21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
14

Paleo vs Vegetarian: A question of optimal Health vs evolved compassion?

by (24523)
Updated about 18 hours ago
Created September 09, 2010 at 4:32 AM

For now, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool paleo/primal dude. In my very very brief days as a veggie, this was my only reason, even knowing that it wasn't the healthiest diet:

We don't need to kill animals to live

Meaning that you can be vegetarian and be totally happy and fairly healthy, and prevent the slaughter of hundreds of animals. Cavemen became apex predators by using their big ol' brains to make tools. Future man can use their big ol' brains to become extremely compassionate. Unless animals enjoy being raised for food and killed well before their natural lifespans are up, compassion is a pretty logical argument.

For now, I'm approximately paleo, because of health issues that I'm desperately trying to address. But I could totally be vegetarian in the future, because preventing suffering to me is as big of an issue as optimal health. I tend to derive a good amount of pleasure from things not directly related to self-advancement, such as the happiness of others (including animals).

I can't shake the train of logic that led me to my very very brief vegetarian period. Do you see any big holes in this way of thinking? Paleo makes 100% sense to me as an "optimal" diet, but is has anyone else grappled with optimality vs morality? From the animal's viewpoint, even organic pasturing is pretty unpaleo. I mean, at least give 'em a chance for a fair fight!

C3f9730405f7885f9ccaad364404c433
0 · July 01, 2012 at 7:59 PM

There are degrees of sentience, consciousness, awareness and ability to suffer. I seem to have less trouble killing a fish, than a cow. A plant doesn't consciously defend itself, but advantageous genetics win out and after millions of years of that process, we call these adaptations "defenses."

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23
0 · January 26, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I think we all should remember that guilt, remorse and compassion for the animals we kill is a very paleo--or maybe pre-paleo?--concept. Some of the earliest religion was ceremonies to appease the spirits of the animals that the tribe had killed or hoped to kill. When one approaches meat-eating from the perspective of respect for the life of the animal, it is very possible to be ethical, moral, compassionate, and humane while eating meat.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 3:33 PM

@JBone: actually, the real reason that I hear that argument over and over is because some vegans are pushy, obnoxious, self-righteous, aggressive, proselytizing loons who insist on trying to impose their lunatic fringe philosophy and neurotic diet and lifestyle on everybody else. I'm quite familiar with the AR arguments. They're unconvincing, largely because they fail to take certain important facts into account or are in active denial of same and are based on a sheltered, unnatural worldview.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36
0 · September 17, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Other than you want to disagree, I'm not sure what you're trying to say jbone. We seem to agree that nature does not always equal right/good. What exactly is my illogical position? I'd also note that I tend to side with Spock's classic statement that logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end - so I don't necessarily consider holding an illogical position to be inherently wrong/bad.

154bf5c84f7bd9f52b361b45d05dbc3a
0 · September 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM

I'm a moral relativist. Although I personally find the idea of eating humans distasteful there is nothing inherently wrong with it (I believe there are no set in stone laws of nature that determine what is right and wrong). I'm sure cannibalism has been practiced throughout history. I don't approve of it... but it happened.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:55 AM

Hoping not to sound arrogant (really not), but have you been reading this website? or for that matter any other paleo related literature?

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:39 AM

...After all, agriculture also destroys animal life, and I do think the fact that wild animals are eaten by others, and that this is an inseperable aspect of our world, is morally relevant as well- though not in the way that would be an obvious example of the naturalistic falacy.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Jbone: I think I agree with you that, all things being equal, animals are better off not being harmed or killed. But all things are not equal. We have to make difficult trade-offs between effecting the world around us in different ways. It seems very plausible to me that humane, environmentally sustainable raising of animals (I realize you probably see that as a contridiction in terms) is the best bet for maximizing the welfare of human and non-human animals.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:28 AM

Jbone: I know there are many strong arguments against utilitarianism. But, while I'm certainly open to being convinced otherwise, I my tentative position is that something like preference utilitarianism is the closest thing we have to a workable ethics. In my view, rights are endogenous to maximizing utility.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 1:23 AM

It helps to think of yourself in the position of the other. If I am some day disabled or retarded, I will not want to be harmed and so I wish to foster a society in which people don't harm the disabled and retarded, and in fact take care of them. Babies is a little more ambiguous. Abortions are fine, and I can't for the life of me think of an argument against killing a baby that doesn't have moral agency yet. But the problem with that is that we must draw the line somewhere and a baby at least has the potential to be a moral agent. So it would be a good debate to have.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 1:22 AM

It helps to think of yourself in the position of the other. If I am some day disabled or retarded, I will not want to be harmed and so I wish to foster a society in which people don't harm the disabled and retarded, and in fact take care of them. Babies is. Abortions are fine, and I can't for the life of me think of an argument against killing a baby that doesn't have moral agency yet. But the problem with that is that we must draw the line somewhere and a baby at least has the potential to be a moral agent. So it would be a good debate to have.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 17, 2010 at 12:57 AM

Let's just say that I have a strong suspicion that I wouldn't do well on most vegan diets, from what I've seen from my body and what my reading has told me. I definitely do not know that for a fact, though. If there were a good grain free vegan diet low in omega 6's and high in non-soy complete proteins, I would even consider trying it!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 17, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Although I do not know much about animal rights, I did find the discussion interesting. The decision analysis for some people would be very interesting, balancing health benefits of a meat based diet (which 99% of people on this forum, including me, believe in) and potential animal rights questions (which a good number of people on this forum have considered, to differing degrees depending on their preferences). The only viewpoint I wholeheartedly disagreed with is that that animal rights is not an issue for paleos. The issues are complex, but important for omnivores to consider.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:33 PM

Hi Melissa. You're right that I want you to become vegan, not because I think being vegan is cool, but because I think not being vegan is morally unjustifiable. I would urge you not to murder, rape, etc. because I think those acts are morally unjustifiable as well. Your position that what benefits you is morally good is abhorrent. If that were a tenable position then there would be no way to condemn the murderer if he benefited from murder.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:29 PM

I wish I could agree with you, Nico. I think you evidence thoughtfulness in your replies, but many of those who have responded to my posts on this page have resorted to ad hominem. It's distressing.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Kamal and Melissa. There are certainly particular vegan diets that you wouldn't or don't do well on, but are you certain that you would be unhealthy on all formulations of vegan diets?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:26 PM

I make no claims that animal products are inherently harmful. But the paleos seem to argue that paleo diets confer unique benefits over vegan diets and that vegan diets are unhealthy as a general matter. These are substantive claims (like the sort you were making in your post, jared) that need substantiation.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Stabby, if moral agency were what counted or if not harming those who could harm us were what counted (these are two totally different claims by the way), then we have no reason to not harm babies or the severely cognitively disabled. Are you comfortable with that?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Naphtali, you made about a bjillion unsubtantiated claims here, some hard to accept (e.g., plants /feel/) and others easer to accept (e.g., overpopulation should concern us). Ultimately though, you claim to be a relativist about morality, suggesting that morality isn't something we can take hold of. If you really believe this, do you think we have no reason to condemn genocide, rape, hate crimes, etc.? If you think we do have reason to condemn even one of these things, then you need to abandon the position that morality is relative.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Melissa, I never claimed that the reason humans don't kill each other is merely because they recognize each others' sentience. There are many, many reasons why person X would not kill person Y. That said, sentience itself provides a strong reason not to do so, providing no good reason to kill the person exists. You're confusing descriptive and prescriptive claims.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Hi NomadicNeill. You're committing the same appeal to nature fallacy that many others have. Indeed if the fact that people evolved to hunt and eat animals were meaningful then eating humans would be equally justifiable. See http://news.discovery.com/human/first-cannibals-nutrition.html

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Your position that rights make sense only insofar as they maximize welfare is thoroughly utilitarian. Utilitarianism is a broken system however. You'll find many strong arguments against it on the Stanford PLATO website.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Nico, I agree that some of the things we do to improve human welfare will not apply to animals, but given that they are sentient, their lives certainly fare for the worse when we harm them or kill them.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:06 PM

Hi Aaron. You are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't mean your opinion isn't illogical. What you've done here is simply restate your position. It remains illogical.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Paleo saves and improves lives? Where's the evidence for this claim. If you're not making a claim that's unique to paleo then your argument loses its force.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:03 PM

The important point is that we can avoid many uses of animals. Some we can't avoid. We should be working to reduce those as we avoid the uses we can.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:03 PM

If the fact that people evolved by hunting and eating animals were meaningful then eating humans would be equally justifiable. See http://news.discovery.com/human/first-cannibals-nutrition.html

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Fearsclave. The reason you hear that argument over and over is that you keep making the same mistake! Veganism is not based on "revulsion" as you suggest. It's based on reasoned argument. See for instance Gary Francione's Introduction to Animal Rights for a cogent argument. If the fact that people evolved to hunt and eat animals were meaningful then eating humans would be equally justifiable. See http://news.discovery.com/human/first-cannibals-nutrition.html

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:53 PM

As far as "making up" morality goes, if we value reason and consistency at all, we can provide no good reason for not recognizing the value in nonhuman sentients. The fact that morality's existence is contingent on human existence does not mean that anything goes. I highly, highly suggest you read Tim Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:51 PM

Melissa, the form of extreme egoism you advocate fails to account for why you would show concern for any particular human, baby or not. Most of the babies in the world that are not my own will benefit me in no way whatsoever. For that matter, most people will not benefit me in any way. Why should I show them any regard? On your view, if it were advantageous for me to kill or torture them, I'd be justified. Your moral view is broken.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:46 PM

Patrik, animal rights theorists make a distinction between animals and plants, fungi, etc. on the basis of sentience, the capacity for an individual to have a subjective experience of the world. The distinction Kamal is making is not arbitrary. Indeed, it is your position that likely lacks consistency. More importantly though, you seem to suggest that morality is based on whether you "care" or not. If morality were based on that, a lot of bad people (e.g., sociopaths) would do no moral wrong when they went on harming and killing sprees. Is that really what you believe?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Thank you for your question, Kamal. I found it interesting. I saw many replies from people who do not fully understand animal rights and who seem content with pocket arguments against it. I hope that these folks will feel inspired to do more reading on the subject.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 13, 2010 at 12:42 AM

sorry dude gisela is talking science. scientifically plants do need animal waste (feces, urine, dead bodies, shells) to grow. The primary nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). The secondary nutrients are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 12, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Hi Gisela: Please see the three posts above yours. Technically plants do not need animal products to grow. That does not mean veganic agriculture is optimal, but it does mean that your first sentence is wrong. And even so, wild plants deriving nutrients from dead animals does not have to involve us killing those animals.

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
0 · September 12, 2010 at 1:18 AM

Why can't a human do well on animal products? I don't have scientific evidence, but prove to me, scientifically, that animal products physically harm a human, and i will beleive you. I also look at food this way, if it cannot be eaten raw, then it shouldn't be eaten. All beans, grains, and legumes require cooking before they are edible, meat, if clean, can be eaten raw.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Gisela, you have misread that sentence. Nothing is proven in the long term, meaning nothing is proven with regards to long-term outcomes in humans, as opposed to short term biomarkers or indicators after a few years of a diet. I am not arguing against evolution, or against the likely superiority of a paleo diet. If you want, you can read the rest of the comments to get a better feel of the argument at hand.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 7:33 PM

If you are truly as comfortable pulling a knife through an animal's throat and bleeding it out as taking an antibiotic pill or stepping on an amoeba, then we simply have different perspectives!

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
0 · September 11, 2010 at 6:19 PM

"The antimicrobial properties of my coconut oil do not worry me, but other killing does." -- Exactly. The killing of microbes, animals, insects or plants do not bother me. But I believe you are being inconsistent b/c you elevate the status of animals above that of microbes, plants (and insects) presumably.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
0 · September 11, 2010 at 6:17 PM

"It is not fruitful to lump all things that can die together." -- why not? In my book, it is. That is why I think that the so-called "evolved compassion" argument for veg. is not cogent.

Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 5:16 PM

@Kamal: "but nothing is proven in the long term as far as I know, for this specific diet." Now that's just silly! Millions of years of evolution prior to the invention of agriculture don't count as proof that the paleo diet is good for our genus & species? Yes, there are veg*ans who thrive on their chosen diet, but that doesn't mean everyone could or would. I know I couldn't, and neither could anyone else in my family who has tried it. We (my extended family) all seem to be obligate omnivores with a distinct vulnerability to refined carbohydrate poisoning.

Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Wild plants certainly DO need animal products to grow. You think they don't benefit from bears (foxes, squirrels, sparrows, earthworms, bees, fungi, protists, etc.) pooping in the woods? They need and use animal CO2, feces, urine, and rotting body parts for the raw materials to make more plants. Wild plants (as well as so-called domesticated plants) likewise "cannibalize" the exudates of both living and dead plants for the same purposes. We are not just a circle, we're a web, and all things living and dead are recycled endlessly within it.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 1:37 AM

And, however ludicrous it sounds, maybe sentience is the reason jbone doesn't eat humans. Although I do not believe that's what he was arguing in the first place.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 1:34 AM

Melissa, I feel like we are ships passing in the night on this sentience bit. I do not share jbone's opinions, but I don't find some of yours and Naphtali's posts logical either. Sentience is just a term to estimate some physical parameters, like any other term ("rights", "justice", etc for other parameters). "Our moral system" does not exist, because people have different morals depending on who they are. I used to think the only universal taboo was incest, because of its evolutionary disadvantage, but was even proven wrong there.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 1:30 AM

What's LTEM? Is it some sort of boy band? Just kidding, I've checked out some of that stuff. Very interesting, much thought involved. With respect to sentience, preferences, and overall utility estimations, I think there is even more to learn (well, for me at least).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 11, 2010 at 12:56 AM

Kamal, if you read LTEM you'll realize that arguing with vegans is a favorite hobby of mine. I've learned a lot in the process. I think if you explore that site you'll also realize that many paleos DO think about this and enjoy thinking about it. With so many of us being former vegans, it's inevitable.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 11, 2010 at 12:55 AM

yeah, veganic yields are still pretty low. I addressed this in my interview on LTEM and in the comments.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 11, 2010 at 12:52 AM

Ugh, sentience is also not the foundation of our moral system. Jbone is like the people in Independence Day welcoming the aliens on the rooftop. If you think that sentience is the reason we don't eat other humans I think we have a problem.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Thanks rook. I suspected there would be several viewpoints, but did not suspect that I would be chum thrown to the paleo sharks. Hold on, I'm paleo! Always a good time though.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 11:26 PM

Fearsclave: I am not criticizing your hunting, and commented before that I would gladly join you. The original question was "...has anyone else grappled with optimality vs morality?" Please do not feel attacked, I have no desire to impose value judgments on anybody.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30
0 · September 10, 2010 at 10:20 PM

I'm really glad you asked the question. I'm positive on animal rights and sentience, and this has always been a big issue for me when trying to figure out what to eat.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM

@Kamal: your necessity question presupposes that I somehow need to justify engaging in normal human behaviour; I hunt because I love it and I don't have to justify that to anybody, any more than I have to justify eating pork, or meat on Fridays. I reject your implicit attempt to offensively impose value judgments based on your subjective beliefs onto how I choose to live my life. Enjoy your Wii Fit.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Yes yes, modern agriculture is bad. Someone throw me a bone! I'm not comparing modern agriculture with paleo!

