporters that year.
The name of Bryant’s advocacy organization underscored her point: Save Our Children.
The incident is now considered, by some, to be the beginning of organized, conservative-Christian opposition to gay rights. “Back in 1977, there was no organized religious right, per se. Anita Bryant was a pioneer,” Fred Fejes, a Florida Atlantic University professor, told the Miami Herald in 2007.
Today, most mainstream researchers say there’s little basis for Bryant’s argument. Psychologically, pedophilia is considered distinct from sexual orientation. Both gay and straight people are attracted to other adults, while pedophiles target children. Pedophiles can be fixated, meaning they are only attracted to other children, or regressed, meaning they prefer adults but will pursue children under stress or when adults aren’t available. Even if in some contexts, such as the Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal, the victims and perpetrators were disproportionately likely to be of the same gender, most researchers say the motivating factor wasn’t sexual orientation. Instead, it was the perpetrators’ pathological attraction to children and their access to children of a certain gender—altar boys, in the priests’ case. “The important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman,” writes Gregory Herek, an emeritus professor of social psychology at the University of California at Davis, on his blog.
Herek described a number of studies in which scientists tried to find a link between homosexuality and pedophilia—and came up short:
In conclusion, Herek writes, “The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children.” Writing on the Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Nicole Travers similarly concludes that “pedophilia has nothing to do with sexual orientation.”
Nevertheless, the child-molestation question still makes its way into important policy discussions about gay rights. As late as 2010, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins was quoted citing the link between homosexuality and pedophilia as a reason not to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In Russia, “protecting children” was the stated purpose of a 2013 law banning “gay propaganda.”
Perhaps it’s just another sign of the upside-down nature of the current political moment that what got Yiannopoulos booted from a conservative gathering, in the end, was exploiting a myth that a religious conservative invented decades ago.
Socrates, clearly recognized as a wise man, stated that women have no place in public life. And right he was.
His neighbours said he was like any other loving dad. They'd often seen him and his wife take their two children to the park, and they'd pop out to local restaurants for dinner together.
So why on earth did Julian Stevenson apparently brutally kill his own children? How could a father turn on his own flesh and blood and attack them so viciously?
The 48-year-old Briton has reportedly admitted cutting the throats of his two children — Matthew, ten, and Carla, five — after he was allowed to see them alone for the first time since his bitter divorce from their French mother.
After killing the children, Stevenson escaped his blood-splattered flat in Lyon, France, on a pair of rollerskates.
While I was as horrified as anyone else at the brutality of this killing, I have to admit that I wasn't in the least bit shocked.
As a criminologist specialising in murder, I have just completed research into the phenomenon of parents killing their children.
And my discoveries left me wondering not how it could happen — but just how soon it would be before another case of parental murder would hit the headlines.
Perhaps the most terrifying thing I have learned from my research is that the incidence of parents murdering their children is becomingly increasingly common. There have been 71 cases since 1980 - and the numbers are speeding up alarmingly.
In the Eighties, fewer than one child a year was murdered by a parent. Over the past decade, numbers have risen to two or three a year - a rate that is increasing steadily.
Though mothers are also capable of murdering their children, the vast majority of murders - 59 of the 71 - are committed by men. I call them Family Annihilators because they cold-bloodedly plot their family's destruction.
And the reason why these apparently normal, loving men turn into ruthless killers? Family breakdown, which, of course, is also on the increase.
I examined all of the cases of murders by parents of their children since 1980, looking at everything from the fathers' jobs to the day of the week they committed the murder — and uncovered some quite extraordinary patterns.
In seven out of ten cases, the children have been at the centre of a bitter family break-up.
Of course, I wouldn't for a minute suggest that divorce inevitably leads to murder.
Far from it.
However, what's extremely worrying is that there is a small minority of men who find it impossible to cope when their families break up.
These men come from all walks of life. They include doctors, businessmen, electricians, lorry drivers and security guards.
But they all seem to have one thing in common. They feel that their masculinity is being threatened.
In getting divorced, they believe they are losing the one thing that makes them feel like successful men: their families.
