Free to poke fun?
July 2, 2006 2:32 AM   Subscribe

 
Nikolas Lloyd, a researcher in Evolutionary Psychology, published this and other treatises of rather - ahhem - "interesting" - academic rigor during his decade long association with Newcastle University.

Unfortunately, comments such as "all plants are poisonous" , "if you want to avoid eating toxins, then eat meat" and "when men split up from their veggie girlfriends, they near invariably start enjoying meat again. This goes to prove amongst other things that men really will do ANYTHING for sex." were not received well by some of the good folks at a Vegetarian Dating Site who complained to the University.

Initially backing Lloyd's right to freedom of speech, University administrators later revoked his email account and
removed all of his web pages
which included the offending essay.

Now other academic staff at Newcastle fear a similar fate for simply mirroring Lloyd's work.

While some of Lloyd's other essays
can be found here
, it would seem such though provoking classics such as "Let the children smoke", "What's with fur farming?", and "No more penalty shoot-outs" are lost forever.
posted by Mutant at 2:35 AM on July 2, 2006


This might be interesting if it was readable. I couldn't get past the first paragraph.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:47 AM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why Rich should be force fed typography?
posted by uncle harold at 2:56 AM on July 2, 2006


So far after setting increasing the size of text and getting over the absolutely horrible choice of yellow color and indiana jones font....

...it's an emotionally charged rant against some assumed-vegetarian arguments. He/She set up weaks argument and counter them with a deluge of arguments, probably hoping to get some consensus by shooting in every direction at the same time ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:01 AM on July 2, 2006


Whoever decided to use all caps/comic sans/italics as the body font has a lump of lard on the brain.

Viewing without styles makes it readable and he has some interesting things to say:

'There are more parasites living in and on your body than there are cells of your own body.'

'The sheep was a species which was close to extinction in the Middle East before it became farmed'

In fact, the more I read the sorrier I feel for Lloyd. He seems to believe a whole bunch of arse. Well I suppose he is not alone in that.
posted by asok at 3:03 AM on July 2, 2006


Boiled and buttered Baby Jesus! What the fuck is that hideous font and layout? Mirsky? Is that you?

This guy reads like Gene Ray.

Feed a “healthy salad” to your cat and very soon you will have a very ill cat.

Right, then. That's why indoor-trapped cats go totally loony over a few leaves of spinach, lettuce, green chives or all kinds of other garden produce - even just plain lawn clippings. They need it, and it is far from poisonous to them. Heck, I once had a cat that liked raw onions.

While I enjoy meat, this guy is just willfully wrongheaded. That or so incredibly pointlessly dry-humored it's like trying to laugh at a common river rock.
posted by loquacious at 3:05 AM on July 2, 2006


Wow, some people will respond seriously to any drivel.

Does some guy's long, rambling webpage in a terrible font really need counter-arguments? I don't think so. Anyone who cares to look can see that it's stupid.

And while it seems the university was harsh on the guy, he shouldn't have hosted the pages on his university webspace. If they'd been privately hosted, I doubt there would have been a problem.
posted by reklaw at 3:10 AM on July 2, 2006


There would be even less of a problem if he'd had the forethought to realize his ramblingly sloppy pontifications and theories were not those of great mind, a well mind or really any mind at all.

Just because someone can string half-witted untruths together in grammatically correct sentences doesn't mean it's any form of rigorous thought.
posted by loquacious at 3:19 AM on July 2, 2006


That font is a crime against humanity.
posted by Malor at 3:20 AM on July 2, 2006


Specious drivel, compounded by the aforementioned atrocities of 1996 web design techniques.

I used to eat an entire side of beef every day but after reading this I have decided to become vegetarian, not for any of the reasons he listed but because I now understand the extent to which it will enrage omnivores and cause them to write bad HTML.
posted by tim451 at 3:33 AM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


'There are more parasites living in and on your body than there are cells of your own body.'

