Published on Salon, 10th January 2016:
“New atheists must become new vegans: Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the extra burden on moral leaders”.
As some of you might know, Salon altered the title of the article without my consent to include the words “must”, “moral leaders”, and include the names of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. This was misleading, given the content of the article, and done with the quite clear intent of steering discussion down a more inflammatory and polarising path. I published a response in The Daily Banter two days later (a link can be found on my next post). I still stand by every word in the content of this piece.
– Steve Stankevicius
2 Comments Add yours
It seems to me that if we believe in evolution then we are still part animal in our human nature.
To quote Sam Harris :
Human evil is a natural phenomenon
and some level of predatory violence is innate in us.
We are part of a food chain like it or not we are not spiritual beings.
Perhaps some aspire to spirituality; maybe the so called New Atheists are among them. They then share a platform with some Christians.
A better reason maybe to prevent the vast herds of cows producing methane.
The human conscience has created humane farming, free range chickens and pigs.
The human conscience had to battle with the innate predator who enjoys an angus steak.
In the future perhaps the scientists will produce artificial meat grown in the lab , but I suspect the climate crisis will hid before that day and we will have more to worry about than eating meat.
My wife, daughter and I became vegan about 4 years ago, and we have totally embraced it as a lifestyle. I’m often at odds with explaining this decision to those who see it as odd, or unrealistic for themselves. This article captures a simple truth about veganism – that REASON is the most sound argument for adopting this lifestyle. Environment/economics, compassion/spirituality, nutrition/health – all good rationales.
Most people are unwilling to think critically about their rationales for participating in meat consumption. It’s considered such a core part of personal and cultural heritage (“It’s what my people have always eaten”) that to question it at all is considered insensitive. You also hear arguments that the human body is nutritionally symbiotic with animal consumption that it is forced and unnatural to un-do that bond – which I think can also be debunked. Most people don’t consider themselves as making a participatory choice in this matter.
I think you have done such a service to veganism as a cause by framing the question as one of all-around sound reason, and asking our brothers and sisters, “What made you decide to still continue your participation in meat and dairy consumption?”
Beautifully written and argued! I wouldn’t sweat too much either the manipulation of you article title. I have to imagine that Dawkins and Harris know the game of journalism and click-counts all too well, and that you are not an irrational extremist. Though trolls won’t be as forgiving. Thanks again, this was very well done.