This is the third installment of the Polling Thread.
This is your chance to ask your multiple choice question you always wanted to throw in. Get qualified numeric feedback to your comments. Post fun polls.
These are the rules:
- Each poll goes into its own top level comment and may be commented there.
- You must at least vote all polls that were posted earlier than you own. This ensures participation in all polls and also limits the total number of polls. You may of course vote without posting a poll.
- Your poll should include a 'don't know' option (to avoid conflict with 2). I don't know whether we need to add a troll catch option here but we will see.
If you don't know how to make a poll in a comment look at the Poll Markup Help.
This is a somewhat regular thread. If it is successful I may post again. Or you may. In that case do the following :
- Use "Polling Thread" in the title.
- Copy the rules.
- Add the tag "poll".
- Link to this Thread or a previous Thread.
- Create a top-level comment saying 'Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be polls or similar'
- Add a second top-level comment with an initial poll to start participation.
How many meals do you eat per week that you don't pay for? (Food from parents, free dorm food, free company cafeteria, etc.)
How well do you keep track of the amount that you personally spend on food?
If you do have at least a vague idea of how much you spend, could you estimate your weekly food spending in USD? (Just the food that you pay for.)
How should I answer question 1 if I share all grocery shopping expenses, roughly equally, with my partner?
Hm, how about you say that you pay for all your meals, then split your grocery expenses in two for the final question?
How about subsidies? My university canteen charges for meals less than half the market price; I counted each such meal as 0.6, is that right?
Do I have to count the food I pay for that other people eat, too, right? Otherwise, if Alice buys Bob dinner on Wednesday and Bob buys Alice dinner on Thursday they'd have to put in different numbers than if they split the bill both times, even if the amounts of money left in each wallet at the end of the week are the same in either case.
Both of these sound reasonable. Thanks!
Oops. Please put the words "weekly" into bold font for inattentive people like me. I mistakenly wrote a daily value.
Done. Could you tell me the values you put in? (Via PM is fine.)
Do you own any Bitcoins?
If so, how many?
Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be polls or similar.
All comments have a relatively low or negative rating. Does anybody have an idea why that is? Tired after clicking so many polls? Or is the polls topic inappropriate?
And if someone spree-downvoted this thread, why did the post itself remain untouched?
Inspired by Benitos Lolcats and all the plushies during the Berlin event I wondered what a suitable rationality/lesswrong plushie would look like.
So what (kind of) rationality mascot would you want?
Note: Can anybody from LWSH please explain what that strange grey plushy really is?
Looks like Totoro.
A plushie of Rev. Bayes with a Cthulhu-head hat as an accessory :-D
Do you practice some form of vegetarism or other diet or consumption restriction and if yes which?
What are your reasons for follow this practice? Please answer only if you do follow a specific restriction. Do not use this poll to state your reason why you do not follow such restrictions. If you are interested in such please post a separate poll.
This practice improves my personal health [pollid:650]
This practice benefits the overall population health [pollid:651]
This practice improves human working/living conditions [pollid:652]
This practice avoids harm to animals (and if applicable plants) [pollid:653]
This practice allows to better feed more humans, reduce hunger and starvation [pollid:654]
This practice helps preserve the environment/use it sustainably [pollid:655]
This practice has economic benefits [pollid:656]
This practice in encouraged in my social circles [pollid:657]
This practice has other benefits (please elaborate in the comments) [pollid:658]
You should have a question for "This practice is tasty". Seriously. If I didn't find meat tasty I'd be a vegetarian. So I put it under "other benefits".
But I feel like taste is such a driver of consumption habits that it shouldn't be relegated to "other".
Yes I should have. It was mentioned in the discussion I had about vegetarism some time ago but got lost when I decided to 'quickly' add this poll.
I think you'll find few people on LW who argue that eating meat has anything more than marginal nutritional benefits (and that's more about what meat and how much you eat than simply having some in your diet), apart from tastiness; To me it is like many luxuries that are not particularly justifiable from a utilitarian viewpoint. And I say this with consideration of harm to animals - many luxuries have serious moral issues involved in their production.
From a certain point of view almost everything we eat is a luxury most of the time of the year.
If you refer to the 'I consume primarily meat' option I didn't add it only for completeness purposes. I know do one person who actually eats almost only meat. And he is a quite intelligent person. It just so happens that his metabolism seems to run different from most other persons. For example he eats only on weekends and only drinks during the week. I'm not sure if he has the option to change this.
