Thursday, October 28, 2010

Watercooler Conversations

Per commenter Plague Doctor's request, a place to chat outside the parameters of a particular O.P.'s subject matter. Thanks for the suggestion!

382 comments:

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Garrett said...

Anon: Freakin' loved that too.

Shadow: Yup, watched it about the time Corey posted it. Very entertaining. That hour and a half just flew by! FYI, my YouTube account is "Antinatalist". Yeah, I know... real original. It fits me though ;)

Shadow said...

Hey Garret!

Put a link to your account there, I can´t seem to find it...

That vid is great, and Anton is polite and all, but there´s no really arguing gary´s points there.

=)

Sister Y said...

Antibratalist: neologism for folks who are childfree but on the fence about the greater AN project

Francois Tremblay said...

The childfree movement is so bourgeois, it wouldn't surprise me if they were as hostile to antinatalism as to anything else.

Anonymous said...

From a Japanese Detergent Suicide Post, a mom posts about her son's suffering and his inevitable suicide.

What follows is an antinatalist(not me!) asking her why
she did it..

MOM:

"It's so horrible that anyone would make light of this subject, suicide. My son was hospitalized previously, had seen counselors, had talked to therapists, had even written a college paper on why you should seek help if you're depressed, stating in the paper that he had been suffering with depression since the age of 10. So he knew all the right answers, he just could no longer fight it. He was a brilliant young man, 18 and in his SECOND year of college, a very talented artist, an activist and an all around amazing guy. The loss of him from our life is just devastating. We buried him on Mother's Day of 2010. Actually he was cremated, but the viewing and wake were on Mother's Day.. Just such a loss of a wonderful person. He just couldn't fight it any longer, had planned it since March and in his suicide letter stated that it was just a matter of when and where, that nobody "missed the signs" and he was sorry and knew this would be scarring for his loved ones... ultimately, he killed himself on the night his significant other broke up with him... It was the last straw I think. So please don't make jokes about it... there's not any humor in it whatsoever. Ask his little 8-year-old brother. :o("

youwerescripted (the AN guy/girl)

"Mom - did it ever occur to you that maybe your son didn't want to be born ? Sounds like you forced him into it.....

In fact - how many of us would really even be here shown the list of horrible things that can / will happen here on Planet Earth - before we are born ?

Probably about 2%

Higher intellect = greater probability that you realize the malaise you are in - once "born"

Why did you do it ?????"

Mom responds

"I don't even have words for that comment.. As much as I'd like to come back with a comment as *witty* as yours, alas, my feeble mind fails me... I did get a good laugh out of your comment though, so not all is lost.. I have to disagree that life is full of "horrible things that can/will happen to us". There are far more good people than bad... heck, even YOU might have a tiny sliver of *nice* somewhere deep down when you're off satan's time-clock??? Thanks for posting.... :o)"


Link: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/03/japanese-deterg/#comment-219054211

Anonymous said...

Kevorkian on antinatalism

Shadow said...

Anonymous,

First of all, thanks for yet another great contribution of a video.

2:39 - The news guy asks Kevorkian: "Did you say that life was not worth living? What did you mean by that?"

I don´t know this guy, and probably this was a kind of rhetorical question or he was just trying to move the questions along.

But it seems to me that, at least some people have trouble understanding this.

"Life is not worth living? What did you mean by that?"

The exactly same thing you just said! Life is not worth all the problems we go through to extract some personal and ephemeral pleasures. Is that so hard to understand??

Sometimes I get a little steam from this kind of questions.

It´s very ennerving to realize that people have trouble understanding this simple thing. They try do understand big ass physics questions and mathematical problems and still go the fucking church in the sunday.

Fuck this. I´m pissed. Need to go drink some tea or whatever.

=)

Thanks Anon for the vid

Go Kevorkian.

Enough said.

Shadow said...

*unnerving

Shadow said...

Just some more info, for all that don´t know, he´s died on June 3 of the current year.

Anonymous said...

At the end of this interview with Babs, he makes it clear he won't assist peeps with psychiatric problems (cuz that's different, doncha know):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFapbjWK27o&feature=related

He was still basically a saint.

Sister Y said...

Can we please put a moratorium on explicitly calling out parents of suicides? Seriously. I don't people to ask that shit of my mom when I die, so please don't do it to the parents of other suicides, kthx.

We can do it in the abstract, but it seems unnecessarily hateful to do it in a personal way.

Sister Y said...

It just seems (a) mean in a way that looks bad for our cause, and (b) too late to do any good for preventing future people.

Lots of people have done bad things; calling them out on it in this way sounds like we're saying that none of us have ever done anything bad either.

James said...

http://joshreads.com/images/0608/i060825bb.jpg

And I thought only Calvin and Hobbes did the philosophical newspaper strip thing.

Anonymous said...

Sister Y is clearly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and thinks everyone else should too. Personally, my mother can f*** off.

Shadow said...

Other than physical harm and extreme ridicule, I don´t care much about my own relatives either.

James said...

We love the people who hurt us. It's weird, and strange, and fucked up, but it's true. Most parents have no way of knowing what they were doing, unless they were Schopenhauer or Cioran scholars. Maybe they were shitty parents after the fact, and no one is under an obligation to love their parents just for giving bith to them, but I don't plan on instructing anyone to despise the people who, quite often, were the source of a great deal of light and comfort in this dark world. Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome, but I don't give a fuck.

Hate the system, not the people who unknowingly perpetuate it.

I guess what I'm saying is, if anyone says a bad word about my mother if I die before her, I will rise from the grave just to punch them in the face.

Shadow said...

James,

The system is sometimes, the people that are in it.

But anyways, I even should defend my mother from personal and physical attacks from anyone, but that does not makes her right. She continues to be just another human being, with all the flaws.

And boy, do we have flaws.

Now, this are only biological and physical responses and impulses. Let´s not glorify them, alright?

Sentience is weird and should disappear, mothers and all.

James said...

Maybe the correct answer is to provide an addendum to your suicide note or will? Such as "Do not mourn for me, for it is a far better thing I do than I have ever done, and it is a far better sleep I go to than I have ever known. PS: FUCK YOU MOM" or "I hate this stupid world and all the people who live in it. But don't hassle my dad about this."

Karl said...

Gotta agree with Shadow: the people are the system.

Anyone see "We Need To talk About Kevin"? It's a wonderful advert for Antinatalism:-)

James said...

I think I finally found the strawman all the pro-natalists think they're arguing against when the subject of anti-natalism comes up. http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?style=1&f=1&t=161476 http://forums.philosophyforums.com/threads/when-is-suicide-justified-21439-15.html

I'm surprised I haven't seen this Aidan Mclaren around on the anti-natalist blog circuit. Should probably count our blessings for that.

Francois Tremblay said...

James, most people here would support wiping out the human race too, so I am not sure why you think this is a straw man.

James said...

So how many people have you convinced with the "I want to strangle all of you" argument?

James said...

Hey, just to clarify, I see no problem with the voluntary human extinction thing, and I've fantasized about the apocalypse a few time, I just happen to think that the way this guy in particular argues is ludicrously overblown. There's a right way to do these things, is all.

Tiny Tim has it down:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DEoOdcYKbc

Francois Tremblay said...

I think you've confused me with someone else. I am not a utilitarian, and therefore I have never agreed with the populicide argument. I would never push the button.

James said...

Oh. The guy was for killing every member of the human race via nuclear strike, so when you said that most people would agree with him, I thought you were referring to that.

I already assumed that most people here would agree with him about the "stop procreating and let the human race die out" thing.

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, that's what I meant. AFAIK, I am the only one here who is against populicide, at least in the chat room I was the only one.

James said...

I have to say, he is the first anti-natalist I've seen who tells people to kill themselves to prove that they believe what they're saying. It's like bizarro-world.

Anonymous said...

“One has to think think this matter thoroughly through to the bottom and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of the strange and weaker, suppression, severity, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation and, at the least and mildest, exploitation — but why should one always have to employ precisely those words which have from of old been stamped with a slanderous intention? Even that body within which, as was previously assumed, individuals treat one another as equals — this happens in every healthy aristocracy — must, if it is a living and not a decaying body, itself do all that to other bodies which the individuals within it refrain from doing to one another: it will have to be the will to power incarnate, it will want to grow, expand, draw to itself, gain ascendancy — not out of any morality or immorality, but because it lives, and because life is will to power. On no point, however, is the common European consciousness more reluctant to learn than it is here; everywhere one enthuses, even under scientific disguises, about coming states of society in which there will be “no more exploitation” — that sounds to my ears like promising a life in which there will be no organic functions. “Exploitation” does not pertain to to a corrupt or imperfect or primitive society: it pertains to the essence of the living thing as a fundamental organic function, it is a consequence of the intrinsic will to power which is precisely the will of life. — Granted this is a novelty as a theory — as a reality it is the primordial fact of all history: let us be at least that honest with ourselves!”


-Friedrich Nietzche

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone. This is my first time posting. I am not an antinatalist, but I am sympathetic to the philosophy, and I wanted to ask you guys a couple questions so I can see if I was right in rejecting it.

First off, from what I've read in blogs and watched in YouTube videos, many negative utilitarian antinatalists seem to accept that in a hypothetical scenario where they have access to a doomsday device, they would be morally obligated to use it to prevent the future imposition of life, but yet it doesn't seem to occur to them that they have any moral obligation to murder an especially prolific breeder or bomb a nursery for the same purpose. A common response might be that unlike species-wide genocide, these murderous acts would not have the sanctifying effect of significantly reducing the amount of suffering in the world, but even if that it is true, they still do reduce more suffering than they cause, and according to your beliefs, wouldn't that make them good?

