The Instigator
Topaet
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Sonofcharl
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

A vegetarian diet is to be preferred over an omnivorous diet

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Topaet
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/7/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 680 times Debate No: 116363
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Topaet

Pro

This debate will be about whether a well-balanced vegetarian diet is generally to be preferred over a well-balanced omnivorous diet. Therefore, arguments about nutrient deficiencies will be excluded unless Con can show that even a well-balanced vegetarian diet leads to nutrient deficiencies.


Additionally, no further arguments are to be made in Con’s final round as rebutting these is impossible.



Definitions:


Vegetarian diet: A diet that excludes meat.


Omnivorous diet: A diet that includes a variety of meat and dairy foods as well as plants. [1]



Thank you for accepting/reading the debate and have fun!



Sources:


[1]: https://ww2.kqed.org...


Sonofcharl

Con

A curious proposition, that asks if there is a general preference for vegetarianism.

And I would say quite confidently, without researching statistics, that globally the answer is probably, no.

At a personal level, preference, if not instinctive is a subjective, individual rationale that doesn't really have any comparison.

It will be interesting to see how Pro intends to take this debate forwards. I am inclined to think that they will attempt to move the goalposts.
Debate Round No. 1
Topaet

Pro

In this debate, I will be arguing that a vegetarian diet is to be preferred over an omnivorous diet as it is healthier, has a less significant negative impact on the environment and reduces the suffering and death of sentient lifeforms.
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A vegetarian diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet:
In a 1988 report, it was found that there is a significant positive association between meat consumption and mortality because of all causes of death combined, coronary heart disease, and diabetes. [1]

In another 2007 study, it was found that there is a significant positive association between red and processed meat intake and risk of cancer of the colon and rectum, esophagus, liver, lung, and pancreas [2].

In a 2003 meta-analysis, it was concluded that long-term (≥ 2 decades) adherence to a vegetarian diet can lead to a significant 3.6-year increase in life expectancy [3].

As it can reasonably be assumed that everyone would generally prefer not to have cancer in one’s rectum (or anywhere else), cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, it can be concluded that a vegetarian diet is to be preferred over an omnivorous diet as it is generally healthier, leads to a higher life expectancy and reduces one’s chances of getting cancer in one’s rectum.
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A vegetarian diet has a less significant negative impact on the environment:

According to a 2017 study, livestock farming is responsible for at least 14.5% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is estimated to be responsible for at least 51% of global GHG emissions “based on the most complete and comprehensive analysis of all factors associated with livestock products (including emissions from the animals themselves and lost carbon sequestration from land clearing for feed production) estimates the sector's contribution to be at least 51 per cent of total global GHG emissions” [4],[5]. It is important to note, however, that even 14.5% is more than emissions from all transport combined [6].

The chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, has described eating less meat as "the most attractive opportunity" for making immediate positive changes to climate change [7].

As it can reasonably be assumed that people generally have no intention of harming the environment and would prefer having a less significant influence on climate change, it can be concluded that a vegetarian diet is to be preferred over an omnivorous diet.

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A vegetarian diet reduces the suffering and deaths of sentient lifeforms:
In the same way that it is immoral to torture a cat (or any other animal) for the sake of viewing pleasure, it is immoral to eat a cat (or any other animal) for the sake of tasting its flesh. [16]

Mylan Engel’s argument against eating meat [15]:
(p1) Other things being equal, a world with less pain and suffering is better than a world with more pain and suffering.
(p2) A world with less unnecessary suffering (suffering which serves no greater, outweighing justifying good) is better than a world with more unnecessary suffering.
(p3) Even a minimally decent person (a person who does the very minimum required by morality and no more) would take steps to help reduce the amount of unnecessary pain and suffering in the world, if they could do so with very little effort.
(p4) Many nonhuman animals (certainly all vertebrates) are capable of feeling pain [9].
(p5) Animals in the meat industry are suffering [10],[11],[12],[13].
(p6) Refraining from eating meat and eating something else instead requires very little effort [14].
(c) We ought to stop purchasing and consuming meat.