That is a very surprising pattern (but I can think of a handful of medically-driven diets that have mandatory meat consumption, not saying that's what his is). It's worth noting they exist but I suspect most of the respondents here are in my boat.
I don't eat mammals. Voted as "other or not/applicable".
I, too, don't eat mammals.
For the curious, I was more or less vegetarian for about a year, but could not maintain physical health and robustness on that diet, so I was forced to compromise.
I don't eat mammals either, but I eat fish and birds. And I have met a few other people who also follow this policy. Is there a name for this sort of diet? If there isn't, there should be. Any suggestions?
I don't eat chocolate and I restrict my alcohol consumption because I used to consume both at unhealthy levels.
I identify as a flexitarian, meaning I'm a part-time vegetarian. When it's convenient, I will avoid eating meat. This is usually at restaurants, almost all of which in my city have a vegetarian, if not vegan, option on their menu, or when I'm cooking at home, and there is something in the fridge other than animal flesh, or byproducts, available. In this regard, my biggest 'vice' is that I don't make much effort to restrict my consumption of dairy products, since I'm under the impression that dairy products don't cause much harm to cattle relative to how much suffering is incurred upon other animals used to generate food for humans.
One major reason I try to reduce my meat consumption when it's a convenient option is because I don't exercise much, so I counteract the negative affects this might have on my health in the meantime by consuming fewer calories. Otherwise, my part-time vegetarianism is motivated by my ethics, although I feel very ambiguous about my diet. For example:
I commonly encounter reports from mainstream media about how, to prevent environmental degradation, via climate change, humans must reduce the amount of meat we eat per capita. E.g., the UN has published reports in this regard in the last couple of years. However, on the other hand, I've encountered counter-arguments about how if we all became full-time vegetarians in North America, we would have to import resource-intensive soy products from the other side of the world, causing a bunch of pollution in the process anyway.
I'm well aware of how, if they have the capacity to suffer, animals on factory farms indeed suffer very much. That pulls at my heartstrings, or makes me sad, and empathetic, to their suffering, or what have you, so I would like to be a part of easing that suffering. However, my life is full of moral uncertainty, because all the wisest people I turn to in life are split between eating meat, or not. Also, I'm not extremely confident in how sentient non-primates are, or what their capacity to suffer is. Furthermore, if societies moved to abstaining from animal (by)products, we might end up processing more land that results in the deaths of small vertebrates, e.g., rodents, and insects, who might also suffer, and die horribly. So, I find the argument of erring on the side of caution by not eating animals even in the face of uncertainty of their moral relevance appealing, but I'm not so confident in the truth of that that I forgo eating meat entirely.
I fear being in a maligned out-group like vegetarians, and what moral fortitude I tell myself I have falls prey to the same convenient biases everyone experiences in the face of brains getting what they want now, and damn our ideals, so I eat more meat than I would otherwise believe is morally acceptable of myself. In this regard, I might be a hypocrite.
Sounds suspicious to me. I imagine that soy can be produced on any continent, and that vegetarians can also eat other things than soy. And the more people become vegetarians, the more attention will be given to the alternatives to importing soy.
Yes! I'm so sick of the promotion of tofu as a meat substitute when it has no flavor, usually poor texture, and is highly inferior to beans or mushrooms*. (Actually my complaint here is not that tofu is bad but that Americans try to cook it as though it were meat and that fails completely. Mapo doufu is pretty great.) If you want a homogeneous slab you can fry up and pretend is meat, seitan or tempeh are far superior. Or, if you're not vegan, haloumi or paneer.
*So clearly what we really should be working on is a cultivation method for Boletus edulis, because if that were easily available I might never desire ground beef again. It doesn't taste similar, exactly, but it's certainly better and has more umami. I wouldn't go vegetarian, because there's no substitute for pork belly, but still.
Have a look at BeyondMeat http://beyondmeat.com/products/ even though it's hyped it nonetheless promises to deliver authentic taste and texture. You can order it online to try it out.
I was always confused by why vegetarians want to pretend they're eating meat.
Are you really confused? We are omnivores by nature, and may miss the taste/feel of flesh, even if we adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.
