Author Topic: Pk and vegetarians  (Read 10937 times)

Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2008, 12:28:41 PM »
they are accustomed to the idea that they can have thoughts, memories, feelings and personalities.
Well that's pretty much what the conflict is for a lot of people. Many say that and many say that they are just acting on instinct. I tend to lean towards instinct, and that doesn't stop just with animals. Humans too are governed largely by instinct. At our base is a an incredibly complex makeup of atoms and compounds. They all have a function. All those come together and we are inherently wired to do certain things, self-preservation for example. Then you get into God and religion so I guess I have to stop lol.

I think many people choose to avoid the whole issue imo since they don't want their way of life to be questioned.


Just to be sure you guys know, I'm just putting thoughts out there since that helps me think all the way through things. I don't necessarily believe them wholeheartedly. I'm not directing this towards anybody but this just the attitude I'm approaching things with. I just ask that we minimize/eliminate any subtle snide comments so that this can continue to be productive.

Kineticstorm, don't worry, I think this is a good discussion. ;D
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 12:53:23 PM by Alec Furtado »
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Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2008, 12:56:50 PM »
tombb, missed your reply, sorry

I think that you putting more value on the synapses that have been placed in our brains is highly subjective.  The scratches on a carrot are just as unique and can tell us quite a bit about the carrot, its environment and its surroundings -- very similarly to the synapses, memories and experiences that humans experience.  Just because you value the synapses and experiences of a human more than a carrot doesn't change the basic concept that both are the same thing.  Any weight that you put on EITHER ONE is entirely subjective...for an alien race looking at the world may not see any difference between a carrot and a person -- or a chicken and a person, if that makes you happy.  We all have several thousands of layers of complexity in us and you simply value the complexity of a human/animal nature MORE than the complexity of a plant.  Both are complex organisms whose biological systems deserve respect beyond the fact that they can store memories and conduct thoughts.

Re: Supplementation -

Supplementation is supplementation -- something to complete the diet once in a while.  Not on the regular; not in mass quantities; not every day.

Your point about aluminum is correct -- but the fact is many soy isolate and whey isolate manufacturers do not disclose this, among many other dangers that occur in the isolation/processing methods.  This is something you cannot eliminate simply by comparing it to sprinkling aluminum on meat -- its just not the same thing.  I can control if I am going to sprinkle aluminum on my meat, especially if i get organic...I cannot do this with my isolates and I may never know.  By the by, aluminum is cheap and legal -- i would do it if i made a supplement in the interests of costs and profits, tbh.

Also, i would challenge you to compare getting adequate protein consumption with powders vs. whole foods.  I lived this several times over -- powders are always more expensive, especially if you go for higher quality proteins with higher bioavailability.  As a sidenote, in nutrition, rigorous testing is only as good as the population it is rigorously tested on -- very few studies include people of my athletic and nutritional profile...

Offline tombb

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #42 on: December 16, 2008, 01:25:09 PM »
Chris, again the patterns on the carrot or scratches on a table are just accidental variation with no consequence, you can create random noise pattern so easily, any just as good as any other. Beautiful melodies or educational books instead are incredibly rare (compared to random patterns) and -immensely- more useful (think of getting your hand on a physiology, biology or engineering textbook from 1000 years in the future for example).

Not only but this attribution of value is not at all arbitrary.  There simply isn't anybody or anything who cares about those scratches (not even the carrot, and for that matter, do I care about the exact pattern of almost imperceptible wrinkles on my skin, obviously not) or has any valid arguments for caring about those more.
Even when they can be used to deduce some other information like past events, collect that information and then destroy the patterns, the patterns themselves were never interesting in themselves.
Even an alien species would be able to immediately tell the difference in utility and amount of information on random scratches of carrots. You can capture and reproduce those patterns in a few megabytes of data, while the complex interconnections of your brain that allow such complex new thoughts to be generated all the times would take incredibly massive storage to capture. Plus while again scratches on a table do nothing, patterns in a single brain can save or destroy entire continents or civilizations.

