Big Science is Murder

I was recently asked to comment on the role alcohol plays in teen culture by the alumni magazine of the State University of New York at Binghamton--my alma mater--where Linda Patia Spear is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology. Dr. Spear is known for "her pioneering work in the field of developmental pharmacology." Spear's current research into the neurobehavioral and developmental effects of alcohol and cocaine exposure is funded at about $1.5 million, largely through national grants. This research involves animal experimentation, mainly getting rats addicted and checking out their brains. Apparently, the brains of rats and kids are similar. I declined the interview, asking why the dedicated Dr. Spears didn't experiment directly on teenage runaways, or poor people, or inmates, or homeless Americans---why not test our important theories on powerless human life forms? Now that our government condones torture of suspected terrorists, we have even more prospects for advancing Big (corporate) Science. And what about the relationship between animal cruelty and teen culture? Under the banner of science, America's large research universities have been steadfast contributors to the institutionalized suffering and misery of animals. Of course human addiction has biological, cultural and social origins, but the level of insanity and alienation inherent in animal experiments is glaringlydisturbing to young people. Does Dr. Spears know how many teenagers today are vegan, green eco-activists? Opposed to all forms of animal testing? Does anyone really think this research will impact young people now embarking upon high school drinking and drugging careers? Will the complex constellation of variables that contribute to underage drinking be altered as a result of hapless rats are being systematically shot up, strung out and tossed in Binghamton? Last weekend, The Open Center ( hosted a three day conference featuring postmodern theologian Matthew Fox, energy medicine's pioneering Dr. Carolyn Myss and mystic activist Andrew Harvey. These Buddheo-Christian light warriors mapped out the broad-based spiritual activism needed as Apocalyptica explodes around us. Science and faith are converging in the new century. I'm sorry Sr. Spear couldn't attend. Maybe I'll send her some reiki on a prayer. May God's loving kindness cleanse your heart and your labs, Dr. Spear. May you learn to use your gifts to uplift the planet, not plunder it. Do it for the rats and the kids, okay?