Comments

  1. noexitlovenow says

    I’m a vegan, but I think Russel’s first instinct that veganism was off topic was appropriate.

  2. paxoll says

    I know it’s difficult when you are on the spot to make the best decision on stuff. When Larry said he had a good argument, but you have to presuppose some things, this didn’t mean he was a stereotypical presuppositionalist. Every argument, every belief, every position you hold presupposes something. Just listening to Larry, I was not expecting that argument that Russel assumed. I really really feel that if someone comes on the show and says they have an argument, then allowing the caller to put forth the arguments prepositions before stopping them and criticizing them is much more productive. Interrupting Larry a dozen times before he can complete even ONE of the prepositions for his argument, made the call excessively long and then hanging up really makes the show look bad. Larry really had good reason to criticize the show, when he wasn’t even allowed to present his argument.

  3. Stephanie says

    Ciera was a good co-host, and I’m happy to see new people being brought in like that. Thanks for the special anniversary segment, it was nice to see some returning people who have gone on to other things. Thanks for having this show, and being there for so many years.

  4. says

    Because the Anniversary show aired in conjunction with this episode, I hope it’s fine to post this comment here, as it relates to the Anniversary show. I was watching the re-airing and watching the chat/comments on the youtube channel as it ran.

    I was disturbed by one comment that was apparently a response to my statements during the anniversary show, where I indicated that everyone in front of the camera has served the community in some way–ACA or the broader atheist community. But the fact is we have all shown dedication to service before hosting/cohosting. Many of us had other projects before we came to ACA, or have served on the Board of Directors in various capacities. The point is, we’ve all put in time and resource to support the goals of ACA or to help the atheist community in some way.

    In comments during the show, someone said I was wrong, and claimed that the “wives” of the hosts–Beth and Lynnea–have only been on because they’re wives of the hosts and also available on short notice.

    This was ironic because I also talked a bit about how so much effort happens behind the scenes and people are ignorant about the work that is done off camera. I guess the person who added the comment about the “wives” wasn’t paying attention, and just assumed that the only association with ACA/TAE for Beth and Lynnea is that they’re married to Matt and Russell.

    In fact, Beth has a master’s in the sciences and used that degree to run a blog supporting secular goals, before ever meeting the people at ACA/TAE. After coming to Austin she has served on the board of directors, and supported related committees, in addition to having conceived of and producing the very popular, if also too-short-lived, podcast “Godless Bitches.” Beth continues to counter church-state separation on social media today.

    Lynnea has served on the board as well, and continues to do so, and has been very active and hard working in that capacity. She has additionally taken on a very active role in moderating and administration of some of our social media areas.

    This is just what I know about them. I don’t claim this is the limit of their contributions.

    Many of the other hosts/cohosts have/have had spouses, but those spouses were not members of ACA nor were they activists within the community. And this is why you never saw them on the show. The people who were active, and who just happened to be married to other activists, you did see on the show occasionally, because they were willing to fill in, very often, when needed, even though appearing on the show wasn’t really their main calling. Again–it was about their willingness to serve.

    I mentioned during the show that John was on the crew for some time, but he has also done other things, such as serving for what seems like eternity as the ACA treasurer, which comes with many duties.

    I will once again hammer the fact that just because you don’t SEE the hard work that people put in off camera does not mean it’s not happening. Being on the board of ACA means being one of a handful of people who are active and doing most of the work to keep the organization running. It’s not light duty. I know, I was secretary for a few years, and then VP for awhile. I stepped down, because the time constraints and demands were too much, and traded for more show duties by stepping into a host role, providing Matt and Russell an occasional break, and showing up for more weekends devoted to that effort. A role on the ACA BOD is a working role–make no mistake.

    I hope that in the future people will refrain from making assumptions about the contributions of others, about which they know nothing. It’s not only insulting, but shows a spirit of meanness and a lack of appreciation for the hard work of the people whose contributions they so lightly dismiss. As someone who has seen the work these two have put in, it angered me to some degree to see them so treated. I hope this post helps set the record straight.

  5. Murat says

    @paxoll
    I agree in general.
    But Larry was not trying his best, either. He was really showing signs of condescending behavior. And hosts have more solid grounds to be weary of repetition and to foresee unproductive dialogue (even if it’s not necessarily there), so, I can’t say Russell had absolutely no reasons to end it early.

  6. Nathan says

    Let me guess on what Larry’s argument was, we guide the “evolution” of technology therefore there must be a god that guided evolution of life. I bet that was it and I did it without rambling for 20 minutes.

  7. ironchops says

    I am pleased to know there is at least one real spirit, that of meanness. I earnestly hope and wish (pray) there are other nicer spirits as well!

  8. Einyv says

    WOW Larry is a condescending prick and his argument is ridiculous. He will believe anything to make his argument work.

  9. says

    >I earnestly hope and wish (pray) there are other nicer spirits as well!

    I think there are a number of studies that show people are more likely to speak up to offer complaints rather than praise. If that’s true, I’m not an exception. 🙂 … I should note there were many nice comments of appreciation for the program, and the one I responded to, was simply one I felt unfairly dismissed the accomplishments and effort of two dedicated people. I wanted to correct that. But yes, the feedback was mainly positive.

  10. Iced says

    I find it very odd when the topic of vegetarianism and morals comes up. Vegans tend to think they are far superior in terms of morality because they don’t eat meat. Well, in my mind, they are bigoted towards plant life, insects and bacteria, etc, and are for more immoral.

    Currently, the only way for people to survive is to take the life of a living organism and consume it. There is no other way. We have animals, plants, insects and things like that. They are only concerned with animals. They don’t even consider the lives of the plants or insects at all, like their lives don’t count.

    If a person takes the life of a cow, there is enough food there to last an entire family a month or two probably.
    If a vegan has a salad, they have taken the lives of probably 10 to 30 or so plants and that is just for 1 single meal. On top of this, when these plants are growing, pesticides are sprayed out which is essentially genocide towards the insects it targets. Entire colonies are wiped out for these so-called “moral” salads.

    How is that moral? In a months time, 1 cow lost it’s life. In that same time, probably 2000+ plants per person have lost theirs, and most likely the same if not far greater number of insects were killed. That’s morality?? Can someone please explain how this type of thinking works? I don’t get it.

    Are vegetarians bigots? Are they racist against non-human lifeforms? Are they immoral? Selfish? I think all of these things fit, what do you think? I don’t understand how they think they are moral in any way.

  11. Joanette Fountain says

    Is the anniversary show posted on YouTube? I can only find the regular show but the additional is not posted. Sorry…I may be posting in incorrect location.

  12. Murat says

    Parker’s concern and question were sincere.
    Much as Russell’s reply was not exactly in line with how I personally would handle the same issue, it served very well as one of the “correct” approaches to promote. So, I think he led Parker to a much better mindset than some other atheists could.
    ¨
    Two short notes:
    – I disagree that “anti-muslim bigotry” can replace “islamophobia”. They are different (though sometimes intersecting) things.
    – Parker (naturally) is more alienated towards religions that are not common in Boise, Idaho; so it was kind of understandable for her to mention “islamic state”, which had nothing to do with the spirit of her question.

  13. Murat says

    Tim was more confused than other vegans who previously called the show on the issue.
    Because he was not only taking “morality” as the stance, but also referring to “religions” for particular examples that didn’t necessarily belong in the main arguments for or against veganism.
    Kayvan (if I recall the name correctly) who had brought it up “against” Matt several weeks back had a better argument. Matt had asked him to build a case and email it to him.
    Would be nice to sometime learn of the follow up to that one.

  14. ajsully says

    Hello everyone,

    Did anyone else see the Bill O’Riley-esque clip of Matt Dillahunty going off on the crew? Is there some context to this clip that has left out or was he actually upset about the crew not getting thing right?

  15. Cwfutureboy says

    Any idea when the anniversary show will be rendered/available on youtube?

    The reason I ask is yesterday’s show is already up.

    Are they looking into the audio issue mentioned here earlier?

  16. ironchops says

    Thanks for the response. Prayer answered, amen.
    I would like to add a praise to the all of unseen and unheard members that help simply by being a caring human being, contributor, or member. I also want to thank you for the extra effort adding all of the great links at the top of the thread for the shows you host. They are quite helpful.

  17. Murat says

    I missed the show live, and now I can’t find the 20th anniversary special video on YouTube, or anywhere else.
    Link?

  18. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @heicart #5:

    the very popular, if also too-short-lived, podcast “Godless Bitches.”

    So, so good.
     
    /Written before seeing #10. 😉

  19. says

    @16 – ajsully

    If you get a chance to view it again, as the show starts to roll, Matt says “April Fools!” It was an April Fools episode. He was kidding around. 🙂

  20. Nathan says

    @ajsully

    You mean the April fools show where they did that as a joke. I’m guessing someone cut off the end part and posted it to youtube as some sort of attack video.

  21. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #15:
    Huh. First it was a live stream. Then it was a normal looong video. Now it’s a regular-length episode. There were two parts: one filmed on Sunday, then footage from Saturday.
     
    Maybe they trimmed it down in-place on YT, and are awaiting a separate upload of the previously-taped Saturday show?

  22. Murat says

    @iced

    How is that moral? In a months time, 1 cow lost it’s life. In that same time, probably 2000+ plants per person have lost theirs, and most likely the same if not far greater number of insects were killed. That’s morality?? Can someone please explain how this type of thinking works? I don’t get it.

    It’s about sapient life vs. that of plant life.
    I’d agree that the equation does not / can not work as smoothly or as sustainably as some very naive vegans claim, but meat and dairy industries have exploited what was once a natural ending for a farm animal so cruelly that, for things to be brought to attention in the light of ethics, I lean more towards vegans on the issue.

  23. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    I guess so. Must be some work in progress. Because I tried everything to spot it, got nothing other than a seconds-long preview of the anniversary special.

  24. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Cows are not sapient. Sentient, but not sapient. Iced has a solid point, although I agree with your statement about factory farming.

  25. ajsully says

    @heicart
    @Nathan

    Thanks. It seemed out of character and out of context just wanted to make sure.

  26. Mobius says

    First, hi Ciera. Welcome to the show. Keep up the good work.

    As for the power of prayer, as in “whosoever asks in my name…” I was posting once on a theist v. atheist forum and had one theist quote this at me. I responded that in my teens, when doubts about my religion (I was raised Southern Baptist) were assailing me, I prayer fervently for a sign from God. Nothing. Nada. I told this story to the theist poster and his response amounted to, “Uhhhhhh…”

    On the God Particle: that’s just a name some physicist thought would be clever. It was NEVER intended to indicate the actually existence of a god.

    One of the callers mentioned being a Pentecostal. As I mentioned above, I was raised Southern Baptist. My mother would drag me to church every time the doors were open. When I was about 5 or 6 there was a Pentecostal tent revival in town and she took me to that. There was lots of speaking in tongues and even some writhing in the aisles. Even at that young age, I thought that was some of the weirdest sh*t I had ever seen.

    And finally, the guy that was talking about the evolution of devices. He was, seemingly, expanding the Theory of Evolution to include things like smart phones. Sorry dude, but that is an equivocation fallacy. The Theory of Evolution deals with life, and only life. Sure, there are parallels with the change in technology, and one can even term it as a sort of evolution. But it is not evolution as talked about in the Theory of Evolution.

  27. Murat says

    Krauss and Dawkins had expressed “the god damn particle” or even “the godless particle” would’ve been an even more appropriate name for the prima donna of Cern.

  28. snokenx says

    The vegan argument has been coming up a lot of late. What annoys me is that they all make the presupposition that humans don’t need meet and that killing animals is therefor morally wrong. But what if humans do need meat to survive? A lot point to this fact: The fact that there are no vegan indigenous populations in the world, the fact that the human body cannot produce all 20 amino acids or vitamin B12 like most pure herbivores can and the fact that many vegans get health issues and reduced fertility (reduced sperm count, anemia and malnutrition) after years of a vegan lifestyle. Simply put, a vegan lifestyle cannot sustain a healthy human population for a prolonged period of time. We need at least some meat occasionally like other omnivores do.
    With this in mind: is it still morally wrong to kill an animal if it is deemed necessary for our survival?

    I argue no on this point. It’s not morally wrong but because we are moral beings we have a responsibility to not to cause unnecessary harm or suffering. Factory farming is simply not living up to my moral standard. But instead of advocating veganism to combat factory farming we should be advocating small local farms where healthy animals are being kept in their local habitat and slaughtered using as humane methods as possible and possibly eat more wild game.

  29. jeffh123 says

    Vegans bore me. The whole murder of animals bit, etc. Maybe some day humans will all be vegan out of necessity, but not now. I’ve never heard of a vegan Eskimo. Some people do quite well being a vegan, but somehow they need to preach. Yes, it is more efficient to eat veggies and not meat, but you have to really monitor your amino acid intake. And not eating pork has nothing to do with animal rights. On another topic, Dr. Higgs was really unhappy that his colleague called the Higgs boson the “god” particle.

  30. John Iacoletti says

    The 20th anniversary special has been taken down to get re-encoded due to audio issues. It will be back!

  31. Iced says

    @Murat

    “It’s about sapient life vs. that of plant life.
    I’d agree that the equation does not / can not work as smoothly or as sustainably as some very naive vegans claim, but meat and dairy industries have exploited what was once a natural ending for a farm animal so cruelly that, for things to be brought to attention in the light of ethics, I lean more towards vegans on the issue.”

    That is a form of discrimination and possibly racism towards plants / insects. Sapient life vs plant life is irrelevant. Life is life.
    Vegetarians take far more lives than meat eaters and also do genocide vs insect colonies. I would hardly call racism and genocide good ethics. I would think it would be more ethical to only take one life instead of thousands and thousands.

    Vegetarians are definitely hypocrites but I think they too are actual racists. They don’t even consider the plants’ lives or insects’ lives whatsoever as if they have no value, meanwhile, they cry about taking somethings life in order to eat. I find it all very ignorant and hypocritical as well as offensive to reality.

    If they didn’t want to be hypocrites they would have to learn how to do photosynthesis or eat rocks or something like that. If they did that, I would have no argument.

  32. Murat says

    @snokenx
    I agree with 71 % of what you wrote.
    But keep in mind that there may have also been no indigenous people to have totally rejected the concepts of slavery, human sacrifice or tribal wars. Still, these are issues dealt with on a moral basis. So, the moral argument regarding veganism is not as off-topic as it may at first sound like – especially when a notable percentage of theist callers ask the hosts where they get their morals from if there is no god. These very fresh inclinations towards veganism provides a perfect answer to this question.
    As opposed to what religions teach, we know that everything can change over time. Diets included. And not everyone has to fully “go vegan” in order for this movement to have some positive effect. To each their own decision. For the average guy, substituting an apple for a hamburger every other lunch would be cool enough a change.
    I understand that vegans may be irritating in particularly snobby environments. But when we look at the big picture, also keeping in mind the obesity problem in the less conscious parts of the first world, vegans are the side to need and deserve affirmative action.