This is true if you consider the symbiotic bacteria in your gut to be "parasites". This was discussed on NPR just yesterday - if your cells are "you", are your bacteria also "you"?

/derail
posted by sidereal at 3:48 AM on July 2, 2006


Just as this site cannot be seen as a reasonable attempt to convince people through argument, it makes little sense to respond to it as though it were.

As for the merits of vegetarianism, one need only read a few pages from meat packing and sale regulations in their home country to begin to realize some of the upsides.
posted by sindark at 3:58 AM on July 2, 2006


PEOPLE'S EATING HABITS GET ME SO MAD THAT MY CAPS LOCK KEY BROKE!
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 4:30 AM on July 2, 2006


Poor little font-impaired Wordmonkey. You can't be a proper troll if the readership you wish to enrage can't (and won't) jump through your crummy typographic hoops. Try, try again.
posted by maryh at 4:38 AM on July 2, 2006


Umm, he doesn't actually say why vegetarians should be force fed lard. I was kind of hoping to hear his reasoning on that one...
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:40 AM on July 2, 2006


No, our bacteria are not us. We are clearly constructed from 100% bacterial excreta; walking, talking coral reefs, as it were.
posted by flabdablet at 4:58 AM on July 2, 2006


Sidereal, do you know what NPR show the symbiotic bacteria story was discussed on?

Also, I like flabdablet's theory because it's a whole lot cooler. Like, "I just met Jordi LaForge in real life," kinda cool. Or, "Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age," kinda cool. Coral reefs that talk...FTW.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 5:23 AM on July 2, 2006


His bit about the economics of farming are wrong. Animal farming does take more land resources than arable, which is why in times and places of high pop densities and low land availability and technology (medieval Europe, nineteenth century China), most people were just about vegetarian. The rich could still afford meat, so meat continued to be farmed.

Now, he is right that there are places where meat can be raised that aren't useful/good for arable farming: Wyoming, Wales, Scotland, highlands of England -- there is a reason that Britain has long had more animal farming than other European areas, and had been long known as meat eaters (thus "ros bif", I can't spell french).

But in our current economy, we do raise animals on excellent arable land as well. And we eat a lot of meat, and our animals eat a lot of food. I don't think it's as simple as some vegetarians make out (that animal farming takes land directly away from arable farming and this is the source of third world starvation), because animal farming is concentrated in the first world where there is a surplus of food. But perhaps it does affect world prices in staples, as people compete with cows for grain.

As for the GM food argument, that might be good if all GM research were looking to create drought and pest resistent dwarf wheat, but most GM research is going into crops that make the companies money, and cost the developing world more money. Crops that either don't produce fertile offspring or produce a poor second crop, crops that produce a great harvest but only with expensive fertilisers and soil damaging irrigation. Basically, for every bit of dwarf wheat or pest resistent cotton, there are ten versions of round up ready canola, and those crops are not good for the developing world. (Actually, I'm not sure about all of the Green Revolution crops -- they've done amazing things, but are they heavily dependent on irrigation? That could be a problem in the future.)
posted by jb at 5:26 AM on July 2, 2006


it would seem such though provoking classics such as "Let the children smoke", "What's with fur farming?", and "No more penalty shoot-outs" are lost forever.

Huh? A cursory Googling of the guy's name reveals that he actually has his own domain: Lloydian Aspects. No weird fonts, either.
posted by Gator at 5:28 AM on July 2, 2006


Do you ever drink water? That’s a chemical. I can give you the formula if you’d like: H2O - two hydrogen atoms in a molecule with one atom of oxygen.

Wow! Thank you, RantGuy™!
posted by darkstar at 5:31 AM on July 2, 2006


Excellent Gator - thanks much! I was googling about but always looking for his name in the context of the vegetarian / academic dispute.

He has a well defined list of dislikes :

1. Aniseed
2. People who don't think
3. The French
4. Journalists
5. Political parties, and their adherants
6. Vegetarianism
7. Monotheism
8. Near enough anything else ending in "ism"
9. The Body Shop
10. Sue Lawley

All of his opinions are here.

