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vava
Jan 27th, 2008, 10:59 AM
As for Ex-Vegans - they obviously had no idea what they were being vegan for in the first place because when you truely know, you NEVER go back.

I agree 100% - thought about it - committed to it and now no going back - period.:)

Haniska
Jan 28th, 2008, 09:10 PM
I have no idea what anthromorphizing means and have never even heard the word before - going to look up now!

As for the souls argument. I was recently helping out Emily on her essay and suggested that she write it on animal rights and religion. We came across an interesting theory about a story told in Bible where Jesus exorcises demons from a man/woman and sends them into a heard of pigs, which then goes crazy and commits suicide by jumping off a cliff. The theory goes along the lines of that if the animals didn't have souls, how could they be possessed by demons? Also how would they have any intelligence to know how to kill themselves.We also looked at whether Jesus was vegan, but this storey seemed to be in contrast to that - until we read another theory that Jesus did this to make a point about animals having souls. (Apparently Jesus and his Brother were both raised as vegans (something like they only partook of fruits, nuts and seeds)...again written in the Bible somewhere) That is written right there in the Bible. Maybe people need to read it more indepth.

As for Ex-Vegans - they obviously had no idea what they were being vegan for in the first place because when you truely know, you NEVER go back.


Good point about the pigs, how could they be possessed without a soul? Can a tree or a rock be possessed? I'll have to lay that one on my dad after giving it some thought.
My problem with that story is where did the demons go after the pigs jumped off the cliff? Demons don't just "die".

What you said about "Jesus and his Brother" I'm thinking that has to be from another book(possibly one left out from the Bible). Maybe you are thinking of Adam and Eve? I found this on Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Relationship_to_Jesus

Lots of speculation of course.

More to the topic, I believe that animals have souls because I believe in souls. I don't think that I am anthropomorphizing them per say, they are made of earth just as we are and their soul animates them, just as ours do. We are as different from them as a horse is to a cow.....not at all that different.
As far as me being vegan, I don't eat animals or their products simply because I seek to not harm or kill any life. I believe that all life is precious.
I think that it is kind of cool that there are real vegans (not just dietary vegans) who don't care about animals. I see a lot of integrity in those people.

emzy1985
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:26 AM
Yeh it was a book that was left out of the Bible. Infact I think it's more of a historical document stored in some ancient library or something. I can't quite remember but it had lots of detail about Jesus and his family, what they wore, who were their friends and what they ate.

Gwendolyn
Jan 31st, 2008, 12:06 AM
That type of question sounds like the kind one would ask in a condescending way, as if you needed them to ask, to try to point out a flaw in your reasons for being vegan. I think that it's disrespectful to do that, and if someone asked me a question like that, I would have a mind to not grace them with a pleasure of an answer. I feel that you can respect a person without subscribing to their values. I think questions about a lifestyle are great for people to ask, if they are genuinely interested, but if someone is just asking questions in a way that is insulting, that just isn't nice. And responding to the innocent questions that others ask is simple. Just be nice, polite, and non-pressuring. If they take it the wrong way, it isn't your fault.

Haniska
Jan 31st, 2008, 12:44 AM
emzy, I'd like to read that if you find it's name. I rather like stories about Jesus, so long as He is depicted nicely:rolleyes:

emzy1985
Jan 31st, 2008, 06:21 AM
When Emily gets her graded paper back I'll look up what it was in the bibliography for you!

Roxy
Jan 31st, 2008, 06:35 AM
Yeh it was a book that was left out of the Bible. Infact I think it's more of a historical document stored in some ancient library or something. I can't quite remember but it had lots of detail about Jesus and his family, what they wore, who were their friends and what they ate.

Sounds like some secret Da Vinci code book!

Klytemnest
Jan 31st, 2008, 07:41 AM
Shells;409780]Hi everyone. I had a former Vegetarian of 17 years, Vegan of two years, and now proud meat eater question my decision to elminate animal product. I don't usually get angry at this when people ask, and I didn't get angry at her at the time. I don't want to put people off, or judge them, since I ate meat not a month ago!

But how do you respond to someone who says something so incredibly stalling without coming off like an overeducated twat?

What this person said to me when I mentioned my animal rights concerns was this:

"You're not anthropomorphizing too much, are you?"

As if this was some kind of mistake that hippie children make. At the time I just sort of said "No" weakly, but later on I did think of a response. That I don't subscribe to an anthropcentric ethic, that I don't see the only value in nature and animals to be how much they are like humans, that I don't believe in the assume superiority of humanity simply because that's "us."


