I hate to even mention B12 because it just seems like one of those topics that comes up a great deal more than it ought to, but hey. The 'found in nature' argumentation is a real popular go-to for a lot of other vegans I know, but why is B12 that cheeky little exception? Everyone here wants it, but it's nowhere to be found in fruit. Can we really have it both ways? Genuine question, I know little about B12 because it bores me as a topic.
While I'm here, I'll say that the nature argument is a poor choice of ammunition for the vegan if it's conversions we're after. Someone could, quite legitimately, retort that humans are not exempt from nature and therefore whatever we do is 'natural'. Natural is a problematic word in general. It attempts to defer to some kind of ultimate truth. The first Aborigines were in to cannibalism, and it was natural for them as ordained by their culture.
What I find a healthy practice is coming up with the best possible counter-arguments to your own positions, and then mentally shaving off the excess until you've carved something mighty and worthy of pride and presentation.
I agree with what Marco said; an improper definition of the word "natural" is being used here and it introduces a fallacy into the argument that is not actually there. You need to consider what the argument is actually saying.
I would use the word natural to indicate what we are best suited for biologically, as a result of what we have evolved to eat. Any other definition does not make sense in this context.
I would use the word natural to indicate what we are best suited for biologically, as a result of what we have evolved to eat.
except that's not what the word 'natural' means, nathan.
there is nothing that equates 'natural' with the idea of 'biologically best' ... except under severe poetic license in fiction (ie the noble savage concept).
much better to use something like "biologically best" or "physiologically optimal" than risk the pitfalls of the very real fallacy than the word "natural" naturally carries with it, at least in my experience.
Well actually both definitions of the word are semantically correct, because the word has been assigned multiple meanings. It's just that one is obviously ill-suited to the context. Natural means "in line with nature", which is logically synonymous with what we are biologically suited for. Biological adaptations came about due to existence in nature.
But this is the reason I almost never use the word, and will usually say "biologically suited for" or something. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "i just don't think 'natural' is an effective word to use in dietary arguments." The word is too ambiguous.
I just don't like people dismissing the argument because they misconstrue the logic based on the definition of natural. When anyone argues that veganism is natural, they mean that it's in line with our biological adaptations, and that is my point. We need to consider the definition that the argument actually implies, not the one that automatically makes it wrong.
We need to consider the definition that the argument actually implies, not the one that automatically makes it wrong.
except if the "word is too ambiguous" to begin with, the "automatically wrong" is contain therein.
unfortunately, when people argue veg is natural it isn't usually on grounds that we are 'biologically suited'. most of the time it's some fantasy about what the apes do or how we used to live in a fruitarian eden but moved to harsher climates. you'll find plenty of these on 30bad (sometimes in connection with the big brain developed from corpse or cooked food threads).
now if we invoke the principle of charity i think you may have a reasonable point for the use of the word 'natural' (though i think it should be specifically defined in all cases). the problem is that that principle is in the realms of philosophy and even philosophers can't always agree on it (you'll see there are at least 4 versions). most people we deal with aren't even philosophers and certainly aren't charitable. :D
and if you have a paleontologist or evolutionary theorist nosing around, you can get shot so full of holes that you'll need more than the 30bad quota of water to stay hydrated. :D
so i've found it best to keep right away from 'natural'!
Biological adaptations came about due to existence in nature.
i like this! trouble is that the idea again assumes that nature has done something optimal for a species. evolutionary theory seems to indicate we cannot assert this with any certainty even though we can at least say that the better adaptations are more likely to survive.
i would like to have a "natural" argument for veganism! however, i haven't been able to find one in more than 2 decades. the best i've found is comparative anatomy and that's mostly pretty good.
so i'll go with your "biologically suited" concept or my version of "efficient processing", for now.
nice talking to you too, nathan! bye for now!
Good talking to you also prad. I enjoy the critical thought that I have to give to conversations with you even if I don't always agree.
Also, whether HCRV is natural, that could be in a very strict, specific sense: in that you eat raw food -as it is common practice in nature-. Of course, the "high carb" and "vegan" parts of the compound can't be argumented as natural, but they don't compromise the fact that eating raw food is natural ('found in nature', as Craig put it). That was the initial issue as far as I understood it.
The 'found in nature' argumentation is a real popular go-to for a lot of other vegans I know, but why is B12 that cheeky little exception? Everyone here wants it, but it's nowhere to be found in fruit. Can we really have it both ways? Genuine question, I know little about B12 because it bores me as a topic.
Excellent. So your assumption that B12 is "that cheeky little exception" is flawed. However, you do admit that you know little about B12, so that explains why you still (like many vegans today) think is is the "exception." The "only vitamin you need to supplement" on a "natural" diet etc etc. Since the topic bores you (it bores me too) I will try to explain it succinctly:
B12 is poop. The cobalamin-producing bacteria eats cobalt (a trace mineral in soil) and poops cobalamin (B12).
A lot of people say things like "lol you get it from dirt on unwashed veggies." Well eating B12 after it has already been formed is rather inefficient. It is better to get trace amounts of dietary cobalt from fruits and vegetables. Once this cobalt is in your system, the bacteria (in places such as the ileum and the back of the throat) eat the cobalt and poop out the B12.
Why do you think it is the "exception?" Well, most farmland soil is deficient in cobalt. Even organic farms. Some people say "lol as long as you eat unwashed organic veggies you will get B12." WRONG! Even most organic farmers (especially the big ones) use NPK fertilizers. What does that funny acronym mean? It means they only give the plants 3 nutrients and completely ignore the rest, such as, yes, cobalt. And even if they're applying compost or manure, chances are that the source of the compost/manure didn't have any cobalt either, since our soil is so deficient in so many minerals.
So the elusiveness of B12 is a result of several things:
-Lack of dietary cobalt in its organic farm (living form, found in plants but not necessarily in soil)
-Inhibition of body's ability to synthesize B12 from the cobalt it does not even have in the first place. Inhibition can be cause by consumption of any cooked foods, seaweed, algae, any other foods that contain "B12 analogues" that use up all the receptor sites, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, any type of pollution whatsoever, etc etc etc.
And maybe the least important:
-Lack of eating B12 that has already been formed by bacteria, i.e. on unwashed produce.
There you have it! Also meat and milk don't have any. Not even raw. I mean ideally they would, but the COWS don't get dietary cobalt either; they have the same problem as us. That's why "they" inject them with cyanocobalamin (a toxic form of B12 that contains a bound cyanide molecule that is released in the body) before slaughter.
to add to your nice pos, peter, there is the point that some people can't process b12 for various reasons. for instance, dr does injections because of problems he developed in the past. so b12 supplementation is likely to be a good thing in many situations. 30bad is certainly behind b12 supplementation 'natural' or not!
Guess this is what they call "begging the question". Amirite?
Why aren't those things natural?
It appears I, myself, have been too ambiguous in this discussion on an ambiguous word. What I was actually talking about was the kind of argument that prad mentioned; the sort that isn't grounded in any reality at all, and uses 'natural' as a metaphorical abstraction.
The context of any word is obviously important, but 'natural' has long been the staple term of any dogmatist and authoritative disambiguator (see: anti-abortionism, homophobia). It doesn't bode well to lend that word any usage if we're to win hearts & minds. Using it, I think, gets people to hop into that either/or dichotomy mindset that they've been trained to do, with the assistance of the media. The context I have a gripe with is the one where an attempt is made to have your view lauded as common sense without providing any substantive argument. Of course, the health science context passes the test.