For crying out loud, why eat fruits and vegetables?

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MikeH106
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23 Apr 2009, 5:19 pm

Alright, now begins another argument. ;)

Saitorosan wrote:
MikeH106 wrote:
This is a question I've been asking for a long time. What makes fruits and vegetables essential to a healthy diet?

The first answer people usually give is roughage. In other words, fiber. But you get that from whole wheat bread and oats.

The next answer they give is vitamins. But you get that from vitamin capsules!

The third answer is antioxidants. But can't you buy capsules for antioxidants, too?

What do fruits and vegetables have that you can't get from rice, whole wheat bread, vitamins, and peanut butter? What do they have?


Fallacies of four terms, coupled with fallacies of many questions.


If a fallacy is defined as a rule of inference that doesn't always work, then merely asking questions (aside from loaded questions) cannot result in a fallacy. If you will remember, I am playing the role of a skeptic in this debate, asking the question that appears in the topic header. Unless I attempt to draw a conclusion, you cannot accuse me of committing a fallacy.

In fact, most conclusions I've been drawing here are either about my theories, which, from our point of view, may or may not be true, or the validity of other peoples' arguments, in which case I have noted their fallacies correctly.

On a side note, the fallacy of four terms takes the form:

1. All B are C,
2. All A are B,
3. Therefore, all D are C,

where D =/= A.

In my case, what could A, B, C, and D possibly represent?

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MikeH106 wrote:
At my store, it costs $2 for three apples, and each apple contains about 70 calories of energy. With a 2500 calorie diet, I would spend nearly TEN TIMES the amount of money per calorie on fruits and vegetables than I would on whole wheat bread and vitamins.


Converse accident, then a slippery slope.


You are almost correct here, but not quite. If I attempted to infer the price of all fruits and vegetables merely from the price of apples, I would have committed the fallacy of the converse accident. However, as my second statement merely proceeds the first (rather than being deduced from it), it is technically not a fallacy. It's also an opinionated statement, as I say 'nearly ten times.'

As a matter of fact, I was just giving apples as an example of how expensive nearly all fruits and vegetables are at my store. It appears to be the same trend in that entire section -- $3 buys you 400-500 calories. I suppose there could have been some vegetables that I missed, but last time I checked I don't think I saw anything.

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MikeH106 wrote:
It takes me between 10 and 30 minutes to eat one apple -- they don't even taste good -- and then I feel bad about throwing away the core. To eat oranges, I must cut them into pieces, getting orange juice everywhere (provided I don't just drink orange juice itself, which is also expensive) and then pick out the seeds.


Anecdotal evidence.


For what claim? That I don't like eating apples? That the orange juice gets everywhere? Well, I suppose I could be a bit more careful, and it really is a hassle to me. Fortunately, orange juice was on sale recently, so I had the opportunity to devour an entire gallon of it.

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MikeH106 wrote:
And most of them expire so easily.


Red herring.


Not necessarily. Remember that at this point in our debate, I never made a claim about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. I simply opened with some remarks on how stressful it would be to buy them.

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MikeH106 wrote:
The necessity of fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet is a government conspiracy to maintain control and dominance over the lower classes. They accomplish this by confusing them, making them feel guilty, and getting them to waste money. The presence of fruits and vegetables in a diet is merely a costly fitness indicator, a 'peacock tail' of sorts, of no real nutritional value that allows people who have healthy enough GENES to afford them to appear wiser through use of sophistry, rather than simply more fortunate.


Pretty much baseless enthymeme, since you've provided nothing to show that fruits and vegetables are not, in fact, a necessary part of our diets, and this is really not a widely assumed stance.


Again, I provide nothing to discredit the value of these foods because I'm playing the role of a skeptic.

Still, I commend you for even taking notice of what logical fallacies are, a step that some of us here are yet unwilling to take.


