How do Aethist think about veganism?
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30-04-2014, 02:50 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 02:48 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(30-04-2014 02:44 AM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Drinking Beverage
Yeah, I fixed that one about four minutes before you made your post. Tongue

Bah! ... Too slow! Laugh out load

I'll just play the 'can I help you' lick!!!
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30-04-2014, 03:48 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
I feel like I keep interrupting the flow of the thread, sorry Tongue

(29-04-2014 03:31 PM)cjlr Wrote:  But that's entirely a matter of self-interest over group interest...
(here, theoretically, with sub-optimal ecological practices for the purpose of short-term gratification)

I mean, we all do that all the time, but awareness is half the battle.

It would be a matter of self-interest over group interest if I acted in away that promotes only my self-interests while ignoring group interests, which is not what is happening.

All I'm saying is, I am aware that I am responsible and I do my best to be responsible, but I am simply human and I can't force myself to have a miserable life just for the sake of others. I just posted an over-simplified version of this thought.

I don't think it's that bad.

"Behind every great pirate, there is a great butt."
-Guybrush Threepwood-
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30-04-2014, 09:29 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
This post was like a breath of fresh air. Thank you. There are some very well thought out points and I am really glad you took the time to consider them.

(30-04-2014 01:32 AM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  Alright, so let me break this down having read all of it now.

First of all, I can see where you are coming from ethically and at face value it makes sense. Secondly, although I disagree with your position on veganism being both the best diet and your argument that it is a morally superior choice, I do now think that your intentions were indeed meant to spark debate and not meant to pamper a superiority complex. This has become more apparent the further along the thread has progressed.

That means a lot, thank you for saying that.

Quote:However, inversely, while you have distanced yourself (at the cost of being somewhat contradictory from your original post) from what at first appeared to be a tone of implicit condescension ---having now acknowledged moral subjectivity and that your argument is not applicable to somebody that disagrees with the morality of killing animals--- it has become increasingly clear that your argument actually fails to support itself in full. I would like to discuss the technical problems and practical quandaries you have failed to account for within your own axioms.

Alright, lets do it!

Quote:For starters, the crux of your argument is flawed since you fail to disentangle the technical aspect of your argument from its actual real world applicability. Yes, we don't have to eat meat to survive the way we did when we were hunter-gatherer's since the surpluses we produce agriculturally are more than enough to feed everyone (although globally they are severely inequitable in terms of geographic distribution) and we can replace the necessary proteins and nutrients from meat with supplements and substitutes. Yes, practically speaking, in order to meet the demand for meat consumption, we have to cultivate them to be slaughtered, so you're eating meat that was voluntarily killed by humans.

However, it is still false to state that universally speaking it is immoral to eat optional meat because a human had to kill the animal not out of necessity but desire, since no human actually technically HAS to kill an animal in order to harvest its meat in all scenarios. You could, for example, eat the meat of an animal that recently died from natural causes, or scavenge meat from an animal that was killed by a predator or accident (such as a fall). These situations discredit your universal association of optional human consumption of meat necessarily being preceded by it being optionally killed by human hands. If in such situations, you would still refuse to eat meat, then your veganism would in such cases no longer be a moral choice but a personal preference since a human had no role in the animal's death. Therefore, you can't claim that all instances of optionally eating meat are immoral according to your central axiom because your central axiom is incorrect in intrinsically linking the act of eating meat with the act of killing the animal. This is the usual case in practice, but is not the only possibility.

Different vegans will answer this different ways. I am more pragmatic then some, I think if you kill an animal for some legitimate reason and then eat the meat as an after thought that you haven't done anything wrong. If we are talking about practical, real work examples though, then the average person would probably only eat meat a few times in their lifetime, maybe a couple times a year at the most. When I say eating meat is wrong, I do mean in the explicit context of raising livestock for slaughter. A lesser wrong in my book, hunting or killing wild game for food.

Another vegan might answer this a different way. They might make the point that eating a dead animal you happened to find is not unlike eating a dead person if you stumbled into a cemetery. Animals bodies are worthy of the same respect and reverence after death as all people are, and therefore it wrong for much of the same reasons that cannibalism is wrong.

