Posted by: jility | October 27, 2011

Putting a Flat Earth into a Round Universe

There is a certain email list I frequent that is made up mostly of highly educated dog people from all over the world. Then there are the others on the list who, like me, are uneducated ne’er-do-wells. This list discusses some very good, educational topics, and it is great reading what some of the highly educated folks who really understand their field, have to write. There are many on the list whose opinions are worth reading but some others fall into the category, defined by an old veterinary friend of ours, as having “too much education for their intelligence.”

There are often more posts on this list trying to defend points of view than are substantive. I have watched them spend days and days bickering over whether one should post in plain text or html and even where to place the reply (top, bottom or in between the original post). They actually spent a week or so once arguing over who had the more impressive letters after their name (what they were and/or where they got them)! Of course, it is not really about how or where one should post or the proof of education degrees, but about being right. It does amuse me to watch as these people with more letters before and after their names than most performance dogs, duke it out over such absurd, trivial matters. More often than not, these exchanges turn to personal attacks. They take ad hominems to a new level. It is like watching a train wreck at times. When I see them headed to a collision course, I really should just hit my delete button but my sick sense of humor makes me read them.

We all love to be right. It is our nature. Being right might elevate our status amongst our peers and that is the driving force behind most human behavior (or so modern psychologists say). I know I love to be right and if I can’t be right, I, at least, need to be amusing, even if it is only to put a smile on my own face. Sometimes, my humor is not appreciated or perhaps not understood. I am often irreverent and try to never ever take myself or anyone else for that matter, too seriously. This might get me in trouble but, as long as nobody is getting seriously hurt and it is funny, then it amuses me and, hopefully, others as well.

So, when they started to go off on a rant the other day about a new study showing that dairy is not as good for you as earlier Dairy Industry funded studies have shown, I just had to put in my two cents. I knew the retaliations would come fast and furiously, but I just couldn’t resist. The last straw for me was when somebody posted that this new study must have been backed by a certain infamous animal rights group and that the study was nothing more than “junk science.” Then they began vegan bashing.

So, rather than turn the other cheek, I posted that just because a study shows that animal products are bad for us, it doesn’t mean it is “junk science.” Then I posted some links and suggested they read The China Study. It took no time at all before a list member posted a few links to papers “debunking” The China Study. The attacks continued so, having witnessed the blood baths of the past, I chose to lie low until I could formulate a plan of action. The attackers were all much more educated than I but I had truth on MY side ;). Isn’t that what gets all well intending martyrs beheaded or burned at the stake in the end? Where is the intelligence in THAT? It is right up there with suicide bombing. They are both self-limiting acts.

SO, like a modern day vegan Joan of Arc, I stormed in to reclaim the truth about the plant based diet! When will I learn? Most confirmed meat eaters don’t want to read anything that might convince them that eating the putrefying flesh of dead animals is maybe not a good thing or that consuming liquid from the teats of a completely different species, long after we have been weaned, really screws with your system. No, they want to kill all opposition to their beliefs so they can continue on their path of self destruction by ingestion.

Now, hard to believe as it is, I am FAR from perfect! I do, however, believe strongly that humans were meant to exist on a plant-based diet and to not eat processed foods (something with which I struggle on a daily basis –  I am 99.99% vegan but I do love my fake meats). A friend once called me “The veganpire” because I am always trying to turn people I care about, vegan. I don’t care what most people eat but I do want those I love to be as healthy as they can be so they will be around a long time.

But, I digress.

So back to the list from hell.

Not being able to hold my fingers any longer, I posted the following to the group. I did get a few private emails thanking me but nobody dared post publically nor did they join my crusade for martyrdom for fear of being burned at the adjoining stake. One person did write to me that she bought a vegan cookbook I recommended to her privately (Vegan Italiano IT IS AMAZING!). So, without further ado, here is that infamous post.

For the better part of civilization, man thought the earth was flat. There

were periods in history when you could be put to death for saying otherwise.

It took a few brave men in the beginning to question that theory.

Eventually, over many hundreds of years, it became accepted that the earth

was indeed round. There are, however, still people who swear that this is

false! It is amazing to me that there are still some who refuse to accept

that the earth is round but there are. They even have an organization called The

Flat Earth Society.

When I was a young girl, most people smoked. They smoked on trains, planes

and in automobiles. They smoked in restaurants, businesses and just about

anywhere they pleased. Nobody gave a thought to second hand smoke let alone

firsthand smoke. My father smoked five packs of non-filter Camels a day! I

remember advertisements on television where men dressed as doctors and

looking very official would state, “Four out of five doctors recommend (you

fill in the brand) cigarettes.” I even remember ads stating how good

cigarettes were for your health!

Then, a few brave people began to question whether or not smoking was

healthy. People had been smoking for thousands of years! Just as the beef

and dairy lobbies do now, the tobacco industry fought tooth and nail to

“debunk” all of the scientific research that claimed smoking was bad for

you. For every paper you found telling you how bad tobacco was for

your health, you could find one “debunking” it. With all we know today,

people continue to smoke. I am mystified by that! I used to smoke two packs

a day and quitting was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life

(and I have quit a lot of things!) but I knew that quitting was the right thing to do.