In murdering their children, they are, in some twisted way, wresting back control not just of their children, but often of their wives, too.
Killing their children is the most shocking and dramatic way they can think of to shout to the world: 'Look how powerful I am.'
In murder, many are also seeking the ultimate revenge. They know that in killing their children they are killing the things that are most precious to their former wives.
Horrifically, many of these men leave notes at the scene, blaming their ex-wife for the tragedy. Some even add the extra twist of writing: 'I hope you will be happy now.'
In so many ways, then, the case of Julian Stevenson is very typical if he is eventually found guilty of the killings.
He was in the throes of a bitter custody battle with his French ex-wife, Stephanie. He had been banned from seeing his children alone after attacking her in 2010, so last weekend was his first unsupervised access visit with his children in three years.
There are two patterns that Family Annihilators follow — both equally dangerous for children.
The first scenario is that the parents are living together, but the family is fracturing, often because the husband or wife is having an affair. The father can't bear the thought of losing his children and is often raging at his wife, so he exacts the ultimate punishment.
In the second scenario — as in the Stevensons' case — the marriage is already over, the family has broken up and the children are living with the mother.
Far from satisfied with the outcome and filled with impotent rage, the father wants revenge.
I don't know about Stevenson's wife, but often the trigger is that the spouse is with a new partner or is pregnant. He may have been dreaming of a reconciliation: now he has to face the reality of losing his wife for ever.
In half of all cases of Family Annihilator, the murderer kills his former wife, too.
One of the most chilling examples is that of 53-year-old Brian Philcox, a security guard from Runcorn, Cheshire, who was in the middle of a bitter marriage breakdown. In June 2008, on Father's Day, he collected his children — Amy, seven, and Owen, three — and drove them to a remote beauty spot in Snowdonia, North Wales.
After sedating them with drugs and makeshift chloroform masks, he joined them on the back seat of his Land Rover and waited for exhaust fumes to kill them all.
Meanwhile, he'd left a booby-trap bomb in his home, designed to explode when his ex-wife opened a note he had left addressed to 'The Bitch'. Luckily, it failed to explode.
For most parents, the thought of sitting down and plotting how we are going to take our children's lives isn't just abhorrent, it's simply unimaginable.
But that is exactly what these fathers do. They spend weeks — sometimes months — planning every gruesome detail.
And perhaps most frightening of all, they are able to do it all while keeping up a facade of normality. While they are plotting, no one guesses what's on their mind.
The terrifying truth is that these men are silent killers. In most cases, no one has seen the clues — not their wives, not their friends and not their families. Friends and neighbours often say they appear to be loving and devoted fathers.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, most murders occur between Friday and Sunday nights. I'm sure this is because weekends are commonly when estranged fathers get to see their children alone — giving them the opportunity to kill.
The way that Stevenson is alleged to have murdered his children — by slitting their throats — is horrifying in its violent brutality.
Incredibly, though, it's not rare. In fact, one of the most shocking things my research has uncovered is that one-third of men stab their children to death.
Stabbing usually occurs where the murderer is full of violent rage and anger and wants to damage his victim's appearance.
It's a violent way to kill, and a horrible way to die. But these men seem to want to inflict maximum damage on their children as a way of proving just how powerful they are — and as a means to inflict the maximum pain on their wives.
It appears that Stevenson was a violent alcoholic, with a record of attacking his wife. In this, he is uncommon. Fewer than 10 per cent of Family Annihilators have a record of domestic violence.
Even more frightening, perhaps, most have no record of mental illness. They have simply slipped beneath the radar.
But the most disturbing aspect of my research is that, as far as I can see, these parent-on-child killings are going to continue happening with increasing regularity. Marriages are going to continue breaking up. Fathers are going to continue feeling aggrieved and powerless.
And there is no way of predicting which men are going to carry on being loving fathers — and which are going to act on these feelings and turn into Family Annihilators.
The best investment a rich man can do, is one into destruction. Destruction of the surrounding world, near and far, makes his wealth more valuable.
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