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I'm posting this at Brian's request. I do not typically post in forums, as I simply don't like the mechanics of the format. (It's just personal preference.)

This argument is different from what I first presented Brian with, as Brian asked some questions that made me rethink the structure of my argument.

I'm looking for comments, questions, or whatever else you want to offer.

My goal here is to plead for a consistantly rational response to ALL issues, not just the question of theism. I am bringing up the issue of Veganism for this purpose, but it should go without saying there are plenty of other issues.

I am a Vegan.

Here is my definition of Vegan
"One that does not consume products that were produced using any process that caused unnecessary harm to an animal."

Note that this means to me that consuming eggs or milk is fine as long as the animal producing the product was not subjected to harm to produce them. This is a difficult thing to determine. I don't pretend to be able to judge this accurately, or that I do in practice. I'm sure I buy products that violate my own terms from time to time.

I specify ?unnecessary? because during the course of an animal?s life certain pain is unavoidable. Just as a small amount of pain caused by the drill at the dentist office is ultimately beneficial to us, there are situations in which a small amount of pain will benefit an animal. In those situations I would advocate whichever actions cause the least amount of unnecessary harm.

My expectations regarding my actions are not grand. I do not think my not eating meat will have anything more than a minute impact on the market. In time, however, those who agree can make a large impact by shifting demand from animal products to other products. Shifting market demand should be the current goal of vegans, in my opinion. So even convincing someone to eat less meat is positive in my view. In fact, I think this is the only way to make a large impact because I do not think it is reasonable to expect large groups of people to give up animal products cold turkey. Forgive the pun.

The burden of proof should always fall on the person making the claim. I do make a positive claim, that non-veganism (for lack of a better term) is unethical. However, so do those who consume animal products. Those who consume animal products typically make the claim (sometimes implicit) that non-veganism is ethical.

If one can not make a case for meat consumption, one must refrain from meat consumption.

So to say

"You have not proven that eating meat is unethical, so it must be ethical."

Contains the same logical flaw as

"You have not proven that god-belief is unreasonable, so it must be reasonable."

As an aside, I think the case for plant-consumption is very solid, and very necessary.

The issue of burden of proof is one I find interesting because it is often ignored in this particular debate. Most non-vegans assume their case is the default one, much like most theists.


This is an ethical issue, which makes it inherently complicated.

Obviously, we all have different views regarding morality. What some of us consider immoral, others consider moral. I want to make it clear that I?m not telling anyone what should or shouldn?t be moral. I do have my own ideas about that, like everyone else, but that is not what I?m addressing. I?d be happy to explain my views on ethics to anyone who asks, but it is not important to this discussion at the moment.

What I am attempting to demonstrate is that your own ethical code favors veganism. I have many speculations about why this is, but they are not relevant to this discussion. Though I?d be happy to answer if anyone asks.

Here are the premises of this argument

1. You would not condone the torture humans or killing humans for food without necessity.
2. There is no significant difference between humans and other animals that would justify treating them differently.

If you personally disagree with #1, I fully admit I can not make a case for veganism to you.

If you agree with #1, let?s continue.

It might be said that we are superior to animals, which makes it okay to treat them differently.

What makes us superior? If this is a question of intellect, are you saying it is okay to eat anything with an intellect less than yours? There are people born with mental problems that are so severely retarded they have an intellect less capable than many animals. Do you think we should be allowed to eat retarded people? What else would make us superior? For it to be a legit objection it would have to be a trait all humans shared. Even as such, if we are superior, what about being superior gives us the right to harm them? This trait would have to have that as well.

So, we must have a trait that fits the following criteria.
1. Shared by all humans.
2. Not possessed by other animals. (Or even just a subset of animals if you like. Like cows, for example.)
3. Justifies humans causing harm to other animals.

Intellect comes to mind, but as I mentioned that is not shared by all humans. I contend that there is no such trait. If you agree, then we?ve established something fairly powerful.

1. You would not condone the torture humans or killing humans for food without necessity.
2. There is no significant difference between humans and other animals that would justify treating them differently.

Conclusion You can not justify animal torture, or killing animals for food.

