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Thread: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

  1. #51
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Quote songlife View Post
    We are capable of processing both animals and plants, which means that we did. It's part of the reason why humans have been able to live in such extremely varied climates.
    What does 'process animals' mean? If we eat a mushroom and it makes us ill, would you say that we are capable of processing it?


    The inuit for example, live(d) almost completely off of -raw- flesh for survival,
    Those eskimos who lived on almost only animal products, had a lifespan at least ten years shorter than those who didn't. That they didn't die immediately, but diedeaslier on a almost raw-flesh diet tells us something, doesn't it?



    We have made many archeological finds of hunting tools and weapons from the paleolitic ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic ) eras
    Even if these weapons both have been used to protect us against much stronger animals, and that some tools originally was assumed to be used for hunting were used for digging in the earth, I don't think anyone suggests that nobody ate meat in those periods - that's a different discussion which nobody seem to be interested in.

    I have a theory that before the paleolithic ages, we (or our ancestors) ate less meat because we hadn't yet developped as many tools and skills to catch and kill it.
    There's of course a link between the two, but what you write almost suggests that 'if you have guns/tools, use them'. Maybe it was the other way round: some humanoids developed weapons for a reason - maybe the needed meat to survive (they certainly did in some periods), they though they did - or looked at (some) animals and copied what they did.

    Our digestive systems are completely different to either that of an herbivore or a carnivore.
    We have some threads about this already...



    We are specifically evolved to be able to eat either, depending on what environmental circumstances we have to adapt to.
    We are able to eat mud as well. Does that make us natural mud eaters?

    I posted five questions about 'being able to' used as an argument that potentially supports the idea that we are natural omnivore in an earlier post in this thread:


    Question 9: Humans are capable of dancing foxtrot (with no known unwanted side effects). Do you suggest that humans are 'natural foxtrot dancers'? Or would 'we may or may not dance foxtrot' be more accurate?

    Question 10: Does it make sense to you to look at stuff "we can digest" (vague term, I know) and use that as a reference for terms like 'natural ******** eaters', terms normally used to describe what would be considered a good diet for humans ?

    Question 11: If you do not see 'capable of' as a relevant criterion for what's to be considered natural for us, why should we consider humans 'natural omnivores' or 'natural animal product eaters'?

    Question 12: We have many other threads with links between health problems on an omnivorous diet, and many more will come. Looking at our Cancer, adaptation and the vegan diet, would you say that humans are 'perfectly capable of eating meat and thriving'?

    Question 13: Are you sure it wouldn't make more sense to claim that a plant based diet (containing many nutrients known for reducing/preventing serious diseases like cancer - nutrients NOT existing in animal products*) is a diet we are "perfectly capable of eating and thriving on" to a larger extent than an omnivorous diet?

    *meaning that we'll get less of them for every piece of animal product we consume)[/list]


    Since I don't understand your humans are omnivores-argument, can you please answer these questions for me? I need your help to understand what you are talking about!

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Quote Korn View Post
    Why, then, claim that we are 'natural omnivores', which basically means that eating animal products is natural for us?
    I think this claim can just mean that we are capable of deriving nourishment from animal products and can eat them without (immediate) ill effects, not that we have to eat them.

  3. #53
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    I think this claim can just mean that we are capable of deriving nourishment from animal products and can eat them without (immediate) ill effects, not that we have to eat them.
    Sure, but there's a huge difference between claiming that we don't get (immediately) ill from eating X than to claim that we are 'natural X-eaters'.... We are capable of deriving nourishment from almost everything including soil and cow dung, but we're not 'natural soil/cow dung eaters'.

    Describing humans as 'natural omnivores' suggests that it's natural for us, to eat animal products - that it's a more natural solution than other diets (eg herbivorous or carnivorous diets), or that we are somehow designed to eat that diet. Mothers are now warned against using cow's milk as a substitut for mother's mil (diabetes risk), is it still correct to suggest that cow's milk is natural foodstuff to babies? If not, are babies 'natural omnivores'?

