Proposal: Vegetarianism

Since vegetarian/vegans... have the tendency to fall into naturalist beliefs ("what is natural is good, what is artificial is bad") I was curious to know if questions related to the potential benefit of specific GMO (on nutrition) would be accepted on the vegetarian forum (such as oxalate-free GMO products, calcium or B12 enriched vegetable, linseed producing Omega3/DHA, aflatoxin free products etc.).

  • "have the tendency to fall into naturalist beliefs " - please back it up. You cannot just jump from "The vegetarians I know (of) are against GMOs" to "Everybody in the world who is a vegetarian is likely to be against GMOs" - that's just spreading misinformation.
    – tmaj
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 2:19
  • BTW. I'm not sure you meant "naturalist". In philosophy, naturalism is the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.
    – tmaj
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:36

6 Answers 6


I can't think of any reason why a proposal for vegetarianism would be restricted to "natural" products. So-called "unnatural" products are still vegetarian, after all.

  • I agree, but I have never heard of unnatural products.
    – tmaj
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 2:16
  • @mayu they would 1) be called "artificial" if anything and 2) very much not advertised as such. In fashion it's called "synthetic" though (e.g. substitutes for leather).
    – djechlin
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 16:19

While I predict some questions of the style "Do vegans only eat healthy/organic/non-gmo food?", I believe this is slightly off topic.


I'm sure there will be a subgroup of Veg*ns that are interested in this (GMO/Organics), there will bound to be questions on it, just as some Veg*ns are more interested in health, environment, or ethics.

However, I see no reason for the site to be restricted to them. Some Vegetarians (including myself) are even Geneticists and support GMO development. As I health researcher I see no health benefit to Organic / GE-free foods. Indeed, such GM technologies may be of interest to some Veg*ns, with developments to reduce malnutrition or environmental impacts. Similarly there's a of lot to discuss with the ethical implications of innovations such as synthetic "petri-dish" meat.

I don't think this site is the right place to debate whether Organic or GMO foods are healthy. However, I see no reason a question on the lines of "I prefer to eat Organic foods, what Organic Vege substitutes for X are there?".

  • I recommend you pick a different way of writing "the collective grouping of all non-meat-eating philosophies". Your current method makes it look like you consider "vegan" to be an obscenity.
    – Mark
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:17
  • 1
    Well, I do consider it an extreme point of view. I'm a programmer, so the use of the "wildcard" * for anything that fills in the blanks is quite natural to me. Plus, I've adopted this several vegan/vegetarian forums where the admins, vegans themselves, use "veg*n" as shorthand for both dietary/lifestyle preferences. Trust me, I'm not above using uncensored profanity in far more formal contexts than with anonymous people on the web but it's not what I intended here. I really didn't think semantics would be the controversial part of a post on GMOs and Organics.
    – Tom Kelly
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 1:06

Maybe, but you need to refine your proposal.

I am of the opinion that successful Stacks have broad topic bases. But an even broader base needs to be well-defined. You took an attempt at this but did not succeed, as others have been apt to point out:

Since vegetarian/vegans... have the tendency to fall into naturalist beliefs ("what is natural is good, what is artificial is bad")

Well, that's a stereotype, and really so do a lot of people, like I would actually say everyone falls into those beliefs. We can't really have a forum about any topic related to whether something is artificial or not. That includes topics like all of cooking, fitness, ergonomics, anything regarding human interaction...

So, which food is... "more natural"? Heck no.

  • "Are GMOs bad for the environment?" IMO yes this is on topic, because environmental impact of foodstuff (again, in my opinion) on toic.
  • "Are GMOs safe?" no, this is not on topic,"safe" is too broad, and this is just about food.

If you want to come up with a more specific proposal that is not based on a dubious stereotype, sure.

