Thursday, December 14, 2006
A report by a group of leading biomedical researchers, chaired by David Weatherall, has concluded, according to THE TIMES that 'Experiments with monkeys are “morally required” as the only way to answer scientific questions of crucial importance to human health, an expert inquiry said yesterday.' I am not qualified to evaluate the scientific claim herein, namely that 'scientific questions of crucial importance to human health' can only be answered by undertaking experiments involving primates. I have some doubts, as surely, experiments involving humans should yield even better results. Be that as it may, though, an ethical case for primate research could not possibly be made even if that statement was correct. It is not possible to derive a moral ought from this observation. To be fair, however, this conclusion was cooked up by a TIMES journalist. The actual report contains a reasonably sophisticated analysis of the ethical issues involved.