If you can not justify it, even if we can?t prove it is unethical, you should be a vegan.

Just like god-belief.

If you can not justify it, even if we can?t prove god doesn?t exist, you should be an atheist.


Potential counters

1 It is necessary to (or difficult not to) kill animals for food.
A I live without eating animals without difficulty. However, that is a moot point. While we do sometimes accept that excuse for other immoral acts, we only do so when there is clearly no other option. In this case there is almost always another option. I would agree though, that if someone had the choice of eat meat or die, eating meat would be acceptable. However, I also would say it is ethical to eat humans in this type of situation. (The movie Alive comes to mind.)

2 Meat tastes good.
A It is true that consumption of animals can be pleasurable, but pleasure is not an acceptable excuse for any immoral act. For example, we would not allow someone to get away with killing a human simply because they found it pleasurable.

3 Aren?t plants alive?
A Yes, however they do not have a nervous system or brain. It is literally impossible for them to feel pain (though they do respond to stimuli in a way that resembles pain) or want to be alive. You can't want without a brain. There is no hypocrisy in eating plants but not animals. However, if you feel there is that wouldn't prove that eating animals is okay, it could only prove that eating plants is also wrong. If you believe that, there are dietary options.

4 What about shellfish? They have no nerves or brains.
A I personally choose to err on the side of caution here. I really don't know that much about shellfish anatomy, but I hear that clams, for example, feel no pain and want nothing. I'm not so sure about this, so I'll not be eating them just in case.

5 What if an animal does want to die? Or dies naturally?
A First, prove it. Second, would you eat someone who died of natural causes or suicide? I certainly wouldn't want you eating my grandfather so I wouldn't eat yours. However, this is not a practice I would object to. If you would eat a human that dies of natural causes, I suppose I see no ethical inconsistency with you eating an animal that died of natural causes.

6 Isn't eating meat natural?
A I think this is a moot point. Computers are not natural, yet we all agree that they are beneficial, no? Claiming something is good because it is natural is known as the naturalistic fallacy. I think we can agree that this is not a factor.

However, I am compelled to ask? what makes this ?natural?? Is it the fact that it was common among humans living ?naturally?? Does that make any practice widely accepted by humans living ?in the wild? natural, and therefore good? Doesn?t god-belief fall into this category? Doesn?t rape?

This is the argument that Brian tried to make. I would ask anyone attempting this argument to make a list of several behaviors. Divide them into ?natural? and ?unnatural,? and explain why they have been divided so.

I don?t think any action can be considered ?unnatural.? So I see the trait of ?natural? as insignificant in regard to ethics. Perhaps someone can give me an idea of what they mean when they say "natural" in this context. Of course, this is just for my curiosity. Even if there were a workable definition, this would still be a fallacy as I explained above.

Thank you for your time.

MarthaSplatterhead (not verified)
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MS- bold responses, QR4Q

MS- bold responses, MS-original posts italicized,QR4Q -original posts.

Hey QR4Q,
Here is my rebuttal. Now please don't be so closed-minded...

Just to be clear, this is in no way intended to be a "bitchslap" as you call it. This is, after all, a debate forum.

Thanks, for clearing that up.

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

You want to eat meat, then go kill a cow with your bare hands and teeth and see what happens... Smiling

We cannot blame ourselves for immoral behavior just because we eat animal flesh.

We have the ability to eat things that don't require killing animals and supporting the industry. I lived next to a pig slaughterhouse. Please spare me what is immoral. The stench, the screams of pure pain were enough for a rational person as myself to see something not right with that.

We evolved as omnivores.

I need proof. We have digestive problems concerning meat consumption still to this day, not to mention heart disease is caused by eating red meat in particular.

We can't help our evolutionary past. But we did not evolve as cold blooded carnivore killers like sharks or crocodiles, either. We must teach our young to kill animals.

Haha. That just sounds silly. Try this "our young" how to dig up some soil, plant some seeds, fertilize and water the ground.

Our ability to hunt and kill animals does not come from instinct but rather from social conditioning.

I agree.

And this gives us reason to modify and evolve our ethical behavior without contradicting our animal nature.

