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.


  1. I think the problem is more than her logic but her use of cherry-picked data that contradicts scientific consensus in some cases and promotion of pseudoscience ideas in others. A break down of her sources shows a heavy reliance of quite scientifically controversial pop diet and nutrition books as opposed to mainstream scientific literature.

  2. That's important to know (for anyone I mean). Can you include more detail per chance?

    I figured that much of her nutritional case is pseudo-scientific, but I can't be bothered to go through and cross reference every source! That's not what I'm interested in. A point in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

    Nonetheless, I wonder about her discussions on soy and wheat. She makes the claim that all sugars are created equal, and that definitely sent some alarm bells (the bull shit metre ones) off in my head.

    Anyway let me know if you ever find a site/post that takes on the sources. I would be interested to read about it, rather than doing the research myself.


  4. Sorry- I meant to add there, this link is a analysis of Keith's resources particularly in regard to her claims on health.
    Thanks for your great blog.