Thursday, December 2, 2010

Almost done the Vegetarian Myth

I have been reading The Vegetarian Myth in small spurts, for the past week and a half or so, but it is due at the library today; so, of course I am finishing it off.  Before I am finished I would like to add a few comments.

First, I would like to recommend this book.  It provides the only challenging questions and insights that I have seen proposed by someone who is not vegan.  AND that is a GREAT thing!  I don't about you, or anyone else, but I am not in this so I can just call myself "vegan" or anything.  At the end of the day it is about the animals.  So,thoughts that challenge and cause me to refocus are more than welcome.

A lot of her points are highly anecdotal, which leads to a large number of informal fallacies (as opposed to formal fallacies), as her premises do not always support her conclusions. For example she started talking about how vegans always crave sugar, or all vegans tend to do this.  She used this as an example (and argument) to support some of her claims about nutrition.  Well ... obviously this is not true!  All it takes is one anecdote to destroy an anecdotal argument; hence why anecdote is not a very useful logical (or scientific) tactic. 

I mean I have smoothies more often than most people, but I have been known to go for weeks or a month without having any smoothies or desserts ... I mean, it is just such a silly mistake that she makes here.  I've never really craved animal fat/products in years of being vegan either.  She needs to watch her examples next time she writes (which I earnestly hope happens).  She is a good writer, and tackles worthwhile issues. 

I would like to retract any negative comments I made about this woman, and her character I mean.  She's a person, just like any of us, and she is on an earnest quest.  And since when has disagreement been a good reason to speak poorly of someone?

There are some important considerations in this book.  Her viewpoint makes it hard to not employ the genetic fallacy in combating her arguments, as that's an easy logical pitfall for anyone who is encountering cognitive dissonance, but that does not change that the challenging questions and thoughts are worth the read.

I'll write again on The Vegetarian Myth if there is anything more to say after I am finished.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Etiquette for dining in a vegan restaurant

Now I am not a huge proponent of etiquette.  It's just that most of the time it seems rather arbitrary and put on.  At the same it can serve the important social function of manifesting empathy in one's behaviour.  That's simple enough right?

There are times and places where certain words and behaviours are inappropriate.  For example, I am an atheist, but I would never talk about atheism in a church (unless addressed to do so).  It's not out of respect for any religion.  I don't really respect religiousity.  This is a blog about logic after all.  Spirituality is a different matter.  But, the other people who are there have created or at least the place has created a space where my discourse is clearly not welcome.  Other ways of putting this are: I wouldn't shit in someone else's living room.  I wouldn't talk about factory farming while someone eats a chicken that lived in its own excrement for its entire life.  I wouldn't talk about eating dogs at a regular restaurant.

I am all for transgressing taboo.  But disregarding the need for respect of others within context is something I try to avoid.

Anyway, you are likely wondering: what is this all about?

My partner and I went out to a vegan restaurant in Victoria the other day.  It's called Lotus Garden or something like that.  They call it a vegetarian restaurant, but everything is vegan.  It would be nice if they called it a vegan restaurant, but hey ... that's tangential and not the issue here.

As we were finishing our meal, we noticed that there were two people talking rather loudly about eating animals, and not only that but skinning them, and how nice they tasted.  The female involved commented on how this one animal (a small animal, because they are lower down on the food chain she commented) tasted gamy at first, but after a day of marination it was irresistible ... WHAT THE FUCK!?

Hey, I am all for freedom of speech and expression, but I'm not for using a crucifix as a dildo.  Come on, this was in a vegan restaurant!  You might expect that they were fat slobbering truckers with hunting gear on, by the sound of what they were saying, but they just looked like cute young people.  Sure, I shouldn't stereotype, as they evidence, but FUCK!  This blew me away.

A vegan restaurant is no more the right place to talk about cooking, preparing, and eating animals than a regular restaurant would be the right place to talk about eating dogs and cats (in North America at least).  As I am sure you can understand etiquette is somewhat arbitrary, and that is why I don't generally care about it.  At the same time, there are times and places where certain topics are disrespectful.

I wish I had manned up and told them they were being ass holes talking about that stuff in this place.  Seriously, what the fuck were they thinking?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Vegetarian Myth - Interesting but Often Illogical

I do have to say that Lierre Keith has caused me to think about my veganism in some respects.  That is not to say that I am really considering not being vegan anymore.  There are a lot of fallacious errors that she makes, which make it impossible for me to side with her.

Mainly, she makes insane hasty generalizations ... it's kind of embarrassing.  She brings up one or two examples of vegans doing stupid things with agriculture or food and all of a sudden that is meant to prove her case. I had hoped for more evidential support for her points myself.  But hey, maybe that's just me ... or maybe it's called science ... or maybe it's called being logically consistent and not an ASS!

I just read a passage that throws Keith's integrity out the window, as well.  Keep in mind that this is by her own doing.  She claims that this book, and her journey (or whatever it is) has been about actually, truthfully, earnestly (you get the point) reducing suffering and her adverse impacts on the world.

Then she explains, after going to a vegan permaculture farm, where the people don't seem to understand what they are doing, "[m]y carpool begged to stop for pizza and ice cream, and we soaked up animal protein and fat like parched ground in the rain."  I take it she thinks that she is being poetic, but the hypocrisy is so glaring that it's disappointing.