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Overall, it can be concluded that a vegetarian diet is to be preferred over an omnivorous diet as it is generally healthier, better for the environment and because the extended suffering animals endure outweigh the short pleasure of eating meat.
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Sources:
[1]: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 48, Issue 3, 1 September 1988, Pages 739–748,https://doi.org...
[2]: Genkinger JM, Koushik A (2007) Meat Consumption and Cancer Risk. PLoS Med 4(12): e345. https://doi.org...
[3]: Singh PN, Sabate J, Fraser GE. Does low meat consumption increase life expectancy in humans? Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):526S-32S.
[4]: Bogueva, Diana & Marinova, Dora & Raphaely, Talia. (2017). Reducing meat consumption: the case for social marketing. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics. 29. 10.1108/APJML-08-2016-0139.
[5]: Goodland, R & Anhang, J. (2009). Livestock and climate change. World Watch. 22. 10-19.
[6]: Ipcc.ch. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch... [Accessed 8 Jul. 2018].
[7]: Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Lecture: ‘Global Warning - The impact of meat production and consumption on climate change’. September 2008
[8]: Doug Gurian-Sherman, "CAFOs Uncovered: The Untold Costs of Confined Animal Feeding Operations" (5.6 MB) , www.ucsusa.org, Apr. 2008
[9]: National Research Council (US) Committee on Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals. Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009. 1, Pain in Research Animals: General Principles and Considerations. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[10]: Joby Warrick, "They Die Piece by Piece: In Overtaxed Plants, Humane Treatment of Cattle Is Often a Battle Lost," Washington Post, Apr. 10, 2001
[11]: Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America" (7.2 MB) , www.ncifap.org, Apr. 28, 2008
[12]: Humane Society of the United States, "Undercover at Smithfield Foods" (467 KB) , www.humanesociety.org (accessed Jan. 17, 2011)
[13]: Farm Sanctuary, "The Welfare of Cattle in Beef Production" (700 KB) , www.farmsanctuary.org (accessed Jan. 17, 2011)
[14]: Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American
Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jul;109(7):1266-82.
PubMed PMID: 19562864.
[15]: Engel Jr, Mylan (2000). The Immorality of Eating Meat. _Chapter in The Moral Life_:856-889. https://philpapers.org...
[16]: 2. Rationalwiki.org. (2018). Essay:Why You Shouldn't Eat Meat - RationalWiki. [online] Available at: https://rationalwiki.org... [Accessed 8 Jul. 2018].


Some inspiration was taken from these Sources:
1. Vegansociety.com. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com... [Accessed 8 Jul. 2018].
2. Vegetarian.procon.org. (2018). Vegetarian ProCon.org. [online] Available at: https://vegetarian.procon.org... [Accessed 8 Jul. 2018].
Sonofcharl

Con

Hello.

Firstly, let me compliment you on a well presented and well researched debate.
Unfortunately I do not have either the time or the inclination to be as fastidious in my response.

As I stated previously, what you are actually referring to is not preference. My dietary preferences are as individual as yours and as individual as everyone else's.
What you are actually suggesting is that a vegetarian diet is better than an omnivorous diet. Better with regard to physical health, environmental impact and human morality.
But of course, an individual will always have a preferred dietary regime, irrespective of what may or may not be good for them or good for the planet or good for their mental wellbeing.
Therefore, it is not possible to question individual preference using scientific data or third party subjectivity.

However, statistical evidence does prove that approximately 78% of the world's population has a meat inclusive diet, which conclusively backs up my assertion that globally an omnivorous diet is thought to be preferable by the majority of people.

Nonetheless.
Are increased health benefits and consequent longevity, beneficial to society and the environment?
Population growth as it is, is exponential. Further adding to this problem will only increase human pressure on the environment. The expectation of an ever increasing life span, could be regarded as being just as immoral as eating meat.
Food production is one of many human actions that impact on the environment. I would suggest that maintaining our energy dependant and materialistic lifestyles, has a far greater impact.

Morals are subjective and human-centric and a cannot be subjected to a greater judgement. That is to say, it is arrogant to proclaim that killing and eating sentient creatures is immoral. Ultimately eating meat is a personal decision, based on personal interpretation of acquired knowledge and acquired conditioning.

