Feb 28, 2011

Arguments against vegetarianism

A couple days ago I asked you via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to send me the best (or worst) arguments against vegetarianism that you either use yourself in debates on this subject, or you've heard other people use. And I specifically said I am talking about vegetarianism as a concept (idea), and not about your own personal preference to eat meat or not.

As I promised, I'm now going to address your arguments, but please keep in mind that this is NOT an attempt to convince YOU to become vegetarians. My goal with this particular post is simply to demonstrate that trying to argue against OTHER people being vegetarians is nonsensical, and maybe (hopefully) convince some of you to stop doing it. This is probably going to be a mile long, so feel free to just scroll down to the argument you personally find the most compelling. I will also appreciate it if you could spare a minute to read my request at the end. So here is what you've sent me, along with my rebuttals:

  • Meat is tasty. 

Fine. I understand that most of you like it. But what you're basically saying here is "I personally like the taste of meat, therefor everyone else should eat it too". Can you see the logical flaw in that ? I started off with this argument because it is at the same time the most common and the most irrational of all. I know that for some of you it is virtually impossible to stop eating meat. I am the same way with sugar. I crave it everyday, even several times a day.I know it would be a permanent struggle for me to live without icecream, chocolate and so on. But this does not constitute in any way a basis for me arguing that everybody else should eat what I eat, just because I personally like it and crave it.

  • Humans are omnivores. Vegetarianism is unnatural.

This is the first of what I categorize as "arguments from nature". I know that some vegetarian and vegan activists claim the opposite, that it is unnatural for humans to eat meat. Both positions annoy me to no end. Yes, humans are omnivores, since we can eat and get nutrients from both plants and animals.

But why should we derive an "ought" from an "is" ? Just because we are naturally omnivores it doesn't mean we also MUST be omnivores. News flash people: biology is not destiny. Something being "natural" doesn't automatically make it mandatory, or even desirable for that matter.

People may not be "naturally" monogamous, but this shouldn't stop one from making the decision of having only one partner, if this is what they wish to do. Nature is not some sort of God who makes rules about what's right or wrong. That's why we have airplanes even if it's "unnatural" for humans to fly, and we have contraception even if it's "unnatural" to have sex without the purpose of reproduction, and why some of us are monogamous and why some of us are vegetarians and so on.

  • Humans have canines. 

This is a variation of the same claim discussed above, and I'm not gonna dwell on it for long because - and I'm sorry if I offend anyone - this argument is just plain dumb. Horses have canine teeth too. So what ? If you really find this argument compelling you should try ripping a dead cow (I mean a carcass, uncooked) with your bare teeth, see how successful you are.

  • Meat-eating is evolutionary advantageous because, without meat, it would have been unlikely for proto-humans to get enough energy and nutrition from the plants available in their African environment. A high-protein diet was essential in developing our large brain.
I'm not the one to deny this. However, this argument is absolutely irrelevant to people living today in developed countries, where we have access to protein-rich vegetarian diets that simply render meat-eating unnecessary. You have to acknowledge the simple fact that you don't eat meat because you NEED it to survive, you eat it because you LIKE the taste of it. Which brings me to the next point:

  • Vegetarian diets are unhealthy. 
 This is pure bollox, as anyone who has the interest to do some basic 5 minutes research can find out. All (ALL!) the necessary proteins, nutrients and amino acids can be found in vegetables, nuts, grains, eggs and dairy. In fact, vegetarian diets contain lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein (that's why vegetarians are at much lower risks of heart disease, cancers of the esophagus, colon or liver, renal disease, cerebro-vascular disease and so on) and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals (especially magnesium and potassium) and antioxidants.

The benefits of vegetarian diets and the health risks of meat-consumption abuse are basically non-debatable in the fields of nutrition and food science. Not to mention that anyone falling for this argument must ignore all the people who are living perfectly healthy lives on vegetarian diets, whether they do it for religious reasons (nearly half a billion vegetarians living in India alone), for health reasons, or out of concern for animal welfare (which is my reason for being a vegetarian for some 8 years now).

The "risks" most of you elaborated on are not relevant to vegetarian diets, but vegan diets. For those of you who may not know the difference, vegetarians don't eat meat, while vegans don't consume anything that came from an animal (no diary, eggs, honey, etc).

It is true that as a vegan you may have to be more careful with your food and some vegans will need to take supplements (vitamin and mineral pills). Personally, I tried being a vegan for some 6 months and it didn't work out (apparently, my body cannot assimilate synthetic supplements that well, plus I'm not a very organized eater). Which is not to say that other people cannot manage to do it, there are millions of vegans worldwide and some of the spokespersons include athletes and bodybuilders.

 Now back to vegetarianism, I am sure you can name a couple of rare diseases or conditions where the person actually needs meat in their diet to be healthy.  But you can't possibly consider this a proper argument against vegetarianism overall.


  • Denying your own nature (being a vegetarian) is a psychological disorder.
I know some of you may gasp right now, but yes, some people did actually make this argument (as you can see on my facebook page). I find this too absurd to even try to debunk it, so you can just remember all the people saying that homosexuality is against nature and a mental disorder, and apply the refutations to this case as well.

  • Animals kill and eat other animals all the time, so why shouldn't we do it too?
This basically makes the transition from the "arguments from nature" to the "arguments from morality". Yes, animals kill eachother all the time. Animals also often kill eachother's youngs in order to eliminate the competition. We have laws against that. And unlike animals, we have healthcare systems, protection for minorities, social help for the disabled, laws against abuse at the work place, laws against sexual harassment, and so on. I'm sure you'll agree all of it is good stuff.

We even have laws against animal cruelty. But ofcourse, those laws are meant for our pets and for the pretty wildlife. But they don't really apply to cows or pigs or other animals that we use for meat consumption. Why is that ? Why should the torturing of a dog make one feel sick but the torturing of a pig should make one feel nothing ? And if you want to deny that most "meat animals" are, in fact, subjected to torture, you can watch THIS and the related videos on the right (warning: it's graphic).

This argument basically translates to "animals suffer in the wild anyway, so there's nothing wrong with them also suffering in our care". In making this claim you are deliberately ignoring the fact that along with our big brains which produced this thing called "civilization", we also developed compassion, empathy, what we refer to as "humanity". So why do we apply it so arbitrarily ? Why are people outraged when they see images with puppy dogs being drowned or dolphins being slaughtered, but yet manage to ignore all the horrors that the "meat animals" go through ? This is not an appeal to emotions. This is plea for you to acknowledge that it is inhumane to subject other sentient creatures to a life of torment for our mere comfort.

  • But if we all stopped eating these animals, they would go extinct. 
 First of all, the scenario where everybody will suddenly become vegetarian over night is impossible. But to answer a more likely hypothetical situation, if more and more people become vegetarians, the farmers will breed the animals less and less due to the decreasing demand for meat. I doubt people will ever completely give up using animal products such as eggs and diary, but since most vegetarians are against animal abuse, the meat companies will need to adjust to the rules imposed by the majority. This is starting to happen in the European Union for instance, where there are more and more people spreading awareness about the meat industry, and the laws regarding animal welfare are much stricter than in US (and keep on improving).

But leaving all that aside ... as a general thought, since this argument is coming from people who obviously oppose vegetarianism, allow me to wonder why would they be so concerned about an animal going extinct, while at the same time being perfectly ok with the idea of that animal being created with the sole purpose of being killed. Where's the logic in this ?

  • But you do eat plants. Plants are alive and feel pain too. You're a hypocrite. 

There are some studies out there which tested how plants react to different stimuli, some people interpreting these reactions as feelings of pain or fright (no reputable study claims this, mind you).  But this is all there is to it: an interpretation. Yes, a plant can respond to stimuli, but there is no scientific evidence of any kind demonstrating how something can perceive fear or pain without having a brain and a nervous system.Pain is not just a reaction, but a SENSATION generated by the brain. Fear is a product of consciousness, which again is generated by the brain. Plants. Don't. Have. Brains.

And since I know most of my readers have at least some basic knowledge of evolutionary biology, I have a question for y'all: keeping in mind that the evolutionary advantage of pain is to increase the chances of survival by trying to avoid being harmed (i.e.: being eaten alive hurts, therefor you have the incentive to run from predators), what would be the advantage of a carrot or a potato feeling pain, since they cannot escape predators by running, and, generally speaking, they cannot defend themselves from harm? I'd love to know how you reason this out.

As a personal opinion, I consider this argument to be dishonest if the person making it doesn't also believe that cutting the leaf of a plant is the same with cutting the leg of a cat.

  • Animals are dumb so they don't matter. 

This is a simplification of the idea that the value of life lies within the abilities of the brain, and since animal intelligence is nowhere near comparable with the complexity of the human brain, their lives have simply no value outside of us profiting from them.

Again, let me answer with a question: would you have a problem if a human being was treated the way a cow in a factory farm is, provided that human being is mentally retarded to the point where the functionality of his brain is similar to that of a cow?

  • With agriculture, the life of many animals is ended (i.e. mice that get accidentally killed in the harvests). There is massive deforestation because of vegetarians who consume soy products & many animals die that way. In short, vegetarians are harming the earth and other animals.

 I acknowledge the fact that human existence, as a rule, is sustainable at the expense of other life. I know I am harming other creatures simply because I live. However, why should this stop me or others from trying to minimize the damage? And what is the logic in you opposing this attempt ?

As for your claims, it might interest you to find that the meat industry is one of the top contributors to environmental degradation worldwide (land degradation, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, emissions of greenhouse gases). Also, over 90% of the soy-meal harvest is used to feed animals.

And ...this is it :/ Out of 250+ comments on facebook, 15 pages worth of comments on my YouTube channel, plus countless twitter replies, this is pretty much all I could find, with a couple variations. Plus some overly ridiculous ones which I assume (hope?) were posted as a joke. Stuff like :

  • If you like animals so much, why are you eating all their food ? 
I don't think there's any point in waiting for someone to provide relevant studies that show how farm animals are endangered because of people eating their food .

  • Hitler was a vegetarian. 
And he had a mustache.

Etc.

Having all this said, I think (apologies if I'm mistaken) that the reason most people get vocal against vegetarianism is not because of the arguments  above, but more as a reaction to vegan and vegetarian activists who sometimes push this idea that if you are a meat-eater it means you are a shit human-being. You know, accusing you of cannibalism, of promoting animal holocaust, of being a murderer and so on. Maybe these PETA-type tactics work on some people, personally I find them annoying and counter-productive since in my opinion, these aggressive approaches are what trigger people into "fighting back" against vegetarianism. When people are being attacked, they tend to react and defend themselves.

If you are one of the people who get so enraged by these accusations that you feel you have to "strike back", please just consider the motivation behind what you stand for. Is that really worth it ? Because at the end of the day, as annoying as they sometimes can get, vegan and vegetarian activists are acting out of genuine concern for the life of animals and because they want to stop the abuse. You are reacting because they piss you off. Is that a good enough reason to basically militate AGAINST animal welfare ? Because this is what the anti-vegetarian stance ends up being, if you are willing to consider the bigger picture.

I am not here to pass judgment on anyone. You like meat. You want to keep eating it. Ok. I can understand that. And you know that no one will take that away from you by force. But please stop opposing the people who are willing to give it up by choice. That's pretty much all I am asking you to consider.

164 comments:

Grimalkin said...

I couldn't care less if someone wants to be a vegetarian, vegan, or whatever else. As you say, trying to convince someone *else* is a fool's endeavor.

My issue is when it's turned against me. I know quite a few vegetarians and vegans and, while most are perfectly nice people who keep their to the business on their own plates, a couple feel the need to lecture me for eating meat at every opportunity.

The problem is that different people process their foods differently (duh). I can't go without eating animal products - within a couple days, I start to get very weak and shaky, I go into "starvation mode" and have to eat almost constantly to keep my energy levels up. Just one little piece of cheese or meat, by contrast, and I can go for hours without feeling hungry.

I think that this is something that many vegetarians/vegans, or at least the evangelical ones, don't understand - different people have different dietary requirements. We should give everyone the space to eat whatever diet is healthiest for them.

On a slightly different note, I'm a bit skeptical about the claims that a vegetarian diet has all these benefits. I haven't done a lot of research into it, so I understand that I'm probably wrong, but just from a lay view of my acquaintances I've noticed that those who pursue an omnivore's diet tend to eat in a very unplanned fashion. They eat junk food, they eat crap, they eat too much, they eat tasty things that aren't very nutrient-dense, etc. Vegetarians and vegans, on the other hand, tend to eat far more carefully (they kind of have to!).