In the next paragraph she goes on to talking about how everything ... yes EVERYTHING is alive.  Honestly, that makes it hard to take her seriously.  A rock is NOT alive.  It isn't organic ... it exists, but that is categorically different from life.  Existence is its own brilliance, but that does not make it congruent with life. 

It is important to be cautious and remember that these points about integrity and the rock thing to not discredit the whole book or most of her points.  That would be to slip into a fallacious loop (employing the genetic fallacy).

I once read that this is a very logical book.  The person who wrote that clearly has very little understanding of logic.  Anyway, the main reason that I want to post today, is not to pick on Lierre Keith. This book has made an impression on me.

I am not so proud now, bitter, and angry.  This is great, as I always felt ashamed of the pain that everyone else ignored.  I felt ashamed for them, and angry that they do not care. 

The point is that my hands aren't clean.  This isn't news to me, but I am hearing it now with a readiness that I didn't have before.  The agriculture I support is destroying habitats, the earth, and many animals.  It is not something that I am proud of, but it cannot be swept under the rug.  There's no doubt that within this system veganism is still the better answer.  I am confident that without this system, veganism is still the better answer ...  The larger point however, is that my hands are not clean, and they never will be.  If I am ashamed for everyone else, then I have to be ashamed for myself (for parallel reasons).  That would be a foolish way to live.  The shame for everyone else was foolish enough to begin with.

Besides, a noble heart does not make the world better, until it has changed it.  I am more concerned with the interest and the sentience of my fellow creatures than most people ever will be, but that does not make me pure.  More importantly, it never will.

Lierre Keith doesn't explain or provide enough knowledge to make a strong case against veganism.  More to the point, that is not even really what she is arguing against, so far.  I am only about a third through the book at the moment.  She is arguing against mainstream agriculture (especially since the Green Revolution), and expressing her bitterness to her own past, which she sums up as a failed attempt at veganism. She really just seems like a bitter ex vegan who wants to proselytize her new faith to the rest of the world.  Then she tells us about how now she is an adult, imlpying wisdom.  Of all the words that come to mind to describe this book, wisdom is not one of the first that comes to mind.

Her main criterion for determining the wisdom of a person is whether that person tries to make the world (the land especially for Lierre) conform to what one desires it to be, rather than accepting the reality of what is.  This is an ad hominem in disguise, and it blinds her to the hypocrisy of her own position.  For example, she looks at plants and how they interact with the world and calls that sentience.  Sentience is something we understand from our way of being in this universe.  And she is assuming it into other organisms who interact with the world.  The fact that we can create some resemblance and some understanding of how they function does not mean that we know the whole story.  The fact that a plant interacts with the world does not then create a necessary assertion of its sentience.  The fact that a bacterium has biological functions and is organic, does not make it sentient.  What arrogance, to assume that we know the whole story from details of plants emitting chemicals and having responses to their environment!  It may seem poetic to get inside the 'mind' of a plant, but it is more arrogance and pride than anything else.  I am not sure if her's is an argument from incredulity or from ignorance.  But, nevertheless, by her own standards this is not wise, nor is it "adult."

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Vegan Reading The Vegetarian Myth

A Vegan Reading The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

I picked a book from the library just the other day, called The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.  By the title she means vegetarian and vegan myth.  It's been lumped together in for the sake of style I presume.

Anyway, I might as well get to the point.  I read the book and am completely persuaded by her arguments.  There isn't really a reason for this blog anymore, because I have been converted.  I'm not a vegan anymore.

Okay, so I can hardly keep a straight face over here.  I am not actually finished the book, and I haven't even begun to be persuaded by her terrible arguments.  I had hoped that there would be more value in this book.  It does get tiring hearing garbage arguments from non-vegans basically so they can pretend to justify their behaviour.

In The Vegetarian Myth Lierre Keith hasn't really distinguished herself from that crowd, the ones who make embarrassingly illogical arguments.  Although she definitely appears to have reflected on her arguments; I have no doubt that she is deeply convicted ... she has made plenty of logical errors, and cited Michael Pollan, of ALL people, as an expert on evolution.  I am not one for ad homina, but COME ON!

I would sooner consider the pope an expert on evolution than Michael Pollan.  Michael Pollan talks about domesticated animals and plants (and genes in the end) as taking purposive steps to evolve successfully with humans; its as if those genes had foresight to know that humans were going to dominate the earth ... LMAO!  The point here is that anyone who takes his thoughts on evolution seriously clearly does not understand evolution themselves.  It's cute what Michael Pollan does with evolution, like a bed time story you might want to tell your children, if you want them to get it dead wrong when they are in grade 8 science.  "It's cute", like what Michael Pollan said when he read the desk jacket of The Selfish Gene (By Richard Dawkins).  It seems that he stopped there, thinking wow, 'this guy is onto something' ...

But let's get back to The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Here are the arguments she has presented so far:

1. I got really sick off of veganism so it's not healthy. - hasty generalization - 'Here's a bit on tryptophan and calcium BAM! Veganism is unhealthy.  And I know some other vegans who are unhealthy. BAM! Oh, and it's not like I need to say anymore but we have to kill in order to live.  That's a law of nature or something. BAM!'  Past the bold and the link, this is a charicature of her argument, but it's also the bare bones of her first argument.