Secondly, isn't it impossible for a species that is, by nature, selfish and tribal to sincerely care about the general welfare of humanity to the extent that any ultitarians, negative or otherwise, claim to? And if it is, why should anyone bother? Without God or any transcendent moral law, where does a person's morality come from, if not their conscience? If, for example, your conscience impels you to redress a wrong committed against you rather than forgive your offender, why act against it merely because they violate some abstract principle you don't truly believe? I understand that a person might be conflicted or might regret something they've done, but these battles are between that person's baser instincts and their conscience, whereas the other scenario I described is between a person's conscience and someone else's (or so they claim). In one of Louis CK's bits where he jokes about the phoney indignation some people have towards eating non-dolphin-safe tuna, he says that he thinks eating all animals is wrong, but he eats them anyway because they taste good and he doesn't care that it's wrong. This is how I imagine most utilitarians feel. They believe certain acts are wrong, not because they go against their conscience, the only non-externally imposed source of morality, but because they go against the principles laid down by someone who they've decided is wiser and more humane than them. My question is, why?

As for myself, I am a pessimist. I accept your view of reality. Life is suffering, but the only real suffering that causes me any serious grief is my own. To say that I care that new and innocent life is continually being inflicted with the burden of existence would be dishonest. Deep down, I might feel some vague sense that by adopting such a view and spreading it memetically I am making the world a more compassionate place and thereby increasing the chances that some surplus pity might fall upon me, but even if this were true in the long term, it wouldn't be in the short term, and whatever psychological satisifaction antinatalism might bring me, I wouldn't benefit in any material sense in my lifetime. My life, bereft of the pity-inspiring worldview, would, in its essentials, be no more miserable than if I preached it until my lungs were sore, so why settle for being an object of pity? Isn't being heaped with contempt more dignified? Now I'm just thinking aloud. Ignore me.

Francois Tremblay said...

"A common response might be that unlike species-wide genocide, these murderous acts would not have the sanctifying effect of significantly reducing the amount of suffering in the world, but even if that it is true, they still do reduce more suffering than they cause, and according to your beliefs, wouldn't that make them good?"

No. Even if we accept your callous, amoral version of morality (which is contradictory in itself), it still does not reduce suffering, because it causes new suffering and anxiety in the people who are still alive, especially the person's loved ones, but society as a whole.

"Secondly, isn't it impossible for a species that is, by nature, selfish and tribal"

Um... no. Humans are not selfish by nature, they have to be made that way. Read The Bright Side of Human Nature by Alfie Kohn, or Mutual Aid by Piotr Kropotkin (if you're into the oldies), for the scientific evidence for this proposition. We are born as social animals. It's called evolution.

"to sincerely care about the general welfare of humanity to the extent that any ultitarians, negative or otherwise, claim to? And if it is, why should anyone bother?"

If whatever happens happens, why should we bother believing anything? Your reasoning leads straight to pointless nihilism. I believe things because they are true.

"Without God or any transcendent moral law, where does a person's morality come from, if not their conscience?"

Evolution.

"They believe certain acts are wrong, not because they go against their conscience, the only non-externally imposed source of morality, but because they go against the principles laid down by someone who they've decided is wiser and more humane than them. My question is, why?"

I'm not gonna defend utilitarianism because I think it's logical gobbledygook, but what you are describing seems to be a funhouse version of utilitarianism, not the real thing.

Anonymous said...

"No. Even if we accept your callous, amoral version of morality (which is contradictory in itself) ..."

Morality, to the best of my understanding, is a code of conduct applied by an individual or group and is, by its nature, subjective. Acknowledging this does not make me amoral, nor does it mean that I am contradicting myself. It only means that I am looking at the subject without bias or prejudice. I have my own notion of morality, as does everyone except sociopaths, but it originates from my conscience, not idealistic moral schemes that are in compatible with my nature. Louis CK's statement that "eating all meat is wrong, but I don't care that it is wrong" is meaningless to me. If I don't care that it is wrong, it isn't wrong.

"... it still does not reduce suffering, because it causes new suffering and anxiety in the people who are still alive, especially the person's loved ones, but society as a whole."

In the short term, yes, these acts cause a lot of suffering, but in the long term, they reduce the total amount of suffering in the world, and I don't see how you could argue otherwise. If life begets life, and life is suffering, killing anyone who is going to perpetuate life necessarily reduces the total amount of suffering by preventing the breeder's child from ever being thrust into the world where they will invariably suffer and quite likely breed and perpetuate more and more suffering. Think of all the generations you could save from being imposed with lives of misery and toil, of all the potential rapes and kidnappings and murders and horrific diseases you could prevent with a single bullet. Imagine if someone had killed Josef Fritzl's great great great grandparents. They would have saved several generations from the requisite amount of meaningless suffering even the happiest human being must endure, and more importantly, they would have saved one poor girl from being raped and tortured in a basement for 24 years, resulting in the birth of 7 children who might continue the cycle. If the ends justify the means, as they must for anyone who accepts species-wide genocide, isn't murdering all potential breeders justified?

"Um... no. Humans are not selfish by nature, they have to be made that way. Read The Bright Side of Human Nature by Alfie Kohn, or Mutual Aid by Piotr Kropotkin (if you're into the oldies), for the scientific evidence for this proposition. We are born as social animals. It's called evolution."

I'm going to be honest. I am not sufficiently knowledgable about the subject of evolution to speak about it beyond the basics with any confidence, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but isn't what you are talking about referred to as "group selection", and hasn't it since been discredited by most scientists? Isn't it now accepted among most scientists that natural selection is guided by whatever best propagates our genes, not what benefits the good of the group (assuming that's what you're suggesting), and while these may sometimes overlap, don't they often come into radical conflict, resulting a species whose nature is far from as benign as you suggest?

I'll keep your recommendations in mind for future reference, but I have to admit, I'm a little skeptical given that one book has the dubious title of "The BRIGHT SIDE of Human Nature" of all things and the other was written in 1902 by an anarchist with an axe to grind.

Anonymous said...

More...

"Evolution."

Saying evolution doesn't answer the question because evolution shaped your conscience, and it is from there that people get their morality, the sincere part of it anyway.

When I asked this, I wasn't doing so to suggest that morality was incompatible with nature, only that CERTAIN moralities are generally incompatible with nature, such as all utilitarian morality which presupposes either a love more inclusive than humans are capable of or, in absence of such love, slavery to someone else's rules, which, for whatever reason, you judge as a more fit judge of "right" and "wrong" than yourself.

"I'm not gonna defend utilitarianism because I think it's logical gobbledygook, but what you are describing seems to be a funhouse version of utilitarianism, not the real thing."

I don't see how my conclusions can be avoided unless you amend the belief that we have a moral imperative to prevent the greatest amount of suffering for the greatest number with something like, "...without imposing your will on another human being".

Francois Tremblay said...

"Morality, to the best of my understanding, is a code of conduct applied by an individual or group and is, by its nature, subjective. Acknowledging this does not make me amoral, nor does it mean that I am contradicting myself. It only means that I am looking at the subject without bias or prejudice."

The definition of amorality is the absence of moral principles. To speak of morality without moral principles is to speak of something that has nothing to do with morality. What you describe should be called psychology or sociology, i.e. a descriptive study, not morality.

"In the short term, yes, these acts cause a lot of suffering, but in the long term, they reduce the total amount of suffering in the world, and I don't see how you could argue otherwise."

Your argument is one giant hypothetical, similar to people who claim that abortion is evil because a fetus might become the next Einstein. The answer, of course, is "you don't know that."

Likewise, you don't know whether a situation where a person is killed and has no descendents is better or worse than another situation where ey was not killed, simply because you have no possible way of knowing what would happen, let alone actually making the comparison. This is because (and this is my objection to utilitarianism as well) there is no way possible to make inter-subjective comparisons. Given that fact, all utilitarian comparisons are logically fallacious and based on the imagination.

"If the ends justify the means"

Nope. "means" and "ends" are just arbitrary labels we place on various human actions. There really is no such thing, there is no ultimate "end" to anything, there's no stable state to be had anywhere. All actions must be evaluated on their own merits, not just certain actions and not others.

"Isn't it now accepted among most scientists that natural selection is guided by whatever best propagates our genes, not what benefits the good of the group (assuming that's what you're suggesting), and while these may sometimes overlap, don't they often come into radical conflict, resulting a species whose nature is far from as benign as you suggest?"

I don't deny that animals don't always act in the interests of the group, no. But I don't see how you get to the point where you think I believe that "no animal ever acts against its group's interests." The fact that humans are social animals does not mean that they cannot ever act against the group's interests. What it means is that evolution has equipped us with the tools necessary to deal with all kinds of societies, hierarchical and cooperative, and that therefore humans have these tools in their brains that help them modelize relations. Sociopaths obviously do exist: they are humans geared exclusively to live in a strictly hierarchical society, a strategy which fails in a mixture of strict hierarchy and cooperation like our Western capitalist societies.

"I'm a little skeptical given that one book has the dubious title of "The BRIGHT SIDE of Human Nature" of all things and the other was written in 1902 by an anarchist with an axe to grind."

This is circular reasoning: you don't like the idea of these books because they are based on ideas you reject out of hand. Since you managed to get here of all places, I assume you are very open-minded, so I'm not really convinced by your reluctance. Of course anyone who argues that human nature is good has an "axe to grind": such a proposition goes counter to everything we've been taught, and no idler would try to defend it. You might as well say that Jim Crawford or David Benatar have an axe to grind. So what? There is no such thing as value-neutrality.

If you don't want to read more on the subject, then don't, but I'm telling you that you're wrong based on scientific facts.

Anonymous said...

I want to elaborate on a couple things....

When I speak of "slavery to someone else's rules", I'm not suggesting that a person is somehow in error in making themselves a slave in this way, only that it seems ridiculous to me. If you truly do not love humanity as a whole, striving to do seems ridiculous. You can respond, "Humanity still benefits," but if you don't care about humanity, what does that matter?

As far as amending utilitarianism, a person who does that isn't in error, either, but in this case, something about it not only seems ridiculous, but seems to fly in the face of what seems to make utilitarianism unique (at least to me) -- the belief that it is somehow grounded more in reality than moralities that focus on abstractions. Unlike concepts like loyalty, honor, and chastity, suffering is at least real -- if you prick someone, they say, "Ow," but if, say, a white person expresses disloyalty to their race by dating outside of it, their ancestors don't literally roll over in their graves -- but once you subordinate suffering to consent or some other abstraction, utilitarianism seems to lose its uniqueness. And once you do that, doesn't it seem somewhat hypocritical to chastise breeders for perpetuating suffering for the sake of an abstraction like "life itself" when you are doing the same thing, albeit indirectly?

