Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ill Conceived Arguments Against Antinatalism

Per request. The floor is open, ladies and gentlemen. If you can, try to be as succinct as possible...makes 'em more memorable and easier to articulate.


metamorphhh said...

I'll kick it off with this one-

Antinatalism is genocide!

To which I'd reply that if asking for voluntary cessation of reproduction in the aggregate is genocide, then trying to persuade ANYONE on a person-to-person basis to abstain from childbearing, including any pronatalist's 13 year old daughter, is murder.

The Plague Doctor said...

Jim, I think a good place to put this would be on Wikipedia. I've been wanting to plow through David Benatar's book and vastly elaborate on the current Wikipedia entry on Antinatalism with a summary of some parts of Benetar's (and other's) work, and a "Arguments against antinatalism" and "Arguments for antinatalism" section. I think this is in keeping with Wikipedia's NPOV policy, while still allowing for our rebuttals. Unfortunately, my current state of health and subsequently diminished concentration span prevents me from doing so in the near future, so I just occasionally check in into this blog.

Curator said...

Puppies & sunsets > > cancer, kidnapping, torture, and death

Curator said...

Most people want to live - even people with debilitating medical conditions, even people in the worst slums. Therefore it must be okay to bring more people into existence, no matter how miserable they will be - they will thank us for it!

Curator said...

The survival of the species has magical value that trumps every individual human's suffering.

Curator said...

Jesus needs more babies to torture.

Shadow said...

Ok, I´ll try to help:


Ill conceived argument against a.n:

you only subscribe to it, because you hate human race and hate life.


As long as that can be true, antinatalism can also be drawn from a great compassion and will to protect potential human beings from suffering.

Chip said...

That it's untenable, impracticable, quixotic or doomed to fail. While such rejoinders have some arguable merit in address to the ultimate extinctionist logic of antinatalism, they overlook the simple fact that individuals can -- and do -- abtain from creating new life, often for moral reasons.

Kalki02 said...

So-called transhumanism...I'm fifty and I can still remember reading as a kid in the very late sixties how in the "future" (usually pegged as the year 2000, LOL), we'd all be living in a utopia of glass enclosed cities, high speed monorails, cures for most disease, etc. I also first read that the wonders of nanotechnology were just around the corner about 1995.

CM said...

Antinatalism=oppression of women. Bodily autonomy actually means that women are entitled to fertility services whether they are 60 or choose to have 8 embryos implanted. Oh, and you have to pay for it with your taxes.

Sadly, I've seen people argue that line of reasoning.

CM said...

Re genocide: I think there's a bumper sticker that says "If abortion is murder, masturbation is genocide". It equally applies here. I'm surprised we don't see more people walking around with God's holy pastry bag like Moral Orel...

The Plague Doctor said...

Playing the devil's advocate, I'll reiterate some arguments against that I have previously mentioned on this blog. (Whether ill-conceived or not, I don't know):

1. Stopping breeding does not address the problem of animal suffering, only omnicide does.
2. Childlessness increases suffering for those who desire children (indeed, infertility has been a reason why some people have killed themselves).
3. The only reason birth control is widely used, is because it has not existed for that long in its current form; in the future, not having children will be as painful as suicide, as evolution will have selected those who have had an aversion to using birth control. Thus, there is only a short "window" of time in which anti-natalism might be implemented.
3. Antinatalism leaves people without any ambitions, making them hopeless, disillusioned, and disoriented, and thus increases the total human unhappiness.
4. A decision to not have children will make the world better off, if "bad" people will remain and breed, like Osama bin Laden who "married four women and fathered roughly 25 or 26 children". I.e. the "we need the "right" kind of people to breed" argument.

The Plague Doctor said...

(Sorry, wrong numbering.)

Anonymous said...

Erratum: "A decision to not have children will make the world better off if..." should read "A decision not to have children will NOT make the world better off if...".

metamorphhh said...

Moving this over here-

The eco-based antinatalism site VHEMT has a lot of good responses to pro-natalist arguments. Rather than list them all, I'll just provide the link


Anonymous said...

From a Transhumanism perspective:

100 years (certainly a few hundred) from now, we'll be able to "program" ourselves to live forever, get rid of all hurtful and evil personality traits, etc via direct atom-by-atom manipulation of our DNA (get rid of destructive gene-based behavioral tendencies, gene-illnesses, perhaps aging itself), neurological engineering (again to get rid of undesirable traits in human nature), and so forth.