2. So far she has created a straw man of the vegan position, as if vegans are vegan out of a reverence for life.  To be fair, she starts with fruitatarians.  BUT WTF!?!  Why would you start with fruitatarians?  I guess she is using that age old rhetorical technique of presenting her weakest arguments first.  That way you get lured into a sense of 'man this woman is on crack and mentally weakened from so much crack' and then BAM she blows you away with a knock down argument.

She goes on about the lives of plants, and seeds, and nemotoads ... and hey I understand that we have to kill in order to survive (i.e. at least plants and insects die from gardening and eating), but there is a relevant categorical difference between a cow and a seed (or a plant for that matter). 

3. She seems awfully hocus pocus at this point, and all about the circle of life kind of spiritual mumbo jumbo.  The vegan issue is sentience, and it's telling that she didn't address that first.

The most worthwhile nugget I have gotten out of this so far, is that she burries the remains of the animals she eats in the garden.  If an animal I take care of perishes this does seem like an honorable way to treat it and return it to the earth.

Anyway, I am sure there is another argument in the pages I have read thus far, but I am just ranting at this point, so it's a good idea to stop myself.  I am pretty worked up about how stupid Lierre Keith's position is so far.  With The Vegetarian Myth I just wanted some fruitful discourse on veganism ... that's the honest truth. 

I'll read the whole book, but I hope there are some arguments within it that actually give me reason to reflect!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Factory Farming Quote

I read a haunting but powerful factory farming quote last night, in Mathew Scully's book Dominion.  I have been ultra busy with work, so I haven't finished reading it in ... a bit too long; however, I have to say that I am constantly impressed with Scully's style and insight.  This is one of the best vegan books that I have read, and I have read my share!  Anyway here is the vegan quote:

"Now, one might say, there is no more element of of surprise [in being sent to slaughter] because there is no more kindness.  The treacheries begin on the day they are born.  From the start they must feel they are in the hands of an enemy.  No creature of the factory farm goes to its death feeling betrayed by friends." p. 286.

How could an animal possibly feel betrayed when it has known almost nothing besides misery? This is a powerful quote.  One doesn't have to read fifty books on veganism or factory farming to get the point.  The world of Earthlings is just the way that things are.  Can you believe that there are people who try to write it off?  That blows me away.  Even the acts of individuals in that film are systemic.  The devaluation occurs in a mindset, not solely within an individual.  Despite how often I return to logic in my posts and on my pages, I understand that there is a basic compassion missing from the lives of most people in the developed world and the industries they support (or patronize). 

How can someone who supports factory farming be a good person?

How can any of us be good?

I lived in New Zealand for a year, and there were people who actually believed that factory farming does not exist there.  That is simply factually inaccurate (that is to say it is documented); just to give an anecdote as well: one could tell by the smell left on one's face by those chicken trucks that drive by every day, headed to slaughter, that they lived in their own excrement. The biggest problem with their delusion, however is that they point to factory farming and say that is not how we do it here.  All of a sudden they think that serves as a justification for doing what they want with an animal.  It's hilarious logic, if one can even call it that. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vegan forum posting

Here is a post I just made on the vegan forums:

[QUOTE=Stuart;661837]it is precisely this type of linguistic pedantary I am making an appeal to (yes! it is a linguistic concern!) Words have meanings do they not? And this term is servicable only for the purpose of grouping. [/QUOTE]

I completely agree that we need linguistic clarity on this.  Semantics are important.  Especially here.

While I hear what other people are saying about vegan being difficult (understanding the mindset), I completely disagree, and I don't think that we should ever portray it as such.  Aside from a little bit of self-pity over not being able to eat at quite so many restaurants, being vegan is not difficult at all.  Vegetarianism is not a logical stepping stone into veganism, and philosophically they are VERY different. Veganism is a logical stepping stone into veganism. :P If anything we should have a word for cutting out eggs and dairy FIRST!  Vegetarianism focuses on phenomena, rather than noumena.  I know that may sound zealous, but it is simply semantic accuracy and logical coherence.

It is also relevant to consider that vegetarianism is not logically consistent.  It doesn't make any coherent sense when you break it down.  Also, I don't tend to find vegetarians all that receptive to veganism myself (and yes that is anecdotal).  Regardless of how I bring it up, I am usually faced with a resistance (for my being strange and for my addressing an issue that creates cognitive dissonance) as if they are already doing enough.  Please keep in mind that this is anecdotal, so it is not meant to apply to all and every, but only my experience.  Hey, I think that any of us would feel more comfortable around vegetarians than omnis (all else being equal), but that's hardly the point.  What do the animals gain from this ambiguity?  That comfort seems more a sign of this ambiguity than a real similarity in philosophy. 

At the end of the day we all have much more in common than we do in difference: from our DNA to the way we react to love, but that can never bridge the gap between vegan and vegetarian.  Vegan has never been just about diet; simply put it is about treating nonhuman animals as if they matter at all, as if they have any interests that could trump the most trivial of ours.  Vegetarianism can't make a coherent claim in approaching animals in general.  It merely provides the illusion that it does.

