This Says All You Ever Need to Know About Veganism

Very impressive research and analysis but, at the end of the day, we all only believe what we WANT to believe. For example, one person may read the bible and think it’s the greatest story ever told and also believe that it’s the truth. Another person may read the bible and conclude that it’s really just the greatest story ever told. So, whilst Debra’s work is impressive for the amount of time and effort she’s put in, as a vegan I am, not surprisingly, very firmly sat in Dr Colin Campbell’s camp. I just believe Dr Campbell.

Commenter "Neil" (8/24/10 21:00:07). Emphasis added.

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Comments

  1. Or, it’s the dumbest story ever told AND it’s not the truth. (Which could be said of both of the “good books” mentioned.)

    • What I find most interesting is that he didn’t even use an analogy that’s some matter of disputed fact, but matters of explicit faith. Tantamount: veganism is simply a matter of faith.

      So at least we can agree with him.

      • For an AR vegan health outcomes/environmental impact are secondary to granting animals rights. They just fit the rest of the evidence based on that philosophy.

      • I think the faith/science thing is lost upon many of them. They just don’t understand what science is. And it’s not going to get any better when the only “science” they ever pay any attention to is Campbell’s brand of pseudoscience, hand-waving, and lying.

  2. And he even got Denise’s name wrong.

  3. And he even got Denise’s name wrong.

    He wanted to believe that her name was Debra.

    • Someone has probably done research on our human tendency to avoid concentrating closely on data that conflict seriously with the “virtual world” in which each one of us lives. When data comes that does not fit our preconceived notions, especially when that data contradicts said notions in a really big way, I think we tend to avoid fixation: we actively “forget” all we can about the “wrong” message, relegating it to the mental scrap-pile pre-rationally (i.e. before our rational faculties have time to kick in and tell us that the data might be relevant). I know I have caught myself doing this time and again over the past few years while interacting with people whose worldviews seemed ridiculous to me.

      • To be sure, Joseph. We all do it. Science is about exerting will over that natural human tenancy, as I’m sure you’d agree.

        Thing is, for us Paleo’s, we’re so busy debunking what on the surface appears to debunk our claims that we don’t yet have the luxury to engage in woeful selection bias.

      • David Csonka says:

        The book “The True Believers”

      • Here is the Wikipedia entry on confirmation bias:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

        It sites no less than 108 studies just in the WP entry, there are undoubtedly countless more.

        Campbell, incidentally, demonstrably falls for all three basic types of CB – biased information search (the china study itself), biased interpretation (his conclusions), and biased memory (ignores even his own previous studies). The fact that he has to throw away the scientific method and develop a “holistic” approach to “science” is evidence of just how deep his bias is.

  4. SerialSinner says:

    In an ideal universe, Dr. Campbell would be considered an environmental stressor in a habitat where intelligence is positively selected, and Neil’s DNA would never make it to the gene pool.

    • I had much the same thought. He probably thinks he shouldn’t reproduce to “save the Earth” which is just fine with me. When he’s dead and gone, my descendants will have all his stuff.

  5. Well there is no arguing with blind faith.

  6. mango genocide says:

    Those with soy-induced brain damage often spell “Denise” D-E-B-R-A. We should be merciful.

  7. The alternative to faith in authority is too daunting — relying on oneself and admitting to being fooled your entire life, along with facing having to confront those same authority figures, then taking steps away from social norms and becoming a food nut– this is really difficult stuff. I credit logic and luck with getting where I am today. Otherwise I’d still be bouncing back and forth between emaciated and bloated, and on a proton pump inhibitor.

    Not believing Campbell or your doctor means you are in for a shit load of work to figure out what you do believe in. I don’t see most willing to attempt that.

  8. obviously this particular vegan is a complete idiot, but that does not mean every vegan is stupid. im sure there are plenty of vegans that do have the capacity to think rationally. if i find one meat eater making a stupid comment, that doesn’t mean every meat eater is stupid. i don’t think it’s fair to judge every vegan based off of the comments of one complete and utter moron

    • Zach:

      But I don’t give a fuck about vegans. Not one. Fuck ‘em.

      If some fucking dufus makes ‘em all look like morons, it’s totally fine by me. Don’t be such a pussy. This isn;t science, here, it’s sport.

      I’m not like any other blog.

      • LeonRover says:

        Yeah, Blood-Sport.

        Thracian vs Retarius.

        “Glad” to be a sword-fighter.

