The Instigator
briski
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
joshuaXlawyer
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

Vegetarianism is a Necessary Lifestyle Choice to Lead a Perfectly Ethical Life

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
briski
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,437 times Debate No: 15348
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)

 

briski

Con

Be it resolved: Vegetarianism is a Necessary Lifestyle Choice to Lead a Perfectly Ethical Life

I am a brand new debater to this site, and I was interested in voting on others' debates for starters - but I see that I need to engage in 3 debates myself before I can do so. Therefore, here is my first try.

I see that some people make it a convention to use the first round only for acceptance of the challenge by both parties. As you could guess from this being a non-argument, I wish to do something like this. Therefore, first accept if you are interested in a very short debate with me on this topic and then immediately (in the same round) begin arguing. I ask for this sort of beginning to the debate for the reasons I will explain below.

You can see that I worded the topic as a proposition for which I wish to argue against. Therefore, you will be arguing for the existence of some sort of ethical requirement. I see that there is some ambiguity on this site as to who has the burden of proof - but there should be none whatsoever, as the burden ALWAYS lays with the person arguing a non self-evident positive statement. That would be you in this case, and so you get first turn and I get to simply react.
joshuaXlawyer

Pro

1) There is no nutrient in meat that cannot be found in a vegetarian diet. No one can deny this.

2) There is no disease where eating meat is required for the treatment or cure of the disease.

3) Therefore, eating meat is absolutely unnecessary.

4) Eating meat causes death to other animals, obviously. And, despite attempts to make slaughter "humane", whether it be "kosher", "halal" or otherwise, it quite probably, or even certainly, causes stress and pain as well.

5) Therefore, eating meat is immoral and unethical. And abhorrently selfish, since the person who eats meat does so only for the hedonistic and temporary satisfaction of his taste buds. Especially when there are so many vegetarian and tasteful alternatives (from meatless and healthful soy products to traditional Indian dishes).

6) There is more than enough cruelty in the world as it is; there is no need to add to it, unnecessarily.

The Hunger Argument

Number of people worldwide who will die as a result of malnutrition this year: 20,000,000
Number of people who could be adequately fed using land freed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100,000,000
Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by people: 20%
Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 80%
Percentage of oats grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 95%
Percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 90%
How frequently a child dies as a result of malnutrition: every 2.3 seconds
Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on an acre: 40,000
Pounds of beef produced on an acre: 250
Percentage of U.S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56
Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of edible flesh from feedlot beef: 16

he Environmental Argument

Cause of global warming: greenhouse effect
Primary cause of greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels
Fossil fuels needed to produce meat-centered diet vs. a meat-free diet: 3 times more
Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75%
Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85%
Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260,000,000
Amount of meat imported to U.S. annually from Central and South America: 300,000,000 pounds
Percentage of Central American children under the age of five who are undernourished: 75%
Area of tropical rainforest consumed in every quarter-pound of rainforest beef: 55 square feet
Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests for meat grazing and other uses: 1,000 per year

The Cancer Argument

Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times
For women who eat eggs daily compared to once a week: 2.8 times
Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times
Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who consume meat, cheese, eggs and milk daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times.

The Cholesterol Argument

Number of U.S. medical schools: 125
Number requiring a course in nutrition: 30
Nutrition training received by average U.S. physician during four years in medical school: 2.5 hours
Most common cause of death in the U.S.: heart attack
How frequently a heart attack kills in the U.S.: every 45 seconds
Average U.S. man's risk of death from heart attack: 50%
Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat: 15%
Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy or eggs: 4%
Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption of meat, dairy and eggs by 10 percent: 9%
Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption by 50 percent: 45%
Amount you reduce risk if you eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from your diet: 90%
Average cholesterol level of people eating meat-centered-diet: 210 mg/dl
Chance of dying from heart disease if you are male and your blood cholesterol level is 210 mg/dl: greater than 50%