    I know well agree that we don't 'have to' us animal products, but I have yet to hear a convincing argument claiming that it's more natural for us to drink milk or eat meat than it is to kill each others or to march - all of which we 'ar capable' of doing. We may march, but that doesn't make us natural marchers or back up an idea about marching being 'natural' for humans to march. It's a lot easier to just walk... I'd say that we are natural walkers, but that we may march instead if we really want to.
    Last edited by Korn; Aug 15th, 2008 at 11:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Quote Korn View Post
    Sure, but there's a huge difference between claiming that we don't get (immediately) ill from eating X than to claim that we are 'natural X-eaters'....
    Not necessarily, I think saying humans are naturally omnivorous can just mean that we can do well enough to perpetuate our species (i.e. live long enough to rear children) on a range of diets including ones involving animal products.

    To me "naturally omnivorous" (ETA as applied to humans) implies that it can be natural for us to eat meat and also natural for us not to eat it; there is no implied judgment that one or the other is better in any way (though obviously many of us have concluded for separate reasons that not eating it is better).

    In contrast, cats aren't naturally omnivorous because they can't derive adequate nourishment from a vegetable-based diet (though they may from diets synthesised from vegetable matter and additives). Cattle aren't naturally omnivorous because they can't derive adequate nourishment from animal products (though again humans try to feed them on processed animal products, in some cases with disastrous results).

  5. #55
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Not necessarily, I think saying humans are naturally omnivorous can just mean that we can do well enough to perpetuate our species (i.e. live long enough to rear children) on a range of diets including ones involving animal products.
    I don't think most people who claim that we are natural omnivores only mean that 'we can survive long enough to reproduce' - or that this is their criterion for what is 'natural'. If that would be the criterion, we would all be natural junk food eaters!

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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    People often use the term "natural" to imply a value judgment, but it's up to them to explain why things that are "natural" are "desirable", it doesn't automatically follow since theft, rape and so on seem to occur in nature.

    People also make the invalid inference that because we can process particular dietary elements we need those elements, but it's easy enough to point out the flaw in that logic.

  7. #57
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Quote Korn View Post
    What does 'process animals' mean? If we eat a mushroom and it makes us ill, would you say that we are capable of processing it?
    I mean, we have the digestive enzymes (though I'm happy to point out to omnivores who like to eat looooads of meat that it's only 1/200 of the enzymes for processing meat that a carnivore has) to be able to break down and use meat for nutritional value. As for the toxic mushroom, well either we can't process it and die, or we barely can and hallucinate and become very ill but live Either way I don't see us as being capable of processing it in the way that I'm talking about, which is for a food source.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Those eskimos who lived on almost only animal products, had a lifespan at least ten years shorter than those who didn't. That they didn't die immediately, but diedeaslier on a almost raw-flesh diet tells us something, doesn't it?
    It most certainly does We also have to appreciate the fact that their environment was overall much more harsh than their cousins to the south. But yeah, as I said up there, we have only a small fraction of the enzymes to break down meat that carnivores do, so it's no wonder that a culture living on primarily meat would have a shorter life span than those of us who eat more plants (who have more plants available to us).

    Quote Korn View Post
    There's of course a link between the two, but what you write almost suggests that 'if you have guns/tools, use them'. Maybe it was the other way round: some humanoids developed weapons for a reason - maybe the needed meat to survive (they certainly did in some periods), they though they did - or looked at (some) animals and copied what they did.
    I didn't mean that if we have them we should use them, I just meant that because we have them, we could and did use them. Yes I agree that it works the other way too, that we developed them for those reasons, because they either needed or thought that they needed to for survival. I think both ways are true, using the tools because we had them and having the tools because we wanted to use them.

    Quote Korn View Post
    We are able to eat mud as well. Does that make us natural mud eaters?.
    hehehe, well babies certainly seem to think that they are. Seriously though? I think mud has more stuff in it that would make us sick than give us nutritional substance, and I think that we figured that out over time and that that's why we don't continue to eat mud. I think that's also why the more educated and questioning people are (not counting the people who have no choice), the more potential they have for eating more vegetation and less meat.

