Debate: Lilananda & Adikarta On Consuming Milk Part 3 of 3

Reply to Adikarta Prabhu 

By Lilananda dasa

September 17, 2017

Recently Adikarta Prabhu questioned certain things I published promoting veganism along with clinical data that shows how dairy promotes all stages of the cancer process and diseases such as diabetes and others. In the past 10 years I’ve lost several friends to these diseases. Those who were diagnosed with these types of illness and survived, have radically changed their diets, specifically by changing to a plant-based diet.  Based on Prabhupada’s instruction “Health comes first.”, I feel it is my duty to present the facts for the benefit of others who may be walking the same road to illness due to a poor diet.

My assertions are: 1. Vegans can be healthy 2. Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promotes all stages of the cancer process and other autoimmune diseases.

In a debate, he who asserts must prove. On the other hand, if the negative wants the audience to accept the idea that there are certain defects on the assertion, then it must assume the burden of proving such defects with supporting evidence.

I indicate Adikarta with the letters AK.

Basically I will argue that in AK’s postings, we find the following problems:

  1. Consistent Lack of Supporting Evidence
  2. Straw Man Fallacy – A straw man fallacy gives the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.
  3. Missing The Point – A person commits the fallacy of missing the point when, while her premises do indeed support one conclusion, she draws a second, different, conclusion.
  4. Ad Hominem Fallacy – An ad hominem, short for argumentum ad hominem, means responding to arguments by attacking a person’s character, rather than to the content of their arguments.

 

1. Consistent Lack of Supporting Evidence

 

On AK’s first posting we find the following assertions:

  1. raw milk from healthy grass fed cows, is, according to the Vedas, absolutely essential for long term good health.
  2. The British health authorities are very concerned about the rise of Veganism in the UK, {more than US} because they say that in the long term many young Vegans will suffer from the Vegan diet.

Assertions A and B lack supporting evidence. AK has neither provided any supporting clinical research for the first assertion nor for the second one.

On the third posting, we find the following:

  1. They have very contradictory opinions about a lot of things, how can they possibly understand or believe in the statements about how cows milk enhances the ability to understand spiritual life?

Yet one more assertion with zero supporting evidence.  No detail on contradictory opinions nor on “They”. Who specifically are those with contradictory opinions and what are those opinions? Here are some facts that refute the three above assertions:

“I went on to direct the most comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle and disease ever done with humans in the history of biomedical research. It was a massive undertaking jointly arranged through Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The New York Times called it the “Grand Prix of Epidemiology.” This project surveyed a vast range of diseases and diet and lifestyle factors in rural China and, more recently, in Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, this project eventually produced more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease! What made this project especially remarkable is that, among the many associations that are relevant to diet and disease, so many pointed to the same finding: people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored. From the initial experimental animal studies on animal protein effects to this massive human study on dietary patterns, the findings proved to be consistent. The health implications of consuming either animal or plant-based nutrients were remarkably different.

Campbell, T. Colin; Thomas M. Campbell II. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, We (p. 7). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

2. Straw Man Fallacy – A straw man fallacy gives the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.

 

On AK’s second posting, we find additional fallacies as I will describe below.

  1. Since I have very little faith in things or opinions that directly contradict Srila Prabhupada’s views which are of course, based on the Vedas, and I really don’t think I will be able to sway your opinion, I think we should just agree to disagree.

Here we see the straw man fallacy.  AK is arguing against something I did not present. I presented clinical research results and AK is arguing against things and opinions. There is a major difference between things and opinions and the results of clinical analysis. For example, in someone’s opinion he may be very healthy, but a heart scan may show his arteries are 70% clogged. On a personal note, I have seen a friend of mine who resides in Alachua and was diagnosed with bladder cancer, have his tumor size reduced by 50% two months after changing from a lacto-vegetarian to a plant based diet. His clinical data is recorded at the Hypocrites Institute in West Palm Beach where I drove him for treatment. These are not opinions, they are facts. A variety of clinical evidence was presented in my first posting.

  1. A lot of the arguments you present seem to oppose these ideas.

And once again AK commits the same mistake by arguing against something I did not say. I presented clinical analysis reports that contradicted AK’s assertions, not simply arguments.

  1. I am well aware of the fact that vegans are acting conscientiously by adopting their diet, but just cannot agree as to their conclusions.

