Homework #7 for 3-19-18:
Write a 3-paragraph, 350-word essay that explains 3 reasons for "our cultural obsession with thinness," according to Harriet Brown (204).
Writing Option on Meat Eating:
In a 1,200-word essay, support, refute, or complicate the primary argument in Nathanael Johnson’s “Is There a Moral Case for Meat?” (189). You must have at least 2 sources for your Works Cited page.
Common Reasons to Oppose Meat Eating
One. We are compelled by ethics, whether Christian or otherwise, to show mercy on animals that can suffer.
Two. Animals are sentient, which means they can suffer, and if we have any benevolence, we must offer compassion to our fellow creatures.
Three. We must not engage in speciesism, the condition of favoring humans over other creatures.
Common Emotional Objections to Arguments for Veganism
One. "I love meat, so shut up."
Two. "I crave meat. My body is tell me I need to eat it, so get the hell out of here."
Three. "My doctor says I have to eat meat for the iron and other essential ingredients. Are you my doctor? I don't think so."
Four. "Animals are on the food chain. And I'm on top. So get back, my vegan friends, it's time for some barbecue tri-tip!"
Five. "I'm barely surviving on my meager income. I don't have your money to shop at Whole Foods and go on some fancy-pants vegan diet. Please."
Six. "Research shows that as soon as poor people start making some decent money, the first thing they do is purchase animal protein. What does that tell you, Mr. Vegan Smarty Pants?"
Seven. "Spare me your vegan platitudes, my effete egghead vegan do-gooders. Going vegan is for privileged people with too much free time on their hands."
People may be moved to be vegans:
Many people are moved by vegan arguments and cannot with a clear conscience participate in the kind of suffering a vegan describes.
Or they are moved by the need to help the environment.
Or they are moved by the need to lose weight and improve their health.
Or they are moved to be a vegan in order to win the favor of someone they're dating.
Road to Veganism Is Often from an Emotional Experience
I have a student who works in a famous barbecue restaurant. The meats come in large cardboard boxes and you can see the "whole body of the animal."
Sometimes she can detect movement in the box. A tail slowly wiggles. A leg with a hoof at the end kicks feebly. There's a final groan inside the box before the animal finally expires.
The kitchen floor is streaked with blood.
She couldn't all the gore and cruelty anymore. She has become a vegetarian. So have several of her co-workers.
They've seen what goes on "behind the curtain."
Most people don't want to know what happens "behind the curtain." We call this willed ignorance.
But the success rate is small, as we read in this New York Magazine article, "84% of Vegetarians Go Back to Eating Meat" by Melissa Dahl:
The lure of the cheeseburger is hard to resist. According to a large study of American dietary habits, 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans eventually go back to eating meat. The study was funded by advocacy group the Humane Research Council, which partnered with Harris Interactive to survey the meat-eating habits of 11,399 adults ages 17 and older.
A few of the more interesting findings:
- 2 percent of American adults are current vegetarians or vegans, 10 percent are former vegetarians/vegans, and 88 percent have never been vegetarian or vegan.
- More than half of the ex-vegetarians/vegans gave up on their veggie ways within their first year; a third went back to meat within three months.
- The average age that people said they first decided to give up meat was 34.
- About a third of ex-vegetarians and vegans said they were living with a non-vegetarian/vegan significant other when they started eating meat again.
So what nudges people into sticking with their veggie intentions, and what makes them abandon them? About two thirds of the former vegetarians and vegans said they rather abruptly changed their dietary habits, giving up meat and/or animal products within days or weeks of their initial decision to do so. Maybe, if this is a lifestyle you intend to stick with, it would be smarter if you make the transition gradually. Also, current vegetarians and vegans were more likely to name multiple reasons for avoiding meat and/or animal products, whereas many of the exes only reported one motivational factor, usually health.
Finally, 43 percent of the former vegetarians and vegans said they had a hard time sticking to a “pure” diet, suggesting that an all-or-nothing approach might be too difficult for newbies. No need to abandon the whole thing over some drunkenly consumed chicken nuggets.
15 Reasons Well-Intentioned People Struggle to Become Vegetarians or Vegans (with Counterarguments)
One. Fear of Leaving Your Paleo Roots
"I can't be a vegetarian. I am at the very core of my DNA a Paleo hunter. I crave meat because it's in my genes."
There is a school of thought that says our Paleo ancestors thrived on meat-eating, especially when the meat is cooked with fire, and that this carnivore diet led to bigger brains, bigger dominance, and better control over other living things.
From this point of view, ethics isn't the issue. Strength is.
The question isn't Is my eating ethical? The question is Does my eating make me strong?
“Dude, we’re all Paleo. Our ancestors killed their own beasts, and we are hardwired to do the same. So don't get all vegan on me.”