I teach part time at a Univsersity in London, and news of this dispute and Newcastles reacton is making the rounds. I got the initial (and crappily styled) link from a colleague in a pretty widely cc'ed email.
posted by Mutant at 5:50 AM on July 2, 2006


Why People Who's Websites Make My Eyes Hurt Should Have a Pool Cue Wedged Up Their Arse(s) Sideways.
posted by i_cola at 5:59 AM on July 2, 2006


One wouldn't want to miss out on his evolutionary theories, either. Such as "Why children are so ungrateful," "Why Bond villains employ dwarves," and "Why men haven't got a clue." Remember, these aren't opinions, they are evolutionary theories.
posted by Gator at 5:59 AM on July 2, 2006


Colloquial Collision - it was Saturday July 1 2006, middle of the day - I don't know what program it was, and I'm not seeing it on npr.org's slow slow search.
posted by sidereal at 6:03 AM on July 2, 2006


Wow, that was just like pretty much every discussion in this forum about vegetarianism..... only a lot more annoying and hard on the eyes.
posted by elendil71 at 6:13 AM on July 2, 2006


In other related news, having opinions is a-la-page again, you opinionated asshats !
posted by elpapacito at 6:48 AM on July 2, 2006


He has a well defined list of dislikes :

1. Aniseed
2. People who don't think
3. The French
4. Journalists
5. Political parties, and their adherants
6. Vegetarianism
7. Monotheism
8. Near enough anything else ending in "ism"
9. The Body Shop
10. Sue Lawley



Despite the fact that his rants are rubbish, his dislike list overlaps surprisingly with mine.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 7:03 AM on July 2, 2006


Pliny the blogger.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:04 AM on July 2, 2006


A free speech and academic freedom issue devolve's into a web design and typography critique. Is this a Mac forum?
posted by srboisvert at 7:25 AM on July 2, 2006


Does some guy's long, rambling webpage in a terrible font really need counter-arguments? I don't think so. Anyone who cares to look can see that it's stupid.

My hero.

The reason why folks respond is that, if left to fester, this idiot will probably gain a following of like-minded, soft-headed fools. Just look at Ann Coulter. We left her alone initially, and now she thinks every book she publishes is a sane, rational critique of world politics.

And, of course, we're going to debate web design and typography - I can't take this chucklehead seriously if his idea of presenting his rationale is to use the Internet equivalent of a burnt sienna crayon and the hallway wall.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:36 AM on July 2, 2006


I became a veggie simply because I don’t like meat.

At first this might seem like the most reasonable of arguments. People are different. Some people can eat aniseed and keep a smile on their face. Perhaps a person might genuinely not like the taste of meat. If so, then it would be unreasonable to drag them into the street and force feed them lard. On reflection, though, it doesn’t quite add up.



People like the same things. People prefer comfort to pain,...


What an idiot. He's obviously never been outside of Britain, to someplace like Asia for instance, were people delightedly eat things that make most westerners more than a bit squeamish (live octopus, for instance). I remember reading about an Eskimo delicacy that consisted of raw,rotting seal intestines still containing the rotting food the seal had eaten. Mmmmmmm.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:56 AM on July 2, 2006


You know what's funny? It's not even original. I've heard bits and pieces of this from National Review and Reason writers for years. But I'm not in the mood to dig around the National Review for links.

Sidereal, do you know what NPR show the symbiotic bacteria story was discussed on?

I'm not Sidereal, but I heard it yesterday on All Things Considered.
posted by dw at 8:32 AM on July 2, 2006


I ordered a medium-rare strip the other night at Morton's. After consuming a pail of blood squished out of the grilled eviscerated flesh soaking on my plate, I had to make it outside to vomit all over the sidewalk.