So it seems to me that the health differences might be attributable more to planned vs unplanned diets rather than the actual content of those diets... Just as most Muslims and Jews I know who take their dietary laws seriously tend to be much better eaters (and healthier overall) - not because hallal is better, but because paying attention to what's going in your mouth is better.

Cristina Rad said...

@Grimalkin
What you are experiencing is common to anyone who used his/her body with daily regular intake of a certain aliment. People who eat a lot of carbs everyday will start feeling very weak once they go on a low-carb diet. This usually goes away after your body gets accustomed with the new diet. But you are right, it depends on the person. I was able to not even crave meat after some 3 weeks, but I never really liked meat that much and I didn't eat it regularly. However, I was still craving eggs even after 6 months of going vegan. I used to even dream about eating eggs or yogurt, as funny as that sounds. Some people don't give it up all at once and they make a slow transition, sometimes it takes a couple years. For others is much easier and they have no issues after a month or so.

William Jansen said...

I am a vegetarian myself, a happy fellow, a marathon-runner and 15 years into a no sick-days streak. None of the arguments above could convince me, nor can the one I am about to propose. But here goes anyway...

The strongest argument against vegetarianism to me is the social consequences. Danes are generally tolerant and accomadting people, and I do not feel in any way socially ostracized because of my vegetarianism. But it does make it a lot harder to envision a life with somebody else,in a couple, in a commune or similar, if something as essential as food isn't shared.

That argument hasn't convinced me, and hasn't come close, but I'd like to see a well-developed vegetarian-friendly intellect like yours commit itself to counter-arguing it.

Cristina Rad said...

@William Jansen
Yes, obviously, sharing the same culinary taste in a family makes things much easier, same with social gatherings, etc. But I consider this to be just "one of those things" that you may or may not have in common with your family and friends. Like the taste in music, TV shows (which are fun to watch together), social activities (like you being the only one not liking a game of cards when your friends engage in it) and so on. To me it's simply no big deal.

Anonymous said...

1. I feel the canine argument is a bit off....canines are not for ripping, they are for grasping and holding prey with a vice like grip on the air passage of an animal fighting for it's life.
of coarse all mammals have canines, but in the majority of carnivores they are predominantly longer than omni or herba. Digestive tracts also have a significant difference in length for purposes of extracting the most nutrient possible....this is a condensed response certainly
2. Pain is a mechanism by which we are told of injuries or damage, not the fight or flight instinct....... as mentioned above by someone else, plants do know when they are injured or under attack. In fact leafs have the ability to heal , remove a piece of bark from a tree and watch the progression of fresh bark over the wound. Some plants do have different means to fight off parasites and disease...
Not arguing that plants can feel or not, but they present actions that make one believe something is goin on. Who's to say that jus because there isn't a distinctive large organ one can label as 'the brain' that they don't think or feel? perhaps in plants all the cells work collectively to accomplish the same thing our brain does..... there is soo much more could be said on these topics, but I would rather eat a twinkie, drink my coffee, and wander around in the yard.... sincerely Gary B.

Cristina Rad said...

I did specify myself that plants DO react to stimuli and obviously the responses are to benefit them (like flowers turning towards the sun to absorb more light). But my response was to the argument that plants feel pain and emotions like fear. Pain is not just a reaction, it's a sensation generated by the brain. Plants have no brains. That was my point.

Some Baboons have longer canine teeth than lions and they are omnivores but mostly vegetarians (occasional meat eaters), while lions are carnivores.

The are

b326bd66-435a-11e0-b4d1-000bcdcb2996 said...

I like and enjoy meat, I do not see anything wrong with eating meat. That being said I also see nothing wrong being a vegetarian or vegan. To each their own. Arguments like this seem to be more like arguments over personal preferences and you mind as well be arguing over your favorite color. I do not feel compelled to tell any vegetarian the way they live their life is wrong, that's just stupid.

ZDragomir (DumneZero) said...

Salutari de la Cluj! Trebuie sa spun ca apreciez argumentarea si te sustin (desi sunt vegan de mai multi ani, nu vreau sa te stresez acum cu detalii off-topic) :)

Anonymous said...

I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to eat salad. That's just my argument for me being a meat eater when annoying vegans get on my case.
Here's a interesting argument along the same lines "cooked vs. raw".

ClintonHammond said...

All things in moderation, including excess...

They are welcome to do as they please but I dismiss vegetarians, on the basis that life WITH things is MUCH better than life WITHOUT...

I have never heard a convincing argument to be vegetarian.

ZDragomir (DumneZero) said...

@Anon above

You didn't fight anything, your ancestors did. Arguing from an ancestral perspective is basically an appeal to tradition fallacy.

Anonymous said...

Well done Cristina! I love also your paragraph: "I find them [the people who get so enraged by accusations] annoying and counter-productive since in my opinion, these aggressive approaches are what trigger people into "fighting back" against vegetarianism."

Are we, atheists, fighting back against believers for equivalent reasons? Are we therefore "annoying and counter-productive"?

Rob McD said...

First let me say that I have no problem whatever with people being vegetarian or vegan or whatever they choose. None at all. I do though question whether ethics alone are a sufficient argument.

To me it boils down to this question: Do you think animal life is inherently more valuable than plant life? If an animal lives a well fed and well cared for life and is killed quickly, do you think that is worse than killing a plant? Personally I do not.

To my mind all other ethical considerations are reasons to campaign for better treatment of animals in the meat production industry, not necessarily to choose to be veggie. I personally make sure that I pay a premium to buy ethically produced meat whenever I can, and support campaigns against factory farming. I'd rather fight the system from the inside.

JackLord said...

The anti-vegetarism is a fear-based stance, that's why they have weak arguments.
When you say "And you know that no one will take that away from you by force", do they know that? Maybe they do, but unconsciously they don't think so. Therefore, vegetarism is a threat to their way of life.
They could also argue that if vegetarism grows, less meat will be produced and the price will go up. It's probably true, but it'd take a couple of generations for that to happen, thus it won't be experienced by them. In this case, they are trying to impose their World-view for future generations, which seems ridiculous to me.

Anonymous said...

aww no fair!! you didnt do mine!! : (
the one about the top soil and rotation of crops? didnt you see it? le sigh....

ooj

Cristina Rad said...

@Anon

"Are we, atheists, fighting back against believers for equivalent reasons?"

I can only speak for myself, but I am not an anti-theist because religious people annoy me and personally I don't even care what people believe in. But as it happens, their beliefs influence their actions, that's why religion still has a huge impact on society (education, gay rights, abortion, etc).

@Rob
I know this is not the position that most vegetarians hold but I would have absolutely no problem with the meat industry if the animals had a good life and were killed humanely. As for myself, I would still not eat meat simply because I love all animals and I just don't want to eat them. Plus I never liked meat that much anyway.

Cristina Rad said...

@ooj
Crap... I didn't see yours , sorry. I'd need to read about that for a bit though cos I have no idea, I never heard of such thing. Maybe tomorrow. Me be tired.

Shannon said...

I like meat, but I'm not going to force people to eat it.
If I were single I'd probably be a vegetarian because I don't like touching raw meats (beef, chicken, etc..). I'd also be a vegetarian in Europe, the UK especially, because the animals are killed in a way that is Halal and/or Kosher, which means that the animals are killed while totally conscious. And I don't agree with that.

Manuel said...

im a big meat eater, but i feel guilty about it. Im in the same boat as Grimalkin, i lose strength after a few days, im a runner and after a few hours of running i need football team to stop me from eating a steak.

i recently tried to give up cafeine with disastrous results. the migraines were intense, i gave in within 3days and apparently it takes over a month for caffeine to get completely out of your system. i cant do either, but im trying to reduce both.

Lord Runolfr said...

I'm late to the party, but I would never try to tell someone that they shouldn't be a vegetarian. I sometimes think that people should have to do the dirty work themselves at least once to earn the right to eat meat. I've pulled the trigger and done the butchering; they can be ugly jobs, and I think people should understand just what it means to kill and prepare another animal for food.

I'm comfortable with my place at the top of the food chain, but I'm not all that comfortable with the commercial meat industry. Aside from reducing the suffering of the animals, commercial farms are also food safety risks, in my opinion.

As a civilization, I don't think it would hurt us to eat less meat and to show more consideration for the animals that have to die for our tables. I'd say the least we can do is make their lives comfortable and their deaths quick and painless.

ZDragomir (DumneZero) said...

@manuel

Eat more bananas before sport. They have proteins AND sugars, and don't cause "chaos" in the stomach.

Caffeine is unrelated to the subject... it's a chemical dependency.

If it helps, think about how caffeine works: it's a toxin (pesticide) produced by the coffee plant. When you drink it, it gets reaches the brain and causes irritation, there by waking you up and causing a stress response... (yes, it can and is used as insecticide in gardening... it's very good for blocking the reproduction of mosquitoes in small pools of water).

B. said...

"this argument is just plain dumb. Horses have canine teeth too"
Cine ti-a zis asta ti-a dat doar un inceput de fir. Hai sa vedem cat de "dumb" e daca e sa intram in detalii anatomice. Da, caii au canini. Si mai au ceva: o pereche de cecumuri imense. La fel si iepurii sau cangurii. Noi nu le avem, si nici rumegatoarele. In schimb, rumegatoarele au un rumen si mai impresionant.
Ok, si ce se intampla in rumenul sau in cecumurile ierbivorelor ? Well, acolo au ele o rezerva de protozoare si alte microorganisme, care cresc si se inmultesc de zor... si o parte din microorganismele alea ajung in intestinul subtire. Unde sunt digerate. So what ? pai, Wiki zice ca "The digestion of these microbes in the small intestine is a major source of nutrition, as microbes usually supply some 60 to 90% of the total amount of amino acids absorbed."
Deci nici macar ierbivorele nu traiesc doar cu plante.

La al tau "biology is not destiny", o sa-ti raspund cu "it's also not negociabile". Tot aparatul uman e evoluat pentru o alimentatie mixta - plante SI carne. Si nici macar in principal plante.
Uh, si asta nu e un argument impotriva vegetarianismului. Era doar o corectie. :)
Si acum, ma duc sa-mi pregatesc niste gratare.

Manuel said...

@zdragomir caffeine is my frame of reference to giving up something i consume. i have never tried to give up meat completely, i have zero will power in this realm, as expressed in the caffeine example.

Anonymous said...

Your right! People shouldn't be arguing against vegetarianism but people shouldn't be arguing against eating meat either. Humans evolved on a diet of protien/meat for millions of years. There is nothing morally wrong with eating meat except for a possible cruel treatment of animals.

Jon said...

I wish I would have seen this question sooner to weigh in more officially than a comment.

What I don't understand is why there is a lack of individuals expressing an avoidance of vegetarian diet because they are bodybuilders although Manuel did touch on it above. Meat is a hugely important part of the bodybuilders diet if the goal is to build muscle.

If I were to give one reason for not being able to be a vegetarian, it would be that using meat, mostly poultry and fish, is far more affective than attempting to intake enough protein from other non-animal sources. I use whey protein to help increase my daily intake but it just isn't enough by itself. I'm not saying that it's not possible, but actively building muscle in a relatively controlled fashion more or less requires you to not be a vegetarian.

Even though I personally can't be a vegetarian with my current workout, I do appreciate the a vegetarian diet. There is some damn good food options that most people would never have thought of otherwise.

Anon2 said...

@anon i agree, but if you are going to eat meat you should do the dirty work at least once in your life, it might give you a different perspective. i helped kill, skin, and prepare a rabbit 2 weeks ago and after eating it i realized i would have prefered to keep the rabbit alive for petting :).

Jón Frímann said...

While people can choose what they eat (for most part). There is no good reason to paddle the myth that all vegetarian diet is good for people.

But vegetarians miss out of many of the proteins that the human body needs. That is if they don't compliment the body needs with some other ways (most people do this I would think).

There is also nothing that says that vegetarian can have healthier live style because of that. You can be a vegetarian and still have a rubbish lifestyle.

Good mixed diet is the best way into health in my opinion. Alongside with not drinking alcohol and not smoking.

The only vegetarian web site that I found that met my standards was a NHS web site and the Wikipedia web site.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Vegetarianhealth/Pages/Vegetarianhealthhome.aspx

ClintonHammond said...