Lifestyles vary greatly and nutritional requirements vary accordingly. A "well balanced" diet for one person may not be a
"well balanced diet for another. Health problems are as much a consequence of lifestyle choice as they are about food choice. In simple terms, a sedentary person, who consumes a poorly balanced diet excessively will inevitably have greater risk of long term health problems and a shorter life expectancy. Whereas an active person who eats a sensible well balanced diet has a much greater chance of leading a healthier, longer life. But of course that does not take into account all the many other non-dietary factors that may or may not impact upon our physical wellbeing and life expectancy.

On a level playing field where all people are equal, it might be fair to suggest that a vegetarian diet could in the long term be marginally healthier and therefore better than an omnivorous diet. But as things stand at this moment in time, all people are most definitely not equal, therefore nutritional requirements vary greatly and cannot be judged or set using one standard.

One final consideration:
Is vegetarianism a lifestyle choice, based on sound scientific information.
Or is vegetarianism primarily a moral judgement, that uses appropriate and selective scientific information to back up that judgement?
I would suggest that vegetarianism is quite often a very fickle moral judgement, with little or no regard ever given to scientific information or dietary implications.
Of course, we must not overlook the fact that in certain regions of the world people are vegetarians out of necessity rather than choice.
Debate Round No. 2
Topaet

Pro

In my third and unfortunately final round, I will have to point out either a reoccurring misunderstanding or Strawman on Con’s side, refute Con’s claims that are relevant to the debate, mention a flaw in Con’s debating conduct (not having cited a single source for any of his claims) and extend my arguments from round 2.

Misunderstanding/possible Strawman:
You have tried on several occasions to change the topic of the debate. In round 1 I clearly describe that “This debate will be about whether a well-balanced vegetarian diet is generally to be preferred over a well-balanced omnivorous diet.”. You, on the other hand, misrepresented my position in round 1 by claiming that my position is as follows: “A curious proposition, that asks if there is a general preference for vegetarianism.”. As I assumed that it might just be a misunderstanding I reaffirmed that this debate will be about whether “a vegetarian diet is to be preferred over an omnivorous diet” in round 2. Regardless, you continued to misrepresent my position in round 2 as if my position was “a vegetarian diet is preferred over an omnivorous diet”. As per the ‘Debate.org (DDO): New Users Guide’ however, “If anything is not clearly defined by the instigator (usually pro) in the first round, English common usage wins.” [1]. According to English common usage “is to be” can be replaced by “should be” in this context [2],[3],[4].
Therefore, the title of this debate means the same as “A vegetarian diet should be preferred over an omnivorous diet” in contrast to your claim that the title of my debate implies that “A vegetarian diet is preferred over an omnivorous diet”. In the ‘Debate.org (DDO): New Users Guide’, voters are suggested to ‘use their judgement for how much the tactic of misrepresenting a debater’s view (which Con did) by changing definitions weakens the argument and conduct of the misrepresenter’.

This misunderstanding or Strawman has unfortunately led to much of my opponent’s claims being irrelevant for this debate such as his unsourced assertion that “statistical evidence does prove that approximately 78% of the world's population has ameat inclusive diet”. Regardless of this, my opponent has made some claims that are relevant to this debate and that I will address.



Rebuttal:
1.
My opponent has asserted (again without citing any sources) that “The expectation of an ever increasing life span, could be regarded as being just as immoral as eating meat.” As ‘maintaining our energy dependant and materialistic lifestyles, has a far greater negative impact than eating meat.’. As my opponent has not cited any sources for this assertion it is difficult to take my opponent’s assertion serious as I have explained, elaborated and supported with credible sources (peer-reviewed scientific studies) in round 2 that “According to a 2017 study, livestock farming is responsible for at least 14.5% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is estimated to be responsible for at least 51% of global GHG emissions” and that “long-term (≥ 2 decades) adherence to a vegetarian diet can lead to a significant 3.6-year increase in life expectancy”.
An average person lives for approximately 79 years in the United States [5] and a person with an omnivorous diet is responsible for approximately 20-30% more GHG emissions [6]. Therefore, the increased lifespan of, on average, 3.6 years only makes up for between 12 (3.6/0.3) and 18 (3.6/0.2) years which still leaves between 67 to 61 years in which the person with the omnivorous diet is responsible for between 20 to 30% more GHG emissions.
2. My opponent has claimed that “Lifestyles vary greatly and nutritional requirements vary accordingly. A "well balanced" diet for one person may not be a
"well balanced diet for another.”. As my opponent has unfortunately not cited a source for this assertion either, I will not be able to address the basis of his assertion. However, a 2009 report by the American Dietetic Association, has concluded that “Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle” and that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”[7]. Therefore, it can be concluded that a vegetarian diet should be preferred over an omnivorous diet.

