I have been thinking a lot about "ethical veganism" lately and I simply don't understand the position.
From my perspective, there is no such thing as ethics within nature, just a made up concept from over sensitive humans. Ultimately, nature is indifferent to the actions of living things, including killing.
All life evolved from simple cells. Simple cells consumed each other to get bigger, then became multi cellular and multicellular organisms consumed more cells to grow
and survive. There is no heaven or hell or karma and rebirth for dead cells. There are no consequences to cells eating other cells therefore there are no ethics and no action for a cell is more ethical than any other.
Humans are just 7 trillion cells consuming the cells of other living things. A banana is no different to a cow at a cellular level. Just a bunch of living cells. You could argue that bananas feel no pain when you eat them and cows do but pain cells and neurons cells that create the sensation of pain evolved to protect the organism from death but ultimately are just more cells that get consumed the same as banana cells.
Sharks eat fish, fish eat smaller fish. Banana trees feed on the nutrients in the ground that was fertilised with dead bodies of other plants and animals. All of life is just cells feeding on each other indifferently. Humans are the only species that have the concept of ethics, all other species have no ethical systems and act indifferently to other organisms. This makes some humans feel special and superior to the plants and animals but I think it makes them the most ignorant and deluded of all the animals.
With this being the case, the only reason to be a vegan is because it is our natural state and it offers maximum health and vitality. If I was born with a carnivores intestine and teeth, I would eat animals like a lion. But I am a herbivore so I eat plants instead and think my meat eating brothers and sisters have gotten a little confused by their place in nature. I don't think I am morally superior to meat eaters or that they are bad people for allowing concentration camps for cows and torture chambers for chickens. I just find their colon cancer and heart disease mildly amusing.
This puts me onto the topic of leather and honey. Honey is high carb low fat so there seems to be no reason not to eat it. Leather wallets last a lifetime and synthetic wallets dont. Is there any good reason not to consume these products if they don't negatively impact my health? I know you will say that that is a question of a selfish, heartless being that is indifferent to the animals plight but a cow would eat me if it had longer teeth. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, the nazis aren;t burning in hell and none of their horrors even matter. In a indifferent natural system filled with meaningless cells whos actions have no consequences, why be an "ethical vegan"?
Is it just because you are "good" and everyone else is "bad"? Or is it just because you are oversensitive and simple minded?
For what its worth, i still dont eat honey or use leather but I can;t help but think it all doesn't even matter.
the only reason to be a vegan is because it is our natural state and it offers maximum health and vitality.>>
Nice presentation on nihilism.
Just as you recognize that different types of species are unique, with different suitable diets, so I recognize that the moral responsibility that I have as a human being is different to the moral responsibility that other animals have. I agree that animals are not ethically accountable for their actions. But I'm not exactly the same as other animals.
As a human being I have a more refined moral sense, and so I have an ethical responsibility to do the right thing. Just like eating a good diet offers maximum health and vitality, if I behave well, that will afford my consciousness maximum health and vitality.
People that think ethics aren't real and that they can do whatever they want, and hurt whoever they want, are monsters, demons, jerks, assholes, etc.
Obviously nihilism isn't a new view but personally I find it hard to get past.
Watching animals get tortured makes me feel bad and I try to stop it, however, I recognize that that feeling is just a part of my brain that evolved to take care of the young to aid survival of our species and there is nothing inherently "moral" about it.
You are implying that because I have such a feeling and other animals have it to a much lesser degree, I have some responsibility imposed on me by the universe but I would have to disagree. It is no different to saying that you are the alpha top of the food chain predator therefore you have a responsibility to kill and keep lower lifeforms populations in check. Denying your responsibility to hunt and kill leads to ecosystem imbalance etc etc..
We have to ability to love, to care and to preserve life as much as we have the ability to hate, to be indifferent and kill. Neither feeling has any meaning or purpose and neither can take precedence over the other in a meaningless universe.
Humanism falls flat without an embedded moral code written into the universe of which there is none.
The good "metal vitality" you achieve by practicing a moral code can also be achieved by deer hunters whos self esteem come from bagging a large trophy.
All meaningless. Guess i will just eat my bananas and let everybody else argue and fight about things that dont even matter.
Have you ever viewed the film Earthlings? I recommend you do prior to posting again.