On the subject of so-called Animal Cruelty, the vast majority of footage I've seen groups like PETA and others employ in their anti-meat campaigns is outdated by decades or more.... Or is taken from small meat producers, often gathered by meat industry people seeking to prosecute them for their cruelty.

In the developed world, the methods and standards for regulating and harvesting the meat resource are highly evolved, strongly enforced and advancing all the time. 50 year old footage of small-town slaughter houses is irrelevant to the discussion.

ZDragomir (DumneZero) said...

@Jon

Meet

Kenneth G. Williams

Carl Lewis

Pam Boteler


Some more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIcSuA2b_Wc

Adi said...

I'd like to add that eating plants is not exactly killing plants. First of all, eating the fruits of trees does not kill the tree; same for flowers. Eating roots or whole plants (carrots, potatoes etc.) is not a crime either, for the plant had finished its life cycle already and would otherwise rot in the ground.
However, as a demi-counterargument, I think it's imoral for atheists to be vegetarians.

Anonymous said...

Great post Criss :) I've been arguing against haters for years and I have yet to hear one rational argument.

Those who hate vegetarians and those who argue for YEC are on the same level in their arguments.

I find it funny that I'm actually getting hate on some forums for defending vegetarians when I don't try to push my view on them in any way. I'm a vegetarian because I care about the environment and about animal welfare. How can someone be against that rather than support it?

Anonymous said...

I'm unsure if you took my comment on your youtube channel seriously but I said that we could grow more food if not everyone was a vegetarian because some locations can't grow much more than grass or even lichens which aren't digestible by humans but could be consumed by herbivorous animals such as cattle. Thanks for your time.

Anonymous said...

@Adi Did you just make the claim that it's immoral for an atheist to be vegetarian? :D haha

Adi said...

Kind a strange, isn't it... it's not the vegetarianism part that is imoral, but the atheist part. It's just like mixing wine with water, it's not the water that makes you drunken :)

Adi said...

What an idiotic thing would be to approve with abortion while being vegetarian!

popeymike said...

I've had no sick days since becoming vegetarian.Coincidence? Maybe. My digestive system works much better since I became vegetarian. coincidence?No! My Conscience is clearer- The more I found out about the meat industry the harder it was to justify being part of it. Meat is a simple addiction and easy (in my case at least) to kick. I don't push it on people but I do believe that if people choose to eat meat they should at least take the trouble to find out where it came from and what welfare standards the farm has because there are some truly dreadful practices out there.

Jon said...

@ ZDragomir (DumneZero)

I didn't say that you can't be a vegetarian/vegan and also be a bodybuilder or an athlete, I just said that it's a lot harder because it requires that person to be incredibly strict with supplement intake.

It requires a lot more work and to me, it's a cost vs benefit analysis. The work it would require me to maintain a vegetarian/vegan diet and also get the proper nutrients that I need to meet my fitness goals is both more costly and more time consuming than I find to be acceptable and thus not worth doing. I am not interested in either diet because I find them both to be a waste of time and of capital.

ClintonHammond said...

On the subject of wine... My dear old gran is fond of saying, "Sure never trust a man who doesn't drink when he's alive, because he sure as hell can't start when he's dead!"

Again, all things in moderation... Including excess.

I have never heard a convincing argument for me not to enjoy some of all the best things life has to offer....

Adi said...

Jon, you're an idiot: meat is of no use for bodybuilding. I am training for the past year mainly on milk, dairy, soy, and nuts and had the best results ever. Meat is anyway expensive, fat and hard to digest. Needless to say full of additives, monoglutamate etc.

Jon said...

@ Adi - I'm the idiot but you're the one that's claiming that meat is not at all useful for bodybuilding... Got some peer reviewed studies on that or just anecdotes?

Anonymous said...

i'm against vegetarianism as a lifestyle because we're supposed to have a hunter-gatherer diet or paleolithic diet (google it) but this:

Denying your own nature (being a vegetarian) is a psychological disorder.

is possibly the most idiotic argument i've ever read like, ever

Adi said...

I wipe my bloody arse with your peer reviewed studies! I do the hard work, not the wangery losery chatter about it!

Anonymous said...

The idea that you can get all the nutrients you need from a completely vegan diet is simply wrong.
The 'bible' of vegetarianism (don't recall the name, but it's the one that got the whole craze started) states that you must supplement heavily if you are to be on a strict vegan diet.
That book was written many years ago, and we have discovered much more about nutrition since then, and have found many more nutrients lacking in a vegan/ vegetarian diet.

Adi said...

Milk and diary are sacred!

Eric said...

I noticed you didn't touch on the survival aspect for having a varied diet. If another Ice Age comes, humans will have to eat the animals that can digest the arctic grasses that will be the only surviving plants (which humans cannot digest). Many vegetarians cannot go back to eating meat and they will not survive. Similar situations arrise with drought.

AJ Bird said...

Good job Christina! Here's another site that refutes just about every argument made by meat-eaters, from evolution to the economy:

http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#

Please keep up the good work!

-AJ (The Coded Atheist)

Adi said...

AJ...The Cock Sucking Atheist

Anonymous said...

Adi... the troll with delusions of adequacy.

Revellica said...

I wanted to know your input on my last comment (on Facebook). First, I'd like to put forth that I think everyone is different and I do not believe in the idea of "one-size-fits-all".

However, for so many of our diets to be what they are means the shipping of food products back and forth - all over the world. If we are going to be responsible and work towards improving our environment and stop using so much oil (which is not renewable); it requires we rely on the foods that our local land provides. This will mean that most of us (except perhaps those near the equator where things don't freeze over) will be omnivores.

Also, there is the point that if we let all the animals run around freely; they would quickly overpopulate the land and destroy our gardens and farms. Either we kill a number of them (might as well eat them at that point) or we breed more predators to eat them - which means we put our own population (mostly children) in more danger.

The idea of "there's no reason why we can't all be vegetarian in this day and age" just means that we are relying too much on the ideas of globalization and failing to see what it is doing to our air, water and land.

Anonymous said...

There is also a very good practical argument for eating meat, if you take an ideal small farm that grows cereal & veggies, raises chickens keeps a pig and a couple of cattle or goats the whole thing works in balance, the spare veggies can feed the animals, the animals fertilize, clean and prepare the soil the farmer can then benefit from veggies, dairy, eggs, and meat.
This is an inevitable part of the process as the animals breed and produce more of themselves that can be sustained on the farm , what would a vegetarian do under these circumstances ? let the baby animals starve ? turn them out into the wild ? teach them family planning ?

Richard said...

I had a colleague who was vegetarian - and I used to tease him mercilessly about it. On works nights out I'd try and temp or trick him to eat just a little meat - I'd say things like "humans are carnivores" or "the supermarkets are full of meat products and they shouldn't go to waste - those chickens gave their lives so you could eat this chicken vindaloo!". All that changed 3 years ago when I saw Earthlings and I instantly became vegetarian. I literally stopped eating meat overnight. I've been a (junk food) vegetarian ever since. 6 months after becoming vegetarian I visited some friends in Los Angeles and got to try out all the cool raw food restaurants out there - some of the dishes they create are amazing! So I started learning about raw vegan food and found out about the health benefits, restorative benefits of eating a plant based diet. and the dangers of eating a diet high in animal proteins. In particular, I'm most interested in the work of T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Mike Klapper, Linus Pauling , Abram Hoffer, Max Gerson and Andrew Saul etc. I'm going to switch to vegan eventually - with a lot of raw - hopefully.

The evolution side of things is interesting because I think people get a little muddled up. Clearly, in the strictest sense we humans are omnivores, but based on our anatomy it's also clear that our ancestors were predominately herbivore and meat, if consumed, only constituted a small part of our ancestors diet. The fact that we're omnivores doesn't automatically mean that we've evolved to thrive on diet high in meat products or consume meat on a daily basis - as many people do. Our ancestors probably didn't consume dairy products or the milk of other species either.

In my mind, the debate over wether animal products are the root cause of degenerative diseases and how eliminating them from your diet can cure these diseases parallels the debate between evolution and creationism. On one side, you have all these legitimate professors and doctors, working at the best hospitals and universities, producing study after study that show that eating animal products is the root cause of many degenerative illnesses and that switching to a vegan plant based diet can also cure many of these illnesses. On the other hand you have the agriculture, dairy and pharmaceutical industries funding their own skewed studies and lobbying the government in an effort to suppress this information - even the practice of prescribing nutritional therapy for cancer is illegal in the US because of the lobbying by the AMA - who insist that only radiation, chemo (poison) and surgery are legitimate treatments.

I don't really bother too much with trying to convince other people to quit eating meat - I remember how I used to think before seeing Earthlings and it's pretty much a lost cause most of the time. If someone I know gets sick I try to send them some dvds and books that show how nutritional therapy works, but I don't force it on them - if they don't follow up on it's that's their loss.

AJ Bird said...

Revellica,

Please use the following link and read the essays contained therein:

http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#

In short, it explains exactly why a Vegan world would be immensely more environmentally friendly than a meat and dairy consuming one. To add, the notion that there would be overpopulation due to the ethical treatment of animals, or that predator populations would rise is addressed and completely debunked.

Revellica said...

@AJ Bird: Okay, so that site says that its far more likely that those animals would all just go extinct. That's sad. I guess either way we'll kill them all off because we can't be respectful...

What about the globalization part? That's one of my main things. The shipping of products back and forth. Granted that requires a complete restructuring of our system - which I think is long overdue. I don't think its possible to answer one question without it leading to another.

If we stop shipping things back and forth (which we would if we were intelligent) than we would have to eat what our local land gave us. Can you find a way out of eating meat for those who live in cold regions if we do not ship things to them? Sure some things could be stored, but most likely they would have to eat some meat.

Also, since a lot of people in the thread brought up how things that don't have a nervous system/vertebrae don't experience pain - do you consider calamari to be an ethical food? Squid certainly display a lot of intelligence - but do vegetarians/vegans see these non-vertebrae as on the same level as corn?

Revellica said...

@AJ Bird: Also, my original post (on the Facebook thread) brought up how we are part of nature and I consider the entire system as trying to put ourselves above and outside of the natural world. I have never agreed with the biblical definition of us being "Masters" of our environment and have always preferred my ancestors definition of us being "Caretakers and Stewards" of it.

Revellica said...

@AJ Bird: Another one, hehe ;)
Also, an article listing the following link as a source (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article4193017.ece) just got posted on my Facebook page. It says:

"Scientists warn of lack of vital phosphorus as biofuels raise demand: Researchers in Australia, Europe and the United States have given warning that the element, which is essential to all living things, is at the heart of modern farming and has no synthetic alternative, is being mined, used and wasted as never before... “Quite simply, without phosphorus we cannot produce food. At current rates, reserves will be depleted in the next 50 to 100 years."

Scary stuff. Like I said, the system needs to be overhauled. We have to stop a lot of what we're doing. I agree that we should be eating fruits/vegetables most of the time; but in order to subsist off our local environment and keep things in balance, we need to be eating some meat (whatever animals are local to your area, not being imprisoned in farms merely for consumption).

Anonymous said...

"I am not here to pass judgment on anyone. You like meat. You want to keep eating it. Ok. I can understand that. And you know that no one will take that away from you by force."

Sorry for going a bit off-topic, but I'm curious about your position you just stated. A couple of months ago you made a video "The Objective of Morality" in which you argued that morality is objective and that reducing suffering is objectively the right thing to do (supporting Sam Harris' position in "The Moral Landscape" I suppose).
It is certainly true that animals experience pain, and since it is well established that humans can function very well without eating meat, it appears that those who continue to eat meat (and thus are indirectly, by increasing demand for meat products, causing animal suffering) are acting in an objectively wrong way.
Yet somehow you did not condemn them. You only asked them to stop opposing vegetarians. Why?
Once again, sorry for changing the subject. Love your videos:)

Anonymous said...

"A placebo-controlled double-blind experiment found that vegetarians who took 5 grams of creatine per day for six weeks showed a significant improvement on two separate tests of fluid intelligence, Raven's Progressive Matrices, and the backward digit span test from the WAIS. The treatment group was able to repeat longer sequences of numbers from memory and had higher overall IQ scores than the control group. The researchers concluded that "supplementation with creatine significantly increased intelligence compared with placebo." A subsequent study found that creatine supplements improved cognitive ability in the elderly."

Here's the kicker... creatine is only found naturally in red meat.

pitdroidtech said...