  33. says

    Re Narcotics Anonymous.

    NA was the first of the 12-step groups to model itself on the original, AA, in 1953.

    When I went into NA, I considered myself some sort of vague theist, I suppose, perhaps almost a deist. Though I’d shed my childhood Christianity bit by bit, I was still under the sway of the idea that there is some “larger” spiritual reality “out there.”

    Counterintuitively, given that 12-step philosophy mandates belief in a “higher power” (I found that in NA there was more latitude as to what this might be than in AA), it was NA that finally led me to accept my true feelings: I am an atheist.

    Part of what happened had to do, as with the caller, with alcohol. In NA, I perfectly understand why alcohol is considered a drug and the program requires abstinence from “all mind- and mood-altering drugs.” For many, many addicts, leaving this loophole open could lead to disaster.

    But in *my* case, and it sounds like the caller’s, as well, I most definitely did not have a problem with alcohol. I abided by the rules of the program for a decade, but over time I became more and more cynical about many members’ rigid approach to alcohol.

    Many members would talk about it in magical terms, i.e., “I know that if I had a sip of beer right now, I’d be downtown turning tricks for smack tomorrow night.” In addition, some people freaked out when they discovered, for example, that they had eaten a meal prepared with alcohol, leading to endless fretting and maundering in meetings.

    Also, while I understand why the program talks in terms of “addiction” rather than particular substances, the fact was that I, personally, did not have a problem with alcohol (ditto for many others). Over time, I became interested in craft beer and began secretly drinking, though never to excess. I felt guilty about the “lie” that I was now living, and yet it seemed ridiculous. There were many, many people who seemed to think about alcohol in terms that came to seem almost religious, as if, as a substance, it was imbued with magical “relapse” powers.

    Also, I have an *extreme* problem with nicotine. Once I get going, it takes me literally years to stop using (in my case, chewing tobacco). Yet in NA and AA, nicotine (and caffeine) are *not* considered a problem, so hey, go ahead! But alcohol? If you even *look* at it, you’ll be dead in a month. This, to me, was ridiculous hypocrisy: nicotine was a brutal, all-but-unshakeable addiction for me, and the program was fine with it. Alcohol was not a problem, but it was kryptonite.

    Finally, the combination of my gradual realization that I was an atheist (and probably had been for a long time) and the disconnect on alcohol led me to walk away from the program “temporarily,” to see how it would feel. I never looked back.

    Again, I do understand why the NA program includes alcohol. Obviously, for many members, it is a problem that could easily lead users back to their “drug of choice.” But I just had a problem with that rigidity, especially given that NA had zero problem if I chewed (and other smoked) their way into an early grave.

    But I’m grateful to NA for many things, including helping me to finally accept that I do *not* believe in a higher power.

  34. RationalismRules says

    @snokenx

    Simply put, a vegan lifestyle cannot sustain a healthy human population for a prolonged period of time.

    That seems a pretty big overreach from the demonstrated facts. Assuming that it has been demonstrated that the vegan diet can lead to problems of anemia, malnutrition, and reduced sperm count (I checked the last one, I’m accepting the first two as uncontroversial), there are ways to overcome / avoid these consequences.

  35. noexitlovenow says

    Considering that the longest lived group of people on the planet are vegan Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California we absolutely know that we do not require animal products to survive. That is just ignorant. This has been shown over, and over, and over again. In fact consumption of animal products is correlated with increased heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer, high blood pressure, etc.

    Further, given that people living in the so called blue zones, eat less meat than the SAD (standard American diet) it makes sense to at least eat less animal products and thus reduce the suffering of animals that way. If you bristle at a moral argument how about accommodating your already existing value of compassion?

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @RationalismRules
    I think snoke is referring to the fact that vegan farming is not ecologically sustainable.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/earth/going-vegan-isnt-actually-th/

    @noexitlovenow

    In fact consumption of animal products is correlated with increased heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer, high blood pressure, etc.

    This is malformed. No study has actually linked “consumption of animal products” with any of those things with statistical significance. I’m going to go ahead and call that a blatant lie.

    That article you linked to, while uncontroversial in my mind, talks about supplements and fortified foods as well, because B12 in particular only comes from animal products. I leer at diets that require an essential nutrient to come in supplement form.

    Furthermore, it’s no surprise that an American study showed that vegetarians are healthier, because it’s super easy to have an unhealthy omnivorous diet. It’s really hard to have an unhealthy vegetarian diet. That doesn’t mean that vegetarianism is superior to a well-planned omnivorous diet; you’d have to have a very targeted study to demonstrate that claim. Most nutritionists seem to recommend Mediterranean style diets.

  37. Murat says

    I wonder if there are any strictly vegan Christians avoiding the Transubstantiation via bread & wine during Mass for they see it as incompatible with the diet.

  38. RationalismRules says

    @MS
    Just to pick you up on a point, that article talks about vegan farming not being ‘the most sustainable’, as opposed to being just plain unsustainable. It could be argued that no system of food farming is ecologically sustainable given current population levels, but clearly we should make the most efficient use of the resources available, and I take the point that the vegan diet does not do that.

    Thank you for linking to that article. I had heard the point made before, but had not heard the argument behind it.

  39. noexitlovenow says

    There is plenty of correlation regarding those diseases I mentioned and eating animal products (lots). I am not your research assistant, but I may address that in a separate post.

    The article I linked to was in response to any of the many ignorant people unclear as to whether we need to eat meat. Obviously not, as I pointed to the vegan Seventh Day Adventists. The article is more of the same. A vegan diet is healthy. I don’t need to argue further. A vegan diet could be beer, french fires, and Oreos, but I believe that a well planned mostly whole food vegan diet is the healthiest (given the evidence I have seen), but there is not absolute evidence for that any more than there is absolute evidence for a so called Mediterranean diet. The evidence I have seen regarding that diet is that it is the increase in vegetables, beans, and nuts that make it more healthy than the diets to which it is being compared. I’ve not seen any study that compares it to a similar diet that excludes any animal products.

    I guess it is logical to “leer” at diets that require you to take a cheap and available supplement you can buy at the grocery store store (where you are already buying your other groceries) or to eat fortified foods you may be already eating. Further, I imagine you already eat some food ingredient already that is more processed than a vitamin B12 pill. B12 is created from bacteria. Our ancestors got their B12 from bugs, dirt, feces, and polluted water (there were humans long before humans had the tools and fire so they could hunt and eat meat).

    It further makes sense to “leer” at taking a B12 pill because it is so much easier to hire someone to impregnate, confine, and kill other sentient beings (often with much suffering).

    We also know that animal agriculture requires the conversion of plant calories/protein to animal calories/protein – a very inefficient process which also requires additional inputs of water/fossil fuels and waste removal. Further, the methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide create in the process contributes to global warming as well. But there is that issue about buying a cheap and available supplement.

  40. Monocle Smile says

    @noexitlovenow
    Most of that doesn’t even address the meat (lol) of my post and is largely emotional appeal and several ridiculous straw men, so I’ll just address some bits.

    There is plenty of correlation regarding those diseases I mentioned and eating animal products (lots).

    And here comes the significant caveat that you conveniently left out before. I wish I were surprised.

    We also know that animal agriculture requires the conversion of plant calories/protein to animal calories/protein – a very inefficient process which also requires additional inputs of water/fossil fuels and waste removal

    This is how ecosystems work, though! Also, this isn’t exactly true…the only fully sustainable forms of farming require harvests of animals as well as plants.

    Further, the methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide create in the process contributes to global warming as well

    Sure, because the way we make meat is bloated, stupidly inefficient, and outdated. But that’s a different issue entirely. This anti-meat rant of yours seems to be targeted against the act of eating meat, but you back it up with stuff that’s tangential to the eating of meat.

    Snokenx offered up a reasonable way to go about objecting to current meat-making practices. Instead of looking at that and processing it, you went on a “meat=death” rant. This is a big reason why I typically don’t discuss this topic with “ethical vegans” at length; stuff just gets straight-up ignored.

  41. ashleighlp says

    All I could think about during the 2nd caller was all the innocent people wrongfully executed by the state.
    Do you really believe those people didn’t pray to be released and exonerated due to their innocence? Because there’s no way a devout religious person has not faced the death penalty..
    Your experience honestly means nothing.

  42. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile (possibly @snokenx)
    Here is a video addressing the study on which the article you referenced was based regarding whether vegan farming (otherwise known as farming) is sustainable.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcTVklSZHA4

    Further, the study upon which the article you pointed to was based concluded: “The findings of this study support the idea that dietary change towards plant-based diets has significant potential to reduce the agricultural land requirements of U.S. consumers and increase the carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural resources.”

    The study also concludes “vegetarian diets including dairy products performed best overall”.
    https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.12952/journal.elementa.000116/

    So it is clear from the study you referenced that individuals going vegan is MORE sustainable than them not doing so. Whether or not at some future point there remains some amount of animal suffering required for efficiencies sake is debatable. At least according to the study referenced, we are not there yet. Further, when that time comes the most sustainable diet is a vegetarian one.

    So I guess anyone pointing to that article or paper is now ready to go vegan until land use efficiencies require moving to a vegetarian diet.

    Or is this just the normal online debating tactic of throwing studies up even though the conclusions of these studies don’t actually inform your actions?

  43. Monocle Smile says

    @noexitlovenow
    See? I just get mostly ignored. You don’t even know what my position is, because you haven’t fucking asked. You just assume everyone holds some extreme, uninformed opinion, and by FSM, you have a point to make, so we all need to bend over and take it!

    Most of what you posted is not all that controversial (except for a couple of whoppers and a bunch of self-righteous posturing), but misses the point a bit. I’m an advocate of the cultured meat industry. All of the meat, none of the suffering because there’s nothing resembling cognitive processes.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultured_meat

    Or is this just the normal online debating tactic of throwing studies up even though the conclusions of these studies don’t actually inform your actions?

    No, but you’re using the normal online debating tactic of selective hearing and beating up straw men. Don’t let me stop you.

  44. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    Of course, animal agriculture produces methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide any way you do it. If snokenx explained how to avoid that I am missing it.

    If you are referring to the following: “… we should be advocating small local farms where healthy animals are being kept in their local habitat and slaughtered using as humane methods as possible and possibly eat more wild game.” That is absurd. In order to sustain the current consumption of slaughtered animal corpses factory farms raise 99.9 percent of chickens for meat, 97 percent of laying hens, 99 percent of turkeys, 95 percent of pigs, and 78 percent of cattle currently sold in the United States. You are making an efficiency argument. You do realize that moving toward this fantasy world would introducing inefficiencies dwarfing any other, don’t you? Eating more wild game is also laughable as any kind of solution at all to the massive amounts of meat required – not to mention the fact that hunting currently maintains the current populations, and that any increase in hunting would reduce the populations of animals to be hunted. You are obviously living in a ridiculous fantasy world.

    As far as I can tell the only “emotional” argument I made was the following: “It further makes sense to “leer” at taking a B12 pill because it is so much easier to hire someone to impregnate, confine, and kill other sentient beings (often with much suffering).
    That is just a comparison between the difficulty of getting your vitamin B12 and that of eating meat and I properly included in that the suffering of the animals involved.

    Of course, compassion is an emotion. Sorry if it is not one you value. Veganism is healthy for people and the planet. Given that

  45. Monocle Smile says

    @noexitlovenow
    Take five.

    That is just a comparison between the difficulty of getting your vitamin B12 and that of eating meat and I properly included in that the suffering of the animals involved.

    But nobody made that argument. Nobody brought up anything remotely related to that comparison.

    You are obviously living in a ridiculous fantasy world.

    Nobody suggested maintaining the current production rates of meat, either. Seeing a pattern yet? Probably not.

    Of course, compassion is an emotion. Sorry if it is not one you value

    It is. You’re not reading my posts at all. There’s such a thing as a fallacious appeal to emotion, though.

  46. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    If this was not a moderated forum this is where I start calling you names,
    I never asked your opinion? I was responding to your posts. If your posts do not reflect your position, that is your responsibility.

    Regarding cultured meat. This is something that does not exist currently. How does this address ANY objections raised by vegans about your current actions? NOT AT ALL.

    It is as if you are not arguing honestly at all. If you were you would not throw up a study suggesting that veganism is not efficient, but then when it is pointed out to you the ACTUAL implications of that study change the subject to something that does not currently exist for people to consume.

  47. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    Evidently, you live in a fantasy world where we as a group drastically reduce our consumption of meat without any individual actually reducing our consumption of meat. If you want to get to your fantasy world somebody needs to start eating less meat – which is the argument the vegans are making. It doesn’t happen on its own.

    If you want to bring up cultured meat now, please wait until it is actually a thing, and don’t argue about farming efficiency if that is not part of your argument.

    Further, don’t complain about someone making an argument based on compassion, if it is one of your concerns.

  48. Monocle Smile says

    @noexitlovenow
    You’re clearly responding to Bifocals Frown, who is the bizarro version of myself, because you have consistently argued against positions not reflected in my posts.

    Evidently, you live in a fantasy world where we as a group drastically reduce our consumption of meat without any individual actually reducing our consumption of meat.

    Please indicate where I ever advocated not reducing our consumption of meat. I dare you. This is just one example.

  49. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    That is true. I wanted to revise that post, but I could not.

    There is a reason why it is difficult to determine what your position is because you keep making arguments opposed to veganism that make no sense yet always maintaining that I misunderstand your real position – which you never state. You are welcome to clarify at any time.

    From what I can determine you have a fantasy future world where there are “… small local farms where healthy animals are being kept in their local habitat and slaughtered using as humane methods as possible”. This will evidently come about from lots of people drastically reducing their meat consumption to the levels where this is possible. (Or drastically reducing the population to where this is possible. Good luck with that). This, of course, not only requires advocating for this fantasy agricultural system, but also requires advocating that people need to drastically reduce the amount of meat they eat so that it can come about. I also think you fail to realize how much of a reduction would be required and the kind of regulation that would be needed to make sure we didn’t just get fewer concentrated animal feeding operations.

    (I would expect that these people would be eating so little meat that it would be advisable to advocate these people to supplement with vitamin B12 as is already suggested for people over age 50).

