The Time I Tried To Explain Soylent to 2 Professors and a Food Critic on TV


#22

Anyway, the dinner table thing is a point, if nothing more than a minor one. I, for one, thoroughly enjoy a big Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, with friends and family. Soylent can never replace that. But it’s not an everyday thing, either, so it shouldn’t be used as some sort of massive counterpoint. (Thanksgiving being an obvious example, but for me, things like dining out or simply making interesting meals at home count, too. The act of cooking is also fun for many - personally, I love BBQ-ing in summer, beer in hand.) Soylent isn’t consumed 100% by everyone, either (probably a minority uses it that way, IMO), but I think a lot of the critics totally miss that point and thus get all defensive over “real food” as a result.

People on both sides of this thing shouldn’t be getting worked up over it, honestly.


#23

LOL ok, now that I wanna see…


#24

“There are three things that make us us. Obviously our brains with our ability to communicate”

Just off the top of my head, prairie dogs, elephants, dolphins, several insect species and crows all have sophisticated communication that is on par with our own abilities.

“The fact that we’ve got these opposable digits, these thumbs”

I think our professor is forgetting about the orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee, gibbon, cebid, koala, opossum and panda.

“But also our teeth”

Nope. Sheepshead have omnivorous teeth that look exactly like human teeth.

There are plenty of things that make humans unique. The three the professor listed are not among them. He also later brings up the issue of international development. Rather than a convenience food, the professor seems to prefer developing nations work their way up through manual labor and cash crops. Build farms, enter traditional markets and if they’re lucky (they usually aren’t), they might evade labor exploitation and price jacking. Honestly, it’s something rather offensive for a guy living across the world to be telling developing nations what they ought to build their economy around.

The other professor, Irena Knezevik, accuses Soylent of not seeming environmentally or ethically concerned with the sourcing of its ingredients. Uh…?

Then she said that a problem in global health today is the fact that we are unaware of what we’re consuming or how it’s made and, in that regard, Soylent isn’t useful.

HUH?

And why is she ranting about educating women to curb population growth? Of course that’s true, but how does that have anything to do with Soylent? Rob has said in interviews that Soylent could possibly help provide the current population with scalable food. But out of nowhere, she’s making the company seem like it doesn’t care about educating women. It’s just a really unprofessional criticism based on assumptions about Soylent’s intended use.

And then she tries to shame people who don’t have time to plan meals, saying “we created our lives to be like this”. So for someone working overtime to make ends meat, never seeing their family, it’s just their own fault?

Steve (anchor) actually refills his cup halfway through the show. He seemed to like it. He was the only one to actually treat this like a discussion. The other three were acting like disgruntled amazon reviewers that didn’t buy the product or know much about it to begin with.

Greg, you have the self restraint of a monk. Personally, I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in that ambush without pulling a Julian Assange.


#25

@gregoryanthony , the thing is people who appear on shows come prepared with ‘talking points’. So next time if you get invited, try doing the same thing.


#26

(sorry this is kinda long - it touched a nerve :blush: )

Wow Greg, quite the experience!

So I was confused throughout the show as to why all three experts argued that “Soylent cannot completely replace food” when no one in the recording ever suggested that Soylent should completely replace food. Was there some pre-show setup that viewers were not privy to? Perhaps to make the show more confrontational? (Hosts do like to do this to boost ratings - Greg, I think you were setup! And yet you did well! Grats!)

Too bad they couldn’t have found some real experts, aside from Mr. Fraser pointing out that Soylent can’t really address 3rd world famine issues and disaster aid situations (it doesn’t - its way too expensive to make and yeah water to mix with the Soylent is a big issue) there was barely an honest argument against Soylent among the lot. But it is Greg’s experience that we need to learn from as proponents of meal-replacement technology. Tougher experts we will meet!

We proponents need to have our ducks in a row when grandiose claims are tossed out as “fact”. Greg did well, better than I could have on the spot like that, so after a few hours of thought here are a few more responses that might be useful:

“It’s not healthy” and “It doesn’t address anything except convenience” should be met with facts that directly counter these arguments. Ms. Knezevic’s eventual argument that simply putting all the nurtients in a mixer doesen’t get them into our bodies intact is valid (for example zinc and calcium tend to bond prior to absorption and then don’t get separated - http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/65/6/1803.abstract - so they need to be ingested separately with some time in between in order to get the right amount of zinc) but instead of nailing her argument down she drifted off to other nonsensical arguments (women are responsible for population control?? reallly?!). Regardless, a direct counter is that Soylent in its current form seems (and yeah we need studies - Greg, could you have brought in your blood work results prepared to discuss them?) more healthy than the majority of what most people eat at a dinner table (carb, sugar, cholesterol, etc., balance?), or in “social rituals”, and certainly via fast food. We should have problems with “home cooking” and typical diets ready as counter arguments. Ms. Knezevic’s categoric dismissal of Soylent at this point is completely disingenuous (she clearly spent maybe 5 minutes glancing at Soylent’s constitution and origins) as Soylent can already dramatically improve the nutritional intake of most of the people on the planet.

“Why not just eat oatmeal?” (Seriously?) Well, does oatmeal contain FDA recommended quantities of any of the other nutrients in Soylent??

“Soylent is not concerned with environmental or ethical sourcing…”!! You couldn’t be more wrong - here’s why (research ahead and quote).

“Mindless meals stand behind many of societies health problems…”!! Does that mean mindless meals cannot be nutritious, or just that they currently are not?

“Even the World Health Organization will agree that what determines our health includes the social environment …” (sigh) Yes, Soylent doesn’t even replace Facebook let alone time spent with people …

“Children who don’t eat with their families tend to have drug and socialization problems …” (-.-) If meals are the only time you can spend face to face with your kids, then yes, clearly, don’t feed them Soylent.

But interestingly both women were personally afronted by the idea of meal-replacement and attempted to trash Soylent in an effort to indirectly protect the values they hold dear. Both eventually let slip the real reason for their repulsion: Ms. Rosen suggested “I’ll be lonely” and later “we will all forget how to cook!” - cooking and eating with friends undoubtedly both things that bring her a lot of joy. (Incredulously she worded it as “everyone will get lonely” and “we all will forget”, as if her world is the only way everyone experiences their own unique life) Ms. Knezevic expressed the fear that we aren’t taking enough time to live our lives already and meals seem to be her “last straw”. These “emotional” arguments are best handled softly from the side and not head on: “I suspect your cookbooks will have even greater appeal in a few years, your skills will be cherished!” etc.

Keeping critics on point is certainly tricky, not looking foolish even more so. Again, hats off to a great job Greg! Thanks for taking a first shot at this to give us all an idea what we might face!


#28

I find this show confusing: where is the interrupting, the personal attacks, WHY ISN’T ANYBODY YELLING??

Talk shows are different here in the US…


#29

Canadians brah…


#30

It’s not a “talk” show if nobody’s yelling or belittling someone else or their ideals.


#31

It’s too bad really. The news could be so much more informative, and enjoyable, if American shows didn’t just yell at and slander each other.


#32

My favorite solution to the “dinner table” problem - keep it on the schedule, but play a board game or solve a jigsaw puzzle with the family while everyone’s sipping on their dinner. I would wager that to be an even better form of interaction than getting a few words in between everyone shoving forkfulls in their mouths.