Maybe I'm expressing myself poorly.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Saying evolution doesn't answer the question because evolution shaped your conscience, and it is from there that people get their morality, the sincere part of it anyway."

No, I don't think it's where people get their morality. Conscience, empathy, and most crucially, higher-level emotions like love and shame, are there to prevent people from erring, but they are not the source. The fundamental source is the fact that our brains have evolved to follow a ruleset- do not kill, do not steal, act fairly, if someone doesn't act fairly punish them- which reaps the most benefits for human groups as well as individuals (tit-for-tat). Conscience, empathy, higher-level emotions are there to ensure that we actually care about these rules instead of rationalizing them away.

"When I asked this, I wasn't doing so to suggest that morality was incompatible with nature, only that CERTAIN moralities are generally incompatible with nature, such as all utilitarian morality which presupposes either a love more inclusive than humans are capable of or, in absence of such love, slavery to someone else's rules, which, for whatever reason, you judge as a more fit judge of "right" and "wrong" than yourself."

Correct, neither of these are good solutions. But neither of them apply to antinatalism. No one is going around brainwashing people to believe that having children is wrong, and no one that I know of is saying that you need to universalize your love in order to make sense of antinatalism.

"I don't see how my conclusions can be avoided unless you amend the belief that we have a moral imperative to prevent the greatest amount of suffering for the greatest number with something like, "...without imposing your will on another human being"."

I have no idea what you're talking about. What I was answering was your belief that utilitarians believe what they believe on the basis of "principles laid down by someone who they've decided is wiser and more humane than them." This is the funhouse version of utilitarianism I was referring to.

Francois Tremblay said...

"what seems to make utilitarianism unique (at least to me) -- the belief that it is somehow grounded more in reality than moralities that focus on abstractions."

Nope... it's not. It's grounded in imaginary hypotheticals that cannot ever be compared or measured. Sorry.

"doesn't it seem somewhat hypocritical to chastise breeders for perpetuating suffering for the sake of an abstraction like "life itself"

What? I know of no one who ever had children for the sake of "life itself." This is a weird straw man. Half of people have children because they had sex, didn't use contraception, and are repulsed by abortion. The other half have children for entirely selfish reasons. Here is a list of such reasons:
http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/reasons-not-to-have-childrenreasons-to-have-children/

Tim Cooijmans said...

Anonymous, I would expect murdering a breeder or bombing a nursery to be little better than doing nothing at all. Bombing a nursery may kill ten, but it will maim a hundred, and psychologically devastate a thousand. Mortality salience and other psychological effects will cause the tree of life to regrow and "flourish" more flourishingly than ever before, meanwhile the perpetrator goes to jail and loses even more of his ability to steer the world into an acceptable future, and antinatalists will be the FBI's most wanted for decades to come.

Regarding your second point, I also do not feel anything noteworthy when I hear about other people's suffering. My take on it is that our intuitions (such as conscience, empathy) suck ass. They were designed by the blind idiot god called evolution. They work in favor of the genes that express them, and not in favor of us, the phenotypes. (Some people think this is a feature rather than a bug, because 'lo and behold, their idea of morality is evolutionary-fitness-maximizing utilitarianism, but this is to say "it is, therefore it should be".)

What should we do when our moral intuitions suck? The same thing we do for any of our intuitions that suck: reduce the problem to its fundamental constituents, and reason in small steps that are either obviously right or obviously wrong. Our logical intuitions suck, but luckily we have logic. Our probabilistic intuitions suck, but luckily we have probability theory. Our aerodynamic intuitions suck, but luckily we have aerodynamics.

Hence utilitarianism.

Tim Cooijmans said...

Oh, a lot happened in between my visiting this comment thread and my replying. The above was in response to the first comment by the most recent anonymous (December 11 2011, 11:05 PM).

Shadow said...

Hey, Anonymous,

I liked the questions you posed here, if not because they shake a little bit of things.

""First off, from what I've read in blogs and watched in YouTube videos, many negative utilitarian antinatalists seem to accept that in a hypothetical scenario where they have access to a doomsday device, they would be morally obligated to use it to prevent the future imposition of life, but yet it doesn't seem to occur to them that they have any moral obligation to murder an especially prolific breeder or bomb a nursery for the same purpose. A common response might be that unlike species-wide genocide, these murderous acts would not have the sanctifying effect of significantly reducing the amount of suffering in the world, but even if that it is true, they still do reduce more suffering than they cause, and according to your beliefs, wouldn't that make them good? ""

Personally, I wouldn´t push any button on the hypothetical doosmday device, unless I had the absolute certainty that the killing it would do would be harmless to anyone. Since that´s unlikely, I personally wouldn´t push. I think the hypothetical button is just this, a thought experiment, at least when it comes to the discussions that are taking place. But the general idea is that this button would erase the suffering of a lot of people, though that´s very abstract to me, I believe, at least, ideally that should be no button, only a decision make by the collective of humanity. But that´s somehow unlikely as well.


""Secondly, isn't it impossible for a species that is, by nature, selfish and tribal to sincerely care about the general welfare of humanity to the extent that any ultitarians, negative or otherwise, claim to? ""

I believe so, yes.


""And if it is, why should anyone bother? Without God or any transcendent moral law, where does a person's morality come from, if not their conscience?""

Again, you are right.


""If, for example, your conscience impels you to redress a wrong committed against you rather than forgive your offender, why act against it merely because they violate some abstract principle you don't truly believe? ""

Ahn... what?


""My question is, why?"""

Eating animals is not right or wrong in itself. But with our conscience, comes this awareness that they suffer. What we want to prevent is the suffering. Eating animals may not be wrong, but it isn´t right as well, since no base for moral evaluations exist. The thing here is prevent suffering.


""As for myself, I am a pessimist. I accept your view of reality. Life is suffering, but the only real suffering that causes me any serious grief is my own. ""

We suffer mainly "our" suffering, that´s right.

""To say that I care that new and innocent life is continually being inflicted with the burden of existence would be dishonest. Deep down, I might feel some vague sense that by adopting such a view and spreading it memetically I am making the world a more compassionate place and thereby increasing the chances that some surplus pity might fall upon me, but even if this were true in the long term, it wouldn't be in the short term, and whatever psychological satisifaction antinatalism might bring me, I wouldn't benefit in any material sense in my lifetime. ""

You done a great job analyzing some of the rationale beyond the antinatalist principle. But still, we do things because we feel like doing them. I, for one, do not believe antinatalist will change humanity. But anyways, I do it. Because I think I should. That´s the irrationality of life at work.


Anyways. Cheers man!

Anonymous said...

@ Tim Cooijmans:

"Anonymous, I would expect murdering a breeder or bombing a nursery to be little better than doing nothing at all. "

If this weren't the case, would you condone it?

"Regarding your second point, I also do not feel anything noteworthy when I hear about other people's suffering. My take on it is that our intuitions (such as conscience, empathy) suck ass. They were designed by the blind idiot god called evolution. They work in favor of the genes that express them, and not in favor of us, the phenotypes."

Why do our moral intuitions suck ass? Since you mentioned you don't feel anything noteworthy when hearing about other people's suffering, I assume you think they suck ass they don't benefit you? Fine. I agree, but what is your solution? To handicap yourself even more with a strict and unnatural morality that will only benefit those whose suffering, by your own admission, does not cause you to feel anything noteworthy? WHY?

"(Some people think this is a feature rather than a bug, because 'lo and behold, their idea of morality is evolutionary-fitness-maximizing utilitarianism, but this is to say "it is, therefore it should be".)"

What's wrong with that? There isn't anything illogical about basing your morality on what is evolutionary-fitness-maximising.

"What should we do when our moral intuitions suck?"

Do you believe in God? If not, why do you feel that you have some obligation to care about people who you admit you do not care about?

It's late. Francois, I'll respond to your comments tomorrow. Goodnight.

Tim Cooijmans said...

"Anonymous, I would expect murdering a breeder or bombing a nursery to be little better than doing nothing at all. "
If this weren't the case, would you condone it?

If they were better than doing nothing at all, I would prefer them over doing nothing at all. There may be other options that are better still. Actions are not absolutely "justified" or "permissible" or some such; they can only be judged relative to one another. To be clear about my stance, my answer to the question "what if it turns out that torturing a baby is the one best way to end suffering?" is that it should be done, because all the other options effectively involve torturing more than one baby.

Why do our moral intuitions suck ass? Since you mentioned you don't feel anything noteworthy when hearing about other people's suffering, I assume you think they suck ass they don't benefit you? Fine. I agree, but what is your solution? To handicap yourself even more with a strict and unnatural morality that will only benefit those whose suffering, by your own admission, does not cause you to feel anything noteworthy? WHY?
I know that my suffering sucks ass, and I assume that this is true for all sentient creatures (a mild assumption because I understand "suffering" to mean those experiences that suck ass for the experiencer). Nothing else seems to have value. And if it turns out that something else does, I should accomodate this.

What's wrong with that? There isn't anything illogical about basing your morality on what is evolutionary-fitness-maximising.
Except that evolutionary fitness is in nobody's favor.

Do you believe in God? If not, why do you feel that you have some obligation to care about people who you admit you do not care about?
I don't feel I have an obligation to care. Caring does no good. I philosophically recognize that other sentient creatures' welfare is no more or less important than my own, and I know that my own is valuable.

Anonymous said...

"Your argument is one giant hypothetical, similar to people who claim that abortion is evil because a fetus might become the next Einstein. The answer, of course, is "you don't know that.""

Life is an imposition, so anyone who is born is imposed upon. Life is suffering, so anyone who is born suffers. There is nothing hypothetical about that.

