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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Richard Dawkins is one of my favorite writers, and is a renowned and respected biologist in most areas of the world that aren't the middle east or the bible belt of the USA. While he's known more for his evolutionary biology research and his criticisms of organized religion than his animal rights stance, in recent years he's been sliding more in that direction. While he's not a vegan or anything yet he did write <a href="http://www.boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html" target="_blank">a very good criticism of vivisection</a> lately that will probably reach a significant audience outside of the one that would usually read such articles (since Dawkins is a polarizing figure, a lot of his critics tend to read his articles too. He's sort of like Hitchens in that regard. Even if it were just his fans, atheism is a bigger thing in most countries than veganism is right now. The average number of vegans is something like 3% in the US, at most, and nonreligious people account for over 16% of the population currently.)<br><br>
Here's my favorite bit:<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">sn't it plausible that a clever species such as our own might need less pain, precisely because we are capable of intelligently working out what is good for us, and what damaging events we should avoid? Isn't it plausible that an unintelligent species might need a massive wallop of pain, to drive home a lesson that we can learn with less powerful inducement? At very least, I conclude that we have no general reason to think that non-human animals feel pain less acutely than we do, and we should in any case give them the benefit of the doubt. Practices such as branding cattle, castration without anaesthetic, and bullfighting should be treated as morally equivalent to doing the same thing to human beings.</div>
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Again, while he doesn't overtly call for an end to all animal exploitation here, it's a very strong moral statement in favor of animals and their rights that will be read by a wider audience than most anti vivisection letters. I think that's note worthy and a sign of what he would call the shifting moral zeitgeist in society.
 

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I'm very glad about this, despite him being omni and all. He's pounding nails into the coffin for the argument that atheism leads to an absence of moral conviction.
 

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Thanks for posting. That was a good article, Dawkins is someone I have admired for many years now.
 

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Love it.
 

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Dawkins and Hitchens make a great double act. Get well, Christopher!
 

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Been a fan of both Dawkins and Hitchens for awhile now. I find it encouraging to see him saying this much at least.<br><br>
It bothers me that he seems to have the facts straight (animals are sentient beings, they deserve our respect, our exploitation of them is -more or less in his words here - "probably wrong"), yet he doesn't follow through. He acknowledges that he chooses non-veganism out of convenience, because it's accepted by society, etc. Yet one could make the same argument about following religion, or at least pretending to. Why not go along with it? Why go through the trouble of speaking out against it and the harms it's caused?<br><br>
Still, this is encouraging...<br><br>
Another intellectual that strikes me as showing promise for moving in this direction is Noam Chomsky. He also seems to agree with the aims of the AR movement, but states that it's not a cause he'll be taking up because there are other more important priorities for him (people and their exploitation, essentially). This may be a good reason to not become an AR activist, but it's no excuse for not being vegan. It's the difference between whether you contribute to the exploitation (something we should all strive to not do) or whether you actively work against that exploitation. Everyone should be doing the former, whereas it's possible to have other equally morally commendable commitments that preclude the latter.
 

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Just thought I'd add that I enjoyed Dawkins' book <i>The God Delusion</i>, and highly recommend it to both believers and non-believers. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
I also recommend YouTubing the guy: there's lots of interesting debates and interviews.<br><br>
Hitchens is another worth checking out, though I think his actual arguments could be more forceful at times, that he relies more on wit, insult, etc. than sound argument to get his points across than I like, despite being wonderfully intelligent and, one would expect, beyond that sort of thing. Quick to catch it when coming from the other side, though, of course. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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This interview by Dawkins of Singer might be interesting to y'all: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd be amazed if Dawkins didn't become a vegetarian someday. He seems to have been struggling with it internally for a number of years now. Like others have pointed out, his argument about social acceptability is a bit weak because he's a vocal atheist and critic of organized religion. If he cared that much about fitting in he wouldn't be who he is.<br><br><br>
Also, here's some other cool videos where he subtly promotes an AR message:<br><br><a href="http:" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ygqJ5ZA5ss</a><br><br><a href="http:" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1AlRXlF8DA</a>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Dave in MPLS</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2929042"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
This interview by Dawkins of Singer might be interesting to y'all: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU</a></div>
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That was the one I had in mind, where he gives his weak reasons for not going vegetarian/vegan. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Josh James xVx</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2929143"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I'd be amazed if Dawkins didn't become a vegetarian someday. He seems to have been struggling with it internally for a number of years now. Like others have pointed out, his argument about social acceptability is a bit weak because he's a vocal atheist and critic of organized religion. If he cared that much about fitting in he wouldn't be who he is.</div>
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Yeah, he's one person I could see changing in this way. That would be so powerful... I hope he does it (um, duh <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">).
 