      • well in that case youre just a fucking asshole. if i like to eat carrots instead of apples, would you judge me for it? if i like to eat tofu instead of Big Macs, how does it affect you? saying that you hate all vegans because you disagree with some of them is like me saying i hate all black people because i think michael jackson is weird. granted there are plenty of vegans with faulty logic, and some that im not particularly fond of, but there are plenty that are awesome. their choice of food does not affect me, so i don’t think less of them for it. if what other people eat bothers you, than youre just a douche

        and don’t call me a pussy. i would destroy you in a fight you fat sack of shit. id rather be a vegan empathizer than a fat ass who gets his ass kicked by a vegan empathizer.

      • Hyperbole much, Zach?

        Christ. I don’t even care enough about vegans to hate them. I just enjoy the sport of ridiculing them.

        “i would destroy you in a fight…”

        Hilarious. What grade are you in?

      • gallier2 says:

        and be careful Each, his Daddy follows his blog, and his daddy will beat up your daddy, nah, nah, nah, nah…

      • Using “pussy” to denote a wimpy person is idiotic. You ever seen one in action when it’s got a baby to push out? It’s stronger than you are, and you’re Primal/Paleo. :P

    • …And by the way, “meat eaters” is far too equivocal.

  9. I wonder if there are vegans who do believe that veganism is less healthy than omnivorism, but still choose to not eat meat for moral reasons?

    • I know a few. I lived with one for a while, and his diet is based on some form of buddhism. Of course, given all the destruction involved in the agriculture that provides vegan foods, the morality is quite a bit more complicated than vegans would like it to be, but I digress. He’s a good guy and he knows it’s not optimal for his body. I wish I knew more like him and less like the snarling uber-vegans who look down their noses at meat and sip some soymilk.

    • David Csonka says:

      Those are the ones I give some respect to. They are willing to *knowingly* sacrifice their health for an ethical/moral ideal. That takes a lot of guts and commitment.

    • J.S., check out this recent interview with Jack Harris — a vegan dietitian one of the founders of Vegan Outreach:

      http://letthemeatmeat.com/post/938318830/interview-with-a-vegan-jack-norris-rd

      In response to the question “You’re a critic of “the health argument” for veganism, which says that veganism is the healthiest possible diet. What is wrong with that argument?” he says point-blank:

      “As an animal protection group, we focus on ethical arguments regarding animals and reducing their suffering, and we try not to make promises to people about any improvements a vegan diet might have for their health. Unfortunately, nutrition and health do become tangential to our promotion of animal protection because we are asking people to change their diets and so we try to make sure that we give sound nutrition advice.”

      There are definitely vegans out there who don’t give a hoot whether the diet is the healthiest one or not — it’s only about saving animals.

      • mango genocide says:

        I wonder how many of those vegans actually eat in a way that involves less “net cruelty” toward animals than the kind of non-factory-farmed non-vegan diet Lierre Keith champions…

        It’s all well & good to be a vegan because “I’m willing to sacrifice my own health to reduce the pain & suffering I cause other creatures”–but only if that actually is the case…

      • Likely none, since agriculture involves the destruction of animal habitat no matter where it is performed.

        As such, a vegan diet always comes back with a net cruelty toward animals. The debate then becomes whether or not it is more or less cruel than animal based diets. It is much harder to defend on those grounds, since agriculture requires the destruction of far more wild animal habitat than does animal husbandry.

      • And grain farmers are quick to kill any animal that threatens their crop and some that don’t directly. No farmer I’ve ever met would suffer a raccoon, opossum, ground hog, or coyote to live any longer than it took to get the rifle sighted on target. Deer and Canada geese only get a pass because they’re protected by law (and even then they don’t always). If you promote a grain based diet, you’re promoting the destruction of these animals.

  10. Michael says:

    Thanks, Richard. That’s an interesting find. The comment from Neil is at once candid, callow, and revealing.

    I think Neil has provided a poor parallel. In the first place, I doubt people read a religious text and decide it’s “true” (or not) on the basis of what they “want”. I think people who have some kind of *existing* belief may make evasions in order to *maintain* it (because they’ve already bought in). That’s directly observable in, for example, some political literature. (But that’s different, and a far more complex phenomenon. And it’s probably always accompanied by an uneasy awareness of what one’s doing, besides being vulnerable to catastrophic failure when the weight of the evidence becomes too much. )

    But as for deciding what you “want” to believe is “true” – I’m not at all convinced Neil’s (or anyone’s) beliefs about what’s true or false could be coerced by his desires – although his actions obviously can be. And I could certainly believe that something was true – say that a friend had just died – regardless of what I wanted to be true.