When I suggested that some people who are born might suffer horribly, that was hypothetical, but it isn't at all similar to suggesting that abortion is wrong because a fetus might become the next Einstein. That is an incredibly uncommon event. Horrible suffering isn't. And given that most people have children, we can safely assume that many of their children will have children and so on, so even if we assume that the first couple generations are only going to face the bare minimum of suffering, it is highly probable that one or more of their descendants will face horrible suffering.

"Likewise, you don't know whether a situation where a person is killed and has no descendents is better or worse than another situation where ey was not killed, simply because you have no possible way of knowing what would happen, let alone actually making the comparison."

All I've mentioned is what is inevitable (imposition and suffering) and what is probable at some point (horrible suffering). I used Josef Fritzl's daughter as an extreme example, but such examples up the ante.

I don't see why utilitarians have to only be concerned about preventing suffering they know is going to happen. Why can't they able be concerned with preventing probable suffering? Or even improbable suffering (e.g. World War III)?

Anonymous said...

"Nope. "means" and "ends" are just arbitrary labels we place on various human actions. There really is no such thing, there is no ultimate "end" to anything, there's no stable state to be had anywhere. All actions must be evaluated on their own merits, not just certain actions and not others. "

By "end", I mean GOAL, and by "means", I mean the method by which I acheive that goal. How is this not valid?

"Of course anyone who argues that human nature is good has an "axe to grind": such a proposition goes counter to everything we've been taught, and no idler would try to defend it. You might as well say that Jim Crawford or David Benatar have an axe to grind. So what? There is no such thing as value-neutrality."

You're right. That was a stupid thing to say.

"No, I don't think it's where people get their morality. Conscience, empathy, and most crucially, higher-level emotions like love and shame, are there to prevent people from erring, but they are not the source. The fundamental source is the fact that our brains have evolved to follow a ruleset- do not kill, do not steal, act fairly, if someone doesn't act fairly punish them- which reaps the most benefits for human groups as well as individuals (tit-for-tat). Conscience, empathy, higher-level emotions are there to ensure that we actually care about these rules instead of rationalizing them away. "

I think it's unlikely we have any innate desire to not kill or steal independently of the emotions that discourage us from doing so. I don't even know how that would work. But whatever the case, we're getting off-topic.

"Correct, neither of these are good solutions. But neither of them apply to antinatalism. No one is going around brainwashing people to believe that having children is wrong, and no one that I know of is saying that you need to universalize your love in order to make sense of antinatalism."

My focus was on utilitarian-inspired antinatalism which does imply, if not universal love, at least a concern for the welfare of humanity that goes beyond what anyone is capable of.

"What I was answering was your belief that utilitarians believe what they believe on the basis of "principles laid down by someone who they've decided is wiser and more humane than them." This is the funhouse version of utilitarianism I was referring to."

I was commenting on the absurdity of following any principle that doesn't -- that perhaps cannot -- arise from sincerely felt conviction. There's something about that that seems servile and lackyish.

"What? I know of no one who ever had children for the sake of "life itself." This is a weird straw man. "

I meant that if they were made aware of antinatalism, the moral justification they would probably give for perpetuating the human species would suggest that life is an end in itself.

Anonymous said...

@ Tim Cooijmans:

"If they were better than doing nothing at all, I would prefer them over doing nothing at all."

But isn't it self-evident that they would be better? Most people have children (around 80% of Americans if I recall correctly), and we can assume that many of their children will share the same desire to make copies of themselves that their parents and all of their ancestors had, so don't think of it in terms of one child imposed with a life of suffering, but several generations of children. Even if we assume that every one of them will experience only the bare minimum of suffering, the suffering caused by the murders would still pale in comparison to the cumulative suffering experienced by their descendants. But we also have to factor in the high probability that some of these descendants will face horrible suffering (disease, poverty, mental illness, deformity, bullying, rape, torture, murder, etc.). When you factor all this together, it is obvious that, unless the murders somehow cause an increase in the population, which seems unlikely, they would reduce the total amount of suffering in the world.

"I know that my suffering sucks ass, and I assume that this is true for all sentient creatures (a mild assumption because I understand "suffering" to mean those experiences that suck ass for the experiencer). Nothing else seems to have value. And if it turns out that something else does, I should accomodate this."

Value is something we assign. Nothing has inherent value, but anything can have subjective value.

"I don't feel I have an obligation to care. Caring does no good. I philosophically recognize that other sentient creatures' welfare is no more or less important than my own, and I know that my own is valuable."

Importance implies value, which is subjective. I think my life is immeasurably more important than literally ever other person who has ever lived or will live on this planet, and most people feel the same way about themselves.

If you're talking about inherent value, then yes, all lives are equally important in the sense that none of them possess any inherent value. But I don't see why the recognition of this fundamental similarity compels you to follow the least harm principle, even though you admit to being indifferent to most suffering.

Anonymous said...

@ Shadow:

"Personally, I wouldn´t push any button on the hypothetical doosmday device, unless I had the absolute certainty that the killing it would do would be harmless to anyone."

But wouldn't the suffering they experienced be nothing compared to the suffering which would be allowed to persist if you didn't push the button?

"Ahn... what?"

I was using revenge as an example of something that is opposed by most people's artificial moral code but not their conscience.

"Eating animals is not right or wrong in itself. But with our conscience, comes this awareness that they suffer. What we want to prevent is the suffering. Eating animals may not be wrong, but it isn´t right as well, since no base for moral evaluations exist. The thing here is prevent suffering."

My response to Tim should cover this.

"I, for one, do not believe antinatalist will change humanity. But anyways, I do it. Because I think I should."

Why do you think you should?

Shadow said...

Anonymous,

"But wouldn't the suffering they experienced be nothing compared to the suffering which would be allowed to persist if you didn't push the button?"

That´s the rationale behind the hypothetical red button. But I often have trouble with it. I don´t know if I would push it. But anyways, as it´s just a thought experiment, it doesn´t matter much.


Why do you think you should?

There´s no "why" here - I guess I was trying to explain that after some time, we don´t find any "why"´s. Why anything exists? We don´t know. Why the human race continues to go on? We don´t know. Why is there suffering? We don´t know. Why do people commit horrible crimes? We don´t know.

The answer lies in the pathos, in the irrationality. But I guess I´d also say - because I have a little bit of hope of achieving something? Which is, again, my personal pathos.

Cheers

Francois Tremblay said...

""Your argument is one giant hypothetical, similar to people who claim that abortion is evil because a fetus might become the next Einstein. The answer, of course, is "you don't know that.""

Life is an imposition, so anyone who is born is imposed upon. Life is suffering, so anyone who is born suffers. There is nothing hypothetical about that."

You've lost the plot again. Yes of course life is an imposition and entails suffering. That's not what we were talking about. We were talking about two hypothetical scenarios which you evaluated as one being worse than the other, which is logically impossible.

But the antinatalist ideology requires no such comparison. All that is required is to say exactly what you just said, which involves no comparison whatsoever.

"By "end", I mean GOAL, and by "means", I mean the method by which I acheive that goal. How is this not valid?"

Because there is no such thing as a "goal" except as related to a specific plan. Whatever action we perform is the cause of more actions in the future. Whatever "goal" we achieve will be the proximal or distal cause of more change. There is no stable state beyond which no further cause and effect exists.

As I just said, you can't refuse to evaluate some actions on the basis of them being means or ends. That's willful ignorance.

"I think it's unlikely we have any innate desire to not kill or steal independently of the emotions that discourage us from doing so."

Then provide an alternative explanation for why all known societies followed these principles. I mean, it's like throwing thousands of dice and having them all end up 6s. It begs for a universal explanation, and the only thing universal to all these societies is that they were HUMAN societies.

"My focus was on utilitarian-inspired antinatalism which does imply, if not universal love, at least a concern for the welfare of humanity that goes beyond what anyone is capable of."

Absolutely not. But if you think so, please demonstrate it.

"I meant that if they were made aware of antinatalism, the moral justification they would probably give for perpetuating the human species would suggest that life is an end in itself."

To you, sure. But not to them.

Anonymous said...

@ Francois Tremblay:

"You've lost the plot again. Yes of course life is an imposition and entails suffering. That's not what we were talking about. We were talking about two hypothetical scenarios which you evaluated as one being worse than the other, which is logically impossible."

I think I understand now. You're using some definition of the word "compare" that implies objectivity. Since the things I'm comparing cannot be evaluated objectively, my comparison is illogical. However, whether this is the agreed upon definition isn't important to the substance of what I'm saying. What I mean by compare is to subjectively evaluate two or more things, and assuming I acknowledge that my evaluation is subjective, there is nothing illogical about literally comparing apples and oranges, or if you prefer, subjectively evaluating them.

There is no logical reason why anyone, utilitarian or otherwise, cannot subjectively evaluate what the greater good is and act accordingly. If they value the pleasure brought about by the art of the Renaissance more than they value the suffering brought about by the reign of the Borgias, they wouldn't have committed any error in reasoning in arguing that period produced more "good" than "bad". If, on the other hand, they value preventing any future imposition, suffering, and risk more than allowing human pleasure or achievement to persist at their expense, they haven't committed any error in reason in condemning human existence as a whole and supporting species-wide genocide or anything else they believe (rightly or wrongly) reduces the total amount of suffering in the world.

"Because there is no such thing as a "goal" except as related to a specific plan. Whatever action we perform is the cause of more actions in the future. Whatever "goal" we achieve will be the proximal or distal cause of more change. There is no stable state beyond which no further cause and effect exists."

Once again, you seem to be playing word games, so allow me to rephrase what I said: By "end", I mean something I want, and by "means", I mean how to get it. Obviously, there are things we want, and there are ways to get them, so using the words "ends" and "means" to make this distinction has practical value for most people. If you've decided that "ends" and "means", "goals" and "methods", "wants" and "ways" can only be considered valuable if they exist on some imaginary plane in which no further "ends", "means", "goals", "methods", "wants", and "ways" exist, then we fundamentally disagree, and any further conversation is pointless.

Anonymous said...

