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Our Future, AI and Veganism: 6 Reasons Why I Went Vegan

People keep asking me why I went vegan so I decided to share the top 6 reasons. Check out the list below and do let me know if you agree or disagree with me as well as your own reasons as per why you would or you wouldn’t go vegan yourself 😉

6 Reasons Why I Went Vegan:

  1. For our planet: if there has ever been a single decision that an individual can take right now, which will have a direct impact on our climate and our planet in general, and that requires no government or other kind of approval, it is changing your diet. In short, since 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are coming from our livestock and their byproducts, the less meat we consume the better it is for our planet and our climate. Period. [There are many, many sources on this fact but only one more recent and notorious resource is Cowspiracy]
  2. For the animals: as a dog owner and animal lover, I have absolutely no doubt that most animals have a degree of consciousness and are able to experience nearly the full range of human emotions – from pleasure and pain, to jealousy, sadness and happiness. We also know that many animals exhibit incredible degree of intelligence often surpassing that of newborn human babies and todlers. Thus, I do not want to partake in causing any suffering to any animal, if I can avoid doing so. And being vegan is an easy way to at least diminish greatly, if not avoid causing any harm to animals whatsoever.
  3. For us, so that the AI’s have a good precedent of treating lesser intelligences: under our current paradigm humanity considers itself entitled to kill any less-intelligent species for food, pleasure and entertainment. So what happens to us if we stop being the smartest species on our planet? Should we be treated the same way as we treat others right now? I believe that if we want to be treated with respect and dignity by higher intelligences – be it AIs or aliens from space, then we must show by example that we can also treat lower intelligences with respect, kindness and dignity. So that, in turn, we have both the precedent and the hope that we can and should be treated in kind. Because, if the AI’s treat us the way we treat the animals today, we are going to experience enormous suffering, industrialized genocide and possibly even extinction.
  4. For me and my own personal health: I have to admit that it was mostly the above 3 reasons that pushed me to go vegan. And at the beginning I had serious concerns about my own personal health. [Ill-informed questions such as “How will I get enough protein, iron and calcium?” were some of my main concerns.] But after observing the effects of going “cold turkey” vegan – both in terms of my blood tests but also subjective feeling and objective sports performance, I was somewhat shocked to discover how easy and good veganism is for me. Since then I have spent a lot of time educating myself and looking at many medical studies and am now convinced that going vegan has been the best decision I have ever taken for my own health. [ Check out How Not to Die, Forks over Knifes or NutritionFacts.org to learn more.]
  5. For you, not to force you, but to gently show you that it is possible. And that I will not be protein, iron or calcium deficient but stronger and healthier, maybe even smarter than ever. Just like I myself have been inspired by some of the greatest people in history, who have been either vegetarian or vegan: Buddha, Gandhi, Confucius, Pythagoras of Samos, Plato, Virgil, Voltaire, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Edward Witten, Brian Greene, Steve Jobs, Franz Kafka, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Leonardo da Vinci, Plutarch, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Lewis, Prince, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Bob Marley, Ricky Martin and many others you may not even be aware of.
  6. For our future: Veganism is the most efficient and most likely path to a more sustainable, healthier and abundant future. For one, if we stop slaughtering the 70+ billion animals we kill annually on our planet, and redirect our resources to grow more fruit, grains and vegetables, we can sustainably produce enough food to feed 14 billion people. Secondly, the future of meat is lab-grown. Chances are that, within a decade or so, bioprinted meat will be cheaper, easier to produce, better tasting by design and, since it is suffering free, it will be also vegan. So, in time, most meat in our stores will likely be vegan meat and thus, one way or another, our future is vegan. And our current practices will eventually be deemed barbaric by future generations. So why wait, and keep doing more damage, but not jump on the future bandwagon now and be a leader rather than a follower?

Each of the above reasons should be sufficient to make you consider going vegan on its own. But when you combine them altogether, I think that the case is pretty much closed, at least as far as I am concerned. Thus, for me, veganism is a win-win-win-win-win-win scenario, at every level I can think of. And so it was an easy, no-brainer-type of a decision, one that so far I have not only not regretted once, but have been increasingly happy with. In fact, I believe it is one of the very best things I have ever done.

