NO animal research on this website, HUMANS ONLY

This is a sexnotgender.com disclaimer post.

There will be zero discussion of animal research on this blog.

ZER0.

Rat brains (and behavior) may be interesting, they may provide excellent cocktail party discussion, but they cannot tell us anything conclusive about humans. It’s pure speculation, and quite often, it fails to tell us anything at all.

Because animal brains (and bodies) are not human brains (and bodies). End logic.

brains to scale

If brain structure differs this plainly between species, then surely brain function does as well.

Seriously. How many cats have you encountered with gender dysphoria or BIID? That’s what I thought. Animal research– neuro and otherwise– creates dangers untold when applied to complex human problems. More discussion on this controversial scientific method here.

And just to be data-driven about it, here is a list of animal drug test results that ended up hurting humans:

“Time and time again, primate research has failed to predict dangerous side effects of medications. It has also led researchers down blind alleys and delayed real cures reaching people.

For example:

  • Hormone replacement therapy – given to millions of women following research in monkeys – has recently been found to increase their risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer. (3)
  • The so-called ‘elephant man’ drug, TGN1412, caused six healthy volunteers to suffer multiple organ failure. Earlier tests involving at least 25 monkeys showed TGN1412 to be quite safe.
  • Isoprenaline doses (for asthma) were worked out on animals, but proved too high for humans. Thousands of people died as a result. Even when the researchers knew what to look for they were unable to reproduce this effect in monkeys. (4)
  • Carbenoxalone (a gastric ulcer treatment) caused people to retain water to the point of heart failure. Scientists retrospectively tested it on monkeys, but could not reproduce this effect. (5)
  • Flosint (an arthritis drug) was tested on monkeys – they tolerated the medication well. In humans, however, it caused deaths. (6)
  • Amrinone (for heart failure) was tested on numerous non-human primates and released with confidence. People haemorrhaged, as the drug prevented normal blood clotting. This side effect occurred in a startling 20 per cent of patients taking the medication on a long-term basis. (7)
  • Arthritis drug Opren is known to have killed 61 people. Over 3,500 cases of severe reactions have been documented. Opren was tested on monkeys without problems. (8)
  • Aspirin causes birth defects in monkeys but not in humans. (9)
  • 20 years and vast amounts of resources have been wasted on misleading AIDS research in animals. An important vaccine, Aidsvax – deemed a success in chimpanzees – was pronounced a failure in 2003 having failed to protect the 8,000 high-risk volunteers in the trial.”

Here are 50 DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF LAB ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS

As I delve deeper into the scientific explanations for “transsexualism,” this website will be focused exclusively on HUMAN BRAIN function and development.  Please keep your animal theories at home.

brainsex

37 comments

  1. Pela Abolição dos Gêneros · ·

    Right on! Animal experimentation in human-related issues makes no sense in light of evolutionary biology and it’s a harzard to our physical and mental health. Greek et al. have some very interesting insights on it:

    http://vimeo.com/30357037

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2930594/

    http://www.peh-med.com/content/4/1/2 <<full article

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369848611000562
    Full pdf here

    http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1569980&resultClick=3 Possibly the full pdf can be downloaded from this page.

  2. If you want this focus, animals are the least of your problems. The big issue is access to published research. Much of it is behind paywalls, accesible either with university accounts or for significant money.

    For example, AMA resolution 122, which covers this topic and is reproduced here http://aebrain.blogspot.ie/2011/07/ama-resolution-122.html , cites a big lot of research under:

    Health experts in GID, including WPATH, have rejected the myth that such treatments are “cosmetic” or “experimental” and have recognized that these treatments can provide safe and effective treatment for a serious health condition [vii]

    I tried googling several of the articles in [vii] and none had anything more than an abstract available freely, except the one they link to. That one is a very interesting metastudy, but it dates from 1991.

    It might be that without participation of a scientist from an accredited university who has access to the research libraries (physical and/or online), or else a significant investment (to the tune of the first hundreds of dollars), it is not really possible to “delve deeper into the scientific causes” of the condition described in ICD-10 as transsexualism (F64.0). As an aside, ICD-10 is probably the most widely accepted and least controversial classification.