"Then provide an alternative explanation for why all known societies followed these principles. I mean, it's like throwing thousands of dice and having them all end up 6s. It begs for a universal explanation, and the only thing universal to all these societies is that they were HUMAN societies."

If all the dice are loaded, there isn't anything strange about them all coming up as 6's, and essentially, that is what I am saying. The rules are a consequence of the emotions and living in a society, and since humans share a fundamental nature and certain essential guidelines are necessary for living in a successful society, many of their rules are going to be similar, but this doesn't mean we innately care about the rules themselves.

However, whether we do or don't has NOTHING to do with my initial question which had to do with the sincerity of the rules laid out by utilitarian morality, which brings me to your next point...

"Absolutely not. But if you think so, please demonstrate it."

Even if human beings are not generally selfish, as you claim, you haven't commented on whether or not you think they are tribal. This alone would imply that utilitarianism is insincere because it implies concern for the general welfare of humanity above, if not to the exclusion of, particular individuals and groups.

I agree with you on some points, but I think you overstate humanity's cooperative tendencies. Even if you argue that our culture made us selfish, culture doesn't exist in a vacuum, and I don't see how the same environmental pressures that made our culture more selfish wouldn't have also influenced our evolution, making us innately more selfish.

Putting that aside, I don't care to discuss human nature at this point. I posted because I wanted to know how antinatalists who shared my premises would respond, and most, I would imagine, are utilitarians of some sort and share a darker view of human nature. The reason I was curious is because two things are stopping me from accepting antinatalism and negative utilitarianism: First, although my conscience has little trouble tolerating species-wide genocide, I draw the line at bombing a nursery or putting a bullet in the "Octomom", and I don't see how committing these murderous acts isn't morally obligated under negative utilitarian-inspired antinatalism. Second, even if this weren't the case, I value being honest with myself, and I can't help feeling that a sincere belief in utilitarianism of any kind is incompatible with not only my own nature, but human nature in general. In the short time I've been aware of antinatalism and negative utilitarianism, I haven't heard anyone pose these questions, and I wanted to know if there were any good rebuttals, in which case I would have to rethink my beliefs.

I'm not suggesting that all the points you've raised are unworthy of consideration, but your substance-ignoring word games haven't convinced me of anything, and as far as your belief that people are good, I'll keep your books in mind, but for the time, I'm comfortable tentatively believing that they corrupted society, not the other way around.

"To you, sure. But not to them."

You're being pedantic. My point was that utilitarians who subordinate suffering to consent aren't in any place to act superior to natalists (which is perhaps the word I should have used instead of breeders) who subordinate suffering to life itself or beauty or culture or any other abstraction. Whether they believe what they say or not is irrelevant.

I appreciate your responses, but given we disagree so fundamentally, I don't see how any further discussion is going to be at all fruitful.

Anonymous said...

One last thing...

To elaborate on my point about a tribal mentality being incompatible with a sincere belief in utilitarianism. It isn't just that it makes all suffering equal, or if they make some allowances for preferential treatment, most suffering equal.

I understand that we feel SOME concern for the general welfare of humanity. If we didn't, those guilt-inducing ads featuring starving African children wouldn't exist. But the reaction we feel there is more akin to momentary sentimentalism than it is a sincere desire to end world hunger. If I recall correctly, there's an episode of "The Sarah Silverman Show" where one of those ads come on, and the batteries in her remote die, so she pastes all her money over the screen so that she doesn't have to feel bad. THAT is exactly how I expect a lot of people feel when they see those ads, hear about a natural disaster, or are made aware of any suffering that involves people who aren't like them.

When this happens, the more empathetic among us feel some minor discomfort and maybe attempt some largely insignificant gesture requiring minimal effort, such as donating a relatively small sum to charity, but we are not truly willing to sacrifice because we don't really care that much. We may sincerely sacrifice for our friends, family, in rare cases maybe even our country, but to be sincerely willing sacrifice for humanity as a whole, we would have to be capable of something more than momentary sentimentalism.

I guess that's all I wanted to say.

Francois Tremblay said...

Perhaps this is a fundamental disagreement. Perhaps it isn't. We apparently both think the other is being a nitpicker and failing to grasp the core of the issue.

I never said one cannot compare two scenarios subjectively. So what? What does that tell us about reality? Absolutely nothing. Your subjective evaluations do not construct an ethical system.

As for means and ends, it seems we are not understanding each other at all. You keep referring to subjective evaluations as if I'm supposed to accept them as fact. In fact, that seems to be what you're doing with moral principles too, reducing them all to emotions.

Maybe that is the fundamental problem here. You're just a low-down dirty subjectivist and just expect me to knuckle under your personal feelings or your reification of feelings. Sorry, but that's not gonna happen. Reality is what it is, and you're stuck in fantasy-land.

Wrooines said...

"Maybe that is the fundamental problem here. You're just a low-down dirty subjectivist and just expect me to knuckle under your personal feelings or your reification of feelings. Sorry, but that's not gonna happen. Reality is what it is, and you're stuck in fantasy-land."

This kind of charming attitude is one of the key factors for why anti-natalism is having trouble spreading to anyone but the people who have considered it obvious for their entire lives.

See also: Every Youtube AN ever.

Francois Tremblay said...

When your opponents are stuck in fantasy-land, what else are you supposed to do? Indulge their fantasies but try to gently guide them in the direction of reality? Me no play those games.

Besides, I am not here to convert anyone, and I have never made the claim that I can convert anyone, so you got some straw man going there. All I care about is what's true. Fuck you if you think everything we do has to appease other people; there is such a thing as freedom of expression, you know.

Wrooines said...

And that's the kind of attitude that makes for a rhetorical powerhouse!

Francois Tremblay said...

Again, this is a straw man- I am not here to be a "rhetorical powerhouse" and I never made any such claims in the first place, your arrogant sarcasm notwithstanding. But apparently you think you can dictate to people what their intent is, and invalidate my intent. And you do not realize why that is insulting?

Francois Tremblay said...

Get out of here, you fucking troll... We are not here to conform to your stupid standards.

Wrooines said...

"I am not here to be a "rhetorical powerhouse"

Good, because you're not.

"But apparently you think you can dictate to people what their intent is, and invalidate my intent. And you do not realize why that is insulting?"

I'm sorry, I assumed you wanted to do something other than preach to the choir/argue with the choir. My mistake.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe reality is subjective. I believe values are subjective. Life IS suffering -- I accept that as data about the nature of reality. But whether life is bad or suffering is bad is a value, and values are assigned and cannot exist independently of a mind with its own subjective preferences.

If you think values can be derived from facts, prove it. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever done this. At best, all you can do is redefine "objective" to mean consensus opinion. Once again, this is a word game that ignores the substance of the issue, which in this case is whether there is any impartial authority behind anyone's moral beliefs, and there isn't.

Francois Tremblay said...

Actually, you got it exactly backwards. Values are not derived from facts. Facts are derived from values.

Anonymous said...

Care to explain that or are you content to merely assert it?

Francois Tremblay said...

Because all human beings are born with the epistemic values they need to grasp the world. This is why babies learn features of reality (causality rules, object permanence, physical laws, etc) at roughly the same rate. They gain knowledge about the facts of reality on the basis of their inborn values.

Anonymous said...

Even if facts are derived from values (which I'm not sure if I accept), why does that mean that values can be derived from facts? And if they cannot, how can an objective morality exist?

Francois Tremblay said...

Values are not derived from facts. They are inborn.

Anonymous said...

But how does that make them objective as in existing independent of a mind? As I said, at best, all you can do is redefine the word to mean consensus opinion. Most of us are born with similar values. Therefore, according to you, those we share are objective. But this ignores the substance of the issue and proves nothing.

Francois Tremblay said...

This is a confused series of statements. Whether it is "objective" or not, it is a fact and exist independently of the mind as a fact. It is therefore "substantial." If facts are not substantial to you, then I'm afraid we can't discuss any further.

Wrooines said...

Are you ever going to get tired of accusing anonymous of ridiculous statements he never said and then threatening to end the discussion?

Anonymous said...

How the hell can a moral belief exist independently of a mind?

As Wrooines pointed out, I am not denying reality. You keep asserting this because you want to make it sound like I believe we cannot have any meaningful discussion about what reality is, but this isn't the case. The only thing I am denying is that moral beliefs constitute reality. If I am wrong, prove it, and I'm going to need something more than a clever word game.

Francois Tremblay said...

"How the hell can a moral belief exist independently of a mind?"

It is objective insofar as it is what it is independently of what I think or feel about it, yes. As for whether a belief exists outside of the mind, obviously they cannot. I thought you meant the former sense, which is what "objective" means, not the latter sense, which doesn't really make any sense.

"The only thing I am denying is that moral beliefs constitute reality. If I am wrong, prove it, and I'm going to need something more than a clever word game."

I have no idea what you're asking me. Of course moral beliefs are real. They are as real as any other belief we hold. If you mean something else, then be more specific.

Anonymous said...

"It is objective insofar as it is what it is independently of what I think or feel about it, yes."

In order for something to exist independently of what we think and feel about it, it would have to exist independently of a mind.

"As for whether a belief exists outside of the mind, obviously they cannot."

Therefore, moral beliefs cannot be objective.

"I have no idea what you're asking me. Of course moral beliefs are real. They are as real as any other belief we hold. If you mean something else, then be more specific."

In order to determine whether a belief is true or false, we have to have something objective to measure that belief up against. Reality exists independently of our senses. Therefore, beliefs about reality can be true or false. But morality, as you admit, does not exist independently of our senses. Therefore, morality can not be true or false.

All we have is consensus opinion, and reality is not defined by consensus opinion. If you are arguing that objective reality IS defined by consensus opinion (which is a belief I cannot fathom), and using this standard of "objectivity", morality is objective, then we are at an impasse and any further discussion may be futile.

I would agree with you that we use our senses to discover the nature of reality, but our senses are imperfect, and as you have pointed out several times, reality is what it is regardless of our feelings, so it seems that your whole argument, as I understand it, is based on a false premise.

