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ALexiconofLove
May 20th, 2008, 02:01 PM
We know they're dying. A life is a life and you shouldn't end one needlessly.

When we pull plants out of the ground, we know they're dying, but we do it anyway. It's not needless in that we have to eat *something* but by what criteria do we decide what is okay to eat?

I am not asking whether or not eating scallops is vegan (clearly it is not :)), but what exact quality distinguishes scallops from plants such that the latter is morally acceptable to kill and the former is not.

The slippery slope argument works for me. The taxonomy one kind of works, except I can imagine members of the plant kingdom evolving to the point where it would not be acceptable to eat them (especially if we are saying that there are some creatures without brains that are still not acceptable to eat).

The idea that they have a nervous system (even if it is a "primitive" one) is probably the soundest argument. Though (as someone somewhere else way back in this thread mentioned) it makes me wonder about the ethical implications of even ealy stage abortions. Then again, if the scallop were living inside me and eating my food without my permission, I might feel differently about it. :p

Mahk
May 20th, 2008, 06:26 PM
What if the human were asleep for its whole life (ie, in a coma)?
Killing animals, including humans, is wrong. Here is a brief and admittedly incomplete list of things that don't matter:

- they are reproductively sterile
- they are meat eaters
- they can only survive with medication
- they can only survive on a ventilator
- they voted for George Bush
- they biologically can reproduce but they have no desire to
- their entire body is numb (no pain)
- they can't move their left pinky
- they can't move anything below their neck
- they have total paralysis
- they are blind
- they are stupid
- they are asleep
- they are asleep for a week
- they are asleep for a few decades and then die from natural causes
- they have a weird sexual fantasy that they want to be murdered/cannibalized (hear about that case in, I think, Germany?)
- they are a GMO

I'd personally make an exception for a person who in a sound state of mind and body has declared that they would prefer to be euthanized if they fall into a permanent vegetative state [note they are no longer called an animal using our language, they are called "a vegetable". I'm sorry and I don't mean any disrespect but I thought to point that out.]


except I can imagine members of the plant kingdom evolving to the point where it would not be acceptable to eat them

Well they've been around for over 4 billion years and never have but I suppose we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it. I think a more likely scenario might be space aliens landing and waving a magic wand which makes watermelons suddenly able to hear, think, and appreciate Beethoven, especially his later works. No more watermelon for us vegans!

ALexiconofLove
May 20th, 2008, 10:31 PM
- they voted for George Bush

Heheh.

Haniska
May 28th, 2008, 04:38 AM
A guy once told me that clams have a little foot which they use to flee from danger.. I might have said that before, but it seems comparable to a plant releasing pesticides...:hmm:
Don't flame me, I'm looking for a serious discussion. "Because it is not vegan" doesn't cut it for me and it doesn't cut it for anyone who asks me.
Anybody know anything about these primitive nervous systems? And how do they mate?

Mahk
May 28th, 2008, 05:12 AM
And how do they mate?
When a boy clam loves a girl clam very much, they lay down together and the boy clam gives the girl clam twenty dollars. -Eddie Murhpy? from an SNL skit [modified for clams]

People under 18, cover your eyes: :p
http://www.fspi.org.fj/images/6.%20Clam%20Reproduction%20.jpg

Yes, Haniska, the foot and fleeing danger story is mentioned at several sites. They also can sense light, move, sense danger, reproduce, bury themselves in the sand etc. They are animals and they have their own reasons to be. Mother nature didn't put them here so we could make clam chowder anymore than she put cows here so we can have Big Macs. That's how I think of it at least.

ALexiconofLove
May 28th, 2008, 12:39 PM
Interesting... I don't think God put plants here (or anything here, for that matter) just so I could eat them, but I still have no problem with eating them.

horselesspaul
May 28th, 2008, 12:42 PM
Don't flame me, I'm looking for a serious discussion. "Because it is not vegan" doesn't cut it for me and it doesn't cut it for anyone who asks me.

Doesn't "They're animals" cut it?

ALexiconofLove
May 28th, 2008, 12:47 PM
Yes, Haniska, the foot and fleeing danger story is mentioned at several sites.

Plants don't flee from danger, but they release chemicals to defend themselves. They clearly don't "want" to be eaten, which in the case of the plant only means that evolutionary pressure has selected for plants that release pesticides. It doesn't imply will to live. Do clams (which have also been evolutionarily selected to avoid danger) have a will to live?


They also can sense light,

So can plants.


move,

So can some plants.


sense danger, reproduce,

Plants and plants.

