Hello there ! A french guy living in Italy :)

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Ergo
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Hello there ! A french guy living in Italy :)

Post by Ergo » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:20 am

Hi everyone !

I discovered the forum through the Youtube Channel "The Vegan Atheist". I was really happy to find a place where veganism was not promoted with anger, so I immediatly registered. I figure it out that I will be able to have interesting and constructed discussions here :)

I quickly introduce myself :

I am currently 22 years old, living and working in Italy in order to finish degree in polymers physics and chemistry. The main reason that brought me here is that I am frequently looking for more information and knowledges about nutrition, sport, etc, in order to find the life's conditions that fit me. The intensive practice of CrossFit since a year and a half now is, lets say, the starting point of this journey.

Since I am born I have been on a "classic" diet, with a non negligable amount of industrial processed food, and meat of course. It is only been since I have the opportunity to live on my own (3 years), that my diet style changed. I am gradually banning processed food, consuming mainly fresh vegetables and fruits, but still eating meet, fish, eggs or milk, eventhough I try my best to get the best quality and form I can.

I did not expect to find a forum which is also tinted philosophy and religion in my research on veganism. It is the icing on the cake for me :) Especially the ethic side of veganism, I am really looking forward to discussing about a lot of topics :)

I am sure to have passionate and intesresting discussions here :) See you soon !

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EquALLity
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Post by EquALLity » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:40 pm

Hi, welcome to the forum! :D

Does your profile picture have some kind of deeper meaning?
Why did you go vegan?

Also, why don't you want processed food? It's often not healthy, but some of it can be better than fruits and vegetables alone (like nutrition bars).
"I am not a Marxist." -Karl Marx

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:45 pm

Welcome! I hope you like it here. What an amazing field to study.
EquALLity wrote: Why did you go vegan?
He hasn't yet, I think he's working on it and learning (which is great of course).

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EquALLity
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Post by EquALLity » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:56 pm

^Ah, you're right.

What inspired your interest in veganism?
"I am not a Marxist." -Karl Marx

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Ergo
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Post by Ergo » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:38 am

Hey !
EquALLity wrote:Does your profile picture have some kind of deeper meaning?
Yes, exactly :) You can find this kind of curve shapes in chemistry for example. It describes the so called "activation energy", the energy needed for a reaction to happened. If you wanted to push a rock all down the curve, you would need to give it a bit of energy to pass the first hill.

To me it represents the fact that in live, you need to give something to have to something in return and reach your goals. In fact, there is a lot a principles that physic, chemistry or even math describe in some way and that we can understand and witness in our daily life from a more social or philosophical point of view. I really like this idea, it gives a more beautiful picture of science I think :)

I purposely erased the axis descriptions and anotations, so it can be understood in different ways, and it is also more mysterious 8-)
EquALLity wrote: Also, why don't you want processed food? It's often not healthy, but some of it can be better than fruits and vegetables alone (like nutrition bars).
You are right, than let say processed food from the industry then. With the few experiences that I had in the chemical industry, I have come to realize that when it comes to mass production, all means (at least those that respect the laws) are okay. So I do not want to take any chance, even if there some brands that may be ok :/

Plus, I really enjoy cooking, so it is a pleasure when I can bake my own bread for example. Right now I can not, but in a near futur, one of my goals is to produce as much food as I can on my own. It will be a hell of a challenge :)
EquALLity wrote: Why did you go vegan?
brimstoneSalad wrote: He hasn't yet, I think he's working on it and learning (which is great of course).
EquALLity wrote: What inspired your interest in veganism?
Exactly, I may not have clear enough, and I have so much to say about it. I will try to make it not too long :D

According to me, veganism fulfills three non negotiable criteria : it is ethically correct, it is good on a nutrional point of view and it will be more sustainable on a environmental point of view.

That is why I would be pleased to try to go vegan. But there is a but of course. Let me explain myself.

Few years ago, I had the occasion to be at my grandma's house for a meal. She has a beautiful garden full of flowers and vegetables, and also she has been breeding chickens and rabbits forever. That day, she wanted to cook some rabbit (I don't know if it is culturally ok where you live, it is in France). She asked if wanted to kill and prepare the rabbit my self, so I can learn. I accepted, and it get alright, without too much trouble, really quick. (Sorry if it outrages anyone :/) At that time I did not think so much about it.

Today, I do not have any remorses. But it gave me another perspective. I have come to realize the importance of "you are what you eat", animal or vegetal. As human being, I take life so I can live a bit longer every day, and eventually one day I will die and feed worms and plants. When it comes to the point of taking a life (so I can live), I can not draw a line that separates animals from vegetals, both are living beings.

So yes, today I think it is ok to also eat animals.

But unfortunetly, nowadays not everyone have the chance to eat a rabbit which had a beautiful life in grandma's garden. The conditions animals suffer in industrial production, this is what I do not accept anymore. Not only this, also the consequences on the climat and our health.

