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stop bodyworlds 2!

Treat the human body with dignity!

Stop Bodyworlds 2! Treat the human body with dignity! Starting July 30, 2006, the Boston Museum of Science will presenting “Body worlds 2 The Anatomical Exhibition of Real human Bodies.”  What is it? 200 specimens that have been sliced, diced, freeze dried, coated in plastic. There is just one problem. They are not “specimens.” They are human bodies.

Want to help? Go Here. Join me when I picket at the museum. I will be there at 11 AM  on Monday July 31st. The exhibit will have opened the previous day, and it is possible the news media will be in attendance. Five or ten people will make a bigger impact than one person. Bring poster board.

This exhibit shows profound disrespect for the human body and condition.  I urge the Museum to reconsider its having the exhibit in light of this. I saw the exhibit in Cleveland last summer, and have been uneasy about it ever since.  The macabre process is definitely fascinating.   However, just because something can be done does not mean it should be done.  The fact the people have donated their bodies is irrelevant. They have surrendered their right to privacy, but it is not in their power to surrender their right to dignity.  It is incumbent on us the living to treat the dead with dignity, no matter what the “subjects” may have intended or authorized.  It is our moral duty to treat the dead with dignity and it is our right to expect our remains to be treated the same way. Certainly, there is nothing dignified in dying. Death, however, conveys its own dignity.  Out of respect to ourselves we should respect those who have preceded us.

This exhibit has a veneer of science, or even pseudo-science about it. In fact this is just a cover for a display of technical virtuosity.  This so-called scientific purpose cannot hide the fact of an unmerciful assault on the dignity of the dead.  The dead cannot thank us for treating their bodies with dignity; this does not absolve us of the responsibility to do so.

The exhibit contains a lot of lightly veiled propaganda to justify itself, and to convince people to donate their bodies to the cause.  The exhibit is more about show business and about money, than about science.  If it was about science, should not the countervailing view be mentioned?  I did not see any sign that the exhibit might be questionable in Cleveland.  This exhibit could have been virtually identical without using actual bodies.  Since this is the case, the use of bodies adds nothing but sensationalism. This is the crux of my argument.  The unnecessary use of bodies is a desecration, and means the exhibit is actually about the process of preserving and displaying.  Any claim that the exhibit is about health or education is fraudulent.

I call on Museum of Science members as well as the general public to ask the leadership of the Museum to reconsider giving a home to this travesty. Please contact the Museum to make your views known.  We need to demand that our leading institutions pay heed, and not just lip service, to the ethical implications of their work, or their exhibits.

Boston is civilized. Boston is thoughtful. Boston knows better. Boston deserves better.

                            Aaron Ginsburg, Sharon, Massachusetts. June, 2006

How can you help? Contact me at dignityinboston@gmail.com. Sign and view the  Petition.  Visit the comments page and, if you wish, add your thoughts.  Help is also needed to defray printing and advertising costs. Want to join me when I picket the museum? Let me know.

To express your opinion to the Museum you may call 617-723-2500. .  Should you wish to picket the museum, here are some suggestions for signs. Please maintain a dignified approach.

On Wednesday June 7th, 2006 at 11:00 AM I will be in front of the museum to announce this campaign and to begin informational picketing.

Update: I demonstrated in front of the museum from 11:00 to 11:30 AM, during a monsoon. No one saw me, but the story was written up in the Boston Herald and the Patriot Ledger. ...continued