None of these characteristics imply awareness. They imply that clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels are alive, but that's it.

I too am interested in the nervous system dealio. And also, don't they have some kind of brain? Like, bundles of nerve cells or something....

This goes back to something you said earlier, Mahk.... you mentioned that it might be okay to terminate a person's life if s/he were in a coma, and you pointed out that we call this a "vegetative state"--meaning, like a vegetable. But I believe we call any person who is brain dead a vegetable. So where does that leave us with animals that have no brain to begin with?

Again, not arguing that clams, osyters, scallops, and mussels aren't vegan. They're animal products because they are by definition part of the animal kingdom.

Risker
May 28th, 2008, 01:09 PM
How would you define/prove awareness? What would show that a cat is aware or has a will to live and isn't just reacting to stimuli?

ALexiconofLove
May 28th, 2008, 01:12 PM
I don't know! I guess that's one of the questions I'm asking. As vegans we say that plants are not aware and animals are, but what exactly makes us thing that, especially at the boundaries (plants that move and respond to stimulii, animals that have no brains).

Korn
May 28th, 2008, 01:43 PM
Plants don't flee from danger, but they release chemicals to defend themselves. In which situations? Defend themselves against... who? Source literature?

Mahk
May 28th, 2008, 03:27 PM
http://universe-review.ca/I10-82-clam.jpg
Clams lack cephalization (the big word I learned a minute ago), but they do have nerves and ganglia. Anything that has a mouth, an anus, a heart, a foot for locomotion, seeks food, makes babies, flees danger etc. seems in some sense to have a purpose ie a "will" to live. Yes plants make babies and Venus fly traps move etc but there is some combination of these things (and others) that makes for an animal in my mind and not a plant. I'm not sure what the specifics are though.

An even simpler multi-cell animal than the ones we are talking about, and arguably the oldest animal there is, is the sponge. It would be even harder to defend why we don't eat/use them. What's that you say? Didn't know the sponge was an animal? Well that means you are stupid and don't deserve to live so I think I will kill and eat you!:p

Intelligence does not define what is animalian.

I wonder if clams have memory? I know that fruit flies do and think how incredibly small [I]they are. They can be taught to associate specific colors of light with an impending electrical shock which they will then actively seek to avoid. "But insects are too simple to process 'pain', Mahk" . Well anything that reacts to "painful" stimuli and will change its behavior to consciously avoid such stimuli in the future can "process pain" in my book.

Haniska
Jun 3rd, 2008, 12:10 AM
Thanks Mahk,

I had no idea that a clam was that complex! Don't some swallow them whole? I kind of thought that they were a blob of muscle. But that's not very thoughtful of me, it needs gonads and digestive tools. As for that racy picture you posted, do they do that on the full moon or something? I mean, what tells the male to ejaculate, the presence of eggs?

Risker, what you asked is really interesting. It's like "Do ants love each other? Or are they just little machines programmed that way?"
Same for humans though, we could/are just [be] programmed to reproduce[love] and care for our children[further the gene pool], respond to pain so that we can stay alive and keep reproducing. Pretty F-d up to think about. These rules include plants also. So where do we draw the line and say we are not eating things that don't want to be eaten? Only fruit *wants* to be eaten to spread its seeds ie. error in some "fruitarian" thinking regarding nuts. I am past thinking that faith and apples will power the human body. The argument that you have to feed more plants for animals is not so much supported here, given that they are wild, it also wouldn't be supported for fish.:devil: So...what reason do I have within myself not to eat them? Not as a "Vegan". I understand they *are* animals and therefore not vegan and I sure as hell wouldn't want to see them listed that way on the menu. But as a person who does not want to harm, who needs the f-ing answer to everything, what is the reasoning there? Why hold clams as more sentient than plants?
Hmmm.. dictionary.com
1.any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animallike nutritional modes.

The limited growth is the only difference? Do plants not digest things internally?

Haniska
Jun 3rd, 2008, 12:41 AM
ooooooh
1.any member of the kingdom Plantae, comprising multicellular organisms that typically produce their own food from inorganic matter by the process of photosynthesis and that have more or less rigid cell walls containing cellulose, including vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, and hornworts: some classification schemes may include fungi, algae, bacteria, blue-green algae, and certain single-celled eukaryotes that have plantlike qualities, as rigid cell walls or photosynthesis.

It seems incredibly silly to debate this in the face of "cell walls contain cellulose" but I still want to ask, what is the difference between a plant being aware and a clam?