Objections to the Above
Farm Factory Slaughter Is Not Paleo
A “Paleo lifestyle,” however oversimplified by the torrent of Paleo diet books on the market, is about killing an animal with a spear, not farm factory killing.
It’s the farm factory killing, where animals live in inhumane conditions before they’re brutally slaughtered, that compels us to seek animal liberation.
If we were killing animals with spears, there would not be the kind of mass slaughter that kills 56 billion animals a year in farm factories.
But few people are going to kill animals with spears.
The notion of Paleo is rooted in "Bro-Science," fake science that appeals to immature men's notions of masculinity. Most Bro-Science comes from bodybuilders and weightlifters.
A lot of mean equate eating meat with asserting their masculine dominance. This notion is further reinforced by ideas that eating meat increases testosterone and the vegetarian diet, often rich in soy products, increases estrogen.
But most meat eaters are overweight, the highest risk factor for lower testosterone.
Only the Upper Classes Would Buy Organic
If we concede that few will kill eating animals with spears and that factory farming is indefensible, then we're left with eating organic. And eating organic can be ridiculous: Buying our meat from places where the cows, often named Anastasia, listen to Mozart and the poetry of Walt Whitman before they're humanely killed, is so expensive that "boutique" meat-eating becomes the domain of the rich.
Furthermore, feeding the planet meat that's prepared in the organic fashion is not only too expensive for most people; it's too impractical. You can't scale boutique meat.
So we're left with a vegetarian diet.
Or, according to many sources, the future holds cricket protein as a main food source.
Two. Darwinian Argument
"Don't tell me I can't eat animals. I'm on top of the food chain. I'm the king, and I lord over the animals."
Related to the Paleo argument, the Darwinian argument says there’s a food chain, and we, human beings, are at the top of the chain. We’re the shot-callers. We flourish and stay at the top of the chain precisely because we dominate all the other animals.
The Darwin impulse, not morality, compels us to maintain our domination evidenced by imposing our will over these animals so we can survive and flourish.
Darwinism, the selfish will to survive, not morality, should inform and direct our unequivocal rejection of animal liberation.
Morality is not the issue. Survival is. "Don't you lecture me about food morality. I'm feeding my family."
Objections to the Above
For one, moral human beings don’t necessarily look to Darwinism as a lifestyle guide or an ethics handbook. To the contrary, many argue that morality is about turning away from our selfish, animal impulses.
To embrace our Darwinian impulses without a moral conscience is to be a sociopath.
One school of thought says that human beings, who have acquired language, music, art, and culture, are said to look beyond a Darwinian existence and to be transcendent of their animal instincts in order to flourish as fully-realized human beings.
For two, it can be argued that selfishness is not always a Darwinian survival impulse. To the contrary, flourishing societies evidence high degrees of adaptation and social evolution through empathy, self-interested altruism, social reciprocity, and cooperation.
A society comprised of Darwinian survivalists wouldn't be a society at all. It would be a throng of barbarians living in chaos. Is that the kind of world you want?
Three. Dumb Animal Argument
Who cares about animals? Animals are dumb, they’re driven by instincts, and many of them will eat us if given the chance. Clearly, then, this supports our right to impose our will on them and enjoy the delicacies they provide us.
"The hell with animals. People first."
Objections to the Above
How dumb animals are is open to question. But even if they are not as intelligent as humans, they deserve care and respect because they are feeling creatures.
A creature’s helplessness is not a justification for exploitation and outright cruelty of that creature.
Moral humans try to alleviate suffering. Therefore, moral humans care about animal suffering.
Even if people should take priority over animals, as I believe, this premise does not give us license to inflict unbridled cruelty against the animal kingdom.
Four. Love of Meat Eating is Associated with Family and Friends
Most people love eating meat. Most people have fond memories of going to barbecues. Telling them to not eat meat is like cutting them off from not just food that they love but from family and friends.
You may not miss meat so much as you miss the company of friends.
"My daddy barbecued, his daddy barbecued before him, and so did his daddy, and I'll be damned if you tell me I can't be the Pit Master of my own barbecue."
Objection to the Above
Saying that there is a long succession of this or that practice is not a moral justification; it's a logical fallacy called Tradition Fallacy (Appeal to Tradition).
Another example is the owner of a Country Club that excludes women: "We've never had women here. It's always been that way, and it always shall be."
That is not a logical justification of the practice of excluding women from the club.
Five. Veganism Usually Requires a Community of Like-Minded Folks
It’s almost impossible to be a vegan unless one lives in a vegan community. Any kind of eating that requires discipline requires a support system, a sense of encouragement, and a sense of belonging.
To be a lone vegan is to suffer ridicule, mockery, and ostracism.
Especially if the vegan bases her eating on an informed opinion, she's likely to be a critical thinker, and being a critical thinker in a land of non-critical thinking hobbits dooms one to a life of loneliness.