    Quote Korn View Post
    I posted five questions about 'being able to' used as an argument that potentially supports the idea that we are natural omnivore in an earlier post in this thread:

    Question 9: Humans are capable of dancing foxtrot (with no known unwanted side effects). Do you suggest that humans are 'natural foxtrot dancers'? Or would 'we may or may not dance foxtrot' be more accurate?
    I think it's different with dancing and food, because dancing is a developped cultural thing and not an absolute need, like eating food








    I think that both statements are accurate, and you are right in that they are not the same:
    • we are naturally omnivores.
    • we may or may not eat meat.
    The part that is important for me is the fact that we now have the choice when (I believe) our ancestors either did not or did not know that they had the choice.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Question 10: Does it make sense to you to look at stuff "we can digest" (vague term, I know) and use that as a reference for terms like 'natural ******** eaters', terms normally used to describe what would be considered a good diet for humans ?
    I don't consider the omnivore diet a good diet for humans. I consider it the diet we have had (in varying ratios).

    To expand on that, I don't think that we should do things just because they're "natural" or instinctual. I think we have evolved past needing, or thinking that we need, to be omnivores. We are evolving from primarily instinct into primarily reason, and many people are still stuck on the primarily instinct side. Some are making the transition still, while I think that some are deciding not to advance any further. I actually believe that we're presently splitting into at least a couple new species (evolution has not come to a standstill, it continues on).

    Quote Korn View Post
    Question 11: If you do not see 'capable of' as a relevant criterion for what's to be considered natural for us, why should we consider humans 'natural omnivores' or 'natural animal product eaters'?
    I do see "capable of" as being related to what we naturally do, because our capabilities are reflections of things that we naturally evolved towards or from.

    I think we're only capable of eating animal products because we developped to be able to eat the animals themselves, though since we have only recently begun to eat the products in those forms, they don't sit well with us and that's why dairy sits much harder on our systems than meat itself.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Question 12: We have many other threads with links between health problems on an omnivorous diet, and many more will come. Looking at our Cancer, adaptation and the vegan diet, would you say that humans are 'perfectly capable of eating meat and thriving'?
    Well I think that no matter how much we thrive while eating meat, we would thrive better still without it. I think that might be my opinion though as much as I want to say it's a fact. It depends on your definition of thriving I suppose.

    Personally I feel (and want to say that I know) that the only way that we can make the major positive changes that will save our planet and come to harmony with one another and all that, is if we first learn to love and respect all the other sentient beings as well. That means not torturing and killing them.

    So IMO, to really truly and completely thrive in the purest sense of the term, I think that means evolving away from eating meat and I think that we're consciously doing that now (but not fast enough, grr!) (and strangely enough the technological advancement that has helped us multiply and destroy the planet is what's helping us achieve our evolution into conscious veganism with full nutritional value and everything).

    Quote Korn View Post
    Question 13: Are you sure it wouldn't make more sense to claim that a plant based diet (containing many nutrients known for reducing/preventing serious diseases like cancer - nutrients NOT existing in animal products*) is a diet we are "perfectly capable of eating and thriving on" to a larger extent than an omnivorous diet?

    *meaning that we'll get less of them for every piece of animal product we consume
    I do claim that! Just because I acknowledge that we are capable of eating both plants and animals and have been doing it for countless millenia doesn't mean that I think it's better!

    We don't have longer life expectancies than meat eaters, though. Vegans can live off of junk food and be unhealthy just as much as omnivores can. I don't think we thrive better simply by being vegan. Although, I hope that as the new generations of vegans and health conscious vegans age, the statistics will change in our favor based on the fact that we have new nutritional information at our fingertips now that we did not have when the concept of veganism was first consciously forming.

    My own definition of thriving might be different than someone else's. My thriving includes the thriving of the other life on earth, and the thriving of my future generations. Thriving to me doesn't mean senseless and needless murder. I feel incredibly fortunate and now that I think of it, special, to be the first in my looooong line of ancestry to be part of a set of generations that have mentally evolved enough to scientifically discover enough about nutrition to be able to consciously provide all of our nutritional needs in plant based form. This is huge. I am incredibly grateful to everyone, specifically scientists, who have laid out the groundwork for this transition. If I've ever been proud of anything in my imperfect self, it's that I'm one of the first of a species to evolve into a new.. species! This is like sealife crawling out of the water for the first time and developing lungs instead of gills. Well... it's not that huge but it's still pretty significant.