I think that's an interesting question. I imagine some of us, perhaps even I, do tend to anthropomorphize. To me my cat Frankie is a little furry human. I worry about him being bored or lonely or sad or sacred, I wonder if he feels loved... I am totally projecting human qualities onto him and I know it. He is my baby. On the other hand, to assert that animals are not humans, should not be anthropomorphized and therefore we can conclude that they feel nothing is fallacious reasoning. It reminds one of a barbaric ritual that was practiced in the 17th century (I think...), when cats would be all shoved in a big net and then lowered into a fire, as spectators cheered and delighted at the horrific groans of the burning animals. The idea was that animals have no souls, therefore they do not suffer. So the screams of the poor creatures were not screams of pain, but rather like the popping springs of a watch in the process of being broken.

I think the person who asked you this question was really making an argument against compassion, as if compassion itself were a kind of irrational emotional reaction to which our hearts leads us because of the psychological misfiring that is called "anthropomorphism". While compassion itself stems from the emotional sphere, it is not necessarily unreasonable. We have very good reason to expect that animals feels pain, that they feel fear, that they suffer, that they feel pleasure and seek it, that they have an interest in being alive and pain-free. There is no emotion in this reasoning. It is a logical conclusion based on the information, the facts we have. One does not need to lapse into anthropomorphism in order to reach this reasonable conclusion or in order to feel compassion. Does one need to feel as if cats are little people capable of the full range of human understanding and emotion in order to conclude that causing them unnecessary harm is unjustifiable?




But how would you respond to someone who simply assumes a certain ethical framework? Is there any way to break through and make any sense at all? I don't want to come off pretentious, because then no one can really hear you, but I don't know how to respond without tapping into my philosophic point of view.


I think you should tap into your philosophical point of view. It's that kind of an issue.

Klytemnest
Jan 31st, 2008, 08:02 AM
ALexiconofLove;409880]Oh gosh, this always happens to me. I don't have an immediate response, but then I think of something five days later and there's no polite or sauve way to slip it into conversation. Boo.

I think the question of whether or not veg*ns anthropomrophize is an important one. Death is probably not the same for a dog as it is for a human... they probably DON'T sit around worrying about where they go after they die, contemplating the ephemerality of life, etc.... And if you kill a spider, its family probably doesn't miss it (because their family dynamics are very different from ours...). Omnis will think we are crazy if we literally equate the death of a human with the death of a spider. Or even if we equate the death of a dog with the death of a spider.


I think that is an important point to make. And, I think, it is important for us not to get carried away into anthropomorphism. There are plenty of reasons to be compassionate without giong there.


But of course your response (the one you thought of eventually!) was dead on. It doesn't matter that their experience of life or death or love or pain is different. Frankly, we will NEVER know exactly how they experience these things. What they do have in common with us is that they are concious (have a brain) and feeling (have nervous sytems), so it's wrong to kill them even if their experiences are vastly different from ours.

I am not entirely sure about that. Some animals are sentient, but some are not. Merely having a nervous system does not necessarily mean that the animal feels pain. The brain has to be capable of interpreting stimuli as pain/pleasure. Planarian worms, according to my high-school biology teacher, do not feel pain when disected. Their nervous systems are symply not advanced enough to interpret stimuli as pain.


I don't know, I always sound like a jackass. I seem to have much better luck when I feed people vegan cupcakes and talk about the health benefits of going vegan. Obviously that's very frustrating since we don't go vegan for health and good food, but it gets the job done.

That's interesting. I also "went vegan" for ethical reasons and considered the health benefits to be just a bonus. I wonder if this is the case with most vegans. Has anyone polled this board on this subject?


My mother is now a psuedovegan (cheating vegan?) for health reasons, and if nothing else, that means fewer animals are being exploiting.... My fiance, on the other hand, was talking about going vegetarian for a while, and then I think I turned him off it by talking about animal rights and veganism too often. Should have just kept feeding him cupcakes. :(

Hahahaha! My experience is similar. My mother is also close to going vegan because of her cholesterol. Whenever we eat out she orders the same thing I order. My partner also has high cholesterol (he was on the Atkins diet for a few months...) and as soon as he got the results decided to be try a vegetarian diet before getting started on cholesterol medication. He hated it. Now he is back to his omnivorous ways, but at least he is not on Atkins anymore!



I understand part of it: "I don't see what all the fur fuss is about. If it's okay to eat animals, hunt animals, keep animals as pets, and wear the hides of animals in the form of leather jackets and leather shoes, why is not okay to wear animals' fur too?"

