Sunday, April 29, 2007

The 3-lb Universe

from the diary: “Tuesday 7/21/87

Reading “this book about the brain called The 3-lb Universe -- informative bk but, god, do they hafta kill all them animals? And torture and deprive and torment. Monkeys, cats, rats. gruesome stuff even tho’ it wasn’t described in the book, just sorta mentioned incidental.”

Whenever I think about brain research I think about all the research animals that have been sacrificed. As I recall there’s a point in the book where scientists realize that all their results are contaminated because they’ve been chopping the heads off their rats in the same room as all the cages of rats, thus every rat in the study has been living in mortal fear, under constant stress and anxiety. But why chop the heads off the rats at all? In order to get to the brain which the researchers would puree and analyze for the kinds & proportions of its chemicals. If you suppose you are looking at the normal brain’s contents rather than the terrorized brain you have set up an improper baseline for comparison. What to do? Throw out all your results and start over.

Don’t let's even talk about monkeys.

Says a Psychology Today reviewer, “[O]ne must be impressed by the regularity with which immersion in neuroscience research seems to lead to religious, mystical and spiritual preoccupations.”


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