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Surprised no one has brought up the suffering of the actual people that work to harvest grains, vegetables, legumes etc. Most are marginalized workers with a low standard of living.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Naphtali, where do you get your evidence that we cannot thrive on a veg*n diet? Because this would make a great paper. Paleo improves several intermediate biomarkers related to health, but nothing is proven in the long term as far as I know, for this specific diet. I personally know many veg*ns who are thriving. I'd like to see you go up to them and tell them how miserable their digestion, energy levels, etc are. Or for the older ones, you can tell them how they are slowly dying of chronic disease, even if they are not. Fact is, some can do just fine on veg*n diets.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Nobody said death didn't happen. That is a strawman argument. If you want to argue for the equality of death of all living things, go ahead. I will join you in picketing outside AIDS clinics in Uganada, where they use vicious chemical cocktails to kill the a simple virus that is just doing its own thing.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:47 PM

@Kamal You absolutely can get your food from outside modern agriculture. Even still, if you think death and suffering didn't go into making your food, you're being naïve.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:31 PM

And while pondering the mysteries of knowledge is great, factoids that aren't true about broccoli are misleading. Paleo epistemology is very logical, and uses empirical data to form opinions about present diets. Evolutionary biology of plants is a separate field that I won't pretend to know well, but many of the things I wonder are actually known if you are a professor in that field. That's why I can wonder all I want about the origin of the universe, but astrophysics will have a 5 million percent better opinion on the subject than I.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:30 PM

I think it is a perfectly apt question. Eating is a physiological, social, and yes, ethical act. If this site is for people discussing paleo eating, then all aspects of the question of how to eat are fair game, IMO.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:28 PM

And paleo having a longer lifespan than other diets is pure extrapolation. From a handful of pubmed searches, I have found no direct studies on the concept. If you want a longer lifespan, calorie restricted pseudo-paleo might be the way to go. There is a study starting at Tufts University (called, funny enough, CALERIE) that will in several years give good data on biomarkers from a low-calorie diet.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:23 PM

And stealing a page from Melissa, rights are totally a man-made construct. We have technically have a "right" to do anything that is physically possible, because we exist, as does anything else that exists. The whole shabam is about the rules that we construct to guide our decisions, whether it be based on utilitarianism, religion, whatever.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:22 PM

See my comments earlier- it *is* arbitrary... broccoli doesn't have a face so we don't care... Or it's not proven enough to feel enough or by our "standards" so we don't care? I don't posses all the world's answers and information. I refuse to toss out the idea that maybe it's beyond our comprehension. I am not in a position to decide who deserves compassion and who doesn't.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Notwithstanding, there are a couple big logical holes in your writing. Being compassionate to all things, end of story, is so overly simplistic as to be not be a useful guideline. I have typed this before, but we choose all the time who and what to be compassionate to, whether it is family, friends, animals, plants, bacteria, viruses, inanimate objects, etc.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:19 PM

I don't think I need to find a center, as I have no center, and don't believe in the artificially constructed "self" outside of the fact that we are made with organic molecules.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Wii fit isn't ancestral but movement and excersize (which the Wii Fit allows for on some level) is- people don't change that much. :-)

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:14 PM

... I love about the Paleo movement. We *care* about where our food comes from.. the feed.. the land... soil.. quality of life and death. I will continue to operate from my moral center and make sure that ALL my food choices, both animal and plant, are as compassionate as they can be in today's world (I know exactly where my food comes from) while still keeping me healthy and thriving. I'm certainly not going to convince/ or try to convince a vegan to give up their lifestyle. I respect that it is a choice they make based on *their* moral center. You need to find your center:-) Best of luck!

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:07 PM

... and thus being able to fight for human/animal/plant/whatever-I-want rights/dignity for a longer period of time is better than not living as long and not being able to fight for those 3/5/10/20 extra years... however marginal. And again who is to say that we shouldn't be living by a plants "moral code", or a Lion's, or an alien's. The best I can do is live by my own. I am also of the belief that this world holds far more mystery than we can comprehend. I won't dismiss something just because we humans haven't figured it out yet (plants) or it's doesn't match our standards. This is something

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Kamal- I don't for one minute believe that "being human" gives us some kind of God-like right to decide who gets compassion and who doesn't. I believe that we need to be compassionate to ALL things. End of story. I live my life in the healthiest way possible (emotionally and physically) and I make my choices from that center. It sounds like you need to figure out what your center is and make your own decisions. To me living a life on a diet that doesn't allow me to be at my most healthy is not an option. For example: As someone that is on a paleo diet the chances of me living longer...

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Kamal- I don't not for one minute believe that "being human" gives up some kind of God-like right to decide who gets compassion and who doesn't. I believe that we need to be compassionate to ALL things. And of story. I live my life in the healthiest way possible (emotionally and physically) and I make my choices from that center. It sounds like you need to figure out what your center is and make your own decisions. To me living a life on a diet that doesnt allow me to be at my most healthy is not an option. For example: As someone that is on a paleo diet the chances of me living longer...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 7:51 PM

A paleo dude can get their food from hunting and fishing, and a veg*n dude can get their food from outside of modern agriculture. Waxing poetic about the ills and suffering caused by large-scale farming is about as applicable as pinning factory farmed animals to the paleo diet.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:16 PM

And a world in which I eat animals isn't a world where I or any other moral agent (humans) is more likely to be harmed, except perhaps by disgraces like PETA. And there is one common objection is then it becomes perfectly find to kill the comatose. But if we have the qualifier "If I am ever in a coma and don't want to be killed due to the chance of re-gaining my agency, then I should support a world in which we take care of the comatose." Ethics are about utility for the moral agent and reciprocity; influencing the world in which you live to make it better for yourself.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:13 PM

You guys can assert that moral value hinges on sentience all you want but it is just that, a baseless assertion. It is not sentience but moral agency, the ability to have one's behavior influenced and changed by the behavior of others and vice versa. Additionally we need a qualifier like "I would not like to be harmed", and then harming those who can harm us becomes a bad thing. If I don't want to be harmed, I don't harm those who can harm me, and if I want a world where I am less likely to be harmed, I try to foster a world that does a little harming as possible.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:05 PM

I agree with you @jbone that we can "survive"... but I totally disagree that we can "thrive". My choice to eat the way I do has nothing to do with entertainment/pleasure/taste/convenience/ yadda yadda yadd... It has to do with my health and my ability to thrive best.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:56 PM

@jbone Right now with the multi-hundred-fold overpopulation of humans, the best we can realistically do is have pastured animals raised on their natural diets and permaculture farms. And even that's not scalable to 6 billion people.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM

@jbone It it *impossible* to have a homeostatic ecosystem without death. Death of life is necessary for Life to continue. The reality is that the modern practice of large scale farming of annuals is as destructive to the environment, as death and destruction causing, and as unsustainable as factory farming of animals. So like I said, it's not a choice between life or death in your food choices. It's not a choice between suffering or no suffering. It's a choice of working with nature or against her. Working with nature means involving animals and eating animals as well as plants.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM

@jbone In nature, this is a perfectly reasonable response to a fire - but only so long as the annuals are needed to hold soil in place for the perennials to fill back in. We treat perennials as the weeds. We treat insects as pests. We rob the soil of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium and use petroleum based fertilizers to attempt to replenish it. We destroy natural habitats. We crush water ecosystems in order to steal its water for our crops, destroying more life and poisoning the soil further with the salinity of irrigation water.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:54 PM

@jbone Ruminants consume that plant matter and put nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium back in the soil through their blood, their urine, and their feces. That's just one cycle - that doesn't even include scavengers, foragers, bacteria, mold, fungus, insects, and any number of other parts of a homeostatic environment. Making a farm starts with burning everything, killing everything. It takes annuals, which are otherwise nothing but weeds, and fills the vacuum.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:54 PM

@jbone The point I was trying to make was that associating vegetarianism or veganism with compassion is deluding yourself. There is hardly a process on the planet more destructive to natural ecosystems or that causes more suffering than mass agriculture, particularly of annuals like grains. Natural ecosystems achieve homeostasis through multiple cycles of resource taking and resource releasing. Perennials take nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium out of the soil, absorb sunlight and create plant matter.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:41 PM

You guys can assert that moral value hinges on sentience all you want but it is just that, a baseless assertion. It is not sentience but moral agency, the ability to have one's behavior influenced and changed by the behavior of others and vice versa. If I don't want to be harmed, I don't harm those who can harm me, and if I want a world where I am less likely to be harmed, I try to foster a world that does a little harming as possible. And "sentience" is kind of arbitrary. Who is to say that animals have any value at all due to their lesser intelligence? The conclusion is arbitrary.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Nico, this is true in many cases. I am a man and can't have an abortion, but support others' rights to have an abortion. I do not have more than $200 in my bank account, but oppose others' rights to embezzle money. I do believe Melissa's point as written is logically inconsistent.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:42 PM

I don't really agree with Jbone, but I have to defend him in so far as, if it turns out that some action is morally wrong, then it follows that it is wrong for other to do it. So it makes sense to argue with Jbone over the proposition "it is morally wrong to kill animals", but it doesn't work to say "we're better because we're not telling you what you should do but you're telling us what we should do".

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM

I definitely know a couple of healthy vegans, and that, it seems to me, is the strongest argument against the paleo diet (assuming the argument for is not just "this works for some people" but "this is the optimal diet for everyone")

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I agree the moral value of beings hinges on sentience, but I (tentatively) disagree that this means that animals have rights, as we apply them to humans. Sentience may be a necessary, but not sufficient condition for bestowing rights.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Maybe to be more specific: Rights are not just a result of sentience,but the kind of being that we are- ones that reciprocate, negotiate, etc. There are reasons to suspect that that particular way of improving welfare cannot apply to animals. We may need another way.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Jbone, I'm not surprised that an animal rights theorist would reject that argument. That doesn't say much about the validity of the argument, tho, right? But, fair enough, I guess I'll have to check out the book. I get the sentience argument, but (and I don't know exactly if this is your view) I don't think sentience somehow bestows rights. Rather, we have a system of rights to promote human welfare. In my a similar system of rights would maximize overall welfare of both human and non-human animals, then we should adopt it. I guess I'm just skeptical that it would.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Some vegans might be okay with non-scientific proof. jbone: for myself, I do poorly on a vegan diet because of a few reasons. I can't handle much fructose without getting constipated, don't do well with plant sources of protein such as soy and beans, and get energy swings when carbs are higher than fat (as typically happens on a vegan diet).

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Melissa, I stand corrected. I guess we'd just have to compare the welfare of the feral animals, and how they died, with captive ones. But that's just if you're a utilitarian.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:46 PM

The question remains, why do things that influenced our evolution thousands of years ago necessitate being continued? Keyword, necessitate. P.S. I enjoy Wii Fit more than hunting, which seems okay if I still get a lot of sunlight. Wii Fit is not ancestral. People change. Our body cares about the metabolic environment, not what our ancestors have done for generations.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Also, as an atheist interested in Buddhist writings, I could easily envision moralities based on suffering. A morality based on things very different than suffering would not make as much sense. If suffering is not feeling so great, or even feeling terrible, then one would want to minimize that in themselves and potentially others.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Hi Melissa. It wasn't me. Patrik was talking about sentience, and he said plants and animals are equivalent, and tied dying to suffering. Thus, I responded on his definition of sentience. I personally don't have a set moral system. Occasionally, I try to parse out why I do things that I do, and if these things are truly in accordance with my preferences and what I would believe is good and right in absense of peer pressure.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Kamal, why is your moral system apparently based on whether it causes suffering?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM

It's hilarious because both here and on LTEM, vegans want to you PROVE SCIENTIFICALLY why you individually couldn't do well on a vegan diet. Um, sorry, but I don't have a lab in my house.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Question for you, JBone: what are you, or more precisely, what are human beings?

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:51 PM

@Kamal: oh, and as for Jbone, I've been trolled enough by people like him to recognize the classic attack pattern...

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:50 PM

@Kamal: simply put, tolerated vs optimal and the evolutionary logic also applies to lifestyle, not just diet. Animals are happiest and healthiest when they're getting the sort of diet and activity patterns dictated by their evolutionary biology. We're no exception. Hunting engages not just the body, but also the mind, by doing exactly what we're built for; putting us into a natural environment, engaging in slow, full-body exercise with occasional bursts of speed and heavy lifting, using our brains to process full-spectrum sensory input. It's really good for us, in other words.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:44 PM

I am biased because I asked the question, but do think that this is the right place for discussion. Why? For the same reason that it is totally legit to ask questions such as "Is there a disadvantage to eating a lot of animal fat". I eat a lot of meat. And I mean, a ton. Thus, I think about what I am eating quite often. Paleo has no significant nutritional demerits for me. The only question that (admittedly rarely) floats into my head is one of decision analysis: is it possible that for me or for someone else, the nutrition benefits can be challenged by a utilitarian perspective?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Also, I do not believe that jbone falls into the "troll" category. You may be letting his veganism cloud your terminology. Many of his arguments are logical and well-supported. Because humans are omnivorous, eating meat is not technically ecological reality. Also, technically, he is not revolted by a fundamental aspect of his being. If he had a strong desire to kill, but was revolted by that, fine. But we are not cats or wolves, and I suspect the kill instinct in not universal in humans. Unless you know for sure, I would not generalize.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Fearslave: I'm sorry, but I don't understand your logic. Can you elaborate please? Why do things that influenced our evolution thousands of years ago necessitate being continued? Key word is necessitate. It may be healthier, but not technically necessary. Offal may have been key to developing bigger brains, but I don't typically eat any, and that's A-okay.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:31 PM

@jbone: I've lost count of how many times I've run into Vegan trolls who've said exactly that... Instead of trying to impose flawed moralities on others, why not try a bit of self-examination to discover why you are so revolted by a fundamental aspect of your being (not to mention ecological reality)? And for the record, I am quite familiar with the concepts you mention, just not particularly impressed by your use of them so far.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:30 PM

You are taking a leap from death to suffering. It is not fruitful to lump all things that can die together. The antimicrobial properties of my coconut oil do not worry me, but other killing does. There are a multitude of reasons for why people worry about killing different things, and these reasons are interesting to examine.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:13 PM

@Kamal: something else to consider is that from a lifestyle perspective, equating hunting and gathering your own food to merely going to the supermarket because they are a way of getting food is rather like equating the SAD to Paleo because they are both edible. Hunting had a major influence on the evolution of our bodies and minds. Simply put, we're built and wired to hunt. Mapping uniquely human moral notions onto the food chain is the lifestyle equivalent of Victorian sexual morality; neurotic and in denial.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:11 PM

jbone - No logical fallacy here. I'm aware of the difference between natural and "right or good". Nature is often cruel, and much of nature is bad for us (I love mushrooms, but there are many that will kill us, for example). My statement contains the words "It seems ...to me..." making it a matter of personal opinion. I don't claim to know what's best for you or anyone else.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:21 AM

Plants don't want to die/don't want to be eaten, ergo their manifest defenses. That is sentience enough for me. When you eat one, you are subordinating its "will" to live to your will - ergo, you take are taking a life and causing suffering.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 10, 2010 at 4:48 AM

yea, and i'd guess they are failing too.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:57 AM

Okay, just checking. If I find something clear and compelling on sentience, I'll be back post haste! (But having offspring does not seem to indicate sentience...self replicating machines and viruses also have them, and arguing for their sentience is more difficult)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:46 AM

"Are you really arguing for the equivalent sentience and feeling of plants and animals?" -- Yep. I am. By eating a plant, you are either killing it or killing its babies.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:26 AM

And I don't think jbone or most others here would believe in a morality decided outside of humans, from baby jesus or from any other deity.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:25 AM

Jeez you two get a room! All joking aside, I think that Melissa is generalizing too much. You know "locked-in syndrome"? It's not in our best interest to keep those folks alive. Many dangerous prisoners should be killed. We should reduce the population by some means to help the environment and the remaining population. These examples have holes, but there a hundred more examples of why the admittedly human-invented morality (which is not a catch-all argument against veganism) is not clear when you say "rights outside of what humans as a group decide."