Six. You May be Perceived as a Joyless Fuddy-Duddy
As a vegan, you'll find that your meat-eating circle of family and friends may find your presence unpleasant and unwelcome since your abstinence from meat is an implicit condemnation of their omnivorous lifestyle.
Worse, some of your vegan allies may be militant in championing the vegan cause, and you may find yourself guilty by association.
A lot of vegans are perceived as evangelists for misery and joylessness. Vegan eating is looked at more as a punishment fueled by guilt and political correctness than as a celebration of food.
Most people are experts at compartmentalizing. They can see videos of the horrors animals face in factory farms and slaughterhouses and wince while they eat a brisket sandwich.
People can watch a film of a cow giving birth to a calf and say, "Isn't that precious!" while they savor a triple-decker cheeseburger.
My friend, who teaches health, shows a video of a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung, which disturbs his students. But during the class break, many of the students smoke outside the classroom while discussing “how gross” that yellow smoker’s lung looked.
There are people who love their family pet—a pot-bellied pig—and they have no problem having the pig sit at their breakfast table while they enjoy a plate of bacon and eggs.
Eight. Sense of Futility Leads to Apathy and Defeatism
An individual can say, “Even if I am a good vegan, I can see that world demand for meat is on the rise, that money, not morality, drives the demand for farm factories, and that this whole animal liberation thing is just a fool’s errand. I'm sick of being a critical thinker. I might as well join the hobbits at Burger King and eat triple-decker cheeseburgers to my heart’s content.”
Nine. Inherited Opinions Usually Triumph Over Informed Opinions
If we inherited the belief from our family, friends, and society that eating meat is part of a celebration of life, that belief will usually triumph over any kind of informed opinion we might make about the need for animal liberation.
We watch our TV foodie hero and adventurer iconoclast Anthony Bourdain shoot a pig in the head and speak with contempt about "annoying vegetarians."
Many people have strong emotional ties to barbecued meats. In South Carolina, a barbecue expert is called the Pit Master, and he enjoys the veneration of a holy priest.
Emotional reasons for eating more often than not triumph over informed reasons.
Ten. Limited Empathy
You have a 30-year-old college graduate working in tech or engineering or business, and he's making over 100K a year, but the cost of living in Los Angeles is so high he is renting a flophouse with seven other renters, and they're all fighting for the last ham and cheese Hot Pocket.
He's still got college debt, he's got a car payment, he's taking his work home, he just broke up with his girlfriend, and you bring up his need to go on a vegan diet.
What do you think his reaction will be?
"Amazing idea! Thanks for introducing me to the wonders of veganism!"
To the contrary, he is feel so overwhelmed by his own struggles that he doesn't have enough room in the empathy section of his brain to care about the plight of animals.
He has inherited the opinion or belief that animals are a resource for nutrition and energy. Why would he summon the will to challenge his inherited opinion and replace it with a moral point of view?
Will he summon the energy and the will to address the suffering of animals? Will he summon the critical thinking skills necessary to challenge his inherited and cultural opinions regarding the eating of meat or will he find it easier to fall back on his default setting for eating?
Eleven. Most People Don't Use Critical Thinking in Important Life Decisions
The example of the renter eating Hot Pockets speaks to the larger crisis: the shortage of critical thinkers in society.
According to Jason Brennan, philosophy and political science professor, a tiny segment of the population can be called critical thinkers.
He divides Americans into three groups:
One: The Hobbits (majority)
Two: The Hooligans (second to Hooligans in size)
Three: The Vulcans (tiniest in size, maybe 3% of the population)
Can you be a critical thinking Vulcan and eat meat?
Possibly. But we should make the difference between a carnivore whose lifestyle is informed by inherited opinions and one whose lifestyle is informed by considered opinions.
Twelve. Eating Takes Us Into Non-Critical Thinking World
Eating is about the Id, unbridled appetites, memories, Pavlovian responses. You may associate brisket, or steak, or barbecue tri-tip with the love of Grandma.
"Dad taught me how to kill a goat."
"My grandma taught me how to kill a chicken."
A lot of people get offended when confronted with the claims of veganism because those arguments become an implicit condemnation of some family member whose animal-killing skills provided fond memories of familial bonding.
Very few people approach eating from an intellectual or philosophical point of view.
Thirteen. Willed Ignorance
My daughters don't want to know what happened to the food they eat. "Dad, this barbecue chicken is delicious. Please don't tell me how this happened. That would be so gross. Traumatizing. Are you trying to ruin my life? You go to work so we can have privileges. And part of that privilege is not knowing what happens to chickens. Dad, pass me some more barbecue sauce."
Fourteen. Speciesism Argument Offends Many
Speciesism is defined as the selfish, narcissistic, tribalistic belief that humans “are entitled to treat members of other species in a way in which it would be wrong.”