The Natural Resources Argument

Uses of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S.: livestock production
Amount of water used in production of the average cow: sufficient to float a U.S. Navy Destroyer
Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of wheat: 25
Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of California beef: 5,000
Years the world's known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13
Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260
Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calorie of protein from beef: 78
To get 1 calorie of protein from soybeans: 2
Percentage of all raw materials (base products of farming, forestry and mining, including fossil fuels) consumed by U.S. that is devoted to the production of livestock: 33%
Percentage of all raw materials consumed by the U.S. needed to produce a complete vegetarian diet: 2%

The Antibiotic Argument

Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 55%
Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13%
Percentage resistant in 1988: 91%
Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban
Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support

The Pesticide Argument

Common misconception: U.S. Department of Agriculture protects our health through meat inspection
Reality: fewer than 1 out of every 250,000 slaughtered animals is tested for toxic chemical residues
Percentage of U.S. mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 99%
Percentage of U.S. vegetarian mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 8%
Contamination of breast milk, due to chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in animal products, found in meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating mothers: 35 times higher
Amount of Dieldrin ingested by the average breast-fed American infant: 9 times the permissible level

The Ethical Argument

Number of animals killed for meat per hour in the U.S.: 660,000
Occupation with highest turnover rate in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker
Occupation with highest rate of on-the-job-injury in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker

The Survival Argument

Athlete to win Ironman Triathlon more than twice: Dave Scott (6 time winner)
Food choice of Dave Scott: Vegetarian
Largest meat eater that ever lived: Tyrannosaurus Rex (Where is he today?)

Sources...
http://www.ethicalvegetarian.com...
Debate Round No. 1
briski

Con

First, thanks for accepting my challenge. Thanks also for putting a lot of information on the table. I suspect you realize that I won't be able to respond to every single "fact" point for point, but I don't think this is necessary - I think what is necessary is to show why, given the facts, vegetarianism is not required to lead an ethical life.

Therefore, the first step is to decide what the relevant facts are. This is where the information you copied and pasted from the cited website comes in handy sometimes, but I'm afraid it has to be left at "sometimes." There are many inaccuracies.

I'll start off by pointing out that the very absolute statement #1 is wrong. Collagen is a protein naturally found only in animals, and it is the most abundant protein in those animals. Ingesting this is nutritional, especially for the joints. Many people with arthritis and other joint diseases take collagen and powderized shark cartilage capsules as supplements. It seems self-evident to me that there are many differences between plants and animal, and there are many similarities between animals and humans, that make eating animals (at least occasionally) very sensible. I don't think that following this sense can be unethical.

I will admit that the most compelling case against eating animals to me is the supposed environmental effect and contribution to global warming. However, the greenhouse gas statistics that are often cited as gospel is very questionable and has been challenged. Here is a press release in the telegraph on this challenge coming from an academic at UCD.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

I guess an underlying point I'm trying to make is that, the vast majority of your "argument" is not even complete sentences, and therefore doesn't necessarily help in coming to a conclusion on the issue. Usually it helps if an argument is sentences, (yes based in information and fact), and linked by logic, into paragraphs with a conclusion. I therefore assumed that you were trying to first put a lot of relevant facts out there, but I was discouraged to see that you simply copied and pasted information from a Hindu believers' website with dubious information.

Therefore, I continue to fail to see how eating meat is NECESSARILY unethical when it is a good (and perhaps the only nutrient-based) first-line of defense against joint disease. And the key word here is necessarily: I was wondering, when I created the debate, whether vegetarianism is a NECESSARY choice to be ethical. It seems to me that this positive effect I mentioned (among others), combined with the fact that animal slaughtering is NOT necessarily brutal to the animal, suggests that vegetarianism is not necessarily the only way to adhere to a certain set of sufficiently ethical guidelines.
joshuaXlawyer

Pro

I just wanted to throw up statistics up first, seeing how I will argue this these are the true arguments you can attack on, secondly all information is related to the topic at hand.

