you know, i tend to bust Matt when he doesn’t blog for weeks because “nothing exciting happens”. well…he can bust me this time.
and i’m not going to be on for a little while after this. i’m out for a bit over a week to the APV and AALAS meetings. my plane leaves in a few hours for the glorious metropolis of salt lake city. whoever decided to host a major conference in this unenlightened (read: f’ed up booze laws) backwoods needs to have their head handed to them. i’m coming prepared, with 3 very nice bottles of wine, to meet up with the JH peeps (also bearing wine), and Suz (bearing some sort of liquor), and a good time will be had by all.
i get this email last week from the AALAS crew about how the protesters are making e-rumblings about showing up in force at the meeting. then it says that we should “not engage these people, as they only want the attention.” note that in the meeting program, there are several sessions about the dangers of animal rightists and techniques for positive advocacy. sigh. this is one of the biggest problems with my industry: so few of us are willing at all to speak out about what we do. some people are genuinely intimidated by the nutsos (all the more reason to be strong, i think), whereas a whole lot of us see the whole situation as unfathomably silly. that whole “i won’t even dignify that with a response” bit. we all *know* at such a deep and obvious level that we’re in the right, that we have our science-blinders on and fail to notice that the “you evil bastards kill puppies!!!!” that we roll our eyes at (it’s utterly silly, inaccurate, hyperbole…where do they come up with this crap?) does in fact have an impact with the lay public. you know, those people we do this research for in the first place.
a speaker at one of the recent national AALAS meetings said something to this effect: the animal rightists tell easy lies while we have to counter with difficult truths. and that’s very true. it’s easy to tell someone “we have to do this to find a cure for cancer so your grandma won’t die,” but try explaining to a layperson why basic science research needs to be done. the more abstract our goals are (cellular calcium channel signaling mechanisms), the less connection the public can have with them. it’s tough, but keep on shouting out, science peeps.