    I see myself as being connected to everything else around me. I see myself as a part of a whole, moving independantly but nonetheless within it all. I'm a socialist. To be a true socialist, and not just a speciesist socialist, I think it's a given to also be a vegan and an environmentalist.

    Someone else's definition of thriving could mean power and greed, for them, right now, without concern for their future generations or the mutual thriving of everyone and everything else around them.

    I think your definition of thriving will vary based on your degree of respect for life around you, and how much the wellbeing of everything around you affects your own personal environment. Also if you believe that not eating meat is benefitional for you personally and outweighs the flesh addiction.

    So I think now I'm realising that the word "thriving" will sound like something different to different people and I see why some people are of the opinion that they could thrive as an omnivore.

  8. #58
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Quote songlife View Post
    it's only 1/200 of the enzymes for processing meat that a carnivore has) to be able to break down and use meat for nutritional value.
    Well... what does say about our ability to 'process' meat? And - we can't only look an 'nutritional value', we have to look at long time side effects of meat consumption as well - not only life threatening diseases but all kinds of negative effects.


    Either way I don't see us as being capable of processing [mushrooms] in the way that I'm talking about, which is for a food source.
    I wasn't mentioning mushrooms that killed us - but mushrooms that made us ill. Is the criterion for not 'not capable of processing' that it makes us ill?


    it's no wonder that a culture living on primarily meat would have a shorter life span than those of us who eat more plants (who have more plants available to us).
    Sure - which is why I don't see the existence of tribes living solely on meat is relevant as an example in this discussion.

    Of course you could say that humans need a mixed diet, not only a meat based diet, but that's where cannibalism comes in: Even if cannibals are capable of living on a mix of plants and human meat, eating humans aren't 'natural' for us. We may 'process' human meat, we have done it as a species, we can 'survive' on it, we are 'capable of'... and so on. Do you agree that it's not correct to claim that 'humans are natural cannibals'.



    I think mud has more stuff in it that would make us sick than give us nutritional substance, and I think that we figured that out over time and that that's why we don't continue to eat mud.
    Mud was just a random example... insert any other example (like human meat, bark, larvae, earthworms...). They all fit into what seems to be your criterions for when we can define ourselves as 'natural ****** eaters'... Are we 'natural larvae eaters'?



    I think it's different with dancing and food, because dancing is a developped cultural thing and not an absolute need, like eating food
    But my point is that in order to kill/eat eg. a cow, we need exactly that: a 'developed, cultural thing'.


    I think that both statements are accurate, and you are right in that they are not the same:
    [LIST][*]we are naturally omnivores.[*]we may or may not eat meat.
    What do you mean by 'natural'?
    Natural as in 'A''natural choice for humans'?
    Something which is 'in accordance with nature'?
    Something we just 'may' do or have done, without getting immediately sick?

    And... what do you mean by 'omnivore'?
    Someone who 'may eat' meat and milk without getting sick or dying immediately?
    That an omnivorous diet is 'suitable' for them?
    Or simply someone who is eating both plants, meat, eggs, milk etc.?



    To me, eating meat doesn't only seem un-natural, I also agree with Donald Watson that one of man's biggest mistakes was to try to turn himself into a meat eater. And I'm not talking about those life/death situations where some people may have eaten meat to survive here...




    I don't consider the omnivore diet a good diet for humans.
    Normally, when we talk about what's 'natural' for eg. a bird or animal to eat, it implies that this is a good, natural choice; it's good or at least suitable for them. If a diet isn't good for us, it isn't suitable for us, and I believe most people will agree that a diet that isn't suitable for us isn't a natural choice for us.

    I consider it the diet we have had (in varying ratios).
    Again - our ancestors weren't only capable of processing human meat - they also also had human meat. Is a human growing up on an isolated island with a long, "cannibalistic" tradition a 'natural cannibal', or is it only 'normal' to eat human meat where he lives?