    It’s much easier to discuss legal issues without being a lawyer, with all those court cases freely available. Discussing scientific issues without being a scientist appears intentionally harder.

  3. I agree that it is more difficult to access scientific research because of pay walls, Mikhail. This will not stop me. I have been able to find almost everything I’ve wanted to read so far. And yes, sometimes I have to get creative and be persistent.

    Also, NO ANIMAL RESEARCH HERE.

  4. Oh, and you may not have noticed (or maybe you have) but I almost ALWAYS include a link to the full article of whatever I am discussing. I think it is “not cool” to go on referencing information that other people cannot access. We’ll see how this goes as we “delve deeper,” but I have no intention of having in-depth discussions about research that my readers cannot verify IN FULL.

  5. Pela Abolição dos Gêneros, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE LINKS!!!!!!!!!! Right on is right! :) I edited them slightly to include additional information for research-geeks like myself (and Mikhail).

  6. Mikhail, many/most of the studies cited at Zoe Brain’s are like 20 years old. That’s another thing I’m not down with. Anything over 10 years old is automatically suspect. Anything pre-2000 is esentially worthless to me. Science has changed waaaaay too much to keep going back that far. It’s very different than the law this way.

    The only article I thought was interesting is:
    Newfield E, Hart S, Dibble S, Kohler L. Female-to-male transgender quality of life. Qual Life Res. 15(9):1447-57, 2006.
    Full PDF here.

    And this is interesting too.

    http://transgenderinfo.be/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/QOL_Motmans.pdf

    Female and Male Transgender Quality of Life: Socioeconomic and Medical Differences. J Sex Med 2012;9:743–750
    Joz Motmans, PhD,* Petra Meier, PhD,† Koen Ponnet, PhD,‡ and Guy T’Sjoen, MD, PhD§

    “There was no significant difference in QOL between the group who had undergone genital surgery or surgical breast augmentation and the group who did not have these surgeries.” <<???!?!?!

  7. What about the snails. LOL

  8. No! NO SNAILS. Not one. Zero!!00!!

  9. You snail-hating radfem bigots are too much.

  10. I know.

    WHAT ABOUT THE DUCKS??!??!?000000

  11. To Gallus Mag – You mean, escargot-phobic radfems. Please, proper terminology :)

  12. Just clarifying – the text is from the American Medical Association, and Zoe Brain simply posted it. So Zoe Brain is not at fault about whatever is referenced, it’s the AMA writing for its members who are supposed to have access.

    No contest on animal research. While I do not think it is always unethical, it has no relevance in this particular case. I’ve seen it (ab)used both ways in homosexuality debates – even wrote a satire sketch, sorry it’s in Russian, about two male cats having sex (just because they like it) and anti-gay and pro-gay activists all going ballistic about it in their own ways. And it’s even less relevant in the case of transsexuality, as even if animals can have feeling they are in the wrong body, they can not communicate it; so any “cross-sex” behaviour they exhibit will be observable as simply homosexual.

    I do appreciate your diligence re PDFs, it just might not always be possible.

    Re the Dutch article – notice the subject population is Dutch, meaning they have access to operations with no relation to income when those are needed. The Netherlands are a welfare state. So what really happens is that if a person with gender identity disorder deeply needs the operation they get it, while if they don’t, they don’t. The article really compares the QOL of those who need it and got it and those who don;t need it and did not get it (even while presenting as the other sex and possibly receiving hormones). The results would likely be different for an American sample.

    Sorry, I don’t know how they work out separate spaces in the Netherlands, but they tend to be laid back about such things generally. (That’s the country where prostitution and marijuana are legal).

    On a different thing in the article – now I really want to find someone Dutch-speaking. They say trans women are, on the average, considerably older than trans men. By my theory, the average age of trans women at treatment should *start* falling about 10 years after introduction of universal access to treatment. But I could not find any information on when access was granted in the Netherlands (it is definitely there now).

  13. cerulean blue · ·

    I agree with the idea that animal brain research should not be used to prop up or refute the discussion we are having here about sex and gender. There are too many differences between us and other mammals for any extrapolation to be meaningful.

    Having said that, I strongly disagree with the of age alone being used a criterion for discounting the usefulness of scientific studies.