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Saitorosan
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23 Apr 2009, 9:37 pm

While I was mostly being facetious and just quoting fallacies as you did, I will give you my reasons for choosing the ones I did. Also note that while I did say to ignore it for the time being, in your original post you did present the conspiracy as your theory, which you did not address in your reply.

MikeH106 wrote:
If a fallacy is defined as a rule of inference that doesn't always work, then merely asking questions (aside from loaded questions) cannot result in a fallacy. If you will remember, I am playing the role of a skeptic in this debate, asking the question that appears in the topic header. Unless I attempt to draw a conclusion, you cannot accuse me of committing a fallacy.

First of all, the topic question is loaded, as, from the context of the post, it implies that fruits and vegetables may not be an essential part of human diet, where this is neither proven in the post, or any subsequent post in the thread, nor generally accepted. Secondly, you can claim to play any role you want, but from reading through the thread, you surely seem to take the opponent stance you defined.
MikeH106 wrote:
In fact, most conclusions I've been drawing here are either about my theories, which, from our point of view, may or may not be true, or the validity of other peoples' arguments, in which case I have noted their fallacies correctly.

I don't have time at the moment to nitpick the entire thread, so I will let this slide for now.
MikeH106 wrote:
On a side note, the fallacy of four terms takes the form:

1. All B are C,
2. All A are B,
3. Therefore, all D are C,

where D =/= A.

In my case, what could A, B, C, and D possibly represent?

In this case, it is through equivocation.
Vitamins are an essential part of the human diet.
Vitamin capsules are vitamins.
Therefore, Vitamin capsules are an essential part of the human diet.

With the assumption that vitamins from capsules are equivalent to vitamins from food, which is not an accepted rule.

Alternatively, the third line could read: Fruits and vegetables are not an essential part of the human diet, which is the inference you are making, although I'm not sure if this is technically a four terms fallacy.
MikeH106 wrote:
You are almost correct here, but not quite. If I attempted to infer the price of all fruits and vegetables merely from the price of apples, I would have committed the fallacy of the converse accident. However, as my second statement merely proceeds the first (rather than being deduced from it), it is technically not a fallacy.

No, the converse accident was that all stores are so priced, and therefore fruits and vegetables are an expensive source of calories. Additionally, there are alternative ways to buy produce (i.e. in bulk) that can further reduce the dollar/calorie ratio.

MikeH106 wrote:
It's also an opinionated statement, as I say 'nearly ten times.'

Opinionated or not, you implied that eating fruits and vegetables would increase your food costs (nearly) ten times.

MikeH106 wrote:
As a matter of fact, I was just giving apples as an example of how expensive nearly all fruits and vegetables are at my store. It appears to be the same trend in that entire section -- $3 buys you 400-500 calories. I suppose there could have been some vegetables that I missed, but last time I checked I don't think I saw anything.

Then shop at a different store, or buy in bulk, or only get a portion of your calories from fruits and vegetables. This is either a false dilemma, or, if you truly have NO other options, a converse accident.


MikeH106 wrote:
For what claim? That I don't like eating apples? That the orange juice gets everywhere? Well, I suppose I could be a bit more careful, and it really is a hassle to me. Fortunately, orange juice was on sale recently, so I had the opportunity to devour an entire gallon of it.

The fact that produce perishes easily is a red herring, in that it has no bearing on the nutritional value of the produce.

MikeH106 wrote:
Not necessarily. Remember that at this point in our debate, I never made a claim about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. I simply opened with some remarks on how stressful it would be to buy them.

I will take this opportunity to explain why I am treating everything you posted to be supportive of the theory you laid out. Actually, that is precisely why, because you laid it out. As such, and from the way you laid out the "evidence," I take everything you said as directly implying that fruits are an inferior way to get nutrients or calories. Basically, the only reason you hadn't explicitly made an argument, is that you poisoned the well by presenting these fallacious arguments first, and choosing to present your theory at the end. Also, even if you are truly the skeptic, then you are interested in the disproving of the theory as much as the proving.
MikeH106 wrote:
Again, I provide nothing to discredit the value of these foods because I'm playing the role of a skeptic.

