“What will you say to your grandkids?” – @Soytheist Aditya Prakash – Sentientist Conversation

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or Podcast here.

Aditya (soytheist.com & @Soytheist) is an animal rights advocate from Assam in India. His @Soytheist YouTube channel focuses on taking a straightforward & rational approach to animal rights, identity politics & occasionally religion & atheism.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” As well as the video above the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and on the other platforms too.​​​​

We discuss:
0:00 Welcome

1:17 Aditya’s Intro – rational animal rights

  • Having the “luxury” of being able to take a direct approach

3:10 What’s Real?

  • India as a religious country
  • Growing up with religious parents who didn’t push religion
  • Asking deep questions as a child & being handed Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”
  • Never believing in god “There is not sufficient evidence to support the claims.”
  • Criticising religion requires more caution than discussing atheism
  • “A straightforward reading of a lot of religious scripture leads to conclusions & worldviews that are completely at odds with what a regular person would consider to be moral”
  • But “No matter what the scripture says you can bend it” so “the vast majority of religious people are perfectly moral people”
  • The mental gymnastics of adapting religious ethics (e.g. rejecting homophobia)

12:00 What Matters?

  • I can ground my morality as well as a Christian or a Muslim can. But not in a perfectly objective way
  • Every sentient values it’s own suffering & flourishing
  • If our suffering & flourishing matters, so does that of others
  • Growing up in a “heavy meat-eating culture” in North-Eastern India
  • In Western countries the slaughter is hidden away. That’s not the case in much of India
  • Visiting a market at age 14 to buy goat meat. Seeing the terror in a baby goat’s eyes as it was picked up & seeing another trying to hide. Thinking “that’s exactly what I would do.” “Don’t kill him.”
  • Discovering animal rights philosophy online
  • “This is the greatest moral emergency of our time & I have been contributing to this horrifying atrocity”
  • Going vegetarian then learning about dairy & going vegan
  • “What happened to you? – you’ve become like those ‘mainland’ Indians”
  • “There’s a notion that veganism requires economic privilege – That’s nonsense” – “The only people claiming that are those that think a Starbucks latte is a basic need”
  • The cheapest foods in the market were plant-based
  • “Pure veg” & caste purity – can hinder the fight for animal rights. It’s about purity, not compassion
  • Caste discrimination is another hierarchy of oppression. It is oppositional to Sentientism
  • Religion hasn’t been great for human ethics. Looking to it to help with non-human ethics might be naive. Religions are largely concerned with explaining how special humans are.
  • Religions will have to adapt
  • Biocentrism & ecocentrism
  • Equal moral consideration but different rights based on needs & interests
  • PragerU’s “secularists think humans & trees have the same value” video
  • People don’t understand how many sentient beings exist now

34:51 The Future

  • Being more direct about animal rights advocacy
  • “We would not accept someone saying ‘let’s solve the problems for white people first'”
  • “Social progress is ultimately inevitable”
  • Arthur Schopenhauer. Three stages of change: ridicule, question, look back & shiver
  • The Bengal famine of India under British rule (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_famine_of_1943) & Winston Churchill’s racism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_views_of_Winston_Churchill)
  • The condemnation of future generations
  • Veganism is fast becoming accepted
  • Transparency & global comms as agents of change
  • LGBTQ movements were helped through contact “they’re people just like me” & through the oppressed speaking out. That’s harder to achieve for non-human animals
  • Non-human animals speak in the language of terror but can’t talk our language
  • Advocacy approaches. Earthling Ed, Gary Yourovsky. Individual & institutional change
  • Lincoln ran on an anti-slavery platform. Someone who ran today on a pro-non-human animal platform wouldn’t have a chance
  • Animal product alternatives will help but no one should wait. “What will you say to your grand-kids?”
  • We don’t accept “waiting for the system” re: racism. So why for speciesism?
  • The diary of Anne Frank “I still believe people are really good at heart”
  • Countering the “veganism is colonialism” message

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at sentientism.info. Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

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Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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