    The studies Zoe Brain (for instance) references should be discounted not because they are old, but because, methodologically they are garbage. Good science is ageless– as we develop better and better technologies the picture becomes more clear, but the data itself doesn’t have an expiration date. Data only gets thrown out when new research refutes it or if the original research was done poorly. Otherwise it gets added to, so that a clearer picture emerges. Importantly, conclusions drawn from the data may change once newer data comes along. But the data still stands.

    For instance, we now know that there are different, additional organelles in cells than the ones most of us learned of in high school. That doesn’t mean the cell theory, which is much, much older than twenty years is no longer valid, nor does it mean that the organelles we already knew about– and the research supporting the way they work– is no longer valid, even though much of that work defining their functioning is extremely old. It does mean that scientists studying interactions among cell organelles have had to gone back and refine the pathways they’d delineated to include these organelles. The original conclusions of those studies have to be reevaluated in light of new data. And it means that a person will look foolish if they say the *only* organelles in the cell are the well-known mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, etc., or if they neglect to mention the newer organelles when discussing the cell.

    Should studies over ten years old be suspect? Yes, IF the work has methodological flaws, or if the person using them for support isn’t citing anything new, including studies that have built on that previous research, or if the old conclusions haven’t been revised to incorporate the new data.

    Should studies *under* ten years old be suspect? Yes, IF the work has methodological flaws, or if it discards old data without good reason (i.e., new data that refutes old new technology that far surpasses old and gives new, clearer data, etc.– claiming data is junk because it’s old won’t cut it). Also it should be considered suspect if the layperson using this data for support doesn’t understand the methodology or assumptions used in these studies. Most of the discussion of recent “blobology” brain imaging work should be discounted for both of these reasons, as this blog as so wonderfully done time and again.

  14. @Gene K- escargot is a colonizing term used by cis-cargot exterminationists, chasers, and chefs who view snails purely on the basis of their palatability.

    @EH- YES DUCKS. Lets talk about the evolution of duck rape-dick!

    @ramendick- god you are the blog killer. so glad I banned you. Most boring irrelevant troll on earth. holy shit.

  15. ramendik: The Netherlands is where prostitution and marijuana has been made ‘legal’ but has been acknowledged as socially quite problematic and abusive. So many countries like the Netherlands are undergoing reviews of policies which open up human abuses such as drug and woman abuse. Likewise the construction of being in the wrong body is very much a social one, very much a human social issue. So when you write: “what really happens is that if a person with gender identity disorder deeply needs the operation?” what on earth are you talking about?! There is no ‘the operation’. These are treatments still unproven to work, still largely problematic for the higher suicide rate post surgery. What someone with issues of their identity gender or otherwise needs first and foremost are skilled therapists. It is stunning that you don’t mention this in an era where pharmaceutical companies are out for profit, where these hormone therapies and surgeries are convenient gains in a currently wretched world economy and where the real solution to emotional and psychological problems is to develop different therapeutic approaches rather than subject these people to life-threatening, life shortening treatments that leave them quite marginalised from society. Also, homosexuality has nothing to do with transsexuality.

  16. @GallusMag- you’re are tweeting in the comments on my blog! LOL!

    @GallusMag- ducks have feathers. humans don’t. game over.

    @GallusMag- re: MR, I’ve grown a certain fondness for his bad analogies and persistence. He can comment here as long as he’s civil and basically stays on topic.

  17. It’s an old gag. “Behavioural psychology: the study of pulling habits out of rats.”

    Vivienne.

  18. GallusMag – “cis-cargot” that’s a great one :)

  19. Agree with cerulean blue about ‘good science is ageless’.
    However, overall as a now vegan, former mouse murdering research scientist, I’m really glad to see this disclaimer – both for the sake of ‘model’ organisms and the humans whose plight is used to justify their suffering. Right now, such opinions are pretty much death to a biomedical research career, unless one is well placed. Will be pleased when biomedical scientists wake up to the harms caused by current practices, and hope to be still alive when we can look back and wonder at our justifications for the use of animal models. Rock on, Elizabeth.

  20. Tobysgirl · ·

    Agree that good science is ageless. The best nutritional studies were done in the twentieth century on HUMAN volunteers; you could actually keep people in hospitals for months controlling their nutritional intake to the nth degree.

