The use and abuse of scientific studies

Abstract
In response to Evelyn Pluhar'sWho Can Be Morally Obligated to Be a Vegetarian? in this journal issue, the author has read all of Pluhar's citations for the accuracy of her claims and had these read by an independent nutritionist. Detailed analysis of Pluhar's argument shows that she attempts to make her case by consistent misappropriation of the findings and conclusions of the studies she cites. Pluhar makes sweeping generalizations from scanty data, ignores causal explanations given by scientists, equates hypothesis with fact, draws false cause conclusions from studies, and in one case claims a conclusion opposite of what the scientist published. Such poor reasoning cannot be the basis of an argument for moral vegetarianism. A broader search of the literature and attention to reviews and textbooks in nutrition shows that each of Pluhar's claims is suspect or incorrect. Pluhar has not undermined my central claims: even if animals have certain rights and well-planned vegetarian diets are safe in complex industrialized societies, these diets cannot be so regarded if the presuppositions of high levels of wealth, education, and medical care do not exist; and, women, children, the aged and some ill persons are at greater risk on restrictive vegan diets. Thus, any duty of moral vegetarianism is not categorical but provisional in nature.
Keywords animal rights  animal welfare  children  diet  moral vegetarianism  scientific reasoning  vegan  vegetarian  women's health
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References found in this work BETA
Evelyn Pluhar (1992). Who Can Be Morally Obligated to Be a Vegetarian? Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5 (2):189-215.
Citations of this work BETA
Kathryn Paxton George (1994). Discrimination and Bias in the Vegan Ideal. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):19-28.
Evelyn B. Pluhar (1993). On Vegetarianism, Morality, and Science: A Counter Reply. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 6 (2):185-213.
Evelyn Pluhar (1994). Vegetarianism, Morality, and Science Revisited. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):77-82.
Similar books and articles
Jan Deckers (2009). Vegetarianism, Sentimental or Ethical? Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 22 (6):573-597.
Evelyn B. Pluhar (1993). On Vegetarianism, Morality, and Science: A Counter Reply. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 6 (2):185-213.
Ann Reed Mangels & Suzanne Havala (1994). Vegan Diets for Women, Infants, and Children. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):111-122.
Evelyn Pluhar (1992). Who Can Be Morally Obligated to Be a Vegetarian? Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5 (2):189-215.
Evelyn Pluhar (1994). Vegetarianism, Morality, and Science Revisited. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):77-82.
Gary E. Varner (1994). Rejoinder to Kathryn Paxton George. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):83-86.
Kathryn Paxton George (1994). Discrimination and Bias in the Vegan Ideal. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 7 (1):19-28.
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