Your response to Kineticstorm make me want to point out a few more things:
The fact that we can send action potentials down a very specific type of cell (i.e. experience pain, thought and sensation) does not make us any better than carrots.  We are all living things -- just different kinds of life.  Segregating something based on the fact that it is a plant is still a segregation of life.

As far as a pig screaming, would it make you happier if we anesthetized the animals first so that they couldn't scream or saw death coming?  The PITA videos do little to sway me, i have seen them all.
The fact that neurons transmit electricity doesn't mean that you can just ignore considering alternative courses of action and ignore that there are much less cruel courses of action.

Your neurons and brain allow you to experience much more than a carrot might experience, realize or understand, both good things and bad things.
You can't phase a carrot by killing its whole family in front of it. But you as a person would certainly mind and suffer greatly if you had to be subjected to it. Would you not think of it as an unethical act performed on you?
And if you had to be killed would you not rather die peacefully than have your death prolonged in agony and torture?
You know well that an animal would prefer the same things too, so if it was little extra effort, should you not choose less cruel ways to treat others?  Yet it sounds like you are again suggesting that killing pigs slowly and hearing their sqeeling is as relaxing and neutral to you as picking an apple.  Just because I am not squeamish at all, it doesn't mean that I wouldn't mind if you took say your own pet pig and started cutting it up alive in a torturous way for fun for example.  And before you say of course that's not for food, why is that so different, killing is certainly not a necessity for survival or health in this lifetime in your current conditions, so while you might want to stop that torture on the pig, he might just say that's part of his life/instincts/whatever too, and with your "everything is as worthless as scratches on a table" attitude I don't think you could really have much of a comeback to his position.

I find maiming, torturing, and mutilating people very disturbing, especially at an ethical and intellectual level.
On the other hand, the same actions are not disturbing to me at all if they are instead voluntary surgery (if possible under anesthesia) and for the purpose of improving that person's life.  That is, I am not squeamish, it's not about cutting up or hearing screams of pain, rather I am disturbed by the intentional inflicting of pain against someone's will or with the intent to permanently scarring innocent good people.


Alec, we are advanced enough as sentient organisms that we can make almost whatever we want part of our life. And you can see from the vast cultural differences that there is very little that is necessarily "part of life" or natural.  Microprocessors are much more a part of my life than hunting/gathering, war, violence or whatever else someone might like to think as "natural" or "inescapable".  If there was really some crazy molecule or gene that went against my best judgment and goals, there are plenty of ways to silence genes and block molecules ;) there are plenty of natural biological responses that are greatly inadequate compared to what we can do with our brains, one example is fever response above 40C, which is completely useless and will cause permanent brain and nervous damage and kill you and do very little more to really slow down infection.

I think many people choose to avoid the whole issue imo since they don't want their way of life to be questioned.
I think most people who debate and consider these things are doing exactly the opposite of what you are suggesting, they are not avoiding issues and they are not worried to have their way of life questioned.
Rather, they are questioning their motivations head-on, rather than just following blindly the norm of their cultural surroundings.  Regardless of their conclusions, they are happy to discuss it because they have spent years thinking about these issues from all possible sides and can answer with more than "because it's normal and everybody does it".

Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2008, 01:49:04 PM »
Chris, again the patterns on the carrot or scratches on a table are just accidental variation with no consequence, you can create random noise pattern so easily, any just as good as any other. Beautiful melodies or educational books instead are incredibly rare (compared to random patterns) and -immensely- more useful (think of getting your hand on a physiology, biology or engineering textbook from 1000 years in the future for example).

