A new feature of The Non-Practicing Vegan are public letters between myself and others. The first is a letter from Rhys of LetThemEatMeat. Keep an eye on his blog and here for my response.
What do you think of the vegans calling themselves “vegan skeptics”? I’ve seen a few bloggers like this, Vegan Skeptic, Skeptical Vegan, Pythagorean Crank, PaleoVeganology and Vegan Logic. I like reading these blogs because they question vegan dogma and sometimes offend other vegans. Dave D at Pythagorean Crank doesn’t even call himself vegan, even though he doesn’t eat animal products. He linked to an article called “Boycott Veganism” that is against veganism but pro animal liberation, which seemed to fit Dave D’s philosophy. Jack Norris made some comments on Pythagorean Crank and his main reaction was confusion. He didn’t know what Dave D was saying or what he was after. I have to admit that I’m not totally sure myself.
“A good skeptic recognizes our tendency to seek out evidence that is in line with our desires. As vegans, we most likely want to hear that a vegan diet is healthy. If we are to be good skeptics hearing information that reinforces this hope, particularly from other vegans, should throw up red flags for us. … A good skeptic recognizes fallacies in thinking. We may have a tendency to distrust claims from people or groups that we find untrustworthy, but just because something comes from an untrustworthy source doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong. … A good skeptic recognizes fallacies in thinking. … Keep in mind, if we do not do this, those who currently disagree with us most certainly will, because finding a hole in our thinking will seem much more reasonable to them than having to significantly alter their worldview.”
What I get from this is that Vegan Skeptic isn’t skeptical of veganism, but
of specific vegan pseudoscience and fallacies. He wants to prune away the
weakest arguments for veganism, since those give meat eaters an excuse to
keep eating meat, but he already knows veganism is right and has no plans to
question that. He wants a smarter veganism, not no veganism. I think that’s
the case with the other vegan skeptics too, except maybe for Dave D, who
seems ready to knock down veganism and see what sprouts up instead. Also
“Animal Writes” at Vegan Logic looks to be on the verge of giving up
veganism after reading The Vegetarian Myth.
Do you know what Dave D means when he says animal liberation doesn’t need to
have anything to do with veganism?