What is ethical about killing for profit? There is not much different than the holocaust in killing animals. You are saying they are lesser beings. Yet they don't cause pollution or landfills. They don't kill one another for a belief. The omni-carni-vores kill for need.

Consider this: domestic farm animals evolved to live with humans. Through artificial selection their genes have altered to adapt with us. They can no longer live in "natural" wild environments without us.

They will continue to evolve in whatever manner they do when people stop eating them.

We provide domesticated animals protection from predators, food, and the ability to raise their young. In return, they provide us with food and clothing.

What decade are you living in? We don't need there fur. We don't need their flesh to eat. Just admit it, you think it tastes good. That is the only arguement a meat-eater has. And even that is because of cooking and seasoning. You think you are doing a domestic animal a favor when you are just waiting for them to get ripe enough to turn the axe on them?

If you practice a vegan life style and still think vegetarianism represents the most ethical position, then think again.

Oh, here we go, I have thought again and again. I grew up eating what my parents killed and me and my siblings skinned and degutted. Please don't assume that I am ignorant to the meat cause from a few posts.

If everyone on earth converted to a pure vegetarian diet, then what need do we have for domesticated farm animals? They can't live without us and if we no longer need their meat or hide, then we have no reason to raise them (except for a few to keep in zoos).

What? They are being massed produced as it is. My mother has a dairy farm. Do you know what happens to dairy cows? Please look it up. Btw, zoos suck. We don't need those either.

If you think the free cattle roaming around the streets of India represents a solution, then you have not thought it through. These poor diseased starving creatures hardly represent an ethical solution any more than free-roaming feral cats and dogs, and they still require humans to keep them barely alive.

Again you are assuming I haven't thought it through. This is why I get offended and lash out with words like 'bitchslap'. India worships the cow. That is way different than what other countries do when they mass produce cattle.

In human terms we would call this genocide.

In human terms as opposed to...?

Ironical as it may seem, by eating animal meat we keep their species thriving.

Ironic? More like twisted.

And what about those precious cats and dogs that we so dearly love? They live strictly as pure carnivores! Now what? The question for vegetarians then becomes: "Should I allow an animal live a short but generally happy life, rather than no life at all?"

You think that by giving animals the crap in "dog/cat food" bags is showing how much we dearly love them? When was corn meal ever the main ingredient in an animals life?

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

I don't agree with your logic or you so-called rationality. These things have already been discussed on another forum, a topic called 'veganism'. Believe me, people always try to make me feel like I am wrong but I don't really care, (just like being atheist I might add).

I'm sorry, but that is known as "willful ignorance". In spite of the teeth of evidence against your argument you still won't budge to logic and fact.

This is not willful ignorance. If I felt there was a logical reason to believe in god or to eat meat, I would have to concur. I'm not the one being irrational here. It is the one who uses arguements about tradition and what feels good that is irrational.

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

You can get your colon cancer and call it a good time if you want to but I try to prevent such things.

Were you aware that for example, both plants and animals have saturated and trans fats, so simply eliminating animal fat does not necessarily reduce bad fat consumption? In fact, some vegetarian diets yield higher levels of saturated and trans fats (including hydrogenated oils) than meat-vegetable diets! So what to do?

"Heart Healthy Diets

Although there are many major dietary approaches for protecting health, experts generally agree on the following recommendations for heart protection:

* Choose fiber-rich food (whole grains, legumes, nuts) as the main source of carbohydrates, along with a high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
* Avoid saturated fats (found mostly in animal products) and transfatty acids (found in hydrogenated fats and many commercial products and fast foods). Choose unsaturated fats (particularly omega-3 fatty acids found in vegetable and fish oils).
* In selecting proteins, choose soy protein, poultry, and fish over meat.
* Weight control, quitting smoking, and exercise are essential companions of any diet program.

After embarking on any heart healthy diet, it generally takes an average of three to six months before any noticeable reduction in cholesterol occurs, although some people have reported better levels in as few as four weeks. An intensive program may be necessary to achieve any significant improvements in cholesterol levels and to reduce heart risk factors."