And here are my top 6 most favorite quotes on the topic:

einstein“Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

Translation of letter to Hermann Huth, December 27, 1930. Einstein Archive 46-756

nikola-tesla“On general principles the raising of cattle as a means of providing food is objectionable. It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarian habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory but a well-demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate. In view of these facts every effort should be made to stop the wanton, cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals.”

Nikola Tesla

leonardo-da-vinci“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”

Leonardo da Vinci

“A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk’s bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.”

Plutarch

“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.”

George Bernard Shaw

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”

Leo Tolstoy

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  • Gänseblümchen

    thanks good points 🙂

  • Lisa C.

    I agree with this 100%! I have been a vegetarian (though not vegan) for 24 years. I stopped eating meat for only one reason: to avoid causing pain and suffering to animals. The health results are just added benefits! Many people in my age group are starting to show abnormalities in their biomarkers such as insulin resistance, but all of my lab values are optimal. It seems that many people in the life extension community are obsessed with fad diets rather than eating in a way that is good for them, the creatures we share the planet with, and the environment. There is a big disconnect between wanting to transcend nature in our efforts to live indefinitely and glorifying the brutal practices our ancestors HAD to employ to survive.

  • Applesandoranges

    Outstanding and simply put, I love your points, and the list of vegans too that is so inspiring and amazing– I also follow nutritionfacts.org and am a huge fan of Dr. Greger he has great humor as well! I truly enjoyed reading your article and will share with it friends.

  • It can be argued that eggs and dairy are the cruelest of all animal agricultural practices. I was vegetarian for a long time before I was exposed to the horrors of dairy and eggs and gave them soon after. Here is a tame version for the case against dairy and eggs: http://www.chooseveg.com/whats-wrong-with-dairy-and-eggs

  • Altus Pienaar

    Kudos for making such radical change. I enjoyed the quoted text by these well known men very much but making the case that animals is better for the environment is not that simple.
    Raising vegetables is in many ways as destructive to the environment as that of raising animals.
    The use of insecticides, pesticides and artificial fertilisers are in itself also responsible for the killing of many innocent creatures.
    Our biggest problem stems from large scale commercial farming. Going vegan alone will not change this. We need a model of self raising of foods.

  • storm

    Reason #2 is anthropomorphism, a variation on an appeal to emotion. It’s a logical fallacy.

    Yes, many people make this decision with emotional thinking and that’s their choice. But for a technically oriented site, your calling out the list as “reasons” and not “emotions”, I would hope for a better argument.

    The absurdo ad reductum is then do you exterminate termites from your house? Treat bacterial infections with antibiotics? The only line that can be drawn with this argument is emotional, not logical.

  • CtPaul

    You know, maybe it is because I have always preferred cats to dogs, but I have to strongly disagree with this particular point of yours…

    Socrates wrote “For the animals: as a dog owner and animal lover, I have absolutely no doubt that most animals have a degree of consciousness and are able to experience nearly the full range of human emotions – from pleasure and pain, to jealousy, sadness and happiness. We also know that many animals exhibit incredible degree of intelligence often surpassing that of newborn human babies and todlers. Thus, I do not want to partake in causing any suffering to any animal, if I can avoid doing so. And being vegan is an easy way to at least diminish greatly, if not avoid causing any harm to animals whatsoever.”

    Well, let me tell you, I read this passage aloud to my 2 male cats and they put down their cat nip toys and howled! They told me to show you this article about feline nutrition:

    Answers: What Exactly is an “Obligate Carnivore?”
    Last Updated on Sunday, January 17, 2016 06:56 PM Published on Saturday, February 09, 2013 02:23 PM
    Written by Margaret Gates

    I have started my cat Tedders on a raw meat diet and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in his health and energy levels. When I was investigating what I should be feeding him, I kept seeing cats described as obligate carnivores. What exactly is an obligate carnivore and how is it different from a regular carnivore? Are there other obligate carnivores besides cats?