Bare assertion. You do not play the skeptic simply by saying you play the skeptic.

As a final note, logic cannot be relied upon in all situations. Surely even the famous logical statement "all men are mortal" is technically a fallacy, as it is not possible at this time to have observed the mortality of all men, and is therefore a converse accident.

EDIT:I realized that while formatting this post, I missed or misplaced some answers. Here are the questions that still need answers:
MikeH106 wrote:
For what claim? That I don't like eating apples? That the orange juice gets everywhere? Well, I suppose I could be a bit more careful, and it really is a hassle to me. Fortunately, orange juice was on sale recently, so I had the opportunity to devour an entire gallon of it. (I skipped answering this question and went to the red herring.)

You are providing anecdotal evidence to support the position that fruits and vegetables are not a necessary part of a healthy diet, in that they are a nuisance or are otherwise unenjoyable, which has no connection to the nutritional benefits of produce.
Actually, I guess that was the only question I didn't answer.

I guess, just to be really annoying, I should point out that you did not say nearly ten times (the amount of money), as you claimed, but actually said nearly TEN TIMES (the amount of money). There is QUITE a difference in implication between these two.

And since I'm bordering on trollish with this very late, complicated, and nitpicky edit, let me say that I am truly glad that you can enjoy orange juice. I cannot eat or drink ANY citrus, it leaves a strange taste in my mouth, like metallic orange is the best way I can describe it, for days sometimes. Anyone else ever get this? I would be really surprised, as I have never met anyone else who has experienced this. (converse accident [{what is the proper order for brackets within brackets, anyway?}lol, I'm out of control!])


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MikeH106
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24 Apr 2009, 2:26 pm

Saitorosan wrote:
While I was mostly being facetious and just quoting fallacies as you did, I will give you my reasons for choosing the ones I did.


I certainly hope you will not be facetious when you try to point out what other people might mistake for fallacies.

The oppression of the lower classes is a very serious subject, and if you give the matter its due consideration, I'm sure you'll agree that their feelings are important.

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MikeH106 wrote:
If a fallacy is defined as a rule of inference that doesn't always work, then merely asking questions (aside from loaded questions) cannot result in a fallacy. If you will remember, I am playing the role of a skeptic in this debate, asking the question that appears in the topic header. Unless I attempt to draw a conclusion, you cannot accuse me of committing a fallacy.

First of all, the topic question is loaded, as, from the context of the post, it implies that fruits and vegetables may not be an essential part of human diet, where this is neither proven in the post, or any subsequent post in the thread, nor generally accepted.


The question is not loaded, for the following two reasons:

1. What is possible is different depending on who you are. This is a valuable lesson taught by the theory of probability. For example, if I haven't called my friend Cindy today, then from my point of view, she could possibly be at work, even though, if she were at lunch, it would be impossible from her point of view. See how this works?

Similarly, from my point of view, it is still possible that fruits and vegetables are not an essential part of the human diet, even though from a nutrition expert's point of view it might be impossible (and still, from my point of view, only possibly impossible).

2. Simply asking why does not presuppose the possibility of the negation of the statement in question. Mathematicians, for instance, will ask why there are infinitely many prime numbers, or why there are undecidable statements, without presupposing the possibility of the falsehood of such claims.

Quote:
Secondly, you can claim to play any role you want, but from reading through the thread, you surely seem to take the opponent stance you defined.


Well, no.

I suppose I could have called it speculation rather than theory. Still, the theory that fruits and vegetables are not essential but function merely as a fitness indicator is a theory, just not in the same sense that General Relativity is a theory (at least not yet). I hoped to indicate this with the tone in which I wrote, "You want to hear my theory?"

To accuse me of stating that fruits and vegetables are not essential food groups anywhere in the past seven pages in this thread would be an instance of the straw man fallacy.