Also, I might add, you don't need fish oil when you can get your Omega fat from flax seed oil.

If you wish to lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol, you should generally eat unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and steer away from of saturated, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils.

The better unsaturated fats come in the form of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Short-chain Omega-3s occur only in plant foods. Long-chain Omega-3s serve as the best form because of the way the body processes them, and only animals produce long-chain Omega-3s.

"What Is Flax Seed Oil

Flax seed is 1/3 oil, and the rest of it is made up of fiber, protein, and mucilage. Flax seed oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids - it contains alpha linolenic acid, omega 3 essential fatty acid, and omega 6 essential fatty acid, and flax seed oil contains these 3 EFA's in just the right proportions. Flax seeds are also a great source of lignans, vitamins, and minerals.

North Americans are usually lacking omega 3 EFA in their diet, and flax seed oil is an excellent supplement for this. The cells of the body need the omega 3 fatty acids from which they build their cell membranes, which protect them. The brain is largely composed of fats called phospholipids, which are made from essential fatty acids. Thus these oils are essential for the function and structure of the brain and improve cognition, memory, moods and concentration.

Flax Seed Oil - Essential Source Of Omega 3 EFA

Research has shown that majority of diets are deficient in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and this can lead to some serious health problems:

* Coronary heart disease - Omega 3 helps reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, plaque formation, and cardian arrhythmia.
* Arthritis - Studies have found that oils rich in Omega 3 (like flax seed oil) patients can reduce their drug use.
* Cancer - Omega 3 has been found to kill certain cancer cells without harming normal cells.
* Skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis are shown partly to be related to Omega 3 deficiency.
* Omega 3 EFA helps improve your response to stress.

Health Benefits of Flax Seed Oil

Flax seeds contain 12% mucilage, which makes it a gentle, natural laxative. Flax seeds are perfect for individuals who has a sensitive stomach.[b]
* Flax seed oil acts as a buffer for excess stomach acids
* Flax seed oil soothes ulcers and irritable bowel disorders
* Flax seed oil lubricates and absorbs toxins
* Prevents toxic build up in the bowel

Flax seed oil also contains lignans that have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties. Flax seeds have the richest source of lignans, 100 times more than the next best source, wheat bran. Flax seed also contains lecithin which emulsifies fat and cholesterol. These little seeds improve digestion, help stabilize blood glucose levels, fight tumor formation and enhance cardiovascular health.

The Components of Flax Seed Oil

We already mentioned above that flax seed oil is an excellent source of fiber, protein, lignans, vitamins and minerals, and essential fatty acids. Let's take a look at some of these.

Fiber - Flax seeds contain soluble and insoluble fiber, and also contains mucilage. The fiber in flax seed oil cleans the colon of toxic material, metabolic waste and dried mucus. Flax fiber is an excellent food for friendly bacteria in the intestine which keeps disease-causing organisms in check.

Protein - There's about 25g of protein for every 100g of flax seeds. The protein in flax seeds is easily digested and contains a complete amino acid profile that your body needs.

Lignans - Lignans have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties, and Flax seed has 75 to 800 percent more lignans than other vegetables and grains. Researchers also believe lignans to have antioxidant properties.

Essential Fatty Acids - Flax seed oil is a rich source of 3 essential fatty acids: alpha linolenic acid, omega 3 essential fatty acid, and omega 6 essential fatty acid. (See above for some Omega 3 benefits.)

Flax seed is one of the best sources for the essential fatty acid alpha linolenic acid. Alpha linolenic acid is so important for bodybuilders because it "enhances insulin sensitivity within muscle cells." (1) This omega-3 fatty acid also has many other beneficial effects:
Flax Seed Oil Use and Using Flax Seed Oil Supplements

You can either buy flax seeds, flax seed oil, or flax seed oil supplements. If you use the seeds, make sure to grind them up before eating, otherwise, you won't be able to absorb them. You can add the flax seed oil to your protein shakes, drink it by itself, or add it to any kind of drink. Or, if you want a simpler way like me, just get some flax seed oil supplements, and remember to take 1 pill in the morning, and 1 pill at night. Eye-wink"

The evidence so far shows that fish provides the best source of unsaturated fats, something almost guaranteed to lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol, especially if you eliminate the saturated fats.