Animal rights, according to speciesism, are as important as human rights. This moral equivalency offends many.
Objections to the Above
Peter Singer is going down a rabbit hole by attempting to compare animals to people. It’s offensive because too many animal lovers don’t show equal concern for “people's rights.”
Secondly, Singer is not realistic here. As a society, we have evolved to be speciesists. If my family or my class of students is threatened by a fanged animal, I'll choose to kill the animal. That's part of the social contract.
However, defending humans against animals doesn't give me the right to torture animals in farm factories.
Many of us would agree that Singer is misguided in both substance and rhetoric to compare animals to humans. We can be compassionate toward animals because they suffer without putting animals on equal footing with humans.
I am a Speciesist Who Is Sympathetic to the Arguments of Vegans
To drive my point further, I am an unapologetic speciesist. For example, if my daughters, or my students, for that matter, were in danger from a rabid rat or some other oversized rodent, and I had to choose between the life of my children or my students over the life of the rodent, I would choose to save the lives of my children and students? Why? Because I value the life of a human being over an animal’s. That makes me a speciesist.
Singer’s grounds for animal liberation based on the speciesist argument is misguided, incompetent, and I daresay fatuous (idiotic).
Review of Pathos, Ethos, and Logos
Such an argument diminishes both Singer's pathos: the emotional appeal of his argument, and his ethos: his credibility.
There is enough logos, that is clear logic, in his essay to keep us reading.
Of course, just because I disagree with one part of how Singer supports animal liberation doesn’t mean I reject his claim altogether.
Fifteen. Domain Argument
"The Bible says I have domain over all the animals. They were put on Earth for my pleasure. I can slaughter them as a holy sacrifice, I can use their furs to keep me warms, and I can eat their flesh. It's all in the Bible, so don't cram your heathen vegan religion down my throat."
Oppositions to the Above
Smart, reasonable religious people will agree you shouldn't take Bible verses out of context to justify self-serving behaviors, especially when those behaviors result in pig-headedness and cruelty.
Compelling Reasons to be a Vegan or Vegetarian
One. You can't compare animals killing their prey to factory farming.
The Faulty Comparison Meat-Eaters Make Between Humans and Animals
Some argue that we must kill animals for food because killing animals is part of nature. Animals kill animals. And that’s what we do. Tim, a reader from my blog, argues that vegans base their ideals on a false utopia. He writes:
I agree that man should be humane in all things, including the manner in which he kills his food. But let me add one little remark that the anti meat-eaters seldom appreciate.
Have you ever gone camping? What do the woods sound like at - say - 2 or 3 AM? To exaggerate a little, they sound like a slaughterhouse. Animals kill and eat other animals. They don't fuss over HOW the killing is done or how MUCH killing is done; they just do it. And it can be pretty horrible. Nature is savage; period.
So, don't forget, vegans, that nature itself is not a serene pacifistic green little utopia, whereas man is an abominable meat-lusting monster. Nature is often brutal and ugly.
In agreement with Tim, is another reader, Angelo. He writes:
I had a crayfish a few years ago---and he would eat "feeder" goldfish thrown in the tank. The "feeders" are sold for a dime each. The crayfish would ambush the goldfish, grab the fish and puncture its gill. Then, with the goldfish struggling, the crayfish would scrape the goldfish's scales off, before beginning to eat. The fish was still alive as the crayfish would chomp down on the tail, body parts, etc. Admittedly on a smaller scale--- that's still worse than electrocuting a cow.
But another reader, Shorty, believes comparing nature’s brutality with the brutality animals are subjected to in the slaughterhouses is a false one. He writes:
Nature is indeed savage, but animals seldom kill but for hunger. The animals that get eaten in the wild don't know what it's like to be confined in a pen, wallowing in their own waste - only to die fat and tender. Livestock warehousing and mass killing will never be vindicated. It will always be a symbol of greed, arrogance, and a barometer of the human condition. Eating meat is OK if you hunt for it in an ethical manner. Otherwise, vegetarianism is the holy grail for me.
Faulty Moral Equivalency or Faulty Comparison
Animals are obligate carnivores; humans are not entirely; animals eat out of necessity; too many humans eat out of gluttony; animals eat to survive; people kill animals for profit; animals don’t slaughter animals on the mass scale that humans do. Therefore, the comparison between nature’s brutality and man’s brutality is a faulty one and as such it constitutes a logical fallacy.
Humans Subject Animals to Horrors on a Mass Scale That Can’t be Compared to Predator and Prey
- Humans separate calves from their mothers at birth so mother can give milk for human consumption
- Cows are transported in boxcars where they panic.
- Chickens like to sunbathe but are doomed to a life of cramped darkness.
- Ducks crave water but are doomed to a life of arid dryness.
- Hens have their beaks cut off with a hot blade and live their lives in pain from the nerve damage.