That aside, I feel like you've lost sight of the main reason anyone has this discussion. It isn't to argue over whether or not you get to use the word "objective", which would be a pointless semantic dispute. Obviously, you can define that word however you like and claim that it is objective. But the main reason we're having the discussion is because many of us disagree about what is "right" and "wrong", and we want to know if there is an impartial authority that can settle the matter or if we are stuck defending our beliefs by their own merits. The problem is that in a dispute over the nature of reality, we have something to objective to measure our competing beliefs up against and determine, to the best of our ability, who is right and who is wrong, at which point the losing side, if they are rational, have to concede defeat, but in a dispute over morality, even if you define "objective" to mean consensus opinion, the losing side, even if they are rational (especially if they are rational), have no good reason to concede defeat. Most of them, if they are conscionable and nonconformist, are not going to act against their conscience or even deign to listen to your moralizing merely because of your "me and this army"-style rebuttal.

If you want me to accept that objective morality exists, you are going to have to demonstrate that it exists independently of the mind.

You might being thinking, "But hey, I can't do that!" Exactly! Because as I said at the beginning of our discussion, morality is a code of conduct applied by an individual or group, and such a thing, by its nature, is subjective. You've taken it as given that morality MUST be objective, and therefore, the standards I'm applying that imply that it is not seem ridiculous to you, but not EVERYTHING gets to be objective. Our tastes in art, literature, movies, music, food, and women are also not objective. Deal with it. You might like the idea that there is some impartial authority that can rubber stamp your tastes, but there isn't. Sorry.

Francois Tremblay said...

"In order for something to exist independently of what we think and feel about it, it would have to exist independently of a mind."

What I think or feel about your beliefs does not change what those beliefs are. I do not know what your real intentions are here, but surely you already realize this?


"In order to determine whether a belief is true or false, we have to have something objective to measure that belief up against. Reality exists independently of our senses. Therefore, beliefs about reality can be true or false. But morality, as you admit, does not exist independently of our senses."

This is just the same objection again. My answer is the same: yes, morality exists independently of our senses. My moral beliefs are not dependent on my, or anyone else's, feelings on the subject, any more than any other belief I hold. If you seriously contend that moral beliefs are thus dependent, then all beliefs are thus dependent, and you are plunged into complete nihilism.

Until I have evidence that you are lying on purpose, I will assume that you simply didn't think about what you were saying, and will hope for something more rational on your next comment...

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I recognize that you are not defining every morality belief held now or at any other time by the majority as objective. If I understand your beliefs correctly, you believe that there are shared moral values that most people possess, from which we can draw inevitable conclusions, but the average person today has been led astray from this TRUE morality by our hierarchical society. That is still nothing more than appealing to the consensus and ignores the substance of the issue.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Just to clarify, I recognize that you are not defining every morality belief held now or at any other time by the majority as objective."

What in the hell are you talking about? I am not "defining" anything. All beliefs are objective facts that can be observed and analyzed. Are you denying this?

Anonymous said...

"What I think or feel about your beliefs does not change what those beliefs are. I do not know what your real intentions are here, but surely you already realize this?"

Of course, I realize that. I never claimed otherwise.

"This is just the same objection again. My answer is the same: yes, morality exists independently of our senses."

You have an awful memory. In your last comment, you said the opposite:

"As for whether a belief exists outside of the mind, obviously they cannot."

"My moral beliefs are not dependent on my, or anyone else's, feelings on the subject, any more than any other belief I hold."

Once again, I never said that your beliefs are dependent on MY feelings on the subject, but they are dependent on YOUR feelings on the subject. There is no way for you to separate your beliefs from your feelings, thoughts, and preferences. If you have discovered some way to do so, I would be eager to hear how you've accomplished such a logic-defying feat.

"If you seriously contend that moral beliefs are thus dependent, then all beliefs are thus dependent, and you are plunged into complete nihilism."

If the definition of "nihilist" is someone who denies that anything has any inherent value, then yes, I am a nihilist.

"Until I have evidence that you are lying on purpose, I will assume that you simply didn't think about what you were saying, and will hope for something more rational on your next comment..."

Cut it out. Feigning shock and indignation at some imaginary offense is a cheap tactic you're using because you've yet to prove that morality can exist independently of the mind. All you've done is assert it many times and act as if it were so obvious that only a crazy person could doubt it.

"What in the hell are you talking about? I am not "defining" anything. All beliefs are objective facts that can be observed and analyzed. Are you denying this?"

I'm not sure if I want to commit myself to describing beliefs as facts, but I don't want to quibble over semantics. As far as the substance of what you seem to saying, if you are asking if beliefs are meaningful concepts that refer to many things that manifest in reality or we can otherwise meaningfully discuss, the answer is yes, of course. Again, that has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

The proposition that beliefs themselves are objective facts is perfectly compatible with moral relativism. When we talk about objective morality, what matters is whether the substance of the beliefs are facts, and they are not. It doesn't matter whether or not the belief that killing is wrong is a fact insofar as it exists inside someone's head. What matters is whether killing itself is inherently right or wrong, and nothing is inherently right or wrong.

Stop trying to reframe the debate.

Francois Tremblay said...

"Of course, I realize that. I never claimed otherwise."

Then why are you still arguing?

""This is just the same objection again. My answer is the same: yes, morality exists independently of our senses."

You have an awful memory. In your last comment, you said the opposite:

"As for whether a belief exists outside of the mind, obviously they cannot.""

And these two statements contradict on the basis of...?

Are you really so stupid that you can't understand the difference between the location of something and whether it is causally linked to that location? The fact that a belief exists inside the mind has no relevance whatsoever on whether it exists independently or not of our thoughts, feelings, etc. about it. To give a simple example, I am located in Washington State, but a change in the number of trees in Washington State doesn't change the state of my body as if by magic (it could only do so indirectly). I am not Washington State.

You yourself have already admitted that most beliefs exist independently of our thoughts or feelings about them. So what is the difference here? Why do you refuse to admit it in this case?


"Once again, I never said that your beliefs are dependent on MY feelings on the subject, but they are dependent on YOUR feelings on the subject."

Nope. My beliefs are not dependent on my feelings about them. I may feel that antinatalism (to give just one example) is somewhat of a dreary idea, but THAT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT IT'S TRUE FOR ME!

Do you get it already?


"There is no way for you to separate your beliefs from your feelings, thoughts, and preferences."

You cannot separate your beliefs from your feelings? Are you not able to identify what a belief is and what a feeling is? Do you have some kind of mental impairment? This is NOT a common problem.

Here's a hint: feelings often have physiological consequences (e.g. being nervous gives you sweaty palms), while beliefs do not.

Are you for real?


"If the definition of "nihilist" is someone who denies that anything has any inherent value, then yes, I am a nihilist."

All right, I apologize, the accusation was uncalled for. I admit this. I shouldn't have called you a nihilist. I believe the correct word was, a solipsist (someone who doesn't believe in the existence of anything outside of themselves). That was my mistake.


"Cut it out. Feigning shock and indignation at some imaginary offense"

Um... I am shocked and indignant that a grown man states things such as an inability to distinguish feelings from beliefs, or to realize that beliefs are objective. This is NOT something a grown mature person should be proud of.

"you've yet to prove that morality can exist independently of the mind."

Again, this is not something to "prove." It's just a fact. I'm sorry that you don't understand this, but this is something that you, as growing up, should have experienced and understood. When we grow up, we eventually realize that our mind is not the same as other minds, and that each mind has its own independent, separate content.

Apparently, you have not yet grown up.

Next you seem to want to address the topic of murder which you seem to want to address next. But I see no point in continuing when we can't even agree on whether beliefs are objective or not. I mean, this would be like an evolutionist trying to argue against a creationist who says that fossils are created by scientists' pro-science feelings; no rationality can exist from that point forward.

Beliefs are not subjective. Until you concede this, there really can be no debate. It is my honest opinion, based on how you've argued so far, that you are in fact absolutely crazy.

Anonymous said...

"Then why are you still arguing?"

I'm beginning to think you're being deliberately dishonest. You made the statement, "What I think or feel about YOUR beliefs does not change what those beliefs are." This is an obvious statement almost no one would disagree with and is dramatically different from saying, "What I think or feel about MY beliefs does not change what those beliefs are," which is what we have been debating and is logically absurd because beliefs are by definition a psychological state in which someone thinks or feels someway about something.

"Are you really so stupid that you can't understand the difference between the location of something and whether it is causally linked to that location? "

I understand the distinction, but if you're going to assert that morality isn't casually linked to a person's mind, making it objective, you're going to have to point out where else it could be derived from, and you have yet to do that. Saying it just is is not proving it.

Earlier, you admitted that "values are inborn". If they are inborn, that means they come from you, and if they come from you, that means they come from your head. Where else in the body are they going to come from, your esophagus?

"You yourself have already admitted that most beliefs exist independently of our thoughts or feelings about them."

No, I haven't. I admitted they were meaningful concepts, but I never said they existed independently of our thoughts and feelings about them. I don't see how such a thing is possible.

Here is a direct quote:

"I'M NOT SURE IF I WANT TO COMMIT MYSELF TO DESCRIBING BELIEFS AS FACTS, but I don't want to quibble over semantics. As far as the substance of what you seem to saying, if you are asking if beliefs are meaningful CONCEPTS that REFER to many things that manifest in reality or we can otherwise meaningfully discuss, the answer is yes, of course."

Since you are hell bent on misinterpreting me, I capitalized the relevant key words.

As you noticed, I made it a point not to commit myself to saying that beliefs are facts because I knew you would try to exploit some possible ambiguity with that definition, but I'm feeling a little more confident now, so I'll be more bold: Beliefs are not in themselves facts, but they may be about facts, and if they are, they may be called true, but if they are about the mere interpretation of facts, they cannot. A belief about the nature of reality may be true because reality exists independently of our minds, allowing us to examine it to the best our understanding and determine the truth of the belief, but a belief about morality cannot be true because morality does not exist independently of our minds, meaning we have no moral ideal to measure our belief up against to determine the truth.

