Vegetarianism, Morality and the Stance of Famous Sceintists - Dawkins vs Einstein
One of the reasons morality based on religious scripture is so appaling/unacceptable is its stances on slavery. So while many freethinkers are vocal about such instances, a parallel can be drawn when it comes to meat consumption which amounts to significantly greater pain to other "lesser" organisms. This short post by a freethinker (the reasonable vegan) accurately discusses this issue.
Specifically, to what extent will most freethinkers go when it comes to rationalizing? Here is the link:
"On meat eating and rationality: Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris" deals with the morality and rationalization of prominent freethinkers/atheists/humanists when it comes to vegetarianism. I found it very insightful.

"I have found that this - the part about not thinking rationally about meat eating - applies even to the most rationally thinking people. Even the people that have made it their mission to root out all kinds of irrationality and superstition, seem to have a big blind spot when it comes to reasoning about eating animals. Yes, i’m talking about - and selecting by way of example - people like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris." ... "First a side note: it is not my intention here to detract to their work in any way. I greatly admire their writing and debating and believe, as they do, in the importance of reason and rational inquiry in our daily lives, including education. I do feel free, however, to criticize their reasoning and behaviour, as they themselves are (in many or most cases rightly I think) never shy of doing that with other people."

Interestingly Dawkins has said that he hasn't YET found the social courage to change, so perhaps it leaves a possibility of him changing in the future.

Other prominent freethinkers however, have changed to vegetarianism, a prominent example being the agnostic/humanist Albert Einstein. “It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” ― Albert Einstein

What are people's opinions?
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Other prominent examples include Tesla, Newton, Darwin many of whom were also freethinkers.
"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." - Tesla

"There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." ~ Charles Darwin
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Here's the Dawkins -Singer interview (uncut)
(28-Jul-2014, 02:16 PM)grayhound Wrote: Here's the Dawkins -Singer interview (uncut)

Good post & am in complete agreement. Not just in vegetarianism, you will find more topics on which 'freethinkers/humanists' can be dogmatic.
(23-Aug-2014, 11:56 AM)freefalcon Wrote:
(28-Jul-2014, 02:16 PM)grayhound Wrote: Here's the Dawkins -Singer interview (uncut)

Good post & am in complete agreement. Not just in vegetarianism, you will find more topics on which 'freethinkers/humanists' can be dogmatic.

What other topics are freethinkers/humanists dogmatic about? I think that's generalizing a tad bit because not all freethinkers would be dogmatic about any/certain issues such as this one - meat eating. A good question may be what percentage of freethinkers/humanists are dogmatic (as opposede to rational) about a given issue.
Furthering the list...

"What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" "The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny."
-- Jeremy Bentham, philosopher

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men."
-- Leonardo da Vinci, artist and scientist

"In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought."
-- Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel 1978

Our grandchildren will ask us one day: Where were you during the holocaust of the animals? What did you do against these horrifying crimes? We won't be able to offer the same excuse the second time, that we didn't know.
~Dr. Helmut Kaplan

"In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And, in a population that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig ... I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse."
-- HG Wells. A Modern Utopia

“I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson,

“Cruelty to animals is an enormous injustice; so is expecting those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder to do the dangerous, soul-numbing work of slaughtering sentient beings on our behalf.”
― Victoria Moran

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
― Albert Schweitzer

"Suffering is suffering. It is always ugly. It is always unwelcome. It always needs to be stopped. There are no exceptions. A person with the capacity but not the inclination to cease suffering is morally incomplete." ~ Mirko Bagaric

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent." - Epicurus (What happens when one substitutes human beings in God's place?)

"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields."
-- Leo Tolstoy, author

"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
-- Pythagoras, mathematician

"We have enslaved the rest of animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form."
~ William Ralph Inge

“Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable... Ethical veganism results in a profound revolution within the individual; a complete rejection of the paradigm of oppression and violence that she has been taught from childhood to accept as the natural order...Ethical veganism is anything but passive; on the contrary, it is the active refusal to cooperate with injustice”
― Gary L. Francione

"If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth -- beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals -- would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?"
-- George Bernard Shaw, playwright, Nobel 1925

“Violence begins with the fork.”
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
"To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being." "I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man"
-- Mahatma Gandhi, statesman and philosopher

“People care about animals. I believe that. They just don’t want to know or to pay. A fourth of all chickens have stress fractures. It’s wrong. They’re packed body to body, and can’t escape their waste, and never see the sun. Their nails grow around the bars of their cages. It’s wrong. They feel their slaughters. It’s wrong, and people know it’s wrong. They don’t have to be convinced. They just have to act differently. I’m not better than anyone, and I’m not trying to convince people to live by my standards of what’s right. I’m trying to convince them to live by their own.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer

“Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it, a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. It is only an ethical movement which can rescue us from the slough of barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.... Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies.... Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always”- Albert Schweitzer

“Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science I've discussed, that something terribly wrong is happening. Our sustenance now comes from misery. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory-- disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

"Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan”
― Gary L. Francione

"150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would object to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won't be laughing."
-- Gary Smith
If wastefulness of resources such as food can be considered immoral, then does it matter if it the method contributing to wastefulness is direct or indirect? If adopting alternative dietary practices could lessen the strain on environmental resources and thereby accommodate the nutritional requirements of many more people then is this the moral imperative?

How do different diets stack up with regard to resources consumption and environmental stresses?

Data as per the recent documentary "Cowspiracy":

From The Bitesize Vegan Youtube channel (the first part of the video)

The Impact of Fishing on Marine life; perhaps the most catastrophically ruined ecosystem in the world:
Ending Overfishing:
TED Talk: Jeremy Jackson
Ocean Apocalypse:

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”
― Albert Einstein
Above all, the morality of one's dietary choices in terms of suffering:

Earthlings Documentary:

Is dairy, even in India humane?:

Is egg consumption humane:

not just diet but also clothing (includes fur, but also leather, wool):

poems on animal rights:

one heck of a long master list on veganism:

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