- Birds raised in pens and kicked so they scatter and are shot at close-range (like Dick Cheney did when he shot someone) requires no skill and suggests a certain amount of sadism. There’s even a business where you can use computer graphics to kill your prey.
- Cows are forced to feed on corn, which is cheaper than grass but can’t be digested properly so the cows suffer indigestion and a bacteria count that leads to food-borne disease.
- One million calves are used for veal every year. They are removed from their mothers and holed up in a small crate, about two-feet wide, with no straw or bedding. They cannot stretch. The mortality rate is 20%. That is their life before being slaughtered.
- Pigs tails are cut off with no anesthesia so they don’t bite each other’s tails off during confinement.
- Confined, often the pigs go crazy, biting the bars or their own tails, or shaking their heads constantly.
- Confined, pigs have elevated levels of cortisol (stress hormone).
- Too often, pigs, cows, chickens, and other livestock are still alive on the conveyer belt as pieces of their body are taken apart. They die slowly, piece by piece, and in essence, are tortured. The slaughterhouses won’t let you see what is happening.
Two. Animals Don’t Cause Waste and Pollution the Way Humans Do
- Pig waste ruins lakes and rivers.
- Cattle feedlots contaminate water over 1,900 times the state’s maximum standard for E. coli in surface waters (Masson).
- Raising pigs and cattle (animals don’t raise animals to eat) creates 80 million metric tons of waste nitrogen annually (Masson).
- Animal waste is 130 times greater than human waste annually in America (Masson).
- Animal waste results in E. coli, Salmonella, and other diarrheal diseases (Masson).
- Rainforests are being destroyed to grow soy, but the majority of the soy is used to feed livestock (Masson).
- According to the Smithsonian Institution, every minute land the size of seven football fields is currently being bulldozed to create room for farmed animals and the crops need to feed them (Masson).
- Livestock accounts for 18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide, more than the entire transportation sector of the whole world, including cars, ships, airplanes, and trains (Masson).
Source for the Above:
The Face on Your Plate by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Three. Vegan Diet Proven Effective for Weight Loss
According to USC study, the vegan diet is the most effective diet for permanent weight loss.
PETA refers to studies also, but you should avoid using PETA studies in your essay. Why? Their bias is too blatant.
Four. Vegan and Vegetarian Diets Result in Lower Cancer Rates.
Major university study shows 22% lower risk for colorectal cancer for vegetarians.
Generally speaking, vegetarians get cancer at half the rate of non-vegetarians.
Five. Cruelty Toward Animals Encourages Cruelty Toward Humans
Common Objection to Animal Rights
It’s immoral to lift one finger helping animals because there is still human suffering. It’s morally offensive to talk about helping the animals when there is so much human need and misery that needs to be addressed.
Helping the animals is a privileged person’s mission that ignores the needs of the unprivileged.
Rebuttal to the Above
Developing a mentality of care and respect for animals results in more respect and kindness for our fellow humans.
And the converse is true: A policy of brazen disrespect and cruelty for animals results in more coarse, even brutal behavior toward humans.
In fact, studies show that people inclined to abuse animals are more inclined to commit violence against humans.
Of all the defenses of animal liberation that I’ve seen, the above is one of the most compelling.
Using Toulmin Logic and Structure for Your Argumentative Essay
Understanding Toulmin Logic and Structure
The claim is the thesis or the central argument of the Toulmin essay.
Looking at all of the evidence and wanting to base our eating on critical thinking, we are morally compelled to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
The claim can stand alone, or it can be followed by a clarifying sentence or sentences, also called mapping components.
Examples Claims That Stand Alone
Eating meat is a moral abomination.
Supporting the farm factory industrial food complex is a moral outrage that endangers us all.
Veganism is a vastly superior diet to meat-eating.
Veganism is a fool's errand.
Examples of Claims Followed by Clarifying Sentences
Eating meat is a moral abomination evidenced by animal pollution that plagues poor communities, the greenhouse gases that deplete the ozone, and the cruelty that afflicts the animals in their overcrowded pens.
Eating meat is a moral abomination. This immoral undertaking becomes evident when we look at the animal pollution that plagues poor communities, the greenhouse gases that deplete the ozone, and the cruelty that afflicts the animals in their overcrowded pens.
Supporting the farm factory industrial food complex is a moral outrage that endangers us all. Farm factories are a vortex of cruelty, antibiotics, pollution, and human disease.
Veganism is a vastly superior diet to meat-eating evidenced by the vegan's lower cancer rates, lower cholesterol, lower heart disease, and moral highground.
Veganism is a fool's errand when we consider the high failure rates, the malnutrition, and the healthy organic meat-eating options available.
Should you use clarifying sentences or mapping components?
This is up to you.
There is an advantage to using mapping components.
They outline your essay.