No thanks. Salad for me.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:36 AM on July 2, 2006


Why did you order medium rare if you don't like medium rare? Get it medium well if you're going to freak out about it. Geez.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:39 AM on July 2, 2006


It was only a matter of time before somebody quoted this:
Jimmy: Uhh, Mr. McClure? I have a crazy friend who says its wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?

Troy: Nooo, just ignorant. You see your crazy friend never heard of "The Food Chain".

[Flash to a picture of "Food Chain", with all animals and arrows pointing to a silhouette of a human.]

Just ask this scientician.

Scientician: [Looking up from a microscope.] Uhhh...

Troy: He'll tell you that, in nature, one creature invariably eats another creature to survive.

[Images of various wild carnivores attacking and eating others appear.]

Don't kid yourself Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!

[Image of a cow quietly chewing cud.]

Jimmy: Wow, Mr. McClure. I was a grade A moron to ever question eating meat.

Troy: [Laughs.] Yes you were Jimmy, yes you were.
(Source)
posted by sindark at 8:42 AM on July 2, 2006


Last time I force-fed a vegetarian lard, the results were disappointing. I'm now going to switch to force-feeding them pails of blood squished out of grilled eviscerated flesh; it sounds like that gives much more satisfying results.
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on July 2, 2006


Man, Nikolas, we're gonna eat meat and those other people are gonna eat only vegetables. What's the big fucking deal, anyway? Next you'll be telling me it's not okay for those people to have buttsex.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2006


Heck, I once had a cat that liked raw onions.


Don't feed cats onions.
posted by ozomatli at 8:46 AM on July 2, 2006


The only thing that seems offensive about this is its extreme stupidity. I'm curious about exactly why the university decided to remove his page-- was he in violation of a specific policy regarding what can and cannot be posted on their webspace?
posted by bookish at 9:05 AM on July 2, 2006


The first link makes my computer freeze up. It's because I'm a vegetarian, isn't it?
posted by amro at 9:10 AM on July 2, 2006


This page looks like ass. However, it seemed like it was going to be pretty trollish anyway, so whatever.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:13 AM on July 2, 2006


Loquacious said, "This guy reads like Gene Ray."

Hey! GENE RAY IS A GOD AMONG MEN! I can prove it! I have NASA pictures!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2006


Thanks, dw!
posted by sidereal at 9:20 AM on July 2, 2006


flabdablet said, "No, our bacteria are not us. We are clearly constructed from 100% bacterial excreta; walking, talking coral reefs, as it were."

That would explain the puffer fish in my left ear...
posted by ZachsMind at 9:26 AM on July 2, 2006


The guy was dumped by a vegetarian girlfriend.
posted by LarryC at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2006


So, if my wife is a vegetarian and I'm a little bit overweight, can I take the title of his article as a double-entendre?

'Cause that's what's going to happen.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2006


why are we all discussing this drivel? why are we all responding?
posted by seawallrunner at 10:50 AM on July 2, 2006


was he in violation of a specific policy regarding what can and cannot be posted on their webspace?

There's a bit of an explanation here, bookish. Apparently, "Lloyd's downfall was that, as a visiting fellow, he was not an official member of staff and so lacked the protection of the legislation."

I actually enjoyed reading his rants, er, opinions and evolutionary theories, once I found his actual site with the non-freakaloid fonts.
posted by Gator at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2006


He's also a Holocaust denier twat, apparently.
posted by basicchannel at 11:07 AM on July 2, 2006


Basicchannel, how could you possibly read the article you linked to and accuse him of being a Holocause denier? Did you actually read it?
posted by thparkth at 11:11 AM on July 2, 2006


I have never seen a webpage that ugly. You have to work to get something to look that bad.

Vegetarianism might be kind of silly at times, but whatever.
posted by blacklite at 11:18 AM on July 2, 2006


The point (in crossing out holocaust denier and relabeling twat) is that he enjoys offending whomever he can with his titles before killing us with paragraph after paragraph of unreadable drivel.

Ergo, twat.