I love omnivores and vegetarians alike, but I don't see any benefit to calling a boulder a stepping stone (when no one can see around the other side of it).  Veganism is only hard when you are raised to believe it is, and you buy into the lie - I acknowledge that there are circumstances where veganism is not so possible, whether that be for a man in northern Nunavut to a family eating 'bush meat' in Tanzania to an adolescent girl in Saudi Arabia.

Calling vegetarianism a stepping stone may create some bridges, but it also seems to concretize the cognitive dissonance created by this label (of "vegan").  Cognitive dissonance is our nemesis in helping these exquisite creatures.  We can all speculate about how many vegetarians will become vegan and how many omnis would become vegetarian vs. vegan; however, one thing that does not require anecdotal speculation is the fact that veganism makes more sense than vegetarianism.  Why would we ever want to dilute that?  At the end of the day veganism needs to be more normal than vegetarianism.  I don't know if that is possible, but it is necessary.
***note on my blog.  I am tired ... I can't sleep, but I do not doubt that I will agree with what I wrote when I am fully in control of my capacities.

Cognitive Dissonance and Veganism

This is a tricky bugger for us.  Cognitive dissonance occurs when our brains have conflicting ideas, which usually causes us to construct bull shit backdoor escape to avoid the conflict of ideas present in our minds.  Alright, sometimes this escape is logical, or at least seems so; the point is that we are completely invested in finding some coherence in our currently held beliefs, rather than trying to find the better ones. 

Simply put, cognitive dissonance (fueled by desire and tradition) is the greatest obstacle to human beings, in a general sense, treating other animals as if their lives and interests are worth anything at all.  That may seem harsh, but it is a simple fact that an omnivorous human will trade the most trivial interests of their own for some any, including the most integral, interests of other animals.  There are a few exceptions to that, but they grow less and less every day.  Anyone who can read this and type a response can become vegan, which just means to give a shit at all.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Work and philosophy

I have not been on here a lot lately, i.e. in the last 2 weeks.  I have been working my butt off with my new business.  The fact of the matter is that spending doing philosophy is a leisure activity.  It IS the MOST integral leisure activity for the well being of our existence; however, it is still leisure, a luxury.  The ancient Greeks birthed philosophy out of slavery of course.  The first philosophers were rich men who could afford to not work in the fields while their slaves did all the work.  Not all of them I suppose, although I must admit I do not know a great deal about the life of Heraclitus, Pythagorus, or Anaximander.  Does anyone though?

Anyway, the point is that there is somewhat of a dichotomy between work (and ultimately pursuit of survival) and philosophy.  If one is busy in the fields all day (lol I know no one really does that these days ...) then he or she has little time and likely energy to contemplate the deep questions of life.  Yes that is a generalization, and philosophy does not even have question in a prescribed way.  Philosophy is the love/pursuit/friendship of wisdom afterall. 

Anyway, I plan to post here with somewhat more diligence over the next few weeks (at least)!  LOL.

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Veganism is more important than discussing what is natural

Here is another vegan video that I have checked out.  Take a look for yourself.  This guy is arguing in support of humans as vegans (it appears).  In all honesty I think that the evolutionary argument goes towards humans being ominvores. This guy even says that "typically" and "generally" carnivores are like this ...  Then he goes on to explain something that is typical of carnivores.  It could start to head towards being convinced if he were talking about omnivores, and if he could say that ALL carnivores are a certain way.  His whole proposed discourse is somewhat of an ignoratio illenchi.  He is focusing on the wrong issue.

Anyway, the whole topic of what humans naturally are, evolutionarily speaking, is irrelevant in telling us what we ought to do.  That is unless vegan diet has tremendously adverse effects on human health, when done on properly.  I have never seen evidence that this is necessarily the case.  That does not mean that it does not exist, but the people I have read (or listened to) that try to shoot down veganism are definitely barking up the wrong tree. 

We carry the gift and the burden of being moral beings.  That is something exclusive to humans as far as we know, at least to the extent that some of us can reason to morality. 

I don't see why vegans keep engaging in this discussion.  It is irrelevant for our cause, except in trying to meet in an antiquated arena for discourse.  Two of the best words in the vegan vocabulary are: "naturalistic fallacy".

Check this out for a laugh

Here is an omnivore trying to debunk vegan logic by using at least 3 different fallacies in abundance.

Those fallacies are hasty generalizations, ad hominem, and the good ol' naturalistic fallacy.  I would spend some time rebutting the arguments more systematically; however, it is just so obviously not worth anyone's time.

I earnestly wish there were more omnivores out there who could propose good arguments for their side.  It really would make the whole discussion more interesting.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Who does not eat animals because of intelligence?

I think that the truth is that no one does.  People eat certain animals out of custom.  Intelligence really seems to play no factor in the actual logic of the ethics that these people claim to be supporting. 