    So IMO, to really truly and completely thrive in the purest sense of the term, I think that means evolving away from eating meat and I think that we're consciously doing that now (but not fast enough, grr!)
    Well... one reason I'm eager to kill the 'we're natural omnivores' myth is that I've heard non-vegans say things like "I have read something on internet that supported the idea that it was natural for humans to eat meat - and the guy who wrote it was a vegetarian! They even admit living on a diet which isn't natural for humans!"

    But maybe I get you wrong, songlife. Maybe you think that the term 'natural herbivores' suits us better than 'natural omnivores' - since you suggest that a plant based diet is more suitable for us...

    Personally, I think that the 'humans are natural omnivores'-statement is moot based on the simple fact that more than half of the human population have a problem with digesting cow's milk alone.

    I don't think we thrive better simply by being vegan.
    LIke you more or less say, vegan food can be popcorn and Fanta. But if we eliminate the junk food aspect, what's your comment to all these studies showing that animal products are linked to cancer, diabetes etc?


    Is a patient dying of a disease caused by his diet 'capable' of surviving on that diet?

    I do see "capable of" as being related to what we naturally do
    But we don't 'naturally' kill eg. cows. My whole point is that we do it 'culturally'.

    We have an omnivorous culture (in Europe), but aren't naturally 'designed' to kill animals or thrive on a typical omnivorous diet.

    IMO, ALexiconOfLove made some valid points I haven't had time to respond to yet. One of them is that studies showing the negative effect our current degree of meat (etc) eating has on us doesn't tell much - if anything - about how we would thrive on a diet with only, say 5% animal products. Not that vegans would eat 5% animal products even if they wouldn't harm our health...
    Last edited by Korn; Aug 16th, 2008 at 08:54 AM.

  9. #59
    songlife
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    I'm gonna start off by saying that natural does not equal good, or right, or the way things should be etc. I can't remember if I said that already.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Well... what does say about our ability to 'process' meat? And - we can't only look an 'nutritional value', we have to look at long time side effects of meat consumption as well - not only life threatening diseases but all kinds of negative effects.
    It says that we don't have the ability to process meat as efficiently as a carnivore, but we still are able to when a herbivore cannot.

    I wonder if the diseases from eating meat come from eating meat itself or because of all the drugs in it or because it's cooked or not cooked or too old.

    Just because there are negative effects of eating meat, doesn't mean that we're not capable of using it for food. I think that we are able to process meat as a last resort if we can't find any suitable plant-based nutrition around us. I think our ability to process meat is probably a survival adaptation... either that, or our poor ability to process meat is from perhaps once eating a lot more meat, and then moving into climates where plant food was everywhere and easy to gather, so we ate more of that instead and over time and lost our ability to effectively process great quantities of meat (from lack of use of those enzymes required for it).

    Quote Korn View Post
    I wasn't mentioning mushrooms that killed us - but mushrooms that made us ill. Is the criterion for not 'not capable of processing' that it makes us ill?
    I think the criterion for "not capable of processing" is that being full on it would make us die. Say, if I ate enough magic mushrooms to make my belly full, I would die. Therefore I'm not able to process it. However, if I made myself full on meat, I would not die.

    I don't think it's black and white. I think that we can process some things better than others. We can't process cellery very well for example, or other things that only herbivores' digestive systems are evolved to break down. Walls in the cell structures of plants. That doesn't mean that we can't process it.. it just meant that we can't process it as well as we can process... seeds, say.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Sure - which is why I don't see the existence of tribes living solely on meat is relevant as an example in this discussion.
    I think it's relevant though, because they adapted to eat that way since they had to. If there had been more plants around they would have eaten more plants. As natural omnivores, we are able to adapt to climates where plants are scarce and there are more animals, though when we have the opportunity to eat only or mostly plants, that's what we do because it's ideal for our systems. Given that opportunity.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Of course you could say that humans need a mixed diet, not only a meat based diet, but that's where cannibalism comes in: Even if cannibals are capable of living on a mix of plants and human meat, eating humans aren't 'natural' for us. We may 'process' human meat, we have done it as a species, we can 'survive' on it, we are 'capable of'... and so on. Do you agree that it's not correct to claim that 'humans are natural cannibals'.
    I don't know. I think we are capable, naturally, of being cannibals. Many species are capable of cannibalism. It's a natural occurance. So why aren't we naturally cannibals? At least, we're capable of cannibalism, and it's not unnatural. That doesn't mean we SHOULD be cannibals. Once again, I think we should move away from associating the terms "natural" with "good" and "should".

