Coral is an aspiring writer, an animal rescue volunteer/donor & runs a bunny boarding & grooming business. She is an ex-Mormon atheist with a naturalistic worldview & a “meat & potatoes girl” turned vegan.
In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”
00:00 Welcome & why Sentientism is important
02:39 “Vegan Atheist Coral”‘s Intro
- A Mormon, military family
- Joining the Coastguard
- From “A meat & potatoes girl” to vegan & animal rescue
- From religious to “spiritual” to agnostic/atheist
- #JoinTheConversation & Street Epistemology
- Stories with morals. Star Trek
11:55 What’s Real?
- Growing up Mormon (yet another “one true church”)
- “It encompasses every bit of your life”
- 4 hours in church then 2 more in “school” every Sunday
- “Most of my childhood I felt like I was in church”
- Strong emphasis on family, but “very good at shunning” if you don’t believe
- Internal self-pressure: “You’re constantly measuring yourself against what you think Jesus would want you to do”
- Joseph Smith & the golden plates
- The old & new Bible testaments superceded by The Book of Mormon
- The trinity, creationism, proselytising
- Fundamentalist & progressive Mormons
- Managing the public perception of Mormonism (e.g. modesty dress codes)
- Sending children on missions. Isolating from families & friends to reinforce church teachings
- “The other people you’re on the mission with are almost snitches”
- Church sees friends & even own parents as potential threats
- Pressured to speak to elders about doubts “testimony” as long as they’re resolved in favour of the church
- Moving from the west coast to Alabama. Culture shock
- Growing up with a naievety about race & racism
- The shock of a new school “We pray here”
- “I go to the one true church & they’re all wrong”
- Parents drifting away from the church due to accusations about a minister
- Studying other religions… “there has to be an ultimate truth”
- Some family are still Mormon
- Asking “what do we know & how do we know?”, exploring philosophy (brain in a vat, The Matrix), re-evaluating “the god question”
- “If you’re going to call the universe god why not just call it the universe”
51:00 What (& Who) Matters?
- Sticking to rules (military mindset) instead of thinking about morality, “until I got to my atheism”
- Learning about non-human animal morality/altruism (Frans de Waal)
- A vegan best friend has a vegan wedding. Joking about leaving to get a burger
- Following some vegans online
- If when I think of veganism I think of the word “moral”… “then why aren’t I vegan?”
- A turning point when friends made jokes about rabbit stew
- It’s not considered extreme “to help a victim”
- “I was a meat & potato girl… & I couldn’t cook!”
- Veganuary… finally getting help & resources
- Human duties as caretakers of animals, living things and our planet
- Motto: “When given multiple options try to use the least shitty”
- Extending John Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance” to also obscure species when designing a just society (see Rowlands, Dombrowski, Varner)
- “What if you didn’t know if you were going to end up being a cow or a pig or a fish?”… “When I ask that question, people’s speciesism drops”
- The Tyra Show experiments… encouraging empathy
01:19:00 How Can We Make a Better World?
- Why animal ethics is like kryptonite for otherwise rational, skeptical thinkers
- “You never know what is going to end up being that lightbulb”
- Writing fiction as a driver of change
- Story & narrative
- Suspected Sentientist Yuval Noah Harari
- Messaging tone. Judgement vs. compassion & empathy
- Parallels between social change re: smoking & animal farming
- Will animal farming one day be outlawed?
- Human & non-human oppression: “It’s the same fight regardless”
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.
Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook. Coral and I are already there!
Thanks Graham for the post-production.