Defense:" I'll start off by pointing out that the very absolute statement #1 is wrong. Collagen is a protein naturally found only in animals, and it is the most abundant protein in those animals. Ingesting this is nutritional, especially for the joints. Many people with arthritis and other joint diseases take collagen and powderized shark cartilage capsules as supplements. It seems self-evident to me that there are many differences between plants and animal, and there are many similarities between animals and humans, that make eating animals (at least occasionally) very sensible. I don't think that following this sense can be unethical."

I'm ok with this statement besides where he says animals and humans have similarities, and my question is at this point why isn't cannibalism a choice? Why isn't cannibalism and choice in society instead of cremation or being buried why not have the option to eat you uncle after he's good and gone? well if you say this immoral then we must say eating an animal is similar to eating your uncle and therefore immoral.

Case:
1. We must look toward this unethical stance all the facts I have posted prove that eating meat is not a nesscarliy needed for living, if such food is not nesscary then the mass slaughter of animals which as my opponent stated are similar to your brother, sister, aunt , uncle, father, mother, cousins, and or kids. Then its an immoral endeavor and is unethical.
Would the mass slaughter of humans for the nourishment of an I don't know greater alien life form would it still be moral since they are the more advanced species? If you say no you must vote for my side.

2. There is no need to eat meat and these statistics can prove how without the factories and slaughter houses we improve society these are the statistics.

The Natural Resources Argument

Uses of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S.: livestock production
Amount of water used in production of the average cow: sufficient to float a U.S. Navy Destroyer
Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of wheat: 25
Gallons of water needed to produce a pound of California beef: 5,000
Years the world's known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13
Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260
Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calorie of protein from beef: 78
To get 1 calorie of protein from soybeans: 2
Percentage of all raw materials (base products of farming, forestry and mining, including fossil fuels) consumed by U.S. that is devoted to the production of livestock: 33%
Percentage of all raw materials consumed by the U.S. needed to produce a complete vegetarian diet: 2%

The Antibiotic Argument

Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 55%
Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13%
Percentage resistant in 1988: 91%
Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban
Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support

The Pesticide Argument

Common misconception: U.S. Department of Agriculture protects our health through meat inspection
Reality: fewer than 1 out of every 250,000 slaughtered animals is tested for toxic chemical residues
Percentage of U.S. mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 99%
Percentage of U.S. vegetarian mother's milk containing significant levels of DDT: 8%
Contamination of breast milk, due to chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in animal products, found in meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating mothers: 35 times higher
Amount of Dieldrin ingested by the average breast-fed American infant: 9 times the permissible level

These facts prove that the use of these slaughter houses we have increase the infections that are resistant to penicicillin since 1960 to 91% in 1988. Also wastes natural reasources, withe the use of large land usage and more.
Debate Round No. 2
briski

Con

We have a complaint in the comment section that the "set up" is weak. I agree, and will therefore take some time to summarize what has been said before making my closing remarks. Although I will point out that it was never my responsibility to set a stage since I only need to react to the Affirmative side's attempt at meeting the burden of proof. He had the first argument, and will have the last as well after this.

Feel free to skip the summary entirely if you feel you have followed the debate well enough.

::Begin Summary::

In the beginning, I mentioned that you have the burden of proof since you are the one making a positive and non self-evident claim. I didn't have, do not need, and will not try to present an argument why we should NOT forbid meat-eating before you present an argument why we SHOULD. This is because "not forbidding" is the default stance one should take in the absence of sufficient reason FOR forbidding people at large from acting a certain way. In other words, it is a very serious matter to guilt people ethically without sufficient reason, and even more serious to guilt people morally (which is by the way a second and potentially unrelated issue. Morals are not the same as ethics and you interchanged the two words a bit).