They make it easier for your instructor to read your paper. Some instructors might be lazy, and they will appreciate that you made it easier for them to follow your exposition.
Evidence, reasons, and support comprise the grounds of the Toulmin essay.
Vegans face 50% less risk for all cancers.
Vegans live 4-7 years longer than non-vegans.
Vegans on low-fat diets have lower rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Warrants answer this question: Exactly how do the reasons offered in support of the conclusion work together?
In other words, what kind of guarantee—or warrant—is provided to demonstrate that the reasons proffered actually do support the claim or lead to the conclusion?
Perhaps the most simple way to explain this is to say that the warrants are the logic used to connect the grounds to the claim.
Claim: Veganism is superior to meat-eating.
Grounds: Too many people object to vegan diets because they mistakenly associate these diets with punishment rather than as a celebration of great food.
Warrant: A lot of so-called aspiring vegans want to fail, so they fixate on the all the stereotypical hideous vegan foods: soy "Frankenstein" burgers, "rabbit" salads, and rice cakes, and then they boast to everyone how miserable they were when "they tried to be a vegan." This is a false attempt.
Backing is using further logic to convince reader that you have chosen compelling and appropriate reasons for supporting your claim: In fact, there are many vegan dishes "to die for" in various cuisines from the Middle East, India, and Thailand, to name a few.
Qualifiers define the character and scope of the proposition or claim.
Unless people are pregnant or anemic or have some medical condition that requires some animal consumption as prescribed by their doctor, most people are morally compelled to adopt a vegan diet.
At this point in your essay, you ask what are the possible objections to my argument? And what are the most compelling objections?
Can I state these counterarguments and rebuttal them effectively?
People who object to veganism will point out _____________, ________, and _________; however, we find that a close examination of their claim reveals it to be faulty and misguided evidenced by ___________, __________, and ____________.
Sample Thesis Statements
While I concede that there is way too much mindless cruelty in the factory farming of animals, we must not obfuscate the truth, namely, that the vegetarian diet does not provide optimum nutrition. The omnivore diet, which includes meat eating, is defensible from an evolutionary, biological, and nutritional point of view.
Let's be clear. I am a failed vegetarian, a man for whom the vegetarian diet left me weak and so hungry that I overate carbs until I gained lots of weight to the point that I was saddled by corpulence. So let's put this on the table: I eat animal protein. Having confessed my carnivorous ways, let me say here that I am morally revolted by factory farming and that I am prepared to refute with all my heart and soul the major arguments that factory farm apologists use to defend the abominations that ensue in 99% of the slaughterhouses.
The central weakness of the farm factory apologists is their specious claim that we are entitled to brutalize animals since brutality is the norm in nature. Comparing farm factory slaughter with animal-on-animal slaughter is an egregious comparison wrought with many fallacies. First, animals kill for hunger while farm factories kill for profit. Second, the scale of brutality in the farm factory far surpasses that which occurs in nature. Third, the amount of waste farm factories impose on the environment cannot be compared to the almost nonexistent waste that occurs in the animal world. Fourth, farm factory butcheries spread disease like E. coli on a mass scale whereas in Nature such spread of contagion does not occur. Revealing this faulty comparison for the outlandish fraud that it is, what are meat eaters like me to do? Surely, the answer lies in trying to eat meat that comes from non-farm factory sources, such as meat labeled “organic” and “sustainable.”
While the vegetarian argument is built on noble aspirations and makes a convincing case for reforming the cruelties and abominations that take place on factory farms, the vegetarian diet does not provide optimum nutrition. First, we must consider we have evolved into omnivores and as such we have a biological/evolutionary need for some animal protein; second, we must consider that there is an abundance of evidence that points to malnutrition and even death that infants suffer who are forced by their parents to eat a vegan diet; third, we must consider there is a strong link between the vegetarian diet and obesity and related metabolic syndrome as a result of relying too much on agricultural, carbohydrate-laden foods.
While I concede that there are many advantages to a meat-eating diet, these advantages are offset by several factors, which include the inevitable cruelty that animals suffer as we try to feed a world of billions of people; the environmental devastation that occurs when we reserve the Earth’s land for grazing livestock animals; the environmental damage that occurs from the animal waste that cannot be adequately refined at factory farms; and the myriad of diseases that are spread from farm factory animals.
Our professor McMahon has apprised us of the intractable conflict between the dangers of the strict vegan diet and indiscriminate meat eating as he successfully shows that the only solution to this conflict is to eat organic, sustainable animal protein. Such an eating program is the only viable way to eat because _____________, _________________, _______________, and ___________________.
McMahon’s argument for killing animals in an "organic setting" rests on so many illusions that he has been stripped of any intellectual credibility. His illusions are too numerous to cover in their entirety, but we can begin by focusing on McMahon's most egregious critical thinking lapses, which include the fact that it is impossible to feed the world with the organic process; _________________, ______________, _________________, and _____________________.