Quote:Secondly, you seem to treat the concept of killing an animal in an isolated moral vacuum, not considering instances where it might be straight out beneficial to kill an animal for reasons other than consuming them. What about if we killed the animal for other reasons that were justifiable and then tacked on harvesting their meat as an added bonus? What if we decided to hunt a catastrophic invasive species and every individual specimen we killed paid a price that was well worth the ecological gain? If in this instance, we decided to eat its meat as an afterthought, the original cost-benefit analysis of an animal paying with its life solely for yours or somebody else's pleasure in consuming it is no longer relevant.

I didn't make that distinction, but I also didn't make that claim either. If you or anybody else were suddenly attacked by a bear, I would both hope and recommend that use some kind of deadly force to defend yourself. If a poor family in india needed to clear more land for rice patties, and the meant that some animals would die as a result, I have a hard time justifying the absolutist position that this is wrong.

Let me give an analogy. When we are talking about murder, and when I say murder I mean killing people without good cause, then a moral proscription like this one generally applies "It is wrong to kill another human being". I think we would all agree that this is more or less correct (although I intentionally left it vague).

However, in our society we don't exercise the absolute position that killing another person is wrong in every context. What about self defense? What about in times of war? What if the killing person is insane, or sleep walking, or otherwise not of the right mind? What if you kill someone on accident, is that the same severity of a crime and equivalent moral wrong doing as if you kill them on purpose? Very quickly you feel the need to define things like intent, qualify certain circumstances, and give rational people moral license in some situations. Killing animals is no different.

When we talk about any moral position, whether it be murder, theft, sexual assault, whatever, then the moral sentiments need always be weighted against the real world circumstances. Actions themselves are not moral or immoral, its the circumstances that surround those actions, the motivations of the actors, and the consequences of those actions that determine a moral judgement. I realize this is a broad statement with a lot of ambiguous terms, and we can get into that if you care too. Debates on morality are conflicted and nuanced and you don't often get the same satisfying and clear cut conclusions like you do when you debate other topics.

Quote:Thirdly, why is it only immoral to kill animals for optional consumption? It's clearly not an issues of treating all life as sacred since otherwise you wouldn't endorse the consumption of plant life either. I've skimmed over some of your posts, so I might have missed a justification, but from what I've seen so far your special treatment of animals at this point seems arbitrary in terms of ascribing them moral significance. I would imagine it has something to do with our association of sentience with animals since they are the most complex of all organisms, and we seem to attribute greater degrees of perception, personal subjectivity (though I would hesitate to say self-aware consciousness which seems to be absent from most of them), and emotions to them.

But that brings me to another point that needs clarification; are you against the consumption of all animals, even the most structurally simple and primitive ones? If the deciding factor is sentience, then one could hardly claim that, say, an individual ant scurrying along has enough sentience to secure it preservation within the moral code. Would it be immoral to consume an ant (or I guess since one ant won't do much for ya, a couple hundred)? Why? They aren't sentient, they possess too simple a neural structure for nociceptors and therefore can't feel pain, and it's arguable whether they can even really "suffer" in the way we tend to conceive of it.

Do we owe ants and other low-tier sentient organisms the same respect to more structurally and neurally sophisticated animals? Is it something other than sentience preventing it from being morally acceptable to cultivate animals as auxiliary cuisine? Why is it okay to harvest the most intricate and biologically elaborate plant life but not the simplest and most inconsequential animal life? Or is it okay to consume some animals? What is the deciding criteria and what is moral to kill for consumption and what isn't?


The official party line for veganism is that killing an animal, even the most simple of insects, is wrong. I understand why people take that position, its easier to defend. I don't personally believe that. Ants are marvelous creatures and I don't think you should go out of your way to kill them off just because, but if I find a line of them in my house I grab the bug spray like most everyone else does.