    Am I to believe that you have reduced your animal product intake to this level? Are you actively advocating this? How is it going to actually happen? Vegans are actually advocating for this kind of reduction AND ACTUALLY MAKING THIS REDUCTION themselves – saving many animals from suffering and reducing the effect on the planet right now. If you are going to actually achieve this reduction you need to actually argue for it instead of throwing up red-herring studies about agriculture efficiency, leering at B12 supplementation, raising the possibility of a future cultured meat, and advocating for a fantasy animal agricultural system. Is this how you advocate for drastically reduced meat consumption? If so, you are doing a pretty sucky job of it.

    I pointed to the long lived vegan Seventh Day Adventists, and a study indicating that a vegan diet was healthy. There are also plenty of high level vegan athletes including weight lifters, endurance athletes, and American football players. You evidently need some kind of proof that a vegan diet is superior to that of one of a similar nature with the addition of a small amount of flesh from a slaughtered sentient being. That proof does not exist. However, the proof that it is not does not exist either. What we know for sure is that it is a very healthy choice so there is not any need for the animal suffering, inefficient food production, and environmental degradation associated with animal agriculture.

  50. says

    noexitlovenow, if it was indisputably the case that a vegan diet had no related benefits, if it was obviously less healthy, more costly, less efficient, and less sustainable, would you still advocate for it on the grounds that it was worth the sacrifice in order to save the lives of the animals being eaten? Or would you say that it would be a nice idea if it didn’t have downsides, and refrain from advocating for it?

  51. says

    On the vegan caller, why would morality push humanity towards veganism? Humans aren’t naturally vegetarian, and would require decidedly more plant matter to consume and in order to maintain a healthy diet. And with a steadily increasing world population, how would that population be able to be supported strictly through the consumption of, for lack of a better word, “not animals.”

    The nutritional demands of such a population may require a vastly greater infringement on natural habitats in order to support said population. Now I am not trying to justify eating meat, I am trying to hopefully shed light on what might be required should a sizable percentage of the world population would “morally gravitate towards veganism.” There are clearly other options that I don’t think were offered, for example, what if we were to grow meat from cloned tissues? Of course there is a moral and ethical discussion that would need to take place for even that, but a larger world population may demand such a solution. Think of the space the enormous cattle industry consumes. As opposed to the amount of space that a cloning facility would require where that specific “cut” is grown and processed.

    I am not a horticulturist or a person who has any know how in agriculture, but I highly doubt the vegan caller in particular has given any thought to the ecological impact of a human population on a purely vegan diet.

    Yes the meat industry is astoundingly cruel. Yes it does need reformation. No it does not respect the animal that gives us nutrition. I am in agreement there, no problems, but I do not agree that a purely vegan diet for everyone is healthy.

  52. Murat says

    So, we’re already deep into veganism…
    I’d like to use this opportunity to express openly that Penn & Teller are among the few atheists that I almost despise for their takes on certain issues.
    In a TV show of theirs, they advocated that killing of animals for entertainment purposes was not any different than a family killing a chicken to feed their kids. They defended that on the grounds that the animal was stupid and could not even know the difference between the reasons to its death.
    I consider such statements to show one’s misunderstanding of what morality is. Because it doesn’t matter whether an animal can tell difference between being killed “just for fun” or “for allowing another species to feed” – it matters for us to know why we kill it.
    In that very same episode -which I avoid to look back at even for the purpose of writing something more correct- I remember Penn showing a huge bucket from KFC or something while there was a chicken walking around, and then, after a segment, an empty bucket as he was burping.
    Much as I love magic shows, after watching this particular episode, I could not relate on any level with anything Penn & Teller did or advocated for.
    What I also found repugnant was their way of somehow drawing a parallel between “the American way of life” and the alleged rightfulness of reigning over lives of lesser beings for any purpose. I remember thinking that, atheism had brought into this duo’s professional and private lives absoultely nothing different or progressive. Because the sloppy way they covered the issue was pretty much in line with “might is right”, and they seemed not to give a shit about the sources and the true meaning of “morality”.
    Throphy hunting (that fucking dentist, all those wealthy families making their kids pose with dead giraffes or rhinos) and certain other forms of traditions contradict with how I define morality. Though not directly, I find such behaviors to be in line with the cursed inheritence of religions. It is true that sustainibility is a major issue, and that diets of billions of people can not be changed in a matter of decades. But veganism also serves to create awareness on the issue of animal cruelty. It’s a transitional concept for many.
    Yes, it doesn’t require for Penn & Teller -or for any other atheist- to automatically have a certain position on such issues just because they don’t believe in god. But I find their attitude to at least be less compatible with the reasons religions are rejected.
    I suspect the two might be (even despite any regulations against that?) keeping on with sacrificing birds or other sentient beings on stage, if not for edited material.
    I don’t recall Penn & Teller ever being referred to on the show or on this blog as “outspoken atheists” and this is just… good!

  53. Martin King says

    Hello! If the second caller, I think it might be Mark from Scotland, is out there, feel free to message me. My email is martinrking at gmail dot com. I think you called in good faith and that you sincerely want to learn more atheism. I think it’s fair to say that the discussion didn’t serve that purpose. I think I can help to bridge the gap between atheists and theists such as yourself. Give me shout 🙂

  54. Murat says

    @LiquidChymera
    Earth’s human population growth is already a huge problem itself.
    The only creature that can intentionally or accidentally destroy all life on the planet has reached excessive numbers. Where nutrition and agriculture industries are headed is just a symptom of this major problem, and not normal or sustainable practices to support the hell bent population growth.
    Basic physics: Limited resources (one planet) can not keep answering the expanding needs of one species, especially if the species in question is developing and promoting a life style that requires each of its “better living” individuals to burn up a hundred fold more of the energy that their own ancestors required, while their own life span is being prolonged by several decades.

  55. noexitlovenow says

    @jared
    Why would I contemplate what I would do in a world that does not exist and will never exist? Veganism IS healthy, can be done cheaply, and is better for the environment. I have no desire to engage in useless thought experiments.

  56. Murat says

    @jared @neoxitlovenow
    The actual case not being so may give us a clue on the causality between morality and well being:
    Empathy for humans is proven to serve as the foundation of secular morals, which end up creating an environment where public is safe, healthy and educated on an average matching with how individuals treat each other and wish to be treated.
    As an extention to the same line of thinking, empathy for other sentient beings seem to be also serving individual and public health much better than the alternative can.

  57. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    I don’t agree. Ecology only functions due to cycles of predation and the ‘circle of life.’
    It’s fine if you disagree, but I don’t draw the line at “sentient.” I draw the line at “sapient.” I find this difference to be the most significant.

    Now, there are other reasons to want to cut down on our factory farming practices, and despite the screaming of noexitlovenow, cultured meat is actually a thing and there are ways to become more sustainable with less animal cruelty. But the PETA-like stance of “killing animals is ALWAYS WRONG and you are a BAD PERSON for eating meat” makes me roll my eyes and walk away.

  58. Murat says

    @MS
    What is the nature of the reasoning behind drawing the line at “sapient” and not at “sentient”?
    Is it about the differences between our individual, one-on-one interactions with members of these groups, or, something to do with practicality (i.e. species’ populations, chain reactions of favoritism, etc.)?

  59. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    I feel this is a rather uncontroversial boundary. Should I post a link to the difference between “sentient” and “sapient?” Sapience involves more than simplistic cognition; it’s about full self-awareness, reasoning, intelligence like ours, etc. It should come as no surprise that I value life forms that are more human-like in “personhood” than those that are not. It’s a more serious extension of why I care more about close friends and family than about people I don’t know…and that’s okay.

  60. says

    As someone who is childless by choice, I never cease to be amazed by conversations about sustainability that revolve around how we can accommodate an ever-increasing population on a finite sphere of a planet, by using more efficient farming techniques–as though human beings lack any comprehension of how reproduction occurs and can be avoided. Is it really our farming that’s the problem?

  61. snokenx says

    @noexitlovenow

    “This will evidently come about from lots of people drastically reducing their meat consumption to the levels where this is possible.” – Correct!

    “This, of course, not only requires advocating for this fantasy agricultural system, but also requires advocating that people need to drastically reduce the amount of meat they eat so that it can come about. I also think you fail to realize how much of a reduction would be required and the kind of regulation that would be needed to make sure we didn’t just get fewer concentrated animal feeding operations.” – Yes meat would be a luxury commodity. Like it was in the past when a Sunday steak was still a thing and when meat was the main dish for every holiday because only eating the good bits was a rare and expensive luxury. That is the whole thing! We simply cannot continue eating meat for every single meal all around the year. Our planet cannot sustain that kind of consumption with almost 10 billion humans. We need to cut down on meat. And what better way than inducing ethical meat where animals are part of the ecosystem (eating grass and leaves, not corn or soy that can feed humans instead) and where all part of the animal are used for human consumption instead of being grind down to cattle fodder. Yes meat will be expensive but chicken, mussels, pond bred vegetarian fish and crayfish will still come rather cheap for when you grow tired of beans, grains, seeds and vegetables.

  62. noexitlovenow says

    @LiquidChimera
    Regarding the impact of veganism on the environment and the efficiency of feeding the world, you have it exactly backwards. You are completely ignorant regarding these issues.

    Even the study referenced by Monocle Smile to suggest that veganism isn’t sustainable concluded:
    “The findings of this study support the idea that dietary change towards plant-based diets has significant potential to reduce the agricultural land requirements of U.S. consumers and increase the carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural resources.”
    https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.12952/journal.elementa.000116/

  63. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    Please tell me the supermarket I can go to to purchase my cultured meat. I hear it is actually a thing.

  64. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    The fact that it exists makes zero difference to the animals being slaughtered daily until it is available for purchase. Until that time it is functionally not a thing.

  65. Murat says

    @heicart
    The problem is the increase in human population.
    The solution is family planning, preferably by the choices of individuals and not mandatorily.
    One major symptom of the problem is the changes being deemed necessary to provide nutrition commercially.

  66. noexitlovenow says

    @Murat
    I’m all for working for reducing population growth (this is actually a big issue for me). However, many moral choices can be deflected into a population argument (incorrectly). I’m not necessarily saying that this is what you are doing, but it is so prevalent I want to address it.

    If I am the only person on earth it doesn’t matter if I just throw my car battery into the ocean.

    However, we make moral choices in the real world, and the real world is chock full of people. Until the fantasy world occurs where we have reduced the population to the level where our actions have a negligible effect we still need to be responsible for our actions in the real world context where the planet is chock full of people.

    This includes veganism. I don’t necessarily want to get into an argument about how much reduction is reasonable given the affect on animal suffering and environmental degradation (not to mention the moral issues around feeding food to animals while humans are starving). I think most of us can agree these are issues, although we disagree about the weight of these concerns. What is certain, we need to make these choices in the real world, not some fantasized world.

  67. says

    noexitlovenow, the point of such questions and thought experiments is not their plausibility. The questions are about looking at our own ideas, values, and reasoning processes. It is the introspective equivalent of setting up experimental conditions where we consider what we would think and do in varying circumstances in order for us to learn about ourselves, with our minds acting as the dependent variable. The decisions we would come to reveal our judgment criteria, no matter how ridiculous the scenario might seem.

    As a simple example, if you had a situation where a criminal mastermind had abducted Sam’s family, and was requiring Sam to kill an innocent person on threat of Sam’s own family being killed, and you were a prosecutor who had to determine whether to bring charges against Sam, would you? The situation in that hypothetical is implausible, but the answer to that question still reveals our ideas on responsibility and the assignment of blame.

    Determining your judgment criteria is what I’m getting at. So, if it were the case that vegan diets only had drawbacks, do you think it would still be worth the sacrifice to save the lives of animals being eaten?

  68. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    We make moral choices and socially responsible choices in the real world. That is the context that matters.
    I have no desire to consider contexts that don’t matter.

  69. Murat says

    @jared
    For me, the shortcut answer to the question you pose is “Yes.”
    On demand, I can explain why that would be my personal preference in spite of the more “tactically correct” answer.
    But before arriving at that, you should note that the vegan movement is not predicting veganism to become the most practiced diet worldwide. If currently, say, 5% of the people on earth are vegans, it would be tremendous enough a success to make that 20% within half a century; and that would globally help serve also the others get better nutrition. So, the reasoning in the construction of your hypothetical is somewhat faulty. Though not clearly stated, your scenario presupposes that veganism is, by nature, dominionist or something.
    Counter-question:
    If you are sent back in time to a civilization the economy of which depends heavily on free labor, meaning you just have to participate in it by either being a slave master yourself or by making business with people who rent slaves… Would you, as a person who still has the moral codes of the 21st century built in, simply say “Well, so much for what I believe needs to be done – it just won’t without slaves and I gotta live, so, let’s get to business!” or would you, against all odds, knowing that what you could initiate is likely to fail miserably for many more decades than you will live there to see, do something revolutionary? Like, buying slaves only to teach and train them how to reverse the system after being freed by you?
    I think the latter is pretty close to veganism on moral grounds.
    Moral choices need not be reasonable all the time.
    That’s a sad, harsh fact.
    One each has to deal with on their own.

  70. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    Moral choices need not be reasonable all the time.
    That’s a sad, harsh fact.
    One each has to deal with on their own.

    What a pile of crap. This reads like Straw Vulcaning.

  71. says

    noexitlovenow, I agree that our actual decisions are made in the real world. But, I’m not asking you to carry out a decision in the real world based on what you would do in a hypothetical world, I’m asking you about what the determining factors are in your decisions. I can see the output of your mind in the world as you perceive it now, but by seeing what your mind would output if you perceived a different world, I can form a better understanding of what you are basing your decisions on.

    It’s similar to how if I had a program that asked me to input two numbers, if I always put in 2 and 2, and the program always outputs 4, I can only guess as to what it is doing. Is it adding, multiplying, ignoring input and always outputting 4? If I put in 2 and 3 one time, however, I can compare the actual output to the expected output of the different hypotheses, which would be 5, 6, and 4 respectively. Seeing that I’m asking not about the world, but about your own judgment criteria, can you tell me whether you would think it would be worth saving the lives of animals being eaten, even if you had to sacrifice to do so?

  72. noexitlovenow says

    There does appear to be an inclination in this so called skeptical community to argue about ethical issues by proposing fantasy worlds where the ethical choices are altered.

    Arguing based on a context of a fantasy world where people slaughter fewer animals more humanely with less impact on the environment and less impact on the ability to feed everyone does not change the context in which you are responsible because that is not the context in which you live. You live in the current real world which is very different from that one. The current real world is the context which determines what is responsible behavior (of course).

    (@Monocle Smile I include you in this).