Anonymous said...

"Nope. My beliefs are not dependent on my feelings about them. I may feel that antinatalism (to give just one example) is somewhat of a dreary idea, but THAT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT IT'S TRUE FOR ME!"

Okay, you're DEFINITELY being dishonest. I noticed you exclusively used the word "feelings" in your last post, and I had a suspicion you might have some dishonest motive, which is why I said the following, "There is no way for you to separate your beliefs from your feelings, THOUGHTS, and PREFERENCES." Whatever term you want to use to describe a separate mental process distinct from feelings, that process still resides inside your mind, so by making this distinction between your intellectual acceptance of antinatalism and the feeling that it is really depressing, you haven't proven anything.

By the way, I love the fact that you used the phrase, "true for me". Have you given up? You're begininng to sound like a "low-down dirty subjectivist" who "just expect me to knuckle under your personal feelings or your reification of feelings". "Sorry, but that's not gonna happen. Reality is what it is, and you're stuck in fantasy-land."

"All right, I apologize, the accusation was uncalled for. I admit this. I shouldn't have called you a nihilist. I believe the correct word was, a solipsist (someone who doesn't believe in the existence of anything outside of themselves). That was my mistake."

Have you even been paying attention? Did I not literally two comments back say (and this is a direct quote) that "reality exists independent of our senses"? How can I not believe in the existence of anything outside of myself and also believe that reality exists independent of my senses? Your statement and mine are in direct contradiction. There are no mental gymnastics you can perform to argue that your characterization of my position isn't a straw man.

Furthermore, I find it ironic that someone who says that "facts are derived from values" would accuse anyone of being solipsistic.

All I've said is values are subjective. If, by your ridiculous definition, believing literally anything isn't objective makes me a solipsist, I guess I'm a solipsist.

"I mean, this would be like an evolutionist trying to argue against a creationist who says that fossils are created by scientists' pro-science feelings; no rationality can exist from that point forward."

It isn't remotely the same, and the fact that you made that comparison at all shows that you either haven't understood the points I've been making or are pretending to misunderstand them so that you can argue against a straw man. As I said, I am not denying the existence of anything outside of my mind. I am denying that values are objective. Regardless of a scientist's pro-science feelings, fossils exist independently of their feelings, thoughts, and preferences, and they can be observed and their authenticity proven. Can you say the same about morality? No, you cannot, and that is the issue. Moral beliefs, like tastes in art, can not be divorced from the feelings, thoughts, and preferences of the person who espoused them, and for that reason, we cannot take two or more individuals moral beliefs or artistic tastes and measure them up against an ideal and determine which ones are correct. All we can do is come to a consensus.

Anonymous said...

"Beliefs are not subjective. Until you concede this, there really can be no debate. It is my honest opinion, based on how you've argued so far, that you are in fact absolutely crazy."

I'm not a psychologist, but I would imagine believing that someone must be crazy for not sharing your belief that morality is objective would be more indicative of mental derangement than believing that morality is subjective.

While I still have the patience to type out a response, I would one more thing I would like to ask because you seem to have shifted the focus of your argument.

Do you believe objective morality exists or merely that all beliefs are objective facts?

The reason I ask is because as I tried to point out, the latter does not imply the former. If you were to somehow prove that individual beliefs are facts, that wouldn't prove objective morality exists. Let me explain. For the sake of argument, let's grant your premise (although I firmly reject it). All beliefs are objective. Okay, fine. If all of them are objective, which ones provide the framework for the one true morality? Surely not ALL of them? We cannot devise an internally consistent moral system when the principles "do unto others" and "get him before he gets you" are both objectively true, but if all beliefs are objective, this is what is implied.

The only way you can get out of this is to use a definition of "objective" that is consensus-based and build a moral framework around the basic moral values we all share, and given your hippy-dippy view of human nature, this could arguably get you where you want to be. The problem with this is that you're using two different definitions of the same way word (and I just want to reiterate that your definition that "it is what it is independently of what I think or feel about it" means exactly the same thing is mind-independent), and this 2nd definition that is consensus-based is not in common use, it ignores the substance of the issue, and it requires that you either use the same definition when you apply it to reality itself or revert to the previous definition meaning mind-independent when your word game becomes convenient.

Do you see all the mental hoops you have to jump through just to be able to delude yourself into believing your moralizing has some special authority behind it?

Anonymous said...

*inconveniant.

Anonymous said...

I still bungled it. I'm ass, but at least I'm intellectually honest.

Wrooines said...

Francois is, to be perfectly honest, probably the worst champion of antinatalist thought you can find outside of youtube.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that a guy who supposedly has so much compassion for humanity that he wants to spare the unborn the burden of existence reacts with such marked hostility when someone challenges his views. It's probably true that love for humanity is almost always a false-front for something else.

The other two seemed nice enough, though...

Sister Y said...

Winning hearts and minds, as usual.

"Are you really so stupid that..."
"Do you get it already?"
"Do you have some kind of mental impairment?"
"Apparently, you have not yet grown up."
"Get out of here, you fucking troll..."

Wrooines said...

Oh, okay, Sister Y's here, you might actually be able to have a civil discussion now.

Tim Cooijmans said...

Wait, throwing underhanded insults is civil discussion now? I think I just caught a glimpse of 2bsirius.

Wrooines said...

I think I just caught a glimpse of random youtube person most people have never heard of #532895092305

Francois Tremblay said...

I give up. I am not going to keep debating someone who is either crazy or acting in bad faith. Sorry.

If you ever want to concede that beliefs are objective and move on from there, I will be more than happy to do so. Until then, no dice.

Wrooines said...

Oh no. Francois. Please don't go.

It's good to know you're making ridiculous allegations right up until the end.

Sister Y said...

We are monkeys (myself most definitely included) engaged in debating complicated matters. The only tools we have to figure out the universe are our meat brains and language, which are both the outcomes of evolutionary processes unconcerned with (or actively hostile to) us understanding truth. The decks are already stacked against us.

Assuming bad faith, as Francois seems to do when he uses the phrases I identify above, is a way to guarantee we won't actually reach any kind of understanding.

I have said sarcastic things to Francois, in part because I think I'm really funny, and in part because I think the style he uses that I criticize is harmful to our cause. There are so few of us ANs in the world (and we are kind of an odd bunch as it is) that when one of us goes around assuming bad faith in such an aggressive manner, anyone he comes into contact with is poisoned against what I see as the truth.

But the best outcome of all would be for Francois to prove me wrong and start treating people with respect even if he doesn't agree with them.

Francois Tremblay said...

Sister Y, how have I not treated this person with respect? I have heard what ey has to say, and I have concluded that ey is either crazy or acting in bad faith. That is my conclusion. You are of course free to disagree. Just because someone is an AN doesn't mean I will excuse their apparent craziness or bad faith.

Yes Sister Y, you are funny, but I think you really got the wrong idea about me. I accept AN as true, but I have no desire to belong to this group or any other group. This is why it is particularly insulting for me to be told that I won't "convert anyone with that attitude" or that my attitude is "harmful to the cause." Don't treat me as if I am part of your fucking "cause." All I care about is whether something is true or not. Fuck your "cause."

I am not trying to convert people. That's not my expertise. If that is the mantle you want to take for yourself, then take it. But it's not something I have ever been capable of doing, and I am very well aware of my limitations. To say that I am bad for the "cause" because I turn people away is therefore irrelevant to me. I do not seek out people who disagree with AN and try to convert them. If I did, then I would agree about me being "bad for the cause." But I do no such thing. So your accusation is misplaced, Sister Y.

Am I making myself clear enough? I am not here to make friends and I am not here to join a "cause."

Wrooines said...

"I have heard what ey has to say, and I have concluded that ey is either crazy or acting in bad faith. That is my conclusion."

Whatever metrics or rules are leading you to those conclusions are out of whack IMHO. Most people wouldn't consider someone else insane simply for taking a different philosophical position on a particular subject. Wrong, certainly, stupid, maybe, but not crazy.

"I am not trying to convert people. That's not my expertise. "

Most people argue either to convert the opposition or to strengthen their own positions by challenging them. Throwing around insults like you've been doing and reacting with offense when someone ascribes common motivations for arguing are not a good idea in either case.

Sister Y said...

Why argue, except to (a) understand the issue better or (b) try to help others understand better?

If you admit your purpose is neither, I don't think you have the same claim to be treated as a peer as someone who has one of those purposes.

Francois Tremblay said...

Sister Y, I really don't give a shit how you treat me. Treat me like a peer, or don't treat me like a peer, or treat me like a pear. Are you interested in the truth or in forming a social club?

rob said...

Francois, how one treats others can hinder or benefit the quest for truth because many people don't like to participate in discussions where others are acting like, for example, you do. And it cannot be ruled out that these people could have something to contribute. I therefore think that derailing a discussion with personal insults does not help the truth.

Francois Tremblay said...

Anonymous posted a greeting where he discusses his opinions about morality. I countered these opinions. We had an argument and we ended up with me pointing out that his core premise is insane. So how did I derail the discussion? In no way did I stray from Anonymous' initial opinions.

I think you people are the one diverting the topic- you're trying to make it about boohoo Franc's so mean. The topic is morality, not boohoo Franc's so mean. So shut the fuck up about how mean I am already and talk about morality.

Wrooines said...

That's another reason to be nicer: To avoid irritating little derails like this.

rob said...

Francois, You said that You give up. Also the discussion had now already deteriorated into a repetitive you-said-X-no-ididnt-you-did-too, so I'd say it was pretty much over.
And now people try to point out possible reasons why people do not exactly queue up to keep the discussion with You alive. Sister Y made You a short list of things not to say to people with whom one would like to continue a discussion. You can take the hint or leave it or discuss it, that is, of course, Your choice. So, yes, the topic has changed. And I think the question, how one can acknowledge [philanthropic] AN as true/right, and at the same time have no desire at all to spread this truth, would also be worth debating. Or the meta-question of how the ideal form of communication to discuss difficult moral topics would look like. Anyway, everbody can discuss whatever, and with whoever, he deems worthwhile.