Yes, I am. I would understand hungering for meat if vegetarianism were something imposed upon you. In such a case, sure, the attitude "I want meat but I can't have it so I'll play-pretend I'm eating meat" is fine. But if the vegetarianism is internally driven, I do not understand how it can be compatible with wanting meat so much you're willing to pretend you're eating it.
You don't understand that you are software running on a modular brain, with different modules evolved at different times, and with different goals? And that one, newer, module may decide to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle while another, older one, may still miss meat? Do you understand the concept of internal conflict?
This sort of sounds a little condescending, but I don't mean it that way -- I am genuinely flabbergasted here. I don't know how far back the first disagreement is. If a Catholic decided not to have sex before marriage, do you think they wouldn't want to have sex sometimes anyways?
Sure. So do you claim that vegetarians live in a permanent state of internal conflict?
Y'know, if that Catholic had a habit of doing little skits imitating sex, in particular tried to get as close to the look-and-feel (the qualia :-D) of sex without actually doing it, well, I probably wouldn't call him a good Catholic and I don't think his priest would approve either.
I claim that it is not very surprising that someone who decided to be a vegetarian nevertheless misses the taste or feel of meat. Similarly to how someone who decided to be celibate might miss sex, and decide to masturbate, or someone who decided to stop smoking might miss the act of smoking, and opt for e-cigarettes, or nicotine patches.
And yes, I claim internal conflict is normal human condition, for everyone, every day.
The issue is not what the views of the Roman Catholic church are on masturbation, but whether it is surprising that people who abstain from sex masturbate. The issue is not whether vegetarians who opt for mock meat are "good vegetarians," but whether it is surprising that they do.
Still is to me.
I think I roughly divide self-imposed constraints into "external" (because of social norms, peer pressure, status seeking, etc.) and "internal" (basically, "because I really want to"). It does not surprise me that "externally" motivated vegetarians pretend to eat meat. It surprises me that "internally" motivated vegetarians pretend to eat meat.
How is it surprising that an individual's ethical code sometimes prevents them from maximizing their utility function? If this was never the case, ethics would be redundant, because there would never be a need for ethical constraints on choice.
Humans evolved to have utility functions that value the taste of meat. This fact does not prevent us from reaching the ethical conclusion that killing an animal for consumption is wrong. The best way to maximize the utility function under this constraint, may be to find a close substitute for meat.
That's what I would call "external" motivation.
I don't know about that. I really don't think most vegetarians want the taste of meat and it's just the force of will that keeps them away from it. Out of the vegetarians I know a few are insistent that they would just be physically ill if someone tries to force-feed them meat. It's pretty clear the taste of meat is not in their utility function any more.
What percentage of vegetarians are vegetarians for this reason?
I was vegetarian for twelve years for ethical reasons: both to avoid killing sentient beings, and because I was concerned about the environmental externalities associated with meat production. My utility function definitely always valued the taste of meat very strongly.
Maybe I incorrectly extrapolated too much from myself in my model of other vegetarians, but I always assumed that most of them had similar reasons. I think it is likely that a lot of them lie to themselves about not liking meat, in order to make it easier to live within their ethical constraints. There is a widespread belief among vegetarians that, after several years of not eating meat, your body adapts such that eating meat may make you physically ill. I don't know whether this is true, it certainly never happened to me, and I suspect it may be a meme that is retained because it helps keep people in the fold.
It's pretty clear there is variation :-) I know some non-vegetarians who don't like meat. Their ethics are perfectly fine with eating meat and they actually do eat it once every couple of weeks or so, but, again, it does not seem that the taste of meat is 'in their utility function".
Do you think it is surprising there are so many pederasts among the ranks of the Catholic clergy?
How many are there and compared to what?
I have a vague recollection that statistical data about pedofilia didn't exactly match the media frenzy about the RCC priests...
Again, the point isn't how many pederasts there are in the Catholic church. Nor is the point that a pederast priest is a bad priest, and a bad person. The point is, is it surprising that, given the ethos of the Catholic Church, some priests are pederasts.
I am trying to figure out what other completely mundane facts you are surprised by. Are you surprised that some members of AA revert to alcoholism? Are you surprised that recovered junkies miss crack? Are you surprised people can't stick to a diet? Are you surprised some husbands love their wives one day, and beat them the next? I envy you, because being surprised is one of the best feelings in the world, and you must feel surprised all the time.
No, that's not surprising at all.
I feel that at some point in this discussion the original point has subtly mutated. Or maybe I didn't express my point sufficiently clear. Let me try to do this again.
