Veganism (A rational response requested from fellow Atheists and freethinkers)

I wanted to write this post for quite some time. To preface, I have been an atheist for about 4 years and a vegan (someone who abstains from using animal products, for food or otherwise) for about 10 months. My change to veganism was not sudden (25 years as an omnivore.) But I feel as though my rational mind helped me break from the cultural norm. I feel as if there is a lot of evidence for why we should all become vegans (I've linked a few below.)

For me, I have always let evidence guide my beliefs. Even when I was religious, I was never the ultra creationist you see frequently disproven on youtube channels. I was closer to Ken Miller. By my late teens, I realized I had not given close scrutiny to my religion as I have other topics in life. There was little internal struggle after that.

For veganism however, my struggle was much more dramatic. I have never realized until recently just how much we are indoctrinated. Not only by religion, but by everyone. I would urge everyone to watch the links below (specifically 101 reasons to go Vegan if nothing else.) It examined several common myths that I still see throughout the media today. Even as a healthcare professional (I'm a pharmacist) I had not realized how far reaching this misinformation had been. Long story abbreviated -- I examined the available evidence, and I changed my views to align with this new evidence.

Before I close this diatribe, I just want to make a few things clear. I am trying to change people's opinions on what they eat and choose to wear. Just like I want more atheists, I want more people to be vegan. I think it's the most rational position for the majority of people. All of that being said, I want everyone who has not already done so, to rationally examine the evidence for themselves. Don't take my word for it. And if you believe that veganism is not the best / most healthy position, I would like a rebuttal in the form of a comment. If you have any questions, I would also, be happy to answer them.


Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your responses below.

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Comment by Luara on December 16, 2013 at 11:02am

In your case, more power to you!

I got somewhat involuntarily veganized. I'm allergic to animal food except for a few kinds of meat like lamb, venison, rabbit.

I seldom ate meat, even before I found out about my food allergies, mostly because of an ethical aversion.  So, I'm basically veganized.
So the barriers against being vegan got broken for me. 

Years ago, an employee in a health food store asked me if I was vegan.  I looked at her as if she'd asked if I had been born on the moon. 

I've lived with vegans. Frankly, I don't know how you do it!

I don't know what you mean by that. The stereotypical vegan diet, heavy on beans, grains and gluten, is boring. But I don't eat that way, since I'm allergic to legumes and grains. I eat quinoa, amaranth, roots, lots of green vegetables.

Comment by Randall Smith on December 16, 2013 at 7:30am

Oops: ("In your case...")

Comment by Randall Smith on December 16, 2013 at 7:29am

I've lived with vegans (sister and stepdaughter). Frankly, I don't know how you do it! I'm not because 1) I like meat; 2) I'm not that compassionate; 3) life is too short (even if I live to 100); and 4) I'm too lazy to try it. My meat, by the way, come from "pasture or wild" sources. That includes poultry, fish, pork, and even bison. All natural, seldom regular beef. Many meals( 50%) you'll be happy to know, contain no meat--mostly fruits and vegetables (from my garden). I your case, more power to you! Sorry I'm not a convert.

Comment by Luara on December 15, 2013 at 11:43am

People's diet is an often-neglected part of their contribution to global warming.  The paper Diet, Energy and Global Warming estimated the global warming impacts of different diets, and a vegan diet came out best.  If you eat animal food, food from small animals generally costs less in energy. 

Comment by Just Trying on December 15, 2013 at 11:28am
I second Luara 's links. I have been vegan for about 3 years, after 33 years omni.

I credit my transition first to emotional reasons. My aunt died from Lou Gehrig's disease. She was vegan for 33 years, since I was born.

Witnessing her death in person caused me to realize that she had chosen to not place animals in harms way for her food supply, and to face death more awful than ALS. The animals have no choice, no say, and no "rights".

After the emotional reaction, I was committed to read about the industries, like factory farms and the horrible treatment of animals for slaughter. Earthlings is a good movie about this.

So, I admit it was an emotional impetus, but the idea that emotion is a negative thing is disproven by, well......logic.....iIt has been shown and reported in books by people like Malcolm Gladwell, Jonathan Haidt, and Antonio Damasio, that humans can only make rational decisions when their brains are capable of feeling emotions properly.

In people who have damaged brains, from accidents, they can have very "irrational" responses when relying only on "logic".

Anyway....I am not saying that anyone here has or will denigrate me for being prompted by emotion, just pointing out some interesting things. I also remember Carl Sagan talking about the "curious case of Phineas Gage", a man whose head was damaged and became very mean and vastly different.
Comment by Luara on December 15, 2013 at 4:09am

Many vegans have problems because they don't know about good vegan nutrition.  The site has good info about how to be a healthy vegan long-term (for example lack of B12 may not cause symptoms for years but it's still very important for vegans to get their B12). 

I'm vegan, but I'm not utterly purist about it.  If you use 3% or 1% of the animal products that other people are using, you avoid almost all of the harm caused by using animal products, and the stress and wasted time from trying to eliminate that last bit of animal use.

Also when vegans draw a line in the sand against animal use, it can cause an "ex-vegan" phenomenon where they burst out and start eating meat and tell everybody how good it tastes.  I feel like, if you are really craving meat, go eat some meat, don't turn it into a forbidden pleasure in your mind - then go back to eating very little or no meat. 

Comment by Steve Earley on December 14, 2013 at 10:55pm

It's much more powerful if you actually give the top reasons that you believe this yourself, instead of leaving that as separate links; I was reading your post, hoping for something more, and I think many people (like me) will just forego clicking on random links to read this stuff. Make your case... talk to people directly, using your own reason and your own passion. They'll have something to listen to then.


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