My response: Even if this is true in theory, it's also true that science and technology can be used for evil or selfish purposes as well as for good ones (engineering highly intelligent, athletic, and strong soldiers without any conscience, for example. Ditto for business and political leaders, only add charisma and persuasion skills to the list*).

This is just the conscious and deliberate abuse of such technologies. There's always the great "accident in the lab" scenario - or truly unintended consequenses. Even an unintended use to give us superior beauty, strength, endurance, intelligence, happiness, etc. can create a super-human elite that could (even if unintentionally) cause ordinary humans to suffer, perhaps to the point of involuntary extinction.

*There's already such a type of person, and there's two names name that describes them: Sociopath and Psychopath!


Anonymous said...

A two-fer from filrabat

Anti-antinatalist and/or pro-natalist: If people like you don't reproduce, then your kind will no longer exist and therefore will have no more influence in this world. That makes your kind a FAILURE!

filrabat: Beware of the shaming language (like "Failure!") and the appeals to personal insecurity ("no more influence in this world"). Now to the meat of the issue.

Even if what you say is true, the ultimate, longest term truth is that we'll inevitably die off one day anyway. This isn't an astrophysics blog, so I won't go into detail here. Suffice to say that one day the universe itself will be unable to support life. ( for a brief outline of our far future). Therefore, every living thing loses in the end. Ten to the 50th power years from now, it won't matter! To claim that your descendants would still be successful would be like claiming the dinosaurs were successful: Successful within a deep long-term situation, but not THE deepest one (We can't stop the heat death of the universe any more than the Dinosaurs could stop a big asteroid).

Conclusion: I see no point in procreation. Why invest time and energy into producing a part of something not guaranteed to last literally forever? The most rational, realistic thing to do is to live your own life as you see fit without harming others - plus find whatever happiness you can in life.

Curator said...

Ill-conceived and cruel:

1. Suffering is good. It's an important part of life.

2. Being brought into existence just gives you more freedom. If you don't like it, you can always kill yourself.

Anonymous said...

Another one from the Peter Singer article on the NYT blog - post #37 by Abe

Abe:To use an extreme example, if at some point in the future we were to have technology that keeps us in a constant state of happiness, would that make life worth living?

filrabat: For once, this might make a life worth living, although I have to ask if that makes it ok to deliberately paralyze a 19 year old as long as you subject him to this "eternal happiness" technology. Likewise for performing involuntary Female Genital Mutilation on girls and/or women. Heck, let's go all the way and permit ANYTHING as long as they are on this "eternal joy" technology (although I have difficulty imagining how it would work if you're being burned at the stake or even given the Abu Ghirab treatment).

At any rate, even if it DOES turn out to be OK to commit atrocities against people as long as it's known they are on "eternal joy" tech beforehand, the fact remains that they will die one day - for cosmic reasons in the far future, if nothing else (assuming only for the sake of argument that transhumanism turns out to be semi-plausible).

Still more deeply, you have to ask "Arguments about suffering aside, what possible point is there to creating another human being in the first place?" All reasons I've seen have to do with either fear, exploitation or..ultimately..egotism (seeing a little me, a trophy kid, backslapping approval from the community's "All-American" in-crowd, being a 'member of the community in good standing', blah blah blah.

Sorry, but I have too much respect for potential people I could have (in theory) AND too much respect for myself to enslave myself to the cultural dictates of the mainstream-most 90% of society in order to be a "member in good standing" of those kinds of crowds (which, FYI, I long ago discovered I don't really want to be part of those crowds, for I consider them quasi-cultish in nature [conformist, rather "evangelical" about what a person has to be, etc.]


Rafa T.m said...

Bad argument:

You don´t know what´s pain. Only people who famine and do not have private property know what is pain.


ALL beings on earth know what is pain. Pain (and suffering) is the most well distributed thing in the universe.

If rocks had nerves, you can bet they would feel a lof of it too.

Anonymous said...

Taken from Eduardo (comment #74 of Singer article): " seems like profound hubris for the species to sacrifice the outcome of millenia of evolution."

So now voluntary extinction is hubris?

timcooijmans said...

"pain and pleasure cannot be quantified"
It is not necessary to quantify pain and pleasure if the asymmetry is true.

"one man's pain is another man's pleasure"
Pain/pleasure, harm/benefit, bad/good, we mean the same things by these subjective terms. Pain is simply that which the subject does not like, pleasure is that which the subject does like.

"pain is a useful signal"
It's a signal that the body has trouble with something. It's only useful to those with a body (i.e., those who are alive). Stop creating bodies, and the need for such a signal will go away.