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I once wrote to Dawkins and asked him to consider veganism. You never know. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":shy:">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>delicioso</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2930767"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I once wrote to Dawkins and asked him to consider veganism. You never know. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":shy:"></div>
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I was thinking of doing this with him and with Chomsky, too. Never got around to it, and forgot about it...<br><br>
Chomsky made a point about how he agrees with the AR cause but doesn't practice veganism because there are other things which are greater priorities to him (fighting human exploitation, namely). What he doesn't seem so be grasping is that no one's asking him to go out of his way and become an AR activist - which would be helping the movement - but rather we are simply asking him to stop contributing to the problem, to cease being a part of it. Going vegan is about not causing harm, not about going out of one's way to help...
 

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I like Dawkins. Not Hitchens so much (sexist a*shole, in my opinion). This is awesome, thanks for posting.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sequoia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2930857"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I like Dawkins. Not Hitchens so much (sexist a*shole, in my opinion). This is awesome, thanks for posting.</div>
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All I'm remembering off the top of my head is the bit about how women don't "need" to be funny to attract male partners, whereas men are pretty much screwed (um, as in they won't be, haha) if they're not. Or something like that. Actually, it was more to the effect that women are rarely all that funny, and when they are it's because they're imitating male comedians, and that women only need to be attractive to attract male partners. Or something like that.<br><br>
Which is insulting to both men and women.<br><br>
Was this what you had in mind as well, or was there something else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Kimberlily1983</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2932375"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Which is insulting to both men and women.</div>
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I'm not so sure. I think a lot of what he was saying is rooted in biological, not just cultural, differences between the sexes. It might be that there's some sort of humor gene that's different between men and women. I certainly don't find 99% of the things females laugh about amongst themselves the least bit funny, and I wouldn't describe myself as sexist or old fashioned. I honestly can't name even a single female comedian I'd tune in to watch if there were anything else on tv, either. There's some that are funny but just sort of lack that kind of George Carlin type effect that takes it over the limit. I think testosterone plays a big role in comedy. I'd be interested in more studies being done on the exact mechanics of it. But I wouldn't jump on the offense wagon in case it's true. I mean, is it offensive to say I'd probably have an easier time opening a jar of pickles than a 90 lb woman? That's just a biological difference. It doesn't degrade or dehumanize her in any way to speak that simple fact. And yes I'm well aware that there are ninety pound women who are probably black belts or something that could kick my ass, and bless their hearts for working so hard, but that's not the average or typical example.
 

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Interesting discussion about the article on the RD website: <a href="http://richarddawkins.net/articles/641957-but-can-they-suffer#page1" target="_blank">http://richarddawkins.net/articles/6...y-suffer#page1</a>
 

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Big supporter of Dawkins, enjoyed meeting him a few years ago and hearing him speak. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I love Dawkins. I consider him a good role model: he's straight forward, doesn't make concessions just to seem nice, but he isn't irritable and amoral like Hitchens.<br>
In an interview (on Point of Inquiry podcast posted below) he answers some questions from Peter Singer. Richard uses the term "non human animal" and concedes to the ethical rightness of vegetarianism, but says he wishes it was culturally easier to be a vegetarian. I think he just needs a little push and we might win him over.<br><br><a href="http://www.pointofinquiry.org/richard_dawkins_science_and_the_new_atheism/" target="_blank">http://www.pointofinquiry.org/richar...e_new_atheism/</a>
 
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