Is the PhilForum still alive?

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Reply Wed 6 Mar, 2013 02:22 pm
I'm Matt, I've been kicking around A2K for the last few weeks.
I have a strong interest in logical paradox, ethical philosphy (especially as it pertains to animals), and theory of mind.
It would be nice if this forum were still active.
I hope that it is.
 
jespah
 
Reply Wed 6 Mar, 2013 05:45 pm
@MattDavis,
I think they've mostly crossed the border over into the more general A2K side, wading across the shores of a mighty river, Will and Ariel Durant's books strapped to their backs and dodging Hobbesians.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 11:54 am
@jespah,
Damn the exodus!
I came here to battle nihilists.
 
jespah
 
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 04:03 pm
@MattDavis,
Do they even exist?
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 02:23 pm
@jespah,
That's all they know, is that they exist.
I believe they exist, and they also believe that they exist.
After that, there are fewer and fewer things we both agree on. Wink
 
jespah
 
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 06:13 pm
@MattDavis,
I think we can all agree that warm, dry socks are good. There are likely few doubters in that area.

After that, I dunno.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Sat 9 Mar, 2013 03:12 pm
@jespah,
Quote:
There are likely few doubters in that area.

You might be surprised...
... around moral philosophy threads the term "good" is subject to heated debate.
I for one do not take offense to your implication of the "goodness" of warm socks however. Wink
Well... unless they are made of wool, in which case not so good for the sheep.
 
jespah
 
Reply Sat 9 Mar, 2013 05:06 pm
@MattDavis,
Well, the obtainment (there's a word for ya) of wool is essentially shaving. And in hot weather sheep are, I suspect, glad to have their undercarriages cleared of the heavy stuff. A veterinarian friend says that sheep can get wool breaks (e. g. you separate out the wool a bit if you pet them at, say, a petting zoo) and they can be a sign of serious illnesses but not if they come from petting. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/wool+break

Unless you are against shaving as I see from your avatar that you are bearded. Being a Boston Terrier, I have the fur going everywhere and only sweat through the bottoms of my paws, but my poodle friends tell me they enjoy a good grooming if the water is warm and the groomer is pleasant.

PS I haven't spoken/written much like this since college. My school's mascot, ironically enough, is the Boston Terrier.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Sat 9 Mar, 2013 06:31 pm
@jespah,
I don't really want to get into too much vegangelizing, but you might want to research "mulesing" as it applies to industrialized wool production.
Sheep (in industrialized production) of course do not lead "normal" lives. They also end up in the same slaughterhouses as all other livestock at the end of their "productive lifespan". I will spare you the video footage.
 
jespah
 
Reply Sun 10 Mar, 2013 05:34 am
@MattDavis,
Oh, no doubt that livestock are treated crappily (as are people in the health care system, for that matter). But shearing, per se, is not necessarily an unpleasant experience.

We live in the age of the factory-ization of nearly everything.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Sun 10 Mar, 2013 09:39 pm
@jespah,
Mulesing is not shearing. It is cutting away of the skin surrounding the buttocks.
This is an image (graphic):
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/--AnnmvAHBQ8/TaD0dxrHUAI/AAAAAAAAAHc/_LUnbEuM22o/s1600/Mulesing.jpg
Mulesing is done because sheep are "produced" primarily in Australia, a climate normally inhospitable to sheep due to warmth and insects. The good news (I guess) for the sheep is that they don't freeze to death (when sheared). The bad news of course is that they have their flesh stripped away (when mulesed).

I doubt you are really comparing factory farming to healthcare. At least I hope you aren't. I have worked in ER, ICU, pediatrics, and many other specialties. Of course the system has flaws. I have never stripped the flesh off of a patient without anesthetics.
 
jespah
 
Reply Mon 11 Mar, 2013 04:58 pm
@MattDavis,
Oh sorry I didn't know what mulesing was (and I won't check the link, sorry - I have enough nightmare fodder).

Not comparing the healthcare system (I believe you're a nurse, yes?), it's more the factory-ization of the world. Anyway, sorry, I've kinda lost the thread of the narrative, such as it was.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 03:26 am
@jespah,
No apology necessary. I know I can come on strong especially in regard to ethical philosophy.
I appreciate the discussion.
I assumed as much regarding the image, that's why I posted a warning and a link, verses [img]. Very Happy
I am a nurse. Don't hesitate to criticise healthcare or nursing even for my benefit. There are plenty of things which could be improved.
I just think that particular comparison is not very apt.
Factory farming of animals is really in a world by itself. You would have to delve pretty deep and wide into the annals of history, to find any human comparison.
As far as total suffering is concerned, sheep are no where near the top of the list. If I were to boycott only one animal "product" it would be pigs. They are almost certainly the most sentient creatures being mass "produced". Smarter than dogs, on some types of tests outperform chimps, and sing to their babies. Footage of their treatment is definetly not a site you would want to behold.
 
jespah
 
Reply Tue 12 Mar, 2013 07:34 am
@MattDavis,
I haven't eaten beef since, perhaps, before you were born. I was 13; it was, erm (mumbles) 1975. I don't eat pork for religious reasons. I don't eat sheep as a part of the general not eating of red meat deal.