"we evolved morality to help our species survive to procreate; not procreating endangers our species; hence not procreating is immoral"
Morality in that sense has nothing to say about how to minimize suffering. It is rather obsessed with continuing the species. These values are mutually exclusive; minimizing suffering is easily the most important of the two, at least to me.

Shadow said...

I´ll answer to Plague´s Doctor playing on the devil´s advocate, just to further increase our battery of arguments:

"1. Stopping breeding does not address the problem of animal suffering, only omnicide does."

Answer: Actually it doesnt. But the animals choice of dying is theirs, not the humans'. Once they somehow evolve to reach counsciesness is their choice to being anti-reproductive.

2. Childlessness increases suffering for those who desire children (indeed, infertility has been a reason why some people have killed themselves).

Answer: A lot of this "desiring" children is just plain old manipulation by life on the nature of animals.

There´s no reason to assume some people killed themselves because they didnt had children. Even if that´s true, it still doesnt matter because that person is gonna die anyway, at least killing themselves will not make them have another children (who possibly then will kill himself too).

I call this the least-death-scenario corollary.

3. The only reason birth control is widely used, is because it has not existed for that long in its current form; in the future, not having children will be as painful as suicide, as evolution will have selected those who have had an aversion to using birth control. Thus, there is only a short "window" of time in which anti-natalism might be implemented.

Answer: Thats why we (rebelled antinatalists) have to enter in this window as soon as possible, its not our duty to worry about earth´s and it´s inhabitants future; they may be blown to smitherins by gamma rays from space, who knows? Either way, we try our best to help others, with books, etc, but then, if people don´t listen, what are you gonna do, right?

3. Antinatalism leaves people without any ambitions, making them hopeless, disillusioned, and disoriented, and thus increases the total human unhappiness.

Answer: Yeah, so? I mean, what´s wrong with a little unhappiness? Geez, everyone is obsessed with this ecstasy-like state, well, let´s forget about it, life is always kinda dull when you are old enough (mentally speaking). And on the other hand this falls under the same category of number 2 response, which I resolved with the least-death-scenario corollary.

4. A decision to not have children will make the world better off, if "bad" people will remain and breed, like Osama bin Laden who "married four women and fathered roughly 25 or 26 children". I.e. the "we need the "right" kind of people to breed" argument.

Answer: Finally, antinatalism is not about making the world a better place, but to save people from experiencing the world, which it will always be somehow shitty, sucky and dangerous.

If only "good" and "right" people breed and mate, and the bad ones are shot to death, it will still be a sucky place. Nature will find its way of corrupting those good people once again, somehow in the long run, and there´s always the ontological problem, i.e, life in this earth will never pay it off its investiments.

Thanks! =)

Anonymous said...

1) It's irrelevant if you self-select for extinction since most of us will chose not to do so and encourage our children not to do so either.

2) We're in general wired to be happy. If you survey Bangladeshian subsistence farmers, about as horrible a lot in life as is imaginable, you still find that most of them are relatively happy regardless of the misery they're forced to endure. Misery and happiness appear to be two different axes and largely capable of coexisting.

3) Even in spite of nuclear war, we cannot erradicate all animals capable of sensing pain. With less humans around the expectation is more animals; it is not clear that anti-natalism would lead to a net reduction in misery.

4) The purpose of misery is to drive you to remove in as full an extent as you can the conditions which make you miserable. If you were to impose your anti-natalism on me by force you would make me miserable, and I would strive to remove your extricate myself from your influence by force; even if you were pro-genocide in addition to anti-natalist you are unlikely to succeed.

5) If people in general do not have enough children that it is feasible to take good care of old people, it will make old people miserable. Knowing this governments will attempt to bring up birth rates if they are too low, cutting down the benefits if they can't and thereby spuring people to have more children lest they end up like poor old gramps.

Anonymous said...

Oops, posted in the wrong thread.

Breeder Bingo

filrabat said...

Anti-antinatalist:sounds like a clinically depressed person who said that stuff. I'm sure most of these people are going to hate their lives as much as he hates his.

Response: This is an example of the Genetic Fallacy - assuming you proved a point by tracing an argument to its cause. It also doubles as an Appeal to Caricature - appealing to negative images to prove a point.

Now to the substance of the "depression" charge:

Appealing to a claimant’s depression (real or merely guessed at) is like Christians (or other Supernaturalists) claiming atheism is false because a former atheist depression lifted right after calling out to God (or Jesus) in a moment of anguish – then becoming convinced of the truth of Christianity. Or, by contrast, religion is false because a depressive believer lost his or her faith in God’s existence.