Did you read my post?
posted by basicchannel at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2006


I actually think the vegetarianism article is quite interesting, when you find the original on his own website, not the awful version linked to in the article.

Among other things, he is proposing an explanation for vegetarianism based on evolutionary psychology. And he's definitely qualified to speculate in that area, whether you agree with his ideas or not.
posted by thparkth at 12:40 PM on July 2, 2006


Jane: "I'm an emotional vegetarian. I know a lot of vegetarians and we tend to like the same films."
posted by ZachsMind at 12:56 PM on July 2, 2006


If you're going to read an ill-informed rant against vegetarians, I suggest you read one that at least is funny, like this guy's.
posted by Kronoss at 3:11 PM on July 2, 2006


And on the other side of things, I came across this site while searching for a better Boudrain link. Christ, what an asshole:

If we are going to change the public’s perception of vegetarianism and nonvegetarianism, we must make our feelings about animal flesh known. We must create a social climate in which carnivores are well aware that many vegetarians, particularly ethical vegetarians, don’t like to sit down at a meal and watch others tear into animal flesh. Asking a carnivore to order vegetarian food is a starting point, and then (or later) following that up with a conversation about vegetarianism: the health, environmental, and ethical aspects of meat eating; and your personal decision to go vegetarian.


Is it really that hard for us to all eat what we want and have everyone else be cool with it? Maybe it's because I don't consider myself an "ethical vegetarian" (I guess I'm just a regular one) but being that shrill around meat eaters is only going to encourage people like this Loyd guy to write silly rants.
posted by Kronoss at 3:32 PM on July 2, 2006


We should all be vegetarians. Not to protect the animals, but to destroy plant life. After all, trees don't hug back. Don't believe the lies. Trees would kill you in the space of your heartbeat if they weren't so impervious to movement. Plants are our true enemies, and cows tell us to eat more chicken because they're in on it with the trees. So eat steaks and salads today. The species you save could be your own.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:42 PM on July 2, 2006


This may be pertinent. The Morality of Eating Meat by a couple d***heads. (via YouTube)

"I am King! Bring me 137 virgins! ...Bring me Gatorade and lubricant!"
posted by ZachsMind at 3:54 PM on July 2, 2006


that was awful. it reminded me of my middle-school newspaper.
posted by ackeber at 4:00 PM on July 2, 2006


You know, when I eat a steak, it's been long dead. When one bites into a delicious apple, it's STILL ALIVE!

Can you all hear the tiny screams? It's the vegetables and fruits you have murdered.

Ethical vegetarianism sometimes rests on the assumption that plants can not feel pain. This has never been proven satisfactorily, and some plants are in fact known to posses nervous systems which may imply the ability to feel pain.
posted by Sukiari at 4:35 PM on July 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Asking a carnivore to order vegetarian food is a starting point, and then (or later) following that up with a conversation about vegetarianism: the health, environmental, and ethical aspects of meat eating; and your personal decision to go vegetarian.

Then tell them why you quit smoking and about how Jesus saved you from a life of sin.

Then wonder why they won't go out to dinner with you again.
posted by Bonzai at 6:49 PM on July 2, 2006


Thanks, dw!
posted by Colloquial Collision at 8:55 PM on July 2, 2006


The point (in crossing out holocaust denier and relabeling twat) is that he enjoys offending whomever he can with his titles before killing us with paragraph after paragraph of unreadable drivel.

Wait, this guy is Ann Coulter?
posted by dw at 9:25 PM on July 2, 2006


That would explain the puffer fish in my left ear...

It's not a puffer fish. Don't take it out or you'll stop being able to understand thix treeg dgf ecvsssf trtreet.
posted by hob at 10:00 PM on July 2, 2006


Wait, Ann Coulter is a puffer fish?
posted by darkstar at 11:05 PM on July 2, 2006


Sukiari: Ethical vegetarianism sometimes rests on the assumption that plants can not feel pain. This has never been proven satisfactorily, and some plants are in fact known to posses nervous systems which may imply the ability to feel pain.