Mahk
Jun 3rd, 2008, 12:53 AM
So the big question is "What do we, as vegans, eat?" Considering scientists themselves are at odds as to how to differentiate the different kingdoms of life, some claiming as many as six (http://biology.about.com/od/evolution/a/aa091004a.htm), I'm not so sure it would be easy for us.:) Would we eat this:
http://www.priweb.org/ed/pgws/systems/images/diatom.jpg

for example? or use it as a colander perhaps?:p


As for that racy picture you posted, do they do that on the full moon or something? I mean, what tells the male to ejaculate, the presence of eggs?

Perhaps hearing Barry White (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Barry+White) music.;)

Prawnil
Jun 3rd, 2008, 03:40 AM
I am Aware. As far as humans poking about with living things seems to show, my being sentient has its seat somewhere, somehow, in my nervous tissues. Knock out the other tissues of my body, and from best I can tell, I have the potential to be Aware for at least some moment afterwards. Not my central nervous system though. Knock out some chunk of my central nervous system and somewhere, be it memories, vision, speech, my Mind is likely to be altered, if not totally disabled.
From this, I interpret my mentation as inseperable from the particular machinery of high speed transmissions, in a collaboratory way between my sense links to the universe that surrounds me. Interconnectivity. Neurons modulating each other.
My stance is that nervous tissues' link to my Experience justifies the view that nervous tissues = Potential , however dim, for experience/ lower limit on the spectrum of sentience.
To me, this looks like Cnidarians (http://www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/%7Emcdougal/neurobehavior/modules_homework/jellies.html) upwards in terms of complexity. That'd include clams and oysters & co easily. Nerve nets might not centralise the organsism's senses, but the interconnectivity and way the reactions transmit have enough in common with ME to give the benefit of the doubt.

Plants, though Alive, being based on The Code! Self replicating genetic material, and so worthy of respect I believe, lack neuron based sense systems. As animal life I must consume life, and now that I'm aware that I can do that perfectly well avoiding killing a thing with a nervous system of my kind (intentionally, that is), I will.

You will never prove awareness beyond yourself, so I feel I owe life to assume experience of some sort to anything with sensory cells with around the same structure as the ones that appear to be connected to my own experience.

Like heat. The raging heat from the gigantic bonfire (of a human brain?) is the same heat as a tiny ember (perhaps, the clam?:smile:) regardless of the structure and scale of their different sources.
That's how I see awareness. From that, neurons comparable to those of a human = benefit of doubt/compassion.

Obviously, I haven't exactly filled that with citations, but that is because this is only my View, based on what I think I know. Since what I think I know will constantly change, so, presumably, will my View.

end ramble.

Haniska
Jun 3rd, 2008, 04:36 AM
Haha. Gross.
I read something somewhere about vegans not eating yeast. If I could read this it might explain why:
http://www.microbiologybytes.com/introduction/myc2.html

Mahk
Jun 3rd, 2008, 04:50 AM
According to the organization that coined the term "vegan", and I don't think there's a better authority since only they get to define the term, IMO; vegans eat yeast:

Vegans enjoy all kinds of plant foods - like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils and split peas) - and fungi (mushrooms, yeasts), and food made from these.

source: Vegan Society (UK) (http://www.vegansociety.com/food/)

Haniska
Jun 3rd, 2008, 05:54 AM
Sorry, I meant to say some vegans not eating yeast, in that they felt they were a sentient life form.

I was thinking just now, to be self aware is to be able to suffer embarrassment. I have seen dogs suffer embarrassment and I assume other animals do as well? Maybe as an evolutionary tool.

ETA: Apparently sentient and self aware are not the same thing. Love my dictionary. Sentient just means that you can feel, so are plants sentient? They have no *nerves* but people are saying that they respond to their environment...

Mahk
Jun 4th, 2008, 12:12 AM
Sentient just means that you can feel, so are plants sentient? They have no *nerves* but people are saying that they respond to their environment...

Plants are dumb and have no thoughts or feelings.