  73. says

    Murat, there’s no need to be ‘tactical’ in exploring ideas, as long as everyone is being open and honest. In any case, I was not considering things like economies of scale making turning points in sustainability or anything like that. It didn’t even need to be unsustainable in an absolute sense, but could be viable or not viable, with some level of inefficiency compared to an alternative that included eating meat. The point was to see the actual judgment criteria that truly informs decisions, by checking if the decisions would change if someone found themselves in a different world.

    If I went into the past somehow, I would do what I could to reduce slavery. I’m willing to sacrifice things, such as prosperity, in order to not violate my morality, and have done so consistently. I’ll have more questions later. But, the moral evaluations are not something opposed to reason. Reason is a tool to pursue what you value and bring the world to a state that you value more than some alternate state. Though reason can also help you in determining what your intrinsic versus instrumental values are, and by doing so, help you understand and better pursue what you truly value the most.

  74. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    I don’t want to suggest there is anything wrong with your interest in these thought experiments. I imagine this might be an interesting conversation for some people. It is just not something I am interested in. (I do think it can sometimes be a distraction and inappropriate replacement for responsible action in the real world though (not necessarily for you)).

    Given the context to which I am responsible, my choice is clear. I’m not interested in exploring contexts except the present one. That is the one that to which I am able to respond and the one facing the other responsible actors who might be part of this conversation.

  75. says

    noexitlovenow, the hypothetical is a tool to elucidate your thoughts on the subject. The purpose is to determine your judgment criteria. Do you think animal lives matter enough to sacrifice for them, if a sacrifice had to be made? Your reluctance to answer indicates you find the question uncomfortable. If you answer, it is alright, either way. By answering this, you are not committing to a course in the real world, you’re just communicating what you value. Or do you think that the answer will reflect poorly on you?

    Some people may be more interested in the well-being of animals, and primarily focused on that. Others may be more concerned with the overall state of the environment in the future, and believe that the farming practices that support a vegan diet are the optimal way to support future generations. I don’t see valuing the well-being of animals to be a bad thing, nor do I think valuing the preservation of the environment to be a bad thing. Everyone has their values and beliefs that inform their decisions. And, if you had to choose one over the other, which would you go for?

    In order to pursue a relevant discussion, it is important to see where people are coming from and what they value, in order to avoid talking past each other. If you’re not comfortable opening up on what is important to you, I can understand that, but the conversation does depend on it in order to be relevant.

  76. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    It is NOT required to explore non-real situations in order to discuss responsible behavior in the actual real world AT ALL. It is completely irrelevant. The fact that this is not obvious to you is odd. You have not made any real argument for this.

    I understand you enjoy thought experiments, but as I said I am not interested. It is completely uninteresting to me what I would do in contexts other than the one I find myself in.

  77. says

    From the perspective of the person who is evaluating something as the preferable moral action, it is not dumb to do, since they are doing so in order to bring about a state of the world that they find preferable compared to some less moral state. A second person who did not share the first person’s values or beliefs might evaluate their actions as suboptimal according to the second person’s criteria, and based on that they might judge it to be dumb. But, if the second person was aware of the judgment criteria of the first person, they could see how the actions of the first resulted in what the first person most wanted, and based on that, would not judge it as dumb either.

    However, a third person who shared the judgment criteria of the first person, but was smarter or knew more might see the moral judgments of the first person to be dumb, and thus not the moral action to take, even with the same intrinsic values. Likewise, a person could potentially evaluate their own actions as dumb if they later learned that their actions were counter-productive towards their values. You could also have a person who feels internally conflicted, possibly because there are two things that they evenly or nearly evenly value where they must trade off one for the other.

    A person in that situation might feel they are doing something dumb, because they are taking an action that is strongly violating something that they value, for all that it is needed for something else that they value. But, unless they misjudged something about the situation or their values, then I would not say their action was dumb, however painful it was to make. They may even feel dumb because of the suspicion that the sacrifice would not have needed to be made, if they were smarter and could see another path to fulfill both values. This is understandable, but decisions have to be made with the mind you have at the time. All they can do is to try and understand the world and what they want, and plot out the best course to accomplish that in the time available.

  78. says

    noexitlovenow, how do you propose to understand the world, then? Scientific investigation has people coming up with a variety of different models about how the world is, and thinking through the expectations if a particular model is true, and then testing those predictions, and seeing if the results match what is expected from a model you have. Taking these models that are not actually reality, and comparing the difference in the expectations for each model to what actually happens in tests gives us important information about the world.

    When I said that these hypotheticals are the introspective equivalent to setting up experimental conditions, I was drawing the parallel between a person considering what they would do in one hypothetical situation contrasted to what they would do in another situation in order to demonstrate what they value by how they respond, and comparing that to what would happen if a person performed an experiment under one condition versus another condition to see the results. The point in either case is to understand either the mind of a person or the nature of the world.

    If there is some other, possibly better, way to test the world, I’d like to know more about it. Without considering varying possibilities, I don’t even know how someone would make plans at all. When I plan, I consider many hypothetical future possibilities before selecting some path, and than carry out actions to bring that about. Questions like, “What if I’m wrong”, “What if this design fails”, or “How would you handle this problem” all require considering a variety of hypothetical situations.

    In any case, you still have not told me what is determining your positions. If you don’t think hypotheticals are needed to do so, could you explain what your judgment criteria are, leaving hypotheticals aside?

  79. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    As I indicated to you earlier, veganism is healthy, can be done cheaply, and is better for the environment. As I expressed separately in this forum, I would also add that it is a more efficient way to produce additional calories and protein for hungry people, and veganism reduces the suffering of other sentient beings. These are statements of my understanding of the real world context to which I am responsible. No need for thought experiment about other fantasy worlds.

    If you want to argue with any of this I expect you to make similar statements of your understanding of the real world and risk being shown to be wrong rather than merely ask me about fantasy scenarios.

    That said, I have limited interest in being your research assistant so we may need to merely disagree about the nature of the real world. I’ve already spent more time in this comment section than is healthy.

  80. noexitlovenow says

    @Iced (evidently @Monocle Smile thought Iced made a good argument as well)

    You cannot actually believe that plants suffer at all. THEY DO NOT HAVE A NERVOUS SYSTEM. This is so dishonest so as to be ridiculous. It is SHOCKING that such an argument would be made in any forum of self described skeptics.

    Further, more ridiculously, HOW DO YOU THINK ANIMALS LIVE AND PRODUCE MEAT? DO THEY EAT PLANTS?

    Yes! Yes they do. In fact the animal you eat eats far more calories/protein in plants (much more) than the calories/protein you receive when you eat the animal. So even if you want to make believe that plants suffer equally to animals (based on zero evidence) you are still causing a great deal of additional suffering by eating animals.

  81. says

    Who is Ciera? There’s no links on the website and can’t find her on Google. Too bad she’s way too stiff and never talks. Seems like a missed opportunity. Very sweet when she talks though….

  82. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    “Iced has a solid point”, Monocle Smile.

    Is it really solid? Or is it really, really not solid at all? In fact isn’t it really closer to ridiculous nonsense?

  83. matthewhodson says

    I found Russel frustrating to listen to on this episode. He shut down the expression of an argument that didnt sound like a repeat of standard popular apolgetics. It may have been better to allow the argument to be presented before squashing it. Sometimes it is better to allow assumptions or presuppositions to be accepted for the sake of argument. The logical consistency of the argument can be discussed on its own then the assumptions can be questioned if the logic holds up. It just makes a better show when ideas are actually discussed.

  84. says

    noexitlovenow, I meant what are the things that you value, that are the criteria by which you are judging one state of affairs as preferable to another? This is what the answer to what you would think and do in the hypothetical was supposed to illustrate in a concise way, though you could always go into further detail of your thought processes.

    If I knew that you would not sacrifice some money, health, and the environment for the well-being of animals, that would tell me that you place greater value things other than the well-being of animals. If I knew that you would sacrifice those things for the sake of reducing the number of animals being eaten, then I would know that the well-being of animals is something you value more highly.

    So, to avoid the hypotheticals and just speak on the world as it is, which of those things do you value more? The well-being of animals, or the collection of perceived benefits from vegan diets and farming processes that support them? Knowing which of them would you value more, I would be able to see what you are willing to trade off one for the other.

    Once I know the answer to that, I can see where you are coming from, and we can focus on discussing things as they are relevant to us, and set aside things that aren’t.

  85. says

    >Until the fantasy world occurs where we have reduced the population to the level where our actions have a negligible effect we still need to be responsible for our actions in the real world context where the planet is chock full of people.

    So, I contribute by not producing more people–at substantial sacrifice to myself (what happens to me as I age–who is there for me? No one. That’s a huge risk I’m taking, with no family safety net–because I felt it was not the right thing to do to add people to the planet)–only to be told that’s not good enough–by someone who calls addressing the actual problem a “fantasy”?

    I actually contributed at great personal sacrifice, to affecting the actual problem–unchecked human growth rate. So that other people can continue to breed and tell me I’m a bad person for not helping them hack at the leaves–while I’m attacking the roots? And what did THEY sacrifice? Oh yeah, you bought a cloth belt instead of leather, and didn’t buy a hamburger. Congratulations on your bravery.

    Currently we spend tons of money on fertility treatments–in a world where we have no need for more people, and are perplexed about how to deal with future increased populations. Currently a person who wants a vasectomy or tubal has to go through hoops to find a doctor to accommodate them if they’re in child bearing years. We continue to subsidize families with children through tax breaks. We provide no incentives to reduce child production. We have no educational public efforts to get people to stop reproducing. We have no efforts to put social safety nets in place (like the one I’ll likely need, that isn’t there) for people who don’t have children to look after them as they age. And we continue to socially judge and stigmatize people who opt out of reproducing, and pressure them to have kids.

    And we’re screwing around talking about how to make FARMING more efficient?! THIS is not going to fix the real problem here. Asking how we can accommodate unchecked population growth–rather than opening and pushing for a dialog to address the problem–instead of mucking around about the symptoms (which will only continue to get worse), is so lacking in sense and foresight, that I can’t even believe it has to be pointed out.

    It’s like taking aspirin for a brain tumor, and telling the people who are saying “Hey–we really need to remove this tumor,” that they’re bad people for not investing in creating more aspirin. If you really cared, you’d be moving the dialog toward addressing population growth, not these symptoms that will only get worse if we don’t address the actual issue. You’re helping to KEEP the dialog mired in issues that aren’t going to fix this.

  86. Handyhomo says

    @CBE

    I had a problem with a substance but am atheist and have found a great non religious alternative to 12 groups or programs. SMART Recovery is totally psychology based and is for any type of addictive substance or behavior that you want to address. No AA woo woo ideologies and you decide what you need to work on. I’m am sober 17 years and free from my addiction to alcohol.

  87. ironchops says

    I agree with Heicart in that human population is more of a problem than choice of diet. Not to worry, there is a plan in place to deal with this problem already. Some say “natural selection” and others say “act of G_D”. Call it what you may but if changes are not made humanity will see the plan come to fruition. The Georgia Guide Stones suggest a plan as well.

  88. says

    Well, here I was contemplating a post to point out how ridiculous it was to argue for veganism b/c it could help solve the problem of accommodating human population and Tracie went and post something much better. Oh well, I’ll say some things anyways.

    Arguing for veganism because it can solve the problem of increased food demand is only coherent if veganism is necessary for solving the problem. It is not. There are many other solutions, and in fact only one real solution which Tracie has repeatedly pointed out, stopping population growth. However, even considering veganism as part of a solution, there is no reason to think it is one. In fact, the only research on that topic that has been provided here is a paper that quite definitely concludes that veganism is not the most efficient diet for land use, but that lacto-vegetarianism is (in the context of their simplified parameters (not getting into that here), which they are clear should be a point for taking further investigations and not taken to be the end all).

    To some other points: I’ve yet to see anything that demonstrates veganism is less costly than all alternatives outside of very specific and limited (ie fantasy) scenarios. In the real world that some people seem to be quite fond of, including meat in ones diet is very much more cost effective and veganism is only viable for the very privileged. Nor is there any good evidence veganism is the healthiest diet. As healthy, perhaps, and as pointed out, that required supplementation which rather undermines the claim.

  89. Murat says

    Did I miss something?
    Who was it that ever claimed choice of diet could solve the problem of population growth?
    I checked back and did not notice any posts that could potentially lead the discussion to that spin.

  90. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    The claim is that choice of diet can solve problems associated with population growth, not growth itself. But mitigating the population growth itself can alleviate some of these problems.

    @D
    Good post. I’ve been doing a poor job, but you’ve encapsulated most of how I feel about the subject.

  91. Murat says

    @MS
    Umm, ok… But I didn’t even notice any of the veganism advocates coming up with that claim on here.
    The first reply to this claim seems to be from @LiquidChimera #53, and it’s written as if addressing the caller in the episode.
    Maybe I missed something that the caller said to that effect.
    Some recent posts just seemed to be in reply to something that no one was actually saying, that’s why I was puzzled.

  92. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    Again, I have no desire to argue about fantasy situations which are not the one I am responsible to. You may want to explore many situations where I might choose convenience over compassion – like what if you were stranded on a desert island etc. (People who eat meat always want to put us on a desert island). I do not have any desire to explore the edges of my veganism when confronted with non-real situations.

    You have written a lot, but revealed little of your own position. I don’t think that is by chance. In order to have a reasonable discussion the position of both parties need to be revealed. What are your objections to eating a diet based on plants?

    I’ve laid out the basic situation. There are multiple issues with eating animal products (see above) including the suffering of the animals. Not eating animal products is healthy and easy. This is the real world in which we all find ourselves. Given that world I choose to eat plants exclusively.

  93. noexitlovenow says

    @heicart
    Your argument, despite all the verbiage, boils down to population control is more important so we should not discuss other solutions.

    If you have brain cancer and two easily available drugs to address the issue, and one is somewhat more powerful than the other, you still use both drugs.

    If a third arises that can also help, you use the third as well.

    Further, while you try to cure the cancer, you also try to mitigate and other issues. If it is causing brain swelling, you try to reduce the swelling.

    This is what responsibility is – the ability to respond. You can think to yourself, well I took the one drug, and that is enough. I did my part. If that isn’t enough I guess I will just die. Or you can recognize the real world situation in which you live has multiple opportunities to address the issue.

    Further, you can end the suffering of the animals destined for your plate right now by not paying someone to breed, confine, kill, and butcher them for you.

    When I was 16 I had $70 to my name and I donated $60 to zero population growth. This is a big issue, and I still contribute significantly to many population organizations. Until the population is so low that it doesn’t matter if we throw out car batteries into the ocean; however, we still are responsible to recycle them. Similarly, until population is so low that environmental degradation and food scarcity are no longer issues (though animal suffering does not go away) we have the ability to respond in multiple ways.