    Secondly, the thought that religion is essentially theories about what the world is like is a relic of eighteenth-century thought. After the work of people like Durkheim, it should be obvious enough that whatever else it is religion is primarily a *social* phenomenon and most concerned with ceremony and ritual (which enact a social condition). Some religions have doctrines, but that’s hardly the most central aspect – and, actually, they need have none at all. It’s doubtful that Shinto, for example, can be said to have any doctrines. What’s important to the Japanese is not a set of beliefs, but that one carry out the rituals.

    So really if Neil meant to suggest that a religion is a theory about the world which may be true or false but which isn’t susceptible of proof and that perhaps theories about what it’s best to eat are the same, he’s barking up the wrong tree – religion isn’t really a set of theories. However, a notion about what’s best for me to eat is most definitely a theory. It is also most definitely a testable matter. A complete scientific understanding of diet is perhaps too much to hope for. It’s a complex matter, because biochemistry is – and if it were not, there wouldn’t be such a plethora of opinions on it around – but it’s basically amenable to observation and experiment. Given time we can probably answer a range of such questions as, “Which diets are most likely to make a person susceptible to cancer?” pretty conclusively. I don’t think Neil’s going to like the answers to questions like that.

  11. The Dude says:

    When someone takes a stance that their ultimate goal is to reduce animal suffering, that’s fine. When they say “now what do I eat?” and start looking for the healthiest foods that fit within that dogma, well, good luck but that’s fine too.

    However, when they say that their belief based, gospel diet is the healthiest possible choice for anyone, and try to use BS pseudo-science to convince people of that (like T.C. Campbell or the raw foodies who tell us that cooking kills necessary enzymes), I have a problem.

  12. I think it highlights the greatest problem in Western Society. We’re well educated (relatively) at least we have been handed a lot of information and made to memorize it. We can regurgitate this info all over a standardized test and get into great colleges as a result.
    The greatest failure is our lack of ability to think critically. Look at the issues that people get really involved in and are often wrong about. Most of them are not a case of lack of access to information, but a lack of ability to critically examine the information. Most pieces of information are presented out of context, and this is on the rise. Twitter is the ultimate in communication of potential information without context. Also never over estimate the power of anecdote. A scientist can produce a great study about a health issue, have rock solid stats, experimental design and methodologies, and be powerless before the image of a weeping mother claiming that a treatment or something is hurting her baby.
    Maybe we should stop being scared of our children falling behind other countries in their ability on standardized tests and instead start teaching them to “never stop questioning” as Einstein suggested.

  13. I have a lot of fun with Vegetarians/Vegans. They’re my favorite subspecies of human. :) When someone tells me they’re a vegetarian, I always ask them if they do it for health or ethical reasons. When they reply “Oh, ethical reasons” my immediate follow up is “Yeah, so you really hate plants. me too. Damned plants!”

    That gets us off to a good start. And it usually takes them a few seconds to wrap their head around it. While they’re doing that, I go on “Yeah, I love eating meat. The best part is the animal I eat probably ate a lot of plants, so by ensuring a market for those animals I ensure that a lot of plant killing and eating takes place, and I don’t have to be the one doing it! Good thing there are animals. Damned plants!”

    At that point, they’re completely lost. I’ve actually had Vegans just stare at me for close to 20 seconds before mumbling “uh…what?”

    If they reply with “health reasons” then it’s still fun. It goes like this: “Really? I get more than 50% of my calories from animal fat and all of my protein from meat. Look at this picture of me from 2005 on my iPhone. Gee, do I look younger and healthier to you? In fact, do I look younger and healthier THAN you?”

    It’s all about winning friends and influencing people. I don’t want them as friends and there is no educating the unwilling so influence is a waste.

    Hand me the steak, please…

    • My favorite was a coworker who was pressured into going vegan for “environmental” reasons by his housemate. I didn’t touch the point about meat, but when I brought up cheese, he made a comment about how he heard something on NPR about how cheese has a higher carbon footprint than beef. And I said “What kind of cheese?”

      “Uh, any kind…?”

      “So you mean to tell me that the processed Kraft cheese made from milk taken from dairy cattle that sit on feed lots eating petroleum-fertilized corn and soy and then shipped great distances has the same carbon footprint as a local, raw milk cheddar that is made from milk from cows grazing well-maintained pastures and only traveling maybe 50 miles to get to me?”

      [Blink, blink] “Yeah, but where am I going to be able to find THAT kind of cheese?”

      “Actually, it’s the cheapest cheese at the grocery store where I saw you last week.”

      Game. Set. Match.

      I might have to get him a copy of The Vegetarian Myth for Yule or something. His housemate won’t talk about food with me anymore because I’m an environmentally-aware omnivore and it messes with his mind that there’s something besides SAD and strict vegan.