In other words "If animals can be treated as property in a dozen other circumstances, why can they not be treated as property in this one circumstance?" And I think he's right. It doesn't make sense to eat meat and protest fur. The pet thing is a little iffy, as pets (like children) are treated by law as both property and living agents. I think he threw it in to confuse the veg*ns.


Well, most people think that they need animal flesh as food in order to survive. And, say what you will, animal flesh does provide some nutrition. But fur? What do we need fur for? In 2008, in the West, most of us can find clothes that are not made of animal skins. So fur and leather are particularly unnecessary for our survival and well-being. This is why I think protesting against fur is justified. Of course that does not mean that eating animal flesh is OK.

I have a cat. He may be legally my property, but I treat him as if he were my little boy. So I don't think having him as a pet in any way justifies harming a living, sentient being when it is not unnecessary for one's survival or well-being.

ALexiconofLove
Jan 31st, 2008, 12:06 PM
Thanks for responding to my long, rambling post. :D


Some animals are sentient, but some are not. Merely having a nervous system does not necessarily mean that the animal feels pain. The brain has to be capable of interpreting stimuli as pain/pleasure. Planarian worms, according to my high-school biology teacher, do not feel pain when disected. Their nervous systems are symply not advanced enough to interpret stimuli as pain.

That makes sense. I've heard a similar argument with scallops and the like (I think there's a whole thread about it?), and it makes sense.... On the other hand, I think it's hard to know for certain what another animal thinks or feels, and science is full of errors (we think one thing until we learn/discover something else). I wouldn't cut open worms for fun, but if I were on a deserted island, I might eat them and not feel too badly about it!


That's interesting. I also "went vegan" for ethical reasons and considered the health benefits to be just a bonus. I wonder if this is the case with most vegans. Has anyone polled this board on this subject?

I think the results would be skewed, because when you sign up, the board rules are very clear about "Vegan" meaning "Compassion for animals." Also, even though my mother eats a near vegan diet, she states honestly that she doesn't believe in animal rights, and people like that would probably never seek out this forum.


Hahahaha! My experience is similar. My mother is also close to going vegan because of her cholesterol. Whenever we eat out she orders the same thing I order. My partner also has high cholesterol (he was on the Atkins diet for a few months...) and as soon as he got the results decided to be try a vegetarian diet before getting started on cholesterol medication. He hated it. Now he is back to his omnivorous ways, but at least he is not on Atkins anymore!

Wow, being with someone on the Atkins diet had to be rough! My SO is omnivorous but eats vegan or veggie when I'm around, so I'm actually very lucky.


Well, most people think that they need animal flesh as food in order to survive. And, say what you will, animal flesh does provide some nutrition. But fur? What do we need fur for? In 2008, in the West, most of us can find clothes that are not made of animal skins. So fur and leather are particularly unnecessary for our survival and well-being. This is why I think protesting against fur is justified. Of course that does not mean that eating animal flesh is OK.

I have a cat. He may be legally my property, but I treat him as if he were my little boy. So I don't think having him as a pet in any way justifies harming a living, sentient being when it is not unnecessary for one's survival or well-being.

Good points. :)

eve
Jan 31st, 2008, 08:10 PM
Someone sent me a dvd called "A Sacred Duty" from the American Jewish Vegetarian Society (jewishveg.com). Once I got past the religious stuff at the beginning, and got to animal compassion, I guarantee that anyone seeing this dvd could not but help anthropormorphising.

This dvd was primarily made for jews, but appeals to anyone with a heart. In fact so far as climate change is concerned, this dvd makes far more sense than 'An Inconvenient Truth'. It is so powerful, and there is one scene towards the end where a cow can see what these disgusting people are doing with her calf, and there's a close up of the mother's tears. Anthropormorphising? I don't think so.

Shells
Feb 1st, 2008, 08:42 AM
Great points, all of you - my brain is a bit too fried from constant grad schoolness to reply in kind, but I really appreciate all of the thoughts you put forth, I've so enjoyed reading them and thinking about this!

And yes, cats to me are fuzzy little people. They have rich personalities and tastes and habits. I have a cat that makes up stories and gets me to run around with her. She also comes to me when I cry. I had another cat who would do that, and she I would bicker like sisters. I was little when I had her, but we would seriously fight like sisters - I'd kiss at her and she'd bat at me (I'd totally bat right back. I was 5 - it was an equal situation).