And yet, once again, he argues against “their conclusions” instead of what was actually presented, the clinical analysis results.

On AK’s third posting, we find another example of the same fallacy.

  1. It reminds me of the devotee who didn’t believe that they didn’t go to the moon. He lost faith in Srila Prabhupada and left him.

I have not discussed about man going to the moon or my faith in Prabhupada, but presented clinical evidence supporting my assertions.

3. Missing the Point – A person commits the fallacy of missing the point when, while her premises do indeed support one conclusion, she draws a second, different, conclusion.

 

On AK’s third posting we see that is unable to stay on point.

  1. Perhaps you should get some opinions as to whether we are wasting our time chanting Hare Krishna. I’m sure some of your Vegan advocates will say we are.

Here AK is completely missing the point.  Instead of presenting supporting evidence against my evidence or in favor of his assertions, AK decides to introduce a completely different topic.

  1. Should we then adjust that activity, and not chant because materialists don’t see any value in it?

And again, AK is unable to stay on point. Instead of focusing on defeating the evidence I provided or on presenting evidence to support his assertions, he introduces a topic that was not part of the discussion.

  1. As far as health, I am now 72 years old, and have been eating a ton of raw milk products for the past 25 years. I go on sankirtan daily, go to mangal arotika most days, haven’t seen a doctor in years, so it’s hard to believe some of your vegan evidence. Of course I could drop dead tomorrow, but at least I can say, I was healthy while I lived!

Here AK is presenting his health as clinical evidence in favor of his assertions. Well, if AK considers the health of a single person as valid clinical evidence, why clinical analysis from thousands of individuals across many countries is not acceptable?

  1. If we are to have any belief that Srila Prabhupada was actually a genuine holy man and teacher, how can we possibly negate his numerous statements about the value
  • of cows?

And yet again, instead of staying on point and presenting supporting evidence to defeat my assertions, he reaches the following conclusion: “If you present clinical evidence I cannot refute, then you are negating Prabhupada’s numerous statements.”

 

4. Ad Hominem – An ad hominem, short for argumentum ad hominem, means responding to arguments by attacking a person’s character, rather than to the content of their arguments.

 

From AK’s third posting.

  1. AS far as your CBS vegan scorn for the fact that we view women and and cows as mothers, this is another stab at Vedic culture. I am sure you know as well as I do, the famous verses about women being treated as one’s mother. Should we now reject that because some vegan doesn’t like it?

The Ad Hominem Fallacy works in the following way. The person ignores the argument and attacks the person making the argument.  Here the CBC (Not CBS) person specifically wrote: “You speak a lot about how your actions “help” the cow who is lactating. Putting aside the patriarchal view that females, both human and nonhuman, should be looked upon as “mothers”, you aren’t addressing the himsa that you cause by impregnating those cows in the first place.”

Interesting enough, even in our own movement many of our female and male devotees see our society as patriarchal.  Why does AK take the time to criticize the CBC person for his “another stab at the Vedic Culture.” for this gentleman calling Sivaram Swami’s view patriarchal. This is Ad Hominem at its best.

However, the most critical thing is that of the four arguments raised by the CBC person, AK misses the first three and then gives misinformation about the forth one. Here are the four arguments presented by the CBC news person:

  1. … you aren’t addressing the himsa that you cause by impregnating those cows in the first place.
  2. And if, as you say in your speciesist analogy, that all cows are babies that we needn’t ask permission of, isn’t that impregnation then also tantamount to rape?
  3. “Helping” them out of the “pain” of lactating that we caused? Where is the logic here? Where is this “natural”?
  4. Regardless of how many centuries the tradition has been carried on, no domesticated cow today even exists in nature! And any similar wild species, like the wildebeest for example, has been getting along for many more centuries without ANY help from us.

