Listing of first ten Impersonal Opinion episodes.

1. Don’t take it personally!

This is the first episode of Impersonal Opinion. This is the show where we share our opinions and don’t take anything personally! We talked about so many different things and yet strangely they often still related to the free will topic. Remember, we did not choose our opinions and so it’s nothing personal when we disagree. No topic is off limits!

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2. Animal Rights

Chandler, George, and Jamie talk about animal rights and the reasoning behind vegetarianism and veganism. George also mentions how the livestock industry contributes to climate change. It’s time to consider how we view animals in contrast to how we view other humans. There are so many myths about these topics that have not been questioned by many people.

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3. Happiness

George has a history of studying and promoting happiness. His theory is that all the other things we do are to achieve happiness. If happiness is what life is about, we should look for what makes us happy. What methods do you use and are there things you have not tried? George is able to find happiness through transcendental meditation. Supposedly he can access happiness directly without having it always be about achieving goals.

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4. Many Opinions

Chandler Klebs, Jamie Soden, David Joseph, George Ortega, and Will share their impersonal opinions about topics such as the price and specs of mobile devices, false messages in advertising, the color of the sky and grass, the lies of the meat, dairy, and egg industries, why life would be better without sex, and whatever else was on our minds at the time.

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5. Kaitlyn Hunt

In this episode, Chandler Klebs, Jamie Soden, David Joseph, and George Ortega share their impersonal opinions about the case involving Kaitlyn Hunt who is being unfairly charged as a sex offender by the parents of a 14 year old she is in a relationship with. With the knowledge we had at the time it doesn’t seem like these teenagers did anything wrong.

After we talked about that, we sort of moved on to other topics. At around 24 minutes, Jamie Soden mentioned something I said on Facebook about eating meat being the same as murder. It was a huge change in subject, but that’s the kind of thing that can happen in our podcasts.

I hope that I clarified that I am not blaming people for it. I’ve mentioned this in previous podcasts. Because no one has a free will, it is not their fault when they have contributed to animal cruelty. By understanding this, hopefully it will make it easier for them to change rather than justifying it.

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6. The Paradoxical Roni Cairns

We talk with our guest Roni Cairns about paradoxes! We talked about many paradoxes and also definitions of words. Roni begins with a Google definition.

paradox: “a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.”

Then she gives the example of the liar’s paradox.

“This statement is false.”

We talk about many different paradoxes but we also spent a significant amount on the Free Will topic which is usually what we cover in our other podcast. Either way I hope you enjoyed our Impersonal Opinion conversation about paradoxes!

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7. Happiness and Meditation

George Ortega explains his experience with meditation and finding happiness that does not depend on other people. This way ensures that our happiness can’t as easily be stolen from us and we also don’t put pressure on others to make us happy.

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8. Anti-Natalism

Trick Slattery is an anti-natalist and Chandler Klebs requested to record an episode specifically about where he and Trick agree and disagree. Jamie Soden was also available at the time so all three of us shared our opinions without taking anything personally! Overall it was a great talk! The topic of Anti-Natalism is most interesting because it raises new questions about the morality of procreation. Can we justify bringing new people into existence who cannot consent to it? Will their existence cause greater pain than pleasure to the rest of life on the planet?

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9. Abortion

Is it ever right to kill? If so, when is it right to kill?
Chandler Klebs and Trick Slattery come from very different viewpoints when it comes to the rightness or wrongness of taking a life. Trick things that consciousness and certain experiences are required for life to have value. Chandler is not willing to take any risks and grieves over accidentally killing insects. This implies that their views on abortion will never match up. Nonetheless, they dare to talk about it and nobody takes their opinions personally.

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10. Consciousness

Some cohosts of the Free Will, Science, and Religion podcast have been talking about consciousness and recorded some Impersonal Opinion episodes about defining what consciousness is and exactly what all it applies to. There are views such as panpsychism and epiphenominalism which may be worth exploring more.

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Food Paradox

Food Paradox

Had I known that I would go vegan and lose 50 pounds, I would have taken pictures of myself when I was 202 pounds. This would provide proof that it does often result in weight loss.

But had I known years ago that I would go vegan, I would have needed to know the reasons why I did so.

Therefore, I would have been vegan years sooner and therefore could not have turned vegan when I was 27.

The conclusion is that it is logically incoherent to know such an event will happen. Such knowledge prevents that future from taking place. This is why I understand that it could be no other way.

Thoughts vs actions

Assuming that all pedophiles molest children is about the same as saying that all heterosexual men rape women. Clearly that’s not true. By extension, we can logically deduce that some people have certain other beliefs and desires that cancel out their desire to have sex with a certain type of person.

Finding out the difference between the people who do molest and those who don’t is a very scientific and psychological topic of great importance.