    Further, as someone who does eat a vegan diet, I enjoy the fuck out of my healthy meals three times a day. It doesn’t feel like a deprivation, at all.

  94. ironchops says

    Hi MS – I thought you would get a kick! Just pointing out other’s suggestions. Vegan diets are a big Buddhist/New-age type push. The Supreme Master Ching Hai pushes it all the time. The fact is that we are eating ourselves out of house and home. There is just too many of us.

    According to evolutionary science we (homo-sapiens) evolved from australopithecines. They were mostly herbivorous eating meat only occasionally in the form of honey, insects and small animals. Their gut was much longer in order to process all that plant matter similar to that of gorillas.

    As evolution goes australopithecines eventually evolved into homo-erectus and began to hunt and use fire to cook. Their gut shortened and brain grew as a result of the high protein diets. We evolved from that with our new thinking brain and short gut.

    We can’t suddenly go back without major physical changes over long periods of time, but maybe that’s where we are headed. We can eat less meat than we do (overall) and I am all for being a better steward of our home and treating animals more reverently/respectfully. I must say that the natural world can be rather brutal. It is hard to watch natural predation.

  95. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    Not my point at all.
    I am not a significantly better person than I was before I stopped eating animal products. I’m just behaving better.

    However, if you try to argue that plants suffer or that feeding plants to animals and then eating the animals reduces the amount of suffering is a “solid point”, I cannot help but have thoughts about myself in comparison to you.

  96. noexitlovenow says

    @ironchops
    The longest lived people on the planet are the vegan Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California. So we absolutely can stop eating meat now – no evolutionary changes required.

  97. says

    noexitlovenow, in my most recent question, I specifically avoided asking about hypothetical situations. I’m asking what, in the real world of here and now, you value more than something else. The same information that I am asking for could be observed by discussing what you would do in a hypothetical situation, but you can also directly state what you value without discussing hypotheticals. This is what I asked you about.

    What I asked is no more a discussion of a hypothetical than asking, “do you value a family member more than a door?”, or some other value comparison. Either you actually value one over another or you do not. It’s hard to see how you could interpret that question as being about a hypothetical, since it’s asking about your current self in the real world. I said I could understand if you weren’t comfortable talking about your values for some reason, and asked if you thought your answer would reflect poorly on you. Your response was simply to reiterate an objection to discussing hypotheticals.

    That you tried to categorize my recent question about what you value as being about a hypothetical seems to be a disingenuous attempt to avoid discussing what you actually value, rather than simply admitting you weren’t willing to discuss what you value. Your professed objection to hypotheticals seemed highly unlikely to be a true objection, and seems to actually be an attempt to avoid revealing what you value in the first place. This is something you feel strongly enough about to advocate, but you’re not willing to discuss your actual values. What is it that you are afraid of happening if you are open about what you value?

    Before you go on to this part, please address what I have said so far. The majority of what I’ve said so far has simply been an attempt to see what you value and what you are willing to trade off, and could have been answered after the first question. For myself, I don’t object to people eating some form of vegan diet, nor do I object to people eating diets with meat. I understand the basic intuitions the underlie the moral objections to killing animals to eat meat, just as I understand the basic intuitions that underlie objections to abortion. However, in both cases, they require beliefs about the world that I do not share in order to provide reasons to oppose either one.

  98. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    Again with the extended verbiage. You are working really, really, really hard to get me to do something I have repeatedly indicated that I have no interest in doing.

    Also, with all those words you have revealed nothing about your own position which I told you was the way to engage me in debate.

    I’ve laid out the reasons why I believe being vegan is a responsible choice and why it is a choice I made – which is significantly more than you have done.

    I have responded to many people in this chat because they have actually said something to which I could respond.

    If you want to raise a personal objection to veganism or to any argument I have made, I may respond, if it interests me at the time, but until then I am not interested.

  99. noexitlovenow says

    @D
    I keep posting a response but it doesn’t post. Perhaps it is too long so I will break it into two parts.

    >Arguing for veganism because it can solve the problem of increased food demand is only coherent if veganism is necessary for solving the problem.

    No. Of course that is not at all correct. Please see my response to heicart above. If we are able to respond in multiple ways we are responsible for our responses.

    >In fact, the only research on that topic that has been provided here is a paper that quite definitely concludes that veganism is not the most efficient diet for land use, but that lacto-vegetarianism is (in the context of their simplified parameters (not getting into that here), which they are clear should be a point for taking further investigations and not taken to be the end all).

    Again, the paper addresses a fantasy world where everyone has converted to vegetarianism. We do not live in any world even close to that one. In the real world in which we find ourselves that paper indicates: “The findings of this study support the idea that dietary change towards plant-based diets has significant potential to reduce the agricultural land requirements of U.S. consumers and increase the carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural resources.” If you are going to argue realistically and honestly, this is real world to which you are responsible, not some fantasy world that does not exist.

    It is very frustrating that a community of skeptics seem very committed to engaging in thought experiments about nonexistent world situations rather than respond to the real world to which they are actually able to respond. However, if you wanted to respond to a fantasy world the paper does argue for vegetarianism.

    >To some other points: I’ve yet to see anything that demonstrates veganism is less costly than all alternatives outside of very specific and limited (ie fantasy) scenarios.

    This shows a lack of imagination on your part. Substitute pinto beans and potatoes for meat. Take a cheap and available B12 supplement. Adjust as desired.

    Further, veganism does not need to be cheaper if it is worth it to you to not contribute to the suffering of animals, environmental degradation, and food scarcity. People in this country spend money on all kinds of nonsense. Just prioritize the above issues. Further, if you believe that a vegan diet is the healthiest, prioritize it for that reason. No matter how you do it, it is not prohibitively expensive for most people.

    >veganism is only viable for the very privileged

    People who are actually deprived, say in third world countries, live primarily (if not exclusively) on plants. I’m not sure how you could have missed this. Further, there are plenty of poor vegans in this country living very well.

    But again, we are in the realm of arguing in a fantasy world. Personal responsibility, the ability to respond to the real world (which is the only world in which you actually live and to which you can respond) means that you respond to the situation YOU find yourself in. Everyone in this chat room can easily adopt an healthy vegan diet.

  100. Monocle Smile says

    @NELN

    Not my point at all.

    You’re doing an exceptional job of acting otherwise.
    I’m not truly responding anymore because I don’t care to get a fucking lecture from a liar.

  101. Murat says

    @noexitlovenow

    Further, veganism does not need to be cheaper if it is worth it to you to not contribute to the suffering of animals, environmental degradation, and food scarcity. People in this country spend money on all kinds of nonsense. Just prioritize the above issues. Further, if you believe that a vegan diet is the healthiest, prioritize it for that reason.

    I liked this part the most 🙂
    ¨¨
    P.S. Though the context (of spending money) makes it clear you mean the USA by saying “this country”, it could be better in the future to actually name it, as the blog is quite international.

  102. noexitlovenow says

    @D
    >Nor is there any good evidence veganism is the healthiest diet.

    First, there isn’t any good evidence to the contrary, and there is plenty of evidence suggesting that it just might be.

    As I’ve indicated, the longest lived group of people on the planet are the vegan Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California.

    I don’t want to be your research assistant. Also, If I post a bunch of studies, you pooh pooh them, and you post a study that seems to suggest otherwise. I need to get deep into the weeds, and we get nowhere. Also, a lot of studies are behind a pay wall. There isn’t any magic bullet study that will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that including a small amount of slaughtered animal carcass in your otherwise very healthy diet makes it less healthy (although I did see one where monks eating small amounts of meat had more (I think it was) prostate cancer than those who didn’t.)

    I was going to link to a video about the health effects of eating animal products, but I think this may be why my post is not posting. If you want to watch a long video on the subject (I doubt you do) you can search you tube for the phrase “how not to die” and click on the 1 hour and 22 minute posting from NutritionFacts.org. I don’t expect it to be convincing, but it might get you part of the way there.

    We do know that a vegan diet MAY be the healthiest one. We at least realize that it is A healthy choice and it is indeterminate what is THE healthiest choice (although it is probably low in animal products).

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864

    Further, (here is me getting back to the real world again) we have a lot of evidence that a well planned vegan diet (or one lower in animal products) is probably healthier than your current diet. Again, personal responsibility occurs in the context of the real choices you are faced with in the current real world. If you have the ability to reduce suffering, eat a superior diet, reduce environmental degradation, and increase the amount of food available, that is your current reality to which you are able to respond and so it is the one for which you are responsible.

    >required supplementation which rather undermines the claim.

    This is an appeal to nature fallacy. Vitamin B12 is created by microbes. That is how the animals get it. (In fact some feed lots feed their cows B12). We used to get it from eating bugs, dirt, feces, and polluted water. However, I prefer to get mine from a clean, safe, convenient, and reliable supplement.

  103. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @heicart #92:

    Currently a person who wants a vasectomy or tubal has to go through hoops […]. We continue to subsidize families with children through tax breaks. We provide no incentives to reduce child production. We have no educational public efforts to get people to stop reproducing. We have no efforts to put social safety nets in place […] for people who don’t have children to look after them as they age. And we continue to socially judge and stigmatize people who opt out of reproducing, and pressure them to have kids.

    Supplementing, not disagreeing…
     
    Video: Hans Rosling – Religions and babies (13:14)

    In the world today, it’s the countries that have the highest mortality rates that have the fastest population growth. Because the death of a child is compensated by one more child.
    […]
    Babies per woman decrease when:
    1. Children survive.
    2. Many children are not needed for work.
    3. Women get education and join the labor force.
    4. Family planning is accessible.
    […]
    The average number of children in the world […] it’s 2.4 today. […] There are many countries which are less than 2 children per woman. […] We have reached peak child. The number of children is not growing any longer in the world.
     
    * Religion has very little to do with the number of babies per woman.

     
    This one expands on his final box-stacking point a bit better.
     
    Video: Hans Rosling – Why the world population won’t exceed 11 billion (16:35)

    “If you do like Mao Zedong,” they’d say, “then you could get 8 billion.” You think people voluntarily will go for one child? No, I suggested to the leader of the Swedish environmental party […] “Why don’t you start with Sweden then? Because we’re one of the rich countries that increased the number of children per woman. It’s quite easy. You just take away the child allowances, the subsidies for the daycare centers, and you put in school fees. […] The number of children will drop from 2 to 1.5. Of course, you will lose the next election.”
    […]
    I ain’t going to become Mao Zedong because it won’t work; people won’t accept it. […] I think the solution for the world lies in repecting people. Everyone should have access to contraceptives, everywhere – but not be forced. If you force people, it will backfire.
     
    And we know that the poorest in Africa, they will not use contraceptives as long as they see their children dying, as long as they don’t have a school in their village, as long as they need their children for work. […] When men think their pride is having 7-8-9 children instead of how well their children are doing. […] You have to get that attitude change, not only providing services.

     
    His other TED talks can be found here.

  104. RationalismRules says

    @ironchops

    They were mostly herbivorous eating meat only occasionally in the form of honey, insects and small animals.

    So honey is a form of meat now? 🙂

  105. RationalismRules says

    @noexitlovenow

    The longest lived people on the planet are the vegan Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California.

    While there is no doubt that Loma Linda is among the longest lived populations, every list I’ve found has Okinawa Japan topping the list. Where are you getting this information from?

  106. RationalismRules says

    @D

    Arguing for veganism because it can solve the problem of increased food demand is only coherent if veganism is necessary for solving the problem. It is not.

    No. By that argument, you would reject every solution for any problem that has multiple possible solutions, because none of them are ‘necessary’. If it can contribute to solving or reducing the problem there is value in arguing for it, at which point it becomes a question of cost / benefit.

  107. noexitlovenow says

    @RationalismRules
    I looked around for the source of that information and the best I can come up with is this.

    Adventist and Okinawan Diets
    The Adventist diet compares favorably to the traditional Okinawan diet, which consists of less than 1% each of fish, meat, dairy and eggs. The long-lived Okinawans’ highly anti-inflammatory diet was 96% plant-based, yet the Adventist vegetarians in California, with a 100% meat-free diet, enjoy an even higher life expectancy of 87 for men and nearly 90 for women when they abstain from smoking and exercise regularly. This is 10 to 14 years longer than the life expectancy of the general population.
    https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/longevity/

    I don’t have the original source for all of that information.

    I believe that the original source for some of that information was the Adventist Health Study 2.

    I also find that my original statement “The longest lived people on the planet are the vegan Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California.” which I believed at the time I posed it, which I probably got from the above source, is not 100% correct.

    It is true that Vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists are the longest lived people on the planet, and that the Vegan Seventh Day Adventists lived longer than the Non-Vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists; however, my original statement was not correct (based on a miss reading of the above entry read a long time ago).

  108. noexitlovenow says

    @ironchops
    A correction to my original posting.
    The longest lived people on the planet are the VEGETARIAN Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California so we absolutely can stop eating meat now – no evolutionary changes required.

  109. Monocle Smile says

    @RR
    I believe D is saying that arguing for veganism exclusively is incoherent.
    I personally don’t contest the claim that it is a better alternative than the typical American diet, but there’s no value in ignoring other viable options and there’s definitely no value in unleashing pretentious outrage at those who postulate these other options.

  110. noexitlovenow says

    @RationalismRules
    If you have a reference regarding the longest lived populations, I would like to read it/them.
    I had heard that as western culture (and KFC) invaded the island that the Okinawan longevity had reduced a bit.
    Of course all these comparisons depend on how you are able to parse the populations. (For example how about non-KFC eating Okinawans, etc.)

  111. noexitlovenow says

    @Monocle Smile
    In what way was what @RationalismRules posted “unleashing pretentious outrage?”
    I understand why you especially would bristle at someone pointing out a bad argument, but that was all he did.
    All @D would need to do in response would be to post a clarification (no harm no foul), if that was indeed what he meant (I don’t think it was), and the debate could go forward.

  112. says

    noexitlovenow, I am not vegan myself. I suspect we have at least some similar values, but that we do not share the same beliefs. However, I suspect that, based on what your judgment criteria actually are, most of the actual discussion worth having is going to be over one or two issues, and that is what I am trying to find out, so I know what to actually discuss.

    You have repeatedly said that you think that vegan diets are more healthy, that the farming practices that support them are better for the environment, and that not eating meat reduces the suffering of animals. But those are beliefs, not judgment criteria. Beliefs inform the judgment criteria.

    If I believed that taking Road A would get me to my destination sooner than Road B, I would take Road A. And If I believed Road B would take me to my destination sooner, I would take Road B. Neither belief is my criteria. However, from that example, you can infer that my judgment criteria in this situation is the fastest travel time. I could also, without the hypothetical, directly specify that my criteria is the fastest travel time, and that I use that to judge which path to take. If I had additional criteria, such as road safety, and Road A was not safe, that would factor into my decisions as well, and possibly change them, depending on how much I valued quick travel time compared to how much I value a safe road.