So perhaps I do anthropomorphize a bit... :)

xrodolfox
Feb 1st, 2008, 10:09 AM
I think that the answer has to be personal, and thus must tap into your personal philosophy, regardless of how it sounds to others. The answer must be more for you, than for them.

So be all philosophical, or heady, or crass, or whatever is really you. It isn't about getting out to someone, but making sure you make sense to you. If you focus on it making sense to you, then it is the other person's job to ask questions so that it makes sense to them. You can't go around guessing what will "click" for someone else. That's impossible.

Now, on the other hand, if you want to change that person's mind, the key isn't what you say, but that you listen. But that's a different topic, right? ;)

Oh, and sometimes, social codes are useless. If you find a good response, don't wait for a good time to say it. A good response is not for the others, but to satisfy yourself. So make a time, create an opportunity, interrupt a thought, and say it.

I know I'm never irritated if someone comes back to me a day or a week later and says, "you know that conversation we had a while back? Well, I've been thinking about what you said, and I kept on thinking about it for quite a while. I now know a bit better how I feel and think, and I'd like to share it with you, since you got my mind going..." Heck, even if we disagree, that can be kind of flattering.

Shrapnel
Mar 30th, 2008, 08:44 AM
I think I'd answer simply with a 'No' To elaborate, if I'd make a pig walk on two legs, wear a suit and tie and talk, then yeah... that'd be anthropomorphizing. To say that they feel pain and suffer, and that a living, feeling being shouldn't suffer for the greed and selfishness of another is not anthropomorphizing. Incidentally, something that really made me smile lately was in one class. The lesson was on chimpanzees and language, and one question in the book was 'Do animals have souls' (I usually point out that humans are animals, so it seems a bad way of wording, but wasn't looking for an argument, especially with a student), and the student answered that he believed all of God's children have souls. I don't know if he's a vegan or not... but that was something I really liked hearing.

Klytemnest
Mar 31st, 2008, 12:10 AM
Shrapnel;437615]I think I'd answer simply with a 'No' To elaborate, if I'd make a pig walk on two legs, wear a suit and tie and talk, then yeah... that'd be anthropomorphizing. To say that they feel pain and suffer, and that a living, feeling being shouldn't suffer for the greed and selfishness of another is not anthropomorphizing.

I agree. The issue of sentience is an issue of science. Even if one were anthropomorphizing, that doe snot change the fact that some living things are sentient - they have the capacity to feel, be it pain or pleasure. Some living things have the capacity to suffer. To deliberately cause a human being unnecessary suffering is viewed as unjustified. Why then would it be OK to cause a non-human sentient being unnecessary suffering? There is no rational argument for this distinction. However, we, humans, are very good at finding convenient justification for whatever behavior we wish, so irrational arguments abound - such as the issue of "souls."



Incidentally, something that really made me smile lately was in one class. The lesson was on chimpanzees and language, and one question in the book was 'Do animals have souls' (I usually point out that humans are animals, so it seems a bad way of wording, but wasn't looking for an argument, especially with a student), and the student answered that he believed all of God's children have souls. I don't know if he's a vegan or not... but that was something I really liked hearing.


Yes, I am sure it was heart-warming to hear someone think of animals without the filter of speciesism. But I think it is important to stay grounded in reality and facts. One can fantasize and theorize about souls ad nauseam. What good does it do? We don't know souls exist. We do not know we have souls. We do not know animals have souls. All we "know" about souls is pure mythology. Wishful thinking does the rest. It may well be that souls exist, but again, we don't actually KNOW anything about the existence of souls right now. So introducing the argument of souls into this particular debate on who should live and who should die is a bad, bad idea. It leads away from the relevant issues. It leads away from reality. Call me crazy, but I think when dealing with issues of life and death, I think it is important to stay connected to what we know, to what is real, rather than engage in fanciful thinking.

And one last thing. For those who consider God to be the God of Abraham, only humans have souls. In Genesis God took his clay doll (Adam) and breathed his ruach into him. This is why (according to Judeo-Christian mythology) humans have souls. God did not do this with any other animal. This is why animals do not have souls. This is why we are special. God likes us best. And this is why God has no problem ordering the slaughter of animals as a way of worshipping him.

I understand that other religions may have a different take on this issue. But again, does it really matter? Let's not claim to know things we cannot possibly know. And let us not decide who lives and dies based on fantasies. The only relevant issue, I think, is sentience. This is why I have no problem killing carrots and oats. They are not sentient beings.

Thanks for re-opening this discussion.