My wish is that humanity would change the way it is consuming animals (the planet in general?) : with more respect and temperance.

Hope I answered your questions with precision :)

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Post by Minos » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:24 am

Ergo wrote:Yes, exactly :) You can find this kind of curve shapes in chemistry for example. It describes the so called "activation energy", the energy needed for a reaction to happened. If you wanted to push a rock all down the curve, you would need to give it a bit of energy to pass the first hill.

To me it represents the fact that in live, you need to give something to have to something in return and reach your goals.
That is a great thing to live by, I have to remember this :)

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:49 am

Ergo wrote: Today, I do not have any remorses. But it gave me another perspective. I have come to realize the importance of "you are what you eat", animal or vegetal. As human being, I take life so I can live a bit longer every day, and eventually one day I will die and feed worms and plants. When it comes to the point of taking a life (so I can live), I can not draw a line that separates animals from vegetals, both are living beings.
Life is not the issue, sentience is. Things like plants, oysters, fungi, some worms, probably jellyfish -- these are not sentient. They have no desire to live, because they don't have a mind. Their behavior is a product of their evolution; a complex design to be sure, but all reflex.

To the contrary, motile macrofauna think and learn and have interests and feeling. This can be demonstrated through operant conditioning, and it's a very important and morally relevant quality. It's why Most human beings, and most other motile macrofauna, have moral value and stand above plants and bacteria, etc.

We are primarily concerned with ending a life that actually wants to keep living, and does not merely do so mechanically.

Also, hopefully you remember your thermodynamics: even if plants were sentient (which they are not) then it would kill more plants to eat animals rather than eating plants directly, since the animals were fed on plants. Every transfer of energy involves losses.
Ergo wrote: So yes, today I think it is ok to also eat animals.
If you must do so to save your life, it's OK to eat a human. If you're stranded on a mountain, in a dessert, on an island, on a boat with no food: you can eat your best friend, and it will be considered justified.

The issue today is that we do not need to eat other animals, and we can be healthier not doing it. In this situation, we are presented with a choice to eat animals and cause greater harm, or to eat plants and cause less harm.

It's very difficult, maybe impossible, to cause zero harm, but we can make choices that reduce harm.

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EquALLity
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Post by EquALLity » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:15 pm

Ergo wrote:Yes, exactly :) You can find this kind of curve shapes in chemistry for example. It describes the so called "activation energy", the energy needed for a reaction to happened. If you wanted to push a rock all down the curve, you would need to give it a bit of energy to pass the first hill.

To me it represents the fact that in live, you need to give something to have to something in return and reach your goals. In fact, there is a lot a principles that physic, chemistry or even math describe in some way and that we can understand and witness in our daily life from a more social or philosophical point of view. I really like this idea, it gives a more beautiful picture of science I think :)

I purposely erased the axis descriptions and anotations, so it can be understood in different ways, and it is also more mysterious 8-)
Ah, wow, interesting.

What about your username? Is your name Ergo, or does it have to do with the definition of the word?
Ergo wrote:You are right, than let say processed food from the industry then. With the few experiences that I had in the chemical industry, I have come to realize that when it comes to mass production, all means (at least those that respect the laws) are okay. So I do not want to take any chance, even if there some brands that may be ok :/

Plus, I really enjoy cooking, so it is a pleasure when I can bake my own bread for example. Right now I can not, but in a near futur, one of my goals is to produce as much food as I can on my own. It will be a hell of a challenge :)
What do you mean by the 'chemical industry'?

Well, if you don't want to eat processed food in general, then that's your choice of course. But a lot of processed food labeled vegan is healthy, so it might be worth taking a second look.
Ergo wrote: So yes, today I think it is ok to also eat animals.
What do you think about the idea that animals want to live and find (more primitive, but still) value in life, so it's wrong to violate that interest and kill them?
"I am not a Marxist." -Karl Marx

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Ergo
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Post by Ergo » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:27 pm

EquALLity wrote:What about your username? Is your name Ergo, or does it have to do with the definition of the word?
It is not my real name, but by reading you I realized that actually it is really close to it in a way (Enzo) :o This is a pseudonym that I have been using for a long time now. I liked how it sounds, and came to realize after that actually it is a latin word which means "therefore" or "In consequence".
EquALLity wrote:What do you mean by the 'chemical industry'?
Basically, I mean the industry that transforms simple and "raw" molecules in an other molecule or material. Nowadays, pretty much everything we use and consume took part at some point to an industrial chemical process : clothing, healthcare, cleaning product or food are the obvious ones, but you can be sure that every material (except wood and some metals) used to build something, car or building, or every surface treatment like paintings. It can be a mass production (>100 metric tonnes/day) or just few milligramms.