In conclusion, according to the ‘Debate.org (DDO): New Users Guide’, Con has a duty to refute all arguments provided by pro, Con has however admitted that a vegetarian diet could be better than an omnivorous diet in the long-term which confirms my resolution unless Con would like to argue that, even though a vegetarian diet would be better, it should not be preferred for some reason.
I would also like to remind my opponent that, according to the ‘Debate.org (DDO): New Users Guide’, “As a general rule, the final round is not the time for epiphanies.” and therefore my opponent should not start making new arguments in his next round that I can not rebut simply because I’m not able to respond anymore after his next round. Additionally, I would like to request my opponent to cite his sources as even though Con admitted himself to not be prepared to be very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail [8] in this debate, making claims without citing sources weakens his case significantly and makes his claims unreliable.

Resolution of the debate:
Overall, it can be concluded that a vegetarian diet should preferred over an omnivorous diet as it is generally healthier, better for the environment and because the extended suffering animals endure outweigh the short pleasure of eating meat.

Thank you for the debate.


Sources:
[1]: Google Docs. (2018). Debate.org (DDO): New Users Guide. [online] Available at: https://docs.google.com...# [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
[2]: be'?, m. (2018). meaning of 'is to be'?. [online] English Language Learners Stack Exchange. Available at: https://ell.stackexchange.com... [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
[3]: Bbc.co.uk. (2018). Learning English | BBC World Service. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk... [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
[4]: [online] Usingenglish.com. Available at: https://www.usingenglish.com... [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
[5]: Google.co.uk. (2018). World Development Indicators - Google Public Data Explorer . [online] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk... [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
[6]: Aleksandrowicz L, Green R, Joy EJM, Smith P, Haines A. The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review. Wiley AS, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(11):e0165797. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165797.
[7]: Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American
Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jul;109(7):1266-82.
PubMed PMID: 19562864.
[8]: Oxford Dictionaries | English. (2018). fastidious | Definition of fastidious in English by Oxford Dictionaries. [online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com... [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Sonofcharl

Con

As I thought. Pro has changed their tack. And now adopted the word "should" and ditched the word "is".
A seemingly innocuous change, but a change that actually alters the context of this debate completely.

A vegetarian diet is to be preferred is a completely different proposition to, a vegetarian diet should be preferred.
Under these circumstances I do not feel obliged to respond to Pro's third round evidence.

My second round assertion that approximately 78% of the Worlds population ate a meat inclusive diet was derived from the Wikipedia article, vegetarianism by country.
This evidence alone is enough to negate Pro's opening proposition. As it clearly indicates that approximately three quarters of the world's population prefer a meat inclusive diet. (Presumably no one is forcing these people to eat meat)

Whether or not three quarters of the world's population should prefer a meat inclusive diet is another issue altogether.

The same studies also stated that approximately 1.75 billion people were vegetarian out of necessity, rather than by choice. It is highly likely that given the chance, some of these people would also prefer to be omnivorous.
But should they?
Well, who has the authority to make this sort of judgement?...... And of course, that wasn't what we were discussing.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Topaet 3 years ago
Topaet
Thank you for the debate, even though I think that our debate could have been better, had we not had a misunderstanding, the debate has motivated me to further my understanding of the nutritional, health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet and I'm looking forward to your final round and hope that I have been able to convince you of my resolution.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BertrandsTeapot 3 years ago
BertrandsTeapot
TopaetSonofcharlTied
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 Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: I am not, and almost definitely will never be a vegetarian. I can't imagine it and it's not in my blood. That said, Topaet did a significantly better job debating this topic. He/she used better logic, sources, reasoning, counterarguments, etc. Not sure how I feel about conduct in either direction, but this seems like a clear win for Pro.

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