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:17 AM

Sometimes I don't want other to do things, and sometimes I want others to do things. I believed in anarchy in middle school, but now I'm pretty sure some public input on individual actions is a good thing...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:12 AM

Okay...don't forget that I still have to find that wheat adaptation thing (if it exists).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Difference between gay rights and animal rights is that as a proponent of gay rights I simply want the right to do things for myself (like get married), whereas animal rights is about wanting others not do things. Big difference. I don't know any paleos who tell non-paleos their diet is immoral either...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Another comparison. If someone evangelizes to me about religion, I'd ask them to please shut up, because there is no rational reason to believe in a magical god. If someone evangelizes about animal rights, I'd allow them to speak for at least 15 seconds, because things involving large scale health and large scale killing are not so black and white, and warrant at least a bit of thought.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:08 AM

First of all, some paleos do push their ideas onto others without requisite analysis (not you, your posts are quite well thought out). Second of all, paleo is about your health and veganism is about other's (animals') rights. I am not so into rights, but if I was, I'd push my ideas. The reason is the same reason that people were up in arms about civil rights, or are up in arms about gay rights. If you are passionate about something that you believe significantly tilts the utility of a group of people/animals for the positive, you try to stop others from producing harm.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:04 AM

The broccoli pain debate is not a fruitful one. Let's just say the evidence is...underwhelming. If I recall correctly, it was based on a discovery of cell communication details that were not known before, not on something like discovery of nociceptors and signal transduction.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:58 AM

Also, re: moral patients. The great thing about morals is that since humans invented them, we get to decide who is a moral patient! Sorry, but we are stupid if we decide cows are moral patients, there is just no benefit to us. Babies are a different matter. If you can't figure out why humans care about babies and have made them moral patients, that's sad.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:54 AM

The difference between paleo and vegan is that I could care less if Kamal is vegan. If veganism is right for him, great! I generally promote paleo because I think it improves the health of most people. Contrast that with Jbone and other AR-vegans. They would really really really like me to be vegan. In fact, they believe that since I'm not vegan I am morally wrong. Big difference.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:52 AM

You kant be serious. Kant and Francione's "basic rights" are a form of natural rights...or it's just semantic and we should go back to basics: I don't believe in rights outside of what humans as a group decide. Rights don't exist without humans because they are made-up.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:51 AM

Another way of looking at it: it's all to easy to look down on other diets once you've stumbled onto paleo. It's as bad as being a snooty vegan. When good systematic reviews come out, or even something close to that, a more definitive opinion can be made about the pros of paleo vs the cons of killing animals (which I realize has a lot of points against it brought up above).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:48 AM

jbone: While I interpret the evidence as 99% in favor of paleo diets with respect to grains, PUFA, sugar, and antinutrients, I do think you have an important point. Many paleo folks assume that vegans/vegetarians are miserably unhealthy, or just "tolerating" their diet. Some paleo folks have unsuccessfully been veg*n. The most basic logical fallacy is that what is true of one is not true of the whole, and vice versa. I followed 3-4 v*gan bodybuilding logs, and all were healthy weight with no big health problems. One dude on Lyle McDonald's forum was 50, vegan, and in contest shape.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:44 AM

"I mean, if you're really committed to that view then babies, the severely cognitively disabled, etc. all stand outside the moral community. " It's in our human interests to treat these beings with respect. Morals were invented for humans by humans. How we treat babies has nothing to do with whether or not they suffer.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:38 AM

I will respond to your comments tomorrow....

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:19 AM

You're wrong that our decisions about whether to eat animals are necessarily arbitrary. Is your decision not to eat humans arbitrary? Regardless, moral theorists like Gary Francione have identified sentience as the relevant feature of animals who ought not to be harmed for no good reason. There are reasons for this focus, which I can explain to you, or which you can read about in detail in his book Introduction to Animal Rights. This leaves open for consumption plant products as plants are not sentient. What evidence do you have for the claim that broccoli and other plants feel pain?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:14 AM

Hi, Jared. Why do you believe that you cannot be healthy and fit and survive without animal products?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:10 AM

Hi, Stabby. You raise good questions. The moral value of animals can be grounded in the fact that they are sentient and hence that their lives can fare better or worse. I'm being brief because I have to be, but it's this fact that grounds the basic right we respect in humans not to be treated as things (see Henry Shue's work) and since animals are sentient, they too ought to be afforded that right, if we value consistency. As for where morality comes from, you might want to check out Tim Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other. It provides an excellent non-Kantian take on the grounding of morality

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:07 AM

Hi, Nico. You're right that on a utilitarian view it may be a good idea to raise animals and humanely kill them. Animal rights theorists (like Gary Francione) reject this view, and for good reason. See Francione's Introduction to Animal Rights for an excellent treatment of this issue.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:05 AM

People are exploring veganic agriculture as well.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:04 AM

Hi, Aaron. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's right. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature You're committing a logical fallacy. I agree that animal rights shouldn't be based on compassion. Animal rights, like human rights, can be based on reason. See my response.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:02 AM

Fearsclave, you're committing a logical fallacy by arguing that because we evolved by hunting or that because animals hunt, we are therefore justified in doing so. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature. You might also want to look up the concepts of moral agents and moral patients. Moral agents (i.e., us) can be held culpable for harming others. Moral patients (e.g., your cats, coyotes) cannot because they cannot act morally. That doesn't mean those who cannot act morally (including babies and the cognitively disabled) can have no claims against us not to harm them unnecessarily.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:01 AM

things die and replenish the soil in the nature cycle without our involvement. nature is constantly replenishing the soil with nutrients.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:58 AM

One other things I want to quickly note about your assessment Melissa is that you're wrong if you believe that animals stand outside the moral community because they cannot act according to morals. I mean, if you're really committed to that view then babies, the severely cognitively disabled, etc. all stand outside the moral community. Only sociopaths hold that view. In moral theory, those who can be harmed but cannot act with agency are called 'moral patients' whereas those who can act with moral agency are called 'moral agents.' Look it up.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:53 AM

Hi Melissa. You make more than a few mistakes in your assessment of animal rights theory. I'll try to correct the most significant one here. Very, very few rights theorists believe in natural rights. You might want to check out the works in the Kantian tradition or even in the Scanlonian tradition for alternative ethical theories that can support rights claims. Gary Francione explicitly rejects the notion of natural rights in his book Introduction to Animal Rights. When he says animals have a right not to be used, you should hear him saying we have good reason not to use animals.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Okay, I understand what you mean now. Your point is true, that veganism didn't thrive because it's not the healthiest strategy. But my point still stands that being veg*n doesn't necessitate agriculture in the sense that it used in this thread (growing rows of crops with fertilizers and pesticides likely). Some people in the thread were comparing paleo to modern agriculture, which isn't the comparison I was referring to. You can totally forage, grow some of your own stuff, etc. That DOES NOT mean that foraging was ever an optimal diet for our ancestors.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30
0 · September 10, 2010 at 12:31 AM

@Kamal; I don't think that any food production method is sustainable for 6 billion humans, to be honest. I don't know what you mean by "the simple growth of plants", though. If you mean plants growing wild, then my point still stands, since veganism would have been shown to be the best feeding strategy for humans if it were a viable health strategy. If you're referring to something more complex and human-centered, like permaculture, then I'd have to say that many societies seem to have practiced permaculture or something very like it and yet still made use of hunted animals for food.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Rook--I should have specified that veg*n does not equal agriculture as implied by people's posts on this page. Various posts have pointed to agricultural destruction of environments. This is true, but does not need to be true of the simple growth of plants as opposed to large scale grain and bean operations. While animal droppings are not necessary for plant growth, they are helpful. This can also be natural. True, neither of these situations are sustainable for a population of 6 billion, but neither is paleo!

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30
0 · September 09, 2010 at 11:05 PM

@Kamal: How does vegetarianism not require (equal) agriculture? To the best of my knowledge there has never been a forager society that was veg*n, and given how much easier it is to acquire wild plants than wild animals, that suggests to me that a veg*n diet can only be done with an agricultural base.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Never a bad thing to play the devil's advocate. Too many people are unwilling to view a particular point from the other side's perspective, much less argue on its behalf.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Other than obvious biological differences, do you not see a difference in plant and animal life? Or for that matter, bacteria and viruses? I choose to kill bacteria with antibiotics, but not kill crying babies in airplanes. Inbetween that ludicrous comparison are many more practical comparisons that may warrant some attention.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Other than obvious biological differences, do you not see a difference in plant and animal life? Or for that matter, bacteria and viruses? I choose to kill bacteria with antibiotics, but not kill babies in strollers. In between that ludicrous comparison are many more practical comparisons that may warrant some attention.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Vegetarianism does not equal agriculture, in the same way that paleo doesn't equal factory farming (see above). Your previous broccoli nervous system assertion is not true from what I've read, and conflating all animals and plants is a bit reductionist.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:55 PM

That's the thing--I don't have any beliefs. The science for eating meat is solid and strongly inspected in several forums. The flip side seems to be only lightly considered amongst most paleo adherents. I try to question my assumptions, aggressively and periodically, in order to prevent dogma from creeping in. Morals/ethics/etc are just codified preferences. Preferences are influenced by effects on health, effects on happiness, effects on others, peer pressure, etc. I know that meat is good, but 99.9% of my time was spent on nutrition science, and 0.1% on animal rights. Thus, curiosity.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I'm deeply confused by this whole thread in regards to compassion. Who are you (or me) to decide who gets compassion and who doesn't... what about the worms/ insects that get destroyed through farming- or any other small animals. What about the plants- you say they aren't on par with animals- but why? Plants are *living* things. Make your choice but don't go thinking that compassion and vegan-ism/ vegetarianism go hand in hand more that paleo. Agriculture has been far worse on the planet and animal/mankind than anything else.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:43 PM

...I'm in no position to disagree with your ethics. They are your own, and you should follow your heart and intuition in deciding what's right and wrong. Your adherence to that ethical standard means you put yourself at greater risk for personal health complications and diminished quality of life in order that animals will not be raised and slaughtered in your name. Whether that trade-off is worth it is up to you. " The trade off isn't okay by me. If it's okay by you then go back to being a vegetarian/ vegan.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:42 PM

If that's your belief then I leave you with words from one of my fave bloggers: "That being said, if you're a vegan or vegetarian because you believe it's unethical for humans to find food sources from animal products, humanely raised or otherwise, we ought to have a different conversation....

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:04 PM

We have the leeway to not eat animals, which is a result of our evolved and industrialized society. This is not the healthiest way to be, but because it is possible, it is an option if one chooses it. Some really logical Buddhist writings discuss the merits and demerits of being vegetarian with regards to compassion.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:01 PM

No no, "evolved compassion" was just a way to make the post title short enough. Compassion as a whole and compassion towards animals are two overlapping but distinct things. Grok had to eat animals, if I'm not mistaken, or else he wouldn't enough protein, fat, kcals, etc. We don't technically have to eat animals. Through evolution, we have obviated the need for several Grok-type things (compound spiral fracture of the fibia? dead in grok's time. no sunshine in modern times? can technically survive with supplemental D)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:23 PM

And although I didn't make those last two statements, your argument there is logically discordant. Cats are, as you said, carnivorous. We are, as you said, omniverous. So, while I don't support either statement that is highlighted, this is technically not true "It makes no more sense to say that..."

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Now, if vegetarians used the particle accelerator to make dark matter vegetables, that would be totally arrogant and against the laws of physics :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Also, I disgree about the arrogance in many ways. Is that really the vegetarian worldview? We live in accordance with physics and chemistry no matter what. We are clever in many ways that aren't reflected in other animals or our ancestors. iPads and nanobots are alien to the history of our species. As is chocolate cheesecake, which I love. Do you really believe what you wrote, or is it a launchpad for argumentation?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Hi Jae! I can talk about the first statement, but I did not make the other two statements. Humans do not need meat to "live". In the absence of peer-reviewed epi studies, I do not make suppositions about vegetarian health at old age vs paleo health at old age. I can see that paleos would be healthier, but all kinds of people are quite healthy at old age on little to no meat. Out of the people I know over age 80, none are paleo. But, those who ate no meat are healthier than those that ate other ethnic, non-SAD diets.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:59 PM

There was no presupposition on morality. Pros and cons were induced, not deduced.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Singer falls apart even if you don't reject utilitarianism. =)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:47 PM

And yes, tolerated is not optimal. However, many vegetarians can and do live long and fairly healthy lives (while others have major problems with it).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Hunting is good, fishing is great. I would rather than join you than preach to you. The issue is this. Humans are unique in their omnivorism, in that they can choose to not kill the tastiest and healthiest animals, but survive and even be happy and pretty healthy on a plant-based diet. For some people, that is a non-issue, because they cannot imagine deriving happiness from animals that are spared premature deaths or enslavement. For other people, this is a huge issue, and they are vegan. I sway towards the meat end, but can imagine, possibly, going the other way.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:29 PM

By the way, I can't believe that I'm defending vegetarianism here. This question is a thought experiment to weigh the specifics of health benefits vs morality (or happiness/smugness/whatever). While I'm a big meat eater, I wanted to explore some specifics that might be overwhelmed by the whole "eating meat is natural, just do it!" ethos. I do not believe the issue is cut and dry either way, but I wanted to get some perspectives on both sides.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Technically, you don't have to support mass agriculture to be vegetarian, just as you don't have to support factory farming to be paleo.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Ever wonder how many mice, rodents, and other animals die to ensure that crops can grow or be harvested? If you go for a pure numbers equation, I'm willing to bet that more animals die to support agriculture than to support meat production.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Also, I'm a bit more sensitive than the average person when it comes to compassion for pain and suffering, because of the whole connective tissue disorder thing and its implications.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Hey Chris--vegetarianism didn't cause my health to suffer. I tried a brief stint a while ago while surveying diets to help my health problem (I've got a genetic connective tissue disorder).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:57 PM

I couldn't agree more...making universal statements about the effects of various diets on individuals leads to no good. I don't do well on a vegan diet, but many of my friends do. I couldn't eat a paleo Inuit diet, because I've got a clotting disorder and would bleed out. Etc etc.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Kamal: Well you've implied vegetarianism has led your health to suffer, so I see little reason to bring morality into play. HG's respect and revere the animals they kill for food, perhaps you can take solace in those types of rituals.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Paleo doesn't require agriculture, does it? Wild plants don't need animal products to grow.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Naphtali-- Who are we to decide who deserves compassion? We are humans! I buy my mother an expensive mother's day gift, but I don't give a dime to the homeless dude outside my workplace. The problem with "not killing anything" is the same argument against Jainism, that when confronted with gradations, it not fruitful to give up, but rather to examine the gradations and make an informed decision. And broccoli doesn't have a similar nervous system to our own. It is somewhat of an urban legend--chemical flow does not equal central signal processing. My AMOLED screen does not feel pain either

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Agreed! Also Melissa- can you repost your part deux? It looks like it was taken down as a "question". Maybe just put it in the thread? I thought it was really well said!!!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:23 PM

It appears that I stand solitary against everyone here. The reason is that I'm agnostic with regards to the best type of diet. I've lived for 30 years and changed my diet countless times, most recently to paleo. In the last few decades, much has been learned about plants and animals, and I've done a fair bit of thinking and fact-finding as well. If the science is pretty certain that pastured animals are happier than they would be in the wild, than I accept that. But I doubt the evidence is as conclusive, because even happiness research in humans is inconclusive. I will read more though.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:19 PM

I'm with Melissa. Who are we to arbitrarily decide who deserves compassion or not (plants- animals- aliens- humans). My moral code might not line up with yours but that doesn't make it wrong. Best we can do is try to live in harmony with nature and accept there is a circle to it. That unless we eat nothing- we are killing *something*.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:17 PM

SOME people can do well on veganism, that doesn't mean all of us. A lot of people come to paleo because of illness. I couldn't last a year on veganism, but my uncle has been a healthy vegan for 30 years! People are different.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Luckily our moral system is not based on pain.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:14 PM

"If you analyze the female's chemical state, it would seem that she would be less happy in situation number two" Does that make it rape? If your definition of rape= less happiness because of non-consensual sex, then most animals engage in rape. Fortunately this isn't true, since Humans are the only species that can give consent because that is based on moral capacity. I do think it's objectively true that on a chemical level animals in captivity are "happier" than those in the wild.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I don't "believe" anything about animals, plants, or us. This is coming from a distant memory from a college class. Since you know much more about animals, you can tell me if this is true: many animal males court their animal females, then copulate. Sometimes, within the same species, copulation is forced by the male. If you analyze the female's chemical state, it would seem that she would be less happy in situation number two. Is that off base?