Many uploads available on youtube, such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrgJXcyYWQE
Here are resources aplenty on the why and how of vegan ethicality, including regarding bees and leather:
You've put down some interesting thoughts that are worth looking at more closely.
First, yes, we all certainly are composed of cells. Plant cells are slightly different in structure from animal cells - they have a cell wall for one thing whereas animal cells have cell membranes. However, the cells do not define what the animal or plant is. It is the whole organism made up of differentiated cells grouped in various organs that work together to create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. For example, while it is true that you feel pain because of neurons firing, it is also true that you can reduce the sensation by meditation. In other words while the whole can feel a sensation due to functioning of various parts, the whole can also affect the functioning of those parts. Therefore, the whole is indeed more than the sum of those parts!
In a way you've actually alluded to this when you say that you stay vegan because it offers maximum health and vitality. It is the whole that feels this, not the individual cells. As you say, they don't feel anything at all.
Now, it is the whole that conceives of ethics and not just human wholes at that! Rats feel empathy to such a degree that they will ignore a lever that releases a tempting chocolate treat in favour of one that saves a drowning friend. There are many examples of inter and intra species helping that illustrate that ethics are indeed live and well! Being an ethical vegan means that we choose, like the rats, to save others - through our food choices.
Thank you for making us think about this.
greetings craig! and welcome to 30bad!
i'll provide some quick answers to some of your items, but won't answer your main and rather interesting question "why be ethical" ... yet.
A banana is no different to a cow at a cellular level.
at a cellular level a banana really isn't a banana nor is a cow a cow or a human a human. :D
things take 'shape' through mutual synergy.
Humans are the only species that have the concept of ethics, all other species have no ethical systems and act indifferently to other organisms.
there has never, ever been any empirical evidence to ratify this sort of assertion. it's all faith-based hocus pocus. however, there is plenty of evidence anecdotal and otherwise to the contrary. for instance, look at the work by people like beckoff and balcombe which demonstrate not only that animal have ethics, but even spirituality. how about the horrible masserman experiment (downloadable file available from that post) showing altruistic behavior in monkeys - or you can see a youtube summary here. should you wish to pursue this matter, you can find plenty of other evidence in these threads:
so to argue against this sort of thing requires desperate ignorance in this day and age. which is only one reason that 30bad guidelines do not allow human supremacy syndromes on this forum.
This makes some humans feel special and superior to the plants and animals but I think it makes them the most ignorant and deluded of all the animals.
well, some humans really are deluded, but not all. so imho, we probably shouldn't generalize.
the only reason to be a vegan is because it is our natural state and it offers maximum health and vitality.
there is plenty of evidence for the health and vitality - in fact, vegan was coined from vegetarian by donald watson in 1944 and vegetarian has vegetus as its root meaning lively and vibrant. you can find real research to support the health argument in many places, but my fav is www.nutritionfacts.org which is dr greger's site.
however, vegan is not and never was our natural state. humans were scavengers and ate whatever whenever they could get it. being fruitarians in some tropical paradise is not factually correct. furthermore, arguing that being natural is somehow meaningful is totally meaningless. in fact, it is a logical fallacy known as appeal to nature. this sort of deluded reason can appear in worse form as the genetic or appeal to origin fallacy. if you want to explore this natural stuff and are willing to do a bit of reading take a look here:
I am a herbivore
if you are a human, you are not really a herbivore. besides, there is no actual 'category' herbivore in the taxonomy partly because plant-eaters come with such a wide variety of physical characteristics. however, many animals have developed mechanisms to optimize the processing of plant foods (and that includes humans) - so we can say that they are behaviorally herbivorous. neither are you a carnivore and you do align closer to herbivorous creatures (ie plant-eating) as this article will show:
I don't think I am morally superior to meat eaters or that they are bad people for allowing concentration camps for cows and torture chambers for chickens. I just find their colon cancer and heart disease mildly amusing.
you have good reason to be both amused and to think that you are morally superior, because in this particular area you really are morally superior to your corpse crunching brethren.