  • about "dubious stereotype" and your faithful conviction: what make you think "GMO are bad"? Do you understand that it's like saying "plants are bad/unsafe"? Do you know that there is more than one plant, right?
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 13:26
  • And if I summarized your point that would be "GMO are bad, because... well because they are made of an GMO's unnatural nature". This and your moralist/religious approach of facts (good/bad -pure/evil) actually confirm my "have the tendency to fall into naturalist beliefs". Cf my comment under Mayu's proposition to censored my question.
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 13:30
  • @Guillaume I don't think that. Edited for clarity. Just a side point, I don't really think the point of any of my actions, opinions or beliefs has to do with upholding or denying your stereotypes. In my personal experience the veg*ns that I have spent my time socializing with have incredibly robust and science-driven knowledge of food sourcing. They generally DGAF about GMOs and wish people would their time worrying about actual problems. So if you think I'm "confirming" a stereotype that is your choice and your problem.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 15:02
  • Sorry if that sounded confrontational. Let me just try to say in general, the issue I take with stereotyping is that the stereotyper feels entitled to believe the stereotype unless and until the stereotypee proves otherwise. And I didn't sign up for that work and I don't feel I have that burden. XKCD here. If I'm a GMO-fearing idiot that really ought to reflect badly on the community of idiots, not vegetarians.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 16:17
  • I don't like the word "idiot" and the moralist concept that goes with (I don't believe in free will). I love confrontation. I see it as something healthy and stimulating (that's why I posted this question. I thought it would have been closed or downvoted, I was curious to see how people would react).
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 19:06

@C_Z_ answers the main point, but I think it's important to address some of the issues with the question.

I think it is important for the Vegetarianism and Veganism community to pay a lot of attention to integrity and fact-checking and it is critical to ensure that the following statement is questioned.

Since vegetarian/vegans... have the tendency to fall into naturalist beliefs ("what is natural is good, what is artificial is bad")

I see the following issues with this question:

  1. It is loaded with weasel words like natural, artificial, have tendency, good, and bad.
  2. It contains a statement about billions of people around the world without backing it up.
  3. It suggests that all vegans/vegetarians are inner urban lifestyle-choice young people from high income countries. This is not the case.
  4. Finally, this question can only divide our young community by separating us into the GMO and non-GMO camps.

I vote to close this seemingly reasonable question, which in fact only does damage.

  • "I vote to close this seemingly reasonable question, which in fact only does damage". That one says something interesting about openness, tolerance, and censorship. It's an anti science statement, it sounds actually very religious. I don't know if you realized it, but (unfortunately, for me) your answer backup my point.
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 11:37
  • @Guillaume My criticism is not towards the issue of GMO but about the way you ask about it. Addressing the 4 points I expressed in my answer would be scientific.
    – tmaj
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:51
  • I agree with you that it is wrong to divide the community more than it already is. However, this is exactly why we need to discuss issues like this and acknowledge that the veg*n community comes from a variety of backgrounds, holding many different views on GE and Organic foods.
    – Tom Kelly
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 1:11
  • @mayu Miami another categorization: some (most?) do believe that the best way to defend an idea (e.g. The vegan way) is to have many followers behind. So questioning the foundation of the idea is taboo since it could weaken its reputation. Everything that contradicts the idea must be censored. That’s the religious way. There is another way, the scientific one: it consists of looking for the truth even if you have to critic the deepest foundation of the idea and even if you end up breaking the church that defend it.
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 13:34
  • The goal of science isn’t to unite (that’s the goal of religion) nor to avoid confrontation (that also the goal of religion), on the contrary. The goal of science is to look for the truth. That’s why religions aren't science friendly : science bother. Another categorization for you: you could look at the world in terms of facts (scientific way), or in the traditional (natural?) way: in terms of moral impulses (good vs bad, gut feeling…). “Categorization is bad” isn’t a scientific argument. “Your categorization is wrong” is scientific … if you can prove it.
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 13:35
  • @TomKelly Yes, we need to discuss all issues, but this question is about discussing the discussion. That's my main point - let's just discuss issues, and not discuss about if we will discuss it.
    – tmaj
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:19
  • @Guillaume Let's get things clear. I am for including GMO foods in the forum discussions. I agree with C_Z_'s answer. I'm against censorship of the discussion. I don't understand your arguments - you seem to defend science, but your question is full of stereotypes about a significant part of world population without backing it up :/
    – tmaj
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:32
  • @Guillaume Yes, although I disagree on the validity of this question. It is valuable to define the scope of the community. Is that not the purpose of this forum?
    – Tom Kelly
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:06

For me it's legitimate to ask such questions, although -in my opinion- the answer is pretty obvious.

  • 3
    Please include the obvious answer.
    – tmaj
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:25
  • The more I think in the answer the more I see that it's not obvious at all and relies on personal beliefs and personal reasons why one becomes vegan. the answer is too long to fit in one comment, so I wait for the question to be asked in order to post the proper answer.
    – Attilio
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 1:43

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