The scienceblogs team seems to be forming a united front on at least one specific issue: in support of research in the face of animal rights extremists. This is prompted by the case of a researcher in drug addiction whose home was vandalized by domestic terrorists, and who has written an op-ed defending the use of animals in research.
I said at length what I think about animal research several years ago, in our biology discipline’s policy statement on dissection. It’s pretty darned simple: we can’t figure out how something we don’t understand works without studying the subject. We can’t learn more about cells without studying cells; we can’t learn more about animals without studying animals; software simulations and thought experiments do not substitute.