Not only but this attribution of value is not at all arbitrary.  There simply isn't anybody or anything who cares about those scratches (not even the carrot, and for that matter, do I care about the exact pattern of almost imperceptible wrinkles on my skin, obviously not) or has any valid arguments for caring about those more.
Even when they can be used to deduce some other information like past events, collect that information and then destroy the patterns, the patterns themselves were never interesting in themselves.
Even an alien species would be able to immediately tell the difference in utility and amount of information on random scratches of carrots. You can capture and reproduce those patterns in a few megabytes of data, while the complex interconnections of your brain that allow such complex new thoughts to be generated all the times would take incredibly massive storage to capture. Plus while again scratches on a table do nothing, patterns in a single brain can save or destroy entire continents or civilizations.

I haven't been reading ALL of each post, because I think this is a silly discussion.  That said, philosophy disagrees with you here, Tombb.  We have yet to find something that happened without a cause, so finding truly "random" things is pretty rare.  If you make a "random" noise, its only really "random" because its easier for you to say its random than it is to sit down and determine its cause.  The act of making the noise in the first place was predicated by something, and that act in turn was predicated by something, etc. etc.

The same could be said for "carrot scratches."  They may seem to be of no consequence, but they happened for SOME reason ("This table is scratched right here because I tripped because someone left a toy truck on the floor because that someone is a small child and hasn't learned yet, and I bought them a toy truck because toy trucks make them happy.  I care about the person's happiness because it's my little brother, because my mom gave birth to him..." literally everything can undergo this examination).  Every single seemingly "random, inconsequential" thing tells a story; Sherlock Holmes (even though he's a fictional character) has taught us this much.  The truth is that the world is completely packed to the brim with meaning and intention (or, at the very least, causality), and we turn a blind eye to the vast majority of it because it would simply be too much to think about.  When I have time, I genuinely do enjoy getting lost in some minor detail like a scratch on a carrot.  I wonder where it came from, what caused it, etc... it's sort of my job as a philosophy student: examining and questioning where almost EVERYONE else is not concerned.

Regardless of a bunch of philosophical particularity, this thread doesn't seem to be very useful.  Yes, the subject has moved from a vegetarian diet to ethics, and that's okay and sort of expected, but this isn't a discussion.  It's reasonably certain at this point--since the content and position of everyone's posts hasn't changed for the last page or so--that people are interested in holding their ground come what may.  Conversations are only useful if people are willing to start from (and stick to) the position of "I may be wrong, here's what I think..." and since it doesn't seem that anyone is, you're all just butting heads.  It seems like a big waste of time and energy, and unless you can all reorient your positions, there's really no reason to continue posting.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 01:53:17 PM by Eli Kurtz »

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2008, 02:03:06 PM »
It seems like a big waste of time and energy, and unless you can all reorient your positions, there's really no reason to continue posting.

Agreed -- and I thank you for breaking the cycle.

Offline tombb

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #45 on: December 16, 2008, 02:23:56 PM »
That said, philosophy disagrees with you here, Tombb.  We have yet to find something that happened without a cause, so finding truly "random" things is pretty rare.  If you make a "random" noise, its only really "random" because its easier for you to say its random than it is to sit down and determine its cause.  The act of making the noise in the first place was predicated by something, and that act in turn was predicated by something, etc. etc.
Eli,
Actually quantum physics (as well as philosophy/logic and even mathematics) agrees with me and disagrees with your statement, at the base of every particle physics event is true randomness, you just don't always see it at large scales and with large averages. It's just an inescapable reality of our universe, you can test this over and over (again quantum physics, which is what allows most of our higher-tech devices to work) and you will come to the same conclusion. Einstein didn't like the idea of "god playing dice" and tried hard to find some counterexamples but ultimately conceded it.

