Monday, July 28, 2008

Animal Testing - Both sides

The use of animals in medical experimentation has had been one of the most controversial divisive issues since the seventeenth century. Edward Freeman, one of the most distinguished of recent English historians stated, “The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, faithful animal race form the blackest chapter in the whole world’s history”. It is estimated that 200 million animals suffer and die in the name of research every year. People say We have rights over animals. At no point and time should we ever justify ourselves through the pain and suffering of another being. The better informed individuals are about the issues, the more rational and logical their actions will be. Humans use animals in experiments without noticing that animals can feel and suffer just like humans do. Humans are heartless, wicked and merciless towards non-human animals; humans have no thought for the feelings and suffering which they inconsiderately cause on animals. The Bible says; “Then God said let us make man in our image … and let him have dominion over fish of the sea and the birds of the air, and over the cattle … and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” – Genesis 1:28. So many people mix this statement up, they’re like why should animals have rights, god doesn’t say they should! Well in the bible, it doesn’t say that we have the right to work the hell out of them, run them into the ground, brutally murder them, bash them, and maim them! It’s just like the way parents have domain over their children, they hold no right to use their children as tools, and they have no right to abuse them. It means they have the responsibility to care for them. Opposing to what many people believe, testing drugs on animals often give faulty results. Although animals may seem like the perfect species for testing new drugs, the experiments are unreliable and can cause unidentified side effects. Most medical and researcgers are of the view that humans and animals differ on a cellular and molecular level, and, importantly, that is where disease occurs." "We were finding, through scientific research, that extrapolating data from animals to humans is misleading, unnecessary, dangerous, or all three." Animal experiments do not solve medical problems or help us to improve in medical field. Opposite to a majority of the human population belief, animals are not perfect species to find treatments for diseases. An animal can experience different physical and psychological effects compare to a human experiences. It is also impossible to re-create a naturally occurring disease. The belief is held that animal experimentation is necessary in order for vaccines, cures and treatments for human illnesses to be effective. But, the fact of the matter is animals react differently than humans to various vaccines. Since humans and animals do not contract the same diseases, these diseases have to be induced onto the animals. In addition, experimental treatments that have been proven effective on animals need not necessarily work on people. Experimenting drugs on animals can keep safe drugs off the market and keep dangerous drugs available for humans. Animal testing is unreliable, and humans should begin to not trust the information given about a drug according to an animal test. Also, it is unfair to put them through excruciating experiments just to know if humans can wear a new sun block cream. Humans are better test subjects than animals are because it is impossible to re-create naturally occurring human diseases that arise from within, in a healthy animal or even in a healthy human. This is simply because once it is re-created it is artificial and no longer the original, natural disease. By re-creating a disease it is impossible to tell how the side effects have changed through reconstruction and the differences in the progression of the disease. When we re-create a disease, it is inevitable that vital information is lost to recreation alone, not even considering what is lost by the animal being injected with the human disease. There are many other ways to get the same results as humans receive from animal experiments. These methods are viewed as more moral, practical, effective, and less expensive, why wouldn’t we use these methods? Computers can often predict the toxicity of chemicals, including their potential to cause cancer or birth defects, based on their molecular structure. Computer simulations can also predict the metabolism and distribution of chemicals in human tissues. Animal Experiments have also put dangerous drugs on the market. "Protocol", a drug for heart disorders, that passed animal test was pulled off the shelves when the drug caused blindness in people. Also, arsenic, which is toxic and causes cancer in humans, has not caused cancer in any animals. More than half of the prescription drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in the past half century caused serious side effects that later caused the drugs to be removed from the market. Furthermore, animal experimentation can keep effective drugs off of the market. It’s very possible that many drugs that have been tested on animals were found to be deadly or involved serious side effects but if tested on humans could have been found to successfully cure or treat a specific disease. Even though animals sometimes have the same reactions to a disease or drug as humans do, usually the animals experience much different effects. There is also no way for experimenters to notice psychological effects on the animals; and the animals can’t tell experimenters how they feel and what they are experiencing. Animals cannot communicate through words so their frightened voices go unheard. Many important medical advances have been delayed because of misleading results derived from animals. Studies on monkeys falsely