Letter: In support of diverse opinions | PostIndependent.com

Letter: In support of diverse opinions

Should we be eating meat? Dr. Greg Feinsinger thinks not, citing both individual health and environmental arguments to support his position. Frank Daley, former Cattlemen’s association president, said of Dr. Feinsinger’s 10/26 column (letters, 11/13/2001), “It is disappointing to see the Post Independent print something that is utterly lacking in fact, and erroneously inflammatory to the economic backbone of this community.”

Rancher Dan McCarty attacked Feinsinger similarly in his 10/31 guest column. Each alleged certain facts supporting their positions. But Dr. Feinsinger did not offer misinformation. And neither did his two critics. Rather, as the PI’s editor wrote in brief response to Daley, each offered hand-picked facts supporting cherished positions and omitted facts contradicting their positions.

The editor also cited a more balanced discussion at http://www.tinyurl.com/WaPoFood. I read that Washington Post column and recommend it most enthusiastically. Using less than 1,650 words, author Tamar Haspel summarized arguments on various sides of the “what shall we eat?” issue, made it clear that abundant facts support varying positions and when taken in totality, confusion rather than a clearly correct position flows from those facts. Haspel also addressed humanitarian concerns and demonstrated how these can conflict with one another and with environmental concerns, thereby making the best way forward even less certain.

What any of us advocates is never influenced by facts alone but also, and perhaps primarily, by values we hold. While my own values are pretty close to Dr. Feinsinger’s, I’m afraid we will have stumble forward together with others who, like Messrs. McCarty and Daley, see things rather differently. I appreciate the PI publishing varying points of view. It’s a shame to see Mr. Daley asking to silence those he apparently considers his opposition.

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