Anyway, I added an interesting new argument to the common arguments section.  I get a bit saucy, but it really is a dumb argument.  Anyway, go have a look and see what you think.  This particular argument is on eating or not eating certain animals based on intelligence as a meaningful criterion for making that decision.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vegan Food

Soon I will be adding a new page on vegan cooking and vegan food for beginners.  This page will provide plant based alternatives to some of the core components of a vegetarian diet, making it easier for vegetarians to become vegan.

I hope to share some of the health benefits of a diet that does not consist of animal products.  I cannot promise that I will cover everything from pumkin pie to peanut butter to sandwich cookies, but I will add some of the basic and most fundamental types of vegan food. 

The bottom line is that eating is important to all of us, and delicious food can serve as a bridge to those who understand the logic and understand the ethics, but are still unwilling to change.  Anyway, I just wanted to get word out that I will be talking about vegan cooking to help out the newbies in a matter of days.

Keep your eyes peeled for some basic recipes, like egg replacers and ways to replace dairy products with homemade milks.  I look forward to sharing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I don't what it is, but I woke this morning with an itch in my brain.  So, I wrote about anthropomorphism on the terms page.  It was an idea that attacked my brain while I awoke.

I have tried to indicate that solipsism and the retreat to anthropomorphism are not only bedfellows or cousins, they are incestuous erotic playmates.  They have parallel absurd and unliveable (non-pragmatic) logic.  Nobody actually believes this stuff (to the point they would live it); they just like to feel mentally tough and earnest for holding true to their dogmas.

The flea to anthropomorphism is bull shit ...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Terms Defined: holocaust and CAFO

I recently editted the Terms page and added a few new terms:




Tomorrow, I will write on using the word holocaust in this context (or at least I plan on it).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Conservative Vegans

 Earlier today I posted these thoughts on conservatives being vegan on another blog.  Here is everything that I wanted to say in reply to an interesting and intelligent post here:

"Hmmm, I commend you for recognizing the illogic in labelling all vegans as liberals, which seems a form of confusing cause and effect (a logical fallacy).  Vegans often get labelled as liberals, however, not just because there are a lot of vegan liberals, or stereotypes and such.  Veganism is a dramatic change from the norm.  The norm in North America, especially Canada and the US (I'm from Canada) is resoundingly one of factory farming and more fundamentally animal commodification and objectification.   That is not to mention that the latter is our tradition, our heritage.

It seems then that this is not a conservative position, in that it is not attempting to conserve anything; rather it is moving towards change (whether that is in the individual or a matter of governance).  And, hey anyone who thinks on this issue clearly may recognize that something has been lost, and we need to conserve that which has been lost.  That just seems like trying to fit everything into these strange political labels, however.  Even if we want to return to the way things were, as a conservative mandate, that would not necessitate or even suggest veganism.  We did not evolve vegan, nor has it ever been widely practical without the mechanisms of the modern world to become vegan.  Veganism involves social and even political change, not conservation.  Perhaps I am being too literal with the word "conservative", but it really doesn't mean anything to me as a political self-label on a person anyway; rather it seems more comprehensive to apply it, at most, to someone’s view on a particular issue.  

Furthermore, animal rights is about changing laws and government regulation, not keeping things the way they are or returning to the way things were.  As you’re aware, self-regulation is allowed in animal industries and that has been a resounding failure.  Let us be honest too, it is only getting worse.  I would not be surprised if someday, within my lifetime, 1 billion pigs are slaughtered in a year, if our planet can handle that anyway.
Yes, in America, “Conservative” is more than just a position to conserve; it is a label.  Perhaps in this post/issue there is some confusion between political self-labelling and the issue itself.  Is conservatism simply what conservatives (someone who calls themselves conservative) believe?  In that case it is entirely subjective and essentially meaningless.

Also, for the other commenters out there, let us all remember that veganism is not just about diet.  It is important to be careful with that.  Ambiguity is great for creating different layers of meaning in literature and poetry; the same advantages do not apply when we are attempting to describe ourselves, however.  We don't want people asking us if we wear leather, eat fish (or honey), or if we are going to participate in the good ol’ fashioned American past time of fishing (*hihyuck*-that’s a hillbilly chuckle) or teach it to our kids. 

In the end, I am not saying that I am liberal, and I disagree ... I really don't care about those political labels.  I guess in America (or Britain) that would make me liberal, or anarchist, or antichrist, or something like that, lmao!  I'm just trying to create some clarity on this.  The fact that some conservatives are vegan does not mean that veganism and animal rights are conservative (and liberal, neither, or both).  To say so is to employ faulty logic, which is beyond liberal or conservative.  The fact that there are “conservative” vegans does not mean that it is consistent or that it can be labelled as a conservative position, or labelled as bipartisan or nonpartisan.  It is important that you raise the issue of whether or not conservatives can be vegan; however, it seems that that brings us to the point where the political labels seem kind of silly.  If we take that political label seriously, which creates partisanship, veganism does not seem consistent with the labelling, of conservatism at least.

This is the apparent argument of why conservatives can be consistently vegan, reduced to a syllogism:
A (Brian) is B (conservative)
A (Brian) is C (Vegan)
Therefore, conservatives can be consistently vegan. 
Nothing has been said about the consistency of Brian’s being vegan.  It is the undistributed middle term in this argument (speaking logically here, not “argument” in the colloquial).  Nothing has been said about what actually matters.