indicated that the polio virus was transmitted via a respiratory, rather than a digestive route. This erroneous assumption resulted in the delay in development of a vaccine. These inaccuracies in animal experimentation can be blamed for many deaths. For example, "milrinone", a drug that raises cardiac output, increased survival of rats with artificially induced heart failure. But humans taking this drug who had severe chronic heart failure had a 30% increase in death. A rat is different than a pig, which is different than a human. Since every species has their own differences, it is hard to predict any side effects that will occur in all the animals. The arguments for and against animal experimentation are going to continue for some time, both between the general public and those directly involved. Those who oppose animal testing believe that all testing associated with the use of laboratory animals should be banned immediately. However, one could argue by saying that a total ban on the use of animals will prevent a great deal of basic medical research, and the possible production of certain vaccines, No new medicines would develop and the safety of people would be at stake. On the other hand, the supporters of animal testing say that humans have always benefited from the health care developments that depended upon the activities of animal research and would continue to benefits from animal testing. There is a lot of pain that these animals have to undergo for testing; hence animal testing cannot be supported. At the same time animal testing cannot be banned immediately because it is our only successful channel to develop medicines and cures. While there has been promise to find alternatives to animal testing, the best researchers can do is try to reduce the animals being used. They can resort to new scanning technologies, which can assist doctors to learn the diseases from human without the actual necessity of animals. Computers can be used to replace the animals as it would reduce the necessity of live animal experiments. The development of substitute to animal experimentation will persistently gain impetus as people become more aware about the problem. Though it is difficult to eliminate animal testing completely, humans can prevent the animal testing by stop certain products that don’t necessary need animal testing. All humans can do now is try to reduce the animals being harmed in experiments to aim for benefiting society.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I have a dream that one day the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent life, known as abortion, will be abolished. Abortion is not fair to the child, after all he did nothing wrong and he deserves to live and not be killed. The child deserves a chance. I have a dream that Partial birth be considered a felony since the baby is aged nine weeks and partially delivered. Once the baby is partially born scissors get jammed into its neck and then a vacuum is applied to suck the brains out. This needs to be illegal because the baby is perfectly fine and ready to be born. It is murder in the first degree. I have a dream that all women and all men will be more responsible before they make big decisions in their life. They will live out the true meaning of their creed and have morals. They will not engage in irresponsible sex but wait until they are happily married. I have a dream that rape, assault, and molestation will be erased. A woman can be raped and get pregnant. She will not want to go through the nine months of pain and therefore abort her pregnancy. To eliminate this problem we must eliminate rape and any other situation related to rape. I have a dream that all alcohol and drug abuse will be eradicated. Both alcohol and drugs affect you neurologically which causes your brain to act abnormal. This makes you incoherent to your surroundings which can lead to rape. I have a dream that pregnant women will look at the fetus forming inside of them as a child and not a choice. Once the fetuses are fully grown it will be born and live a happy and wonderful life!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Does having a lot of money alone person make a person Happy? NO. definitely NO . but is it really NO? then why is it yes in our deeds? All of us want to make money to gain status, comfort and luxury. This money has brought; is bringing; and will bring so many differences between some of you and me. These differences will be later named as differences between the rich and the poor. One would experience happiness when a leads a luxurious life or when one has travelled around the world or when he had his meal in the most expensive hotel. Don't you feel I have missed out something in the above examples? yes, I have missed out the actual meaning of happiness. So - What exactly is happiness? Happiness is not actually leading a luxurious life but the luxury of living a peaceful ans content life. Happiness is not having a meal in the most famous restaurant but to have it with your most beloved family. Happiness is being sincerely able to wear a smile when you feel like crying. It is to shout at the top of your voice along with your family on the victory of Indian cricket team. Happiness is all about loving life. Chasing money will lead you nowhere because Money is like that shadow that tries to escape and runaway when we chase it; and chases us when we run away. Because money is like the sand which tries to escape more, the harder we try to hold it tightly within our fists. Therefore I feel money and happiness are not interrelated but chasing money and waste of time are in every way correlated. I feel one could not gain any thing more than what he is destined to. I feel that Money is only a Necessity but happiness is The Need of life. I feel it is now easy to answer the previous question; Is Money a Prerequisite For Happiness???