    People refer to cats as obligate carnivores when they are trying to emphasize the fact that cats are a little different than many other meat-eating predators. Obligate means “by necessity.” The dictionary definition is: 1. Restricted to one particularly characteristic mode of life. 2. Biologically essential for survival.¹ Combining obligate with carnivore is pretty clear. Cats must eat meat, it is a biological necessity.

    All felids, including domestic cats, are obligate carnivores. But, the cat is not alone in being a strict meat-eater. Other mammals that are classed as obligate carnivores include mink, tarsiers, dolphins, seals, sea lions and walruses, to name a few.² Non-mammal obligate carnivores include rainbow trout, salmon, hawks, eagles, crocodilians, many snakes and lizards and most amphibians.³

    All of these animals became obligate carnivores as a result of their ancestral diets. Because eating a meat-only diet provides some vitamins and fatty acids in their pre-formed state, cats and many other obligate carnivores have lost the ability to make these amino acids and vitamins in their own bodies the way herbivores or omnivores do. They don’t need to since the animals they are eating have already done it for them. For example, cats require vitamin A in its pre-formed state, they can’t make it from beta-carotene the way humans or dogs or rabbits can. They have little ability to form niacin from tryptophan.⁴ They have a high requirement for taurine, which is found almost exclusively in animal flesh.⁵ Arginine, also found in animal flesh, is so critical to the cat that a meal without it can lead to death.⁶ Fortunately, all meat sources have plenty. Simply put, cats must eat meat to live.

    Cats aren’t the only obligate carnivores.The digestive systems of cats have also become specifically adapted to eating raw flesh. They have the shortest digestive tract compared to body size of almost any mammal.⁷ Raw prey is highly digestible and there is no need for a long gut and the fermenting bacteria that animals that eat plants need. Cats have lost some metabolic abilities simply because they don’t need them anymore. You don’t need to be efficient at breaking down carbohydrates when your diet contains practically none.

    One of the defining characteristics of an obligate carnivore is a requirement for a high amount of protein in the diet. Cats meet their blood glucose requirements from gluconeogenesis, using protein, rather than from the breakdown of carbohydrates in their diet. They are so dependent on protein that if their diet is lacking an adequate amount to supply their energy needs, they will break down their own body muscle and organs.⁸

    Read more at http://feline-nutrition.org/answers/answers-what-exactly-is-an-qobligate-carnivoreq
    Follow us on Twitter: @FelineNutrition

  • CyborgX

    Good for you. Not sure that I could do it, but I certainly agree with all your points.

    However, even being a big fan of the man, I think Ricky Martin is a bit out of his league in your list LOL

  • Benaya Doron

    I went vegan almost 7 years ago for reason number 2.
    It’s simple, we now know that animals such as mammals, birds and even octopuses experience the exact same range of emotions as we do, and the 2012 cambridge declaration on consciousness, claims it is indistinguishable from ours.

    So i am vegan for the same reasons i am against cannibalism and slavery.

    We have very healthy and tasty alternatives, so there’s no justification to pay other people to kill other sentient beings because some people like the taste and can’t change a barbarian habit.

  • Welcome aboard ;-]

  • Andrew Issa

    You’re the first person to have converted to veganism for the same reason as me! I thought I was crazy because, while I care about the planet and animals, I converted to veganism after I got interested in AI. If we don’t have compassion for other sentient beings, how do we expect AIs, which the development of is inevitable, to have compassion for us? Glad to see someone else made the connection!

    Cheers, Andrew

  • Andrew Issa

    I also love the quotes at the end.

    “A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”

    Leo Tolstoy

  • vancutterromney

    You know who else was vegetarian. Adolf Hitler.

  • vancutterromney

    You know who else went vegetarian? Hitler. Think about that.

  • Ha, this was among the biggest myths in history and is, of course, absolutely not true.