Anyway, I respect you and what you are saying.  I just disagree.  I mean absolutely no offence whatsoever.  These are just ideas my friends."

When an Omnivore Makes Hasty Generalizations

I recently added to the common arguments section on my site.

There are tonnnnnns! of 'hasty generalizations' (the name of the fallacy) made about vegans, the most prevalent being that our food tastes awful (because someone had a sloppy, soggy piece of tofu one time) or that we are all unhealthy, because someone knows someone who knows someone who claims they know a pale non-energetic vegan, or they've talked to one of the ex-vegans who now know everything about nutrition and have become paleo or something like that.

The point is that one must collect ample data before making a generalization.  And, I am afraid that a sample of 2 or 5 or a dozen does not create an even slightly meaningful sample in this case, especially if there are not the restrictions and controls in place, that one might find in a scientific or in this case social scientific study.

Go check it out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Note on Using Statistics Logically

Statistics can be deceptively persuasive.  You see, when we understand a statistic and just about any bit of a social science for that matter, we feel like we have some authority to make decisions based on that understanding.  Hey that is perfectly natural.  When it comes to statistics, however, this can be dangerous. Alright so it is not necessarily physically dangerous all the time, although it may be.  Let me explain.

When we come to attempt to understand criminals and their behaviour many people will cite information from demographical studies. These studies have an explanatory power to tell us what to expect from people of a demographic; this should not be mistaken for having knowledge of any individual of that demographic.  By the nature of justice and by the working definition we have of each other (fully mentally aware, adult, human beings) agency is a necessity.  We take this agency away when statistics are used to explain an individual.  Basically, it dehumanizes that person; in other words, rather than providing understanding it detracts it, supplanting understanding with empathy and sympathy, two important forces, but not to be confused with understanding.

Statistics can help us understand groups, but often not individuals. 

How does this apply to veganism?  Well, that is a good question.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Living Vegan

Living as a vegan means seeing an animal for what it is.  It means understanding the reality of this world and accepting it.  Being vegan means looking at an animal of another species and not seeing something that I can use, exploit, or hurt simply because I can, because I am more powerful.  It means crediting the interests, joys, experiences, and suffering of beings of other species, and not merely excluding them because they are not homo sapiens sapiens, or 'my' dog.  Being vegan means not supporting people who will use animals as things.  It means actively working against animal use, in any way that one knows how. 

Interestingly, I have heard the phrase: 'practical veganism', as if to label it superior.  This seems like a misnomer to me.  'Practical veganism' cuts out the obvious things (so basically eggs, dairy, meat) but does not attempt to go too far beyond that.  This strikes me as terribly odd.  It is not a problem for someone to stop buying brands of soap that are made from pig fat or cow fat or products made by companies that do animal testing (when there is an alternative to buy).  It is not difficult, nor unfathomable.  'Practical veganism' would be better labelled half-assed veganism or the easiest possible way veganism. 

The point here is not purity.  It is intent!  The 'practical vegan' does not intend to eliminate animal use from their lives past a certain point; whereas other vegans knock things off as they go.  Again, the point is not purity but intent.  Anyone who tells you that intent is not important probably does not like to look in the mirror.  They will cite an anecdote that points to the cliche that "the road to hell is paved by good intentions", as if that could possibly make intent irrelevant.  Acknowledging that cliche tells us that intentions can go awry in a certain way.  It is important to remember that intentions can be not good enough as well and that this is not only a reflection of who we are but how we want the world to be.  The soundness of one's intent needs to be matched by their actions indeed, and that is precisely the point.

I do not want to turn my back on animal's suffering, or pain, or unecessary death.  That is not a challenge.  It is an imperative, a goal.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Updates From Yesterday - I Added a New Page!


I know that none of you can contain your excitement at this fact.  The new page addresses interesting and challenging questions for vegans.  Obviously, I feel that there is both a strong inductive and deductive case for veganism, the best case even; however, this does not mean that there are no important matters to consider, whether that be for consistency in terms of logic, ethics, or compassion. 

Sweet, now there is another area for me to muck around with ideas!

Here is a link to the challenging questions page.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vegan Living - What Does It Mean to Take Animal Sentience Seriously?

The truth of the matter is that if we ascribe any value to animals at all we should not be harming them at all.  Whether or not you consider death to be a harm is not the issue here.  I deal with that elsewhere.

It is belief in the sentience of other animals, all other beings for that matter, including humans, that makes cruelty and morality (and immorality) possible in the first place.  In this sense if someone can be a decent person and smack an animal (in that action I mean), then someone else can torture it for weeks and be a decent person (in that action).  The point is not that these crimes, sins, or wrongs, or whatever we wish to call them are equal, but that if one is wrong then they both are.  Harm requires sentience to exist, as a matter of necessity.  Morally speaking, any frivilous harm is bad, given that there are agents that experience it. 

Most of us do not question human sentience, and the fact of the matter is that are brains are soft wired, if not partially hard wired, to recognize sentience in not only humans but also nonhuman animals on this planet.  I imagine we could intuitively recognize sentience in an alien species, but who knows.  Either way, separation from this intuition occurs basically as a result of inconsistent and laughable abstracted arm chair philosophy, if we can call it that (philosophy). The bottom line is that no one actually lives based on these precepts except when they are being inconsistent and/or psychopathic.  