Hi, great arguments. I'm a meat eater, but you didn't have to convince me, I really don't give a brass razoo what other people do with regards to being vegetarian or not. It's a conscience issue as far as I am concerned. I think you are right when you sum it up - anti-vegetarian's are just trying to defend themselves against a perceived attack against their own choice (which is just sightly paranoid imho).

For me personally, I am concerned about many aspects of eating meat. It troubles me how poorly livestock are generally treated. When I have a say (with my hip pocket) I use free range eggs(organic if available), organic meat (which in Australia ensures that the animals are not given hormones and are fed on organic diets and not animal protein, and are not exclusively grain fed. I believe they also have standards on how much room each animal has when they are fenced - not sure). But ideally I'd like to see anti-cruelty standards applied to farm animals. I'm willing to pay more for my food - I get a bit frustrated with some people, who can afford to run two cars, atleast one of them a 4wd, moan about the cost of organic meat or free range eggs. Get a freaking grip! Anyone who has seen battery hens and still worries about paying extra is seriously psychotic. Of course some people are in desparate financial hardship and I don't expect them to have to worry about these concerns. Which is why I believe it's up to the government to legislate to set the standards - after that the competition mechanism will set in and along with economies of scale prices will start to come down.

I admire your willingness to go vegetarian to ease the suffering of animals. I do sometimes consider it, however the bottom line is I really like meat. However you have inspired me to try and eat less meat when I don't know if the source is humane or not. It's not just meat that is a problem - I strongly object to battery hens and this concerns me when I eat eggs that I haven't bought myself. Also the treatment of milking cows is often appalling.

One thing is for sure, something needs to be done about the treatment of farm animals.

rkyeun said...

When you mentioned for us to submit arguments for or against vegetarianism, I wasn't assuming you meant against it or for it in a global sense. My arguments against it are entirely directed to those who would wish to convert me. I don't care what people choose to starve themselves of or poison themselves with.
I typically find myself in the position of defending my meat-eating against those proclaiming such a thing to be immoral.
The argument I generally use is a symbiotic one. Our livestock animals are, in much the same way we are, insulated from the threat of the natural world. Our meat and dairy animals need not fear predation, starvation, death from exposure, or lingering suffering as a result of old age or disease. They are as assured by our efforts that they will not go extinct as we are. For most animals, this would be a rather ideal and even pampered existence compared to the harsh light of survival in nature. To those animals we have domesticated for our use, such a return to the wild environment is even less palatable. Yes, it comes with the caveat of a brief and painful death at the end of their lives, but they weren't guaranteed even that mercy in the wild. Yes, there are some farms that are cruel to animals during their lives, and these I do not approve of and would wish them to change. I don't consider the suffering of the animals to be a strike against eating the meat, but against the infliction of suffering on the animals.

Grimalkin said...

A couple people have brought up the idea that you should "earn the right" to eat meat by participating in the slaughter of food animals, and I just wanted to add my voice to that mix.

I grew up on a farm and we raised rabbits and chickens - both of which we ate. I think that experience was invaluable at helping me appreciate what is on my plate because, for me, meat isn't just meat. It's individuals who could very well have been pets if life had been different for them. It gives me some respect for what I'm eating, and a good incentive never to waste any food if I can possibly help it.

When I buy meat, I tend to buy large from local butcher shops. The really tasty meats get used solo as the centre of a dish, the less-desireables are used in soups and stews, and the bones are used to make broths. Everything gets used.

But I would also like to add that I think the same applies to plants. I think it would be hugely beneficial for everyone to keep at least a small herb garden (we have ours along our apartment windows). I do think it's dangerous to get too disconnected from the food cycle....

Anonymous said...

Adi said...
“What an idiotic thing would be to approve with abortion while being vegetarian!”

I’m not sure if that was a remark made in jest but I’ve heard that argument before…

I don’t see the problem. Foetuses have not developed the capacity to feel pain at the stage when abortions are typically carried out. It would be crazy to deny rights to a woman in order to protect something that does not even possess qualities that can give it moral relevance.

Endrik said...

Are you sure about the amino acids bit? I actually remember something about it written in my high school biology book. Something like 4 out of the 20~ standard amino acids we get from only meat... Now i'm not 100% sure that i read it from my biology textbook - maybe it was the teacher telling us that...

Spawnfreak said...

If you yourself want to be a vegetarian or vegan that's your business. My beef (no pun intended) is with those who would call me a murderer just because I like sloppy joes, as I have experienced in college. Plus there are certain groups out there, who would either want to make meat illegal, or impose some high tax laws on buying meat. Now as I said if you want to be vegan or vegetarian fine, but when people seek to impose their views on my personal freedom to eat meat, that is something I am not willing to tolerate.

J said...

well you pretty much picked the lamest arguments against vegetarianism to go after in your blog. You could have addressed peoples metabolic types and how the digestive system works like a faster metabolism's digestive system breaks down your foods quickly but can be a “slow oxidizer” (your body burns off your energy slowly), which gives your body a pH range at the acidic end of the acid/alkaline spectrum: “strong acid” (4.5 - 4). this type of metabolism would be great for a vegetarian about 15% of the population but the opposite is a protein type which would be poorly on a vegetarian diet without significant planning they have a slow metabloism and a oxide very quickly so they burn energy quickly, they need slower burning proteins and fats, more alkaline range.
This is of course better than most people eat, the fact is switching to a "veg" diet usually just makes people eat healthier, making the "its healthier being a veg" a moot point. It would have been nice if you mentioned that being a veg is really only possible with modern tech and transport and agriculture, this is not possible for many, could have addressed cost as well. whatever, no one cares if people are vegetarians, they just don't want to listen to the vegetarian soap box preaching to people about the moral dilemma of meat eating.

AJ Bird said...

@Revellica

You began by saying that the "site says that its far more likely that those animals would all just go extinct.", but this is not an argument the author made at all. Rather, he made the very simple point that, "extinction is a far better fate than perpetual misery and endless murder." Is this not true?

You asked what we should do about those regions in the world that don't readily have fruits and vegetables readily available to them, thus forcing their human populations to either subsist (at least partially) on the animals native to the region, or be dependent on the shipping industry to bring fruits and vegetables to them. Consider the fact that we currently have the means and the technology to build self-sustaining green houses that can be built anywhere from the hottest of deserts to the Arctic, and even on space stations when we eventually venture out into space. These greenhouse will not only be used to feed us, but in conjunction with a Vegan lifestyle they could also eliminate the damages that the meat and dairy industries have inflicted on the world's environment.

Did you find the opportunity to read the essay, "Animal Agriculture and Environmental Destruction"? Consider the fact that the meat and dairy industry is responsible for a sizable portion of the pollution problem, water use, destruction of land (including rain forest depletion), and energy used. These things would not exist in nearly the capacity that they do if not for the efforts of these industries.

AJ Bird said...

@Revellica

In regards to invertebrates: There are different types of invertebrate (without a backbone). That they don't have a central nervous system does not simply mean that they don't feel pain, nor does it mean that every invertebrate does not have a brain. In regards to cephalopods, or more specifically calamari, like many other cephalopods, it has a brain that is more complex than say, a sponge (another invertebrate). It also nerves. Brains and nerves equate to thinking and the ability to feel pain. Therefore, if we define morality as doing that which brings the least amount of harm to other beings, eating calamari is immoral if there is no need to eat them.

You mentioned our planet's phosphorus stores and the possibility of running out. There is currently no synthetic alternative to our declining store of phosphorus to be sure, and it is important to carefully manage what we do have. One way we can help to sustain our supply is by utilizing composted material as a fertilizer source. This not only helps to sustain our supply of phosphorus, but provides the essential nutrients to growing our crops, improves soil quality, and effectively disposes of wastes. Now, another way is to eventually educate people to eliminate the demand for animal products altogether.

Please consider what the meat and dairy industries have done that contributes to the decline of our environment - including our phosphorus stores! The demand for meat and dairy comes at a very high cost to our environment because concentrated animal feeding operations that are used to meet the demand for animal products has created an industry that produces 10 billion land animals for consumption in Americans every year alone. Those 10 billion animals need to eat, and guess where they get there food from? An industry created just to feed all of them! Consider the fact that 90 to 97 percent of soy produced (which utilizes phosphors) does not go to feeding humans, but to feed the animals animals that we eat. Now imagine for a moment if the demand for animal products were non-existent. If it isn't obvious, no demand for cattle equates to less phosphorus used to feed all those animals that we have forcibly produced, and that we don't need to eat to survive.

Did you know that a healthy cows has a lifespan of roughly 25 years? If humans didn't consume them or steel their babies milk, within a few generations the ratio of cows to humans would naturally correct itself. Less land and crops would be required to feed and sustain the population of cows. And just what do you think would happen to all that phosphorus that doesn't end up in cow shit anyway? Incidentally, 85% of U.S. topsoil loss is directly related to livestock raising - topsoil that, if we didn't have so many forcibly raised cows, would be used for other more beneficial and practical purposes.

I don't mean to be snarky here, but I have yet to see anyone provided one sustainable argument for why we humans should ever consume any animal products again. All I've seen - as I've repetitively seen in other places - is excuse upon excuse that is often evocative of the way creationists tend to move the goal post.

Veegans in general are also not attempting meat-eaters to do anything but face their failed arguments.

Anonymous said...

Environmental impact

Concentrating large numbers of animals in factory farms is a major contribution to global environmental degradation, through the need to grow feed (often by intensive methods using excessive fertiliser and pesticides), pollution of water, soil and air by agrochemicals and manure waste, and use of limited resources (water, energy).[57]

Livestock production is also particularly water-intensive in indoor, intensive systems. Eight percent of global human water use goes towards animal production, including water used to irrigate feed crops.[57]

Industrial production of pigs and poultry is an important source of GHG emissions and is predicted to become more so. On intensive pig farms, the animals are generally kept on concrete with slats or grates for the manure to drain through. The manure is usually stored in slurry form (slurry is a liquid mixture of urine and faeces). During storage on farm, slurry emits methane and when manure is spread on fields it emits nitrous oxide and causes nitrogen pollution of land and water. Poultry manure from factory farms emits high levels of nitrous oxide and ammonia.[57]

Organic pig meat production has a lower global warming potential per kg than does intensive pig meat production. The energy input for free-range poultry meat and eggs is higher than for factory-farmed poultry meat and eggs, but GHG emissions are lower.[57]

Environmental impacts of factory farming can include:

* Deforestation for animal feed production
* Unsustainable pressure on land for production of high-protein/high-energy animal feed
* Pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer manufacture and use for feed production
* Unsustainable use of water for feed-crops, including groundwater extraction
* Pollution of soil, water and air by nitrogen and phosphorus from fertiliser used for feed-crops and from manure
* Land degradation (reduced fertility, soil compaction, increased salinity, desertification)
* Loss of biodiversity due to eutrophication, acidification, pesticides and herbicides
* Worldwide reduction of genetic diversity of livestock and loss of traditional breeds
* Species extinctions due to livestock-related habitat destruction (especially feed-cropping)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming

NoodlyAppendageEightOfTheFSM said...

There is perhaps one argument which was forgotten/left out, while it doesn't cover the moral aspects, it is the only reason I would consider eating meat (I grew up a vegetarian).

The only time I would consider eating meat would be when I have kids, and then for the only reason that as a kid I know it is the one thing I was bullied the most about. Sure in the end this comes down to conforming to social norms, however for kids fitting into social norms I think is very important, and I do believe parents have a responsibility to minimise hardships such as bullying to their kids.

Perhaps it was a bad choice of schools from my parents behalf (which is defiantly something I'll be looking into before I have kids), sending a vegetarian male to a school consisting entirely of farmers kids is asking for trouble... so as a little bit of a warning to vegetarian parents out there, at the very least consider what type of demographic makes up the local schools...

Adi said...

To the idiot that made distinction between foetus and embryo: you see why I said that atheism and vegetarianism are incompatible? The purpose of vegetarianism is to avoid killing, distruction of ANY life as much as possible. It is the respect for life and for yourself, you don't want to make yourself a criminal. It is NOT `respect` for some abstract ethical principle as `not to create pain on sensible organisms`

EdB said...

So ... a wee bit of hypocrisy here: "... send me the best (or worst) arguments against vegetarianism that you ..." followed by "... this is NOT an attempt to convince YOU to become vegetarians."
You want arguments against herbivorism, but you're not making an argument in favor of it?