The same could be said for "carrot scratches."  They may seem to be of no consequence, but they happened for SOME reason ("This table is scratched right here because I tripped because someone left a toy truck on the floor because that someone is a small child and hasn't learned yet, and I bought them a toy truck because toy trucks make them happy.  I care about the person's happiness because it's my little brother, because my mom gave birth to him..." literally everything can undergo this examination).  Every single seemingly "random, inconsequential" thing tells a story; Sherlock Holmes (even though he's a fictional character) has taught us this much.  The truth is that the world is completely packed to the brim with meaning and intention (or, at the very least, causality), and we turn a blind eye to the vast majority of it because it would simply be too much to think about.  When I have time, I genuinely do enjoy getting lost in some minor detail like a scratch on a carrot.  I wonder where it came from, what caused it, etc... it's sort of my job as a philosophy student: examining and questioning where almost EVERYONE else is not concerned.
The point I was making about randomness was on relevance and utility, plenty of completely interchangeable patterns that are pretty inconsequential and useless, and random in that sense of the term, not in the sense of not having a cause.

Who cares about the exact foam pattern on every single sea wave that touches the shores. Any other pattern would have had the same consequences, hence why they are generally described as random, as in completely inconsequential, replaceable etc.

Instead, the exact pattern on a circuitboard is very specific and very meaningful because it performs very useful functions, and even a single variation or defect in it will make it stop working (and possibly become as useless as once again the random scratches on a carrot or table).
Similarly, you say you enjoy looking at scratches on a carrot, I have to admit that is a first for me, but again I would say they seem irrelevant because even to you they -are- irrelevant. Any other carrot, any other pattern would do.
And while a Sherlock Holmes or CSI crime investigator might find useful information even in something normally as irrelevant as a carrot, a very specific carrot near a crime scene in this case, again they don't care about the carrot patterns in themselves. They only briefly care about that information that might have accidentally being left imprinted on it, or fingerprints on a glass. Otherwise normally if you buy me the same glass you break that would be fine for me.

Regardless of a bunch of philosophical particularity, this thread doesn't seem to be very useful.  Yes, the subject has moved from a vegetarian diet to ethics, and that's okay and sort of expected, but this isn't a discussion.  It's reasonably certain at this point--since the content and position of everyone's posts hasn't changed for the last page or so--that people are interested in holding their ground come what may.  Conversations are only useful if people are willing to start from (and stick to) the position of "I may be wrong, here's what I think..." and since it doesn't seem that anyone is, you're all just butting heads.  It seems like a big waste of time and energy, and unless you can all reorient your positions, there's really no reason to continue posting.
Conversations are not interesting only if someone says "I might be wrong". On the contrary the most productive discussions are ones where you get to the main arguments for each view to a level where they can be compared and tested, as in this thread.
The goal of conversations is not to blindly convert people into your way of thinking. Rather it's to learn what points are on each side of an issue, testing them and comparing them.  Just learning that is much more productive than just saying "maybe, let's agree to disagree" or "whatever, I'll just start agreeing with you if you stop talking".

Just look at how many misconceptions people had originally, like people who don't eat meat must think this or that, or "Chris must have some crazy religious views that make him think others are sinning when they don't force themselves to kill and eat meat", etc.

And on that note, bad Chris :P for not responding to my last points  :( someone mentions torture and maiming vs more humane killing and people immediately avoid the subject....  ::)

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2008, 02:34:16 PM »
i actually wrote up a good response then eli posted before me and i erased it all...sorry :(

I don't avoid any topics, I just don't feel there is any benefit coming from this for the community or for ourselves.  You won't change and neither will I so I don't really see the point.

Also, this really isn't the place for this stuff and I am kind of embarrassed as a moderator for letting it get this out of hand.  In the future, feel free to defend vegetarianism till the death but I don't think we should be exploring ethics anymore here.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 02:43:51 PM by Chris Salvato »

Offline tombb

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2008, 02:49:04 PM »
i actually wrote up a good response then eli posted before me and i erased it all...sorry :(

I don't avoid any topics, I just don't feel there is any benefit coming from this for the community or for ourselves.  You won't change and neither will I so I don't really see the point.
Fine, send it to me by PM then, I guess :D
It's useful for me because I am always challenging my own views, it's the only way to keep improving them.  If there was ever an inconsistency in my views that would be the only way to find it and correct it.