I am confused by vegetarians eating play-pretend meat. This has two aspects. The first is the difference between what I called "external" and "internal" motivations. That's not really the best terminology so I'd like to amend it. Let me call one motivation need-to motivation and the other one want-to motivation (which correspond to the "external" for the former and "internal" for the latter).
Given this, I would expect the need-to vegetarians to continue to crave meat and to cook stuff to pretend it's meat. That's fine. But I do NOT expect the want-to vegetarians to do this.
The second aspect is social norms. It is entirely acceptable in vegetarian circles to post fake-meat recipes and discuss how to make food more meat-like. I am confused by that. In the Catholic Church analogy this corresponds to priests discussing how to make their sex dolls be more life-like. In the AA analogy this corresponds to alcoholics discussing how to emulate getting drunk while drinking non-alcoholic beer. Notice how the social norms of the RCC or AA, um, frown on such activities.
Oh, how cute! Are you trying to call me naive? :-D
Ok -- so you are confused because you think there might be "want-to" vegetarians who like mock meat. Do you know anyone like that? I once dated someone who was vegetarian since a very young age, for cultural reasons, and if I remember correctly, she couldn't stand meat-like veg dishes.
If vegetarian social circles consist of both need-to and want-to vegetarians, I am not sure what is there to be confused about -- it's just regular old tolerance.
I am unhappy about the need/want distinction, because it smacks of Freud. There are generally more than two things going on.
Hm. Probably not personally. Are you saying such people do not exist?
Of course there are more things going on. It's only a model, to quote Monty Python, and as I said it's a rough approximation.
However I think it's a useful rough model. Anders_H who commented in this thread is a good example of a need-to vegetarian -- he actually craves meat but doesn't eat it for animal-suffering and environmental-consequences reasons.
Don't we all? I start most of my days with internal conflict between my desire to stay in bed, and my desire for having a regular income.
OK, OK, extra internal conflict in addition to everything non-vegetarians have :-)
Someone might like the taste of meat, but like to not kill animals even more, so that if they had to choose one they'd pick the latter but they'd still wish they could have both.
It could very well be phony information. My point is that I'm an absurd nerd, because Less Wrong, so I want to ground my beliefs as well as possible, but I'm very ambiguous about the issue of vegetarianism because there is so much noise about diets, and economics, and ethics, and aaahhh...
What I will eat under appropriate circumstances is a very wide set. What I choose to eat in normal life is a considerably more narrow set.
I gave a full explanation of my reasons for part-time vegetarianism above, but Lumifer's statement generally accounts fully for what I choose to eat.
+1 to his comment.
I'd assume the poll deals with what you choose to eat in normal life.
Well, let me give you an example. In "normal life" I choose not to eat McDonalds' hamburgers. However if, say, I'm on a trip and McDonalds is the only convenient option, I will eat there without a second thought. A vegetarian, on the other hand, will not eat a hamburger even if it's the only convenient option.
Well, how often do you eat at McDonalds in average? Once a month? Once a year? Once a decade? How much are you willing to go out of your way to eat elsewhere before it's not “convenient”?
A few times per year. I actually don't have anything against McDonalds on moral grounds. I like and prefer yummy food -- McDonalds' is serviceable but if I can find something more tasty or more interesting, I'll go there. If not, not. McDonalds will sell me some cheap calories with predictable taste which is perfectly fine if I'm in a hurry and they are right there.
Fair enough. I guess I had "normal life" as "not starving after a plane crash".
McDonalds does serve vegetarian options.
Even after a plane crash I'd never set a foot inside McDonald's, for both sanitary and political reasons.
You choose your fast food for political reasons? X-D
Well, of course.
An "of course" answer is illuminating.
No option for my answer: I'm a picky eater, and meat is one of the many foodstuffs I don't like to eat.
You're lucky. I'm a picky eater, and meat is one of the few foodstuffs I did like to eat.
There are a few kinds of meat that I consider to be perfectly okay to eat, such as oysters. All of them are kinds of meat that I don't like to eat.
My "other" vote is alternate-day fasting, which I've been doing all year. Not sure if that's what you're looking for, but I feel like it's a dietary restriction, and benefits my health.
How should I answer "This practice improves my personal health" if I think that my vegetarianism does help my health, but this isn't the reason I'm vegetarian?