  21. Ok, that’s cool that good science is ageless. BUT. 1. Social conditions change rapidly, which impacts the applicability of sociological findings to other contexts. And 2. neuroscience, which is what I’m *usually* talking about ’round these parts, has undergone a massive evolution(?!haha) in the past two decades. I’m still learning, but skepticism is the name of my game. !

  22. cerulean blue · ·

    You are absolutely right to be skeptical! And in fact, skepticism is one of the most important parts of the scientific method. The truth is that there is a LOT of junk science out there. Much of it has been done by people not trained as scientists– the typical MD, for instance, does not do research in medical school or after, doesn’t have training in statistics, experimental design, etc. They haven’t been through the process a trained scientist goes through, which is much like a 1 on 1 apprenticeship/trial by fire. As a result, I tend to take studies done by MDs (not MD/PhDs, who do have training) with a huge grain of salt.
    As for neuroscience, it has definitely changed over the past twenty years. And sadly, a lot of the stuff being published has not been subject to the skeptical review it should be. So even the new stuff needs to be looked at very carefully.

  23. Just a couple of comments to add.

    I agree with the comments above. Good science doesn’t date: it is either demolished or confirmed by newer findings.

    Cerulean blue, you are right in everything you say about science, but don’t diss the medics. There is plenty of junk science out there produced by non-medics. In addition, for many medics, publication is viewed as currency which helps to advance your career. This leads to people churning out poor quality material simply as a means of ticking a box, rather than because it’s something they are good at or really want to pursue. This is just one of dozens of unhelpful incentives in science.

    In what I laughingly call my alma mater, academic staff were hired only on the basis of the number of publications they could trot out. This was because funding was directly linked to publication, as if publication itself were the end-point (which of course it isn’t). It’s like trying to measure the quality of a singer simply by their volume.

    Universities are also there to teach students. But often, in my old heap, the teaching was a bolted-on afterthought. Good scientists do not necessarily make good teachers (or good doctors!), and vice versa. As a result, much of the teaching I got was dull, uninspiring and pointless. I felt very much as if my education was playing second fiddle to the department’s funding priority.

    Vivienne.

  24. Tobysgirl · ·

    Trying to apply rigorous scientific method to the social sciences is, of course, absurd. cerulean blue’s point about MDs is absolutely spot-on, though there are occasionally MDs who seem CURIOUS about humans and how their bodies function. Has neuroscience been used in the past to “prove” all sorts of dubious hypotheses?

  25. @GallusMag I’ll wear a “blog killer” badge from the resident hate-monger with pride!

    @Elizabeth glad you are acknowledging the effect of social conditions. That’s what I am talking about when suggesting differences between the context of European and US studies.

    @disfasia I am not stating support or otherwise for Dutch policy on prostitution and drugs, only describing the policy in support of a provisional supposition, in the absence of reliable sources, that they generally don’t care much for sex segregation there. Elizabeth states sex-segregated spaces to be a key issue.

    It is commonly accepted that therapy is strongly recommended as both a part of determination whether transition is indeed needed, and, when it is needed, as a part of transition. But most people who tried to “treat transsexuality with therapy” (excluding transition as a recommendation in SOME cases) are, like Zucker, linked to NARTH. (And that – the linked conservative response – is the extent of the connection between transsexuality and homosexuality; the connection is social, not medical). One exception was Az Hakeem, who has, however, changed his position to say that in *genuinely diagnosed* cases transition is the proper treatment; he is now a member of WPATH.

  26. At the risk of teaching my grandmother how to aspirate ovoids, the problem I see with gender science is this. (In fact this same conceptual problem is present for just about all aspects of psychology).

    If you approach a complex system, like a TV set, and want to study it, there are three basic ways to go about it. You can study the working set in its entirety, and deduce from that what components it requires to function (the “top down” approach). Or you can study individual electronic components on the bench and extrapolate from their behaviour up to the full TV (the “bottom up” approach). Or you can study simpler, but related systems (radio perhaps), and try to get a handle on how they work, to identify some broad concepts which might be applicable (transducing electromagnetic waveforms into perceptible audio frequencies, for example).

    Each of these approaches has something to recommend it. For the TV set, the top-down and the bottom-up approaches meet comfortably in the middle. We can work all the way up from diodes and capacitors right up to the full working TV; or we can start with a working TV and break it down all the way to components whose function we understand.