    Basically what happened was that Hitler’s propaganda chief Joeseph Goebbels was trying to come up with a way to portray Adolf Hitler as a soft, kindhearted and peace-loving person. And so he was looking for examples he can model Hitler’s image upon. Of course, at that time, Gandhi was among the most famous people in the world. And since Gandi was vegetarian using peaceful disobedience as a form of resistance and protest to British colonialism, Goebbels decided to portrey Hitler as the German Gandhi by saying Adolf was vegetarian too. And so he deployed the Nazi propaganda machine to trumpet this false message that Hitler was vegetarian. But, like most other things that the 3rd Reich propaganda said, it was a total lie, even though unfortunately they did manage to create a myth which still persists to this day.

    And, by the way, his favorite foods were stuffed pigeons and liver dumplings – not very vegetarian at all 😉

    See more details here:

    http://www.naturalnews.com/025163_Hitler_vegetarian_vegetarianism.html

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/%D7%96%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%9F-%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%A1/hitler-was-not-vegetarian-by-gary-yourofsky/564852376889902/

    http://www.vegsource.com/berry/hitler.html

    http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/hitler.html

  • vancutterromney
  • vancutterromney

    .

  • So, first of all Wikipedia is often wrong.

    2ndly read the actual article and its references. The article itself says that Hitler was vegetarian who occasionally enjoyed sausage and “never gave up liver dumplings.” So right there it says in the article itself that infact Hitler was never a real vegetarian.

    Also, look at the resources and you will see many discredited references such as a NYTimes article from 1937 which calls Hitler a vegetarian who “relieved the dullness of his diet with ham and caviar.” Now, again, this is the article claiming Hitler was vegetarian where the authors themselves admit he wasn’t.

    Finally, think about it with your own head, if Hitler was really vegetarian why did he never speak or write about it himself? Ever? Not in one speech, not in his book, not on radio, not on camera, not once has he himself said or written that he was vegetarian.

    Read the references above to learn more if you actually care to educate yourself rather than just make an irrelevant and inaccurate point. Because, of course, even if Hitler was indeed vegetarian, which historically has been proven not to be the case, it would still not mean anything against vegetarianism itself.

  • vancutterromney

    “So, first of all Wikipedia is often wrong.”

    Sure, whatever makes you happy.

  • Sc Re

    Spoken like a true muppet.
    Look, if you can’t argue rationally, then don’t speak.
    Or do, and reveal yourself to be the fool.

  • Sc Re

    1) It’s about doing the least harm possible to animals, and the planet. This is hardly an appeal to emotion.
    2) Bacteria aren’t conscious, fool.
    3) Termites are animals, as are mosquitoes. At some point, one has to defend one’s self and/or place of residence. So yes, slap the mosquito or exterminate the termites (assuming you don’t want to leave the abode)

    But hey, if you want to stick your oblong head in the sand and pretend as if farm animals (for example) don’t have nociceptors, emotion, or even a homologous CNS to humans.. go ahead. But, don’t expect intelligent people to take you seriously.

  • storm

    1 those aren’t his arguments, but yours
    2 prove that assertion
    3 so it’s as equally arbitrary as any other diet choice

  • Sc Re

    1) Did you read his reasons? Yes, they actually are part of his argument. Quote from Socrates: “Thus, I do not want to partake in causing any suffering to any animal, if I can avoid doing so. And being vegan is an easy way to at least diminish greatly, if not avoid causing any harm to animals whatsoever.”
    2) You can’t be serious. Obviously, you have no training as a scientist. For that matter, you appear to have the biology background of a lobotomized squirrel. (Actually, that’s an insult to the squirrel)
    3) No, it’s not “easily as arbitrary”, unless you relinquish any claim to leading a life with morality, and believe in “might makes right”. If you do believe that, then you also relinquish any right to complain were you to be beaten, raped and murdered for another’s pleasure.
    Wanna try again? If you do reply, please respond with better reasoning capacity than that of a turnip.

  • storm

    1. Yes, I read his reasons. His conclusion is not supported by his arguments, and the reasoning remains anthropomorphic.

    2. Consciousness lacks a good definition and is not understood by science to any significant degree. Do the reading. Here are some important authors. Dennet, Blackmore, Pinker, Minsky

    So yes, prove it.

