Dr. Diana Fleischman is an evolutionary psychologist & an author. Until recently she was a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Her field of research includes the study of disgust, human sexuality, hormones & behaviour. She is involved in the Effective Altruism & animal welfare movements & identifies as a feminist and a Sentientist. Diana’s 2018 Darwin Day Lecture, hosted by Humanists UK, was part of the inspiration for my work developing & raising awareness of Sentientism.
You can find Diana at @Sentientist (yes!) & dianaverse.com. Why not join her on our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form?
In these Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”
Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.”
The audio is also on our Podcast – subscribe on Apple here & all the other platforms here. Reviews and ratings really help spread the word too!
- Evolutionary psychology
- Effective Altruism
- Diana’s Darwin Day talk to Humanists UK
- Whether Humanists are more likely to be ethical vegans
- Whether “carnism” is socialised or a state of nature
- Diana’s father’s German Jewish & Polish family history during WWII & since
- “They fell in love because he fed her a lot of food”
- Diana’s Catholic mother. Being baptised in Portugal
- Going to synagogue with Diana’s grandfather & Catholic Sunday School
- After first communion “I don’t like it & I don’t believe it”
- Going atheist at 9/10 yrs after brother did at 7
- Being fascinated by evolution – “I carried The Evolution Book around like a teddy bear”
- Being teased as “Monkey Girl” for believing in evolution. The worst bullies seemed to be the most religious kids
- Being told in the early 1990’s by a teacher “evolution is controversial – it’s not a settled idea”
- We skipped the evolution chapter in the Biology textbook
- Becoming stridently anti-religious
- “I thought we couldn’t really understand human beings without understanding that humans are animals”
- I met so many wonderful religious people in the vegan movement & became much less aggressively anti-religion
- Religious arguments for why we should be compassionate are wrong but that compassion can still have good outcomes
- Diana’s Hen Do turns into a witches coven
- Weeping after being blessed by a minister & being moved by ritual
- “I am exactly the kind of person who could fall into religious fervour”
- Sam Harris: “Religions shouldn’t have a monopoly on reverence”
- “Nature is a horrible place”
- If our naturalism is robust we can let ourselves enjoy a sense of soulful aesthetic reverence. If we have to remind ourselves of it – maybe it’s fragile
- Morality is about how we collaborate in groups but there are some absolute standards
- The social & family resonance of consuming animal products
- Sentientism is a coherent moral view but sub-cultures or even the wider culture aren’t going to be sympathetic to it
- The challenges of trading off competing interests of different sentients
- Rationalism, the value of Chesterton’s Fence & weddings
- Being obsessed with animals as a child
- Being disgusted by unfamiliar foods & family resistance vs. the desire to give up animal products
- Learning about animal agriculture practices, hoping for a “humane” loophole & not finding one
- Reading Animal Liberation, then going hardcore vegan the next day at 27
- Eating practices get crystallised. “Everyone wants to eat what they ate as a child”
- Predation is “natural” but so is compassion for non-humans
- Children can be fascinated with animals for exploitative reasons (e.g. it’s common for children to torture/kill animals for amusement)
- Children’s views on companion animals become de-coupled from their views of wild/farmed animals
- Some people can’t yet thrive on a vegan diet
- Diana’s “Practical Veganism” article
- The global response to COVID has made Diana more pessimistic
- The hope of clean meat, given how long it takes to persuade people to go vegan
- Gary Francione & abolitionism
- The risk of values blockers to clean meat progress (as happened with GMOs)
- Is a certain level of intelligence required to improve our own morality?
- Cognitive enhancement “I’d love, in my lineage, to be the dumbest person” might enable human moral enhancement? (Julian Savulescu)
- “Trees are not sentient”
- Taking breaks from Twitter.
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at sentientism.info.
Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome to join our groups. Our main one is here on FaceBook.
Thanks to Graham for his post-prod work. Follow him: @cgbessellieu