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Sunday, October 1st, 2006

Time Event
9:19a
103605 What makes us human
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/01/coverstory.tm/index.html

Editor's note: The following is a summary of this week's Time magazine cover story.

(Time.com) -- You don't have to be a biologist or an anthropologist to see how closely the great apes -- gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans -- resemble us.

Even a child can see that their bodies are pretty much the same as ours, apart from some exaggerated proportions and extra body hair. Apes have dexterous hands much like ours but unlike those of any other creature. And, most striking of all, their faces are uncannily expressive, showing a range of emotions that are eerily familiar.

It isn't just a superficial resemblance. Chimps, especially, not only look like us, they also share with us some human-like behaviors. They make and use tools and teach those skills to their offspring.

They prey on other animals and occasionally murder each other. They have complex social hierarchies and some aspects of what anthropologists consider culture. They can't form words, but they can learn to communicate via sign language and symbols and to perform complex cognitive tasks.

Scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98 percent to 99 percent identical to humans at the genetic level. When it comes to DNA, a human is closer to a chimp than a mouse is to a rat.
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7:24p
Hundreds of thousands of biological and chemical tests on Americans by the United States Government
.

• A 1994 United States Senate Report, entitled "Is military research hazardous to veterans health? Lessons spanning a half century," detailed the United States' Department of Defense practice of experimenting on animal and human subjects, often without a latter's knowledge or consent...Chemical_warfare#United_States_Senate_Report

Operation Whitecoat was the name given to a secret operation carried out by US Army during 1954-1973, which included conducting medical experiments on volunteers nicknamed as ‘White Coats’. The volunteers provided by Seventh-day Adventist Church participated in the research by their own consent... Operation Whitecoat

Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Further reading:

• Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans for $4, which includes shipping.

• Two scholarly articles, with a link in the Nuremberg Code, which came from the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis: Nuremberg_Code#Further_reading

Green_report


Nuremberg Trials defense: the Americans committed war crimes too

Historian Larry Bernard states:

In the Nuremberg Medical Trial, the defense tried to show that there was no difference between what the Nazi doctors did and what U.S. doctors did in Stateville Prison, Joliet, Ill., by experimenting with a malaria vaccine on prisoners. In rebuttal, prosecutors summoned Andrew Ivy, a medical researcher and vice president of the University of Illinois at Chicago in charge of the medical school and its hospitals...Ivy...asked Illinois Gov. Dwight Green to form an ad hoc committee...That committee never met, yet Ivy went to Nuremberg and testified that the committee issued a report, known as the Green report. Ivy actually wrote the report alone, justifying the prison research and refusing to acknowledge any parallels to the Nazis. That report later was published in JAMA and was used as a basis in subsequent decades to justify medical research on U.S. prisoners...The Green report refused to concede even a remote moral similarity between the experimental atrocities committed in Nazi concentration camps and the medical tests carried out in U.S. prisons during the war.

"Ivy's stance can be seen as a symptom of a broader refusal among U.S. medical scientists to draw lessons from their actions from the Nuremberg Medical Trial," Harkness writes. "But Andrew Ivy's posture was more than just representative; Ivy also helped to create this widespread attitude. His thoughts and deeds during the trial . . . contributed to a widespread failure among U.S. medical scientists to grapple with the difficult ethical questions about their own work that the Nuremberg Medical Trial might have raised. In effect, as Ivy assured the judges in Nuremberg that there was nothing ethically suspect about experimentation with prisoners in the U.S., he sent the same message to his U.S. colleagues." --This articles is linked to in the Green report wikipedia article


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