    Hopefully that clears up what it is that I am actually asking. If it is just that you, as you have claimed, have an aversion to discussing hypotheticals, then you should see that I’m not currently asking about hypotheticals, I am asking, specifically, what are the values that your judgment criteria are intended to optimize, and that should be easy to answer without hypotheticals, instead simply discussing your own values in the real world.

    However, if you are afraid of revealing your values for some reason, why not just admit that you are not willing to reveal them, rather than saying you’re against hypotheticals, and then claiming that questions that don’t involve hypotheticals are about hypotheticals? Is it really that scary to be honest about your reasoning?

  113. says

    noexitlovenow

    I’m going to quote a lot of things because that’s how I started this post, but first some general things for tl’dr. Reducing the amount of meat in comparison to the average “western” diet is good and beneficial for a number of reasons. Veganisms hold no greater benefit above many strains of vegetarianism or omnivorisms unless one believes that killing and or eating an animal is in and of itself a negative. A position I do not hold. If you want to convince people of the correctness of your position, first clearly state what it is, and then back it up with evidence. That’s what will convince skeptics.

    No. Of course that is not at all correct. Please see my response to heicart above. If we are able to respond in multiple ways we are responsible for our responses.

    You seem to be the one missing the point. Regardless of how we handle our limited resources, they will not sustain unlimited growth. At best you can point to reduced meat consumption as one possible stop-gap measure, but that’s not what you’ve been doing. You’ve been touting veganism as a should in order to address the problem (or maybe it is not clear to me what you are doing).

    Again, the paper addresses a fantasy world where everyone has converted to vegetarianism.

    No it doesn’t. You either didn’t read it, just skimming it for quotes to mine, or didn’t understand it. Also, aren’t you advocating for people wholesale becoming vegan? You think that is less fantasy?

    That you in the space of a couple of sentences, dismiss research, and then quote mine it to support your position (incorrectly, unless you are no longer advocating for veganism) should tell you how incoherently and dishonestly your approach is.

    This shows a lack of imagination on your part

    So now you want people to engage in fantasy? (yes I know that’s not a generous reading of what you mean, but I couldn’t resist)

    Further, veganism does not need to be cheaper if it is worth it to you to not contribute to the suffering of animals, environmental degradation, and food scarcity. … No matter how you do it, it is not prohibitively expensive for most people.

    I think this is the most telling. If you prioritize something, then yes, you are willing make sacrifices for it. You, for unclear reasons which you have been rather evasive of sharing, prioritize not killing/eating animals.

    However, suffering of animals beyond what they naturally suffer is not necessary for the consumption of meat. Minimizing environmental degradation, short of annihilating humanity, does not require the complete abstinence of eating meat. Solving food scarcity does not requires and can not be alone done by having people convert to veganism. You want to argue against current practices, fine. I’ll probably agree with you on many points. However, veganism isn’t a necessary solution, if a solution at all.

    People who are actually deprived, say in third world countries, live primarily (if not exclusively) on plants. I’m not sure how you could have missed this. Further, there are plenty of poor vegans in this country living very well.

    Another little bit of dishonest from you. Live primarily on plants means still eating meat. Sneaking in a parenthetical to equivocate isn’t very honest. If you can demonstrate a collection of poor healthy vegans, by all means share and I’ll update my understanding.

    Everyone in this chat room can easily adopt an healthy vegan diet.

    So you know all the health histories and local food availabilities and costs of everyone here?

    I’m not going to go through your second post point by point. There’s just too much wrong. It seems to basically boil down to, we don’t know you’re wrong, so we should assume you’re right. Fallacy fallacy, misunderstanding of fallacy, etc. If you want to promote veganism and not be taken to task, then provide actual reasons backed by clear evidence. And stop trying to ride on the coattails of vegetarianism or reduced meat consumption. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort to actually backing up your vegan position, I at least am not going to put in much effort in dismissing your unsupported claims.

  114. says

    @RR
    To clarify, I meant arguing for veganism as an imperative. Which from what I can tell is what is being done.

  115. noexitlovenow says

    @Jared
    I think you are sincere, and the dialogue you want to have might be interesting, and reasonably so, to some people.

    I honestly am not sure I know what you want from me. Whatever it is, I want to discourage you in your pursuit. You are working really hard, and I’m obviously not getting it, or I’m not interested. I really want you give up. It is very unlikely that you will get what you want.

    You are correct that I think that vegan diets are more healthy, that the farming practices that support them are better for the environment (actually some pollution is inherent in animal agriculture), and that not eating meat reduces the suffering of animals (this also applied to dairy and eggs).

    I don’t have a problem responding to any specific non-hypothetical question you might have. I’ve responded to many posts.

    I am arguing that veganism is a rational response to the world as I understand it. If your “judgment criteria” differs from mine, I don’t know what I can do about it. I can only describe the world as I understand it, explain why this world convinces me to enthusiastically (not reluctantly) choose not to eat animal products. If we have disagreements about the facts we can argue about them (although I don’t know how much work I would be willing to devote to that (this is merely a comment section and not my dissertation)). If either of us makes a bad argument we could argue about that. If you have questions about going vegan, I could provide information about this. I’m not sure what else we can do.

  116. RationalismRules says

    @noexit
    Like Chancellor, I didn’t take MS’s ‘pretentious outrage’ comment as aimed at me.

    Re ‘longest lived’, I don’t have a reference, I just couldn’t find the source of your claim in 10 mins or so of scanning through google results on a couple of variations of the term. Definitely not a scientific approach, but enough to make me wonder why your claim didn’t appear to match the general information.

    If you had cited Loma Linda as among the longest lived populations on earth, that would be entirely uncontroversial, and still makes the point.

  117. Murat says

    So, I contribute by not producing more people–at substantial sacrifice to myself (what happens to me as I age–who is there for me? No one. That’s a huge risk I’m taking, with no family safety net–because I felt it was not the right thing to do to add people to the planet)–only to be told that’s not good enough–by someone who calls addressing the actual problem a “fantasy”?

    I actually contributed at great personal sacrifice, to affecting the actual problem–unchecked human growth rate. So that other people can continue to breed and tell me I’m a bad person for not helping them hack at the leaves–while I’m attacking the roots? And what did THEY sacrifice? Oh yeah, you bought a cloth belt instead of leather, and didn’t buy a hamburger. Congratulations on your bravery.

    This sounds unreasonable.
    I still don’t see anywhere the weird claim that unchecked human growth rate could be prevented by diets, so the meat of the argument is among those in reply to an unexisting position.
    But, what sounds extremely sad and uncalled for is that someone who sees not having a child as a “sacrifice”, as “taking a huge risk” is doing so just to not contribute to human population growth.
    No way is that logical or respectable.
    Every single person who currently exists has the knowledge that they will someday die. So, on a personal basis, one child to bring to this earth, one child to fulfill one parent’s current place after they are gone, is an undisputable right. A right that was not even taken away by the Chinese regime.
    For it already requires two people to make a child, a theoretical population of 100 people each of whom are okay with having one child equates only to 50 new persons for the next generation.
    Therefore, by accepting to have just one child and no more, any person will be doing their part to help decrease human population.
    By agreeing to having no more than two children as a couple, two people will be doing their part in not contributing to human population growth.
    It is only those who on a personal basis insist on more than one, and who on a couples basis prefer to have more than two that are causing the problem.
    It is totally pointless for an educated, self-conscious woman (whom I see as a potentially ideal mother) to not bring a kid to this earth despite her desire to do so and despite her seeing it as a personal risk, solely on the grounds of making a personal sacrifice to prevent furher growth of human population.
    Globally and in the long run, the net outcome of such logic would be in reverse as the least educated, least conscious people would reproduce like mice whereas potentially ideal parents would almost go extinct, leaving the earth step by step to reigns of ignorance.
    Of course it’s a totally different case for those saying they prefer not to have kids so they can have all the time to themselves, etc.
    But I don’t think anyone who wants to practice parenthood for this or that reason should step away from doing so based on a self-inflicted notion of sacrifice.
    In the light of the very basic math above, I’d suggest those in this situation to make one child. But at worst, they should at least go on and adopt one already existing baby so that they would not have “no one” around for them when they are old, so that the “sacrifice” would remain on just a biological level and not a social and emotional one.
    Human kind is polluting the atmosphere but it is no bright idea for anyone to deliberately not breathe clean air as a “sacrifice” just so those who do will have more time on this earth to keep polluting it.

  118. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    Who appointed you moralizer-in-chief? Tracie made her choice for her own reasons. Fuck you for not having the simple decency and empathy to respect that. You are an obnoxious ass.

  119. says

    To correct/clarify myself:

    Veganisms hold no greater benefit above many strains of vegetarianism or omnivorisms unless one believes that killing and or eating an animal is in and of itself a negative.

    That “greater benefit” does not apply to veganism over vegetarianism. To claim veganism specifically is better than other types of vegetarianism requires further believing that simply “using” animals is in itself a negative.

  120. ironchops says

    I would classify Honey as an animal product. If bees are considered fauna vs flora.

    Over the past several years I have incorporated more veggies in my diet and ate a lot less red meat and pork. I still eat poultry and seafood. That’s about as far as I am prepared to go with that for now. I do love a good steak!

    As stated above, I don’t see California listed in the top 5 places for long living.

  121. Murat says

    Though no one brought it up, I suspect organic agriculture may have been mistaken as a requirement for vegan diets in some previous posts.
    As the concerns of people who prefer organic food are pretty close to those of vegans, the two overlap on many instances for sure, creating a huge intersection in practice.
    But not all “raw kombucha” has to be “organic”.

  122. paxoll says

    Since this topic has nothing to do with gods or religion, I won’t bother with addressing any of those arguments and I think most everyone here is fine with a secular view on morality. Morality is where we place a value on something and then evaluate the process of accomplishing that value to the extent of our knowledge. In secular morality there is no “ought” without an “if”. e.g. you ‘ought’ to bring an umbrella ‘if’ you don’t want to get wet in an unexpected rainstorm. There is also a distinction between personal values and societal values. Someone lying, stealing, and murdering may be greatly valued by an individual for their personal benefit, but it harms society, thus we often evaluate others values and actions as “selfish” and call them immoral based on their value to society. There are a lot of moral values peppered into this topic such as, suffering, health, and life.

    I will begin by saying, this longevity topic is irrelevant. An individual can value living longer, or not. I will refer people to Matts debate on right to die. When a society evaluates an individuals value of living longer, it becomes much more complex. Is the costs associated with extending someones life from 80 to 90 morally justified? How much food is that, how much “suffering” is caused by that? Antinatalism is one logical conclusion to this moral quandary. I think that irrationally stops short, and suicide is the actual rational endpoint. What is their living value in companionship, in knowledge, or simply expression of who they are? Life/longevity is so complex of a value, that it can only really be evaluated as a personal value and society has to make a moral safe assumption that an individual places maximum value on their life. i.e don’t kill other people except to save the life of another person. Society forcing veganism to prolong life is ignoring this as a personal value.

    This leads to the other topics of health and suffering. I’ll start with health. Pretty safe to assume that like life, health is highly valued by every individual. The question is how much is it valued. People smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs, do risky sports/hobbies. People know these risks to their health. When they participate in these, they are making a value judgement that the over all risk/damage to their health is less then the value the experience brings to them. Is it morally right for society to tell people they can’t do these? The value (benefit) is mostly entirely personal, e.g. if you take heroin, that isn’t benefiting anyone else, society has no reason to value you taking heroin. This gives society a reason to make a case by case evaluation of these individual value choices. We have our own value choices so we often try to avoid legislating other peoples value choices. Thus from a health standpoint, veganism is a value choice. Many make that choice later in life when the value of health is higher for the individual. This doesn’t even touch on how veganism is only healthy if people have a good understanding of nutrition and can implement it appropriately. The number of stories of children dying is going to be a tiny minority of the children who are simply harmed by their parents forcing a vegetarian/vegan diet on them.

    Now for the elephant in the room. Suffering. How is this determined and measured? Through pain? Go watch Aron Ra’s classification of life. Every living organism has evolved to continue to live. Reproduction is simply part of that continuity of living. To accomplish this every living organism senses and reacts to it’s environment. That is what pain is. Everything experiences pain differently, so how do you place value on it? Is a fishes pain more valuable then an insects? Then a worms? How is your pain valued differently than your neighbors? This is one big reason veganism is arbitrary. Just because plants don’t scream with a voice, doesn’t mean they are not communicating their pain. Now suffering can be defined other ways, but they all suffer (no pun intended) from essentially the same problem. That is the “value” placement, it doesn’t begin to address the moral action to accomplish the value. When talking about feeding people vs feeding animals there is a pretty big difference, as animals feed on all of a plant, whereas people only eat a fruit. Cattle graze in unfarmed pasture for the majority of the year, and don’t require that much land to grow feed for the winter. The most efficient (moral) use of farmed land is going to be a mix of food for people, and the left overs for animals. Now what happens when YOU decided for your personal moral reason to not eat meat. We will throw in a few million similar people to yourself to see an impact. SO market demand goes down, this drives prices down, this drives down profit, which drives down production costs. How do you drive down production cost on meat? Well you start by consolidating production, you increase production so the cost of each individual is less. Which means a cheaper product. What does that mean for meat? It means animals treated worse. When you get a worse and cheaper product, you open up the market to foreign countries and alternative uses. So by not eating meat, you end up hurting the animals being raised for meat. The most effective way to improve animal welfare is to demand it, either though legislative means, or by paying more for animals raised humanely.

  123. says

    May I just add I find the whole vegetarianism issue extremely off-topic. It leads to unending threads where people just argue past each other, with some obsessed posters leading the talk down paths which are of no interest to any but themselves. Also in these threads “facts”, “studies”, and “research” are often quoted that are often untraceable, wrongly quoted, or completely made up. I am sure there are forums where this topic is welcomed for debate, but perhaps we can keep it off an atheist channel.

  124. noexitlovenow says

    @Jeanette
    I was happy to not get involved (check out my first post on the subject), but the anti-vegan arguments posted unprompted here were too illogical and defensive to overlook.
    I’m not saying there aren’t logical arguments, but the arguments here were not even close.
    (Plants suffer and feeding plants to animals and then killing and eating the animals reduces suffering)?
    Further, the posts were aggressive and dismissive of a response (not supporting animal agriculture) to real issues (animal suffering, environmental degradation, and food scarcity) that would do (and does) mitigate these issues.