Quote:
In this case, it is through equivocation.
Vitamins are an essential part of the human diet.
Vitamin capsules are vitamins.
Therefore, Vitamin capsules are an essential part of the human diet.


I did not equivocate on 'vitamins.' For that matter, I did not even claim that vitamin capsules were essential.

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No, the converse accident was that all stores are so priced, and therefore fruits and vegetables are an expensive source of calories.


I made no such statements.

Quote:
I will take this opportunity to explain why I am treating everything you posted to be supportive of the theory you laid out. Actually, that is precisely why, because you laid it out. As such, and from the way you laid out the "evidence," I take everything you said as directly implying that fruits are an inferior way to get nutrients or calories.


You 'take what I said' to imply a statement, even though it does not imply that statement? Compare:

You: "Two plus two equals four."
Me: "I take that to imply you've been stealing!"

Quote:
Basically, the only reason you hadn't explicitly made an argument, is that you poisoned the well by presenting these fallacious arguments first, and choosing to present your theory at the end.


I did not poison the well, for I made no attacks on the character of anyone who would defend the value of fruits and vegetables.

Quote:
Also, even if you are truly the skeptic, then you are interested in the disproving of the theory as much as the proving.


Yes, I am -- if it can be disproven.

Quote:
MikeH106 wrote:
Again, I provide nothing to discredit the value of these foods because I'm playing the role of a skeptic.

Bare assertion. You do not play the skeptic simply by saying you play the skeptic.


It is not a bare assertion, as you can plainly see in the past seven pages that I have kept an open mind to the possibility that fruits and vegetables are essential (even though they may turn out not to be).

Quote:
As a final note, logic cannot be relied upon in all situations. Surely even the famous logical statement "all men are mortal" is technically a fallacy, as it is not possible at this time to have observed the mortality of all men, and is therefore a converse accident.


There are two senses of 'reliability': usefulness and infallibility. Pure logic can be infallible without being useful in determining a posteriori facts about the world.

Quote:
(converse accident [{what is the proper order for brackets within brackets, anyway?}lol, I'm out of control!])


The proper order in mathematics is {[( )]}. I usually just use these ( ), however.

Anyway, thank you for your response. You strawmanned me three times, but at least you remained relatively polite.


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24 Apr 2009, 10:59 pm

MikeH106 wrote:
Quote:
(converse accident [{what is the proper order for brackets within brackets, anyway?}lol, I'm out of control!])


The proper order in mathematics is {[( )]}. I usually just use these ( ), however.

I have never noticed a proper order to be standardized in the practice, although I may be in error when it comes to publishing style. Indeed, I rarely see {} used at all in the same way as () are.


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24 Apr 2009, 11:48 pm

MikeH106 wrote:
It is not a bare assertion, as you can plainly see in the past seven pages that I have kept an open mind to the possibility that fruits and vegetables are essential (even though they may turn out not to be).

That's just an outright lie.

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There are two senses of 'reliability': usefulness and infallibility. Pure logic can be infallible without being useful in determining a posteriori facts about the world.

Then you have your answer for why we should accept the studies. The inductive reasoning is not infallible, but it is useful.


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MikeH106
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25 Apr 2009, 7:19 am

Orwell wrote:
MikeH106 wrote:
It is not a bare assertion, as you can plainly see in the past seven pages that I have kept an open mind to the possibility that fruits and vegetables are essential (even though they may turn out not to be).

That's just an outright lie.


Then why not prove it by quoting me?

You know what else? It really hurts my feelings when you all team up on me with insults like that.


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25 Apr 2009, 8:22 am

i like eating fruits and vegetables as toppings on my hamburgers and pizzas.


mmm, burger king here i come!


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25 Apr 2009, 8:28 am

If they're cooked, I usually put hot sauces and flavors in mine.

If they're raw, I usually dip em' in something tasty and fattening.


