I may be the only vegan (self-proclaimed, at least) who has actually performed the infamous LD50 test. LD50 stands for the lethal dose that causes 50% of the population to die. I did it for a limnology lab some weeks ago, we were testing lead toxicity in zooplankton. Before we started I heard that some people in the morning class objected to doing this test because it would kill the zooplankton. I don't know if they were even vegetarian.
While I'm usually against animal testing, I didn't object, and carried on with the test. Some people might think that this makes me a hypocrite, that I'm assigning a hierarchy to the worth of an animal's life based on anthropocentric values, or something or the other. But I'm not. Actually, I don't think life has any intrinsic value at all.
I'm not vegan because I'm against death, but because I'm against suffering. Some pesky philosophy majors may disagree that suffering is to be avoided and pleasure is to be sought out, but to me it's just one of those things that's painfully obvious. Death, on the other hand, is only bad for the ones who stayed alive (at least for humans).
I firmly believe that different animals have different capacities for suffering. I would never compare the suffering of an circus elephant with the suffering of a zooplankton with lead intoxication. Most people intuitively think so as well, but it somehow gets lost in veganism's First Commandment, "all animals are equal".
We know that other mammals have brains much more similar to ours than to reptiles', which are much less complex. We only know what we ourselves feel, and we can't infer that all animals suffer the way we do because the only suffering we know is ours. So it's not a far cry to assume that the more similar an animal is to us, the more they will suffer the way we understand suffering is. Sure other animals can suffer in different ways than we do, but an animal whose brain is not nearly as complex as a mammal's can't possibly suffer more, and most likely not as much.
Everyone has to draw a line somewhere. A lot of vegans draw the line at microscopic organisms, but why? Can they not suffer just because we can't see them? Is it because they are small? Do smaller animals suffer less? Many will say that the line is drawn when they are detrimental to us, but a lot of them aren't harmless at all, like the mites that live on our follicles (picture on the right), yet we still kill them when we bathe. Mammals can also be detrimental, like the goats destroying the Galapagos islands ecosystems, but no vegan would ever suggest that it's okay to kill them. The "detrimental" argument is a bad excuse, then. Many vegans are also against killing sea sponges, which have no nerve cells at all and are pretty much indistinguishable form plants and fungi. So why is the line drawn there?
The truth is that there really isn't a perfect line to be drawn anywhere. The sheer concept of a line to be drawn implies a gradient of which animals are to be saved and which aren't. If there is a gradient, then, why look at things as black or white?
I've killed zooplankton. I've also killed plenty of bacteria, fungi, insects, and even some arachnids here and there. Is that really as bad as killing a deer, or a cow? Really?
But enough of politics. On the quest to answer the age-old question, Do nice guys finish last?, this article comes with the most compelling answer: that's because they're not so nice after all. I couldn't have said it better -- read it and see!
Despite the absolute lack of news about protests going on in Europe, with the American media instead opting to do what they do best i.e. blatantly lying, with headlines such as "Europe embraces Bush", there has actually been a lot of commotion and even a few websites (1, 2) condemning Bush's visit to Mainz.
Mainz is a smallish town in Germany close to Frankfurt, home of the Gutenberg Museum and my home for 2 of my teenage years. My german's deteriorated beyond shame since then so I didn't bother trying to translate the pages mentioned above, but here's what I hear from my remaining sources:
The people of Mainz are under house arrest while Bush is in town. In some areas people aren't even allowed to open their windows.
All phone lines to and from Mainz are down -- there is almost total communication isolation apart from the media.
All surgeries have been cancelled while bush is in town, and ambulance services have completely stopped.
Congratulations, Bushists. I hope that makes you happy.
In other news, the biggest bigot of all condems homosexual marriage as an "indoctrination of evil" threatening society. And may I add that he compared abortion to the Holocaust, which got a lot of Jews pissed off. Not to worry, 50 years from now they'll probably just throw in a quick apology for their shameful ways like they did for the Holocaust.
Meanwhile my creationism post is still pending, among other things. I should pray for an extra hour in the day.
Serious lack of logic, plus hipocrisy, ignorance.. it's not my fault I have nothing nice to say
Flipping channels today I noticed a talk show where the topic was teen sex, and they had parents, kids, and educators talking about how young kids 12-15 years old are having unprotected sex, and that leads to really high rates of STDs, cancer, and pregnancy. Then the host picks on this guy on the audience for distributing condoms in schools, what does he think he's doing, how can he live with himself, etc. et tous.
AH. Distributing condoms makes people have unprotected sex??? Now that's a bright conclusion. It should get an award. Better yet, an honourary degree.
Never mind that the U.S. is the developed country with the highest rates of all of the above, and the lowest amount AND lowest quality (as in giving information that's actually true) of sex ed, whose negative correlation with unprotected sex is as clear as day. But I guess that's the kind of logic posessed by people who think that making a human tower of naked, hooded prisoners is not torture because cheerleaders do it all the time.
Now on to the most blatant case of hipocrisy seen in years, taken from Veganporn.com: a 16 year old kid was allowed to shoot a rabbit and cook it for a living skills class. But instead, he bought it from a pet store. OH, The Horror! Now he's labeled an animal abuser. You can kill a bunny from the forest, but for heaven's sakes, not a bunny from a PET STORE!