We just returned from the Mediterranean. I was blown away by how many

Europeans smoke. You cannot walk fifty feet down the sidewalk in any town

without having to inhale somebody’s second hand smoke. It is disgusting.

The tobacco industry is alive and well in Europe and Asia.

I feel the same about consuming animal protein as I do about tobacco. The

dairy and meat lobbies spend millions every year to “debunk” any study that

shows a correlation between consuming their products and poor health. We can

always find a paper or “evidence” or a group to support our point of view,

even if we want to think the world is flat.

As for the claim that Dr. Campbell, author of The China Study, manipulated

data to fit his agenda; he did not start out as a vegan trying to prove

himself right. He started out as a meat eating, main stream scientist doing

research on diet and cancer. If you would like to read about where he got

his degrees and where he did his research, here is a link  

I predict that someday, in the not so near future because it is SO

unpopular, that we will accept the fact that eating animal protein is just

as bad as tobacco use. One of my favorite lines from Dr. John McDougall is, “People like to hear

good things about their bad habits.” I know I sure did!

I will leave you with this parting shot:

Helen Grinnell King


  1. Although I am not vegan I respect your diet and decisions. People on those forums can be so mean. I used to follow a dog obedience one that had good ideas until people on there bashed a teenager and jumped all over her almost like bullying! Shouldn’t us with more experience have encouraged and helped her instead of attacking? I still regret that I just quit rather than coming to her defense. It is easy for some poeple to be mean when hiding behind a computor screen.
    That’s why I enjoy your posts so much you call it the way you see it/feel it with a sense of humor thrown in yet not to hurt others AND still believe that agility should be FUN!
    Too bad your GW can’t float would love to have you visit us here, our small club has FUN in Abaco, Bahamas

    • I would olve to visit the Bahamas! I have never been there! My sister lives there in the su*mmer. I wonder if you are close (I am not sure where she stays).
      I hate it when people are mean rather than explaining and teaching! So many top instructors are like that and I see no reason for it at all. It does not promote learning one single bit. It is just plain mean!
      Thank you for writing!

      • Very few people realize the Bahamas is made up of 700 islands, most of which are uninhabited. All peaking around about a dozen main islands. We only have 1 traffic light on Abaco and our dog club is very small ( 8 people – 1 vegan) but we’ve been fortuante to have a few people take us under their wing and come over for training and trials. We have a blast!!
        Loved going on vacation with you to the Mediteranian via your posts.
        I also follow of course beacuse I run with a standard poodle 😉

      • Helen, You’d appreciate seeing Randolph Johnston’s work, and reading his book. He was a bronze sculptor, using the lost wax method, if I remember correctly. He lived in LIttle Harbour, at the end of Great Abaco Island. His work is there, as his family carried on his work. His is a very fascinating account of their saga of settling there, & living in a cave, while they built their life.
        We spent time in the Abacos in 1990, ’91, & 2000. Hopetown, Man-O-War, Green Turtle Cay, Little Harbour, Great Sail, and lots in between. We now spend time in Spanish Wells with friends. We’ve also enjoyed time in Eleuthera, Highborne Cay, Staniel Cay, Warderick Wells, Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and Nassau. Each island is unique.

  2. I think allot of folks rebel at something that makes a crinkle in their habits and routine. so much is “invested “.
    I agree that it is hard to read the facts and NOT to come away with allot to think about. I have been a hard core dairy lover my whole life, and am now really studying the awful truth about dairy.
    I think your post was very educating and provocative.

  3. Thank you for writing. I can’t eat chocolate! It gives me terrible anxiety. So, no chocolate for me :(. Where do you trial?

    • I moved to the Portland area about a year ago….I’m sure we have been at the same trials–but who knew!

  4. Helen, we have not met, but we are destined to be friends. I am not a vegan, but I do limit meat and milk–largely because of McDougall and a child with allergies who was miraculously cured by that diet. That child is now 35 and climbing mountains and running marathons (and still avoiding meat and milk products). I have “given up” many things to be able to run my dogs in agility–and I’m sure more deprivation is at hand. I recently began seeing a Chinese practitioner. I would call him my Chinese doctor, however, he actually is Chinese and that becomes uncomfortable. He has me “downing” (drinking doesn’t even come close to describing consumption of this stuff) herbs twice a day and although I HATE the stuff, I am amazingly brighter, happier, livelier, and more able (and I sleep better, too!). But I digress. He asked at my last visit how I was dealing with the “mud” and I laughed and said that I hated it, but rewarded myself with chocolate after each dose. He became very serious and shook his head. Apparently, chocolate is heat producing and I can’t have it anymore. Just one more thing to give up–done gladly as I just ran my pups in six UKI runs with great success. Six months ago, I don’t think I would have been able to drive home after that kind of punishment. I love your blogs. Please keep fighting the good fight. You may convert more people than you know in the end. 🙂

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