Talking Vegan Atheology with Kim Socha

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Last year we had a chance to review Kima Socha’s book Animal Liberation and Atheism: Dismantling the Procrustean Bed, which explores how the concept of religion is inherently antithetical to animal liberation. Kim was kind enought to answer some questions about her book and her position in general. » Read on »

Cognitive Dissonance, Our Friend and Ally

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Humans are conflicted creatures. We do and say things every day that contradict our values and beliefs. It makes us an interesting, neurotic and dangerous species. When we contradict ourselves, we are not always able to shrug it off as easily as Walt Whitman suggests we might*. Believing one thing and doing another causes an uncomfortable » Read on »

Do we have a generation who are unaware of postmodernism?

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As an ethicist, my work falls outwith the realms of classical science. But by using the scientific method whilst working within the non-physical, I have a unique appreciation for the problems caused by postmodernism. Indeed, if you don’t actively take an interest in both the scientific method and philosophy, you may not even know » Read on »

Religion and Vegan Advocacy

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Should animal advocates use religion to promote veganism?

The majority of religious belief depends on the idea of hierarchy, chiefly the belief that we humans are given value by and should humble ourselves before someone or something that is ostensibly “greater than us” — be that a deity, deities » Read on »

Humanity in Research: an Interview with the Dr Hadwen Trust

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I had a chance to interviews Dr. Kay Miller, Head of Operations for UK-based charity The Dr Hadwen Trust, a biomedical research charity that funds alternatives to using animals in research. I took the opportunity to ask her some questions relating to the work they fund and and gain some insight into the future of non-animal models in biomedical » Read on »

Flight From the Body: A Psychoanalysis of Veganism

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Veganism is often defended but rarely described. By way of correction, the following is a tentative, psychoanalytic exploration of the meaning behind an individual’s choice to be vegan.

Interpreting human nature through the lens of Freudian psychoanalysis is to make the error of being about 100 years out of date. It also requires » Read on »

Beware the Avalanche of Anecdata

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Most vegans have had the experience of a casual conversation veering off into a debate or argument. In fact I suspect most people have had this experience, but if you’re a vegan it happens all the time. You may be describing a pair of shoes you covet but can’t quite afford, or perhaps recounting an experience of a family dinner… and before you » Read on »

On Meat Eating and Rationality: Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris

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A late professor of mine once said: “if you want to quickly anger even the most reasonable person and make sure that he or she is no longer thinking rationally, start a conversation about eating meat.” I have found that this - the part about not thinking rationally about meat eating - applies even to the most rationally thinking people. Even the people » Read on »

Vegan Atheology: the next big thing. A review of Kim Socha’s Animal Liberation and Atheism

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Kim Socha begins Animal Liberation and Atheism: dismantling the Procrustean Bed by introducing us to Procrustes and the ‘Procrustean Bed’ — a metaphor often employed to critique ill-formed arguments. Procrustes is a character from Greek mythology who invited travellers into his home - located conveniently near to an entrance to the underworld - and » Read on »

Organic Isn’t Vegan

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You can hardly swing a bunch of kale without hitting a vegan product that is certified organic* these days. Why is this, I wonder? I mean, we should all know by now that organic farming is just like regular agriculture except it uses what is “natural” as its measure. What is naturally derived, without humans, isn’t a guarantee of safeness » Read on »

Tryptophan, milk and depression

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People who abandon plant-based diets often say that they suffered from depression as vegans. One common belief is that vegans can’t get adequate tryptophan, an essential amino acid. Tryptophan is needed to make the neurotransmitter serotonin and low levels of serotonin are linked to depression. In the book The Vegetarian Myth » Read on »

If a Tree Were to Fall

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If a tree were to fall on an island where there were no human beings would there be any sound? The question is probably so familiar to some that it has become trite. To cut to the chase, the answer was meant to lie in the definition of “sound”. Sound is defined as a perception*. The tree falling creates vibrations in the air, but no ‘sound’ because no » Read on »

Do animals have souls, and does it matter?

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I am often reminded by well-meaning non-vegans that animals ‘are only animals’. In response, I often succumb to the temptation of reminding them that ‘humans are also only animals’. This slightly pedantic comeback sidesteps an important underlying assumption which deserves thorough investigation: what is it that people think makes » Read on »

The Postmodern Prometheus

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Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is a product of its time. It beautifully illustrates the nineteenth century apprehension about the implications of advances in science. Victor Frankenstein became an archetypal ‘mad proffesor’, more concerned with pushing the limits of technology and his own genius than humanity. Readers often gloss over » Read on »

Frankenfood: the science of genetically engineered crops

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There is a lot of controversy in the vegan and animal rights community around genetically engineered foods that is often clouded by scaremongering, misconceptions, half-truths, and outdated information. Since I first started blogging about genetic engineering several years ago I have gone back to school to pursue a degree in » Read on »

Skepticism could save the animal rights moment, but will it? I’m sceptical.

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Skeptical thinking is the asset within scientific and rational progress which has achieved more than any other. It’s that ability to objectively analyse evidence, no matter how compelling, and ask whether it’s reliable, whether it works or even just whether it’s completely made up. In animal rights, it’s that nagging doubt that presents itself when » Read on »

Dissecting a robot

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There is an apocryphal story that the philosopher René Descartes nailed his wife’s dog to a board and dissected her alive. Descartes remained unmoved by the dog’s howls of pain because he had concluded that non-human animals did not have souls, and thus their cries of agony were merely the noise of a mechanism malfunctioning » Read on »