"But they move toward the light, Mahk!", people say. That's called "phototropism" and it is explained without any thought processing involved quite well here. (http://www.scienceclarified.com/Oi-Ph/Phototropism.html) It is an entirely mechanical and chemical process only, discovered by a guy named Went:

It was not until the 1920s that Dutch botanist Frits W. Went (1903–1990) proved the connection between phototropism and a plant hormone called auxin. Went discovered that plants manufacture a growth stimulant (which he named auxin) in their tips, which they then send to other cells in the plant. In phototropism, however, this growth hormone is distributed unevenly when the light source comes from only one direction. Specifically, more auxin flows down the dark side, meaning that it grows faster than the exposed side of the plant. This unequal or one-sided growth (also called differential growth) brings about the curving or bending of the plant toward the light source. Went named this growth hormone after the Greek word auxein, which means "to increase." Although it was isolated and named, auxin was not understood chemically until twenty years later when it was finally identified chemically as indole-3-acetic acid.

Haniska
Jun 10th, 2008, 06:15 AM
How are our actions more than a chemical and mechanical response? In my estimation, it is because we are aware that we have chemical and mechanical responses, but I can't say that plants don't...or even that animals do.

Korn
Jun 10th, 2008, 07:35 AM
Hi Haniska, what is it that's different between plants and animals that makes it OK for you to eat plants but not OK to eat animals?

Manzana
Jun 11th, 2008, 04:44 PM
I just wanted to add that regardless of plant having "feelings" or not, I thought an interesting point is to try to minimise the damage that you do to other beings... SO by eating plants, less plants (and animals) die than if you eat animals... of course if you really wanna minimise damage to the maximum you might have to kill youself!

Mahk
Jun 11th, 2008, 05:57 PM
I just wanted to add that regardless of plant having "feelings" or not, I thought an interesting point is to try to minimise the damage that you do to other beings... SO by eating plants, less plants (and animals) die than if you eat animals... of course if you really wanna minimise damage to the maximum you might have to kill youself!

Killing yourself is killing an animal so not vegan.;) Also, furthering your logic if we only ate large plants (like giant red wood trees, if they were edible) we would have to kill far fewer plants than if we ate very small plants like alfalfa sprouts, where we are killing hundreds of them in just a few bites. One giant red wood tree is equal to an individual sprout in terms of living beings, of course, in fact that giant red wood tree once was a sprout! Fruitarians, who "only eat things that fall off a plant" would even beat that scenario but I'm not convinced their diet is healthy.
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who would eat this?
http://www.ebiomedia.com/images/stories/BioGalleries/branches/6spic.jpg

It is one of the 8,000 sponges we have cataloged so far, so not vegan. Like all animals, sponges eat and digest food, by filtration in their case, and have sex. Turns out during part of their life cycle they are larvae and swim!

Occasionally, sponges reproduce sexually. When the stimulus is right, cells in the sponge become sperm, which are shed into the water. Sperm enter a different sponge body where they are captured and transferred to cells which then travel through the tissue to an embedded egg. The fertilized egg develops into a simple larva - a ball of cells with cilia on the outside. The larvae eventually break out and swim for a few hours before they settle to the bottom where they begin a new sponge.

Larva shown here doing the back stroke:
http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/CMD/Pics/LeysLarva.jpg

Wow! Check this out. Current DNA evidence suggests all animal life evolved from a single ancestor so our great great great great...........(three hours later) great great great grand parents were...drum roll please... SPONGES! Who would have guessed?

Once or Many times? - Theories of Animal Origins:

Ideas about the origins of the animal kingdom have long been debated by biologists. Based on many aspects of cellular structure and chemistry, some biologists have favored the multiple origins of animals from two or three different single-cell ancestors. Others theorized that the entire animal kingdom is monophyletic, with only one ancestor. Recent molecular genetics studies strongly support the one-ancestor theory, with ancient sponge ancestors at the base of the animal tree of life.


You wouldn't kill your great grand parents now would you?:p

Source. (http://ebiomedia.com/prod/BOsponges.html)

Manzana
Jun 11th, 2008, 10:34 PM
Killing yourself is killing an animal so not vegan.;) Also, furthering your logic if we only ate large plants (like giant red wood trees, if they were edible) we would have to kill far fewer plants than if we ate very small plants like alfalfa sprouts, where we are killing hundreds of them in just a few bites.


I just said minimising damage not number of individuals killed. I dunno what is more damage whether to kill a million ants or 1 elephant...

The same applies to plants. It does seem clear to me that eating plants minimises overall damage when compared to eating the animal.
[/quote]



One giant red wood tree is equal to an individual sprout in terms of living beings, of course, in facts that giant red wood tree once was a sprout!


Not really wanting to get too much into this but perhaps there are other factors like number of cells when assessing the damage.



Fruitarians, who "only eat things that fall off a plant" would even beat that scenario but I'm not convinced their diet is healthy.


I didn't know you were vegan for health reasons.