Honey is high carb low fat so there seems to be no reason not to eat it.
yes there are plenty of reasons not to eat honey. you'll find out all about this in dr's thread:
these specific posts will address several other issues:
Leather wallets last a lifetime and synthetic wallets dont.
this claim is not remotely correct. nor do you have to go synthetic, btw. i had a hemp wallet for years and i gave it to angelkate who we extracted into canada from the uk.
a cow would eat me if it had longer teeth.
i'm not sure what you are trying to say here. a cow with longer teeth seems to be a rather strange fantasy.
In a indifferent natural system filled with meaningless cells whos actions have no consequences, why be an "ethical vegan"?
if you go through the mountain of evidence provided in this post, you will see that what you think is indifferent, just ain't so. furthermore, all actions have consequences. in fact, as a zen master said:
when there is fire, it gets hot.
when there is rain, the earth gets wet.
always there are consequences.
no one is exempt.
there is a lot of info here and if we are to make any meaningful attempt to discuss your primary question, you need to process some of it. if you are willing to do so, we'll talk later.
I will check out the suggested videos.
At the end of the day, we all have our own beliefs. The buddhists will point to karmic consequences, the christians will talk about sin and hell and so on.
Scientific, atheistic nihilism brought about a world war, a holocaust, human experimentation and a whole heap of other horrors so am well aware of the dangers of concluding on the meaninglessness of life. Rats forgoing chocolate to save another rat is touching and all and I am sure there are many examples of animal kindness in nature amongst all the constant tooth and claw killing, but I wouldnt base my entire world view on such things.
As for the differences between a cow and a banana, besides the obvious biological differences, i was simply alluding to the fact that all life, both plant and animal, has a common ancestor born from the original cells that predated both plants and animals and that all life is in interconnected web of energy that feeds on itself and its probably best not to take all of this feeding so personally when really it is just a large indifferent cycle without meaning.
Cows with larger teeth was obviously pointing out the difference between herbivores and carnivores dentally.
The rest is just semantics and nit picking. Without ultimate meaning and eternal consequences, all human belief systems merely make our short lives a little more comfortable until our inevitable old age, sickness and death.
Thanks for the video Akincana. That was a very reasonable argument.
However, the trouble I have with religious logic is always having a faith based answer for lack of a better explanation. Neuroscience has all but concluded that our "conscience" and "moral feelings" we experience are the result of a small part of our brain called the "amygdala" and time and time again people with damaged or undeveloped amygdalas become psychopathic, have no empathy, kill without remorse and so on.
On the one hand you have a man of faith logically concluding on the fallacy of no objective morality based on his own personal moral compass showing him that its probably not true without certainty. Then you have science point blank showing that all your warm fuzzy feelings are created by a small part of your brain and all of your kindness disappears if it gets damaged.
However, the trouble I have with religious logic is always having a faith based answer for lack of a better explanation.>>
Your entire position is based on faith:
"nature is indifferent to the actions of living things, including killing"
"There is no heaven or hell or karma and rebirth for dead cells."
"an embedded moral code written into the universe of which there is none."
You have zero evidence to support any of these claims. This position is your belief only.
To be clear, you have not said "I'm am skeptical that there is a moral code written into the universe, I don't know if that is true." This kind of position is not a faith-based position. You have positively asserted that there is no moral code written into the universe. How do you know that?
Of course you don't, it is only your faith.
I dont claim to have all the answers and accept that my position is one of faith also. I have made no strong conclusions hence the questions. I accept that i am ignorant and will probably die so, along with everyone else.
You have to admit though, all of the evidence presented by science regarding human behaviour and feeling, particularly regarding empathy, kindness and love, paints a pretty grim picture for those basing their entire world view and philosophy on such "feelings".
You have to admit though, all of the evidence presented by science regarding human behaviour and feeling, particularly regarding empathy, kindness and love, paints a pretty grim picture for those basing their entire world view and philosophy on such "feelings".>>
I don't follow your point at all. Please clearly explain what this means.
I dont claim to have all the answers and accept that my position is one of faith also.>>
Personally, I have no faith in your position. To me, the idea that treating others in a kind way is equivalent to treating others in an evil way is absurd.
Take an innocent creature: Showing that creature kindness and love is obviously and objectively better than doing violence to that creature. Most normal people have this moral experience.
Your post says it makes no difference, but now you admit this is simply your faith, you have no evidence to back-up your position. I have zero confidence in your faith-based position. Your position is the worldview of a psychopath.