Additionally, this can be applied in reverse. Asexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone, but some would still theoretically have sex with a partner either to give their partner pleasure or because they want to reproduce.

Thoughts do not automatically translate into actions. Often there are certain factors to consider. For example, I desire the taste of cheese because I like it, but after going vegan I eat different things instead because I know that buying dairy funds slaughter of cattle.

The point of all this is to say that nurture trumps nature. Educated people have more information about the consequences of certain actions. There are two main ways people are deterred from crime.

1. Empathy: “I wouldn’t want that done to me.”
2. Fear of Punishment: “I don’t want to go to jail.”

Naturally, if everyone had perfect empathy, then it would seem that crime would be nonexistent.

Bob’s Weight Loss Journey part 2

Let’s continue with Bob’s story as if scenario 2 or 3 had happened. Ted’s advice didn’t help him so he continues asking for advice.

Bob talks to his next friend named Jed. Jed tells him to eat less and he will lose weight. So Bob tries eating less of his usual food. He notices that he feels weak and is constantly feeling hungry. He is cranky at people because he is trying so hard to do the same amount of work on less food. He sees some weight loss results but the other effects on his health are not good. He gives up and goes back to eating his usual meals.

When Bob tells Jed about his failure, Jed blames him for not having enough willpower and being lazy. Bob no longer likes Jed very much and doesn’t talk to him much these days. Bob knows he tried, but thinks that there has to be a better way than starving himself.

Next he talks to Fred. His friend Fred tells him to excercise more. Bob follows the advice. He joins a gym and tries to exercise. He feels better and a bit stronger, but he has to eat a lot more to keep up this level of activity. He still hasn’t gotten any results except that he is stronger than he was.

He stays with the exercise because he likes it, but he goes in search of more advice. He realizes that in the time he’s known his friends Ted, Jed, and Fred, Not one of them has ever been overweight. He goes to find an expert in the field. Someone who has formerly obese and lost the weight.

Around that time, he goes to a high school reunion. He is talking politics with some people and having a great time. He wants to ask the woman about her position on gun control. He realizes that he doesn’t even know her name and asks her what her name is.

Bob: Excuse me, I know we went to high school together but I don’t remember who you are by appearance nor can I remember your name.

Mysterious Woman: My name is Alice Cooper. You might have occasionally seen me, but in general I kept to myself.

Bob: So you were more of an introvert?

Alice: No, not at all. I just didn’t have many friends and was bullied a lot. I wasn’t welcome with the popular people because I was so overweight back then.

Bob: That’s very sad. I would have loved to be your friend back then, but I suppose I was always busy with school and hanging out with my friends. By the way, you don’t look fat to me. Can I ask how you lost weight? You

Alice: I’m not exactly sure. I’ve experienced many changes in my life, but I don’t remember intentionally trying to lose weight. When I got a job and moved to my own apartment, I adopted a dog and spent a lot of time playing with him at the park.

Bob: I suppose that may have increased your level of exercise, but I’ve already been working out a lot and haven’t lost weight. There must be something else. Tell me more about what you did.

Alice: I was always an animal lover and so I went vegan after I learned where meat, dairy, and eggs come from. I wanted to set an example for others by following a lifestyle of non-violence.

Bob: I suppose that explains why you would be concerned about gun control too. I was going to ask you about that but right at the moment I’m concerned with losing weight because it’s probably not good for my health to be so overweight. Besides, people often see fat people as lazy or stupid and I don’t like the way people judge me.

Alice: Believe me. I’ve been there. I’ll tell you what little I do know. Maybe something in my story will help.

Bob: Yes, please continue.

Alice: I started paying more attention to the ingredients list on the food I buy in the store. I try to avoid meat, milk, and eggs when I can.

Bob: That sounds simple enough

Alice: I started noticing what was on the ingredients list. I saw things like dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, etc. I tried to search for them on the internet and didn’t like what I saw.

Bob: So are these things bad?

Alice: I’m no expert. I read conflicting opinions from different sources. I’ll let you do your own research, but I’ll tell you what I did.

Bob: Okay.

Alice: I figured I would go the most natural way. I wanted to eat foods as close to the form that wild animals would be eating them. After all, humans are the only species I know of that shops at a grocery store.

Bob: That makes sense. You don’t often see obese wild animals.

Alice: That’s a good point, but that’s not why I changed what I eat.

Bob: Why did you?

Alice: I figured that I would avoid processed foods with long complex names because the are human modified and I don’t trust other people to prepare food that is healthy. Their goal is to sell more food by use of sweeteners.

Bob: So what did you eat after that?

Alice: I ate mostly fruits and vegetables from the produce department. I also bought lots of nuts for when I needed a quick snack. That can be tricky though because I still need to check the ingredients to make sure they haven’t added sugar.

