Philosophical Overview: Lierre Keith’s Vegetarian Myth: Nostalgie de la Boue by Stuart Hindmarsh

October 24, 2010

Here’s a very thoughtful analysis that discusses Keith’s research and fallacies: Philosophical Overview: Lierre Keith’s Vegetarian Myth: Nostalgie de la Boue by Stuart Hindmarsh

Here are two very astute passages from him, but you should read the whole thing too:

“[Lierre Keith] presents her current view as an ‘adult’ one that comes to accept the necessity of death, but my impression is that she still hasn’t come to terms with death. I am not opposed to the killing of animals for food in every circumstance, but I would say that in the cases in which it is acceptable, killing an animal is an unfortunate but understandable necessity—the animal doesn’t offer itself to be killed. Keith, it seems to me, couldn’t bear to accept this view of the world as a place in which survival may depend on ‘domination’ and ‘exploitation’. She needed to view the killing of an animal as part of a beautiful compact that the animal had entered into, one in which the animal allows us to kill it if we agree to become prey ourselves at some point (e.g. p. 23-24, 271).”

“It is an extremely time-consuming process to check citations and to hunt down and read the original research they are based on. This is especially the case when dealing with the style of writing employed by Keith and favoured by polemicists of all persuasions. She offers waves of statistics without providing an adequate account of their context, failing to describe the nature of the original research and the nature of the debates in the relevant literature. I don’t believe that Keith’s supporters have checked all of her citations either, though. They like her conclusion, and so they will assume that her arguments are sound and her research strong. I suspect that we will find her sympathizers repeating her claims about Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons, citing her book for support and consequently appealing to a source even further removed from the original research papers. I have concluded that it isn’t worth my time checking all her citations, for her thesis is utopian, her arguments are generally unsound, and the citations that I did take the time to check revealed sloppy research.”


Don’t Buy This Book!

October 21, 2010

It’s always important to be familiar with what you’re critiquing, but that doesn’t mean you have to give Lierre Keith your money. Just download the book. I defy anyone to make it through the first chapter without clenching their teeth.


Ginny Messina review

October 19, 2010

Here’s a helpful and well-done review of The Vegetarian Myth’s health claims by the registered dietitian and vegan, Ginny Messina. Thanks Ginny!