    Quote Korn View Post
    Mud was just a random example... insert any other example (like human meat, bark, larvae, earthworms...). They all fit into what seems to be your criterions for when we can define ourselves as 'natural ****** eaters'... Are we 'natural larvae eaters'?
    I think it's natural for humans to eat larvae, why not? Just because it seems gross to modern "civilized" society doesn't mean that it's not something that was... naturally part of our diet. Grubs n bugs make up good portion of the diet of some people living in tropical places.

    I didn't know we can eat bark though, can we brocess bark? What type of bark, all bark? Not that we should of course, poor trees

    Quote Korn View Post
    But my point is that in order to kill/eat eg. a cow, we need exactly that: a 'developed, cultural thing'.
    Why? Why aren't we capable of chasing it down and killing it like another animal would... chase, catch, smash, etc. Even without tools we're able to do it. We're not fast enough to chase gazels and stuff but I can see us in a river full of fish (like it used to be, in abundance) and grab them, hit their heads on the rocks, or just bite in

    We have different practices on how to kill animals and how to prepare them that are cultural, but I don't think the killing of the animals themselves is cultural... I think humans just eat whatever they can when they're hungry, so of course it's easier to pick berries if they're everywhere around you. But what if there are no berries? and we're able to eat that fish in the water. We'll go eat the fish.

    Quote Korn View Post
    What do you mean by 'natural'?
    Natural as in 'A''natural choice for humans'?
    Something which is 'in accordance with nature'?
    Something we just 'may' do or have done, without getting immediately sick?
    When I say natural, I mean occurs in nature. I also see compassion as a natural occurance. I don't act on it because it's natural though, I act on it because I've consciously decided to. Although you could say that conscious decision is also a natural occurance. It doesn't matter to me whether it's natural or not though. Something being natural isn't a reason for me to do it.

    Quote Korn View Post
    And... what do you mean by 'omnivore'?
    Someone who 'may eat' meat and milk without getting sick or dying immediately?
    That an omnivorous diet is 'suitable' for them?
    Or simply someone who is eating both plants, meat, eggs, milk etc.?
    No I think an omnivore is someone who does eat both plant and animals (including eggs). Not dairy though, that's something else... whether or not it's good or bad, it's completely unnatural (does not occur in nature).

    I wouldn't say that an omnivorous diet is suitable for humans, I'd say it's possible. I would even say it can be natural. I would not, though, say that it is good.

    Quote Korn View Post
    To me, eating meat doesn't only seem un-natural, I also agree with Donald Watson that one of man's biggest mistakes was to try to turn himself into a meat eater. And I'm not talking about those life/death situations where some people may have eaten meat to survive here...
    I believe that it is only natural for us to eat meat when we have to, i.e. when we're in an environment where we can easily survive off of plants. I don't know for sure though, it's an educated theory.

    I don't believe that it's natural to eat meat right now because we easily have the capabilities to fully thrive on only plant-based foods. Why would we kill when we don'y have to?

    On the other hand you could argue that animals toy with and kill other animals all the time, even when they're not hungry/eating. I don't think humans are the exception. Obviously (to us) it's wrong and we don't have to do it, even though it's natural. I think we are capable of rising above what is natural. We've done it in other ways, why not this one as well?

