Monday, September 4, 2017

The Wages of Sin, Continued

More feedback:

“Last night, a close (non-vegetarian) friend mentioned out of the blue how much he liked your Vox video, which he had discovered on his own.

“He directed Hooked Rx, a documentary broadcast on AZPM that I believe played a role in the increased public consciousness about the US opioid crisis, so I trust his judgments about quality, high-impact journalism.”


Laser said...

Matt, have you considered the suffering and lives lost due to additional environmental damage your recommendations cause? If people replace their chicken consumption with pork or beef consumption of equal nutritional content, they'll immediately increase their meat-based carbon footprint by nearly an order of magnitude [1], not to mention the additional land and other resource requirements for producing an inherently less-efficient meat-source. Might this environmental damage cause more suffering than the original behavior you're convincing people to modify? If you think so, you should ask Vox to remove the video before it causes any further damage.


Matt Ball said...

Thanks for posting, Laser. That Slate article is simply wrong. Here is some other commentary more to the point:
Note Rob Wiblin's calculations.

Laser said...

That was surprisingly, convincing, thanks. It does seem unsound to reduce one's carbon foot-print by several percent if it comes at the cost of enormous suffering. Which brings me to the last open question in my mind– what convinces you of the relative suffering of a chicken? So far I've seen you make arguments seemingly on the assumption that the lives of the animals we consume are equal in their capacity for experience, but obviously you don't believe that. I'm sure you would kill a dozen house flys over a chicken, for example, if you were trying to minimize suffering in a forced scenario. That being said, what informs your belief that chickens are capable of suffering on the same order of magnitude as say, pigs? Neuron counts? Personal experience? Something else? Thanks for your time and efforts.

Matt Ball said...

Laser, that's a great question. There is obviously some level of neuronal diversity needed for subjective experience, and different levels of sentience. All that plays into our consideration (e.g. If you'd like to continue this discussion, please email me at