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:04 PM

my body does not require vegetables!

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:02 PM

plants are carnivorous. blood meal, fish guts, bone meal all grow food without the use of petro chemicals.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I do think it's possible to tell if animals are happy because it's a chemical state. This has been well-studied in agricultural science and Temple Grandin is the top researcher in this subject. If you believe agricultural animals can be raped, I suggest you do your best to become vegan.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Factory farmed meat isn't paleo anyway:-) Something I love about this whole movement!!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:57 PM

"I believe animals have rape as well." Do you realize that rape is a term invented by humans that is dependent on human morals. Look at the way animals reproduce...particularly ducks. If we were to class them as moral creatures, SVU would be overloaded. Animals are incapable of rape and being raped. Just as they are incapable of being evil. My arguments have nothing to do with the health benefits of the paleo diet and everything to do with the fact that based on my moral views that eating amoral animals is not wrong.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I totally agree- and would take it one step further and say who are we to decide that one group deserves compassion (animals) and another doesn't (plants)... I believe it's all about living in balance with nature. *cue Lion King "Circle of Life*"

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:53 PM

This is not an issue of an individual's sense of morality. It is that, in my humble opinion, some of your argument stems from you assuming that you know what makes animals happy, while other parts of your argument presume that the added health benefits of paleo universally subsume a potential increase in animal utility.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Can you elaborate on how would a veterinary exam show signs of abuse? I believe animals have rape as well.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Another perspective from behavioral economics: decisions are made at the margin. The marginal benefit of being 100% strict paleo compared to 99% is likely small. In certain cases, if you derive pleasure from the idea of animals not being raised to be killed and provide you with their flesh, and are fairly healthy on a vegetarian diet, the marginal benefit and detriment of eating meat start becoming very close in value.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Good question Chris. I sometimes give money to charities benefiting children who I will never see. Similar logic applies here. Especially because I don't see a dichotomy of "paleo leads to health, vegetarianism leads to suffering". Almost everyone in my extended family is vegetarian, and the majority are happy and healthy, including the old folks. Maybe they'd be more happy and healthy with paleo, but they seem to be doing okay nonetheless.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321
0 · September 09, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Why would you ever even think about putting your own health second to animals you don't know, haven't raised, and never see?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:48 PM

"I would hope that they wouldn't do it" What if aliens, like other animals, didn't understand morals? We could hope all day long and they wouldn't give a damn. Outside the moral context, dealing with creatures that aren't moral, it's a different ballgame. ARists don't understand this, like the German group last week that compared eating meat to cannibalism.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:46 PM

"Hmmm...that girl who was held hostage and raped by the Austrian kidnapper for 15 years testified to being unhappy and scared, while those who interacted with her noticed nothing abnormal." An example of a problem only humans would have. Only humans assign existential meanings to things like freedom or sex without consent as far as we know. But I'm fairly sure that a veterinary exam of the girl in question would have shown signs of abuse. Remember, cows stand around naked in the field all day.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Are you really arguing for the equivalent sentience and feeling of plants and animals? I don't know much plant physiology, but don't recall seeing brains or nerves in my spinach.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:31 PM

It is quite possible to be strong with respect to muscles on a vegetarian diet. There's a few natural bodybuilding blogs profiling these people. Vegan bodybuilding is quite another animal (har har), but also possible.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Whether the aliens eating us is immoral to us, them, or both doesn't matter to me personally. If eating us is optimal but only marginally beneficial, I would hope that they wouldn't do it, to prevent suffering on a grand scale. My Ayn Rand phase passed long ago, and her dog-eat-dog world seems shortsighted to me.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Somewhat related to this answer, and interesting point of view: Someone said something like this: "what a remarkable thing, that sheep and cows have domesticated humans to take care for them."

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Don't be afraid, I did not fall into the trap of anthropomorphizing animals, it was all for analogy's sake. I do however think that you (and Temple Grandin? Who maybe I'll check out at some point) are making some strong assumptions. Obvious physical symptoms from inappropriate environments? Hmmm...that girl who was held hostage and raped by the Austrian kidnapper for 15 years testified to being unhappy and scared, while those who interacted with her noticed nothing abnormal. Certainly no hair loss or obvious self-harming.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Aaron, although I understand your point, the thing is that we humans have the possibility (through consciousness) of doing unnatural things, that we can choose to organise our lives and societies different from the natural way of life. Which sometimes leads to good things, sometimes to bad...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 12:29 PM

There are feral cows as well as feral goats and horses.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Another question is would it be morally wrong for the aliens to eat us? I definitely think humans should fight the aliens, but as a moral relativist, I can only say that the aliens would be immoral to us and not immoral per se.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 12:28 PM

I'm afraid that you are falling into the trap of anthropomorphizing animals. Luckily animals are like humans in that when they are in inappropriate environments they do suffer obvious physical symptoms (see the zoo thread) in response to psychological trauma. Like lab monkeys or pigs in farrowing crates, humans in the spaceship would likely have hair loss/strange self-harming behavior/etc. Pastured cows don't have this. I suggest you read Temple Grandin.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:56 AM

There is also the concern that having more domesticated animals displaces other, wild animals. This is another issue that should enter into the hedonic calculus, I 'spose.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Yes, pigs can indeed survive in the wild. That's a good point. But cows and many other animals can't, and even with pigs, there's still positive hedonic value to having more pigs (assuming you can have more by having domesticated pigs), along as each additional pig (in this little thought experiment) got enough value out of life that it would choose life over death. So quality of life is definitely a concern here, but it may not entail not raising animals for slaughter.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:24 AM

A better alternative to insects would be crustaceans and bivalves. Crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crab) are closely related to insects. Bivalves like oysters are an even lower lifeform.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:17 AM

Domesticated farm animals can survive in the wild. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_Pig_KSC02pd0873.jpg "Wild pigs stop near the KSC Press Site in the Launch Complex 39 Area on their daily foraging rounds. Not a native in the environment, the pigs are believed to be descendants from those brought to Florida by the early Spanish explorers. Without many predators other than human, the pigs have flourished in the surrounding environs."

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:52 AM

haha mine does too alan. im just saying physically we "can" go for periods without meat. i'd never be a vegitarian either, and i just don't receive enough energy or enough of a feeling of nourishment without some meat in my meals.

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:49 AM

well technically humans come from omnivorous insectivores. We can subsist on insects, but would you want to having grown up knowing they're gross? I know there are some small tribes in africa that eat insects and they're just fine, but i personally would rather eat fleshy animals.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:55 AM

I never thought of that...although raising animals that can't survive in the wild in order to feed off of them is totally Matrix dude! Which means that if we're in the Matrix, the cows are in a double Matrix! Is Loren Cordain actually Neo?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:47 AM

You are taking a life and causing suffering no matter whether you eat animals or plants.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:46 AM

Speak for yourself Jared, my body does require meat! I have killed many an animal to eat and will do so in the future. I could never be vegetarian because I want to be strong and healthy and I'm not convinced that's possible on a vegetarian diet. I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:41 AM

Meaning, it's quite possible that animals are autotuned to live the lives their ancient ancestors lived (sound familiar?) in order to be happy. Who am I to tell them no, by raising them for food then killing them? If aliens found the perfect chemically-made veggie food, then found that human meat reduces alien cancer incidence by 5%, I would surely want them to choose the veggie food over my flesh. Especially if they didn't speak my language, and assumed that I enjoyed living in their hellish starship more than my natural bachelor pad environment.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:41 AM

All of these are great points. I try to avoid reading Singer et al because of overly flowery language to describe basic things. But I disagree about your last paragraph. Do we know what makes animals happy? Because, as people have adapted to survive and possibly thrive in our environments, so have animals. But raising animals on farms is quite new in this chronology. Maybe the cow in the pasture is thinking "All I wanna do, is have some fun, I've got a feelin', I'm not the only one." (Sorry Mrs. Crow)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:32 AM

Lots of people that I personally know are old and "healthy" vegetarians. Meaning, no chronic disease. That is not to say they are of optimal health, but when you're in your 80s without chronic disease, that's not too shabby.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:30 AM

Small but important subtlety: meat and fire allowed us to evolve throughout thousands of years, but don't play such a necessary part in our decades of years for a single person's lifespan. Also, I would totally kill an animal to eat it, but mostly if I needed to (i.e. no other food around). I'm quite the passive type, so they'd probably leave me at home to make blankets and stuff :)

Total Views
5.2K

Recent Activity
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

Last Activity
28D AGO

Followers
1

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

18 Answers

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
16
56596 · September 09, 2010 at 5:01 AM

It depends on what you base your morals on. I totally understand my vegan friends who don't like the idea of an animal suffering for them. But does that make eating meat immoral?

We then have to ask: are morals dependent on the avoidance of pain and suffering? And humans are gradually becoming more enlightened and moral over the years by reducing this through modern philosophies like veganism? And that causing suffering is wrong independent of human opinion because animals have natural rights?

I personally don't believe this. I would say that is not what morals are based on, that morals and rights are a manmade system create to improve human welfare. Of course it draws on inborn human senses like empathy, but that's not what those qualities were evolved for and it's a bit of an accident that, for example, we feel such things for kittens (they have superficial resemblance to human offspring, we feel no such things for baby scorpions for example).

So I'm not an ethical naturalist and find it a bit laughable when AR-ists claim meat eating is "evil", but that still doesn't throw out veganism. Perhaps we could argue it would improve human welfare by cultivating such desirable qualities as empathy. Some of the most convincing pro-vegan stuff I've read has studies showing that workers in slaughterhouses are more likely to commit murder. Let's say that humanity invents a perfect food that can be grown in a lab without any deaths...that might be a good step for humanity, but I don't think it's a necessary one.

As a vegan I thought vegetarianism was laughable. I found it more reprehensible to enslave cattle and murder their male babies than to shoot a deer in the wood anyway. But since then I've realized many vegetarians come at this from a religious or sentimental viewpoint that is very personal. So I think there is a good reason to develop better veg*n nutrition and to work on applying paleo principles to those diets to improve them. Because some people just don't want to eat meat.

Either way, it was not possible for me to be healthy as a vegan and I doubt I would do well as a vegetarian since I don't do well with eggs or dairy anyway. I felt very sick on both diets. And I know others that had the same problem. Let them eat meat annoys a lot of people, but it's a good site that exposes these issues and also provides a bit of a warzone for these type of arguments. There are lots of interviews with former vegans who did poorly on that diet. The most famous in the paleo community is Lierre Keith who wrote The Vegetarian Myth, which is worth reading.

Animal rights is a niche philosophy with a very dedicated following and not much opposition since the basic premises (painism and utilitarianism) are not taken seriously by many philosophers. One useful anti-AR book I own is The Animals Issue by Peter Carruthers, though I've heard good things about Tibor R. Machan. AR books are very easy to find, Peter Singer is the best known, but Francione is trendy these days. Singer falls apart if you reject utilitarianism and Francione doesn't make much sense outside of painism and natural rights.

As for a fair fight, the irony is that the death in a slaughterhouse is way nicer than anything that happens in nature. I think one of the experiences that left me jaded about animals was working at a raptor rehab program. Feeding chicks to the hawks was immensely unpleasant because they died such agonizing deaths. I also saw animals brought into the center that had been partially disemboweled by cats and other horrors that I'd prefer not to mention. We are the nicest predator that I know of.

Edit: So I've established that I think that morals are a human invention, subjective, and that animals cannot be part of a moral system because they are amoral beings. What they do cannot be good or evil. They are incapable of acts we have invented and termed evil for the benefit of humans such as murder or rape. They are also incapable of being murdered or raped. We can be nice to them out of compassion and empathy, but I do not believe meat= murder.

Now we are wondering if animals can be happy? It depends on what you think happiness is. If you mean the existential happiness that comes from things like freedom, I don't think there is any evidence from biology that animals are capable of that. If you mean happiness as a chemical state of well-being, there has been ample research on that.

As a "nice" person I like to get my food from cows that are treated well and as a consequence enjoy this "happiness." But I don't believe it's immoral to eat factory farmed meat either. Not nice? Maybe. But I'm hesitating to call people who eat at Jack in the Box evil which I would be if animals were the moral equivalent of people. But trust me, there are plenty of animal rightests who do believe that animals = people in moral equivalence. Let Them Eat Meat has plenty of quotes and posts from them. They believe that people who eat meat should be jailed, which is at least logical to me. When I read The Face on Your Plate I was turned off because the author said he eats meat while traveling. If meat is murder, that's just not ever acceptable.

I think that Kamal if your compassion and religious intuition tell you take eating meat is wrong, you should look into veganism. If that's your priority, so be it. I would suggest looking into vegan nutritionists like Jack Norris or Virginia Messina who have a lot of experience with how to adjust veganism to get the best out of it. They don't pretend it's the perfect diet, but it's worth it for them to eat the way they feel is moral. I would not go the sad way of our former paleo pal CastleGrok, who became a fruitarian, which is totally unsupported by science. Morally, if you think ag animals can be raped, vegetarianism is not an option, only veganism is. Even veganism is imperfect though because even plant agriculture usually involves animal inputs in the form of things like fertilizer. ARist are trying to develop "veganic" agriculture, but its in its infancy.

Where I take offense at vegans is when they try to codify their feeling about animals into laws.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:03 PM

If the fact that people evolved by hunting and eating animals were meaningful then eating humans would be equally justifiable. See http://news.discovery.com/human/first-cannibals-nutrition.html

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:53 PM

As far as "making up" morality goes, if we value reason and consistency at all, we can provide no good reason for not recognizing the value in nonhuman sentients. The fact that morality's existence is contingent on human existence does not mean that anything goes. I highly, highly suggest you read Tim Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:51 PM

Melissa, the form of extreme egoism you advocate fails to account for why you would show concern for any particular human, baby or not. Most of the babies in the world that are not my own will benefit me in no way whatsoever. For that matter, most people will not benefit me in any way. Why should I show them any regard? On your view, if it were advantageous for me to kill or torture them, I'd be justified. Your moral view is broken.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:31 PM

And while pondering the mysteries of knowledge is great, factoids that aren't true about broccoli are misleading. Paleo epistemology is very logical, and uses empirical data to form opinions about present diets. Evolutionary biology of plants is a separate field that I won't pretend to know well, but many of the things I wonder are actually known if you are a professor in that field. That's why I can wonder all I want about the origin of the universe, but astrophysics will have a 5 million percent better opinion on the subject than I.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:28 PM

And paleo having a longer lifespan than other diets is pure extrapolation. From a handful of pubmed searches, I have found no direct studies on the concept. If you want a longer lifespan, calorie restricted pseudo-paleo might be the way to go. There is a study starting at Tufts University (called, funny enough, CALERIE) that will in several years give good data on biomarkers from a low-calorie diet.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:23 PM

And stealing a page from Melissa, rights are totally a man-made construct. We have technically have a "right" to do anything that is physically possible, because we exist, as does anything else that exists. The whole shabam is about the rules that we construct to guide our decisions, whether it be based on utilitarianism, religion, whatever.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Notwithstanding, there are a couple big logical holes in your writing. Being compassionate to all things, end of story, is so overly simplistic as to be not be a useful guideline. I have typed this before, but we choose all the time who and what to be compassionate to, whether it is family, friends, animals, plants, bacteria, viruses, inanimate objects, etc.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:19 PM

I don't think I need to find a center, as I have no center, and don't believe in the artificially constructed "self" outside of the fact that we are made with organic molecules.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:14 PM

... I love about the Paleo movement. We *care* about where our food comes from.. the feed.. the land... soil.. quality of life and death. I will continue to operate from my moral center and make sure that ALL my food choices, both animal and plant, are as compassionate as they can be in today's world (I know exactly where my food comes from) while still keeping me healthy and thriving. I'm certainly not going to convince/ or try to convince a vegan to give up their lifestyle. I respect that it is a choice they make based on *their* moral center. You need to find your center:-) Best of luck!