Plus you left me stuck without reading the end of the story, I just got to the point where it's ok to kill because everything is sort of as worthless as a carrot, but I didn't get exactly if you think it would be ok to also kill people if there was no consequence for you and if you could make enough money by mugging someone to buy steak say for 10 years, or whether you really wouldn't allow someone with no crime to die in a less cruel way if it didn't cost you anything to do so, and if torturing and maiming people and things alive is really not any worse in your eyes if you already decided to kill them anyways.

All these are things that I am curious about in terms of how you view them from your position.

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2008, 02:51:04 PM »

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


Actually new studies are showing that some fish are more intelligent then dogs.  One was a common source of food.

Offline tombb

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2008, 03:08:24 PM »

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


Actually new studies are showing that some fish are more intelligent then dogs.  One was a common source of food.
Ben, I would definitely say that for dolphins (language ability etc), although dogs still make for more practical pets for example.
However If you are trying to say salmon or tuna (which is what I was referring to, not aquatic mammals), you might want to show a link to where that study was published (e.g., "national enquirer" would not be a reliable source) and what criteria they used (e.g., "they know when to keep their mouth shut" would not necessarily be the most telling criteria :P) because that would sound a bit 'fishy' :)

Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2008, 03:17:37 PM »
Eh I agree with Eli. Discussion like this on the Internet be dangerous since it's so easy to misinterpret things... let's meet up lol.



If quantum mechanics was all random.... why do we have equations to predict the entropy of an electron? We can't ever know everything about an electron by Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, but we can tell certain aspects about it depending on what we want. It's not exact but it's not completely random. 'Course people also thought the world was flat for thousands of years so... yay theory lol
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 03:26:51 PM by Alec Furtado »
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Offline Eli Kurtz

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2008, 04:16:38 PM »
It should be apparent how far this has strayed from topic.

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2008, 04:21:02 PM »

I would not eat fish for the same ethical reasons, even though it's obviously less endearing than puppy dogs and not as intelligent.


Actually new studies are showing that some fish are more intelligent then dogs.  One was a common source of food.
Ben, I would definitely say that for dolphins (language ability etc), although dogs still make for more practical pets for example.
However If you are trying to say salmon or tuna (which is what I was referring to, not aquatic mammals), you might want to show a link to where that study was published (e.g., "national enquirer" would not be a reliable source) and what criteria they used (e.g., "they know when to keep their mouth shut" would not necessarily be the most telling criteria :P) because that would sound a bit 'fishy' :)
I don't know where I saw the one I was talking about but this is close http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/3350592/Scientist-finds-fish-are-as-clever-as-mammals.html

Offline Zachary Cohn

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2008, 04:22:39 PM »
Get it back on track guys, and keep it there please. Less "quantum physics" mumbo-jumbo and more "meat is murder/meat is jesus" mumbo-jumbo.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2008, 04:26:15 PM »
im pretty sure this thread will die on its own soon since I don't want to continue the discussion here -- i will continue it in PMs in a few days probable

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2008, 04:26:40 PM »
well, yeah, but without the meat is jesus part :)
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Offline tombb

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2008, 05:01:46 PM »
im pretty sure this thread will die on its own soon since I don't want to continue the discussion here -- i will continue it in PMs in a few days probable

If you see me suddenly eating meat in a few days it means that Chris didn't actually slack off on this and that you missed like the most amazing and convincing mother of all eloquent arguments on PMs  :D
(but the slacking-off is probably a much more likely outcome  ;))

And Zach, talking about quantum physics can be fun too and is... um... sort of related... to veget~...well ok it's not related at all, but I had to point it out to correct that point about randomness.

