Is a Vegetarian Diet the Answer?

(apologize in advance for any grammatical/formatting errors and lack of references, will review when I have more time)
One of the central themes of our SM’s preaching is to be a vegan.  The assumption is that by having everyone not eating meat, the demand for meat will be lowered, resulting in fewer livestock raised for meat, using fewer resources and emitting fewer greenhouse gases.
The logic of this line of thinking I will not debate, as I believe it is plausible.  What I have an issue with is the practicality of this approach.  The morality portion of this I will not address here; that will be the topic of another post.
First let us state the problem.  Global warming from greenhouse gases.
The fact is, humans have always been omnivores.  Why is it that only now is it imperative to remove a portion of the diet artificially?  Why has mankind been ok up until recently with an omnivorous diet?
I contend that the main problem is insufficient resources. Due to scientific and medical advances, the average life expectancy has increased significantly.  The population has grown to a point where the available resources are being depleted and causing undesired effect.
There are a few things that are hardwired into our system.  Chief among them are survival and propagation.  After that would be secondary goals such as enjoyment, fulfillment, success, etc.  The fact is, as developing countries are growing more prosperous, their population will go from survival (eating anything) to eating well (more meat based diet).  This will only increase the demand for meat and the greenhouse gases associated with it.
A decrease in population would reduce the pressure, however that is unlikely as there is not a large scale event (like war or disease) immediately foreseeable, and it is impossible to tell people not to reproduce (hardwired).  Increasing resources are unlikely as well as there are few obvious additional resources to acquire, and efficiency increases are incremental.
The solution being proposed by SM is telling everyone to change their lifestyle.  I believe that although in theory it could work, in reality it is next to impossible to have a large enough population significantly change their behaviors enough to make a difference.  It is as likely as asking people to not reproduce because it’s bad for the earth.  It is an idealistic but impractical solution, as it is asking people to give up something very basic and enjoyable for a cause intangible to the majority of people in developing/underdeveloped countries.  It is also morally questionable as it is imposing a burden on people for a problem that they contributed very little to.
I think that there is an alternate solution.  There is a universal language in the world, and that is called money.  When resources become scarce, the prices go up.  When people cannot afford a certain item, they turn to what they can afford.  Most people don’t eat caviar all day, not because it doesn’t taste good, but because it’s too expensive.  The solution I propose is a greenhouse tax for certain types of meat, similar to the gas guzzler tax imposed on automobiles.  Certain types of meat are produced at a higher cost to the environment, and they should be taxed accordingly.  People are still free to choose what to eat, just as they can choose what they drive, as long as they are willing to pay the price to offset the consequences.  Simple economics, supply and demand.  In evolutionary terms, selective pressure.  Is it fair?  Not necessarily, but when resources are limited, difficult choices have to be made.  At least I believe this approach has a higher likelihood of actually making a difference.

Coming soon

future topics coming soon regarding our SM viewpoints (I doubt I can get to the last few topics without turning to FMR):

1. Vegetarianism – is it an effective, practical mean to ending global warming?

2. Animal protection – blatant discrimination against lesser life forms (a.k.a. life forms without fur).

3. Karma – cause and effect, correlation, or pulled out of uh, thin air?

4. Angels

5. Demise of the Martians

Blatantly Wrong Statements

Let start with the easy stuff, blatantly wrong and misleading statements.
In this section our SM has the following insights:
If you use too much toothpaste, your teeth will turn black. There are some children who brush their teeth very often, and their teeth are still black.
The main cause of black teeth in children have been well known in the medical community for a long time.  It is the use of tetracycline, which when used on young children or infants, become incorporated into the teeth and stain them internally.  It has nothing to do with the amount of toothpaste used.  The logical fallacies found here are correlation/causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc), and cherry picking.
Another one:
Toast with black pepper and concentrated soy sauce can cure diarrhea……ou put some black pepper powder in it and it warms the stomach inside, because when you have diarrhea, your stomach is cold. The black pepper also has a disinfecting quality.
Diarrhea is not caused by a cold stomach nor is it cold.  The temperature is the same as your overall body temperature.  There are multiple causes including infection, malabsorption, inflammation, IBD, and many others.  Pepper is not known to have a disinfecting quality.  Even if it did, it cannot stop all cases of diarrhea.  As diarrhea could be a symptom of a serious illness requiring medical attention, this tip is potentially dangerous.  The SM is not a medical doctor as far as I know and is not qualified to dispense medical advise.
Just one more, on eating and talking:
…which is that most of the time the devil goes through the mouth because it’s the widest opening of all and we keep it open most of the time. If there’s anything that wants to possess us, it can enter through the mouth very quickly. So when we eat and open the mouth and talk all the time, the devil will hear it and then go inside with the food. Or it will contaminate our food and make it indigestible for us or make it poisonous or make it do something troublesome when it enters our body.

OK, I don’t think that warrants a response.

Background Review

The very first thing I noticed about this website is the low-key names of their websites: “SupremeMasterTV”, “GodsDirectContact”.  Typically these send up red flags indicating a cult, as true unbiased websites usually do not assume authoritative names.  However nothing is clear until examined critically, so I press on.

First stop, background check.  Read what the organization is all about.  I find this official release:

http://www.suprememastertv.com/press-kit/Supreme-Master-Ching-Hai-Press-Kit-20100915.pdf

It is difficult to finish as it seems to be an unending parade of flagrant flaunting of donations, seemingly for the primary purpose of publicity and photo opportunity.

Most charities and religious organizations devote the vast majority of the press literature to advancing their cause, not touting how much money they have given and how many pictures were taken with leaders.  This alone does not make it illegitimate, but it shows where their priories are.

The “Supreme Master” title is apparently self titled as there is certainly no academic or official organization authorized to grant such a title.  For a supposedly simple spiritual leader, at 60 years old she sports a head of blond hair that either came from excessive spiritual enlightenment resulting in hair enlightenment, or more likely, from fashionably bleaching it blond.  She also apparently designs and sells an expensive clothing line, questionable paintings, lighting hardware, and trinkets.  The site seems to focus quite excessively on the personal appearance of a charismatic leader.

There is no mention of the nature of the organization (registered corporation? non-profit? religious?) nor the source of the funds, so I do some quick due diligence and find:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ching_Hai

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/03.28.96/suma-9613.html

It does seem that the self-proclaimed prophet is willing to splash funds of unknown source (merchandise of THAT quality is unlikely to generate that kind of cash).  Apparently according to the Metro reporter, the followers cough up more dough than they can afford after indoctrination.

So far the cult meter reading is pretty high.  However even if this were to be a cult, it doesn’t mean that the message is invalid.  For that, I will pick a few topics to elaborate upon in future blog postings.  There is a wealth of blatantly incorrect, unsubstantiated, misleading, and outright fraudulent material here, mixed in with some correct and factual information.