Kimberlily1983
Jun 22nd, 2010, 09:52 PM
My fiance, on the other hand, was talking about going vegetarian for a while, and then I think I turned him off it by talking about animal rights and veganism too often. Should have just kept feeding him cupcakes. :(

......

I think he's right. It doesn't make sense to eat meat and protest fur. The pet thing is a little iffy, as pets (like children) are treated by law as both property and living agents. I think he threw it in to confuse the veg*ns.

Oh, isn't it sad? I've been thinking that the main obstacle to making the shift for most people is not that they disagree with us about animals so much as it's about their worrying life will be miserable if they have to give up meat, dairy, etc. So they resist seeing the factory farm footage, etc. because they don't want to accept the harsh reality, because they know they would have a problem with it and might have to change their ways.

So, yeah, I think you're right: for a lot of people, maybe most people, the way to win their hearts is to feed them lots of yummy vegan food. Once they see it's delicious, and we're not at all deprived, then they - some of them anyway - might be willing to consider the arguments for avoiding meat, dairy, etc. altogether.

As for the criticisms about people who protest fur, seal hunts, etc.: I agree - it doesn't make much sense to oppose those but not oppose meat, leather, etc.

Blake
Jun 27th, 2010, 04:11 AM
I couldn't even finish the article; it p****d me off too much to hear that fraud of a "doctor" prattling on.

The chicken whose head has been sundered has not had the entire brain removed, as the brain stem extends into the neck and spinal column, and that's what controls motor reflexes- in chickens, extending to moving and pulling away from painful stimuli. The part of the brain wherein conscious decisions are made has likely been removed (depending on how the cut was made).

The sheer stupidity of ignoring that, and beyond that, relating it to other species of animals is infuriating. I can appreciate a good, valid argument when made- but that kind of elective ignorance and distortion of the facts purveyed so one can feel justified in one's actions is reprehensible.




This ex-vegetarian, as suggested, is almost certainly on a crusade to talk vegetarians out of their convictions to convince herself. It's really pathetic.



Every day, I think less and less of people. I just imagine that, like this ex-vegetarian that was mentioned in the original post, most of the people here will probably drop their ideals to the wayside out of convenience and rationalized ignorance too. I just feel so sickened by human idiocy sometimes.

If there were just some indication- some personal quality that these quitters had that every other genuine veg*n didn't have- something to say "this is a person who will quit" and "this is a person who will stick to his or her ideals", at least that would be something.

As it stands, there doesn't seem to be anything; just mindless happenstance acting upon a swarm of human idiots, bending and breaking ideals to conformity with environmental circumstance like so much worthless fluff.

Kimberlily1983
Jun 30th, 2010, 05:39 PM
I have days like that, too, Blake, when I'm disgusted by people. It's so hard, but I tell myself that not getting past that anger in some cases harms the animals more, because it shuts people off to the message I'm trying to spread. It's definitely hard... Sometimes I feel like I'm living a lie, trying to tone down my message so as to not turn people off from the beginning. I can't start with something like, "If you were a good person, you wouldn't put them through that, just so you can have your taste of bacon, or whatever it is." But it's often what I'm thinking...

Does anyone else feel like that? Like you're constantly being pulled in two different directions? On the one hand there's the indignation, the hatred, the disgust, the sadness, the anger... of seeing what's being done, and wanting to react from that, to scream at people and shake them by the shoulders? Make them see what they're doing... Sometimes I wish it was legal to enforce mandatory viewing of a documentary like Earthlings... On the other hand, you feel like you can't talk too much about the real issues, and be polite about it, perhaps focusing more on the health benefits of our dietary choices, etc. Sometimes I just don't know what's best... Should we be controversial, should we risk making people walk away or making them angry? Or are we better off being friendly and encouraging gradual change, etc.? I want to do whatever will help the animals most, but the first is more who I am... It hurts me to have to tone things down...

Not expecting anyone to have solid answers here as to what we should all be doing, but any input/opinions is/are appreciated.

Johnstuff
Jun 30th, 2010, 08:33 PM
^ I know exactly what you mean Kimberlily...I don't really have any good advice though, just try not to worry about it too much. It probably gets to all of us at times, you can only be responcible for what you do, IMO most of us do a really good job in such a bad situation.

DarmokTheGreen
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:03 PM
^
Sentience, by the way, is the ability to feel and does not mean self-awareness.

... and lots of people think "sentient" is another word for "anthropomorphic", saying things like "cartoons about sentient animals".