    A human being is orders of magnitude more complex. The problem is that there is a large conceptual gulf between the “top-down” scientists, who attempt to study humans as a working system, and deduce what’s going on from their behaviour; and the “bottom-up” scientists, who attempt to study axons and synapses in a dish, and scale up from that to what happens in the complete individual. It’s understandable, therefore, that some scientists choose to study simpler systems (fruit flies, rats, primates) in an attempt to understand humans. Some of that research is unexpectedly applicable; for example, in the field of morphogenesis, some genetic sequences are remarkably conserved, even between us and the fruit fly. In other fields, it probably isn’t that helpful. Fruit flies don’t tell lies, fall in love, suffer depression or gender dysphoria or burnout– as far as we can tell.

    So some of that gulf is filled with guesswork. Some of that guesswork is patent nonsense. Some of it is tantalising and may suggest directions for future research (such as real-time functional neuroimaging). And some of it will lead to dead ends.

    I think it is comparatively easy to identify the good science from the bad, but some people find it a lot less easy. And some obvious scientific avenues (scooping out bits of living human brains to see what happens, or deliberately dosing fetal humans with drugs which affect the development of their brains) are ethically unacceptable (and rightly so, IMO). So animal models might yet have a place. The secret (I think) is not to get carried away and over-interpret the findings.

    Vivienne.

  27. Great analogies/explanations, Vivienne. THANK YOU!

  28. FeministScientist · ·

    As a strongly opinionated feminist in the field of science I have to strongly disagree with this article. Showing pictures of brains look different and their function must be different to and we can’t compare them is not only misleading, its wrong. Its the equivalent of the creationist vs evolutionary scientist idea in which the creationist says dinosaurs existed the same time as humans because the earth isn’t that old and the fossil record is wrong and one of the backups of this claims is “you weren’t there. you dont know.” No offense intended, but similarily saying “all I see are brains they look different and all I can trust is what I see/experience.” This viewpoint is very naive and undercuts feminism itself. Neuro research with animals has led us to use animals as a simpler model of the complex bain. Our brain did not suddenly evovle- it went through developments from a simpler brain . Animal models allow us to understand how that simpler brain looks like and has helped us with so many scientific breakthroughs in Alzenheimers, Parkinsons, Diabetes, Cancer Research- you name it. All because we were able to use animal models such as a fly that has smaller amount of neurons to test certain procedures. In biology, a lot of the elemtns are conserved: such as cells (neurons or otherwise) follow the similar structure shape and patterns. Theres patterns in biology everywhere. Not taking advantage of that because human beings are more complex is detrimental to us. In terms of feminism, BIID, gender dysphoria and etc CAN and SHOULD be studied in animals. BIID for example is when the brain doesn’t recognize a certain limb as part of the person’s body image. That has to do with a part of the brain lacking space allotted for the recognition of that limb. Studying it in smaller models allows us to EFFICIENTLY see how any brain human or otherwise has somatosensory “maps” in which parts of the brain are literally allotted to parts of the body we use more/recognize. If we are able to prove this with research, we prove that BIID is indeed a legitimiate issue in which the person has the ability to choose for themselves if they want to remove that limb and it shouldn’t be up to anyone else. Using animal models is proof that being gay or trans or however you identify yourself, is not influenced by “pop culture” but our brain itself and its only through the use of animal models and research can this understanding develop. I don’t need to spell out for anyone why that is critical to our rights and that only through recent scientific advancements have we as a society been able to progress so much for human rights itself.

  29. “FeministScientist” that’s a doozy. It might have ended up in the spam bucket if it weren’t the perfect foil for showing how confused soooo many people are by “science” and the silly things you’re claiming. (All your typos/errors have been left as is; sorry about the effect that has on your credibility, but consider that the next time you dash off a poorly-constructed comment meant to question someone who worked a helluva lot harder than you did to form her arguments and the explanations thereof.)