While I concede that the vegetarian diet can be refuted on biological, evolutionary, and nutritional grounds, I cannot accept the reckless barbarism and cruelty that many meat-eating arguments try to ignore or sweep under the carpet. That we may need to eat meat doesn’t excuse our torture and brutality against animals. We must fight to reform the meat industry. That the vegetarian, and especially the vegan diet, may be lacking in vital nutrients does not excuse our woeful treatment of animals. That we are dependent on animal products in so many ways does not excuse the cruelty we inflict upon them. Any legitimate arguments against the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle in terms of nutrition do nothing to dissuade me from believing that our current slaughterhouse system is a moral abomination in four ways: The current slaughterhouse factories for chickens, cows, pigs, and other livestock are built on moral relativism, mindless denial (willed ignorance), dishonest language, and outright sadism.
Writing counter-arguments explained by Harvard Writing Center
Mesa College has a good counter-argument essay structure example and explanation.
While opponents of my subject make some good points against my position, they are in the larger sense wrong when we consider that they fail to see and interpret correctly ____________, ______________, _______________, and _______________.
While Author X is guilty of several weaknesses as described by her opponents, her argument holds up to close examination in the areas of _________________, ______________, _____________, and ______________.
Even though author X shows weakness in her argument, such as __________ and ____________, she is nevertheless convincing because . . .
While author X makes many compelling points, her overall argument collapses under the weight of __________, ___________, ___________, and ______________.
A comma splice is joining two sentences with a comma when you should separate them with a period or a semicolon.
People love Facebook, however, they don't realize Facebook is sucking all of their energy.
People love Facebook. However, they don't realize Facebook is sucking all of their energy.
Though people love Facebook, they fail to realize Facebook is sucking all their energy.
Patience is difficult to cultivate, it grows steadily only if we make it a priority.
Patience is difficult to cultivate. It grows steadily only if we make it a priority.
Because patience grows within us so slowly, patience is extremely difficult to cultivate.
You can use a comma between two complete sentences when you join them with a FANBOYS word or coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
People love Facebook, but they don't realize Facebook is sucking all of their energy.
Student Comma Splices Part One (the second sentence feels like a continuation of thought from the first sentence, which it is, but it still requires a period before it)
- My department decided to set up another office for me to do my work, I was no longer sitting out front like the permanent receptionist.
- The permanent receptionist never spoke to anyone in the offices, he just answered phones.
- He said, “You have a few choices, they need a coordinator at the new jobsite or working the business side as a coordinator.”
- I was lucky, many opportunities came to me and now I had the required experience to get the job I wanted.
- There was no stopping me, all my achievements were completed on my own.
- I was promoted quickly, I went from coordinator to senior executive within a few months.
- The drug dealing lifestyle was insatiable to Jeff Henderson, he believed he could elude the feds.
- Our methods paralleled, my method was legal, his was illegal.
- Jeff Henderson rose to the top of his game, he had established his fortune.
10. Jeff Henderson had no choice, it was either work or stay confined in his prison cell.
11. She was going to marry her high school sweetheart, what better way to spend the rest of your life in bliss?
12. He asked me to marry him, he was a Marine after all stationed in Japan.
13. Her life was finally beginning, she could leave Los Angeles.
14. This was her life, she did what she wanted.
15. Now she had nothing, she had given up her job to move overseas.
16. Life was too much of a challenge, she accepted that fact.
Jerry ate ten pizzas a week. Nonetheless, he remained skinny.
Jerry ate ten pizzas a week, but he remained skinny.
Barbara didn't buy the BMW. Instead, she bought the Acura.
Barbara didn't buy the BMW, yet she did buy the Acura.
Steve wasn't interested in college. Moreover, he didn't want to work full-time.
Steve wasn't interested in college, and he didn't want to work full-time.
I don't want you to pay me back the hundred dollars you owe me. However, I do want you to help me do my taxes.
I don't want you to pay me back the hundred dollars you owe me, but I do want you to help me do my taxes.
I don't want you to pay me back the hundred dollars you owe me, but I do, however, want you to help me do my taxes.
I feel that our relationship has become stale, stagnant, and turgid. Consequently, I think we should break up.
I feel that our relationship has become stale, stagnant, and turgid, so I think we should break up.
Students hate reading. Therefore, they must be tested with closed-book reading exams.
Students hate reading, so they must be tested with closed-book reading exams.
Avoiding Comma Splices and Run-Ons
Fused (run-on) sentence
Klee's paintings seem simple, they are very sophisticated.
She doubted the value of medication she decided to try it once.
A fused sentence (also called a run-on) joins clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence with no punctuation or words to link them. Fused sentences must be either divided into separate sentences or joined by adding words or punctuation.
