So here is a question.
I am currently eating a steak. It came from a dead animal - one who most likely didn't have the greatest life, one could say suffered - One could go so far as to say the animal I am eating used to live a life of torture.
I am perfectly well aware of the arguments for not eating meat. The arguments against animal abuse. I have watched the videos of animals being slaughtered because I wanted information to make an informed opinion.
It wouldn't be a lie for me to admit that I agree with all the arguments from the non meat eater/vegetarian crowd. I agree with them almost completely. That the animals do in fact suffer more than they should.
But honestly - eating this steak makes me feel good. I enjoy chewing it, tasting it - the red and bloody steak it becomes with butter and pepper. It's delicious to me.
I guess it's more that I just don't care about the suffering the animals enough for me to give up my delicious steak. Or veal chop. Or rack of lamb.
What say you, rational minds? Am I a 'bad person' for admitting that the arguments make sense and yet I choose to simply ignore them for my own one could say - selfish and short-term desires?
And not a single one of the vegetarians or vegans I know are the tiniest bit evangelical.
I would consider the original post as having evangelical overtones. Why? Because a post titled "Are those who persist in their atheism despite the evidence for God's existence bad people?" would strike me as an evangelical post.
Vegetarians and vegans seem compulsive about starting posts to discuss their belief system, obviously hoping for converts. You know: if they can convince just one person... This isn't the first such post. Sometimes they even try to turn posts about other topics into discussions of their beliefs.
So if I don't believe in faeries, is that a religion?
If I don't believe in the god 'Thor', is that a religion?
I hear people from the God Squad saying atheism is a religion, but it seems daft for people on the atheist side to be saying so.
Humans are genetic carnivores. Meat is our natural diet. Depending on our ethnic/genetic background, we have developed a degree of tolerance for plant-based diets. That's only tolerance, though.
Wouldn't the rational position be that we should eat foods that fit with our natural place at the top of the food chain?
We are omnivores, not carnivores - have you ever heard of scurvy?
Sure, we've all heard of scurvy, but more than adequate levels of vitamin C are available in meats. How do you think Eskimos have survived all these centuries?
Lactose tolerance, improved insulin production for resistance to carbohydrate intake, etc. are all relatively recent adaptations in the human population to deal with changing diet from farming. Those adaptations are not spread evenly among ethnic populations, which is why Native Americans experience a startlingly high incidence of Type II diabetes, for example. Not much farming in their history, so those adaptations were not selected for.
Genetically we are primary carnivores, which is reflected in our dentition (just look how we get cavities from eating carbohydrates) and physiology. While we aren't obligate carnivores and can process plant fibers, to build complete proteins we need to eat plants simultaneously in specific groups not generally found by gathering in nature, and not that pleasing to our palates (which is why raising children on a vegetarian diet is very difficult).
Of course I'm just a physicist talking biology, so feel free to correct me! That's what my biology colleagues are telling me at the moment, though.
All that is just by way of agreement with your premise. Vegetarianism is a sort of odd religion, perhaps a western adaptation of Hinduism where we start to see spirits in the animals. I suspect it's augmented by our affluence. Affluent people are the only ones who keep pets solely as pets and not working animals, and when we keep pets, we begin humanizing our pets (just look at the pet cemeteries, pet hotels and other aberrations in our most affluent communities).
Genetically we are primary carnivores,
As a species Humans (like most other land-dwelling mammals) are omnivores, Robert. Eskimos may have subsisted on vitamin C from whale skins and seal livers, but they also ate fish, blueberries and other plants during the summer months.
People all over the world, going back to the time when they were animals, consume whatever they can live on: fish, fowl, plant, animal, insect, honey, milk, and whatnot. That is an omnivore not a carnivore. From the citation link:
"Since the evolutionary split between hominins and pongids approximately 7 million years ago, the available evidence shows that all species of hominins ate an omnivorous diet composed of minimally processed, wild-plant, and animal foods."
which is reflected in our dentition (just look how we get cavities from eating carbohydrates) and physiology.
Human teeth evolved to eat primarily vegetable matter with the occasional bit of meat over a relatively short lifespan. Now we eat processed foods that contain refined and concentrated sugars over lifespans greatly extended by medicine, agriculture, and sanitation. That is why we get cavities and why we outlast our teeth.
I think one has to grant that meat has become an unnaturally large proportion of the modern diet, and should be limited in the interest in the interest of personal health and the health of the planet, while also admitting that limiting oneself to vegetable matter seems rather unnatural. Simply because it's possible doesn't make it natural, and the fact that one MUST pay more attention to nutrition when one limits oneself to a vegetable-based diet seems to indicate it's a bit unnatural.
First off - 'Eskimos' is a pejorative used by the Dogrib and Slave Lake First Nations to refer to the Inuit. It's not politically correct. Secondly, the Inuit have survived because they have adapted, over thousands of years, to having very little plant material in their diet - not none.
I'm not going to argue scientific fact with someone who believes an invisible man is watching him from the sky to make sure he follows a set of rules. Get educated - try reading a book written by an anthropologist - and you'll understand that we are not carnivores. You are just plain dead wrong in that statement so give it up.
Yes, we are omnivores. Happy now that we have all our dictionary definitions in a row? ;)
"Scientific fact" is a bit of a misnomer, though, don't you think? It is a scientific fact that modern non-Inuit humans can do just fine on all-meat diets, in that it has been tested and established. No scurvy, no problems. We can also do just fine on all plant diets, if carefully selected and eaten in the correct quantity from plants that were native to different parts of the globe.
The rest is a matter of theory and evidence. The current prevailing theory is as I have described.
I'm glad you've admitted that you were dead wrong in calling us carnivores.
It wasn't the dictionary that made you wrong, though - it was your misunderstanding of reality. Now if we could just get you to update your understanding of the lack of evidence for your invisible man in the sky.