    “As a […] in the field of science”

    History is full of people “in the field of science” (a massively broad designation that could include anyone from a freshman science major to a food chemist to a PhD in astronomy) who got things completely wrong. Additionally, this is the logical fallacy known as the appeal to authority, which includes the following aspects, all of which apply to this situation:
    • the authority is not a subject-matter expert (or you would have stated so plainly AND you wouldn’t be making specious generalizations and unsupportable scientific claims);
    • there is no consensus among experts in the subject matter (more on that in a minute);
    • deducing falsely that a conclusion should be based on your authority as someone “in the field of science” as if that is enough on the face for us to take your word for anything.
    In other words, so what, you’re in the field of science; that doesn’t mean a thing unless you have very specific and precise, useful and meaningful direct scientific knowledge to bring to this issue. Which you don’t or you would have provided it and your comment would sound like it came from a working scientist instead of from someone who has a bit of science knowledge and a whole lot of need to wield it on behalf of their polemic.

    “Showing pictures of brains look different and their function must be different to and we can’t compare them is not only misleading, its wrong.”

    Here is the sentence under that photo: “If brain structure differs this plainly between species, then surely brain function does as well.” And in fact, that is verifiably true, so it is neither misleading nor wrong. One simple example is that the brain structures for vision are significantly different (this is a scientific designation; “significant” has statistical and verifiability meanings) across different species and that correlates directly to function.

    “Its the equivalent of the creationist vs evolutionary scientist idea in which the creationist says dinosaurs existed the same time as humans because the earth isn’t that old and the fossil record is wrong and one of the backups of this claims is “you weren’t there. you dont know.” No offense intended, but similarily saying “all I see are brains they look different and all I can trust is what I see/experience.”

    This is where your reasoning is starting to really get away from you. Creationists believe what they do because of their faith-based belief in the literal truth of the Bible. That isn’t about “seeing” or “experiencing” directly. Conversely (and in fact) science *only* has what can be “seen” directly. We know that “seeing” in a scientific sense includes tests and other methods that enhance human “seeing” (really, enhancing all our senses) and that hypotheses that can be tested is the way that we “experience” the facts of the tests and methods. I can’t think of anything that is less analogous to faith-based beliefs.

    “This viewpoint is very naive and undercuts feminism itself.”

    You make no attempt to show how this has anything to do with feminism, but I’ll bite anyway. This is your version of the age old claim: “You’re ruining feminism.” But here’s the thing, feminism is perfectly capable of withstanding any number of individual women doing their own thing. That’s because it is not dependent on individual ideas or behavior. Feminism is a political and philosophical idea that stands on its own, individual women’s naiveté notwithstanding.

    “Neuro research with animals has led us to use animals as a simpler model of the complex bain. Our brain did not suddenly evovle- it went through developments from a simpler brain . Animal models allow us to understand how that simpler brain looks like and has helped us with so many scientific breakthroughs in Alzenheimers, Parkinsons, Diabetes, Cancer Research- you name it. All because we were able to use animal models such as a fly that has smaller amount of neurons to test certain procedures. In biology, a lot of the elemtns are conserved: such as cells (neurons or otherwise) follow the similar structure shape and patterns. Theres patterns in biology everywhere. Not taking advantage of that because human beings are more complex is detrimental to us.”

    This mishmash is a combination of outright distortion, misunderstanding of scientific claims, false conflation, and science-y sounding stuff that doesn’t come out to actually mean anything. First of all, “animal models” have been wrong when applied to humans. This post gives multiple examples; Google will provide you with many more. If the analogy between brains were as straightforward as you claim, this wouldn’t be a huge problem in science.

    Secondly, the idea of a “simple” brain is not simple. Animals, in general, are not “simpler” forms of humans. The idea that they are is thousands of years old, predates human dissection, and serves as much to confuse as to inform because individual differences between animals are more profound than the overall similarities and “simplicity” (whatever that might mean, from amount to dependency to obscurity) is not a hallmark that necessarily matters. It’s true that all animals are built from the same types of cells and molecules. But as animals branch out from that in changes to morphology, moving beyond the wholly biochemical (which can be analogized between different animals) to the evolutionarily adaptive (which includes things like complex bacterial adaptations, of which no scientist would claim had a perfect analog in humans) to “social” (a fraught term across the sciences) behavior among even creatures and collections of cells we consider too “simple” to have such (including the odd “behavior” of some cancers), we see that “simple” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Given the size of the animal kingdom, it is accurate to say that only a small handful of animals have brain structures that are closely analogous to those of humans. The fact that many animals have what we call brains and brain cells does not mean that those structures have either direct evolutionary connection with our own or that the structures and functions of those brains can be studied in lieu of studying human brains. Shorter: We did not evolve from fruit flies. Nor did other animals evolve from fruit flies. And merely having the same cells does not mean that there is a useful pattern to study.