  14. Samantha Moore says:

    “But I don’t give a fuck about vegans. Not one. Fuck ‘em.

    If some fucking dufus makes ‘em all look like morons, it’s totally fine by me. Don’t be such a pussy. This isn;t science, here, it’s sport.

    I’m not like any other blog.”

    Sweet. Pure. Fresh. Ahhh.

    • Thank you Samantha. Yea, y’know, I do the sciency stuff too and I don’t mind being held to those standards in those posts.

      But this was merely a good kick in the teeth for fun.

  15. mehitabel says:

    As has been stated here before, vegetarianism is a fundamentalist religion–not a diet.

    I have vegetarian acquaintances who feed their cats a vegetarian diet. It makes me cry. It would be less cruel to run them over with a car–the cats (and maybe the vegetarians).

    One of these “friends” recently had a cat die of chronic renal failure at barely 10 years of age.

    Cats adapted to the best possible diet of raw meat live to see their thirties.
    To abuse a cat with a vegetarian diet that leads to a very premature death in the name of “animal rights” could not be greater irony. And it couldn’t be more lost on those with “soy-induced brain damage.”

  16. I am a Vegan, have raw vegan for 15 years now for health reasons. We need to have a “blood off” with hard core vegans like Dr Jameth Sheridan and Dr Gabriel Cousens :) Let the battle begin! Have an awesome day.

  17. A quote I have always liked:

    “Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It’s healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I’ve worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold. Oh, I’ll accommodate them, I’ll rummage around for something to feed them, for a ‘vegetarian plate’, if called on to do so. Fourteen dollars for a few slices of grilled eggplant and zucchini suits my food cost fine.” From Anthony Bourdain, in Kitchen Confidential, p. 70.

  18. After 20 years of eating meat and having my dad being a butcher I can say with experience that the food I eat now is tastier, yummier, juicer and way more satisfying. I know many awesome vegan and raw chefs who create some amazing delights… Hugs, Philip

    • “After 20 years of eating meat and having my dad being a butcher I can say with experience…”

      You can say so with YOUR subjective experience, no one else’s.

      Look: I don’t give a shit if eating a nutritionally bankrupt diet gets your panties all wet. “Way more satisfying?” Only if you’re putting your moist panties above the hard facts of evolution and proper nutrition for the human animal.

      • Philip Madeley says:

        Richard

        Are all meat eaters this angry, judging and as aggressive as you. As you choose to absorb the energy of death into your body it must be hard to transmute that into love.

        Philip

      • “Are all meat eaters this angry, judging and as aggressive as you.”

        Fuck, I sure hope so.

      • What do you eat, rocks? Plants are alive too. You even eat them alive, if you get them fresh enough. Savage. At least my stuff’s dead when I bite into it.

  19. “I love vegetarians. They’re delicious!”

    From a T-shirt.

    • And from a bumper sticker:

      “Vegans and vegetarians, the sap of millions is on your hands!”

      • Philip Madeley says:

        That is awesome… and proud of it :) Thank You!

      • Any time…and thanks for being vegan or whatever…it leaves more animals for me to eat :)

      • Philip Madeley says:

        You are welcome, do my part, we could never feed the whole planet on an animal based diet anyway. Look at the mess we got into trying to do that!

      • Well, it seems like those problems have less to do with raising meat animals per se than it does with corporate farming and food producing practices in general, because corporate farming practices of all kinds…of fruits and veggies and grains…cause damage, too. The unstated mind-set of alot of people seems to be that people should feel guilty for being alive…that they should feel guilty for having been born, so they should have to apologize for needing to eat and breathe. I consciously refuse to buy into that mind-set. My body simply does better on an animal-based diet, and I have tried both. Grain and soy, especially, are harmful to me.

      • Philip Madeley says:

        Agreed, grain and soy are generally not the best food choices. With soy the isolates are a particular issue and most soy is GMO. The health benefits that are connected with soy are based on whole food soy and fermented soys used as a small portion of meals. I personally do not eat either.

        Agreed corporate farming is unsustainable. That aside I wonder how sustainable it would be if all meat eaters went au natural.

        Agreed, we need to do what is right for ourselves and be at complete peace with it :)

        I personally do better without any animal foods and a whole plant raw foods diet works great for my body. Lots of local produce where I live too.

        Thank You
        Philip

      • Right, it’s a much better idea for us to poison the world’s population with grains instead.

        Perhaps if we had never started cultivating grains we’d actually have some semblance of a sustainable society. Eating what’s available from the environment as it is fosters land stewardship; you have a “relationship” with your food. As opposed to clearing billions of acres for wheat and soy to support a compartmentalized society of specialized (in other words, unbalanced) humans who have no connection with the lives of their food. It’s hard to care about something (like the world that feeds you) when you’re so disconnected from it.