I was stricter in my younger days, and didn't eat poultry, either, but I married a dude who has no such restrictions and so we compromised.

Factory farming is horrific - there was a rather detailed article in the NY Times a few years ago, re a steer from calf to table. Not pretty at all. And what strikes me - beyond the rather obvious cruelty and impersonality of all of it - is that it's also pretty damned difficult. It is a lot of work to try to get steer to be uniform. These aren't even square pegs not going into round holes - these are critters and they just don't do what you want them to, eat or exercise how you like, etc. (hell, people don't, either, and they can actually have things explained to them).

I have worked in data analysis for years and so I understand the business need for some uniformity and predictability in production, but the model is just plain wrong. Truth is, if we wanted really uniform protein patties and the like, it would make a helluva lot more sense to either construct them in a lab (e. g. stringing together carbon and hydrogen and whatnot molecules) or composing them from tofu, which actually can be made uniform and predictable.

A better business model for living things that become food is to treat them more individually, and sell them as more individual experiences. I am thinking of things like Kobe beef. It costs God knows how much per pound, but it is reportedly vastly superior in every way, and the cows are treated better (at least, that is my understanding).

This also brings prices up, big time, and makes the huge wholesale creation a non-profitable enterprise. Poorer folk would need to eat tofu and its many incarnations in order to get their protein, or perhaps eggs (yes, there is factory egg farming, but treating chickens as individuals, allowed to scratch around and not just sit and expel eggs is probably not going to slash production as much as treating steer more or less like pets until it's time for the abbatoir).

Unfortunately, I don't see it happening on a grand scale - people are too addicted to cheap protein and are too unlikely to eat the alternative, and the farms have lovely huge lobbies these days. While I don't think anyone wants to go back to Okie days where farmers barely made a living, this is the other extreme. And I'm not even talking about subsidies.

Anyway, I hope this is at all coherent - I have been sleep-deprived for several days and the time change is another wrench. I really just wanna go back to bed and do crossword puzzles.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 02:01 am
@jespah,
Thank you for taking the time to lay that all out. Very Happy

I became vegetarian around 14 (I think 1995). I wasn't much aware then of actual conditions of the animals, just a sort of vague notion that killing them to eat them was wrong because they have "intelligence". I stayed vegetarian (to my parents dismay) until age 19ish. I fell into a seriously unhealthy relationship with a girl, took her to Texas running from the law (her crime not mine). Also quit the vegetarian "thing" and started smoking.
I eventually pieced my life back together, went to nursing school, and became a more stable functional member of society. All the while, I continued to eat pretty much the standard American diet.
I became vegan (I think) in 2009. This was after studying some ethical philosophy, leading me to examine the conditions under which animals are treated. The suffering they endure. As a little more mature, I no longer was so concerned with "smarts" as the measure of worth for someone. Suffering is not proportional to some vague notion of intelligence. It is quite obvious (to me) that the same emotional and physiological responses occur in these fellow creatures, regardless of "intelligence".
I pretty much quit cold turkey (pardon the unintentional pun Wink ).

I really didn't know much about the nutritional requirements, at first, other than that veganism was possible (survivable Wink).
I have since studied much more regarding nutrition, and am pretty convinced of the health benefits at this point. B12 supplementation is essential (not enough bacteria in food or water). Much lower rates of cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Vegan men actually tend to have higher testosterone levels than non-vegan men, sort of paradoxical. This may account for some of my assertiveness/aggression.

From a food production perspective, plant production is generally much cheaper than animal production. This is primarily due to the requirement of between 10-100 times as many calories must be fed to an animal, as calories that the animal will produce as "product" (meat, eggs, dairy). Most of the feed is of course grain, which competes with developing nations in the market. A significant portion of the feed is other animals (mostly fish). There are also the logistical costs of transporting feed, "dealing with" pollution of air and water supply etc.
The environmental costs are legion.

