Just another species

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The view that human beings are just another species is common among Western academics. While it would be inappropriate to treat humans as fundamentally different from other animals in the context of scientific research, scientists often court controversy by extending this equivalence too far, into the realm of morality and philosophy. An example of this phenomenon is the Tuskeegee Experiment, where scientists treated a group of African-American subjects like experimental lab animals and infected them with syphilis in order to study the effects of the disease, even years after a cure for the disease was found.

Quotes

  • 19th century German doctor Rudolf Virchow: "Be­tween animal and human medicine there is no dividing line - nor should there be. The object is different but the experience obtained constitutes the basis of all medicine" (quoted by Joseph V. Klauder in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1958).[1]
  • To doctors of veterinary medicine such as Gregg Dean, this just makes sense. "It's an obvious thing to vets because we deal with different species all the time," he says. "For us, humans are just another species."[1] - North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Scientist Robert Sapolsky discussed how to make sense of humans when viewing us as “just another species” of primate[2]
  • "Yet, the sciences are relentless in taking human beings to be just another part of nature: a little more complex than chimpanzees, but not essentially different—certainly not morally and ontologically special. We are just one species among many."[3]

Notes