I then commented that I failed to see such sufficient reason - in the form of a coherent argument FOR forbidding people - in your statement. I rather saw a wealth of information, with only some of this information being accurately factual. I understand the attempt to get many facts out there - because when you are in the business of balancing good and bad as you are, you have the very difficult task of accurately weighing ALL the factors involved before you forbid others from an action. Therefore, the factors need to be accurate, and then you need to weigh them in an argument to draw your conclusion. You haven't even mentioned whether vegetarianism still comes out on top after considering the water use, land use, pesticides ETC ETC of VEGETABLES (which you don't mention and weigh at all).

Rather than go point-for-point, I contested as inaccurate the only two facts that you DID actually use as premises in an argument. All the others are very dubious as well, and as I said before, are irrelevant anyway in the sense that you don't use them in an argument to draw a conclusion.

Here is my best summary of your argument, with the bold ones being the critical facts I'm contesting.

"P1.To be ethical, suffering/cruelty should be minimized while humans and society should be improved and nourished.
P2. Meat eating has no nutritional benefits over vegetarianism. i.e. no improvement/nourishment
P3. Meat eating hurts animals and increases suffering/cruelty in the world, while vegetarianism does not.
C1. One is therefore required to choose vegeterianism in order to be ethical (by minimizing suffering while maximizing improvement and nourishment of human society)."

You mostly ignored my contradictions: 1. That there are benfits of eating meat over vegetarianism and 2. That the cited reasons why meat-eating is hamful are not necessarily accurate (ie the environmental one is not - see the previously linked source - and this is by far the best argument because the negative effects are widespread.) This takes out the premises (P2 +P3) that link P1 to C1 in a syllogism and therefore invalidate the conclusion. By the way, any negative effects on only the individual that MAKES the choice are much less important because they are not at all widespread. I only mention this because, as I said before, you need to WEIGH the factors as it says in your own P1. This is why, in addition to the fact that they're dubious and unincorporated into an argument, I ignore ALL the other factors you mention besides nutrition, suffering, and the environment - because they are all limited to one person at a time (probably an unethical and unthoughtful person because he is eating meat way too often than what is necessary to get collagen for example, like the moderation I suggested).

::End Summary::

Now my closing remarks, which will be a response to the new round.

You basically re-typed a lot of the same facts, and still didn't incorporate them into an argument. The one part that is an argument is where you say that eating meat would logically extend to eating people. Be careful because this is potentially the fallacy of argumenting from consequence, but I will grant that the consequence is mentioned only because it is a percieved negative effect that needs to be weighed. You didn't do said weighing, and I think you just assume it is "immoral" (you mean unethical) because it is disgusting. I don't have anything to react to, so here is my own weighing. Feel free to ignore all of this as I am not obligated to do my own -I have shown that he has not sufficiently done his to prove that meat eating is unethical, which is all I need to do.

You are right, I said that the benefits of meat eating are inevitable because of the similarities between humans and animals (but not plants) and it is therefore obviously true that humans are even MORE similar and they would also be good to eat. I don't contest this and never said it was unethical to eat humans. In your first example, you mention a human that is already dead. This would be perfectly ethical as it does not harm anyone necessarily, and would even help because of the nutrition we just mentioned.

But then you changed the story (without even noticing it?) and mentioned instead killing humans in order to eat them. This would almost certainly be unethical even if it was done in the same manner (painlessly) that I am suggesting IS ethical for other animals. This is because humans have a great capacity to do good for other humans and animals as well. For example humans, unlike animals, have the capacity to do science (sometimes on animals ironically!) that can benefit GREATLY other humans and animals alike. It is therefore much worse to kill any human for food which hasn't proven to be very harmful, or hasn't had a chance to prove to be very useful in this way. They are really two totally different things if all you are doing (as you are) is trying to weigh out the good and the bad and make sure the good comes on top.