Offline Kineticstorm

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #57 on: December 16, 2008, 10:36:06 PM »
lol thank you M2
So anyways, does anyone else have an opinion on this topic. I was more interested in just getting opinions on whether or not a vegetarian diet in general is a good idea, and whether anyone else follows one. My reasons for not doing it were originally not posted because I figured what happened when I did post them would happen. I wasn't interested in having my reasons ripped apart, because that's really not going to change my mind, just as I assume that they won't change anyone elses'. I guess what I'm getting at is has anyone else tried a veg diet and was it a good move.
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Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2008, 05:02:05 AM »
Every athlete that I know who has tried a vegetarian diet has eventually switched out of it once they start taking their training more seriously.  That is just my experience, though.

The reason I asked for your motivation was because if it was not ethical and was based on the dozens of studies that are based on non-causal coincidences, then it is typically not the best choice because of the difficulty of getting good, consistent protein.

Ethical reasons are the only reasons I usually don't touch when it comes to vegetarianism.  If you want to believe you are serving the world better by not eating meat, then go for it.

Only a handful of elite athletes are vegetarians and most of them have the genetics that it doesn't matter what they ate.

None of your reasons seemed to have too strong of a moral tie -- most of them seemed based on an article you read here or there, which is why I asked.  There are a lot of misconceptions on vegetarianism.  The biggest misconception is that the benefits come from not eating meat -- rather, the benefits usually come from an increase in the quality of the food being consumed whether or not it includes meat.

IMHO, you need to increase the quality of your food first.  We have a great article on how to do that very easily that has produced results for many people ( http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php?topic=12681.0 ).  Once you do that it will remove a lot of variables.  THEN try your vegetarian diet for a few months...THEN, if its not a moral obligation, switch back to eating meat fora few months.  Compare your performance and your enjoyment of food and see which one you like better.  Don't experiment for a few weeks, it needs to be at least 2 months long for your body to adapt and actually note benefits/drawbacks.

EDIT: And for the record, my above posts were not meant to convince anyone to my line of thinking but rather to show that both sides of the coin are easily fought for.  My argument is one of hundreds that can be used to combat the moral obligations for vegetarianism.  Experimentation and self exploration are the only ways to free yourself of the guilt some people will try to make you feel about eating meat...or to free yourself of the guilt that you do feel by eating meat...and when you tread into vegetarianism this is important because of the lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are also successful vegetarians...
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 05:22:12 AM by Chris Salvato »

Offline tombb

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Re: Pk and vegetarians
« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2008, 06:18:11 AM »
You were doing well until you added these superfluous and very questionable statements:
(1)...If you want to believe you are serving the world better by not eating meat...
(2)...combat the moral obligations for vegetarianism. 
(3)...free yourself of the guilt some people will try to make you feel about eating meat
...or to free yourself of the guilt that you do feel by eating meat...
(4)...lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are also successful vegetarians...
To clarify these points,
1) It's not about "changing the world", it's about doing what you are comfortable with.
Do you think you are changing the world when you go carb-free for a while? I am guessing you don't. Are you bothered by the fact that others eat carbs? Probably not so much.
Same for me, do I want to kill or steal? (just as example of other ethically motivated choices). Again, no thanks. Do I think that will stop all killing and stealing? No. Am I bothered that others kill or steal? Not so much, it's just part of life. Do I know it can be more convenient at times to kill and steal, sure. Does it change my mind? No.

2) That statement just sounds a bit dark, I am sure there are manuals on how to train terrorists and such that might have tons of ways to "combat" all sorts of moral reservations, against torturing, killing innocents for shock impact etc.

3) there is no guilt involved. It's about not doing what you don't feel like doing. So if you say I must kill something cute, I say no thanks. No guilt there.

4) There is also a similar lack of a massive population of successful athletes that are all sorts of things, physicists, surgeons, you name it.  But did you compare statistics of athletes who are also "carb-free" or "paleo" or whatever diet you might like at the moment? Find them for me and then compare them, my guess is they are just as rare, and yet I imagine you would recommend them anyways. Percentage of adoption of an idea is never a good criteria for determining validity, except maybe in bandwagon world.