    I know that it was much harder to survive in the wild and we took what we could get. Now we live in abundance. We have the luxury of only eating plants. Maybe the growing number in vegans shows that humans are beginning to cotton on to that fact.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Normally, when we talk about what's 'natural' for eg. a bird or animal to eat, it implies that this is a good, natural choice; it's good or at least suitable for them. If a diet isn't good for us, it isn't suitable for us, and I believe most people will agree that a diet that isn't suitable for us isn't a natural choice for us.
    Well, like with a lot of other issues, most people are wrong

    Natural does not mean good. I think it's a very misused term. I also laugh at every advertisement that states that something is "natural". It's getting people to buy it because it says it's natural. It can still suck, but people buy it because they're under the misguided impression that natural is good.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Again - our ancestors weren't only capable of processing human meat - they also also had human meat. Is a human growing up on an isolated island with a long, "cannibalistic" tradition a 'natural cannibal', or is it only 'normal' to eat human meat where he lives?
    I think it's both normal where he lives, and natural, but whether it's good or not is a matter of opinion.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Well... one reason I'm eager to kill the 'we're natural omnivores' myth is that I've heard non-vegans say things like "I have read something on internet that supported the idea that it was natural for humans to eat meat - and the guy who wrote it was a vegetarian! They even admit living on a diet which isn't natural for humans!"
    Well it's not truth's fault that some people are mentally disadvantaged and base all of what they should and should not do off of what is natural.

    Quote Korn View Post
    But maybe I get you wrong, songlife. Maybe you think that the term 'natural herbivores' suits us better than 'natural omnivores' - since you suggest that a plant based diet is more suitable for us...
    I think that we are both natural herbivores and natural omnivores, since we are capable of being both, have been both, and currently are both. Nobody can say that those humans living in the mountains as complete vegans aren't herbivores, just like it would be silly to say that the Inuit aren't omnivores.

    Yes a plant based diet is more suitable for us, regardless of whether or not we're naturally omnivores.

    None of us, with the exception of the Inuit who still live off blubber in the north and the vegan tribe who that still secluded in the mountains, are living naturally. I don't think what's natural matters anymore. I think what's suitable, or good, matters.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Personally, I think that the 'humans are natural omnivores'-statement is moot based on the simple fact that more than half of the human population have a problem with digesting cow's milk alone.
    Cow's milk doesn't have anything to do with omnivores, herbivores, and carnivores though. It's a whole different ball game since the consumption of other species' milk is unnatural, as is the consumption of any milk once you're weaned. Of course we can't process it well, we've only been forcing ourselves to consume it for a few thousand years (a blip on the evolutionary scale).

    Quote Korn View Post
    LIke you more or less say, vegan food can be popcorn and Fanta. But if we eliminate the junk food aspect, what's your comment to all these studies showing that animal products are linked to cancer, diabetes etc?
    I really don't know. I don't know how much of the diseases are linked to dairy and the drugs in meat and eggs, and how much of it is meat itself. I prefer to be free of it altogether, although I have the advantage of being a vegan primarily for ethical reasons and the health benefits are a cherry on top of the (rice milk) sundae. I suppose even if my choice of diet was solely for personal health reasons, I would never consume dairy and might possibly decide to eat meat if it was completely free range and organic, plus no seafood since it can't be organic with all the pollution, which means that since I'm not rich I would be one of those "vegan-most-of-the-time" people. I don't know of anyone who went and stayed vegan entirely for health reasons. Those people are much more selfish and would probably cave to treating themselves with some meat at least on the rare occasion. The reason I never craved meat when I stopped eating it isnt because of the taste, or the personal health, but because the thought of poor creatures being tortured and murdered needlessly turned me off it.

    Quote Korn View Post
    Is a patient dying of a disease caused by his diet 'capable' of surviving on that diet?
    I guess not eh? I've never heard of anyone getting a disease simply by eating lean, organic free range meat as part of their diet though. Which is what the meat would be in nature. How many people do we know like that though? Do the omnivore tribes in the jungle die of heart disease?

    Quote Korn View Post
    But we don't 'naturally' kill eg. cows. My whole point is that we do it 'culturally'.
    please see my comment above.

    And does our current breed of cow exist in nature?? Also if you're talking about the methods of livestock "production" today, of course they're unnatural. Therefore it has no bearing on the question of natural omnivoreness.

    Quote Korn View Post
    We have an omnivorous culture (in Europe), but aren't naturally 'designed' to kill animals or thrive on a typical omnivorous diet.
    What is a "typical" omnivorous diet? I don't think there's a typical one. It's varied depending on era, climate, and geographical location.