AK ignores the first three arguments and makes the following comment on the 4th: “Cows are not wildebeest, if you’ve ever seen a cow that has just calved, her under is very big and swollen, she needs to be milked! The calf cannot drink all the milk.” AK makes three assertions:

  1. Cows are not wildebeest
  2. Cows need to be milked
  3. The calf cannot drink all the milk

Unfortunately his assertions are problematic. Here is a video about an 800-year old wild cattle park presenting the facts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erqqn74J94A

Some of the points presented in the video are:

  1. These cows serve no agricultural purpose.
  2. Minute 3:24 the cattle are remarkably healthy. They get absolutely no medication at all.
  3. Minute 3:36 Imagine a calf born in July, it will be feeding on milk through the Autumn, probably around Christmas its mother will run out of milk, that calf will survive right through the winter. They are remarkably healthy.
  4. Minute 4:03 When it comes to breeding, as you can see there are a lot of bulls here, half of the cattle are male and half are female, nothing is castrated. When it comes to breeding, it is left to the bigger and better bulls, they are the ones who do the breeding.

There is even a Wild Cattle Preservation institution http://www.wildcattleconservation.org/.  There are wild cattle found in Africa, India, and parts of the Americas.

 

Let’s continue …Here AK complains about me presenting evidence that supports my views.

 

  1. You present evidence that supports your view, there is also unlimited evidence that doesn’t.

It seems that AK is unaware that in a debate, each person presents evidence that supports their view.  As far as “there is also unlimited evidence that doesn’t.”, it is up to AK to provide it.

  1. I really don’t have the time or inclination to present numerous quotes, as to the benefits of grass fed, type B milk, from loved, and protected cows. Tom Brady is a vegan, but has he shown any interest in Vedic culture?

Once again, Ad Hominem in action. As far as AK’s time, it is up to him to manage it.

  1. I just don’t understand how, as someone who has presumably studied Srila Prabhupada’s books, and teachings, you could possibly hold the opinion that you do.

And yet another Ad Hominem, attacking the person instead of providing evidence to support his assertions.

  1. it seems that you are allowing non devotees to influence your views, at the expense of Srila Prabhupada’s core

And yet one more.

  1. You are taking the opinion of non devotees, as your guide light, which to me is very unfortunate.

And more.

  1. Srila Prabhupada advocated simple living high thinking. One very important aspect of that is using oxen to work. I can just imagine our vegan friends saying “how cruel.”

Nothing related to the assertions I made, simply a personal attack on me and my vegan friends.

 

Before I close this essay, I would like to provide one more video about the cruelty of castrating animals. On his third posting AK writes: “As far as castrated bulls, there are many reasons. One being is that some of them become more manageable, they also become stronger. I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, ” as strong as an ox.” It is a very quick simple procedure that can be performed at a very young age. From my experience with cows, it doesn’t affect their quality of life. They are just as happy as bulls.”

Has AK accurately described the castration procedure? Not really. Here are some facts in a video that might shock you. Open the link and scroll down to castration.

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/cattle-painful-procedures.php

Conclusion

Throughout AK’s three postings he has not provided verifiable clinical evidence that supports his assertions, other than his own view of his health. Well, if AK considers the health of a single person as valid clinical evidence, why similar evidence from thousands of individuals across many countries is not acceptable? Furthermore, I request AK to refrain from personal attacks and stay on topic.

I respect the sincere attempt of many devotees like AK to spread Krishna consciousness in what they believe to be the best way. However, I request AK to be more accurate in what he says and writes.  Accuracy matters and spreading misinformation is misleading. It is my earnest hope that I have not offended any Vaiṣṇava, including AK, in the course of explaining my views about diet and how it can help friends and many others. I pray that we can all work together to fulfill Prabhupada’s ultimate vision of a Kṛishna conscious world.

Final reply from AK

September 17, 2017 at 7:01am

AS I said all along we will never agree. I really cannot be bothered to waste my time trying to prove that milk is healthy, to someone who accepts so called scientific evidence over and above the Vedic conclusion. I think its sad that you are prepared to have faith in non devotees conclusions over and above Srila Prabhupada’s and the whole traditional Vedic perspective on cows and milk. No matter how professionally you present your arguments, and refute mine, I think you are misleading people with your posts and undermining Srila Prabhupada’s efforts to establish the benefits of cow protection. Of course you will not agree, so, as I said at the start of this discussion, let’s just agreee to disagree. This is my last post on the conversation with you. Hare Krishna.

Final note from Lilananda dasa

With the understanding that, as AK said, the above was his last post, and based on the fact that throughout his postings AK has not provided verifiable clinical evidence that supports his assertions and defeats mine, I consider this debate concluded.

My assertions are: 1. Vegans can be healthy 2. Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promotes all stages of the cancer process and other autoimmune diseases.

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