It is a pretty simple idea, but it separates what a vegan is trying to achieve from just about everyone else.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vegan Soap

Well I'll be damned! 

I shouldn't be surprised but it seems that most bar soaps are neither vegan, nor vegetarian, nor fucking 21st.  Bar soap contains ANIMAL FAT!  Hey, I knew that this was common in like the 18th century and shit, but SERIOUSLY!  Companies, and especially the big ones, are still putting pig and cow fat into soap.  WTF!  On top of that a lot of do not care about animal testing at all, despite the fact that for cosmetics, soap, etc. it is not in the least bit necessary.

That is disgusting and disappointing.  It seems that basically getting vegan soap means going to the health food store to buy a $2 bar.  MOTHER FUCKER!  This sucks!  Alright, you can use body wash if you are into that, but you still have to double check, and you HAVE TO BE INTO THAT.  I don't like body wash thank you very much.  Call me old fashioned about the bar of soap, but apparently some companies and people make me look like I'm what they thought the 21st century would be in 1940.

I guess it is high time for me to make some homemade vegan soap.  I should have been doing that already ... Here is some motivation to get on it.

Or hey, if you want to rub animal fat on your body that has been tested on animals, just keep buying the regular soap.  But hey, us vegans are crazy because we don't want to have any part in this.  Man, what a stupid industry.

Excuse me while I go make some of my own vegan soap.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Relativist Fallacy

If you are interested in logic at ALL than this fallacy is likely one that frustrates you often.  For that reason it is hugely exciting.  The relativist fallacy occurs whenever someone says: "well that is true for you but not true for me" and the topic is not actually relative.  Of course that is total bullocks.  Go to the fallacy section for more info; I have included some explanation in both the Vegan and Omnivore sections, because I have seen people on both sides employ this faulty logic. Those poor souls.

The next time you hear someone say this above falsity, please give them an intellectual slap for me (not a real one of course).  This is a fallacy that pops its head up sooooo much that, one cannot help but loathe it utterly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Naturalistic Fallacy

For those of you who have not heard of the naturalistic fallacy already you have likely witnessed or expressed this faulty logic yourself.  It is quite common for people to become naturalists and experts on animal behaviour when veganism comes up.  Fortunately too their expertise allows us to make important judgements about how humans ought to act (pleeeaase tell me you caught the sarcasm there). 

The simple fact of the matter is that we do not learn about how we ought to act (morally speaking) by understanding what is natural for our ancestors (most people mean our species here - and they are magically willing to ignore the changes we have made in terms of memetic and temetic evolution).  Anyway, go to the fallacies section to see the updates I have made to the naturalistic fallacy section.  It is an extremely important fallacy to be aware of.  The ignorance of this particular illogical line of reasoning actually acts as a huge roadblock to changing how humans, in general, come to treat nonhuman animals.

All the best.  Be sure to keep yourself sharp and educated.  It has very important consequences.

Animal Writes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interesting Quotes and Today's Updates

I just found a quote in Matthew Scully's book Dominion.  This is a good book.  It is well written, compelling, and goes into some fringe areas of animal use as well as some mainstream.  I have to say that I was hugely surprised at how good it was when I first started reading it, and even as I continue reading it.  There are many quotes from non-vegan perspectives in the book, including those of 'hunters' and dolphin trappers of Japan.

Here's a quote from a hunter, James Swan, from In Defense of Hunting: "Psychologically speaking, freedom of choice to be who you are and to follow the guidance of your conscience is the most humane ethical position for conservation of the human soul."

This is the type of bull shit you get when people are trying to justify what they do to animals without being logical about it.  This book has numerous diatribes crafted by hunters and others about the place of animals and hunting in the world.  The major problem, however, with their frankly bull shit ramblings, is that they are abstracted from reality and science.  Check out the common arguments page for an explanation of how this is bull shit. 

By the way, I apologize for the swearing.  It is just infuriating that someone thinks that just because they can say something that makes it true or meaningful, and that hundreds of billions of animals pay the price for this idiocy is deeply ... gougingly saddening.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Added to the Appeal to Tradition

No one can escape the simple fact that despite what our ancestors did that does not make it right.

I was reading Matthew Scully's Dominion and was inspired to add to the "appeal to tradition" section on the Fallacies page.  Have yourself a gander.  :P

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Remember that I Update the Pages

I just wanted to give a pleasant reminder that the main content of this web page is contained within the pages.  I update them almost daily, going through to edit them and add content to them.  In the future it will be one of my goals to update on the blogroll, or whatever this main page is called, what and where I have added content.  This page is meant to serve as a resource for those who have questions about the logic of veganism, whether they are vegan or not.

Today I have editted and added to the Terms section.

P.S. Does anyone know what is the ethical position of vegetarianism?  Or at least what is a coherent and consistent ethical position for a vegetarian?  Hey don't get me wrong I see where their hearts are, but I don't see consistency.  I was vegetarian for about five minutes (alright, truthfully a few weeks) before 'going vegan'.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We Need to Answer This - Get the Question out There

I want you to take a minute to think about how you are going to answer the following question, or how you do answer it if you have thought about it already.  