    There *have* been useful studies done on animals around Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (let’s stick to brain research; diabetes is not analogous to gender). And those were done through biochemistry, not behavior, which is the core purpose of this blog.

    “In terms of feminism, BIID, gender dysphoria and etc CAN and SHOULD be studied in animals. BIID for example is when the brain doesn’t recognize a certain limb as part of the person’s body image. That has to do with a part of the brain lacking space allotted for the recognition of that limb. Studying it in smaller models allows us to EFFICIENTLY see how any brain human or otherwise has somatosensory “maps” in which parts of the brain are literally allotted to parts of the body we use more/recognize. If we are able to prove this with research, we prove that BIID is indeed a legitimiate issue in which the person has the ability to choose for themselves if they want to remove that limb and it shouldn’t be up to anyone else.”

    This is where you go completely off the scientific rails. Science works like this. Someone comes up with an idea (a hypothesis, something they believe is happening) and they use methods to test that hypothesis. They get results and compare those to the hypothesis. This is done repeatedly by multiple scientists to prove the hypothesis is correct or incorrect, then to adapt accordingly. When enough scientists have verified something it becomes a theory (something considered stable and consistent in science, like the theory of gravity). In all the centuries that people have been testing on animals, with all kinds of hypotheses and claims, no one has yet come to the place of having a theory about a non-human animal sense of self, sense of body, or any other form of self-consciousness. They certainly have not come up with a theory of the fruit fly’s sense of self, sense of their body, or anything like that. In other words, there is no starting place for testing animals for BIID because we have no reason to believe that they have it in the first place.

    Which means that you just want to use animals the way they have always been used: Let’s cut them open for our own selfish purposes. What is grotesque in your suggestion is what is grotesque in the all the uses of sentient animals’ bodies in this way. It positions human needs as fundamentally and intractably more important than the bodily integrity, pain, suffering, loss, and death of non-human animals. You are claiming that it is perfectly fine to experiment on animals for something we have no proof of animals suffering from because a handful of humans have this disorder. No amount of reflecting this back to you will probably make a difference. But even hide-bound scientists with years of animal experimentation behind them are now admitting that animal consciousness and sentience should prevent ideas such as yours from being seriously considered.

    Beyond that, this is also where your true intent comes out. It’s actually not that you want BIID to be legitimized through animal research (which is absurd on the face; no one has yet to prove that animals have the equivalent of human angst over socially-constructed ideas of appearance), it’s that you want science to legitimize the very libertarian idea that what an individual chooses for themselves should be legitimized as the greatest good. So through that we can see that if you really are a feminist as you claim, it is of the libertarian/liberal variety. In which case you should read this before commenting here further:

    http://liberationcollective.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/socialization-matters-why-identity-libertarianism-is-failed-politics/

    “Using animal models is proof that being gay or trans or however you identify yourself, is not influenced by “pop culture” but our brain itself and its only through the use of animal models and research can this understanding develop.”

    This is where it is clear that you really don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no legitimized animal brain research that shows “gay” being in the brain. There isn’t even any legitimized HUMAN brain research that shows “gay” being in the brain. The discovery that there are homosexual animals happened entirely through observation of behavior. Feminists and other social scientists hypothesize that homosexuality is “socially constructed” — your mischaracterizing that as something to do with “pop culture” shows a significant confusion on your part.

    And beyond this glaring lack of scientific knowledge (both biology and social science), you plainly haven’t bothered to read anything at this very site. Here, start with this:

    http://sexnotgender.com/brain-sex-does-not-exist/

    “I don’t need to spell out for anyone why that is critical to our rights and that only through recent scientific advancements have we as a society been able to progress so much for human rights itself.”