    Primarily, in a skeptic community, where logic and reason is especially valued, arguing against an action that addresses multiple issues facing us by pointing to a parallel universe where these issues don’t exist is not a logical argument and amounts to delusional thinking (but I get that type of argument over and over again). Further, arguing that because other responses might help, is not an argument against engaging in another response that will help. My main issue is defending veganism against illogical arguments. Unfortunately, there are a boatload of them here.

  125. noexitlovenow says

    @D
    >Veganisms hold no greater benefit above many strains of vegetarianism or omnivorisms unless one believes that killing and or eating an animal is in and of itself a negative. A position I do not hold.

    Veganism addresses the unnecessary suffering of animals involved in animal agriculture. The real world of animal agriculture is a brutal place. I recognize this as a negative. I would hope that anyone would. If you don’t, I don’t want to know you. I also think that the breeding, confinement, and killing of other animals is a negative.
    See You Tube “Farm to Fridge – The Truth Behind Meat Production”
    or see You Tube “Earthlings”

    >You seem to be the one missing the point. Regardless of how we handle our limited resources, they will not sustain unlimited growth. At best you can point to reduced meat consumption as one possible stop-gap measure, but that’s not what you’ve been doing. You’ve been touting veganism as a should in order to address the problem (or maybe it is not clear to me what you are doing).

    Of course, I never suggested veganism was the only way to stop environmental degradation at all ever. Nor did I suggest that it would solve all our problems. When I was 16 I had $70 to my name and I donated $60 to zero population growth. This is a big issue, and I still contribute significantly to many population organizations. The real world to which we are responsible is over populated. We don’t live in a fantasy world where there are fewer people. Until the population is so low that it doesn’t matter if we throw out car batteries into the ocean, however, we still are responsible to recycle them. Similarly, until population is so low that environmental degradation and food scarcity are no longer issues (though animal suffering does not go away) we have the ability to respond in multiple ways. Of course.

    >No it doesn’t. You either didn’t read it, just skimming it for quotes to mine, or didn’t understand it. Also, aren’t you advocating for people wholesale becoming vegan? You think that is less fantasy?

    In this you are probably correct. I was skimming it, and didn’t confirm my interpretation of what I read.
    However, it does say IN THE CONCLUSION SECTION:
    “The findings of this study support the idea that dietary change towards plant-based diets has significant potential to reduce the agricultural land requirements of U.S. consumers and increase the carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural resources.”

    and “vegetarian diets including dairy products performed best overall.”

    So, if this is a study you think is important, all the more reason to reduce your consumption of meat or to convert to a vegetarian diet. I’m glad to hear you are coming around to my point of view.

    >So now you want people to engage in fantasy? (yes I know that’s not a generous reading of what you mean, but I couldn’t resist)

    Of course, I want people to use their imaginations. I just want them to respond to the real world.

    >I think this is the most telling. If you prioritize something, then yes, you are willing make sacrifices for it. You, for unclear reasons which you have been rather evasive of sharing, prioritize not killing/eating animals.

    You were complaining that no one had demonstrated that veganism was less costly. Of course when concerned about animal suffering, environmental degradation, and food scarcity, and potentially personal health there is zero reason why it would need to be cheaper. That is just logical. That was never a requirement, and until you raised the issue, I never said it was cheaper (I don’t think). There isn’t anything “telling” about it. It is common sense, of course. It is unclear why you were implying this was a requirement. (However, I do point out that it can easily be done more cheaply).

    > However, suffering of animals beyond what they naturally suffer is not necessary for the consumption of meat.

    The relevant context as always is the real current world. The fact is that the meat available for you to buy in the real world currently does result from animals suffering beyond what they naturally suffer. This is the relevant reality. Some possible fantasy world is not relevant. Further, we don’t even know how to kill humans without additional suffering so I’m not sure how you came to this conclusion.

    >Minimizing environmental degradation, short of annihilating humanity, does not require the complete abstinence of eating meat.

    A single cow standing in a field eating grass produces methane (a greenhouse gas) at a minimum. Currently, the rain forests are being torn down and the planet is warming among other problems (ocean dead zones etc) due to our current consumption. We have a limited ability to get others to partially abstain from eating meat (just as we have limited ability to get them to stop breeding) so the way for us as individuals to minimize our personal impact on environmental degradation is to completely abstain from eating meat. We can reduce our impact with partial measures, but the more we abstain the bigger our impact.

    We could potentially, I suppose, eat a sunfish we caught in a well populated lake with minimal impact. Further, there may be some situations where, for example, the freezer breaks and there isn’t anyone else to eat the meat inside where again this might have no environmental impact. However, these are not the usual sources of meat. As long as we are providing demand for meat production we are contributing to environmental degradation.

    >Solving food scarcity does not require and can not be alone done by having people convert to veganism. You want to argue against current practices, fine. I’ll probably agree with you on many points. However, veganism isn’t a necessary solution, if a solution at all.

    Again, this is you arguing again that because one solution is not required given other possible solutions we should not engage in that solution. This is a particular logical problem for you. We live in the real world, and until these other solutions come about, we can help by not feeding our food to animals to convert it inefficiently into other types of food.

    >Another little bit of dishonest from you. Live primarily on plants means still eating meat. Sneaking in a parenthetical to equivocate isn’t very honest. If you can demonstrate a collection of poor healthy vegans, by all means share and I’ll update my understanding.

    I said: “People who are actually deprived, say in third world countries, live primarily (if not exclusively) on plants.”
    That is exactly the truth. In fact, the text in parenthesis, if anything, highlights that I said primarily and not exclusively – so no effort to sneak anything in.

    We were discussing the cost of vegan diets. My point was that as people get really poor they eat more plant foods because they are cheaper. There are lots of poor vegans. Of course, I don’t know them personally. As I indicated, all you need to do is substitute potatoes (cheap), beans (cheap), and a B12 supplement (cheap).

    >So you know all the health histories and local food availabilities and costs of everyone here?

    I said, “Everyone in this chat room can easily adopt an healthy vegan diet”. This is a reasonable realistic assumption given what is required and the lack of expense in doing it. People already eat vegetables, and beans, other foods. They just need to eat more of the foods they already eat. We are having a casual realistic conversation, put your slide rule back in your pocket protector.

    >Fallacy fallacy, misunderstanding of fallacy, etc.

    Let me suggest I do not trust anyone who argues that “Arguing for veganism because it can solve the problem of increased food demand is only coherent if veganism is necessary for solving the problem” and then going on to suggest veganism would not be required if we reduced the population (living in a less populated world is not close to being a currently available option) to point out logical fallacies without explanation.

    Arguing for veganism because it can solve the problem of increased food demand is only coherent if veganism is necessary for solving the problem.

    I didn’t enter this debate except in response to stupid arguments opposing veganism – which is a delicious, compassionate, healthy, and environmentally friendly choice in response to real world problems.

    Veganism does not need to be the ONLY way to absolutely solve ALL of these problems BY ITSELF and be cheaper to boot to be worthwhile, OF COURSE. It only needs to be helpful response to any one or more of them to be worthwhile (as long as it isn’t significantly more unhelpful in some other way).

    The first point in support of veganism is the suffering of the animals involved in producing our food. For many people this is the main reason for veganism. Any efforts to reduce suffering, which can include reducing consumption, better treatment of animals while alive, and more compassionate slaughtering methods, is a step in the right direction, including vegetarianism, but minimizing animal suffering requires veganism. Denying the real world is not a solution.

    The environmental issue is also a big reason for veganism. Except for insignificant exceptions, efforts to minimize the environmental impact require minimizing our breeding and raising of animals for food.

    Eating animal products requires feeding food to animals in order to produce another food in an inefficient conversion process which reduces the amount of calories and protein available for human consumption (and requires other inputs and waste removal). I find this the least convincing of the arguments for veganism, but this is absolutely a problem, and can be mitigated by not consuming animal products produced in this way. (Further, even if we purchase, for example, cows raised on grass on fields that could not be used to grow other food, this just removes this efficiently produced meat from the pool of meat available in the marketplace and makes the percentage of meat being eaten by others less efficiently produced – so it is mostly a wash (and still contributes to environmental degradation).

    From a socially responsibility argument, the health effects of a vegan diet, are not relevant mostly (although an argument could be made that the lost productivity and public health care cost burden are relevant). However, if a vegan diet was unhealthy this would be something that could argue against a vegan diet. I believe that a well planned vegan diet is the most healthy diet, and this is supported by many experts. There is not any evidence to the contrary, and there is no required nutrient in animal products not available from plants. As I indicated, the Seventh Day Adventists are one of the longest lived people on the planet (I believe they are the longest lived studied group), and among this group the vegetarians lived the longest and the vegans lived longer than those eating meat. This suggests, along with lots of other evidence, that veganism is A healthy way to eat, if not the healthiest.

    Further, a vegan diet can be delicious and satisfying. I enjoy the fuck out of my vegan diet three times a day. Many top level athletes eat a vegan diet including weight lifters, sprinters, American football and basketball players, and endurance athletes (just google it). Carl Lewis ate a vegan diet before his last Olympics, and Serena Williams is reportedly vegan.

    So, what is clear is that veganism addresses a number of ethical issues. Pointing to a preferred situation where these issues don’t exist is not a logical argument and amounts to delusional thinking. It is irresponsible and it disempowers anyone who makes it. Maybe one day in the distant future with a lot of work we might get there (lower population, better treatment of animals, etc), but it is not a situation currently available to us to choose.

    The question then arises how are you going to respond to these ethical issues issues (animal suffering, environmental degradation, and food scarcity) ?

    Choosing a vegetarian diet or reducing your consumption of animal products in response to these ethical issues is responsible. If you are not convinced of the healthiness of completely removing animal products from your diet (as I am), or if you are actually concerned about the suggested food production efficiency issues of going completely vegan (although I’m not convinced especially when compared to the other issues involved), and if either or both of these concerns overrides your concerns about the ethical issues (animal suffering, environmental degradation, and food scarcity) these are logical responses.
    (Although, I think this unrealistically minimizes the animal suffering and environmental issues and is unrealistically concerned over the healthfulness of the diet).

    If you want any advise or help converting to vegetarianism or reducing your consumption of animal products let me know.

    Veganism is a logical and rational response to the ethical issues mentioned (animal suffering, environmental degradation, and food scarcity), and I believe is the most rational and responsible choice given the problems we face and the healthfulness of a vegan diet. Whether or not you are convinced, is not relevant to whether it is a logical and reasonable response to these ethical issues.

  126. says

    noexitlovenow

    That’s quite a wall of text saying very little coherent or new. Instead of actually providing support for your position, you simply restate it, over and over again, relying on the same dishonest equivocations, non-sequiturs, assertions etc. Not tactics of someone that has good reasons for the position they hold.

    The only specific thing I shall reply to is this:

    I’m glad to hear you are coming around to my point of view.

    You don’t know my position coming into this discussion. It hasn’t changed. One of your more dishonest acts here is claiming to know, or proceeding as if you know, others and their circumstances better than they themselves know.

    I am now done with you.

  127. noexitlovenow says

    @D
    My posts were always to defend veganism in response to arguments with logical and factual errors (and defend myself in response to similar attacks) – which you indulged in to a great degree.

    > I’m glad to hear you are coming around to my point of view.
    This was, of course, tongue in cheek. Please learn how to respond to such comments like a normal person. Your fake outrage is ridiculous (and something you like to lean on a lot, I notice).
    I was just pointing out how often you conceded that vegetarianism and reducing meat consumption might be a good idea.
    Yeah. It might. That is my point.

    I’ve been pretty up front regarding my position (however, you even argued I should be more transparent – suggesting I should somehow provide ranking of my values or something – something I don’t know how to do), while you like to hide from actually taking a position at all and hide behind impersonal logical (actually illogical) arguments while sniping at the position of others. You are right I don’t know your position for sure – because you didn’t have the courage and honesty to divulge it.

  128. indianajones says

    ‘because you didn’t have the courage and honesty to divulge it.’ Just while we aren’t engaging in, oh IDK, logical fallacies specifically of the straw man variety? Or perhaps a false monochotomy (did I just invent a word? Hope so, cool!) in that you don’t even provide an alternative possibility instead just leaping to what you imply must be the only possible conclusion?

    Saying that you refuse to answer questions about your own position because others refuse to clarify theirs is weapons grade BS. I think that even potentially defensible points in general can be defended without reference to the opposing case. For, almost certainly not all inclusive but illustrative, example above where you are asked the perfectly reasonable (IMHO) question above (paraphrasing): ‘What is it you are actually trying to achieve with this vehement defense of veganism?’. IMHO again, you hand waved this away with the (again paraphrasing) response of , what boiled down to me to be: ‘I don;t understand the question and instead of trying to clarify it I simply dismiss it as unworthy of answer so there!’.

    I actually thought you started out pretty strong, but it fell apart quickly pal.

  129. Vivec says

    Personally, I just can’t be bothered to give much of a damn for non-sapient life, outside of like the sentimental value of pets, the succulent meat value, or the “necessary biodiversity for us to keep living” value.

  130. noexitlovenow says

    @indianajones
    This is a comment section. Not my masters thesis. Please review the reams of verbiage I provided clarifying my position. Further, I entered this debate in response to bad arguments and the assertions of incorrect facts. That was always all I wanted to do.

    >‘What is it you are actually trying to achieve with this vehement defense of veganism?’
    I think the answer is included in the question. I’m trying to defend veganism against bad arguments and factual errors.

    If someone says, for example, I know that animals suffer to create my breakfast, but I don’t care enough. There is little for me to say. For one thing, until I went vegan, that was more or less my position. Maybe I might try to bring some information that convinced me to change, but probably I would have just let it be. There isn’t any logical error or false statement of fact to correct.

    If, however, someone repeatedly suggests that veganism doesn’t make sense because if we had fewer people it wouldn’t be a problem (among many other false assertions and logical errors). I’m going to respond because having a lower population is not an option on the current real world menu, and living in the delusion that it is is irresponsible and disempowers the person doing so.

    This pissy little person gets all bent out of shape because I suggested tongue in cheek about what his position might be. This is AFTER he suggests there is something sketchy about my desire not to provide even more information about my position (as you are doing now).

    Normal people are not afraid for people to know their position in a debate. There isn’t any reason to argue in the abstract, or to get pissy when someone assumes you actually hold the position you are arguing. Further, all one needs to do if they feel misunderstood is to clarify their position – something that should be easy to do.

    The repeated suggestion that I provide the strength of all my relevant values and rankings and respond to all kinds of hypothetical situations – while the person demanding such from me never does the same is not reasonable. If such information is important when responding to arguments why didn’t they provide me with this information about themselves, instead of demanding that I do all the work to achieve what I think is an impossible goal. Why didn’t you?