Anonymous said...

From Breeder Bingo:

In childfree slang, "Breeder Bingo" refers to the rapid-fire, drinking-game style identification of any of a long list of clichés and oft-repeated arguments directed at those who remain childless by choice.

“When someone mentions that he or she does not wish to have children, if he or she happens to be unlucky, that person is treated to a number of groaningly over-repeated responses from outraged and defensive people who do not, cannot, or will not understand that other people have different views... As certain key phrases are uttered during the conversation, the player crosses off the corresponding spaces on the 5 x 5 bingo card; [when] the player manages to cross off five vertical, horizontal, or diagonal spaces in a row, or at least thinks that he or she had heard enough BB-isms to win, he or she shouts "Bingo!" and escapes from the conversation in the ensuing confusion.”
- Everything2 on BreederBINGO


Anonymous said...

BreederBINGO phrases


* B-1: You'll change your mind.
* B-2: You childhater!
* B-3: Good plan, you seem like a hateful person, it'd be a shame to put a child through that.
* B-4: Your children would be so beautiful/smart.
* B-5: Having a child is a unique experience. There's no substitute!
* B-6: What's the matter, don't you like kids?
* B-7: Why do you hate children so much?
* B-8: You're selfish if you think that you deserve quiet in public places like restaurants.
* B-9: Someday you'll meet someone who'll change your mind.
* B-10: What if your husband wants children? Won't it be cruel not to give him any, now that he's stuck with you?
* B-11: Some day you'll grow up and change your mind.
* B-12: Human beings need/children give us the opportunity to give selflessly to someone else.
* B-13: Who will take care of you in your old age?
* B-14: You're a drain on society! You're going to be old and expect MY KIDS to support you through social security!
* B-15: Don't you want to hear the pitter patter of little feet?


* I-16: It's all woooorth it!
* I-17: Just wait until you have kids.
* I-18: You say you don't want them now, but I know you'll like/love it once it's here.
* I-19: You must have had a rotten childhood.
* I-20: The children are our future.
* I-21: You should have a kid. Smart people need to pass on their genes.
* I-22: Reproduction is a natural human activity, so human happiness requires reproduction.
* I-23: You should have a kid. White/black/other people aren't having enough kids. You'll be outnumbered!
* I-24: If everyone didn't have kids, the human race'd die out.
* I-25: Why'd you get married if you didn't want kids?
* I-26: Oh, well, you never know. "Accidents" happen.
* I-27: Children/childbirth are a woman's greatest achievement.
* I-28: I can't believe you have ever even considered not having children!
* I-29: It's just what adults do. You grow up, you get married, you have children.
* I-30: You aren't a real adult unless you've had kids.

Anonymous said...


* N-31: You're just being selfish/Being childfree is selfish.
* N-32: People like you should have kids.
* N-33: But it is natural to want to nurture something.
* N-34: Look at how you take care of your plants and pets — you're trying to make up for not having children.
* N-35: People throughout history have chosen to have children, so there must be some value in it.
* N-36: What if your parents thought the same way?
* N-37: What if everyone thought the way you do?
* N-38: Children are a blessing. How can you reject this great gift?
* N-39: You aren't really a family without children.
* N-40: What you need is a husband who is willing to stay home with them.
* N-41: Don't you want genetic immortality?
* N-42: You're only thinking about the bad parts. If you were a more positive person...
* N-43: My kids are the best thing that ever happened to me.
* N-44: You must be a very sad person.
* N-45: The only reason to get married is to have children.


* G-46: It takes a village to raise a child.
* G-47: Your/my child could cure cancer.
* G-48: It is a virtue to have children.
* G-49: The Bible said go forth and multiply.
* G-50: I home school my 12 children and the Lord has blessed us.
* G-51: You must have been an unhappy child. You should see a psychologist and find out what's wrong with you.
* G-52: You'll regret it when you're older.
* G-53: How can you live with yourself?
* G-54: I want grandchildren before I die! I gave you life, can't you give me this one little thing?
* G-55: You don't love your partner if you won't give him/her children.
* G-56: You were a child/baby once.
* G-57: You won't know true love until you hold your child for the first time.
* G-58: Nothing is better than new-baby smell.
* G-59: But it's so sad when people don't have children! Their lives are so empty and unfulfilled!
* G-60: You're depriving me of my son's children. / You're depriving your parents of grandchildren.