I read something a while back that talked about the efficiency of delivering proteins to the human body. In places where animals graze on land not suitable for growing human-friendly crops, animals are the absolute winner in terms of proteins per acre. So if you want the world to have a healthy diet you'd argue in favor of eating meat. er... not that you're making an argument in favor of anything even though you asked people to make an argument against.

pitdroidtech said...

@EdB, you are looking at it with an either/or mindset. You can argue in support of something without necessarily aguing against the alternative. I think Cristina made it quite clear - she doesn't have problem with people eating meat, but does have a problem with people telling her that she shouldn't be vegetarian. So the article is an attempt to dispel the arguments people use to insist that vegetarianism is not a viable choice.

Anonymous said...

If you are a vegan because of caring about animals and such, fine. But anyone who says they don't like the taste of meat is just lying.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at Peter Singer's argument for vegetarianism; he makes a moral argument for why it is our duty to not eat animals.

http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/singer02.htm

Adi said...

To the idiots that brag about suffering:Understand, for goodness' sake, that suffering is SUBJECTIVE. If you were without sex, you'd proclame yourself suffering; I without sex proclame myself the happiest ever. You are probably happy that business people have millions and billions, yet I suffer for that comes at the expence of the billions of people who die of starvation and AIDS in Africa, Asia and South America.
You have no authority to impose your opinion about suffering on someone else, even on a foetus or embryo.

Anonymous said...

I know some people that don't eat meat, just because they don't like the taste of it. so that's possible.

Im a vegetarian myself, and I want to be try being vegan someday, But for now... I'm only 15 and I really want to think about it and read into it first ; )

I do love animals and I don't want to hurt them in any way.

sorry for the mistakes I made, I'm from holland and basicly toughy myself english, so it's not so good ; )

Xx! I loved this blog!

sunoxen said...

My thoughts reading these posts:

1. Vegetarians don't read peer-reviewed nutritional science articles untainted by industry influence.
2. Believe in things so strange, and assume things so readily that would make some religious people blush with envy.
3. It is often difficult to present vegetarians with scientific evidence without some sort of blowback or anger or out of hand dismissal.
4. Do not know how human digestion works, or have any idea about endocrinology.
5. Use vegetarianism as a psychological form of self-control. (I was guilty of this when I went vegi for 3 years.)
6. Being contrary doesn't make you enlightened.
7. Believe in anecdotal evidence or broscience (I feel great!) over scientific evidence.
8. Seem to be more interested in ideology than in biology.
9. Have contempt (no matter how nicely hidden) for those that would choose to eat in keeping with millions of years of human evolution.
10. Arguments like these remind me of religious arguments. Absolutely pointless, and usually do nto contain any factual basis.

AJ Bird said...

Adi,

It appears as if anyone who happens to contradict your conclusions is automatically designated an "idiot", but it is typically idiots who tend to miss points while they prate on with what amounts to specious arguments.

That suffering is a subjective experience misses the point. The point being, sentient beings do suffer; that is, they feel pain or distress for the gratification of others.

Incidentally, the pro-choice argument is that embryos, prior to the third trimester of pregnancy, are not autonomous or sentient beings. But you already knew that of course, because you're not an idiot.

Adi said...

That reminds me of something very important!
`Popular wisdom` says that bachelors live shorter lives compared to married people.
The point is the mixing of cause and effect: the bachelors don't usually live less BECAUSE they are bachelors, but there is a reason behind them being bachelors (either hatred, stupidity, uglyness, disease, atheism etc.) that also causes them to live less.
Similarely, they say that vegetarians are less intelligent. And sometimes point to some nutrient deficiency in non-meat diets.
The problem is precisely the same: the people who become vegetarians for some `wrong` reason like being trandy, atheism (including belief in darwinism) etc... simply their poor reasoning indicates they were less intelligent to start with, and did not become so because of vegetarianism.
On the other hand, those who become vegetarians for the `right` reasons, as ethical, religious or health concern... they are clearly far more intelligent than any meat-eaters.
That is so obvious to me now, after more than 1 year without meat, that I am able to score over 150 in IQ tests, in addition my sweat smells quite nice and my feces are soft and quite pleasent to eliminate :)

Anonymous said...

Adi said...

“To the idiots that brag about suffering:Understand, for goodness' sake, that suffering is SUBJECTIVE. If you were without sex, you'd proclame yourself suffering; I without sex proclame myself the happiest ever. You are probably happy that business people have millions and billions, yet I suffer for that comes at the expence of the billions of people who die of starvation and AIDS in Africa, Asia and South America.
You have no authority to impose your opinion about suffering on someone else, even on a foetus or embryo.”

You, instead, insist that life is worthy of respect purely because it is alive. Don’t force your subjective opinion on me is what I say to that. It’s hardly objectively qualified even by your own standards (although if your own standards are religion based I would have some idea why you might have kidded yourself that you are being objective). Nonetheless, even if you have good reason for believing this, you have proposed no explanation as to why. I just have the suspicious feeling that your explanation might be “God said so” and I can’t work with that. Show me that this isn't that and I might have something to seriously think about. Until you do I’m sticking with sentience as my value generator and will continue to discount things that superficially resemble sentient beings but are scientifically shown to not be.

Adi said...

Being alive is pretty much more objective than your belief that `that` would eventually suffer... wouldn't you say?!

Anonymous said...

Continued:
As for suffering:
The cause of suffering is irrelevant to the argument of whether or not suffering matters. If you suffer you’re going to have a bad time whatever the cause and no matter how ridiculous the cause is. I will gladly advise people of ways to adjust their psychology to cope with their predicaments in situations where adjustments can be made (that’s simply addiction/deprivation management). Even so, this is not the same as suffering that depends on events that animals cannot reasonably adapt to. This is especially true of non-human animals because they cannot apply addiction management techniques. The kinds of suffering that most people will acknowledge in humans, and will occasionally acknowledge in animals, are things like chronic pain, severe neglect and sexual abuse, (really obvious things that few people can reasonably deny exist universally and would not rightly want anything they cared about experiencing). I’ve got no time for people who say “it’s all in the mind” as if a rape or torture victim should just shrug it off(I assume, ofcourse, that those who make a habit of trivilising suffering haven't temporarily blundered into ammorality by accident). I’d like to see people who trivialise suffering as “mere subjectivity” turn down pain relief medications and therapies.

I for one will not insist that a vegetarian woman should convince herself that a bunch of cells need to be incubated and bought to term simply because the things are there.(You also do not have that authority to insist it).

Anonymous said...

“Being alive is pretty much more objective than your belief that `that` would eventually suffer... wouldn't you say?!”

Not if I’m a silly solipsist it isn’t (I’m not). But seriously – Yes, there is physical stuff that carries out a process called life but that doesn’t suggest anything innately respect worthy about it. I don’t respect processes simply for being a process, it takes more than that. I respect a process for having a quality about it that renders it worthy of being cared about. That’s just the way it is – we say life is good but it is good for reasons that are generated in our heads. Some of the reasons are nearly universal because we have the evolutionary heritage for it and some are quite plastically adaptive to our present needs.

Revellica said...

@sunoxen - I agree with you whole-heartedly. This is pretty much the equivalent of arguing religion. Everyone needs to accept that there is no "one-size-fits-all" for everyone.

Veggies think they're making valid points - I don't, and vice versa. There is a TON of info out there to support both schools of thought. People in general need to stop grasping onto something they like and then setting out at trying to convert everyone they speak to.

I have read/heard everything and I will never agree. As is obvious, this conversation could go on and on. I do not consider myself above nature, respect evolution and would like our entire system to be more natural. I do think many meat-eaters need to eat less meat though; as our ancestors never would've gotten to indulge this much.

If veggies could stop being so condescending & judgmental (do you realize how fundamentalist some of you sound?) we could all join together to stop factory farms which is the real issue. STOP TRYING TO CONVERT PEOPLE AND LETS WORK ON THE ONE THING WE CAN AGREE ON!

Revellica said...

@AJ Bird "extinction is a far better fate than perpetual misery and endless murder."

Does that mean that American Indians should just go extinct because we have been brutalized by colonialism for centuries? Would that be fairer to us? The statement is far too simplistic.

I do not "Grade life". Nature is a complete system. I do not believe in breaking it down that way. As I said I consider the plants as just as sacred as us or the animals. Since I was born into the human family I will most often (though NOT always) side with a human.

In my original statement (last section of this entry: http://revellicasramblings.blogspot.com/2011/02/we-are-not-separate-from-nature.html)
I pointed out that in North America we should be eating deer and rabbit - it is the meat that is naturally most abundant. Would you be okay with allowing these creatures to go extinct as well - not just the cows and chickens?

I am not arguing with you on whether or not I think its okay to torture animals. I don't (as I've repeated I don't know how many times; as have others). I am against torture.

I agree with you - factory farms are bad.

To reiterate: The argument(s) is short-sighted, fluffy, unrealistic and still chooses to place ones self above and outside of their environment - just like the Bible told you to do.

essandee said...

Being vegetarian is inconvenient. It is expensive and not easily accessible. I don not want to put myself and my family in at an economic disadvantage in order to attain a moral high ground that, if practiced by my ancestors, would have ended their fight in the struggle for survival. If you want to limit your diet for personal reasons, then I am all for it. Everyone who performs disadvantageous actions towards themselves increase the benefits of those who perform advantageous actions towards themselves. But, I for one will continue the tradition that was past down from my predecessors by eating whatever will sustain me the best.

Anonymous said...

Revellica,

Their is no "should" in the statement: "extinction is a far better fate than perpetual misery and endless murder." It's a reach to suggest that the author's statement should imply that American Indians (or any other group of people or species for that matter) SHOULD simply just go extinct because they have been brutalized by another group of people. In fact, if you read the whole passage from which the quote was taken, you'll see that the author actually gives you an idea of a couple of different scenarios:

"In the 21st century, around 300 million Americans eat 10 billion land animals. In the 22nd century, when only 150 million Americans eat animals, only 5 billion land animals will be killed. When just 75 million Americans eat meat... you get the picture. In 200-300 years, when America is vegan, there will only be a few thousand cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys left. At that point, you can set them free or give them a nice life at a sanctuary. The only other scenario is Smithfield, Tyson, ConAgra, Perdue and the other animal-killing conglomerates eradicating these animals completely. As a result, the only cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys left would be the ones already at sanctuaries. Extinction is a far better fate than perpetual misery and endless murder."

-AJ

sunoxen said...

@essandee Excellent point. I think the arrogance factor is what is so annoying. I don't mean the arrogance of your typical vegan that pushes their "beliefs" in your face and calls meat murder and all the rest of it.

I mean the simple arrogance that millions of years of evolution simply does not matter, and that social traditions and civilization don't matter as well.

Criss herself brought up India and their traditions in vegetarianism but dismissed people being rude at dinner parties as not that important.

Look. Things must die for us to live. No matter if you eat spinich or offal. That seems to be left out of the equation by (and I do not use this word lightly) dipshits like Jonathon Safran Foer.

I was actually a little surprised. I started following Criss because of her love of science. I would hope that she would actually read about dietary science with the same passion she has read about evolutionary science.

When she says things like "The benefits of vegetarian diets and the health risks of meat-consumption abuse are basically non-debatable in the fields of nutrition and food science." I was a little shocked. In fact, MANY studies have shown that these nutritional assumptions that have been foisted on us are VERY debatable. I am not saying I have all the answers, but this kind of statement is pure bunk, and shows that she hasn't really been paying attention, or has avoided reading nutritional studies altogether. And anyone planting their flag in the minefield of nutritional "research" over the past 60 years with any certainty or non-debate is having more faith than any religious person could muster.

Ed Konowicz said...

If a vegetarian diet is inadequate, then how could millions of east Indians use such a diet for centuries and survive?

You cannot prove a developed moral compass. You can only live by being true to your own moral compass and intellectual development. The proof is not about science but about living out your ideals and sensitivities. For some people, vegetarianism is part of their moral compass for many reasons.

Everyone should evaluate their health with respect to their diet. I avoid beef and pork preferring poultry and fish with my vegetables. There are moral issues with the poultry and fish but I have more important ones to address as far as I am concerned. That is what my moral compass points out to me.

Anonymous said...

@Spawnfrea My comment was similiar to yours, not as well said though. But some how my comment got deleted. Good job zomgitscriss, deleting non-offensive mild comments that call you out for inconsistencies. You are intellectually dishonest. Not that your army of mindless drone fans will ever call you to task for anything - there, that was meant to be offensive. Delete this twice!

Adi said...