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:07 PM

... and thus being able to fight for human/animal/plant/whatever-I-want rights/dignity for a longer period of time is better than not living as long and not being able to fight for those 3/5/10/20 extra years... however marginal. And again who is to say that we shouldn't be living by a plants "moral code", or a Lion's, or an alien's. The best I can do is live by my own. I am also of the belief that this world holds far more mystery than we can comprehend. I won't dismiss something just because we humans haven't figured it out yet (plants) or it's doesn't match our standards. This is something

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Kamal- I don't for one minute believe that "being human" gives us some kind of God-like right to decide who gets compassion and who doesn't. I believe that we need to be compassionate to ALL things. End of story. I live my life in the healthiest way possible (emotionally and physically) and I make my choices from that center. It sounds like you need to figure out what your center is and make your own decisions. To me living a life on a diet that doesn't allow me to be at my most healthy is not an option. For example: As someone that is on a paleo diet the chances of me living longer...

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Kamal- I don't not for one minute believe that "being human" gives up some kind of God-like right to decide who gets compassion and who doesn't. I believe that we need to be compassionate to ALL things. And of story. I live my life in the healthiest way possible (emotionally and physically) and I make my choices from that center. It sounds like you need to figure out what your center is and make your own decisions. To me living a life on a diet that doesnt allow me to be at my most healthy is not an option. For example: As someone that is on a paleo diet the chances of me living longer...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:26 AM

And I don't think jbone or most others here would believe in a morality decided outside of humans, from baby jesus or from any other deity.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:25 AM

Jeez you two get a room! All joking aside, I think that Melissa is generalizing too much. You know "locked-in syndrome"? It's not in our best interest to keep those folks alive. Many dangerous prisoners should be killed. We should reduce the population by some means to help the environment and the remaining population. These examples have holes, but there a hundred more examples of why the admittedly human-invented morality (which is not a catch-all argument against veganism) is not clear when you say "rights outside of what humans as a group decide."

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:58 AM

Also, re: moral patients. The great thing about morals is that since humans invented them, we get to decide who is a moral patient! Sorry, but we are stupid if we decide cows are moral patients, there is just no benefit to us. Babies are a different matter. If you can't figure out why humans care about babies and have made them moral patients, that's sad.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:52 AM

You kant be serious. Kant and Francione's "basic rights" are a form of natural rights...or it's just semantic and we should go back to basics: I don't believe in rights outside of what humans as a group decide. Rights don't exist without humans because they are made-up.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:44 AM

"I mean, if you're really committed to that view then babies, the severely cognitively disabled, etc. all stand outside the moral community. " It's in our human interests to treat these beings with respect. Morals were invented for humans by humans. How we treat babies has nothing to do with whether or not they suffer.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:58 AM

One other things I want to quickly note about your assessment Melissa is that you're wrong if you believe that animals stand outside the moral community because they cannot act according to morals. I mean, if you're really committed to that view then babies, the severely cognitively disabled, etc. all stand outside the moral community. Only sociopaths hold that view. In moral theory, those who can be harmed but cannot act with agency are called 'moral patients' whereas those who can act with moral agency are called 'moral agents.' Look it up.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:53 AM

Hi Melissa. You make more than a few mistakes in your assessment of animal rights theory. I'll try to correct the most significant one here. Very, very few rights theorists believe in natural rights. You might want to check out the works in the Kantian tradition or even in the Scanlonian tradition for alternative ethical theories that can support rights claims. Gary Francione explicitly rejects the notion of natural rights in his book Introduction to Animal Rights. When he says animals have a right not to be used, you should hear him saying we have good reason not to use animals.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Singer falls apart even if you don't reject utilitarianism. =)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Naphtali-- Who are we to decide who deserves compassion? We are humans! I buy my mother an expensive mother's day gift, but I don't give a dime to the homeless dude outside my workplace. The problem with "not killing anything" is the same argument against Jainism, that when confronted with gradations, it not fruitful to give up, but rather to examine the gradations and make an informed decision. And broccoli doesn't have a similar nervous system to our own. It is somewhat of an urban legend--chemical flow does not equal central signal processing. My AMOLED screen does not feel pain either

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:23 PM

It appears that I stand solitary against everyone here. The reason is that I'm agnostic with regards to the best type of diet. I've lived for 30 years and changed my diet countless times, most recently to paleo. In the last few decades, much has been learned about plants and animals, and I've done a fair bit of thinking and fact-finding as well. If the science is pretty certain that pastured animals are happier than they would be in the wild, than I accept that. But I doubt the evidence is as conclusive, because even happiness research in humans is inconclusive. I will read more though.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:19 PM

I'm with Melissa. Who are we to arbitrarily decide who deserves compassion or not (plants- animals- aliens- humans). My moral code might not line up with yours but that doesn't make it wrong. Best we can do is try to live in harmony with nature and accept there is a circle to it. That unless we eat nothing- we are killing *something*.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:14 PM

"If you analyze the female's chemical state, it would seem that she would be less happy in situation number two" Does that make it rape? If your definition of rape= less happiness because of non-consensual sex, then most animals engage in rape. Fortunately this isn't true, since Humans are the only species that can give consent because that is based on moral capacity. I do think it's objectively true that on a chemical level animals in captivity are "happier" than those in the wild.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I don't "believe" anything about animals, plants, or us. This is coming from a distant memory from a college class. Since you know much more about animals, you can tell me if this is true: many animal males court their animal females, then copulate. Sometimes, within the same species, copulation is forced by the male. If you analyze the female's chemical state, it would seem that she would be less happy in situation number two. Is that off base?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I do think it's possible to tell if animals are happy because it's a chemical state. This has been well-studied in agricultural science and Temple Grandin is the top researcher in this subject. If you believe agricultural animals can be raped, I suggest you do your best to become vegan.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:57 PM

"I believe animals have rape as well." Do you realize that rape is a term invented by humans that is dependent on human morals. Look at the way animals reproduce...particularly ducks. If we were to class them as moral creatures, SVU would be overloaded. Animals are incapable of rape and being raped. Just as they are incapable of being evil. My arguments have nothing to do with the health benefits of the paleo diet and everything to do with the fact that based on my moral views that eating amoral animals is not wrong.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:53 PM

This is not an issue of an individual's sense of morality. It is that, in my humble opinion, some of your argument stems from you assuming that you know what makes animals happy, while other parts of your argument presume that the added health benefits of paleo universally subsume a potential increase in animal utility.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Can you elaborate on how would a veterinary exam show signs of abuse? I believe animals have rape as well.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:48 PM

"I would hope that they wouldn't do it" What if aliens, like other animals, didn't understand morals? We could hope all day long and they wouldn't give a damn. Outside the moral context, dealing with creatures that aren't moral, it's a different ballgame. ARists don't understand this, like the German group last week that compared eating meat to cannibalism.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:46 PM

"Hmmm...that girl who was held hostage and raped by the Austrian kidnapper for 15 years testified to being unhappy and scared, while those who interacted with her noticed nothing abnormal." An example of a problem only humans would have. Only humans assign existential meanings to things like freedom or sex without consent as far as we know. But I'm fairly sure that a veterinary exam of the girl in question would have shown signs of abuse. Remember, cows stand around naked in the field all day.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Whether the aliens eating us is immoral to us, them, or both doesn't matter to me personally. If eating us is optimal but only marginally beneficial, I would hope that they wouldn't do it, to prevent suffering on a grand scale. My Ayn Rand phase passed long ago, and her dog-eat-dog world seems shortsighted to me.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Don't be afraid, I did not fall into the trap of anthropomorphizing animals, it was all for analogy's sake. I do however think that you (and Temple Grandin? Who maybe I'll check out at some point) are making some strong assumptions. Obvious physical symptoms from inappropriate environments? Hmmm...that girl who was held hostage and raped by the Austrian kidnapper for 15 years testified to being unhappy and scared, while those who interacted with her noticed nothing abnormal. Certainly no hair loss or obvious self-harming.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Another question is would it be morally wrong for the aliens to eat us? I definitely think humans should fight the aliens, but as a moral relativist, I can only say that the aliens would be immoral to us and not immoral per se.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 12:28 PM

I'm afraid that you are falling into the trap of anthropomorphizing animals. Luckily animals are like humans in that when they are in inappropriate environments they do suffer obvious physical symptoms (see the zoo thread) in response to psychological trauma. Like lab monkeys or pigs in farrowing crates, humans in the spaceship would likely have hair loss/strange self-harming behavior/etc. Pastured cows don't have this. I suggest you read Temple Grandin.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:41 AM

Meaning, it's quite possible that animals are autotuned to live the lives their ancient ancestors lived (sound familiar?) in order to be happy. Who am I to tell them no, by raising them for food then killing them? If aliens found the perfect chemically-made veggie food, then found that human meat reduces alien cancer incidence by 5%, I would surely want them to choose the veggie food over my flesh. Especially if they didn't speak my language, and assumed that I enjoyed living in their hellish starship more than my natural bachelor pad environment.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:41 AM

All of these are great points. I try to avoid reading Singer et al because of overly flowery language to describe basic things. But I disagree about your last paragraph. Do we know what makes animals happy? Because, as people have adapted to survive and possibly thrive in our environments, so have animals. But raising animals on farms is quite new in this chronology. Maybe the cow in the pasture is thinking "All I wanna do, is have some fun, I've got a feelin', I'm not the only one." (Sorry Mrs. Crow)

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
6
3651 · September 09, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Unless you are a big fan of dumping oil-based chemical fertilizers on your vegetarian foods you are going to be buying organic stuff. Having worked on an organic farm I can attest that we fed all the tomatoes, lettuce, melons and what not fish guts because that's what helps them grow. Bone meal, blood meal, worm castings are also quite common. As long as there is agriculture and we aren't just foraging wild plants, you are going to need inputs from the bodies of animals. It's just the way nature works.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:03 PM

The important point is that we can avoid many uses of animals. Some we can't avoid. We should be working to reduce those as we avoid the uses we can.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 13, 2010 at 12:42 AM

sorry dude gisela is talking science. scientifically plants do need animal waste (feces, urine, dead bodies, shells) to grow. The primary nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). The secondary nutrients are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 12, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Hi Gisela: Please see the three posts above yours. Technically plants do not need animal products to grow. That does not mean veganic agriculture is optimal, but it does mean that your first sentence is wrong. And even so, wild plants deriving nutrients from dead animals does not have to involve us killing those animals.

Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Wild plants certainly DO need animal products to grow. You think they don't benefit from bears (foxes, squirrels, sparrows, earthworms, bees, fungi, protists, etc.) pooping in the woods? They need and use animal CO2, feces, urine, and rotting body parts for the raw materials to make more plants. Wild plants (as well as so-called domesticated plants) likewise "cannibalize" the exudates of both living and dead plants for the same purposes. We are not just a circle, we're a web, and all things living and dead are recycled endlessly within it.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 11, 2010 at 12:55 AM

yeah, veganic yields are still pretty low. I addressed this in my interview on LTEM and in the comments.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 10, 2010 at 4:48 AM

yea, and i'd guess they are failing too.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:05 AM

People are exploring veganic agriculture as well.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:01 AM

things die and replenish the soil in the nature cycle without our involvement. nature is constantly replenishing the soil with nutrients.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Paleo doesn't require agriculture, does it? Wild plants don't need animal products to grow.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36
5
4464 · September 09, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Compassion isn't a logical argument, it's a compassionate one.

Compassion is a result of the human evolution of empathy, which is essential for us to work and live together as a cooperative species. Like any adaptation, if taken too far it can become a flaw and a hindrance to the continued survival of the species.

It seems very unnatural to me to "opt-out" of the food chain. Nature intends survival by competition - without this life becomes weak and fragile.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36
0 · September 17, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Other than you want to disagree, I'm not sure what you're trying to say jbone. We seem to agree that nature does not always equal right/good. What exactly is my illogical position? I'd also note that I tend to side with Spock's classic statement that logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end - so I don't necessarily consider holding an illogical position to be inherently wrong/bad.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:06 PM

Hi Aaron. You are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't mean your opinion isn't illogical. What you've done here is simply restate your position. It remains illogical.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:11 PM

jbone - No logical fallacy here. I'm aware of the difference between natural and "right or good". Nature is often cruel, and much of nature is bad for us (I love mushrooms, but there are many that will kill us, for example). My statement contains the words "It seems ...to me..." making it a matter of personal opinion. I don't claim to know what's best for you or anyone else.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:04 AM

Hi, Aaron. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's right. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature You're committing a logical fallacy. I agree that animal rights shouldn't be based on compassion. Animal rights, like human rights, can be based on reason. See my response.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I totally agree- and would take it one step further and say who are we to decide that one group deserves compassion (animals) and another doesn't (plants)... I believe it's all about living in balance with nature. *cue Lion King "Circle of Life*"

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Aaron, although I understand your point, the thing is that we humans have the possibility (through consciousness) of doing unnatural things, that we can choose to organise our lives and societies different from the natural way of life. Which sometimes leads to good things, sometimes to bad...

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
5
4089 · September 09, 2010 at 10:59 AM

I think that anthropologically, there's pretty much no debate that hunting has had a huge and formative influence on us. Hunting, killing and eating animals is a large part of what we evolved to do.

Having the opportunity, as a hunter and an angler (living in an area that while largely ruined by the bloody farmers is still a lot closer to wilderness than most), to kill and eat my own game quite a bit I have to say that hunting and fishing and cooking what you bag is wonderful. The actual hunting and fishing is blissful (although frequently cold, wet, and uncomfortable, not to mention requiring you to get up hours before sunrise sometimes), and the game delicious. The actual killing? The process isn't fun, and always accompanied by remorse as well as satisfaction. I'm still trying to analyze this bit.

We're omnivores, and can survive on a wide range of suboptimal diets better than pure carnivores, which is why humans do better than cats on a pure vegan diet (and can live long enough to promote said philosophy and breed while going without meat). But tolerated is not optimal, and frankly veganism seems to me to be committing a major fundamental error that invalidates their entire project by denying the reality of what human beings are. My hunting and fishing (which is carried out with strict attention to fair chase and efficient, humane killing) is no more morally wrong than what the local coyotes do; it's what I was evolved to do, I love it, and attempts to get me to stop on grounds of silly, Disney-informed, unnatural personal morality will be met with derision and mockery. You might as well try to convince me that my cats' predation is wrong and immoral (and they are sleek, happy, and healthy, and enjoy leaving carnage strewn across the doorstep like you would not believe).

The world is made of food. It sucks to be food. Everybody is food. In my view, the best way of coming to terms with this is to suck up your fear, denial, and queasiness about these facts and learn to enjoy it. If you're near a body of fishable water, you can score complete rod and tackle kits at Wal-Mart for peanuts and The Dummies' Guide to Fishing is a great place to start. Go for it, and get some insight into the reality of what it is to be alive and your evolutionary heritage as a predator.

