Posted: Fri, January 25, 2013
In 2010, the United Nations strongly advised humanity to radically change their eating habits, and adopt a meat-free diet, because surviving as 7.0 billion carnivorous humans is not “sustainable.” Lifestock menus strain land and water resources, pollute environments, exacerbate climate change, and create a host of additional problems (see video below):
Are transhumanists adhering to this sensible, science-based advice? Are they in the vanguard of a global lifestyle transition to guarantee a better Future? No. Not at all. The Terasem Survey of 818 transhumanists reveals that a mere 1.7% of those polled were “Vegan”, with an additional 10.1% “Vegetarian.” The vast majority - 74.4% - are “Omnivore” with a significant percentile - 5.9% - adhering to the meat-based Paleo Diet.
Even if the meat-devouring transhumanists believe climate catastrophe can be avoided through technological innovation, isn’t it hypocritical to demand radical life extension technology, i.e., immortality, while simultaneously - and cruelly - cutting short the lives of billions of animals?
Transhumanity.net has [at least] three outspoken Vegan activists. Prominent among them is David Pearce, (one of TNet’s “Distinguished Scholars”) the British philosopher who advocates for the abolition of suffering for all sentient creatures. Pearce frequently promotes veganism in quotes like the following (from VeganPeace.com):
“I’m a third-generation vegetarian/vegan… If I pass a butcher-shop, to be honest, I think of Auschwitz.”
“Factory-farmed animals spend almost their whole lives below “hedonic zero”. In many cases, their distress is so desperate that they need to be prevented from mutilating themselves.”
“Does the enjoyment consumers derive from eating dead animal flesh morally outweigh the suffering that went into its production?”
“Giving up foods of animal origin demands no heroic personal sacrifice - merely mild personal inconvenience.”
“A pig has the intellectual capacity [and] the capacity to suffer - of a human toddler. We recognize that toddlers are entitled to love and care. By contrast, we factory-farm and kill millions of pigs using methods that would earn a lifetime prison sentence if our victims were human.”
“A commitment to the well-being of all sentience is written into the Transhumanist Declaration. Are we really going to ever stop killing and eating each other?”
“A global transition to a cruelty-free vegan diet… will also help malnourished humans who could benefit from the grain currently fed to factory-farmed animals. Factory-farming is not just cruel; it’s energy-inefficient.”
“Anybody who seriously wants to reduce human and non-human suffering alike should adopt a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle today.”
Silicon Valley life extension activist Jason Xu (our Longevity Meme Contest winner) is also a passionate vegan. He recently sent Transhumanity.net his “elevator pitch” that simultaneously promotes veganism and life extension. Here it is:
Jason: Do you have any vegetarian options here? (Shown vegetarian options) I’ll take the eggplant veggie delight sandwich, thank you.
Friend: So you’re vegetarian?
Jason: I’m a “Health and Life Extension Flexitarian” - I limit my meat intake to express my commitment to extending lifespan in all animals. I Love All Life! I believe there’s inherent value in reducing suffering, aging, and death in all creatures, so that we can create a heaven-like state of existence on Earth for all sentient beings. Want to join me? Just explain these moral principles to friends when you’re eating with them. Its an easy conversation that advances, together, the related goals of radical life extension and ending suffering. Hopefully, it will break through into mainstream discussion, and go viral!
Joern Pallensen, the Danish blogger of Transhumanisten.com, is the third Transhumanity.net promoter of Vegetarianism. In his essay “Vegetarians Live Longer, Happier Lives?” he references a recent study that claims that vegetarians, on average, live eight years longer than meat-eaters.
Interesting, isn’t it, that those who abstain from killing life in their diet, are rewarded with more life of their own?
Will transhumanists gradually become vegetarian? For two reasons:
1. To support the health of the planet
2. To align ourselves with the compassionate ideal that Suffering, Aging, and Death, must end.
Because, really, isn’t it irrational, incongruous, and unjustifiable to call our foes “Deathists” - while we force Death on others with our dining habits?