* O-61: It's different when they're your own.
* O-62: What about the family name?
* O-63: It's the most important job in the world.
* O-64: You forget the pain of labour and birth.
* O-65: My kids are the most important thing in my life.
* O-66: You would make a great parent!
* O-67: Are you just going to let your ability go to waste?
* O-68: Aren't you curious to see what they'd look like?
* O-69: But sweet little babies! How can you not want that in your life?
* O-70: The best thing in the world is/was to have kids.
* O-71: You might regret your decision not to have children, and then it will be too late!
* O-72: Being childfree is against God/nature.
* O-73: You're better off having them now while you can.
* O-74: When are you having children?
* O-75: The biological clock is ticking!

[edit] External links

BreederBINGO cards

* A BreederBINGO card
* BS-BINGO's BreederBINGO card
* Everything2 definition and BreederBINGO card
* BreederBINGO card with centre square "Free stork parking"

BreederBINGO phraselists and responses

* and
* and
* Answers for the question "when are you going to have children?"

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


filrabat said...

An oldie but "goodie"

Michael Huang's "argument" against voluntary human extinction in "Destroy All Humans!". The most relevant part of the article (from the philanthropic antinatalist perspective) challenges Jonathan Rauch's 1999 article in The Economist "Sui Genocide" (link), which Huang correctly interprets as:

...humanity is going to die anyway, so we might as well die painlessly by our own hand rather than wait for a painful, natural death—euthanasia, but for the species and not the individual.

However, he goes on to counter this with,

...committing voluntary extinction—when the death of the universe is so far in the future—is analogous to a 10-year-old committing suicide to avoid dying at 100. A waste of life and time

To which I say

If we continue into the future, all the way to the inevitable death of the universe, then what are we continuing forward for? If to show that we can accomplish increasingly greater things, then this smacks of egotism at best and sheer vanity at worst. If to give life to those who will exist in the future, then we’re back to all the other issues surrounding bringing new people into this world (or universe), with their accompanying moral and ethical issues. In either case, Huang's counter ultimately amounts to claiming "humans need to continue existing in order to keep existing in the future"- a claim ultimately faith-based (in the non-religious sense) at best and mere tautological at worst.

However, continuing the human species is a need only to the extent that we feel it is a need. What need, then, does the human species have for existing, aside from our mere programming by our DNA and brain architecture telling us “we have to exist”? The practically maniacal desire for humanity to desire its continued existence reveals more about how easily our rational, sober side can be overthrown by our DNA and its accompanying blueprints for our brain architecture than it does the actual truth-value of the statement “humanity must continue to exist”. This enough is sufficient to intelligently suggest (but not prove) that procreation might well be an ultimately pointless act.

filrabat said...

Similar to my immediate above post:

Humanity just has to keep surviving; life is the most important thing of all,etc.

filrabat:The notion of people benefiting from existence is ultimately self-referential. Sentient beings are pre-designed by DNA (which itself is pre-designed by the laws chemistry [obviously] and, ultimately, physics). Subsequent variations of DNA also acted on by the laws of mathematics – namely probability. That DNA was acted upon by natural selection over the billions of years. DNA variants that pre-designed creatures to possess a survival instinct/will to live were more likely to survive and reproduce; those that didn’t have it, didn’t survive. Given all this, the survival instinct is present in practically all conscious living creatures. Therefore, to say people benefit from existence is to say that a phenomenon (life) that is pre-determined (by evolution) to be maintained that phenomenon (life) in any way possible (the survival instinct) is to say that a thing is correct because it was pre-determined by a process to be such that it can’t help but do anything to maintain that phenomenon (life). In simpler language, to say life is beneficial is merely loading the dice to get the result you are looking for.

Shadow said...


excellent words. those should enter to antinatalism hall of wonder.

Anonymous said...

"it would be sad, if mankind became extinct."

who would be sad?

filrabat said...

Recently, I found an old post on a fundie blog that slammed and mischaracterized antinatalism, and so I (as a Christian of the liberal sort) responded appropriately.

This is about as ill-conceived as it gets, folks; so much so that I almost put it in the "Watercooler" cooler threat just for shits and giggles - except that most mainstream people would actually take this seriously - especially if of a religious bent (Jim should find this interesting, former preacher that he is).

Anonymous said...

I have to grant them that the notion of "Christian antinatalism" is a bit silly.

filrabat said...