How are we going to address other sentient beings and their interests?  This is a question that everyone should consider, as it is a HUGELY important question to think about and answer consistently!  Think about it!  We are talking about how we are going to treat tens upon tens of billions (probably trillions; I can't really count that high anyway) of other beings and WHY.   Has it ever been good enough to say that I will not even attempt to answer that question?  Has it ever been good enough to say that I won't even attempt to be reasonable?  Let us hope not for fellow human beings.  There are some questions that we do not know the answers to, but those are often physical, metaphysical, or ontological questions.  This question is ethical, and easily comprehensible. What are we going to do now that we know that animals are sentient?  Some people in the past may have argued that animals are sentient, and hey they were right; however, some of the evidence is, relatively speaking, quite new.  The question cannot be avoided.  It is out there. 

For vegans the answer is clear and logically consistent; granted no one is perfect, but veganism shows an earnest attempt to try to improve, and provides an approach that does not simply disregard the interests of other sentient beings.

What are other possible consistent replies to this question?  I have never seen a nonvegan argument that provides a consistently logical answer to the question of how we should address other sentient life.  The question is out there.  Answer it ...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Look at the PAGES!

Hey and welcome to my blog! I just want to give you a little tip; I know ... it is so soon ;)

I just wanted to let you know that the bulk of information on this site is not contained in the blogroll, or the posts.  Whether you are a vegan looking for a solid resource or an omnivore who does not want to be illogical, or you are just plain old interested in the logic of veganism, LOOK AT THE PAGES!



GO TO THE PAGES!   That's where the best and most updated information is!

Cool?  You got it?


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Layout

Now, I know have many many followers at this point, so many in fact that the counter on the site can't even keep up.  Yeah, I know, I am quite modest, but despite my following I have decided to make a change in the layout of my blog.  Previously I had figured that I would put the main Vegan moral argument on the main post page, and just leave it like that. Doing so would make the argument easily accessible to anyone, at anytime;  however, that means that I can never really post, and that's no fun.  So I decided to make a separate page for arguments that help support veganism.

The pages will then, contain a great amount of the most meaningful content.  If you want to seem common missteps in logic or ways to support your position or change your position to fit logic then check out the other pages (not posts) on this site.

My hope is to provide a resource that allows people to quickly reference the logic or illogic of thoughts and positions surrounding veganism.

I'm sure this all way too exciting for you right now, but hey, life can be just that good. See ----------->

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Basic Vegan Moral Argument

Let's just get this (the moral argument for veganism) out there, so it's explicit and 'out in the open'.  It's really quite simple, and it will give me the chance to explain a few aspects of logic! SWEEEETT! Come on, tell me that you're not excited ...

There are tons of things I could explain at this point, but we'll just start with the structure of this argument!

Oh excuse my manners. I haven't even introduced you two yet! Shucks.

Here is the basic ethical argument for veganism:

Premise A: It is wrong (or bad) to cause unecessary suffering to others (other sentient beings).

Premise B: The ways that we use (or exploit) animals for food, clothes, etc. is unecessary.

Conclusion: Therefore using animals for these purposes is wrong (or bad).

Now allow me to explain a few components of the logic here.

This is an ethical argument because it makes a statement about what is right or wrong (good or bad).  Ethical arguments do this.  This is of course a statement about what we shouldn't be doing, exploiting animals.

Also it is a syllogistic argument (a type of deductive logic). A syllogism is an argument where the conclusion is inferred by the premises, meaning it must follow.

The premises are axiomatic, meaning they are self-evident.  That does not mean that they may NOT be contested.  If someone wants to work against this argument they would need to attack the premises afterall.

That's probably about enough fun for now ... Settle down children.  I'll write again soon. Then we can have loads more fun with logic.  Soon I'll explain possible contentions with this argument and in so doing explain further the details behind the axioms.

This Blog is ...

A place to record and discuss the logic of veganism and other arguments that surround it.  This isn't a silly little game of patty-cake.  This is the real deal!  The point is to outline arguments for veganism (especially the moral ones), and discuss and provide knowledge of the various fallacies and logic of arguments for other positions.  Believe me there are a lot of fallacies that people use when they think they are proposing a valid argument.

This is a place then, for us to help each other stay or become logically consistent.  Now, I know, for some of you that may sound about as fun as watch the date on your calendar or watching the vegan cake rise in the oven.  To some of you the latter may even seem more entertaining; however, I encourage you to consider the value of logic in your life.  It is the foundation for a great of our meaningful discourse.  Whether we are debating or just having a conversation logic is the agreed upon mediator of our discussion.  Regardless of the setting providing arguments that are invalid or fallacious to support your case is never going to fly with anyone.  Logic is fun; it's a concise yet elegant craft that truly enriches our lives by allowing us to be people of greater integrity.

Jeez, this sounds so serious! LMAO! I love logic, and I think it's fun; I love having regular fun too.

Basically I just wanted a place to discuss the logic of veganism (and explain the fallacies of arguments that I have come across proposed by non-vegans).

It's about a logical approach to veganism. Arm yourself, so that you know what you're talking about.