    My desire was to merely respond to bad arguments and factual errors. I have no desire to explore what I would do in hypothetical non-real situations. I am a vegan because I am responding to the real world right now, and I’ve been fairly explicit about my understanding of that present real world. It is very unclear to me why any more than that is required – especially when arguing with others that aren’t willing to do the same.

  131. indianajones says

    Pissy and bent out of shape just as I am now? Ad hominem, mere insult, false premise or some combination perhaps? Cognitive dissonance with a side order of projection would be my guess. But there may be alternatives I have missed. I do know, and am confident to merely assert without supporting evidence because it is so ordinary that Hitchens’ razor needn’t apply, that I know my motivations better than you do. For instance, for all you know I am fully on your side and am just trying to help you clean up your rhetoric. Or I wish you would get off my side cos you are embarrassing it. Or something else. Besides which, any arguments raised by people against yours remain unaddressed by coming to whatever conclusion you might have about me, them, or whomever, All wrapped up in a gigantic strawman it seems to be then.

    And not wanting to explore what you are calling hypotheticals (highly arguable, but moving on) because (and I won’t go into what they are, you have repeated them exhaustively) reasons? Well, up to you of course but it happens a lot here. Surely this was not unexpected? That being so, why engage at all? Some people comment here because they like picking nits, some because they are trolls, some because they are passionate about whatever is at hand. Personally I read often and comment sometimes because when I look back say 5 years my intellectual tools were blunt, clumsy and highly inadequate. I actively hope to be able to look back in 5 years and come to the same conclusion because I have actively improved them to be better than they are today and this is part of that effort.

    Whatever, here is some unsolicited advice because that always goes well (lol): Hate the game, not the player.

  132. indianajones says

    Actually did I mean ‘gigantic Ad Hominem’? I get those mixed up sometimes for some reason. Now, where did I put that whet stone again?

  133. noexitlovenow says

    @indianajones
    >Pissy and bent out of shape just as I am now? Ad hominem, mere insult, false premise or some combination perhaps?

    Perhaps, but until you actually make an argument no one will be able to tell. I love how this skeptical community likes to just throw out the names of logical fallacies without actually showing how they apply. In your case you aren’t even sure yourself so you end the sentence with a question mark.

    >Cognitive dissonance with a side order of projection would be my guess.

    Wow. Imagine how you would jump on me if I did that kind of mind reading to you. Actually, you don’t need to imagine, see below as to how you reacted when you THOUGHT I did that to you.

    >But there may be alternatives I have missed. I do know, and am confident to merely assert without supporting evidence because it is so ordinary that Hitchens’ razor needn’t apply, that I know my motivations better than you do.

    When did I suggest what your motivations are? I never did that. Please show where I did that.

    >For instance, for all you know I am fully on your side and am just trying to help you clean up your rhetoric. Or I wish you would get off my side cos you are embarrassing it. Or something else.

    When did I presume what your position was? I never did that. Please show where I did that. If anyone is embarrassing it is you.

    >Besides which, any arguments raised by people against yours remain unaddressed by coming to whatever conclusion you might have about me, them, or whomever, All wrapped up in a gigantic strawman it seems to be then.

    What the hell are you talking about? I objected to the arguments that I found objectionable, and asserted my position. Since when I am required to do more than that? Are you required to do more than that as well? Again, you are throwing out the word strawman without explaining how it applies. This is one of my problems with this forum. It is filled with people who want to think of themselves of logicians, but who don’t appear to understand about how to actually do that (including you).

    My last post was almost completely NOT about you. How that sparked all this I have no idea. The only bit of it that actually addresses you is where I suggest that it is not reasonable to demand more information about my multi-variant interactive value system and response to multiple non-real hypothetical situations as you appeared to do. This is not required for any normal argument. Further, you have still not even revealed what your single position is based on the real context of the real world, much less provide an accounting of your multi-variant interactive value system and response to multiple non-real hypothetical situations.

    >And not wanting to explore what you are calling hypotheticals (highly arguable, but moving on) because (and I won’t go into what they are, you have repeated them exhaustively) reasons? Well, up to you of course but it happens a lot here. Surely this was not unexpected? That being so, why engage at all?

    Please explain how this is AT ALL relevant to arguing for or against veganism. We are all faced with a similar real world. We can all argue in that context, as I did. If you want to argue about it I expect the same from you. There is zero need to introduce fantasy worlds when the real one will do. I am a vegan as a response to the real world, and I would not encourage you to give up animal products in response to any other world except the real one.

    >Some people comment here because they like picking nits, some because they are trolls, some because they are passionate about whatever is at hand. Personally I read often and comment sometimes because when I look back say 5 years my intellectual tools were blunt, clumsy and highly inadequate.

    Dude, you are so un-self-aware as to be ridiculous. I’m sure you have heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect (if not use google). Seriously, you are the worst. You have produced so much verbiage without actually saying anything real.

    >I actively hope to be able to look back in 5 years and come to the same conclusion because I have actively improved them to be better than they are today and this is part of that effort.

    Please spare me your condescension you supercilious little creep. You have produced a lot of words but have failed to actually say anything real or logical.

    > Hate the game, not the player.
    If some despicable little creep, is playing a game, I reserve the right to hate the player, player.

  134. indianajones says

    And I want to get you a nice fruit basket. I think the above speaks for itself. Further more, I’ll bet that you will make lots of friends here and are great fun at parties.

  135. indianajones says

    Oh, one more thing. I have creepily, condescendingly, superciliously, hatefully and despicably (I mean it was your description and after such a masterful display of dazzling rhetoric shown up-thread, how could you ever be doubted right?) decided to no longer engage with you hence forth from this post. For 3 reasons

    A) I clearly have nil chance of convincing you as an individual of anything. Always a low priority anyway.
    B) The audience seems to have dwindled, a higher priority.
    C) I no longer consider you worthy of my steel, I can more efficiently get intellectual exercise/fun elsewhere should I so desire.

    Hell, I won’t even bother reporting you for naked abuse because that is just the kind of see second sentence above kinda guy I am.

    Last word is all yours if you want it. Buh bye!

  136. noexitlovenow says

    @indianajones
    Your steel? Ha Ha Ha Ha. Again, the complete lack of self awareness is mind blowing. I’ve never known anyone who has such an exaggerated sense of his own intelligence. You are pathetically ridiculous.

    I also notice you have not replied to ANY of my confrontations or questions.
    >When did I suggest what your motivations are? I never did that. Please show where I did that.
    >When did I presume what your position was? I never did that. Please show where I did that.
    >Please explain how this is AT ALL relevant to arguing for or against veganism. (exploring non-real situations).
    >I objected to the arguments that I found objectionable, and asserted my position. Since when I am required to do more than that? Are you required to do more than that as well?

    I’m happy to address any actual argument, something that you have completely failed to make.

    P.S. Sometimes an insult is just an insult.

  137. Crocodile says

    Jared, if it was indisputably the case that a vegan diet was obviously more healthy, less costly, more efficient, and more sustainable, would you advocate for it on the grounds that it was worth the hassle? Or would you say that it would be a nice idea if it didn’t mean extra effort, and refrain from advocating for it?

  138. says

    Yes, of course I’d advocate for a diet that’s significantly beneficial. In that scenario, it would obviously have to be difficult enough that the cost of the difficulty was more than the benefits before I would recommend against it. So, assuming that the costs weren’t too high to be worth it, I would advocate for any worthwhile vegan diet. And, in the real world, I do not recommend against healthy vegan diets with appropriate supplements. I don’t recommend against eating meat or dairy, either. As long as a diet is healthy, it works. The advocacy of excluding meat and dairy entirely, however, is something that evidence regarding the health of a diet does not support. However, if eating meat was of no nutritional value, or if eating any meat was significantly unhealthy for a person, then I would recommend against it.

    From this, you can infer some of my judgment criteria to see what I value. And, with other appropriately-constructed hypotheticals, you could continue to refine your understanding of what I value, and accordingly adjust discussions to be relevant and productive.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Quoting noexitlovenow:

    The longest lived people on the planet are the VEGETARIAN Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California

    There’s a massive difference between vegan and vegitarian diets in terms of health, AFAICT. Please don’t conflate the health of the two diets.

    Quoting Murat:

    The only creature that can intentionally or accidentally destroy all life on the planet has reached excessive numbers.

    Nit: Humans cannot end all life. Nowhere close. Throw all of the nukes that you have, and life will continue. Even the worst possible outcomes from global warming won’t end all life either. Sure, you might kill most multi-cellular life, but life will continue.

    Responding to Murat and Tracie:
    Basically all industrialized countries have negative population growth, excluding immigration from non-industrialized countries. The birth rates of these countries are below the sustainable level, aka populations are decreasing, excluding immigration from non-industrialized countries. With the rest of the world becoming westernized and industrialized, world population is predicted to peak around 10 or 11 billion people. The moral solution to population growth is obvious and easy: education, industrialization, plus ready access to contraception and feminism to allow the use of that contraception by women. Making having kids expensive via education costs and raising costs may also be important. Moving people away from an agrarian lifestyle where kids are necessary for labor may also be important. Regardless, whatever factors are important, it’s happening.

    The conversation that we need to be having is how to produce lots of energy, cheaply, safely, and cleanly, to raise the rest of the world into a western style of living. That’s how you stop population growth. It also has the added benefits of reducing poverty and increasing human well-being. It also has the added benefit of improving environmental protections – you need to be rich and have lots of cheap energy in order to have stuff like the EPA. With the exception of greenhouse gases, the industrialized countries do a lot better by the environment compared to industrializing countries.

    Spoiler: And the answer to that question is lots and lots of nuclear power. Modern reactors are pretty good, and next-gen reactors like ThorCon and maybe IFR aka S-PRISM will be even better.

    https://enlightenmentliberal.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/why-renewable-energy-and-the-renewables-movement-is-full-of-shit/

    Quoting noexitlovenow:

    Currently, the rain forests are being torn down […] due to our current consumption.

    Mostly false. We’re not losing rain forests because people need wood products. Generally speaking, we are not losing forests anywhere in the world because of the need for timber, lumber. We’re losing rain forests because people in very poor countries are clear-cutting rain forests for farmland.

    Worse, many of these very poor farmers are burning the forests in order to get a rich set of nutrients in the soil. Unfortunately, the benefits in the soil from the burning forest don’t last very long, which means soon they’ll clearcut and burn another section of rainforest for better farming soil, losing rainforest and leaving shitty soil in their wake. Again, the solution here is to reduce population growth, and to empower better farming techniques which generally require more cheap, clean, energy.

    Fun factoids: About 1% to 2% of the world’s total energy consumption goes to making modern fertilizer. Without modern fertilizer, approx 80% of the planet would starve. Most people are alive today due to an invention (“bread from the air”) of a man whose name almost no one knows: Fritz Haber. He was a complicated and interesting man, with a very sad story.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haber

  140. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #151:

    a man whose name almost no one knows: Fritz Haber

    The Haber-Bosch process featured in my favorite Connections episode.
     
    Video: Connections – 7 The Long Chain (49:37)

    By 1909, Fritz Haber [and Bosch] were in a position to build factories that would produce thousands of tons of fertilizer a year. Great idea, the Haber-Bosch process. Never got anywhere of course. Because this is one of those galling moments in history when some other fellow, working somewhere else, on something totally unconnected with this, has himself an accident, and ruins everything.
    […]
    And the Haber-Bosch process? Don’t worry. It’ll be back.

  141. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @myself #152:
    To be fair…
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Frank-Caro process

    The Frank-Caro process was the first commercial process that was used worldwide to fix atmospheric nitrogen. […] The method was developed by the German chemists Adolph Frank and Nikodem Caro between 1895-1899. In its first decades, the world market for inorganic fertilizer was dominated by factories utilizing the cyanamide process.
    […]
    In the 1920s the more energy-efficient Haber process gradually took over.

  142. Iced says

    RE: 86 @noexitlovenow

    @Iced (evidently @Monocle Smile thought Iced made a good argument as well)

    “You cannot actually believe that plants suffer at all. THEY DO NOT HAVE A NERVOUS SYSTEM. This is so dishonest so as to be ridiculous. It is SHOCKING that such an argument would be made in any forum of self described skeptics.”

    — I never once claimed that plants suffer. Isn’t what you are doing called a strawman fallacy? It’s funny you speak about dishonesty while attacking something you made up, not me. I said they are living organisms. They DO live, and they DO have a life. That life is taken when they are killed, same as with an animal. It sounds more like you don’t consider living organisms that don’t have nervous systems to be unworthy of living.

    ” Further, more ridiculously, HOW DO YOU THINK ANIMALS LIVE AND PRODUCE MEAT? DO THEY EAT PLANTS? ”

    —— We are talking about what humans do, not animals. Why do you keep trying to side-track everything. The topic is humans.

    ” Yes! Yes they do. In fact the animal you eat eats far more calories/protein in plants (much more) than the calories/protein you receive when you eat the animal. So even if you want to make believe that plants suffer equally to animals (based on zero evidence) you are still causing a great deal of additional suffering by eating animals. ”

    —- Again, you are talking about suffering. I was talking about taking a living organisms life. Completely different, and as usual, you are talking about something completely unrelated to what I was saying. You are very bad are arguing your point.

  143. noexitlovenow says

    @Iced
    You are completely full of it.
    My only rebuttal would be to post your original post.
    Anyone with two brain cells to rub together recognizes how ridiculous it is.

    The comparative morality of eating plants (for which we don’t have any evidence or understood mechanism that suggests they suffer) to eating animals (who we know suffer) is clear.

    I completely reject your current assertions; however, it makes no sense to make a moral argument that does not take into account suffering and sentience. Plants are not aware that they are alive (as far as we know), so cannot have concerns about dying or the nature of their lives.

    Further, as I pointed out, and you are still avoiding, eating animals involves the killing of more plants than merely eating the plants themselves as well as the killing of the consuming animal.

    If your argument has to do with killing and not suffering (as ridiculous such an argument is) it still fails, badly.

    It is mind blowing how completely unable to argue logically this “skeptical community” is. This is what happens when you try to make an argument completely untethered to reality.

    Your original post was ridiculous. Ridiculous. Unbelievably ridiculous. It made zero sense. Instead of doubling down on such a ridiculous argument, you should be embarrassed and apologetic.

  144. Monocle Smile says

    The senseless potshots at “the skeptic community” and this blog in particular simply reek of butthurt trolling.

  145. pooploops says

    i’m vegan and eating meat/dairy/eggs, etc. is a horrible thing to do, but pineapple on pizza has to be one of the biggest moral failings of our generation.

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