Friday, July 18, 2008

The art of Lying!

I am not a firm believer in the proverb 'Honesty is the best policy'. While I'm not denying that lying is morally incorrect, I truly believe that 'cushioning' the truth with a few white lies in our daily lives is more than acceptable.In fact, most lies are harmless. Untruths like 'I can't wait to read your book!', ‘Your pudding is divine', or 'that coat makes you look so handsome' are often told to make someone feel better. These fibs or white lies come up so often that the person on the receiving end can hardly feel betrayed or deceived.Often, people lie or rather exaggerate to get something in return. For instance, I sometimes tell my mother that the food in our office sucks and I’m so tired doing the laundry all by myself over the week. Well... as a matter of fact, the food really does suck and I’m really tired doing the laundryL..!! This never fails to strike a chord of sympathy with her and so I always end up getting royal treatment at home when I visit during the weekend. Now, can you imagine what my day would be like if I didn't say this? I'd be living on bread and biscuits all weekend!!!People also lie at the workplace or at school. Though the old 'the dog ate my homework' routine may not work any more, you might just get away with something else. And who is to say you are 'deceiving' your teacher? A tiny deviation from the truth is nothing to be ashamed of!Thus, deception to a certain extent is justified. In most scenarios, it makes people get along better or sometimes it is just a means to an end. Either ways, as long as there is no serious harm done, I believe a few white lies are imperative for any relationship to flourish.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Euthanasia - Mercy Killing or Plain murder?

Euthanasia, more commonly known as ‘mercy killing’, is a contentious issue that is debated more and more these days. Euthanasia is mainly associated with people with terminal illness or who have became incapacitated and don’t want to go through the rest of their life suffering. This subject has come to be a subject that has became very debatable in society. The sides are well distinguished with one group portraying the idea that everyone has the right to die because it is our life and we should be allowed to terminate that at anytime we feel the need. The other side of the argument is that this is wrong and it goes against religion and that this could very easily get out of control if not taken care of now.The Oxford English Dictionary defines euthanasia as `a gentle and easy death: bringing about of this, especially in the case of an incurable and painful disease`. One of the more common arguments in support of euthanasia is that it stops the pain of the terminally ill sufferer once and for all, so called ‘mercy killing’. Some people argue that if a patient were in a lot of pain and distress it would be better to give them an `easy` and humane death.
I feel that every human being has a natural inclination to continue living. Life should be valued, not abused, since everyone is only given one chance to live. Because death is final and irreversible, euthanasia contains within it the possibility that mistakes do happen and in fact an incorrect diagnosis is possible. If society condemns patients who are terminally ill and in the end a mistake in the diagnosis is discovered then the suffering and blame would not fall on technology but on society itself. Suffering is surely a terrible thing and society has a clear duty to comfort those in need and to ease their suffering when it can. But suffering is also a natural part of life with values for the individual and for others that we should not overlook. Knowing that a life can be taken at any time will incline people to give up too easily, hence seeking an escape in euthanasia.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reservations- Boon or Bane???

Reservations have today become a big reality in the present day India. All the governments that come and go are only busy in giving more and more reservation to the different castes or groups in the society. It is time we cease judging people based on caste focus on their true character. For two pivotal considerations -- that Reservation harms its intended beneficiaries, that it punishes the most innocent and industrious of persons, Reservation in India is to aid previously persecuted minorities, yet, in reality, such initiatives harm their intended beneficiaries. Today many of our countrymen will refuse to visit an SC/ST/OBC/Dalit physician or dentist because of their assumption that he or she was admitted to medical college through 'special preferences', set-aside quotas, and relaxed standards. The same is true for many other professionals and for other beneficiaries of caste Reservation. Even if a minority professional is a qualified practitioner, he or she would be shunned due to the stereotype, created by Reservation, that he or she is a puppet of special interest.Moreover, Caste based Reservation punishes the so called upper class/non-minority workers and students, many of whom would be the most innocent and industrious of persons. Through Reservation, people are kept down because of the past actions of their ancestors. The innocent are punished because of what the guilty have done.
Reservation has today become a major social issue and therefore needs a more depth solution for this problem. So far most of the governments have used reservation for more political benefits and less for the benefits of the people
At present, we need to get the right solution for the peoples’ problems and not just implement newer and newer reservations. As per our constitution, there should be no discrimination on the basis of the religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth but unthoughtful reservation policies are only altering with the basic right of every Indian. Moreover, these reservations are also dividing Indians on the name of castes or groups which is a sign of a concern for our nation in the long run and if not properly dealt, can have harsh impact on the calm social climate of India.
Some ways by which the playing field can be made level for all are:
-Provide improved primary/secondary education so that the Dalits can match steps with the others.
-Offer quotas to the economically-deprived across all communities.
-Increase the slice of the educational pie by creating more seats in the open category.