But factory-farming? There I think that the vegans have some valid points.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 3:33 PM

@JBone: actually, the real reason that I hear that argument over and over is because some vegans are pushy, obnoxious, self-righteous, aggressive, proselytizing loons who insist on trying to impose their lunatic fringe philosophy and neurotic diet and lifestyle on everybody else. I'm quite familiar with the AR arguments. They're unconvincing, largely because they fail to take certain important facts into account or are in active denial of same and are based on a sheltered, unnatural worldview.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Fearsclave. The reason you hear that argument over and over is that you keep making the same mistake! Veganism is not based on "revulsion" as you suggest. It's based on reasoned argument. See for instance Gary Francione's Introduction to Animal Rights for a cogent argument. If the fact that people evolved to hunt and eat animals were meaningful then eating humans would be equally justifiable. See http://news.discovery.com/human/first-cannibals-nutrition.html

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 11:26 PM

Fearsclave: I am not criticizing your hunting, and commented before that I would gladly join you. The original question was "...has anyone else grappled with optimality vs morality?" Please do not feel attacked, I have no desire to impose value judgments on anybody.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM

@Kamal: your necessity question presupposes that I somehow need to justify engaging in normal human behaviour; I hunt because I love it and I don't have to justify that to anybody, any more than I have to justify eating pork, or meat on Fridays. I reject your implicit attempt to offensively impose value judgments based on your subjective beliefs onto how I choose to live my life. Enjoy your Wii Fit.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Wii fit isn't ancestral but movement and excersize (which the Wii Fit allows for on some level) is- people don't change that much. :-)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:46 PM

The question remains, why do things that influenced our evolution thousands of years ago necessitate being continued? Keyword, necessitate. P.S. I enjoy Wii Fit more than hunting, which seems okay if I still get a lot of sunlight. Wii Fit is not ancestral. People change. Our body cares about the metabolic environment, not what our ancestors have done for generations.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:51 PM

@Kamal: oh, and as for Jbone, I've been trolled enough by people like him to recognize the classic attack pattern...

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:50 PM

@Kamal: simply put, tolerated vs optimal and the evolutionary logic also applies to lifestyle, not just diet. Animals are happiest and healthiest when they're getting the sort of diet and activity patterns dictated by their evolutionary biology. We're no exception. Hunting engages not just the body, but also the mind, by doing exactly what we're built for; putting us into a natural environment, engaging in slow, full-body exercise with occasional bursts of speed and heavy lifting, using our brains to process full-spectrum sensory input. It's really good for us, in other words.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Also, I do not believe that jbone falls into the "troll" category. You may be letting his veganism cloud your terminology. Many of his arguments are logical and well-supported. Because humans are omnivorous, eating meat is not technically ecological reality. Also, technically, he is not revolted by a fundamental aspect of his being. If he had a strong desire to kill, but was revolted by that, fine. But we are not cats or wolves, and I suspect the kill instinct in not universal in humans. Unless you know for sure, I would not generalize.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Fearslave: I'm sorry, but I don't understand your logic. Can you elaborate please? Why do things that influenced our evolution thousands of years ago necessitate being continued? Key word is necessitate. It may be healthier, but not technically necessary. Offal may have been key to developing bigger brains, but I don't typically eat any, and that's A-okay.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:31 PM

@jbone: I've lost count of how many times I've run into Vegan trolls who've said exactly that... Instead of trying to impose flawed moralities on others, why not try a bit of self-examination to discover why you are so revolted by a fundamental aspect of your being (not to mention ecological reality)? And for the record, I am quite familiar with the concepts you mention, just not particularly impressed by your use of them so far.

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:13 PM

@Kamal: something else to consider is that from a lifestyle perspective, equating hunting and gathering your own food to merely going to the supermarket because they are a way of getting food is rather like equating the SAD to Paleo because they are both edible. Hunting had a major influence on the evolution of our bodies and minds. Simply put, we're built and wired to hunt. Mapping uniquely human moral notions onto the food chain is the lifestyle equivalent of Victorian sexual morality; neurotic and in denial.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:02 AM

Fearsclave, you're committing a logical fallacy by arguing that because we evolved by hunting or that because animals hunt, we are therefore justified in doing so. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature. You might also want to look up the concepts of moral agents and moral patients. Moral agents (i.e., us) can be held culpable for harming others. Moral patients (e.g., your cats, coyotes) cannot because they cannot act morally. That doesn't mean those who cannot act morally (including babies and the cognitively disabled) can have no claims against us not to harm them unnecessarily.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:47 PM

And yes, tolerated is not optimal. However, many vegetarians can and do live long and fairly healthy lives (while others have major problems with it).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Hunting is good, fishing is great. I would rather than join you than preach to you. The issue is this. Humans are unique in their omnivorism, in that they can choose to not kill the tastiest and healthiest animals, but survive and even be happy and pretty healthy on a plant-based diet. For some people, that is a non-issue, because they cannot imagine deriving happiness from animals that are spared premature deaths or enslavement. For other people, this is a huge issue, and they are vegan. I sway towards the meat end, but can imagine, possibly, going the other way.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Factory farmed meat isn't paleo anyway:-) Something I love about this whole movement!!

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
4
6157 · September 09, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Your statement

We don't need to kill animals to live

needs some clarification.

Define "need" and define "to live."

Let's talk about cats. Cats are naturally carnivorous. Can you keep them alive for a very long time on a vegetarian diet of processed cat foods? Yes. Will they thrive on it? Individual cats will do okay and die of "old age." But as a group, they will have all kinds of health problems that they NEVER would have developed in the wild, on a meat-based diet. Cancer, diabetes, even depression....

Do cats need meat to live? I would say yes.

Humans are omnivorous. Some individual humans can do just fine on vegan or vegetarian diets (although I must say that personally, I don't know any vegans who really thrive). But as a group, can humans live without eating animals?

Yes. We can survive for very long periods. But it WILL make many of us sick. Auto-immune diseases, inflammatory conditions, cancers, etc.

It makes no more sense to say that

Humans should live without eating other animals because we don't need to in order to live.

than it does to say that

We should feed our cats vegetarian food because they can survive without meat.

I think feeding your cat vegetarian food is cruel and ignorant (mostly ignorant).

To me, it is not at all compassionate for humans to try to live without eating meat. It is both ignorant and arrogant.

It's ignorant because a meat-less diet doesn't actually save the planet or kill fewer animals or improve your health.

It's arrogant because it is a worldview that says "we humans do not have to live in accordance with the laws of physics, chemistry, and evolution. We are different. We are superior. We are so clever that we can choose to live in a manner completely alien to the history of our species, without understanding how eco-systems function in an intricate balance of predator and prey, nitrogen cycles, food and waste, life and death, determined by millions of years of evolution."

I agree with vegans and vegetarians that we should be compassionate, that we should care about the environment and animals and our health. I disagree with them that not eating animals contributes positively to any of these things.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:12 AM

Okay...don't forget that I still have to find that wheat adaptation thing (if it exists).

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:38 AM

I will respond to your comments tomorrow....

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:23 PM

And although I didn't make those last two statements, your argument there is logically discordant. Cats are, as you said, carnivorous. We are, as you said, omniverous. So, while I don't support either statement that is highlighted, this is technically not true "It makes no more sense to say that..."

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Now, if vegetarians used the particle accelerator to make dark matter vegetables, that would be totally arrogant and against the laws of physics :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Also, I disgree about the arrogance in many ways. Is that really the vegetarian worldview? We live in accordance with physics and chemistry no matter what. We are clever in many ways that aren't reflected in other animals or our ancestors. iPads and nanobots are alien to the history of our species. As is chocolate cheesecake, which I love. Do you really believe what you wrote, or is it a launchpad for argumentation?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Hi Jae! I can talk about the first statement, but I did not make the other two statements. Humans do not need meat to "live". In the absence of peer-reviewed epi studies, I do not make suppositions about vegetarian health at old age vs paleo health at old age. I can see that paleos would be healthier, but all kinds of people are quite healthy at old age on little to no meat. Out of the people I know over age 80, none are paleo. But, those who ate no meat are healthier than those that ate other ethnic, non-SAD diets.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
4
17949 · September 09, 2010 at 5:05 PM

The biggest hole would be the presupposition that morality=not killing animals. Says who and on what grounds? You can call it "evolved morality" all you want but that doesn't make it so. You don't need to do a lot of things to live but it doesn't make you a better person for not doing those things. Again, they animals should be afforded any ethical considerations or should be valued by any metric besides their utility to humans is an unsubstantiated assertion.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 1:23 AM

It helps to think of yourself in the position of the other. If I am some day disabled or retarded, I will not want to be harmed and so I wish to foster a society in which people don't harm the disabled and retarded, and in fact take care of them. Babies is a little more ambiguous. Abortions are fine, and I can't for the life of me think of an argument against killing a baby that doesn't have moral agency yet. But the problem with that is that we must draw the line somewhere and a baby at least has the potential to be a moral agent. So it would be a good debate to have.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 1:22 AM

It helps to think of yourself in the position of the other. If I am some day disabled or retarded, I will not want to be harmed and so I wish to foster a society in which people don't harm the disabled and retarded, and in fact take care of them. Babies is. Abortions are fine, and I can't for the life of me think of an argument against killing a baby that doesn't have moral agency yet. But the problem with that is that we must draw the line somewhere and a baby at least has the potential to be a moral agent. So it would be a good debate to have.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Stabby, if moral agency were what counted or if not harming those who could harm us were what counted (these are two totally different claims by the way), then we have no reason to not harm babies or the severely cognitively disabled. Are you comfortable with that?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:16 PM

And a world in which I eat animals isn't a world where I or any other moral agent (humans) is more likely to be harmed, except perhaps by disgraces like PETA. And there is one common objection is then it becomes perfectly find to kill the comatose. But if we have the qualifier "If I am ever in a coma and don't want to be killed due to the chance of re-gaining my agency, then I should support a world in which we take care of the comatose." Ethics are about utility for the moral agent and reciprocity; influencing the world in which you live to make it better for yourself.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:13 PM

You guys can assert that moral value hinges on sentience all you want but it is just that, a baseless assertion. It is not sentience but moral agency, the ability to have one's behavior influenced and changed by the behavior of others and vice versa. Additionally we need a qualifier like "I would not like to be harmed", and then harming those who can harm us becomes a bad thing. If I don't want to be harmed, I don't harm those who can harm me, and if I want a world where I am less likely to be harmed, I try to foster a world that does a little harming as possible.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:41 PM

You guys can assert that moral value hinges on sentience all you want but it is just that, a baseless assertion. It is not sentience but moral agency, the ability to have one's behavior influenced and changed by the behavior of others and vice versa. If I don't want to be harmed, I don't harm those who can harm me, and if I want a world where I am less likely to be harmed, I try to foster a world that does a little harming as possible. And "sentience" is kind of arbitrary. Who is to say that animals have any value at all due to their lesser intelligence? The conclusion is arbitrary.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I agree the moral value of beings hinges on sentience, but I (tentatively) disagree that this means that animals have rights, as we apply them to humans. Sentience may be a necessary, but not sufficient condition for bestowing rights.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:10 AM

Hi, Stabby. You raise good questions. The moral value of animals can be grounded in the fact that they are sentient and hence that their lives can fare better or worse. I'm being brief because I have to be, but it's this fact that grounds the basic right we respect in humans not to be treated as things (see Henry Shue's work) and since animals are sentient, they too ought to be afforded that right, if we value consistency. As for where morality comes from, you might want to check out Tim Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other. It provides an excellent non-Kantian take on the grounding of morality

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:59 PM

There was no presupposition on morality. Pros and cons were induced, not deduced.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
4
10294 · September 09, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Just to add a little spark to the discussion here. Besides animal rights, utilitarians should also take into account the improvement of human health, the decrease in suffering and pain of unnecessary diseases that a paleo inspired life causes.

Paleo saves and improves lives. Now let's say our whole society lives a paleo lifestyle. How would that improvement in health and happiness weigh against the eating of meat? How would the all the money that diseases of civilisation cost be beneficial for other, morally important topics?

And not to forget that less healthy individuals and more stressed individuals live in a kind of 'survival-mode', that decreases the energy that goes to the frontal cortex of our brain. A stressed and unhealthy society is a society that is more dependent on the 'reptilian-brain'. This means that the typically 'human' traits such as empathy, kindness, generosity, compassion, creativity, ... are by-passed or less ready available.

How would a society benefit from its individuals being healthy and performing mentally on a 'higher' level?

(needless to say that I'm all for raising animals in the best conditions, and that the butchering should be as quick and painfree as possible, even if in nature and our past, that was not always the case.)

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:55 AM

Hoping not to sound arrogant (really not), but have you been reading this website? or for that matter any other paleo related literature?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Paleo saves and improves lives? Where's the evidence for this claim. If you're not making a claim that's unique to paleo then your argument loses its force.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
3
1793 · September 09, 2010 at 5:49 AM

I'd also add that we have to consider that, from a utilitarian standpoint, if we didn't breed them for food, many of these animals would simply not exist. They wouldn't be able to survive in the wild. This might seem a bit abstract, but if we can raise animals such that they might place a positive value on their lives, then breeding them may be a moral good, even if we eventually kill them. It also seems relevant that agriculture requires destruction of the natural environment on a large scale, along with the killing of animals. I haven't done much research into this, but I've read some things suggesting that pasturing animals can be a part of a sustainable ecosystem. I totally buy the argument for pastured meat, minimizing unneccessary suffering, etc. But it seems pretty plausible to me that the most humane option is to eat pastured meats and wild, sustainably caught seafood.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:39 AM

...After all, agriculture also destroys animal life, and I do think the fact that wild animals are eaten by others, and that this is an inseperable aspect of our world, is morally relevant as well- though not in the way that would be an obvious example of the naturalistic falacy.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Jbone: I think I agree with you that, all things being equal, animals are better off not being harmed or killed. But all things are not equal. We have to make difficult trade-offs between effecting the world around us in different ways. It seems very plausible to me that humane, environmentally sustainable raising of animals (I realize you probably see that as a contridiction in terms) is the best bet for maximizing the welfare of human and non-human animals.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 17, 2010 at 5:28 AM

Jbone: I know there are many strong arguments against utilitarianism. But, while I'm certainly open to being convinced otherwise, I my tentative position is that something like preference utilitarianism is the closest thing we have to a workable ethics. In my view, rights are endogenous to maximizing utility.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Your position that rights make sense only insofar as they maximize welfare is thoroughly utilitarian. Utilitarianism is a broken system however. You'll find many strong arguments against it on the Stanford PLATO website.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Nico, I agree that some of the things we do to improve human welfare will not apply to animals, but given that they are sentient, their lives certainly fare for the worse when we harm them or kill them.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Maybe to be more specific: Rights are not just a result of sentience,but the kind of being that we are- ones that reciprocate, negotiate, etc. There are reasons to suspect that that particular way of improving welfare cannot apply to animals. We may need another way.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Jbone, I'm not surprised that an animal rights theorist would reject that argument. That doesn't say much about the validity of the argument, tho, right? But, fair enough, I guess I'll have to check out the book. I get the sentience argument, but (and I don't know exactly if this is your view) I don't think sentience somehow bestows rights. Rather, we have a system of rights to promote human welfare. In my a similar system of rights would maximize overall welfare of both human and non-human animals, then we should adopt it. I guess I'm just skeptical that it would.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Melissa, I stand corrected. I guess we'd just have to compare the welfare of the feral animals, and how they died, with captive ones. But that's just if you're a utilitarian.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:07 AM

Hi, Nico. You're right that on a utilitarian view it may be a good idea to raise animals and humanely kill them. Animal rights theorists (like Gary Francione) reject this view, and for good reason. See Francione's Introduction to Animal Rights for an excellent treatment of this issue.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Somewhat related to this answer, and interesting point of view: Someone said something like this: "what a remarkable thing, that sheep and cows have domesticated humans to take care for them."