Birdie, all living being suffer (from a Buddhist perspective), because, come to think of it, life really sucks. Just the mere thought that in order for you to eat someone else must die...
Sentient beings are also free to `pursue their happiness` and many geniouses and artists, needless to say about religious personalities, have bravely overcome worldly suffering... because they were smart enough to find better aspects of life than the mere suffering.
I'm sorry for you that you differ from any of them in at least this way.
Moreover, to have finally arrived at some religious speaking, worldly suffering (even being abused, poor, orphan etc.) is actually a good thing! It teaches you not to get attached to the evil things about life that `unsuffering` people crave, such as sex, riches, drugs, vices etc.

Adi said...

Anonymous, you wanker! You have respect for some bio-neurochemical process in your brain you ultrasubjectively call happiness or suffering, yet you do not have respect for the most fundamental process (that makes all other processes possible) called life!?

AntiBullshitMan said...

From a few posts above:

"It is certainly true that animals experience pain, and since it is well established that humans can function very well without eating meat, it appears that those who continue to eat meat (and thus are indirectly, by increasing demand for meat products, causing animal suffering) are acting in an objectively wrong way. Yet somehow you did not condemn them. You only asked them to stop opposing vegetarians. Why?"

She acknowledged that others have a much stronger addiction to meat than she had prior to giving it up. She also tried going vegan, but that didn't last, so I'm guessing it's a matter of her using that experience to put herself in the shoes of people with a strong dependency on meat.

The only meat eaters worthy of condemnation are those who glorify their meat consumption, deliberately waste meat so to troll vegetarians, or pretend that the arguments against them are illogical. Or those who rationalize an excuse to instill their meat addiction on to their children, usually out of reverence for tradition. Or those who say stupid shit like "I have to issues with anyone being a vegetarian..." as if to imply that there's a hook here which veggies are subject to being let off of in the 1st place, at the mercy of the meat eater. Just reeks of arrogance and thoughtlessness.

AntiBullshitMan said...

"Good job zomgitscriss, deleting non-offensive mild comments that call you out for inconsistencies."

I guess Criss has mastered the art of deleting comments while she's offline as there are no such things as glitches on the internet. Or could it be that you're just a dishonest slandering little troll?

Anonymous said...

@AntiBullshitMan. My comments were posted yesterday. I checked to see if they actually posted. Today they are gone. That's a clitch? Douche!

AntiBullshitMan said...

"That's a clitch?"

No, but it is a Glitch.

The only types of comments she has ever felt compelled to remove in the past, are those dropping docs on someone who doesn't want their docs dropped. Look at all the moronic comments here that are still up. You actually think that your comment was special? Don't flatter yourself.

Anonymous said...

I am a vegetarian for the same reason that I am an atheist
I don't need god or meat , I don't like either .Mind you ,
most gods aren't vegetarians .

Ed Konowicz said...

I am impressed with Kristina's well-thought out arguments. It is hard to post anything today without being villifed for any tiny perceived flaw. Though I do not believe in a formal God nor do I accept the Bible as anything but stories, I recognize the importance of consciousness. Nature brutalizes consciousness to a large extent and humans are part of that brutality that many see as necessary for survival. The question any good person faces is how much can they transcend the brutality and survive, especially the survival of their consciousness. Could we even suggest to Eskimos or Nomads in the desert to be vegetarians? The question really is how do we best respect consciousness as we try to survive. We need to see the effort made for respect. I find alligators to be disrespectful. So I do not see any reason to support this disrespect for higher intelligence. I would not agree to protect the alligator from going extinct. I would not protect dinosaurs if they were still around. Cows are a different issue. I somewhat agree with the Hindus that cows have some very nice aspects to their consciousness. We choose our friends and lovers. Life is about making choices about what to protect and what not to protect.

I think the concept of eating meat or not eating meat is too one-sided. It is more complicated that that.

Some people do not post with respect. Please try to do that. It is natural to be brutal even in our minds. It is sublime to be caring for each being.

Ed Konowicz said...

Let's think on the American Indians such as the Sioux who were pushed into the arid plains and forced into a nomadic life by the brutality of the American empire. They turned to the eating of the buffaloe not only for nourishment but for their tools, clothing, and shelter.

Are we to judge them as meat-eaters especially their children? Maybe, the Sioux were too war-like and were victims to their own karma but who are we to judge? Could we let millions of buffaloes roam today? To build our farms to feed our vegetarians, millions of buffaloes had to be slaughtered and denied an abundant future for their offspring. Every farm takes away the natural habitat of some animals that are then often forced to starve to death.

It would be a simple world, if we could make pure moral choices but every choice we make also harms some consciousness. Life is about voting for a way of life and thinking. When we vote, we deny some life to another way of life. It is in understanding the pain that we cause, that we become compassionate beings. We can try to avoid causing unnecessary pain but we cause pain anyway. Life on earth is sad. We can and should weep but we also should dance for we need to rise above the brutality.

We should not be proud but humble in that we all cause suffering. To believe otherwise, is false pride.

Ed Konowicz said...

The Whales

Japan prefers to harvest whales. Part of that is the realization that whales as almost top of the food chain use much of the resources that could go to other forms that could feed humans. Japan is a fish eating nation and fish eat fish so it is not a moral contradiction for them.

I agree that whales like cows seem to be amazing creatures in some aspects. I even agree that whales should be protected though I don't agree that Great White Sharks should be protected. However, I see Japan's point about a limited food supply. I don't believe in war even whale wars. People should sit down and talk and stop playing the political correctness game.

Should human population be limited in favor of whales or buffaloes? The sea is an important food source. I think to deny that is delusional. Fish are going to die at some point and nature feels that predator induced death is better than disease for the consciousness. I agree. I rather die quickly than waste away.

Who are we to disagree totally with nature? Nature has a point and if we argue with nature, sometimes nature will win.

I don't like to make choices in life. I somewhat understand the ramifications and the suffering that I cause. But I rather a whale die than hundreds of Inuit die. I even think a whale understands and can accept some of the order of nature on earth. It would be good if we could just die and our bodies vaporize. Imagine all the dead bodies decaying and the disease if there were no predators? Yes, vultures would be the ideal. But then do we want to limit life to plants, plant-eaters, and vultures and other scavengers?

I really appreciate Kristina for raising this important topic. I also think that she is such a fine thinker that she will see some of these points because I have been using reason and courage like her for many more years and thus, have some added thinking. I prefer to be a vegetarian, but I know that is not a moral solution because there are no moral solutions. We can just try to be loving. We never really succeed.

Ed Konowicz said...

For those humans who think that human population should be limited to allow more buffaloes, whales, tigers, bears, wolves, elephants and other large mammals, I would say then it is their choice not to reproduce. Do not push that choice on others. For those who are willing to have five or more children, I would say that it is their choice and war and starvation may result.

We have to deal with the consequences of our choices. If we expect others to sacrifice for us, then we create a hiearchal world. But if we comprehend our choice in the balance of things and allow our choices to come back to us, then we are morally sound. We should act with values that provide for equal protection of the law including us. It is in comprehending the order of the universe that we can make our own contribution to how consciousness evolves or devolves. The vegetarian argument goes to the heart of the issue. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The rooster did. We should keep a sense of humor because we are all fugged up. Give it up to some transcendance.

Justin Chase said...

I missed the twitter question but here is another one since I didn't see it on your list. Actually there was a similar one "But you do eat plants. Plants are alive and feel pain too. You're a hypocrite." except I will add a variation.

As far as I know plants don't feel pain. As far as I know pain is purely an "animal" construct. This doesn't mean that plants don't have their own survival strategies however. We place a great deal of concern into pain and suffering, naturally, since we are animals and can empathize with pain and suffering. However pain is simply an adaptation for survival, different from plants but plants have their own similar adaptations. For a very interesting example read about the Acacia tree. When giraffes begin eating it, it will begin to produce a toxin that will make the leaves poisonous to giraffes. Therefore giraffes will approach the trees from down wind and only eat on them for a short period of time. There are many other examples of offensive and defensive mechanisms that plants have evolved as a means of surviving in their various habitats (thorns, poisons, colors, pine cones that open after fires, etc.)

Furthermore some animals have formed a co-evolutionary relationship with humans, where their existence as a species is completely dependent upon humans wanting to eat them. Many breeds of modern cows, for example, would probably not live long if they weren't also eaten by humans. This is a similar relationship that bees have with orchids, corpse flowers have with flies, dairy ants have with aphids, etc.

The concepts of pain, suffering and personal death all have no meaning evolutionarily other than how it affects the adaptability and ultimately the survival of the entire species.

So plants are just as alive as animals and we humans tend to apply our anthropomorphic bias' towards animals since we are ourselves animals. I think the moral vegetarian is simply showing a conceit and a overly simplistic understanding of evolution and the circle of life.

If I went into a forest right now and chopped down an old oak tree and left it there to rot would that be immoral? I think so. The moral wrong is the act of unnecessarily killing anything. Humans cannot photosynthesize therefore anytime we eat we must kill for that food. This is totally morally acceptable as long as what we eat improves our long term survival as well as the long term survival of other life forms. It's ok to eat a few leaves off of a plant in the same way it's ok to eat a few cows out of a herd.

As the most intelligent species on Earth it's our duty to understand this and attempt to promote the largest diversity, continual evolution, and maximum habitation of life on this planet.

Revellica said...

@Ed Konowicz
Thank you; your posts were beautifully worded. You and I are in total agreement.
One question though - why don't you like crocodiles and great whites? Granted; they don't seem as friendly as cows or whales, but they have their places in nature too. I try to have reverence for things even if they creep me out - sometimes I really struggle with it though (with spiders). ;D

Anonymous said...

Dairy as a healthy diet requirement is as overrated as meat is. Moral issues aside (not that I don't want to be moral, but I want to focus on the nutrition aspect only), dairy has definitely been as oversold, if not more oversold as a healthy diet. Calcium, protein, vitamins D and A and certain fats are the main ones I can think of with regards to cows milk (obviously there are other dairy products but cow's milk is the most advertised). Note that vitamins D and A are ADDED to milk (well A is added to low-fat and fat-free milks). D being readily available through the sun and through some fish and vitamin A is available in many orange/red veggies/fruit and dark greens (mangos, carrots, sweet potatoes and squash the most popular). Also note you cannot develop a dangerous level of Vitamin A from fruits and veggies like you can from dairy and meats.
Calcium is a biggie for pro dairy crowds. Parsley, tahini paste (hummus), kale and figs all give as much or more calcium per serving than a glass of milk. And if you eat beans and nuts, you're even better off! Protein is a favorite for any meat eating dairy consuming argument and I think that has already been covered here. And, just to hit it home, no other mammal needs an entirely different mammal's milk fat make-up to be healthy. My wife breastfeed you I heard I few comments that her milk wasn't complete enough... HA! Try telling it to a cow that it needs human fat.

AntiBullshitMan said...

Ed:

"I would say then it is their choice not to reproduce"

Wow, thanks for being so generous so to acknowledge people's choice to not reproduce... as if to imply that it's the LACK of imposition of life on involuntary subjects that may perhaps be subject to ethical analysis.

"Do not push that choice on others"

Very next paragraph...

"We have to deal with the consequences of our choices. If we expect others to sacrifice for us, then we create a hiearchal world"

When people reproduce recklessly & impose their poverty onto their children, then THEY'RE the ones who expect others to sacrifice for them. They're the ones expecting their children to deal with the consequences they saw fit to impose on them. In the many parts of the world, they're also expecting the rest of society to sacrifice for them as well, by subsidizing their reproductive choice through taxpayer money. So don't talk to me about the evils of pushing anti-reproduction views on others, because nobody lives in some glass house where their reproductive decisions are incapable of impacting anyone but them.

"We should not be proud but humble in that we all cause suffering. To believe otherwise, is false pride."

Subtle implications suggesting that arguments for vegetarianism are rooted in underhanded attempts at feeling pride, are also nonsense.

"who are we to judge"

Don't judge then, just let your DNA do the thinking for you. Others will prefer to use their brains instead, so try remain nonjudgmental.

"she will see some of these points because I have been using reason"

No you haven't, not in these posts at least.

Ed Konowicz said...