When you take that position as I have then you have to wrestle with a lot of grey area. Where is the magic "poof" if you will, that benchmark level of intelligence that makes an animal worth protecting? I don't think I can give you a satisfying answer. For me it extends to fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. If you want to give up eating all these creatures in favor of a pure insect diet than I think that is definitely the better moral alternative. Have at it Thumbsup .

Arguments like this though run the danger of trivializing the real state of farm animals. If you have ever spent any time with a cow, you know they are dumb as rocks, no doubt about it. But they definitely 'feel'. You take their young away they are sad. If you put them in danger they are afraid. They like to hang out with some cows more than others. Cows can be very affectionate, they respond to touch, and they can tell people apart and have different reactions to them depending on how they are treated by them. I think for sure that level of intelligence is worthy of our empathy.

Quote:Those are your problems you have yet to account for on the fundamental aspects of your moral construction. Now let me move onto the potential practical concerns of society as a whole adopting veganism.

You state, first of all, how consumption of meat is a "small pleasure." As previously mentioned, it is not necessary for us to have meat to survive resource-wise anymore since technological advances have produced massive surpluses of plant produce. However, the proteins contained within meat are still needed nutritionally, and one cannot survive purely on the nutrients possessed by flora since humans have evolutionarily adapted to absorb necessary nourishments from both meat and non-meat products. Our bodies still need those nutrients, and they have to come from somewhere.

You don't need animals for any of our nutrien. I challenge you to name one vitamin or nutrional compound that people cannot get from plants. If vegans are dooming themselves with their diet, I challenge you to prove it.

Realistically, meat has nutrition in it, and some of it is difficult to get in large quantities in nature. I get that. The best possible diet, the optimal chemistry might include some small quantify of meat products (probably some organ meat right?). I don't think that justifies killing millions and millions of animals all the time. Its not worth the cost we make the animals, our environment, and other people pay.

Quote:You have gone to great lengths to detail the environmental and economic strains of the animal slaughtering industry, but you have failed to consider that the consequences of needing to create a suitable supply of nutritional supplements and replacements may not be much better. What sort of natural resources and organic materials must we pilfer and drain from the environment in order to maintain a sustainable and satisfactory quantity for our population? What sort of economic strain will be caused by the need to research, produce, stabilize, test, approve, and distribute newer and more efficient nutritional substitutes?

Well as a vegan you don't strictly need supplements, but I do recommend you take at least some as you get older, go through pregnancy, or raise small children. As I said before, calcium and iron can be difficult to get in a vegan diet. The reason for this is calcium as a nutrient is pretty scarce in nature, although you can find natural sources of it, and many products are calcium fortified (like soy milk). Iron is readily available in many plants, but the iron is packaged in such a way that it is much more difficult for our bodies to absorb than iron found in animal meat. You have to eat a lot more plant iron to get enough. Pro tip; if you take vitamin C with a high iron food or supplement, like orange juice after eating a bowl of spinach, you can increase the rate of iron absorption by as much as 100%.

As for where do we get vitamin supplements? Most supplements are derived from cultured bacteria. Some of them, like omegra 3 fatty acids, are best taken as a food additive. Chia seeds and flax are great for that.

If you want to see examples of healthy vegans, go out and try and find some. There are a lot of horror stories out there of people who switched to veganism, didn't take care of their nutrition, and got into trouble. It happens, probably even fairly frequently. Most of us are doing just fine. I have been vegan almost two years now, my fiance just as long, and I don't take any supplements or vitamins at all. In fact I probably eat more junk food then most people, its just happens to not have milk or meat in it.

Quote:Perhaps even more importantly, you are not paying nearly as much attention as you should to potential harmful physiological effects of everybody within a population switching to an all vegan diet. You know what they say about substitutes, they don't beat the real thing. We've adapted to extracting the necessary nutritional resources from meat for hundreds of thousands (millions of years if you also include our ancestral species) of years. As Dom previously stated, we are just scratching the surface of nutritional knowledge. You know why ships used to be such miserable places to be on for extended periods of time? Because of scurvy, and it took awhile to figure out how to battle that.