Anon, I'm not to get into a theological debate. For now, it's enough to say that there are verses that would at least permit antinatalism. It's that the later centuries of the church, as an institution, obscure the issue.

Shadow said...

The idea of a Anti-birth Cristianity is not in tune with the whole concept of Cristianity in the first place.

Even so, the bible being the stitched book of legends and writings that it is, really contains a lot of verses that defend the anti-birth cause.

Benatar himself collected some on his book, such as Ecclesiastes 1:2-4, and Jeremiah 20:14-18.

Glad to be of help.

Shadow said...

*Christianity, sorry.

filrabat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
filrabat said...

Antinatalists refusing to commit suicide proves that even they feel life is too pleasurable to throw it all away.

The survival instinct is an involuntary reflex of human psychology. This is a major obstacle to overcome, even if we disregard the concerns of suffering for family and friends.

Also, other involuntary reflexes exist in the human experience, yet we still don’t always condone the actions that cause that reflex. For example, rape victims often report their body felt a certain pleasure at being stimulated by forced sexual intercourse, even if their mind and emotion did not want to experience sex in those circumstances and/or with that person. Yet, it is precisely because of this lack of agreement between the victim’s body and mind, we deem rape outside the scope of acceptable human behavior.

The Plague Doctor said...

"Since antinatalists don't believe in having children, they don't have any children. Thus they become less and less in numbers until they're finally extinct. Too bad for them."

This assumes there is such a thing as an "antinatalism gene". I am nothing like my parents (with respect to my views on antinatalism). Does the number of Catholic priests become less and less, because they are celibate? On the contrary, the number of Catholic priests is growing in certain regions. It is more reasonable to assume antinatalism is transmitted memetically (I hate that word).

filrabat said...

Here’s a thread I started on procreation vs. inevitable extinction on the site:Why Have Children When Our Extinction is Inevitable? (poor grammar, yes; but that’s neither here nor there). To be fair, I steered clear of explicit anti-natalism and focused narrowly on the question of the purpose of having children. I did so in order to keep the discussion rational and to keep the inevitable “get help” and “just off yourself” accusations to a minimum (though even in this case, I still got a few of them).

Still, the thread proved reasonably rational, considering that is a huge forum with a very diverse set of posters; fairly representative of society as a whole. I’m not saying the other posters are correct, just surprisingly rational in their style and tone – even if I did get the occasional snide remarks. One poster, NightBazzar actually contributing valuable insights into the Why (in the rational sense) do we reproduce totally and completely aside from making any moral judgment about it. IOW, NB’s posts are descriptive, not prescriptive.

The other poster, Stavemaster also answered pretty reationally, and in fact did a lot to reveal about why parents decide to have children, even if their rationality and education tells them our universe will go extinct one day.

All in all, certainly worth a read. The thread even force me to think of a new notion: Which is more important, survival or truth? (put in meme-like forumuation).

filrabat said...

Ill-conceived arguments: Go to the YouTube page of gratex, a current opponent of DerivedEnergy. Commented on about 3 of his videos. He's a bit on the snide side, so on one of his videos I was uncharacteristically snide myself (really got on my nerves).

filrabat said...

From various YT ANTI-antinatalists: AN makes no sense because we can't eliminate all life in this cosmos; it'd pop up again after we die, etc.

Impossibility to do something everywhere in the cosmos =/= pointless to do on Earth or anywhere else within our sphere of physical access (present or future). By that standard, it's makes no sense to eradicate war, hunger, disease, poverty, corruption, etc. just because we can't do it elsewhere in the cosmos - or do anything else at all for that matter. The same argument applies to "can't wipe it all out forever". Yet it'd be frankly batshit insane to argue against activism, etc. on the basis we can't do it elsewhere outside our travel radius.

fil rabat said...

Conferencereport challenges the asymmetry.

Absence of Harm is "not bad, but not good" while the absence of pleasure is "not good, but not bad" for the non-existent - presumably we have to believe that it is "not bad" returning the symmetry.

Response: The absence of detriment actually is actually a good thing, regardless of whether anyone is around to experience it. This is not comparing two states (existence and nonexistence) within the same timeline; this is a matter of two alternate scenarios: He exists vs. He doesn't exist. In the first scenario He experienced detriment so bad that He concludes that no amount of good makes up for the bad. This is a bad thing that could have been avoided. In the second scenario, He might not feel any benefit from a lack of harm due to his non-existence, but nevertheless it is a better state of affairs that He didn't ever come to exist - especially if He would have concluded that life's benefits are not worth the inevitable harms.