No plant has a nervous system or even a single nerve cell. They do have chemical communication systems, but they are not very sophisticated and incapable of any kind of processing. There's no rational reason to assume that plants have any kind of consciousness, even as much as an insect might have. At least the insect might have a nerve ganglion.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:16 PM on July 2, 2006


Heh. Some good points. Vegetarians and especially vegans can be pretty pushy in promoting their views. Check out the discussions on wikipedia article on vegans. Reads more like a pro-vegan ad than an encyclopedia.
posted by jeblis at 12:33 AM on July 3, 2006


Is it really that hard for us to all eat what we want and have everyone else be cool with it? Maybe it's because I don't consider myself an "ethical vegetarian" (I guess I'm just a regular one) but being that shrill around meat eaters is only going to encourage people like this Loyd guy to write silly rants.

Well, I suspect it is hard, if you are invested enough in the issue. I'm an "ethical vegetarian," in that I don't eat meat because I believe it's wrong, but others' choices don't bother me too much. But if you really believe that "meat is murder," wouldn't you be bothered by people eating meat in front of you? What if people ate, say, babies in front of you - delicious, juicy babies?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:53 AM on July 3, 2006


I like his method for getting rid of kick-offs.
posted by jeblis at 12:59 AM on July 3, 2006


But if you really believe that "meat is murder," wouldn't you be bothered by people eating meat in front of you?

Or if you believe that pork is an abomination before the lord, wouldn't you want to blow up the buildings of pork eating infidels?
posted by hob at 7:27 AM on July 3, 2006


[this is bad]
posted by glenwood at 7:50 AM on July 3, 2006


From Kronoss's link: If you can’t dine at your home or a vegetarian restaurant, tell all of the nonvegetarians that you would very much appreciate it if everyone ordered a vegetarian meal.

The proper response, of course, is to then order the foie gras and the grilled baby lamb chops.
posted by effwerd at 10:08 AM on July 3, 2006


Well, if you don't normally eat meat, but take communion, then you're still eating meat -- and it's human flesh, too! At least if you belive in trans-substantiation. If you don't believe, then it's just a cracker.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if you could do a Atkins-style high-protein diet consisting of the flesh of Christ? Loose weight *and* get saved!
posted by webnrrd2k at 10:33 AM on July 3, 2006


Is there anything special about this guy? Isn't there at least a dozen like him on every Internet chat room, complaining about the Kool Aid that the sheeple have drunk, lording their professed independent thinkingvoer everyone, and backing it up with dopey arguments, Ayn Rand quotes, libertarian politics, and citings from Bullshit?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2006


I'm sorry,
I couldn't force myself to read past the first paragraph.

it might as well be written in heiroglyphics.
posted by Megafly at 1:00 PM on July 3, 2006


...Seriously, Mutant -- next time, Google a little more. The guy's name + veggie or vegetarian would still have brought up his domain, which would've been much better in the FPP. Had the main link been the guy's actual, readable site, things might've gone a little better. (I don't think people are reading the comments, so much.)
posted by Gator at 1:07 PM on July 3, 2006


thparkth: Among other things, he is proposing an explanation for vegetarianism based on evolutionary psychology. And he's definitely qualified to speculate in that area, whether you agree with his ideas or not.

Sorry, that's just wrong - he has no qualifications in evolutionary psychology, he has never published on the subject and has never held a post at an educational establishment (his degree was in archaeology!). Whatever the stated reason that Newcastle University removed his web / email privelages, they should have done so because the publishing of such specious drivel undre their demain could be seen to bring them into disrepute.
posted by daveg at 6:20 AM on July 4, 2006


OK, 'sensory systems' instead of 'nerves' then. In any event, vegetarianism involves as much harm to and death of organisms as a strictly carnivorous diet does.
posted by Sukiari at 12:58 PM on July 6, 2006


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