Revellica,

If we look at nature we can see in some species a development of a moral compass. When that happens in dogs and parrots, we see amazing intellectual development compared to related species. We also see a potential for gentleness and companionship arise. Though individual crocodiles, alligators, and Great White Sharks can be developed relative to their species, overall they show little regard for what they choose as their prey. Whether it is the Killer Whales, wolves, Bald Eagles, horses and others, we see some understanding that higher beings like humans and their children should not be their victims. Bald Eagles prefer fish and I think this is somewhat a moral choice. Chimpanzees especially older males show little regard for the suffering of their victims. Thus, dogs become our pets often with better cooperation and language skills than chimps. Humans at times show compassion for almost all species, even saving the lives of alligators and sharks. We do not see this compassion except in some mammals and birds. Once when I was poor and hungry, a crow drop me some bread.

Nature seems to favor the development of the moral compass and evolution proceeds to develop those animals capable of some gentleness and empathy. Those animals like some sharks and alligators have not evolved for millions of years. Rays and skates do have some empathy and gentleness compared to their relatives, the sharks.

Dogs will survive and not chimpanzees. I think Gorillas should be protected for the same reason as elephants. We need to make moral choices or we would be threatened by predators in our neighborhood. It is convenient to want lions to be protected unless you live where lions will attack you when you jog or walk.

Animals that have a place have been going extinct for millions of years like the Mega Shark or Saber-Tooth Tiger. It is natural that brutal predators go extinct and some with more sense of their place like the dog and Bald Eagle thrive.

I think Pit Bulls should go extinct. It is a breed that has produced too many vicious predators. Humans would not be alive if they allowed hyenas and lions to roam freely. I am not for killing animals. But I am for protecting some from extinction and allowing others to go extinct. Nature, I think, is aligned with that thinking. I would rather see Killer Whales and seals by my local beach than seals and Great White Sharks. We make the choice what we protect. I think wild horses should be more protected and mountain lions less protected.

So what do we do when deer over-run our neighborhoods and people start dying in car accidents with them? Then intelligent deer hunting or some culling should be encouraged rather than have wolves or Grizzlies in our suburbs. Neither is an ideal. We need to make rough choices to balance our eco-system. None of those choices are perfect. Some species like the coyote can become an issue while the fox is not.

I could go on and on (and I do). Basically some species seem to evolve to be higher beings. Others that are too vicious go extinct. Those who support the alligator or Great White would also support brutal species of dinosaurs. I think it is fitting that brutal predators go extinct. For example, black bears in North America are less vicious than brown bears like the Grizzly. I would not protect the brown bear, but would protect black bears. I would protect the Whale Shark and not the Great White Shark. I would not protect the hyena but would protect the wolf in Alaska. You can clearly see the difference if you look.

Sorry, but I did not have the time to write this as well as previous posts.

Ed Konowicz said...

Anti-BS Man,

You misconstrued my points. You need to read my post again. We cannot help but use some implication in writing. You missed what I was implying. I simply meant that our actions have consequences and our thinking should consider them.

I read your post several times and cannot recognize my ideas as you hear them. But I understand how my use of words could lead you to your interpretation. I am not being "generous."

Obviously, my thinking does not appeal to you. You have not represented my thinking nor have you shown any point of disagreement other than overall distaste for my post. Ok, you did not like it. I still cannot figure out why you did not like it from your post. And really neither of us have the time to lock horns.

I was presumptuous to assume Kristina would like my post especially since I have minor points of contention with some of her arguments. It is good to know that you do not agree with me. That is great feedback. Thanks for taking the time to clarify this. I am not geing generous. I think there is a possibility that you have a much bigger male ego than me.

Eric said...

A great "news article" that I believe addresses people's VERY VALID concerns both with plants feeling pain and the dangers of genetically modified crops.

It's the last of the three stories in this 2 1/2 minute clip.

http://www.theonion.com/video/ear-of-genetically-modified-corn-begs-for-death,19344/

(PLEASE get the rampant sarcasm in both context and the fact that the link if from The Onion)

AntiBullshitMan said...

Ed:

I read your posts repeatedly as well, since I actually had to keep scrolling back up so to quote you. You immediately struck me as the type who'd reply back with blanket cries of misconception, and no doubt you did. If you can't see how what I quoted you with wasn't taken out of context, and that my arguments to you were direct and fair, then we're living on different planets and this is indeed a waste of time.

"I think there is a possibility that you have a much bigger male ego than me"

And I think you ought to come to terms with the fact that, as innocently as you make it sound, you're still deliberately taking a subtle shot at me with this. Or maybe it truly escapes you on some level. Either way, it's transparent to me. I argued the comments you left on this public board. I did not invoke baseless speculation regarding your personality/ego into my commentary. You are, in turn, speculating on the "possibility" of my much larger male ego, with the hope that using the word "possibility" allows you to save face. It doesn't. Me pointing out the obvious flaw in your comment lecturing those who push anti-reproduction views on others, entailed nothing about my ego. I just pointed out the reality of the fact that it is the reproducers who "expect others to sacrifice for them" and "to deal with the consequences" of their reckless decision. To infer anything else from it is to over-analyze with a subjective lens.

Ed Konowicz said...

ABM,

We should leave you and me out of this and just address ideas. I don't think the poor expect others to sacrifice for their decisions or indulgences any more than the rich do. If you want less people, then you should reproduce less whether you are poor or rich. The poor should not be deprived of kids because the wealthy do not let a fair distribution of resources occur. All people should have the same rights, rich or poor. Obviously, the poor cannot afford two houses, or cars, and other things. But having children should not be about money because the money is not distributed fairly and having a family should be seen as a fundamental human right.

That may not be what you meant. So please clarify your ideas (not your ideas about me). Did I address one of the issues on which we disagree? If not, please state the issue again.

Ed Konowicz said...

Revellica,

You and I really think a lot alike. I just read some of your blog and it is the American native culture's influence that ties our minds. I see all life as our brothers and sisters but I don't always get along with everyone in the family. The American Indian seemed to have the most profound understanding of food and medicine once you get past the symbolism. It is about respect for all life. We all get disrespectful and have to catch ourselves. Corn, fish, chicken, potatoes and others are my relatives and I am sad that I eat them and am grateful for the nature of their journey and the principles that they teach my body. I hope that I can provide a temporary lodging for their spirits or influence their dreams in a better direction as they pass through my being. My being is composed of many other beings as my heart, lungs, intestines, etc... . For me the universe is a life and death journey as we make ties with other consciousness. I hope that as nature consumes me, that my spirit will have a good journey as I try to do with what I consume.

The American Indian culture was almost exterminated by the Christianity and materialism of Europe. It is more than fitting that we allow its view to speak here through us.

People have been taught to make fun of us who perceive everything as alive. Where I do differ with native culture, is that I see Mother F Earth as cruel. I actually think that medicine men taught too much respect for Mother Earth which was destroying them. Mother Earth gets greedy and indulgent. It allowed and encouraged the greed and indulgences of the European tribes to destroy the harmony of many American tribes though some of the tribes were brutal like the Europeans.

Nonetheless, we inherit the respect of the native religion for the journey of the spirit through the Great Mystery. I understand the corn people of the Navajo and the house of the sun. It makes sense to me though I do not think there are many who understand any more. But it is time that the European propaganda be broken. I should not just use reason for I inherit on this land the traditions of its original peoples. It is this open discussion that the European cultures hate. We are supposed to be turned into human machines for production and worship their false gods. It sounds crazy to speak some truth. But if we do not speak some truth, we will lose anyway.

Revellica said...

Ed Konowicz,

I’m glad to see someone is in agreement. Being native (I am of Yaqui decent) in this country (world) is difficult because it is hard to argue with someone who believes that western civilization is the end-all-be-all. No one seems to be willing to tackle the issue of stopping the practice of shipping food back and forth, using our oil only for space exploration and living in smaller communities where the Earth can actually sustain us. They would rather march on our current path no matter what the consequences. When we speak of the harms we are doing to our environment and the creatures therein; it seems people would rather stick a band-aid on it instead of fully restructuring our way of life. If population levels hold and this system continues functioning the way it has been – our whole planet is doomed.

One thing that really bothers me is that people act as if Native Americans are extinct – we most certainly are not. Granted, we only make up 1% of the population these days – but we are still here. We’ve simply been stuffed onto reservations (where conditions are third world) and forgotten. I urge people to attend pow-wows held by local tribes, visit nearby reservations and speak with us directly when wishing to know our viewpoint. We are still here to converse – please DO NOT resort to some new age guru when wishing to know more.

The new age movement has been doing a huge disservice to our traditions by taking them, bastardizing them and then selling them. Spiritual knowledge is not meant to be sold and most of us find the practice despicable. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCLmT_M-qtk/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CPxoSp58pE) After the genocide, our lands, food sources and way of life were stripped from us. And since the 1960’s the last thing that we had left (our spiritual teachings and traditions) have been under assault. So many people sacrificed so much to ensure that future generations would have these ways and now that sacrifice is being spat-upon by the new age movement.

Mother Earth is loving and cruel at the same time. I don’t believe that enough respect for the Earth can be taught. It is our home – everything that we know and everything that sustains us is here. Mother Earth does not get greedy and indulgent; she is a system just like any other body. The sun warms the air, causes winds & low/high temp zones, which cause tornados and hurricanes. That’s why so many tribes were nomadic – they realized that there is no point in trying to setup a permanent home if tornadoes occur in that area.

The earth did not allow the greed and indulgences of Europeans. It is often forgotten that many European tribes (Celts, Picts, etc) had a close relationship with their environment and were conquered by Christianity in the same way that Native Americans were. That’s why I believe that when Americans (and others) realize how disconnected they are from the environment (even from their own food sources) they desire a more traditional way of life. It is hard to know what to do in this scenario. Part of me would like to encourage them to look into the traditions of their own ancestors; but I feel you cannot ignore the tradition of the land you are on – as these traditions are all land based. cont...

Revellica said...

Ed Konowicz,

Respect needs to play a larger role. Often it seems people mimic us (“playing Indian”) and many New Agers I’ve met see it as a game. They approach it in the same way they would approach a game of Magic or Dungeons and Dragons – as if it were a novelty. If you know any of these people; please smack them upside the head for me ;) Native traditions are not about some all-knowing god in the sky; I feel they have always been closer to science than any of the main-stream faiths. We observed the natural world and fashioned these traditions as a way to connect with those things; showing respect to everything we encountered – not attempting to dominate it. Christianity has labeled us as superstitious because we believe that everything has a spirit. Anyone who owns a pet that they love will tell you about how that pet has a unique spirit – a personality all its own. How Christianity (who believed everything was Satan and demons) could label us as superstitious because we believed everything in nature had a spirit (essence) is beyond me.

Also; I must disagree that we should just allow some things to go extinct. Sharks are the pros when it comes to cleaning up whale carcass from the oceans. It seems a bit arrogant to say that things should evolve to be more like us or more willing to follow our orders. They are different and are meant to be such. Mountain lions are as essential to the food chain as the deer. I don’t think that it’s okay for mankind to replace every predator in the known world. Again it is about respect. Just because you don’t understand the creature as much as you do another; doesn’t make that creature any less valuable, necessary or beautiful. The relationship of predator and prey is meant to keep things in balance – to ensure that one animal does not overpopulate the region. It is mankind’s current lack of predators (viruses included) that are causing the resource shortages we are seeing. To counter-balance this we need to show more intelligence and responsibility – something I fear we (as a whole) will never accomplish.

It also bothers me that so many people are hating on the poor pit-bulls. Every pit-bull I have spent time with has been a loving (attention-whore) sweet dog. They are excellent at following commands, are gentle with children and great in general. A poorly treated dog is a dog that will lash out – no matter what the breed. A really good show called “The Science of Dogs” (I know, sounds thrilling right?) was actually rather interesting. In it they explain that EVERY dog we have is a descendant of the Grey Wolf and how the random genetic trait that pops up to make them better candidates as companions for humans arises and is continue. You wanna talk about a useless dog – Chihuahuas’… now there’s a useless breed ;D

Ed Konowicz said...

Revellica,

It is natural for honest people to disagree. It is my opinion that the European greedy and indulgent culture has the blessings of Mother Earth. That is why it can build huge armies and crush native peoples around the world. For me, Mother F. Earth is strong but is about to change as Father Sun blasts it with the new pollen (radiation) for new growth. We like plants do eat radiation. We use the sun in the Vitamin D process to heal and build our bones. We may use it other in ways. Just like the ideas of some food can be poisonous to our system of different organs and cells, so can many of the ideas coming from the many loops (houses) of the sun be poisonous to the human body. Most of the spirits of our body like plants listen to chemical messages, not us.