Personaly I work in the polymer chemistry field, right now, on how to make and improve the material which is in your pillows :D
brimstoneSalad wrote:Also, hopefully you remember your thermodynamics: even if plants were sentient (which they are not) then it would kill more plants to eat animals rather than eating plants directly, since the animals were fed on plants. Every transfer of energy involves losses.
I could not agree more on this point.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Things like plants, oysters, fungi, some worms, probably jellyfish -- these are not sentient. They have no desire to live
I would prefer to say no human-like desire. But we can agree on the fact that they are driven by something, in order to live long enough to reproduce. In what measure other sentient being are driven by this "goal", including us ?
brimstoneSalad wrote:It's why Most human beings, and most other motile macrofauna, have moral value and stand above plants and bacteria, etc.
As english is not my native language, I am not sure of the exact meaning of "Stand above" here. Do you mean that those beings have more value ? Are they better ? Or more important ? In any case, here is what I think :

I can agree on the fact that most human beings and most other motile macrofauna have moral value. And plants not. If you evaluate the value of a being on its capacity to have moral value then you are right.
But I can not discrminate beings with this criteria. I think that every life, regardless of the species, has the same value.
EquALLity wrote:What do you think about the idea that animals want to live and find (more primitive, but still) value in life, so it's wrong to violate that interest and kill them?
brimstoneSalad wrote:We are primarily concerned with ending a life that actually wants to keep living, and does not merely do so mechanically.
Well, if I just consider the fact that some beings want to live and others do not "want", right now, I don't think it is wrong to violate that interest. As I said previously, I can not consider that the interest of an animal and its will to live is better than the one of a vegetal.
brimstoneSalad wrote:In this situation, we are presented with a choice to eat animals and cause greater harm, or to eat plants and cause less harm.
Would you say that the fact that we have a choice leads us to the possibility to harm or not ? If we consider that a wolf has not the choice of its diet, would it mean that it can not harm by eating other animals ?

------

I am convinced that us, human, are stuck in a human-way of thinking that is meaningless to apply in other situations.

Some example could be : There is no good nor evil in the wilderness, there is no purpose to life, there is no goal to reach ?

It is straying away from the initial subject, but I thought about this when writting those lines :) I also remembered a short video about life all consideration I am bringing here, it could interest you.

What Is Life? Is Death Real? - Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOCaacO8wus

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:11 am

Ergo wrote: I would prefer to say no human-like desire. But we can agree on the fact that they are driven by something, in order to live long enough to reproduce. In what measure other sentient being are driven by this "goal", including us ?
Do watches have a desire to tick? Do planets have a desire to orbit? Does rain have a desire to fall?

Just because something does a thing does not imply desire or drive. They are driven by biological processes of chemistry.

Animals with brains are driven by something more: information systems and intelligence running on those systems. This is something plants and watches and rocks lack.
At least, most watches. It's conceivable that a powerful watch could have synthetic intelligence based on an adaptive neural network, although unlikely. Plants do not have the means to run such systems, no more than a quartz and gear based watch does: they are too simple.

Ergo wrote: I can agree on the fact that most human beings and most other motile macrofauna have moral value. And plants not. If you evaluate the value of a being on its capacity to have moral value then you are right.
But I can not discrminate beings with this criteria. I think that every life, regardless of the species, has the same value.
What "value" are you talking about, if not moral value? Moral value is value.
Are you talking about economic value?

You can't just say "value" and say it's not moral value and not qualify it. That's like saying giving a number without a scale. "This rock weighs 300"
300 grams? 300 kilograms? 300 pounds? 300 ounces? 300 what??

On what basis, on what metric of judgement, do you assert these all have the same value?

Or are you talking about nihilism, and the same value in your mind equal to zero, because you reject the notion that anything has any value at all?
That's the only way I can see such an assertion such as that makes sense.

And then why discriminate against non-living things? What do you have against machines and rocks and photons and quarks?
Ergo wrote: Well, if I just consider the fact that some beings want to live and others do not "want", right now, I don't think it is wrong to violate that interest. As I said previously, I can not consider that the interest of an animal and its will to live is better than the one of a vegetal.
Why?

What is morality, or wrongness, aside from the consideration of interests?

You don't want me to kill you because you have an interest in living for whatever reason -- that is chiefly why it is wrong.

Plants have no interests. It can not be wrong to destroy them aside from the effect it will have on other beings with interests (such as if it is wasteful).

Ergo wrote: If we consider that a wolf has not the choice of its diet, would it mean that it can not harm by eating other animals ?
He can harm, but that harm is not considered immoral because his action was justified since he had no viable choice.
If you have no choice but to eat your friend to survive, likewise that is considered justified.

It is when you have a choice that you should choose to do less harm to do the right thing.

Ergo wrote: I am convinced that us, human, are stuck in a human-way of thinking that is meaningless to apply in other situations.
People say the same thing against science and mathematics. Do you reject science and math because they are used by humans?
Ergo wrote: Some example could be : There is no good nor evil in the wilderness, there is no purpose to life, there is no goal to reach ?
There is no good or evil in the wilderness because there is no choice, or enough wisdom to understand it. There is purpose in life: it's the purpose we give it. If we choose to be moral, then we can achieve that goal by working at it.

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