I was strongly attracted to her, she was beautiful and funny.
We hated the meat loaf, the cafeteria served it every Friday.
A comma splice occurs when only a comma separates clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence. To correct a comma splice, you can insert a semicolon or period, connect the clauses with a word such as and or because, or restructure the sentence.
After each sentence, put a “C” for Correct or a “CS” for Comma Splice. If the sentence is a comma splice, rewrite it so that it is correct.
One. Bailey used to eat ten pizzas a day, now he eats a spinach salad for lunch and dinner.
Two. Marco no longer runs on the treadmill, instead he opts for the less injury-causing elliptical trainer.
Three. Running can cause shin splints, which can cause excruciating pain.
Four. Running in the incorrect form can wreak havoc on the knees, slowing down can often correct the problem.
Five. While we live in a society where 1,500-calorie cheeseburgers are on the rise, the reading of books, sad to say, is on the decline.
Six. Facebook is a haven for narcissists, it encourages showing off with selfies and other mundane activities that are ways of showing how great and amazing our lives our, what a sham.
Seven. We live in a society where more and more Americans are consuming 1,500-calorie cheeseburgers, however, those same Americans are reading less and less books.
Eight. Love is a virus from outer space, it tends to become most contagious during April and May.
Nine. The tarantula causes horror in many people, moreover there is a species of tarantula in Brazil, the wandering banana spider, that is the most venomous spider in the world.
Ten. Even though spiders cause many people to recoil with horror, most species are harmless.
Eleven. The high repair costs of European luxury vehicles repelled Amanda from buying such a car, instead she opted for a Japanese-made Lexus.
Twelve. Amanda got a job at the Lexus dealership, now she’s trying to get me a job in the same office.
Thirteen. While consuming several cinnamon buns, a twelve-egg cheese omelet, ten slices of French toast slathered in maple syrup, and a tray of Swedish loganberry crepes topped with a dollop of blueberry jam, I contemplated the very grave possibility that I might be eating my way to a heart attack.
Fourteen. Even though I rank marijuana far less dangerous than most pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, and other commonly used intoxicants, I find marijuana unappealing for a host of reasons, not the least of which is its potential for radically degrading brain cells, its enormous effect on stimulating the appetite, resulting in obesity, and its capacity for over-relaxing many people so that they lose significant motivation to achieve their primary goals, opting instead for a life of sloth and intractable indolence.
Correct the faulty parallelism by rewriting the sentences below.
One. Parenting toddlers is difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that toddlers contradict everything you ask them to do; they have giant mood swings and all-night tantrums.
Parenting toddlers is difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that toddlers contradict everything you ask them to do, they have giant mood swings, and they have all-night tantrums.
Two. You should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: They encourage gluttony; they feature fatty, over-salted foods and high sugar content.
You should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: They encourage gluttony, they feature fatty, over-salted foods, and the lard everything with sugar.
Three. I prefer kettlebell training at home than the gym because of the increased privacy, the absence of loud “gym” music, and I’m able to concentrate more.
I prefer kettlebell training at home than the gym because of the increased privacy, the absent gym music, and the improved concentration.
Four. To write a successful research paper you must adhere to the exact MLA format, employ a variety of paragraph transitions, and writing an intellectually rigorous thesis.
To write a successful research paper you must adhere to the exact MLA format, employ a variety of paragraph transitions, and write an intellectually rigorous thesis.
Five. The difficulty of adhering to the MLA format is that the rules are frequently being updated, the sheer abundance of rules you have to follow, and to integrate your research into your essay.
The difficulty of adhering to the MLA format is that the rules are frequently being updated, the rules are hard to follow, and the MLA in-text citations are difficult to master.
Six. You should avoid watching “reality shows” on TV because they encourage a depraved form of voyeurism; they distract you from your own problems and their brain-dumbing effects.
You should avoid watching "reality shows" because they encourage a depraved form of voyeurism, they distract you from your own problems, and they dumb you down.
Seven. I’m still fat even though I’ve tried the low-carb diet, the Paleo diet, the Rock-in-the-Mouth diet, and fasting every other day.
I'm still fat even though I've tried the low-carb diet, the Paleo diet, the Rock-in-the-Mouth diet, and the fasting diet.
Eight. To write a successful thesis, you must have a compelling topic, a sophisticated take on that topic, and developing a thesis that elevates the reader’s consciousness to a higher level.
To write a successful thesis, you must have a compelling topic, a sophisticated take on that topic, and a thesis that elevates the reader's consciousness to a higher level.
Nine. Getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and the importance of a positive attitude are essential for academic success.
Getting enough sleep, exercising daily, and maintaining a positive attitude are essential for academic success.
Ten. My children never react to my calm commands or when I beg them to do things.
My children never react to my calm commands or my lugubrious supplications.