Yeah, and some are contaminated with toxic levels of mercury.

This means that the healthiest diet known, must include some animal flesh, and yet because some animal fats contain the worst forms of fat, one can also construct an unhealthy diet by eating the wrong forms of flesh.

Colon cancer, by the way, is said to be increased when eating degenerate amounts of red meat for long periods of time. My arguments were never in favor of engaging in this sort of behavior.

Well, isn't that what people do for the most part? Just a question.

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

It's really not anybody's business what I eat anyway. But I feel like I got to defend myself when someone is mocking my decision to not partake of eating meat. How the hell does this hurt you?

Belief is Santa Clause doesn't hurt me but that does not mean I don't call on its irrationality. You are right that it is none of our business what you ingest; however, consider what I say a health warning. Though I guess, like a theist, dispite the teeth of evidence against them, a believer won't budge to new information.

You assume too much again. You are twisting the conversation to fit your irrational belief that meat is good for you. It is you, like a theist, that despite the evidence, won't budge to new info. Eating meat-NEW info? What?

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

Why do you feel you got to take on the smug approach by attempting to belittle the chart that simply says what our bodies have in common with herbi-carni-omni-vores?

Imagine if a christian would tell you, "why do you feel you got to take on the smug approach by attempting to belittle the Bible that simply says where we came from?"

I attempt to discredit not belittle. It is not based on scientic fact and it must be countered.

If you are only trying to discredit, let's see the proof. It simply states our bodies comparisons. It is an interesting look at similarities between the different "-vores".

Sorry, but sticking to old information simply because it sounds good to you does not cut it. Take the adaptive approach of science better and discard the old information taking in the new. This avoids one sticking to false information.

Again you are twisting it around. Veganism isn't old. It's been around but definitely not main stream.

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

I am not an omnivore.

You choosing to reject meat does not automatically make you not an omnivore. I'm sorry, it just doesn't work that way. Just like a celibate priest is still a sexual creature dispite his refusal to engage in sexual conduct.

How about this then, you are not an omnivore simply because you will eat whatever is called food. Don't compare me to a priest. I am not trying to refuse meat just like I am not trying to refuse god. I need to see the logic in partaking in either.

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

I don't eat everything somebody calls food. i.e. 7-eleven, mc Ds, BKs, TacoHell, Big mf Gulps. See, not just meat. I mean BhT, MSG-preservatives, corn syrup in my apple juice! No. Beef fat in a twinkie?

Good for you.


Avoiding these toxins from entering your body is a sure way to say healthy. I am glad you have taken a personal stance against junkfood. Meat, however, is not absolute junk like you'd like to paint it and does not fall into this category automatically simply because of your belief of it being "bad".

I didn't call it "junk". It's not simply a belief of it being "bad". Every thing I have research on the topic has pulled me to sway that direction, though. We just don't need to consume it. I am living proof. Healthy and robust, full of life, fire in my eyes. So are my kids.

MarthaSplatterhead wrote:

I hope you enjoyed your bitch slap now Sticking out tongue

Why you insist that I meant to attack you directly baffles me. Ever since I joined this forum I was always a bit reluctant to post anything simply because of how people react to a post. It seems as though nobody can take a differing point of view without resorting to personal attacks (ad hominem). Can we not instead have a rational debate on the issues?

All I can say is you get what you give. This is the impression you gave me. I am not a mean person. I felt like you were trying to belittle me via post. You even said that you "accept my apology" on the other post without hearing me respond with an actual apology. I mean how snooty is that? I too was reluctant to post things for the same reasons but I figured, why not add my two cents. This is who I am. I think you would like me if you actually knew me. Vegetarism wouldn't even be an issue. I have friends that come over and barbique ribs on my grill. But for debating sake I like to come on here and explain myself. So, yes, I want to have a rational debate. thumbs up

Speaking of issues, lets stick with the death penalty seeing as that is the topic on this particular thread.

Thats what I already mentioned but you still posted it on the death penalty board without sending it here.