I, too, dislike the New Age movement. I see it as Western propaganda to pollute the better teachings of native peoples who developed most of the usable medicine that the West is so proud of. My native ancestors (the Lithuanians) were the last of Europe to resist brutal Christianity. THe German (Teutonic) Knights slaugtered my ancestors as they later slaughter many non-Christians during WWII.

We are still under the Germanic-Roman War gods. They see themselves as the Axis Power of the Earth and I think that may be somewhat correct in that they represent the axis power of the earth. The thinking of the Nazis and their concentration camps (refugee camps and reservations) still exists. Millions of people are still being exterminated. American natives did not see Mother Earth as destroying them and I think that is their flaw where they became blind to what they were up against. It is more a European tribal tradition that we must protect ourselves from Mother Earth and her madness.

I see life as a rebellion from Mother Earth. Look at the moon or most planets. The so-called gods (Greek mythology) are cruel and self-indulgent. We like Ulysses rebel against the gods to make the earth and the wolve more kind. We transform the earth.

I agree sharks are very good vultures of the sea and are needed. But the more vicious ones like the Great White, the Tiger, the White Tip, the Bull Shark and others could go extinct and allow less aggressive sharks to do the scavenging like brother crow. The crow is somewhat an honored animal because it has sense and does the work of the vulture while respecting kindness. It is also playful and a trickster.

I knew very briefly (my best friend knew him well) Chief Fools Crow of the Oglala Sioux -- what may be the second largest tribal group in the US. Fools Crow was their traditional chief and medicine man. Obviously, I had major disagreements with him though my friend had done the Sun Dance several times.

I am not New Age. I have always naturally seen the spirits in trees, animals, plants, sun, and the earth. I was born like that. I have no group that I follow.

It is good that we disagree for if we agree too much we would become like the European Culture where they all agree. The idea of the lodge meeting is not to agree but to let all opinions speak. The European culture wants consensus and action. Native peoples understand generally that most of human action causes misery. But the European consciousness wants to do and agree and do and agree. If you do not agree, then it may be war in their minds.

Poor people - people who do not agree -- are supposed to not have kids and be exterminated. Poor people are in their minds lazy, drunkards, and stupid. This is the European nobility and their slander on people who disagree with their Tasks.

But things are changing. More people are becoming aware that the News is mostly lies. We eat ideas both through sound, light, radiation, and chemicals. The Romans laughed because they feed us a Diet of Worms for we are supposed to be the dreaming fish while they hide the knowledge of the spirituality of things behind fake religion and materialism.

Revellica said...

Ed Konowicz,

I’m a little lost but I’ll plunge ahead. ;)

Thinking that the Earth is granting its blessing to European civilization is no different than the often held belief that the Europeans have the blessings of some god or deity. And again; believing that “Mother Earth” is cruel and things will be set straight by “Father Sky/Sun” seems to be putting forward the same Patriarchal trappings of the three mainstream faiths. It seems common for mankind to assign humanlike personalities onto greater things in an attempt to understand them instead of trying to understand them for what they simply are. The Earth is our sustainer and home; but I do not believe that it is granting blessings on anyone.

I always find it interesting how the landscape shapes the deities that the people that inhabit the land will worship. The Saxons for example were constantly at odds with their environment. Bitter cold made food scarce and people die – so of course their gods were very war like (as there was always constant fighting for food) and a feeling of needing to conquer the earth. The 3 big faiths came out of the desert where again the simple act of survival was a battle. The Aztecs lived in the jungle where jaguars were a threat (the “myth” or retelling of the time when jaguars overran man -overpopulation of the species- and ate nearly everyone). Also considering the location, the people saw many eclipses and were surrounded by volcanoes. The jungle was chock-full of things that could kill you; therefore it’s no surprise that some of the belief system would seem very dark to outsiders. Studying the land and history of certain people, it is easy to see why their deities have the traits that they do.

I have to apologize to everyone on the thread – I know this is supposed to be a conversation about vegetarianism and Ed and I have gotten WAY off point. I also apologize to Miss Cristina Rad as I know if she saw these posts she’d probably be annoyed. I subscribed to her after watching her videos on atheism and science and loved them so much I wanted to hear more of her views. I (like her I think) do not believe in any higher consciousness (be it a god or the earth) that is steering our lives or evolution in any direction. I believe in nature and find myself blessed simply to exist to witness all of this.

Ed, if you have a reply (since we’re way off in left field) please find me on Facebook or YouTube. :)

Ed Konowicz said...

Revellica,

Talking about the sun (whether mother or father is irrelevant since I do not believe in gods or gender-based gods) is not off base here because the sun is the source of the energy of the food that we eat. I will try facebook for other topics.

Whether it is father earth or mother earth, I don't really care. But I think the nature or history of the earth is largely biased towards predators. Predators eat meat and are associated with war. Skipping the mythological references to bring home my post to this thread, meat-eating is part of the history of the earth and much is biased especially by human culture towards eating meat.

As rebels, including Kristina, we challenge the common habits of the earth such as war and meat-eating. How we eat influences our habits and our sub-culture. The eating question was dealt with by the native Americans in terms of the principles of what was eaten. Those were my general points relevant to this thread though I used more symbolic language. It is the ideas that are important and not the words. If my words were promoting traditional culture then it is time to change them. I tried to give a larger reference (native American thinking) to emphasize that what we eat my affect how we think and live, more directly than Western culture assumes.

Chaosdada said...

"We even have laws against animal cruelty. But ofcourse, those laws are meant for our pets and for the pretty wildlife. But they don't really apply to cows or pigs or other animals that we use for meat consumption. Why is that ?"

Well, that of course would be OK, if we in general/as a society would feel less compassion for them, because this compassion is the only reason for laws against animal cruelty.
BUT animal cruelty laws DO apply to meat stock. The video you link wonderfully shows how quick an painless the slaugthering (seen at the beginning) is and how it obviously has nothing in common with torture. The whole rest of the video shows halal slaughtering!
And concerning the act of killing itself: Yes, we have a civilisation with laws against killing other humans and I think that is good. But we have much less stricter laws against killing other animals, and I and most other people think that is good, too. You have given no reason why we should humans and other animals or other animals among one another treat equally.

"This is not an appeal to emotions."

There is another problem. Because seeing the concept of humanity as something desirable is only based on emotions. Like every other form of morality, if you go far enough to the root - there is no logical reason to do anything particular or anything at all. And if you spread this concept just to humans or to more creatures is based on emotions.

I personally see intelligence as an important factor in the worth of an life, but enormously less important than being a human. And that is the reason why I would oppose a human being treated as meat stock, even is that human only has the mental abilities of cattle.

I eat meat, but as I don't think the diet of other people is any of my business and don't try to convince people to stop being vegetarians, this text wasn't really for me anyway. Actually I wished much more people would be vegetarian, not only because that could benefit the living conditions of the animals, but moreover because eating meat is bad for the climate and an extrem waste of water and food.

Anonymous said...

Is slaughtering animals for their meat barbaric? Yes, strictly speaking it is, though not anywhere near as barbaric as letting people who died but could have been cryopreserved and eventually revived rot or burn. To worry about the former, but completely ignore the latter is rather... insane. Btw, in vitro meat (look it up). Have your cake and eat it too. Technology is the solution to every problem.

Vik said...

My argument against being veggie is that it can be expensive. Have you ever been to a veggie restaurant? They charge so much for simple dishes. Even Moe's is jumping on this overpriced bandwagon. $2 extra for soy? I can have steak or chicken for cheaper but if I want to be veggie I have to pay extra for soy??? I know if you cook your own meals its cheaper but still. MY gf just turned veggie and this has been her big compliant.

Anonymous said...

Whoo hoo, you rock! Go Vegan! :)

Brighid's House O' Masks said...

Omigosh, I laughed at the first phrase: "meat is tasty." Haha! Can I print this out and carry it around when someone wants to argue against vegetarianism with me? Plants feel pain?? Haha! I love it! The longer I've been a vegetarian, the more I am amused with people's reaction to it. Oh hey, since soy is a great plant protein, can you (or have you done) a separate bit on people thinking it grows breast tissue? Because I don't see any Japanese men with breast tissue, and that country consumes a LOT of soy.

Anonymous said...

I'm not against vegetarians but honestly I don't really care about animals, I like the taste of meat so I eat it, the real question here is about whether it's ethical to let the animals suffer, I don't really consider it. Sorry if that appears insensitive but they are bred and fed to be eaten not really something that I lose sleep over

Lucas said...

I'm vegan (have been for 2 years) and don't take any supplements aside from soya protein because I do a lot of martial arts. Anything you need you can get from normal (none pill shaped/tasting) foods. You should definitely give it another go!

Mriana said...

I'm almost a month late to the party, but the WORST I've ever heard was from an Xian who said, in response to me being a vegetarian, was "Vegetarianism is a sin." From there it was basically, "Look! See right here. It says so in my little book". She sited Romans 14:2 as to why it is a sin, but she had not read Romans 14:3 apparently. So here she was despising me for being a vegetarian, when her little book said not to. So not only was she using archaic tribal mythology to back up her reasons as to why it is "a sin", but she wasn't even following it!

It was a really bad argument against vegetarianism on so many levels, IMO. Not only that, I guess she was just assuming everyone in the U.S. follows her little book? She didn't even ask if I was a Xian, but if she had, I would have told her I'm a humanist, besides a vegetarian.

Anonymous said...

Surprised no one has mentioned vitamin B-12 yet ...

Adi said...

You can easily get it from Redbull!

Adi said...

and vitamin-enriched fruit juice

Eme-sal of Babylon said...

especially liked this blogpost. i am vegan, but i don't run around lecturing my friends etc. the result is usually anti-vegetarism/anti-veganism. when i was an omnivore, i was annoyed when a vegan friend tried to "veganize" me. on the other hand i never was "anti-vegetarian", cause i always admired people who could abandon meat to spare animals' rights.

"[...]if you are a meat-eater it means you are a shit human-being." Unfortunately that's a way of thinking that a lot of vegans tend to have. rubbish. we'd be in that discussion about an universal moral base, or which "good deed" is worth what, to evaluate a morally "good" human.

but i always recognize that vegans/vegetarians (like me) usually really try to argument on behalf of those that can't defend themselves. but as i said, evangelizing is a no-go. no one, who is not anyway already interested in veganism, is gonna read my blog anyway.

Irrlicht said...

The only logic counterargument i can imagine is, that there are many areas in which agriculture is impossible such like steppe or tundra. Countries like for e.g. Iceland can´t have any kind of agriculture due to their rough climate. . . the only thing which grows is grass. . . grass as food for sheep.
This kind of extensive agriculture (by finally eating the sheep) enlarges greatly the worldwide available estate to nourish people.

Of course this is outperformed greatly by peoples growing hunger for cheap meat, at best 3 times per day, which makes agriculture in general pretty inefficient. . . so i know my argument is not really so much valid.

Don said...

People need to eat more hemp. All essential amino acids (and a lot of them), high in zinc, high in omega 3, 6 and 9, high in fibre etc etc. When people tell me I can't be getting enough protein, or minerals like zinc, it's the first thing I point to. And hemp oil is a far better source of essential fatty acids than fish. Grows extremely easily and quickly too, with little to no need for herbicides/pesticides. Not sure what question Ițm answering exactly...I just wanted to talk about hemp =]

Leslie said...

I have an AWESOME..argument against Vegetarianism (although I am a pescetarian)...



..


I dont want to be a vegetarian.

Mark said...

I enjoyed reading this post, which I stumbled upon on Google. I respond to these kinds of arguments against vegetarianism in very similar ways.

I recently wrote an article refuting what I consider to be the three most challenging arguments against vegetarianism: http://mb27.blogspot.com/2011/09/reflecting-upon-arguments-against.html Feel free to check it out! :)

Khaled said...

what difference does it make if you kill an animal right now to eat it or if you let live until it gets old, gets sick, feels pain and fear and at the end it dies? What difference does this make to the universe? Answer: NOTHING! so, it doesn't matter. eat whatever you want. or don't eat whatever you don't want. it's up to you. it doesn't matter when animals feel pain. pain and fear are just events in the universie which has no meaning. and no real effect. if an animal feels pain right now, what does it matter after 100 years? after 1000 years? or after a million years? nothing :)

Anonymous said...

I eat meet cos is nothing wrong with it.

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It's not that us meat eaters get defensive, moreso that vegetarians have a holier than thou, self righteous attitude towards anyone but. I'm better then you etc.
In the end, you and ME(grammar police)will die...who will care what we ate.

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