    Do monkeys get married? Do crawfish express their enduring love for their mates through contracts? Do fruit flies bond for life through complex, socially-supported rituals? I could snark like this forever, but I think the point is made. “Animal models” are not the reason that gay and lesbian people can now get married. Rather, the “born that way” hypothesis sounds reasonable enough to a enough people that they are willing to accept it as true even though science has NOT proven that it’s true. But more than that, there are a ton of lesbian and gay people who are plainly going about their normal human lives without hurting anyone by forming contractual relationships. That is how human society makes policy/political decisions.

    And finally, science is not a steadily “advancing” human pursuit. The history and the human aspects of science itself (it is deeply fallible humans doing the hypothesizing, testing, and theorizing after all) show that for every step forward there are hundreds or even thousands of steps backward, sideways, and into deep dark pits that either led nowhere or worse, to faulty conclusions that confused generations of scientists. The only cure for bad science is more science (more hypothesizing and testing), but that does not mean that all science is either necessary or good.

  30. Hello everyone,

    With or without animal research humans know so very little about our brains or genomes; making any kind of definitive statement is hasty, and not something scientists actually do (people who write news stories about science notwithstanding). I think the most you’ll hear from a scientist is that because it works this way in animals, it is possible to work the same in humans, but we need further testing.

    Frankly if most of these studies didn’t require dissection I would be volunteering for them left and right. I would happily do my part to advance the understanding of whatever the heck is wrong with me. That’s why there are so few good studies on this I think, many of them require the person to be very dead, and current model transsexual treatments haven’t even been around for a full lifetime yet.

    Hopefully someday we will know more than ‘I think’ or ‘possible correlate’ but I’m not sure when if ever that will be. Until then, I think making any claims of definitive science on the matter would be hasty, and frankly wrong.

    Thank you,
    -Kat

  31. Tobysgirl · ·

    Super reply, Noanodyne, to a goofy, poorly written load of nonsense.

  32. LOL. “Frankly if most of these studies didn’t require dissection I would be volunteering for them left and right.”

    You don’t get to volunteer hon. You’re conscripted, and were from the moment the doctor said “It’s a girl”. You will be dissected and vivesected up the ying yang from puberty to menopause and beyond. And you have very
    little to say about it, let alone any kind of decision involvement like VOLUNTEERING for it. If you think it hasn’t already begun with you, think again.
    .

  33. Okay, this forum went awry fairly quickly. I’m here because of the videos out there that show at least one cat attacking it’s own legs and of at least two dogs, one attacking it’s rear leg which it appears to be trying to interfere with his enjoyment of his bone, and the other dog is refusing to share his bowl of food with his own tail. These three mentioned animals appear quite viciously angry with their own body parts. Oh, but animals can’t have BIID can they.

  34. Tobysgirl · ·

    I find this comment absurd. Animals who have been abused, caged, and/or neglected will engage in such behaviors; stress causes all sorts of bizarre reactions, and many of them have been noted in zoos and animal “parks.” No animal who has been lovingly cared for will intentionally harm themselves. Are we now to extrapolate that the same is true of humans who wish to mutilate their own bodies?

  35. Think about this Tobysgirl, I never said where they were at the time of these incidents… the cat and one of those dogs were filmed on their loving human family’s couches, not in some cage or laboratory. The other dog was in the owner’s back yard… not a zoo. Therefore, I find your comment very absurd, and because you make it while totally un-informed.

  36. Tobysgirl · ·

    From watching videos, you know that these animals were in loving, compassionate families. Wow! 1) Animals often have histories, not usually available watching videos. 2) I adopted a dog at age nine years who had been with her guardian since age eight weeks; guardian could no longer handle the dog due to behavioral issues. The behavioral issues were essentially caused by the guardian’s tenseness and rigidity and a poor, albeit typical, diet. This dog beat herself with a Kong, a heavy rubber toy modeled on a VW shock absorber. It was quite easy to figure out that beating herself produced endorphins, which relieved her terrible anxiety. 3) No animal raised lovingly and compassionately self-harms. The problem comes because most people do not understand what lovingly and compassionately means. Not beating an animal and feeding it are bare minimums of decent treatment. The guardian of the dog I adopted did not mean to be cruel, but the human was unconscious and unaware of what she was doing.

    I will repeat, no human child or animal will self-harm who has been lovingly cared for. There is always a reason for self-harm.

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