Please share your thoughts...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Capital Punishment - Both sides

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with an intentional or criminal intent. Many believe that these criminals deserve one fate: death. The death penalty, is the maximum sentence used in punishing people who kill another human being - and is a very controversial method of punishment. In most states, a person convicted of first degree murder has the potential to be given the death penalty. Capital punishment is a subject that can be counted upon to stir emotion and controversy into
any conversation or argument. The very concept provokes a profusion of valid questions and opinions. Today's daily world of crime and violence calls for punishment of a severe nature, and many citizens argue that the punishment necessary is the death penalty. These people quote passages such as the "an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" concept from the Old Testament of the Bible.
Opponents of the death penalty claim that sentencing a person to death does not change the reality of the situation; the harm already done simply cannot be fixed from a vengeance standpoint. You cannot bring the murdered person back by taking the prisoner's life and that by executing a prisinor, you are only making the person vanish or non existent and that doesn't give them the opportunity to repent or even suffer for the crime that has been committed. Proponents of capital punishment tend to defend their opinion mainly on two grounds: death is a fitting punishment for murder, and executions maximize public safety through incapacitation and deterrence. So what do you think? Share your thoughts!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Taliban

We are all aware about the brutality that was unleashed by the taliban regime in Afghanistan. Khaled hossani has tried to bring the plight of the Afghan Women with his book "A Thousand Splendid Suns". I was horrified beyond words to learn aboout the barbaric regime that the people of Afghanistan endured.

The following list offers only an abbreviated glimpse of the hellish lives Afghan women were forced to lead under the Taliban, and can not begin to reflect the depth of female deprivations and sufferings. Taliban treated women worse than they treat animals. In fact, even as Taliban declared the keeping of caged birds and animals illegal, they imprisoned Afghan women within the four walls of their own houses. Women have no importance in Taliban eyes unless they are occupied producing children, satisfying male sexual needs or attending to the drudgery of daily housework.

Taliban restrictions of women:
Complete ban on women's work outside home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in some hospitals in Kabul.

Complete ban on women's activity outside home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).

Ban on women dealing with male shopkeepers.
Ban on women being treated by male doctors.

Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution.

women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.

Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a man.

Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles.

Public stoning(till death) of lovers.

Ban on the use of cosmetics. Women wearing nail polish have had fingers cut off.

Ban on women talking or shaking hands with males who aren't Mahram.

Ban on women laughing loudly. No stranger should hear a woman's voice.

Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.

Ban on women riding in a taxi without a mahram.

Ban on women's presence in radio, television or public gatherings of any kind.

Ban on women playing sports or entering a sport center or club.

Ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles, even with their mahrams.

Ban on women's wearing brightly colored clothes. In Taliban terms, these are "sexually attracting colors."

Ban on women gathering for festive occasions such as the Eids, or for any recreational purpose.

Ban on women washing clothes next to rivers or in a public place.

Modification of all place names including the word "women." For example, "women's garden" has been renamed "spring garden".

Ban on women appearing on the balconies of their apartments or houses.

Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.

Ban on male tailors taking women's measurements or sewing women's clothes.

Ban on males and females traveling on the same bus. Public buses had been designated "males only" or "females only".

Ban on flared (wide) pant-legs, even under a burqa.

Ban on the photographing or filming.

Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.

Apart from the above restrictions on women, the Taliban had:
-Banned listening to music.
- Banned the watching of movies, television and videos.
- Banned celebrating the traditional new year (Nowroz) on March 21. The Taliban proclaimed the holiday un-Islamic.
- Disavowed Labor Day (May 1st), because it is deemed a "communist" holiday.
- Ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.
- Forced haircuts upon Afghan youth.
- Ordered that men wear Islamic clothes and a cap.
- Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards, which should grow long enough to protrude from a fist clasped at the point of the chin.
- Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.
- Banned the keeping of pigeons and playing with the birds, describing it as un-Islamic. The violators will be imprisoned and the birds shall be killed. The kite flying has also been stopped.
- Spectators in stadia who clap their hands or cheer shall have their palms chopped off.
- Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed.
- Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.
- All boy students must wear turbans. They say "No turban, no education".
- Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just like what did Nazis with Jews.
- Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.
And so on...

Faith and Reason

How many of you think that God is an external entity waiting to punish us for the mistakes we commit? Often I have seen friends of mine offering considerable sums of money to temples, churches etc... Do you believe that such offerings will actually help "God" in carrying out special favours for you? Then what is the difference between 'God" and a corrupt politician? Is this faith or some kind of fear or rather superstition? What exactly is the basis of faith in God? How is that all the cultures in the world, however disconnected they were from each other, came up with their own idea of a God? Is this a mere coincidence? How can we explain God? And if we can, there are religions which contradict another religions beliefs... so does that mean that some religions are right and some are wrong?????