We know what some of the most vital functions some of the nutrients and proteins in meat provide for us, but what about all those potentially invaluable minerals and nutrients whose role we haven't nailed down yet? I would not at all be surprised to see outbreaks of diseases and deficiencies that would not have been predicted based on our current nutritional knowledge of meat if we attempted to only supplant the known nutritional necessities. What if it also turns out that not all of these vital nutritions are feasible to artificially replicate or substitute? That would seriously alter the original cost-benefit analysis axiom (switching from we kill animals because we like their taste to we kill animals because we can't substitute all the vital nutrients of meat) to the point of invalidating veganism as a moral choice.

Granted, we don't know whether or not meat is the only reliable and practically extractable source of any such vital nutrients, so such consequences are merely hypothetical. Clearly it's not impossible, for vegans have managed to get by without dropping dead left and right, but we haven't had a large and dedicated enough sample size in order to truly examine the effects of removing meat from our diet. The point is that since we don't yet know all the ins and outs of meat's nutrition, to drastically cut it out of our diet on a societal level is simply too risky. Therefore, it's not really justifiable to simply dismiss meat in today's age as an optional dietary component since, although it's not mandatory, we might soon find out for any of the reasons mentioned above that it could be enormously beneficial and therefore highly advisable to keep it in our diets.

So while your moral approach to veganism is more noble than most, I still find it lacking in both fundamental framework and practical considerations, and suggest you examine more into the issues I have brought up.

So vegans are these mentally deranged, emaciated, barely living sad people who hobble through life painfully on the way to living 80+ years right? I don't mean to be condescending, but come on, does that sound accurate to you? If everyone switched to veganism there would be new challenges, but I don't think its fair to say that everyone would be falling off left and right if we did. If veganism can't provide adequate nutrition, I respectfully and eagerly challenge you to prove it Smile.
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30-04-2014, 09:40 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
Veganism is stupid.
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30-04-2014, 09:57 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 09:40 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Veganism is stupid.

and then some:

stupid
ˈstjuːpɪd/Submit
adjective
lacking intelligence or common sense.

pretentious

adjective
attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.

conceited

adjective
excessively proud of oneself; vain.

sanctimonious

adjectivederogatory
making a show of being morally superior to other people.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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30-04-2014, 10:00 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 09:57 AM)sporehux Wrote:  
(30-04-2014 09:40 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Veganism is stupid.

and then some:

stupid
ˈstjuːpɪd/Submit
adjective
lacking intelligence or common sense.

pretentious

adjective
attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.

conceited

adjective
excessively proud of oneself; vain.

sanctimonious

adjectivederogatory
making a show of being morally superior to other people.

If stupid wasn't included in that list I would have sworn I was a vegan...
phew, that was a close one.
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30-04-2014, 10:04 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 10:00 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(30-04-2014 09:57 AM)sporehux Wrote:  and then some:

stupid
ˈstjuːpɪd/Submit
adjective
lacking intelligence or common sense.

pretentious

adjective
attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.

conceited

adjective
excessively proud of oneself; vain.

sanctimonious

adjectivederogatory
making a show of being morally superior to other people.

If stupid wasn't included in that list I would have sworn I was a vegan...
phew, that was a close one.

Kiwi - Stupid, potayto- potahto

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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30-04-2014, 10:07 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 10:04 AM)sporehux Wrote:  
(30-04-2014 10:00 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  If stupid wasn't included in that list I would have sworn I was a vegan...
phew, that was a close one.

Kiwi - Stupid, potayto- potahto

It's potayto, everyone knows this.
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30-04-2014, 10:08 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 10:07 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(30-04-2014 10:04 AM)sporehux Wrote:  Kiwi - Stupid, potayto- potahto

It's potayto, everyone knows this.

Here in 'Murica, it's potatoe

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

"Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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30-04-2014, 10:17 AM
RE: How do Aethist think about veganism?
(30-04-2014 10:08 AM)itsnotmeitsyou Wrote:  
(30-04-2014 10:07 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  It's potayto, everyone knows this.

Here in 'Murica, it's potatoe

Australians call them "ground apples"

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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