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25 Apr 2009, 11:04 am

MikeH106 wrote:
Orwell wrote:
MikeH106 wrote:
It is not a bare assertion, as you can plainly see in the past seven pages that I have kept an open mind to the possibility that fruits and vegetables are essential (even though they may turn out not to be).

That's just an outright lie.


Then why not prove it by quoting me?

You know what else? It really hurts my feelings when you all team up on me with insults like that.

You have consistently denied the idea that fruits and vegetables are necessary. You have looked desperately for anything you can find to try to reject opposing arguments, whether or not the arguments are actually flawed. I needn't quote you, all you have to do is go back and read pretty much any of your posts. You are not playing the role of the skeptic, and you certainly are not applying the same scrutiny to your conspiracy theory as you are to the correct explanation (that fruits and vegetables are healthy).

Insults? It was a simple statement of fact, take it as you will. I know of no other way to respond to blatant falsity.


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MikeH106
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25 Apr 2009, 11:43 am

Orwell wrote:
You have consistently denied the idea that fruits and vegetables are necessary ... I needn't quote you ...


Orwell, please stop insulting me.


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25 Apr 2009, 12:32 pm

MikeH106 wrote:
Orwell wrote:
You have consistently denied the idea that fruits and vegetables are necessary ... I needn't quote you ...


Orwell, please stop insulting me.

Neither of those are insults.


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25 Apr 2009, 2:37 pm

MissConstrue wrote:
If they're cooked, I usually put hot sauces and flavors in mine.

If they're raw, I usually dip em' in something tasty and fattening.

I like putting mine into soup. I have a special recipe for chicken soup with bok choy, leeks, lily buds, bamboo shoots, and risotto on the side, along with french bread for dipping. It's delicious.
But the best fruits in the world are the ones I get in my own backyard back home. Delicious mangoes, served with vanilla ice cream, or lychees peeled and eaten right off the tree, persimmons, all wonderful. For veggies, the best dip I've found is melted gouda cheese, with some tomatoes mixed in.



MikeH106
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25 Apr 2009, 6:22 pm

Orwell wrote:
Neither of those are insults.


Alright, that's fair.

But if you tell readers that I've said something, it would be polite if you quoted me to avoid a straw man fallacy.


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25 Apr 2009, 7:07 pm

MikeH106 wrote:
Orwell wrote:
Neither of those are insults.


Alright, that's fair.

But if you tell readers that I've said something, it would be polite if you quoted me to avoid a straw man fallacy.

I don't feel like nitpicking the past seven or eight pages of this thread. I think it is clear enough that you have *strongly* disputed the notion that fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet, and have actively attempted to refute that notion. That is not only how I have read your posts, but it also seems to be how most other respondents are interpreting you.


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MikeH106
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25 Apr 2009, 7:27 pm

You can refute claims or arguments. If you refute a claim, you prove it false. If you refute an argument, you show that the argument doesn't prove the claim true, but not that the claim itself couldn't be.


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25 Apr 2009, 9:46 pm

MikeH106 wrote:
You can refute claims or arguments. If you refute a claim, you prove it false. If you refute an argument, you show that the argument doesn't prove the claim true, but not that the claim itself couldn't be.

This is technically correct... but not really how most people operate. Now, the issue at hand deals with biology, specifically human nutrition. Biology, by its nature, must use inductive reasoning rather than strict deductive reasoning. Because of this, nothing is ever proven in the sense that you are asking for. In bio, when we say something has been proven, we mean that a large enough body of evidence has gathered that nearly any competent biologist agrees the statement is almost certainly true. You may regard that as a flaw in the field, but there really is nothing that can be done to help it. It's fuzzier than math, and so are most fields.

My point is that, in the arguments being made in favor of eating fruits and vegetables, while the conclusions do not *necessarily* follow from the premises, the truth of the premises does increase the likelihood of the conclusions being true as well.


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