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 12:29 PM

There are feral cows as well as feral goats and horses.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:56 AM

There is also the concern that having more domesticated animals displaces other, wild animals. This is another issue that should enter into the hedonic calculus, I 'spose.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Yes, pigs can indeed survive in the wild. That's a good point. But cows and many other animals can't, and even with pigs, there's still positive hedonic value to having more pigs (assuming you can have more by having domesticated pigs), along as each additional pig (in this little thought experiment) got enough value out of life that it would choose life over death. So quality of life is definitely a concern here, but it may not entail not raising animals for slaughter.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:17 AM

Domesticated farm animals can survive in the wild. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_Pig_KSC02pd0873.jpg "Wild pigs stop near the KSC Press Site in the Launch Complex 39 Area on their daily foraging rounds. Not a native in the environment, the pigs are believed to be descendants from those brought to Florida by the early Spanish explorers. Without many predators other than human, the pigs have flourished in the surrounding environs."

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:55 AM

I never thought of that...although raising animals that can't survive in the wild in order to feed off of them is totally Matrix dude! Which means that if we're in the Matrix, the cows are in a double Matrix! Is Loren Cordain actually Neo?

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
2
1793 · September 11, 2010 at 1:55 PM

I thought I'd just add that I do think we should take vegetarian/vegan arguments seriously as we should take the issue of animal welfare seriously. Yes, a lot of vegans are preachy and sanctimonious, but that doesn't make their arguments wrong. I suspect their arguments ultimately fail, but I'm certainly grateful for the work they've done in bringing food into the ethical and political sphere.

Anyway, I'm continuously impressed by how most members of this community exemplify the ideals of epistemological humility and openness to new ideas. This is, in my experience, fairly unique among communities centered on a set of beliefs.

So yeah, y'all are awesome :-)

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:29 PM

I wish I could agree with you, Nico. I think you evidence thoughtfulness in your replies, but many of those who have responded to my posts on this page have resorted to ad hominem. It's distressing.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
2
24523 · September 10, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Thank you everybody for your answers and comments! Truthfully, some of the question intent was misinterpreted. I am not arguing for a vegan diet healthwise and I am not proposing decision rules based on animal rights. For the near and possibly distant future, I will enjoy meat, marrow, and other sundry animal products.

Quite simply, I was trying to gauge whether paleo folks have ever weighed paleo health benefits against (possible) hesitations in eating a lot of meat. The animal rights field, sentience, etc, does not seem cut and dry, and conventional wisdom on either side seems to make people defensive of their existing views.

When you eat paleo, you eat a lot of fat. Thus, EFA amounts and ratios are extra important. Similarly, if you eat paleo, you eat a lot of meat. Thus, the process of obtaining that meat and the opportunity cost of eating the meat (i.e. what would things be like for you, others, and the animal if you did not eat it) is worth considering. Again, thanks to everyone for providing some depth to this issue.

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23
0 · January 26, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I think we all should remember that guilt, remorse and compassion for the animals we kill is a very paleo--or maybe pre-paleo?--concept. Some of the earliest religion was ceremonies to appease the spirits of the animals that the tribe had killed or hoped to kill. When one approaches meat-eating from the perspective of respect for the life of the animal, it is very possible to be ethical, moral, compassionate, and humane while eating meat.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 17, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Although I do not know much about animal rights, I did find the discussion interesting. The decision analysis for some people would be very interesting, balancing health benefits of a meat based diet (which 99% of people on this forum, including me, believe in) and potential animal rights questions (which a good number of people on this forum have considered, to differing degrees depending on their preferences). The only viewpoint I wholeheartedly disagreed with is that that animal rights is not an issue for paleos. The issues are complex, but important for omnivores to consider.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Thank you for your question, Kamal. I found it interesting. I saw many replies from people who do not fully understand animal rights and who seem content with pocket arguments against it. I hope that these folks will feel inspired to do more reading on the subject.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 1:30 AM

What's LTEM? Is it some sort of boy band? Just kidding, I've checked out some of that stuff. Very interesting, much thought involved. With respect to sentience, preferences, and overall utility estimations, I think there is even more to learn (well, for me at least).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 11, 2010 at 12:56 AM

Kamal, if you read LTEM you'll realize that arguing with vegans is a favorite hobby of mine. I've learned a lot in the process. I think if you explore that site you'll also realize that many paleos DO think about this and enjoy thinking about it. With so many of us being former vegans, it's inevitable.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Thanks rook. I suspected there would be several viewpoints, but did not suspect that I would be chum thrown to the paleo sharks. Hold on, I'm paleo! Always a good time though.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30
0 · September 10, 2010 at 10:20 PM

I'm really glad you asked the question. I'm positive on animal rights and sentience, and this has always been a big issue for me when trying to figure out what to eat.

154bf5c84f7bd9f52b361b45d05dbc3a
2
1215 · September 10, 2010 at 10:48 AM

I don't think this is the right place for this discussion.

This site is called Paleo-Hacks... not 'Discuss the merits of one or another way of eating'.

It's for people that want do discuss or find out more about the paleo / primal / stone-age way of eating and exercise.

I believe that it will be a very long time before we fully understand or the detailed workings of nutrition and human biology (if ever). That's why this way of eating is so appealing to me, it's easy to get it broadly right without knowing all the details.

As far as I know humans have been eating meat for thousands of years, and our ancestors for millions. There are probably all kinds of side benefits to eating meat that we can't measure at the moment. So yes we can live without it, on the other hand people can live on bread and rice as well. It's a slippery slope which quickly takes you out of paleo / primal territory.

As far as the ethics go, one of my values in life is to treat all life on earth with respect and to minimize suffering. But humans are part of the ecosystem. When we hunt and kill an animal it's not a moral issue, the same way as when a wolf, tiger or polar-bear (the only modern animal to actively hunt humans) is not bad or evil for eating humans. In turn we will die and become food for worms and plants. Its the way life works one big cycle of energy passed from one species of life to the next.

154bf5c84f7bd9f52b361b45d05dbc3a
0 · September 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM

I'm a moral relativist. Although I personally find the idea of eating humans distasteful there is nothing inherently wrong with it (I believe there are no set in stone laws of nature that determine what is right and wrong). I'm sure cannibalism has been practiced throughout history. I don't approve of it... but it happened.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Hi NomadicNeill. You're committing the same appeal to nature fallacy that many others have. Indeed if the fact that people evolved to hunt and eat animals were meaningful then eating humans would be equally justifiable. See http://news.discovery.com/human/first-cannibals-nutrition.html

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:30 PM

I think it is a perfectly apt question. Eating is a physiological, social, and yes, ethical act. If this site is for people discussing paleo eating, then all aspects of the question of how to eat are fair game, IMO.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 1:44 PM

I am biased because I asked the question, but do think that this is the right place for discussion. Why? For the same reason that it is totally legit to ask questions such as "Is there a disadvantage to eating a lot of animal fat". I eat a lot of meat. And I mean, a ton. Thus, I think about what I am eating quite often. Paleo has no significant nutritional demerits for me. The only question that (admittedly rarely) floats into my head is one of decision analysis: is it possible that for me or for someone else, the nutrition benefits can be challenged by a utilitarian perspective?

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
2
421 · September 09, 2010 at 3:45 PM

I'm a paleo girl... I'm a compassionate person. I know the farms my food comes from- I know the quality of life and death ALL the living things on it had (plants included). If avoiding eating certain families of species is based on an ethical choice, it either leads to an arbitrary qualification for what life deserves protection and what doesn't (has a face, nurtures its young, cries out audibly when in pain) or ...it leads to the requirement that one subsist without causing death to anything, which means you starve and die.

For us to live, something else has to die. Selecting food is not a question of "life or death?" -- it's a question of "death in harmony with nature or death outside of natural balances?".

Plants think, remember, and feel pain. Yes- that includes your Spinach (and insects as someone pointer out earlier). Why is it that people seem to only have compassion for things with a face!

Interesting read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10598926

Also Broccoli has a nervous system that is not far off from our own. Again- Feels pain.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Naphtali, you made about a bjillion unsubtantiated claims here, some hard to accept (e.g., plants /feel/) and others easer to accept (e.g., overpopulation should concern us). Ultimately though, you claim to be a relativist about morality, suggesting that morality isn't something we can take hold of. If you really believe this, do you think we have no reason to condemn genocide, rape, hate crimes, etc.? If you think we do have reason to condemn even one of these things, then you need to abandon the position that morality is relative.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Melissa, I never claimed that the reason humans don't kill each other is merely because they recognize each others' sentience. There are many, many reasons why person X would not kill person Y. That said, sentience itself provides a strong reason not to do so, providing no good reason to kill the person exists. You're confusing descriptive and prescriptive claims.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 1:37 AM

And, however ludicrous it sounds, maybe sentience is the reason jbone doesn't eat humans. Although I do not believe that's what he was arguing in the first place.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 1:34 AM

Melissa, I feel like we are ships passing in the night on this sentience bit. I do not share jbone's opinions, but I don't find some of yours and Naphtali's posts logical either. Sentience is just a term to estimate some physical parameters, like any other term ("rights", "justice", etc for other parameters). "Our moral system" does not exist, because people have different morals depending on who they are. I used to think the only universal taboo was incest, because of its evolutionary disadvantage, but was even proven wrong there.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 11, 2010 at 12:52 AM

Ugh, sentience is also not the foundation of our moral system. Jbone is like the people in Independence Day welcoming the aliens on the rooftop. If you think that sentience is the reason we don't eat other humans I think we have a problem.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Nobody said death didn't happen. That is a strawman argument. If you want to argue for the equality of death of all living things, go ahead. I will join you in picketing outside AIDS clinics in Uganada, where they use vicious chemical cocktails to kill the a simple virus that is just doing its own thing.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:47 PM

@Kamal You absolutely can get your food from outside modern agriculture. Even still, if you think death and suffering didn't go into making your food, you're being naïve.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:22 PM

See my comments earlier- it *is* arbitrary... broccoli doesn't have a face so we don't care... Or it's not proven enough to feel enough or by our "standards" so we don't care? I don't posses all the world's answers and information. I refuse to toss out the idea that maybe it's beyond our comprehension. I am not in a position to decide who deserves compassion and who doesn't.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 7:51 PM

A paleo dude can get their food from hunting and fishing, and a veg*n dude can get their food from outside of modern agriculture. Waxing poetic about the ills and suffering caused by large-scale farming is about as applicable as pinning factory farmed animals to the paleo diet.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:56 PM

@jbone Right now with the multi-hundred-fold overpopulation of humans, the best we can realistically do is have pastured animals raised on their natural diets and permaculture farms. And even that's not scalable to 6 billion people.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM

@jbone It it *impossible* to have a homeostatic ecosystem without death. Death of life is necessary for Life to continue. The reality is that the modern practice of large scale farming of annuals is as destructive to the environment, as death and destruction causing, and as unsustainable as factory farming of animals. So like I said, it's not a choice between life or death in your food choices. It's not a choice between suffering or no suffering. It's a choice of working with nature or against her. Working with nature means involving animals and eating animals as well as plants.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM

@jbone In nature, this is a perfectly reasonable response to a fire - but only so long as the annuals are needed to hold soil in place for the perennials to fill back in. We treat perennials as the weeds. We treat insects as pests. We rob the soil of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium and use petroleum based fertilizers to attempt to replenish it. We destroy natural habitats. We crush water ecosystems in order to steal its water for our crops, destroying more life and poisoning the soil further with the salinity of irrigation water.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:54 PM

@jbone Ruminants consume that plant matter and put nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium back in the soil through their blood, their urine, and their feces. That's just one cycle - that doesn't even include scavengers, foragers, bacteria, mold, fungus, insects, and any number of other parts of a homeostatic environment. Making a farm starts with burning everything, killing everything. It takes annuals, which are otherwise nothing but weeds, and fills the vacuum.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 5:54 PM

@jbone The point I was trying to make was that associating vegetarianism or veganism with compassion is deluding yourself. There is hardly a process on the planet more destructive to natural ecosystems or that causes more suffering than mass agriculture, particularly of annuals like grains. Natural ecosystems achieve homeostasis through multiple cycles of resource taking and resource releasing. Perennials take nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium out of the soil, absorb sunlight and create plant matter.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:04 AM

The broccoli pain debate is not a fruitful one. Let's just say the evidence is...underwhelming. If I recall correctly, it was based on a discovery of cell communication details that were not known before, not on something like discovery of nociceptors and signal transduction.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:19 AM

You're wrong that our decisions about whether to eat animals are necessarily arbitrary. Is your decision not to eat humans arbitrary? Regardless, moral theorists like Gary Francione have identified sentience as the relevant feature of animals who ought not to be harmed for no good reason. There are reasons for this focus, which I can explain to you, or which you can read about in detail in his book Introduction to Animal Rights. This leaves open for consumption plant products as plants are not sentient. What evidence do you have for the claim that broccoli and other plants feel pain?

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Agreed! Also Melissa- can you repost your part deux? It looks like it was taken down as a "question". Maybe just put it in the thread? I thought it was really well said!!!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Luckily our moral system is not based on pain.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
1
421 · September 09, 2010 at 7:55 PM

I also have a question about this concept of "evolved compassion". Are you suggesting that Grock was not compassionate? What evidence do you have to support this? Also would you likewise say that Native Americans and all other hunter gatherer tribes that exist in the world are not compassionate since they eat meat? Last I checked many of those tribes revered and worshiped animals- and eat them.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Okay, I understand what you mean now. Your point is true, that veganism didn't thrive because it's not the healthiest strategy. But my point still stands that being veg*n doesn't necessitate agriculture in the sense that it used in this thread (growing rows of crops with fertilizers and pesticides likely). Some people in the thread were comparing paleo to modern agriculture, which isn't the comparison I was referring to. You can totally forage, grow some of your own stuff, etc. That DOES NOT mean that foraging was ever an optimal diet for our ancestors.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30
0 · September 10, 2010 at 12:31 AM

@Kamal; I don't think that any food production method is sustainable for 6 billion humans, to be honest. I don't know what you mean by "the simple growth of plants", though. If you mean plants growing wild, then my point still stands, since veganism would have been shown to be the best feeding strategy for humans if it were a viable health strategy. If you're referring to something more complex and human-centered, like permaculture, then I'd have to say that many societies seem to have practiced permaculture or something very like it and yet still made use of hunted animals for food.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Rook--I should have specified that veg*n does not equal agriculture as implied by people's posts on this page. Various posts have pointed to agricultural destruction of environments. This is true, but does not need to be true of the simple growth of plants as opposed to large scale grain and bean operations. While animal droppings are not necessary for plant growth, they are helpful. This can also be natural. True, neither of these situations are sustainable for a population of 6 billion, but neither is paleo!

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30
0 · September 09, 2010 at 11:05 PM

@Kamal: How does vegetarianism not require (equal) agriculture? To the best of my knowledge there has never been a forager society that was veg*n, and given how much easier it is to acquire wild plants than wild animals, that suggests to me that a veg*n diet can only be done with an agricultural base.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Other than obvious biological differences, do you not see a difference in plant and animal life? Or for that matter, bacteria and viruses? I choose to kill bacteria with antibiotics, but not kill crying babies in airplanes. Inbetween that ludicrous comparison are many more practical comparisons that may warrant some attention.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Other than obvious biological differences, do you not see a difference in plant and animal life? Or for that matter, bacteria and viruses? I choose to kill bacteria with antibiotics, but not kill babies in strollers. In between that ludicrous comparison are many more practical comparisons that may warrant some attention.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Vegetarianism does not equal agriculture, in the same way that paleo doesn't equal factory farming (see above). Your previous broccoli nervous system assertion is not true from what I've read, and conflating all animals and plants is a bit reductionist.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:55 PM

That's the thing--I don't have any beliefs. The science for eating meat is solid and strongly inspected in several forums. The flip side seems to be only lightly considered amongst most paleo adherents. I try to question my assumptions, aggressively and periodically, in order to prevent dogma from creeping in. Morals/ethics/etc are just codified preferences. Preferences are influenced by effects on health, effects on happiness, effects on others, peer pressure, etc. I know that meat is good, but 99.9% of my time was spent on nutrition science, and 0.1% on animal rights. Thus, curiosity.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I'm deeply confused by this whole thread in regards to compassion. Who are you (or me) to decide who gets compassion and who doesn't... what about the worms/ insects that get destroyed through farming- or any other small animals. What about the plants- you say they aren't on par with animals- but why? Plants are *living* things. Make your choice but don't go thinking that compassion and vegan-ism/ vegetarianism go hand in hand more that paleo. Agriculture has been far worse on the planet and animal/mankind than anything else.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:43 PM

...I'm in no position to disagree with your ethics. They are your own, and you should follow your heart and intuition in deciding what's right and wrong. Your adherence to that ethical standard means you put yourself at greater risk for personal health complications and diminished quality of life in order that animals will not be raised and slaughtered in your name. Whether that trade-off is worth it is up to you. " The trade off isn't okay by me. If it's okay by you then go back to being a vegetarian/ vegan.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:42 PM

If that's your belief then I leave you with words from one of my fave bloggers: "That being said, if you're a vegan or vegetarian because you believe it's unethical for humans to find food sources from animal products, humanely raised or otherwise, we ought to have a different conversation....

