Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Thought

Clifton  A fact you might find it worthwhile to ponder today: had all early Americans adopted a vegan lifestyle, human slavery would never have existed in this country.
Erika  Yeah, slaves are too gamy for me. Last I checked, cotton is still considered vegan safe.
Lori  Wait … we ate slaves?
Clifton  Well, these days, cotton is harvested by machines. No serious vegan or vegetarian would purchase cotton products where the cotton was harvested by slaves. (Incidentally, I highly recommend the Planet Money series on the origin of t-shirts for anyone really interested in exploring the human labor involved in modern clothing production.)

Veganism and vegetarianism aren’t just about what you eat, but more about not causing living things to suffer or die unnecessarily.

When might it be necessary for a living thing to suffer or die? Perhaps when we’re trying to find cures to devastating illnesses as were Banting/Best and Pasteur to name a few.

Clifton I’d like to add that I would support any variety of eating less meat, including this http://www.meatlessmonday.com/.
Jon  Is the vegan included in the lifestyle of not causing living things to suffer? 😉
Clifton  Yeah, Jon, I imagine a lot of people find any talk of changing their behavior insufferable. Any direct mention of the possible merits of not eating meat could ultimately be a terrible PR move. I hope not, of course.

In my defense, I think it’s been quite a while since I posted some pro-vegan/vegetarian propaganda.

Also, as usual, I was hoping that someone would uncover the fault(s) in my reasoning. I do freely admit that I might have it all wrong. I believe my agnosticism is quite pathological at this point.

Rachel  Haha my agnosticism as well there are so many times where I say I believe this but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we’re all right, maybe we’re all wrong?
Clifton  Agnosticism: withholding certainty to grant that knowing all facts is probably impossible in some circumstances. I still do this with anthropogenic climate change. Ultimately, I feel I must acknowledge that I probably won’t live long enough to learn everything (regarding climate change or anything else) and must therefore rely on experts to some extent. The best survey of experts I know of found a 97-98% consensus among preeminent scientists actively publishing on climate science. So, that’s what I go with and act on.

Similarly, all large studies I know of conclude that eating little or no meat is healthier than eating greater quantities of meat: the Loma Linda studies, the Seven Countries Study, the Framingham Heart Study, the Cornell-Oxford-China Health Project, and the Lifestyle Heart Trial. I don’t think I’m cherry-picking here. These are the only major studies of human nutrition I know of and they all have similar things to say about meat: less (or none) is better.

And, this seems to me to nicely sum up the environmental impact of meat consumption: http://www.worldwatch.org/system/files/EP174A.pdf.

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