In summary, I hope the audience sees that the fact presented by the Affirmative Side are from a website which doesn't cite primary literature. And that I have cited more credible sources for rebutting the few facts he actually uses in an argument (ie the telegraph link and the following for the collagen tidbit http://en.wikipedia.org...). And that I am unafraid of the consequences of any stance which is true - and we should not ever be becasue it never leads to bad consequences in the first place. For example, although eating anything aready dead, including ones uncle, is not necessarily bad as I discuss above, I feel confident in my own ability to weigh the RELEVANT facts, and would not - even though it is NOT unethical - eat my uncle (even after he died). It would be sufficiently bad in my particular case since I would vomit and my family would be very mad! But I know that it is not necessarily bad, and there are other people who may have different circumstances where their own weighing concludes that they should eat someone dead, and I will not forbid them or judge them for this.

joshuaXlawyer

Pro

Ending speech:
Ok ignoring all his previous dribble about how i did stuff i will actually follow cobo's advice and just argue without facts but to the point of ethics.
When we look at the meat in a package, we all see just some red meat in a package and ignore how that meat got there.
We all ignore the fact that these animals are raised in the hundereds and are slaughtered by the thousands, animals are slaughter in the U.S about 600,000 animals a day.
Also do we even think how they are killed? Does being stunned till you pass out then they cut your throat and watch you bleed out.
Does any of this sound humane to you? No absolutely not, we as people consider humans animals, and yet we are animals we are above these creatures simply because we can process complicated thought.
The main point in my entire case, that my opponent did not attempt to argue was that animals and humans are similar even in his own words they are similar.
So let me ask you this if cows were smart than us, how would we feel to switch there place?
Used as a food source which is not needed as plants are better for you than meat is is not a needed supplement.
Then might i ask you why do we eat them? Simply because we can, the mass slaughter of innocent helpless animals because we can.
Now i ask you which one sounds ethical?
Thank you
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
wow voter at least read the 4th rebut dude not stop at 3
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Cobo
Keep it centered on ethics guys.
No FACTS NEEDED.
Posted by TesterPot 5 years ago
TesterPot
I understand that this debate is only semi-serious at best, but both sides are performing rather weakly here. Could we please step it up a bit, gents? Give such an important topic the attention it deserves.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
I will argue any side of any topic if i like the topic of course i do however get lazy sometimes, haha but still when debating my personal beliefs are gone and i debate the other side. I wanna be a defense attorney after all.
Posted by briski 5 years ago
briski
Haha. That was interesting - I saw the debate.

Anyway, I'll try to stick around for the whole thing for this one. I do hope, though, that you realize you are arguing FOR vegetarianism. Sorry, I had to mention that because the debate you posted and your profile make me wonder whether you would tend to argue the opposite.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 5 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
http://www.debate.org...
look at this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
briskijoshuaXlawyerTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: 1. B&A: I was convinced of nothing by either side. 2. Conduct: Pro referred to Con's arguments as "drive." Point to Con. 3. S&G: Con, mostly because of Pro's last debate round. 4. CA: Tied. Con argued that vegetarianism must mean abstention from eating meat despite a health risk, Pro argued that vegetarianism = no indulging. Never the twain did meet. 5. RS: Con used 2, Pro 1, point to Con.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
briskijoshuaXlawyerTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: "Therefore, eating meat is absolutely unnecessary." - What? How about viability?
Vote Placed by Robikan 5 years ago
Robikan
briskijoshuaXlawyerTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a decent debate on both sides, but Pro's copy/paste responses and Con's weak rebuttals lost them both points.
Vote Placed by Puck 5 years ago
Puck
briskijoshuaXlawyerTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Weak non sequitur case by Pro. Adequately dealt with.
Vote Placed by petersaysstuff 5 years ago
petersaysstuff
briskijoshuaXlawyerTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I voted Con because a) Pro just stated facts and most of which could have been incorporated into an ethical framework and thus won him the debate but since he didn't do that we must disregard it. Also, no real case was made as to why it is unethical to eat meat. All that was said was "you wouldn't eat your uncle". So what?