        Maybe we wouldn’t have 8 billion people either. A different social structure not based on cheap calories (grains) might give people to foresight to be sensible with their reproduction.

      • It has historically taken population pressure for people to expand their territories. If “over-reproduction” is what it takes for humans to get off this planet and spread out across the universe, then that’s what it takes. What’s the point of life if you’re not reproducing more of it?

      • Well, you know what happens to populations that get out of control…that whole non-linear thing gets going and the population crashes, so I don’t think we have to worry about a thing…the whole thing will take care of itself, and if I or any of my loved ones happens to be amoungst the casualites, well, c’est la vie. But we as a species do seem to be pushing our luck lately. Its just too bad that the innocent suffer along with the guilty, and that the truly guilty always get off scot-free.

        One thing about meat animals, though. Collectively speaking, they are not our victims. I see it like this: they agree to sacrifice a certain number of their fellow animals each year in exchange for human-provided food, and shelter. That way, they can actually predict their own predation, rather than have it be random…i.e. instead of being HUNTED (whether by us or by other predators like wolves, etc), which must be hideous. I think its a deal that humans and other species worked out a long time ago, and that although it is horrible for all of the individual animals that are slaughtered, it is actually to the animals’ collective advantage.

      • That’s funny. When we were all hunter-gatherers, the human population was kept down to a sensible level. Invent plant agriculture and all of a sudden (relatively speaking) we’ve exploded all over the place. Ever tried living on nothing but meat, or almost nothing? You have no appetite. I have a hard time believing that if we all transitioned to a carnivorous diet tomorrow, people would be gorging themselves on much of anything. Especially if it’s *fatty* animal food.

      • Oh, this old fallacy again. Ever heard of the Gaia Hypothesis? If there’s any validity to it, we’ll never be able to live on other planets without mechanical life support. Lovelock thinks the atmosphere evolved along with the life on the planetary surface below. Even if we managed to terraform another world, it’d be for whatever life managed to evolve there–it’d never be ready for us to live on it by the time it was suitable. Either we’d have evolved to need some other kind of atmosphere or we’d be extinct.

        Asking for population pressure is suicidal. Everything else that lives on this planet is part of our life support system because it helps make every ecosystem, and the atmosphere that covers all of them–and we’re the one species that can adapt nearly everywhere, even without machinery. As foragers we moved into some of the least hospitable places on earth–no bubbles, no automobiles, no air tanks. But we can’t adapt to a radically changed planet, so it’s best we remember how to adapt before it’s too late.

        That’s Primal too. People spaced their children and didn’t take more food than the land could support. That’s a lesson we’ll learn again the hard way.

      • Population is a function of food supply. We no more developed agriculture to address starvation than you would make a parachute after falling out of an airplane without one. If we hadn’t invented grain agriculture we’d still be keeping our population in line with local supports, having not gotten too big for our britches.

        The only reason we *might* get away with transitioning away from a plant-based diet *now* is we’ve bred lots and lots of food animals. Otherwise, the chances don’t look so good.

      • @Dana do you also believe that if man had been meant to fly, he’d have wings?

      • Actually he’s saying we developed airplanes, and then we could fly. We did not fly and then develop airplanes to support our flight.

        We developed agriculture, which allowed us to expand. Had we not developed agriculture, we may never have expanded much at all. In truth we would have expanded as animal husbandry improved, but that improvement was much slower compared to the explosion of agriculture. It’s like learning to build a hang-glider vs learning to build a rocket engine.

        Therefore, agriculture is largely to blame for the destruction of animal habitats on many levels, from the direct destruction to build farms, to the indirect destruction of human expansion.

      • OK, `cause it sounded to me like he was saying that any idea of humans living anywhere other than Earth was doomed to failure because of this Gaia hypothesis thing.

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  3. [...] The bright spot in all of this is that the vegans, like creationists and "Intelligent Designers," wholly lack the scientific background, mental discipline, logical consistency and a whole host of other crucial attributes (like ability to form an objective argument) to advance their cause beyond jerking off the masses ( I believe "energizing" is the pussy-PC way of putting it). Want to know what I mean? Well in any debate the creationists are generally going to spurn science when the apparent facts and evidence go agains them (usually the case) and rely upon "authority;" namely, that of some ancient, conveniently interpreted text — from dirt scratching origins to glass & steel skyscrapers — like The Bible. Vegans do exactly the same thing. If you have the stomach (and time) for it, see comments at Denise Minger's blog. I recently blogged about a typical example. [...]