I don't have any respect for people who kill bunnies for fun, but doesn't anyone else find this absolutely ridiculous? If you're going to eat meat, you must know that you're eating the same fucking thing that you buy at a pet store when you buy your furry love. Grr..
Though I can't just pick on this one case, because double standards seem to be the absolute norm in politics nowadays. Yet everyone seems to be blissfully oblivious.
According to equal-marriage.ca, bigots are mass-mailing MPs to vote against gay marriage. Believe me, that WORKS.
Click here to find out your MP's position on equal marriage by simply entering your postal code. Then please take 20 seconds of your time to write an email to him or her either thanking them for their support or telling them that they should support equal marriage. It takes not time at all, and it IS important, especially if your MP has an unstable position.
Remember that Canada always been ahead of certain other countries on equality issues such as anti-slavery and women's right to vote, which are taken for granted and universal nowadays. Time will bring equality. Resistance is futile!
As if it wasn't enough that a certain presenter on FOX was smart enough to talk about plate "tectRonics" when the tsunami topic came up, all they could really talk about was how many tourists were there because it's holiday season, and that this was the beginning of armageddon because it says in the bible that there would be great waves that would kill lots of people. Oh, and somehow I guess it's less of a disaster because Jet Li survived?
Here's the thing, Jet Li isn't more important than 114,000 people, tourists aren't more important than locals, and tsunamis existed even before humans invented god.
And now G. Bush was not only reelected but also chosen Time's person of the year, "American Revolutionary", and even more people support him now that he's proven himself as the world's biggest cunt. Kids, it's only okay for foreigners to die when we're murdering them. Natural disasters? Not ok.
"Cutting back on sugar" is one of the most universally accepted new age-ish health recommendation. So much that, for the most part, it has gone mainstream, and occasionally some not so bright gullible writer will write a little something about the horrors of sugar. This concept is probably even what gave rise to the idiocy of avoiding ALL carbs, which I'm not going to get into.
Even though the fear of sugar started long before it, I'm holding the 80's book Sugar Blues accountable for the madness, because everyone who says anything bad about sugar always quotes this stupid book. And here's why.
The author, William Dufty, blames on sugar everything from the Bubonic Plague to mental illness. His reasoning is akin to the one used to conclude that "bread causes crime because 90% of criminals ate bread before committing the crime." Not only that, but he claims sugar is actually addictive. "Don't believe it? Try to quit eating sugar," it is claimed. Well no, of course you can't - because surprise, surprise - it is a macronutrient. Sugar refers to simple carbohydrates.
We evolved to enjoy things that taste sweet because they contain sugar, and carbohydrates are necessary for organisms to survive. Without energy (that's right - calories!), we die. So of course it's normal to eat sugar. I could as well say that protein and fat are addictive. Don't believe me? Try quitting them!
What is claimed though, is that only refined sucrose is bad (other sources claim that the bad sugar is actually high-fructose corn syrup, but that's another story).
But why would sucrose be worse than other sugars? It is simply a fructose molecule attached to a glucose molecule. The process of digestion breaks down the sugar into their separate glucose and fructose parts, and the fructose is further transformed into glucose, which in turn can be used for energy. And why is "refined" sugar bad? Well, because it doesn't come with other nutrients. "Crystalline sugar," as they call it, is pure carb and nothing else. If you drink cane sugar juice, for example, you'll be eating that exact same molecule present in refined sugar, except that it comes with a few extra vitamins and minerals. So the statement that it "leeches nutrients from your body"? Not true. The fact is, we use up nutrients to, well, stay alive -- and that includes digesting things. So when you digest something that's not replenishing the nutrients in your body, some smartass can come along and say that it is "leeching" all the goodness of your soul, or whatever.
So while refined sugar isn't necessary for survival, it is not inherently bad! It's the exact same molecule found in fruits, just without all the stuff that makes fruits good. If it was sugar itself that was bad for you, then fruit would be bad for you too, and it's obviously not. But maybe I'm just saying fruit is not bad because I'm addicted to it. I tried quitting, but I can't stop! *sniff*
The dude at balancetv also claimed that if sugar was discovered today (yeah as if a macronutrient would take so long to be discovered), it would be classified as a pharmaceutical because it's "crystalline pure". I don't know what kind of "pharmaceuticals" this guy is on, but being crystalline does not a pharmaceutical make! Is ice a pharmaceutical, by any chance? Is salt? I can't quit salt either, by the way - even desserts need salt to taste edible, so maybe salt is evil too.
Anything in large quantities is bad. I'm not saying that we should all start eating refined sugar. Evidently, eating things that contain vitamins and minerals is better than eating things that don't. Other than being empty calories, sugar isn't evil. It doesn't cause cancer, osteoporosis, mental illness, or bubonic plague. Hopefully the hysteria will end.
Religious Rights Have No Priority Over Human Rights.
A group of Muslim parents from a Toronto high school want to exclude their children from anti-discrimination class. No, they don't want to be discriminated against... apparently, anti-discrimination education violates their religious rights. That is, the anti-homophobia type of discrimination, of course.
Gladly, the board has refused to exclude students from anti-bigotry education, stating that religious rights do not trample human rights, and children of same-sex parents have the right to be represented and *gasp* respected. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty notes that "tolerance is a two-way street". Now if only those Christians South of the border realized that...