    3. Morality is not universal. Indeed, it is the variation and disagreement in morality that make it effective in evolution and the survival of humanity. Nor do you have enough information from what I’ve written to understand my morality. Again, do the reading. Pinker, Haidt are are good starting places.

  • Sc Re

    1) How is his conclusion not supported by the argument? Becoming vegan definitely lessens the suffering of animals.
    2) Prove bacteria are sentient.. unless you don’t believe sentience is requisite to consciousness? Perception may be subjective but we live according to our perceptions and therein, within the bounds of what we deconstruct as common or shared perception.
    Or maybe you don’t believe that animals are sentient?
    3) There may not be a baseline morality for all cultures, yet the idea of not causing unnecessary, excruciating suffering for one’s own pleasure can hardly be amoral.
    You have written enough for me to conclude that you are either a troll, or one who is willing to write metaphysical bullshit to defend your lifestyle.
    Answer this: Is it amoral to cause the unnecessary suffering of sentient beings, solely for one’s own pleasure? C’mon Storm.. answer.

  • storm

    1. As I explained each time, he commits the fallacy of anthropomorphism, the ascribing off human attributes to non-human things. All life does sense things, sure. But is that sufficient to say we shouldn’t eat them? No, as you agreed.

    You want to get into a gradation of sensation and assign value to those sensations. That’s not the argument presented and I’m not getting into those other details here. It’s out of scope.

    That you don’t understand why logical fallacies matter is also beyond the scope of this discussion, or as much discussion as I’m interested in pursuing. If you want to claim that makes you the winner, you’re welcome to do so.

    2. I’m not the one arguing that this gradation in other life is pertinent to our eating of them. So I have nothing to prove, other than the claims made in other life’s behalf are not supportable in fact. I’m happy to see the research and make decisions based on new understanding.

    3. You’re arguing a straw man. I’ve never argued for inhumane treatment, by the definitions in my country at least. Your personal definitions are your own issue. You leap to conclusions and accuse me of things I’ve not said or done.

  • Sc Re

    1) Your argument involving anthropomorphism is self-defeating, because your judgment concerning this flaw in his argument is tainted with said flaw. Do you understand how your own broken reasoning is well-used against you? Even worse for you is the fact that we (I.e. Socrates and I and likely any ethical vegan) are referring to sentient life, not just ANY life.
    Nice try. Actually.. not really. Amateurish and sloppy, on your part.
    2) It’s not based on gradation of sensation; it’s based on commonly perceived sentience. Quit trying to shift the argument.
    3) It’s not a straw man, and it’s not a “personal definition”. This is a launch-point for defining what is amoral vs moral. What’s wrong with you? Can you not decide if the unnecessary confinement and brutal treatment of animals, with the endpoint of slitting their throats for your dinner, is moral, or not?
    Here here.. I see you need for the question to be even more simple. I am always willing to accommodate those with special needs. So I ask: “Is it ever acceptable to cause unnecessary harm to another sentient being, solely for one’s own wants?”
    Eagerly awaiting your next obtuse response, Stormy! 🙂

  • storm

    Backpedaling won’t help. Sentience is equally as poorly understood. It’s not universally organ based. See Intelligence in the Flesh. And it’s demonstrated in plants. See Brilliant Green. Again, do the reading.

    This is why, and I’m glad you noticed, I discuss it as all life.

    And I short cut the discussion because to go anywhere we have to start at epistemology. Not worth the time or effort because you’ve not done the reading.

  • Sc Re

    Sentience was always the baseline, so there is no “backpedaling”.
    You “name-dropped” almost immediately. There is a problem with your tactic, in that if you can’t explain your philosophy on your own and back it up logically (with peer-reviewed science), then you “lose”. It’s not up to me, or the audience, to read your preferred canon.
    I have time to read peer-reviewed articles; I don’t have time to read many books of YOUR choice, which may not even support your argument. I looked at the synopsis for Brilliant Green, but all it tells me for sure, is that some guy is confusing primitive sensory processes found in many organisms, which don’t equate to sentience.
    I don’t need a lesson on epistemology, however, you do need a lesson on dialectic.

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