For the sake of science

Today is the final scan of the current set of experiments, so I need to sacrifice the mice. Usually I needed to sacrifice them immediately after scanning, so I would kill them by breaking the neck as humanely as possible. But today I didn’t need to kill them immediately, so we could do it by another method. That is, with a gas chamber. So we put them inside, filled the chamber with CO2, and that’s it. The mice will struggle, and die.

When we performed the sacrifice, the research officer who accompanied me asked, “Do you believe in God?” Crap. I don’t know why, but this question always resurfaces again and again whenever I am about to sacrifice some mice. Previously it was between me and my Buddhist professor, and today it was between this self-professed Christian and a Bangladeshi Muslim. So, these two Abrahamic believers were about to imitate what their forefather had done a few millennia ago. He added, “Sorry, boy [saying to the mouse], I know it is painful, but it is for the sake of science.” The concept of sacrifice is never really abandoned after all by humans. Previously it was to appease the anger of the gods, and now in the name of scientific progress.

I wonder what makes me different from the Nazi, who put millions of Jews mercilessly into gas chambers to death. (It’s still a hell lot of difference, I guess.) Not to mention that they, too, performed many inhuman experiments (with humans!) for the sake of science.

On one occasion, before the mouse died, the research officer said, “He is seeing the angels now.” I sure hoped it did.

4 thoughts on “For the sake of science

  1. pedro

    So what did you answer, after he asked you “Do you believe in God?” You didn’t say in your post. Or you just let the moment slip by?

    Anyway, for the sake of science (or whatever) isn’t enough to convince me that such sacrifice is necessary. Imagine, all aspiring scientists are required to take Christians Ethics 101 (depending on who teaches them), would there still be scientific experiments?

    So my take is, instead of science, I chose Body Shop! ;)

    Reply
    1. septian Post author

      I answered that I do, and that’s why we came to know each other’s religion (well, for me it’s easier since he is a Bangladeshi anyway). And then he shared how once upon a time he was asked to kill an entire colony of 50 mice! Not fun at all.

      For now, I think you could say that animal sacrifice is similar to “just war” theory. You know it’s bad but it seems to be inevitable, thus what you can do is to make rules such that the war is as humane as possible (minimum number of victims, minimum number of collateral damage, etc.) — thus said the proponents of the theory.

      And, The Body Shop has its own controversy, right.. :p
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Body_Shop#Controversy

      Reply

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