Hawking Says Humans Have Entered a New Stage of Evolution
Ensuring the long-term survival of the species usually means some cost to the individual. I can understand why less evolved organisms appear to be working towards species survival: because they are just following their programming. However, humans are self-aware, and so as individuals we are not brainlessly forced into accepting this cost. We should simply do whatever suits us best as individuals. Our species may ultimately fail, but whose idea was it that it should go on forever?
PETA Offers X-Prize for Artificial Meat
I don't fault in the least, for example, innuit cultures that traditionally survived on sealing; what choice, exactly, do they have? But in this world, I have all of the choices under the sun. I can choose to eat whatever the heck I want. Having that choice, I eat a vegetarian diet. This is probably the strongest point for vegetarianism/veganism. I'm surprised I don't hear it very often. Yes, humans may have depended on animal protein to evolve to our present state. Yes, humans may have generally consumed some meat over the course of history. However, in the present day, it is argued that we can obtain most, if not all, of our necessary nutrients without exploiting animals. This is thanks to our endless abundance of vegan food, and a little bit of modern science. Never could you live so healthy on a vegan diet than you can in the modern era.
This raises an interesting philosophical question: does morality change with time? It was moral to eat meat in the past, but today it is not moral? Or is it more of a matter of chosing the least destructive choice, and avoiding excess? Perhaps we can morally eat meat even in the present day, provided it is the only option. However, most of us have plenty of access to alternatives.
Of course, "the only option" could use some further defining. If you're stuck on an island with only low-protein vegetables and animals, does it become okay to muck with the animals? After all, you could probably survive just fine on the low-protein vegetables only, but it may not be the most healthy approach to living. If you just want to be healthy, more muscular, taller... is it just decadence at that point to eat meat? Or maybe it only becomes immoral to exploit animals when complete alternatives exist. If the island has nuts, beans, and a modern suppliment laboratory, then the animals are off-limits? :)
Just food for thought (no pun intended).
Personally, I do eat meat, but certainly not as often as most people in America do. There are many days where I eat vegetarian. A vegetarian diet is simply easier to manage, foods can require less preparation (Carl's Jr ad featuring the guy nervously prodding a package of ground beef anyone?), and they are often less perishable. And as a guy who counts every gram of intake, I can say that yes I get everything I need. For me, my tendency towards vegetarian eating has nothing to do with morality and all to do with effort and numbers. Don't get me wrong though, meat does offer excellent nutrition, and I occasionally work it into my diet for variety's sake.
That said, most people don't know much about nutrition. Hell, a large percent of people can't even parse the FDA-required labels. I've known fat vegetarians and vegans. Living healthy on a restricted diet *is* possible but most people just don't know how to do it. More philosophy for you: Can people who don't understand nutrition morally eat meat because they don't know any better?