    Quote Korn View Post
    IMO, ALexiconOfLove made some valid points I haven't had time to respond to yet. One of them is that studies showing the negative effect our current degree of meat (etc) eating has on us doesn't tell much - if anything - about how we would thrive on a diet with only, say 5% animal products. Not that vegans would eat 5% animal products even if they wouldn't harm our health...
    I agree. I think that many studies would have to be done for many years to give reasonably conclusive evidence on whether or not it's good for us to have 5% of our diet as meat as opposed to veganism, assuming that the rest of our diets are the same and complete and not overly processed etc.

    Holy moley that was my longest post ever and I think that's saying something! Good thing I type faster than I talk, eh.

  10. #60
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Hi songlife, thanks for your answer.

    A couple of comments:

    I don't know. I think we are capable, naturally, of being cannibals. Many species are capable of cannibalism. It's a natural occurance. So why aren't we naturally cannibals?
    I think my main focus on claiming that humans are natural omnivores is that if one claims that we are, and not at the same time also claims that we are 'natural herbivores' or 'natural cannibals', is that it easily can be misunderstood as 'it's natural for humans to eat meat, but I still choose another diet, which may not be 'as natural'.

    When I say natural, I mean occurs in nature.
    Again - then rape and murder is 'natural' as well, but those (loads of people) who use the 'eating-animals-is-natural-for-humans-so-why-not-do-it' argument actually do use 'natural' about something which is a natural, good choice for us, not about something which 'occurs in nature'.

    I believe that it is only natural for us to eat meat when we have to
    ...which confirms that it seems that discussions like these often aren't about the actual topic itself (eg. 'are humans natural omnivores?') - but about the definitions of the words we use; about how we use these words - eg. 'natural' can be used about a product, but also about what a natural reaction would be in a non-typical life/death situation would be.


    Not dairy though
    the consumption of other species' milk is unnatural
    Milk drinking humans 'occur in nature' - if at least if use of manmade tools and methods (eg. traps) to catch and kill animals should be seen as 'natural', then methods to catch wild goats or yaks and take their milk easily also could be seen as natural.

    Anyway - as we all know, there are no lacto-carnivorous or lacto-vegetarian non-human animals in nature.

    I could comment other stuff you wrote as well, but I think I have commented most of what you write in earlier posts already.

    The bottom line for me isn't 'everything that occurs in nature is good' or that 'everything that's manmade is bad' - it's more that 'eating meat is natural' as an argument for eating meat IMO is invalid (for humans), which I guess we all agree in. I guess we also agree in that if we should use our brains or our advanced abilities to 'cultivate', we do have the choice between harming animals, ourselves and the environment or not - and also, that even if we wouldn't get sick if we included 5% meat from wild animals (or animals from factory farms, or human meat), we still wouldn't do it.


    Here's a kind of funny perspective (from Bizarro) on the natural/unnatural discussion:

    [YOUTUBE]05zhL1YUd8Q[/YOUTUBE]

  11. #61
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    Default Re: Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter?

    Right. I read a bit into this thread, but I don't have time to read the whole thing. I did, however, search through it to see if this point has been brought up yet, and it seems not:

    "Natural" and "Unnatural" are terms that I feel come from the old religious belief that Man is somehow "above" nature, that we have some sort of "divine purpose", or that we were made in the image of "God". Any way we look at it, anything an animal does is natural, right? They follow their instincts and do their stuff. Natural. The way man operates is slightly more complex, and we do a lot more stuff, but this is not "unnatural". It's simply what we do, following our genetic programming.
    Natural and Unnatural are pretty outdated terms. We're animals, same as all other animals, and we came into existence through the process of evolution. Evolution being a natural process, and our achievements being the natural result of what the goal of our species is (pass on our genes to the next generation, prevent next generation from getting killed before they can defend themselves, same as everything), one can hardly say that what we do isn't natural.

    Right?

    I'd really just like to see both terms abolished, because they don't actually mean anything.
    "Neptunus, you've finally gone mental." ~ Stu

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