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:04 PM

We have the leeway to not eat animals, which is a result of our evolved and industrialized society. This is not the healthiest way to be, but because it is possible, it is an option if one chooses it. Some really logical Buddhist writings discuss the merits and demerits of being vegetarian with regards to compassion.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 8:01 PM

No no, "evolved compassion" was just a way to make the post title short enough. Compassion as a whole and compassion towards animals are two overlapping but distinct things. Grok had to eat animals, if I'm not mistaken, or else he wouldn't enough protein, fat, kcals, etc. We don't technically have to eat animals. Through evolution, we have obviated the need for several Grok-type things (compound spiral fracture of the fibia? dead in grok's time. no sunshine in modern times? can technically survive with supplemental D)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3
1
20787 · September 09, 2010 at 5:00 AM

I don't think we yet know how to be totally vegetarian and totally healthy. I don't think we know everything in meat that we need and I don't think we know how to replicate it outside of meat. I could fairly easily see someone eating fish and small animals and being very healthy, just skip the big animals. I see that as doable. THe only other option might be, and I don't know if this would work or not, to eat lots of insects as your 'meat.' This is an interesting concept though. Could insects be a healthy substitute for meat? Hmmm.. -Eva

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c
0 · September 09, 2010 at 7:24 AM

A better alternative to insects would be crustaceans and bivalves. Crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crab) are closely related to insects. Bivalves like oysters are an even lower lifeform.

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:49 AM

well technically humans come from omnivorous insectivores. We can subsist on insects, but would you want to having grown up knowing they're gross? I know there are some small tribes in africa that eat insects and they're just fine, but i personally would rather eat fleshy animals.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:32 AM

Lots of people that I personally know are old and "healthy" vegetarians. Meaning, no chronic disease. That is not to say they are of optimal health, but when you're in your 80s without chronic disease, that's not too shabby.

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
1
106 · September 09, 2010 at 4:58 AM

have you ever chased a cow? even with rudimentary tools they don't put up much of a fight lol.

Now some animals would be much harder to kill.

And it's not morality, i wouldn't say a black bear is immoral because it kills a rabit? idk to survive.

The human body does not "Require" meat, but meat is what allowed the primates who ate it to evolve and spend less time chewing. The same is true with the advent of fire and cooking. I would never be a vegitarian, but that's because, in my opinion, i would be willing to kill an animal myself to eat it. My survival, fitness, and health come before another animal's.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 17, 2010 at 12:57 AM

Let's just say that I have a strong suspicion that I wouldn't do well on most vegan diets, from what I've seen from my body and what my reading has told me. I definitely do not know that for a fact, though. If there were a good grain free vegan diet low in omega 6's and high in non-soy complete proteins, I would even consider trying it!

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Kamal and Melissa. There are certainly particular vegan diets that you wouldn't or don't do well on, but are you certain that you would be unhealthy on all formulations of vegan diets?

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:26 PM

I make no claims that animal products are inherently harmful. But the paleos seem to argue that paleo diets confer unique benefits over vegan diets and that vegan diets are unhealthy as a general matter. These are substantive claims (like the sort you were making in your post, jared) that need substantiation.

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
0 · September 12, 2010 at 1:18 AM

Why can't a human do well on animal products? I don't have scientific evidence, but prove to me, scientifically, that animal products physically harm a human, and i will beleive you. I also look at food this way, if it cannot be eaten raw, then it shouldn't be eaten. All beans, grains, and legumes require cooking before they are edible, meat, if clean, can be eaten raw.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM

I definitely know a couple of healthy vegans, and that, it seems to me, is the strongest argument against the paleo diet (assuming the argument for is not just "this works for some people" but "this is the optimal diet for everyone")

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Some vegans might be okay with non-scientific proof. jbone: for myself, I do poorly on a vegan diet because of a few reasons. I can't handle much fructose without getting constipated, don't do well with plant sources of protein such as soy and beans, and get energy swings when carbs are higher than fat (as typically happens on a vegan diet).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM

It's hilarious because both here and on LTEM, vegans want to you PROVE SCIENTIFICALLY why you individually couldn't do well on a vegan diet. Um, sorry, but I don't have a lab in my house.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:14 AM

Hi, Jared. Why do you believe that you cannot be healthy and fit and survive without animal products?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:57 PM

I couldn't agree more...making universal statements about the effects of various diets on individuals leads to no good. I don't do well on a vegan diet, but many of my friends do. I couldn't eat a paleo Inuit diet, because I've got a clotting disorder and would bleed out. Etc etc.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:17 PM

SOME people can do well on veganism, that doesn't mean all of us. A lot of people come to paleo because of illness. I couldn't last a year on veganism, but my uncle has been a healthy vegan for 30 years! People are different.

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3
0 · September 09, 2010 at 4:04 PM

my body does not require vegetables!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 1:31 PM

It is quite possible to be strong with respect to muscles on a vegetarian diet. There's a few natural bodybuilding blogs profiling these people. Vegan bodybuilding is quite another animal (har har), but also possible.

2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0
0 · September 09, 2010 at 6:52 AM

haha mine does too alan. im just saying physically we "can" go for periods without meat. i'd never be a vegitarian either, and i just don't receive enough energy or enough of a feeling of nourishment without some meat in my meals.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:46 AM

Speak for yourself Jared, my body does require meat! I have killed many an animal to eat and will do so in the future. I could never be vegetarian because I want to be strong and healthy and I'm not convinced that's possible on a vegetarian diet. I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 09, 2010 at 5:30 AM

Small but important subtlety: meat and fire allowed us to evolve throughout thousands of years, but don't play such a necessary part in our decades of years for a single person's lifespan. Also, I would totally kill an animal to eat it, but mostly if I needed to (i.e. no other food around). I'm quite the passive type, so they'd probably leave me at home to make blankets and stuff :)

Edc8e857b8e5c541db0200a8076d6b22
0
0 · April 24, 2014 at 12:20 AM

Ditto on chickens and hawks. We keep chickens at our home for eggs, and I recently came to realize there is NO SUCH THING as ethical vegetarianism, period. If you eat eggs or milk or yogurt, you are responsible, over the course of your life, for the deaths of thousands of animals, even if you avoid the meaty bits. Why? Because animals only produce eggs and milk for short periods of time. Then, they need to be culled. Folks who raise hens for egg production kill the males. The law of the farm is that animals either produce or are eaten or culled, because there is no way a farmer can afford to keep a productive animal as a domestic pet for the remaining 12-22 years of its productive life.

You can be vegan, and life a life without animal death, but then you will probably (unless you are very lucky) develop some serious health problems at some point along your life, the consequence of an insidious damage that may be difficult to fix.

We slaughtered two roosters two weeks ago. It was the first time in my life I had ever killed a living thing and let me tell you, it was a deeply traumatic experience. One of the roosters was my favorite of all of our animals. I loved him to death. But they were crowing at 5 in the morning and I feared I was risking the survival of my entire flock. (We live in a suburban area, and chickens are in a very gray zone.) So it was kill two or risk having to cull 12. (Not keeping chickens really isn't an option if I want eggs – I cannot tolerate even pastured eggs from other farms because they have wheat/corn/soy in their feed, and often the feed is conventional.)

After my first killing cut, I start crying. I felt that I had crossed some line, that I was somehow killing a part of myself, of my compassion and empathy, in order to be able to take another life. I tried to give them the swiftest, cleanest deaths possible (but as an amateur, I failed utterly at that). Then, once it was done, my task was to make sure I could use every single last scrap of meat and bone and fat. I had never in my life been so committed to wasting nothing. Peace came when I finally opened up those chickens. Their livers were this deep, deep, glistening purple. Vibrant and healthier than anything I've ever seen in my life. And that fat inside these chickens was orange – the color of the yolks the hens lay. I realized I could not possibly eat a healthier animal than one I had raised myself, and all of that pain was replaced by gratitude. I was grateful to these chickens. We had cared for them, that them room several acres, and gave them happy, healthy, if abbreviated, lives. Post-veganism, I am so sick now that for me, ever single piece of food I put in my mouth really is a matter of my own survival. I learned the hard way that I cannot live without meat. In raising my own meat (which I think we should all do if given the chance!) I learned that it's possible for me to have a deep compassion for animals, to cry every time I kill one, to say grace like I mean it for the first time in my life, yet to still know, unequivocally, that I did the right thing.

We also, around that same time, lost two hens to hawks. And I can attest that they had just as much right to them as I did; I'm not sure there is a higher order than the right to survive. Chickens, also, are carnivores who like their grass/lettuce on the side. You should see them tear apart all that insect life, and go wild over canned salmon. They are killers, too. And when we are dead, and the worms chew on our eyeballs, maybe we'll be chicken food.

399f81e0a0f8907ea14accfd4c1dde49
0
10 · May 16, 2013 at 2:06 AM

I say a prayer before eating meat, and try to slow down for a minute to recognized the consciousness that ultimately ceased to exist in order to power my body.

This is the one I chose. It does not touch directly on the above idea but the state of gratitude I hope to induce is usually created

Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir

Brahmagnau Brahmana Hutam

Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam

Brahmakarma Samadhinaâ

(Translation: The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.)

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0
279 · September 10, 2010 at 2:29 AM

The question Kamal poses is a good one.

I'm unconvinced that we have evidence to show that paleo diets (or vegan diets for that matter) are optimal for humans. I do believe, however, we have evidence that humans can thrive on both, though in neither case do we have really great randomized-controlled trials or carefully conducted longitudinal studies to look at.

The question for me, as an ethical vegan, is whether we can justify the harm done to animals that a paleo diet involves. Assuming for a second that there are are benefits to a paleo diet over a vegan one, we might want to know how great these benefits are, and indeed if we're going to fail to flourish on a vegan diet.

I believe it is wrong to harm animals for reasons of pleasure, taste, entertainment, or convenience. (I'm happy to justify this claim if anyone's interested.) Because we can survive and indeed thrive on vegan diets, I'm not sure what good reason could be given for eating paleo. It can't be a claim related to survival (at least not outside of the wild). So, I think eating paleo is unjustifiable.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
0 · September 16, 2010 at 10:33 PM

Hi Melissa. You're right that I want you to become vegan, not because I think being vegan is cool, but because I think not being vegan is morally unjustifiable. I would urge you not to murder, rape, etc. because I think those acts are morally unjustifiable as well. Your position that what benefits you is morally good is abhorrent. If that were a tenable position then there would be no way to condemn the murderer if he benefited from murder.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Gisela, you have misread that sentence. Nothing is proven in the long term, meaning nothing is proven with regards to long-term outcomes in humans, as opposed to short term biomarkers or indicators after a few years of a diet. I am not arguing against evolution, or against the likely superiority of a paleo diet. If you want, you can read the rest of the comments to get a better feel of the argument at hand.

Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7
0 · September 11, 2010 at 5:16 PM

@Kamal: "but nothing is proven in the long term as far as I know, for this specific diet." Now that's just silly! Millions of years of evolution prior to the invention of agriculture don't count as proof that the paleo diet is good for our genus & species? Yes, there are veg*ans who thrive on their chosen diet, but that doesn't mean everyone could or would. I know I couldn't, and neither could anyone else in my family who has tried it. We (my extended family) all seem to be obligate omnivores with a distinct vulnerability to refined carbohydrate poisoning.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Naphtali, where do you get your evidence that we cannot thrive on a veg*n diet? Because this would make a great paper. Paleo improves several intermediate biomarkers related to health, but nothing is proven in the long term as far as I know, for this specific diet. I personally know many veg*ns who are thriving. I'd like to see you go up to them and tell them how miserable their digestion, energy levels, etc are. Or for the older ones, you can tell them how they are slowly dying of chronic disease, even if they are not. Fact is, some can do just fine on veg*n diets.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877
0 · September 10, 2010 at 6:05 PM

I agree with you @jbone that we can "survive"... but I totally disagree that we can "thrive". My choice to eat the way I do has nothing to do with entertainment/pleasure/taste/convenience/ yadda yadda yadd... It has to do with my health and my ability to thrive best.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Nico, this is true in many cases. I am a man and can't have an abortion, but support others' rights to have an abortion. I do not have more than $200 in my bank account, but oppose others' rights to embezzle money. I do believe Melissa's point as written is logically inconsistent.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:42 PM

I don't really agree with Jbone, but I have to defend him in so far as, if it turns out that some action is morally wrong, then it follows that it is wrong for other to do it. So it makes sense to argue with Jbone over the proposition "it is morally wrong to kill animals", but it doesn't work to say "we're better because we're not telling you what you should do but you're telling us what we should do".

Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Question for you, JBone: what are you, or more precisely, what are human beings?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:17 AM

Sometimes I don't want other to do things, and sometimes I want others to do things. I believed in anarchy in middle school, but now I'm pretty sure some public input on individual actions is a good thing...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Difference between gay rights and animal rights is that as a proponent of gay rights I simply want the right to do things for myself (like get married), whereas animal rights is about wanting others not do things. Big difference. I don't know any paleos who tell non-paleos their diet is immoral either...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Another comparison. If someone evangelizes to me about religion, I'd ask them to please shut up, because there is no rational reason to believe in a magical god. If someone evangelizes about animal rights, I'd allow them to speak for at least 15 seconds, because things involving large scale health and large scale killing are not so black and white, and warrant at least a bit of thought.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 3:08 AM

First of all, some paleos do push their ideas onto others without requisite analysis (not you, your posts are quite well thought out). Second of all, paleo is about your health and veganism is about other's (animals') rights. I am not so into rights, but if I was, I'd push my ideas. The reason is the same reason that people were up in arms about civil rights, or are up in arms about gay rights. If you are passionate about something that you believe significantly tilts the utility of a group of people/animals for the positive, you try to stop others from producing harm.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:54 AM

The difference between paleo and vegan is that I could care less if Kamal is vegan. If veganism is right for him, great! I generally promote paleo because I think it improves the health of most people. Contrast that with Jbone and other AR-vegans. They would really really really like me to be vegan. In fact, they believe that since I'm not vegan I am morally wrong. Big difference.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:51 AM

Another way of looking at it: it's all to easy to look down on other diets once you've stumbled onto paleo. It's as bad as being a snooty vegan. When good systematic reviews come out, or even something close to that, a more definitive opinion can be made about the pros of paleo vs the cons of killing animals (which I realize has a lot of points against it brought up above).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
0 · September 10, 2010 at 2:48 AM

jbone: While I interpret the evidence as 99% in favor of paleo diets with respect to grains, PUFA, sugar, and antinutrients, I do think you have an important point. Many paleo folks assume that vegans/vegetarians are miserably unhealthy, or just "tolerating" their diet. Some paleo folks have unsuccessfully been veg*n. The most basic logical fallacy is that what is true of one is not true of the whole, and vice versa. I followed 3-4 v*gan bodybuilding logs, and all were healthy weight with no big health problems. One dude on Lyle McDonald's forum was 50, vegan, and in contest shape.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account