Bob: It sounds like a lot of work. I’ll admit I’ve never paid that much attention to what I eat. I just figured that I needed to eat and so I bought whatever was on sale at the time.

Alice: Yes, it is a lot of work. I understand that people are busy and in a rush when they shop. Also, it’s hard to deny that they are driven by what tastes good to them.

Bob: So after you changed your diet in this way, did you start losing weight?

Alice: Yes, it happened slowly over time but eventually I noticed that weight loss was one of the effects of my attempt to eat healthier.

Bob: Can you tell me if there is a connection between sugar and weight gain?

Alice: I’ll tell you what I know, but keep in mind that I’m no doctor or dietitian.

Bob: Okay.

Alice: You’ve probably been told that weight gain or loss is a simple formula of calories in and calories out.

Bob: Yes, that’s what I’ve heard. Is that true.

Alice: Both yes and no. You see not all calories are identical. There are calories from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. What I’ve read on the internet tells me that a gram of carbohydrates or protein contains 4 calories and a gram of fat contains 9.

Bob: I didn’t know this before. Is it possible we need a balance of these?

Alice: That’s my guess, but I don’t know the science behind it. In any case my guess is that people are getting more calories from all the extra sugar hidden in most foods they buy. Perhaps they need more of the proteins and fats than carbs sometimes.

Bob: I know I’m getting lots of protein because I eat lots of meat and cheese. How do you get enough protein as a Vegan?

Alice: I suppose you’ve been told that animal products are the best way to get protein.

Bob: I thought that was the only way.

Alice: Then let me ask you a question: Where does the protein contained in the meat and dairy come from?

Bob: I’ve never thought about that. I suppose it would come from the plants the animals are fed. Is that right?

Alice: Yes. All plants contain a variety of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.

Bob: So how did you learn all this?

Alice: Basically by Google searching. I became vegan for ethical reasons and my family kept telling me I was going to die if I didn’t eat “real” food. I knew they were wrong though.

Bob: So how did you know that it was possible to live on a plant based diet.

Alice: Because I knew there were many herbivores. Elephants are extremely strong and they eat only plants. Same goes for rhino’s and hippos.

Bob: I didn’t know that. I guess I don’t see many of them and haven’t seen their lifestyle. Are there closer examples?

Alice: Yes, Horses are herbivores and so are deer.

Bob: This is all very interesting. So what you’re telling me is that I can be strong by eating a balance of the right kinds of plants.

Alice: That’s what I believe because I’ve been doing it for six years and I’m not dead yet. I suppose you’ve got to try it for yourself and see if it works.

Bob: Thank you very much. I’ll try to learn more about this. I’m so glad you told me your story.

Alice: Thanks for asking. I love talking about all subjects and this was better than talking politics with the others.

Bob: Yes, it was rather fun. Can I have your phone number? Maybe we can talk again in a few months and I can tell you how my new diet goes.

Alice: Sure.

Bob was amazed by the conversation he had with Alice. He read books and articles on the internet. Eventually he had a plan for the right kind of plant based diet that worked for him. He lost weight and felt better.

Bob’s Weight Loss Journey

Let us consider the case of a man named Bob.

Bob is trying to lose weight and is asking his friends for advice on how to do it. Suppose Ted tells Bob to listen to Daft Punk music. You’re probably thinking: “What does Daft Punk have to do with weight loss?” The answer is nothing.

But suppose that Bob follows the advice and starts listening to “One More Time”. Let’s examine three possible things that happen.

Scenario 1:

Bob likes the music so much that he dances to such an extreme that he builds muscle and burns fat. He loses weight and thanks Ted for the brilliant advice. He then proceeds to preach the gospel of Daft Punk.

Scenario 2:
He listens to the music but thinks it’s stupid. Nonetheless he does it for a month to see if he gets any results. He gains weight because he was so bored by the music that he ate chips just to keep himself entertained while he listens to that awful music. He tells his friend Ted that his advice didn’t work. Ted blames Bob for giving up and says he lacks discipline.

Scenario 3:
Bob listens to the music why he does his usual routine. He doesn’t notice any weight loss though. He gives up on the unsuccessful experiment and goes to find another friend who with a lot more knowledge than Ted.

What we see here is that in scenario 1, Bob lost weight only if he danced to the music. However, he lost weight and believed that the music itself caused the weight loss.

But let’s suppose that Ted had told Bob to wait until an acausal event made him lose weight. This would not be helpful. Bob wants something the he can do to solve his problem. But Bob trusts his friend’s advice and gets no results because he can’t do anything.

So to be clear, telling someone to listen to music by Daft Punk may or may not be helpful depending on what the evidence shows. However, telling Bob to wait until he loses weight for no reason is not helpful because it doesn’t give Bob a clue what to do.

What Bob needs is a friend that gives him relevant advice. But no problem, he has lots of friends. One of them must have answers for him.