The transition wasn't really easy for me, primarily because I was used to the bachelor life-style. Eating fast food, tv-dinners, etc. I had to learn how to cook and how to shop. I don't live in a very metropolitan area of the country... no nearby vegan restaurants... no Whole Foods. I made close friends with the Indian and Lebanese restaurants in my town, and with the local food co-0p. My girlfriend is also vegan (now). Her transition was easier, because she already had a healthier lifestyle, and she had me to cook for her. Wink

I am not a purist regarding veganism, I don't freak out if someone accidentally includes a non-vegan ingredient in something they made for me. It is the principle of boycott. I'll wear wool clothes if they are donated, or if I had them from before. I don't buy leather, but I didn't throw away my leather shoes. When they wear out, I buy new vegan ones.

There is visceral level of disgust I have now for meat/milk/eggs.
That wasn't present at first. It developed about 2 years after I started. I sort of lost the euphemistic thinking of "beef" vs. "cow", "eggs" vs. "menses", "milk" vs. [well... pretty much milk from anything other than a human].

I still struggle with cigarettes Sad
I buy American Spirits because they don't put pig hemoglobin in the filters. Wink
 
jespah
 
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 06:31 am
Hey, it's a process. We are all works in process, and likely will be so until the grave/cremation/whatever.

I got rather large - my weight loss struggles are all over A2K - I was 346 at my highest, and I am 5'6" so it was not a wonderful way to be. 5 years ago, my doctor told me I'd end up diabetic, and that finally jolted me into activity. I am at around 236 or so now, it fluctuates. We run ~10 - 12 5Ks/year (my husband is on A2K; his userid is Region Philbis). I know I look younger.

So learning to cook is huge, huge, huge. When I attended High School, it was the 70s and Home Ec was out of favor for everyone - for girls because of feminism and for guys because it was seen as too soft - and now the generation pays for it in obesity. I think everyone should leave High School knowing how to make 10 simple meals. They can be everything from rice and beans to throwing pasta in a pot of boiling water. And I say 10 because you'll get variety, you'll be able to take advantage of sales or produce in season or just combat boredom, and you can often impress a potential mate this way.

I started to learn to cook about a decade ago but it wasn't until I was seriously dieting that I actually got good at it. The slow cooker is the greatest invention of all time - forget the wheel, the Internet and the Flow-bee.

Anyway, I am rambling, but I tend to tangent a lot, as a lot of us here do.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2013 11:42 pm
@jespah,
Sorry for the delay and brief response... I've been battling nihilists on a thread. Wink I will give a more cogent/engaging response later (probably tomorrow).

I completely agree regarding it being a process.
Continual process improvement, optimization Wink

Congratulation on your weight loss. I know that is not easy. I love that you focus on exercise. Many (in my opinion) focus too much on diet regarding weight loss. I've learned to love to cook. It is a creative outlet for me now. The "challenge" of veganism also makes it more creative, I think. I've talked about before on Joe Nation's thread about art and limitations. The creativity thing can certainly impress a mate, peacock feathers...
Quote:
Anyway, I am rambling, but I tend to tangent a lot, as a lot of us here do.
I like rambling. It is creative. What is the quote? I think Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock "consistency... the hobgoblin of simple minds"?
Don't be simple Watson Wink Please do ramble.



Region Philbis.... I know I've seen him here before, but I don't remember in what context. Maybe a political thread?
 
jespah
 
Reply Thu 14 Mar, 2013 07:42 am
@MattDavis,
Very little politics if he did appear there at all (and I pretty much don't go to those, either - I like having low blood pressure). He's more of a sports dude, although the fantasy baseball team is technically under my account.
 
MattDavis
 
Reply Thu 14 Mar, 2013 05:13 pm
@jespah,
I never really was able to get into sports fandom.
I tried as an adolescent, for social reasons, but I just couldn't enjoy it.
I loved swimming in high school, but I never really had much interest in watching it, even during the whole Micheal Phelps craze.
Politics is touchy, so is religion... as you apparently agree.
Thank you for your comment on the tribalism thread.
 
jespah
 
Reply Thu 14 Mar, 2013 06:53 pm
@MattDavis,
Oh, no sweat re the comment. I identify proudly as Jewish but hopefully not too nuttily, if that's a word (it is now, dammit). Plus I had to put it out there about the chestnuts.

The baseball thing is more fun for how we inanely trash talk each other. George always plays (his younger son is our fearless commissioner) and so some of the trash talking is in Latin. Osso and I are usually the only women, and we inevitably both have doggie team names. Ticomaya and fbaezar also play. I think only SpadeMasterXX (spelling is failing me this evening) actually knows WTF he's doing in terms of selecting a team. Last year, for example, there was a while there where I was leading the league in guys named Mike. Now there's a stat to be proud of.

I used to take so many things so seriously when I was a young whippersnapper. Now I'm a lot mellower, I suppose. It's all to the good. Wink
 
 

 
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