Francois Tremblay said...

Using divine capital letters for You? Was that really necessary? Seriously. Why don't you just come to my house and slap me in the face?

That being said, I agree with all that you've said, I just wish you didn't have to insult me at the same time.

Anonymous said...

"I just wish you didn't have to insult me at the same time."

Why? You said you didn't come here to make friends, so why do you care if someone is insulting?

I believe rob is from Germany, where they capitalize "Sie", the polite form of "you".

Francois Tremblay said...

If you say so.

rob said...

Uhm, yes, I know that the capitalization is not correct in english, but I like it anyway, and always do it. (I surely make other mistakes, where I really don't know better). No special meaning implied in this case. It's just, as anonymous said, intended as a general sign of respect. Maybe to remind myself of the fact that I'm dealing with people, and not elizabots. Doesn't work 100%, so I do insult people too. I'm sorry for that. I really think that it distracts from the truth (or the quest for it) if we get to personal. I also think that AN is, in the end, more of a value-judgement, because the logic appears to be rather simple (and insofar "true"). And I place value in people not suffering, which is why I agree with AN. The same reasoning makes me want to have civilized discussions, because most people, when insulted, get angry and suffer [to some degree]. So it's better to avoid that; esp. I, having these values, should avoid it.
I would be interested to know if You, Francois, hold an AN position because You consider the certain suffering of all existing people to be the main problem of breeding. (One could also concentrate on the fact that all live starts involuntary, without permission of the new person, making it more into a question of freedom, perhaps, than of suffering). Anyway, my followup-question would be if You really do not wish to spread understanding of AN to more people. Because that could reduce the suffering, which, if we agreed on that, is a bad thing (for me this badness is an obvious truth, but some people do argue against this point).
Of course, even if one were to agree with all that I said here, it would be perfectly possible that in a specific situation/discussion one does not pursue the goal of spreading knowledge, but rather that of finding it in the first place. Or, related, the goal could be to check and test that which one believes to be true, so as to be more certain of it.
All the best,
rob

Francois Tremblay said...

I don't know what the "main problem" of breeding is; there are just so many problems with it that it's hard to say which is the main one. The two you named certainly are major problems.

Of course I would like to spread awareness of AN. This is why I write about it on my blog, to try to help people understand the arguments and the objections to them. So far I seem to be singularly unsuccessful.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any desire to continue this discussion, but given that Francois insists on dismissing me as insane and marginalizing arguments he was unable to counter, I want to offer one last defense of my position for whomever cares to read it.

Looking over my posts, I can see I used the words "mind", "senses", "thoughts", and "feelings" interchangeably. In retrospect, I should have stuck with "mind", which encompasses all of them and wouldn't have given him leeway to quibble over semantics, but in my laziness, I went with what felt right in the moment rather than choosing my words more carefully. However, this doesn't suggest I'm not aware of the distinction. Do you honestly think he believes I don't know the difference between the thought, "I'm going to make a sandwich," and the feeling of hunger? This is why I accused him of intellectual dishonesty. He has to be aware that in colloquial usage, the word "feel" is sometimes used more broadly. If you ask someone how they feel about a topic, they might describe their thoughts, not just their feelings, so this kind of a slip-up is understandable, easily explained, and shouldn't have merited incredulous mockery. Regardless, I told him multiple times that by objective, I meant independent of a mind, and yet when I said "independent of your feelings", he still jumped down my throat and acted as if making a distinction between thought and feeling, two things that are contingent upon a mind, somehow disproved my argument. This makes me think he had no further intention of defending his position and was just waiting for any opportunity to attack me so he could dismiss my arguments without critically examining them.

I refrained from saying beliefs are facts because I didn't want him to interpret this to mean they exist independently of a mind. That doesn't mean I don't think beliefs exist as a state of mind, nor does it mean I don't think any beliefs can be true, nor does it mean I don't think we can make subjective or intersubjective judgments about beliefs that cannot be true. But a belief, according to Merriam-Webster, is "a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing", so saying that it can exist independently of a mind, as he did, is self-contradictory, and I wanted to avoid implying that.

Anonymous said...

If I misunderstood his position, it was because he never clarified it beyond a point. When I asked how values could be derived from facts, he said they couldn't, but that facts could be and are derived from values. When I asked for clarification, he offered an oblique response that ignored the meat of the matter, which was how because of this, morality could be objective. For all his arrogance and dismissiveness, he never bridged that gap, and when I called him on it, he, in essence, said that he didn't have to. On the whole, he acted as if everything he believed was the established and irrefutable truth and anyone who doubted or questioned it was an imbecile or a lunatic whom he wouldn't waste his breath debating.

Whether I am an imbecile or lunatic, I am still in possession of enough of my critical faculties to see glaring flaws with what I have been able to glean of his position. To name a few:

* He defined "objective" as meaning "it is what it is independently of what I think or feel about it", but I don't understand how this is any different than my definition meaning independent of a mind because thinking and feeling can only be done with a mind.

* He conceded that beliefs can't exist independent of a mind, but he also claimed that morality could. Assuming he isn't contradicting himself, this would mean morality isn't a belief. If it isn't, what is it, a fact? If we call something a fact when it corresponds to reality, how can morality be a fact when it only corresponds to an interpretation of reality? That art exists is a fact, that most of us prefer the art of Raphael to the Piss Christ is a fact, that it is better by commonly agreed upon standards is also a fact -- all of these things correspond to reality. But that the art of Raphael is objectively better than the Piss Christ is not a fact because it only corresponds to a common interpretation of reality. In the same way, that suffering exists is a fact, that most people don't like it is a fact, and that causing it unnecessarily is wrong by commonly agreed upon standards is also a fact, but that unnecessarily causing suffering is inherently wrong is not a fact. At best, all you can do is compare our intersubjective moralities and judge which acts best conform to them, which is fine if you need some greater authority than your conscience, but consensus ≠ objectivity.

Anonymous said...

* When I asked him to prove that morality is objective, he literally uttered the phrase "true for me" and chided me for not accepting that "each mind has its own independent, separate content", as if the fundamental difference between beliefs about matters of taste and beliefs about the nature of reality were not a fact. If he is going to fall on appealing to subjectivity when he can't back up his arguments, doesn't his talk about objective morality ring hollow? And don't his accusations that I'm solipsistic seem like projection?

* Even if morality is objective, why would someone be compelled to follow it? This is why I described what he was doing as "substance-ignoring". After all, we don't have these discussions merely to fight over the meaning of a word, so even if he were correct, the only thing it would change is the way in which the discussion was framed. Instead of, "Can morality be objective?", the question would become, "If it can be, why should I care?"

And despite what he claimed, he did stray from my initial arguments, which he seems to think he refuted. Even if not believing in objective morality is insane, it has nothing to do with my beliefs about the logical conclusions of negative utilitarian-inspired antinatalism in particular or the sincerity of utilitarianism in general. Even if morality is subjective, we can still have beliefs about right and wrong, and debating their logical consistency and sincerity is not a fruitless endeavor. I shouldn't have allowed myself to get sucked into this irrelevant argument, but when he described utilitarianism as logically fallacious, I thought he was going to point out an actual error in reasoning, not just the fact that he believed it is wrong to make a decision on someone else's behalf based on hypotheticals or subjective comparisons.

Given that his style of debate seems to consist solely of ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, and smugly asserting that his unproven premises are facts, even if I had any desire to continue this discussion, there wouldn't be any point, so I'm going to bow out now. For good this time. Goodbye all non-assholes.

John said...

Anonymous, Francois Tremblay is just an arrogant, dictatorial jerk who thinks he's infallible. You've really shown him up with your arguments. Well done!

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, I think I'm infallible... which is why I change my mind on things about every two years. You really didn't think that one through, did you?

John said...

Jeez, what a solipsist you are. Like anyone other than you is supposed to know or care that you change your mind on things.

I check in on all the AN blogs regularly and this Tremblay guy invariably shows up, tries to throw his weight around and gets agressive and abusive when his ideas are challenged. Then he disappears. He gives Antinatalism a bad name.

Francois Tremblay said...

Whatever. I'm tired of this bullshit. You guys are mad at me for not being a pure pessimist, I get it. Have fun arguing with yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Dutch Researcher Created A Super-Influenza Virus With The Potential To Kill Millions

Shadow said...

Well, I guess its starting sooner than most of us think, right?

The future can be a very bleak and grim place...

JA said...

Like John, I check in on various "antinatalist" sites every once in a while to see if anyone has posted any interesting links or engaged in any interesting/intelligent discussions, etc. People like Francois are what keep me from engaging further in such sites, and more importantly (to me), the embarrassing posts of people like Francois are what keep me from recommending such sites to others.

Francois, your last post implied that you will no longer post comments on this site; I think that would be best for everyone, at least at this point in your development. You said "Have fun arguing with yourselves", but until people like you stop childishly abusing people for thinking somewhat differently than you (and in the case of "Anonymous", much more carefully and clearly), I can't imagine why anyone else (who values their time at all) would ever be interested in joining in, and sites like this will never be anything but a choir preaching to itself.

Shadow said...

JA,

Not that I agree with you that this website shouldn´t be visited, I definitely not agree. Jim´s site is where most people go to find written material about antinatalism, but have you visited mine?

filrabat said...

JA, Shadow's right. I also have a blog that explains things difffently (although it's in overhaul mode now)

Shadow's site: antinatalismo.blogspot.com

mine:why-im-sold-on-antinatalism.blogspot.com

Check out the other sites in the front page's blog roll while you're at it, too.

JA said...

I apologize (to Francois, in particular) for the harshness of my last post; if I could delete it or edit it I would. I am frustrated by much of what I read on antinatalist sites (especially the exchanges between "regulars" and "visitors"), but since I haven't taken the time to offer anything myself, I shouldn't comment on the work of others.

Shadow said...

" I am frustrated by much of what I read on antinatalist sites [...]"

There are two kinds of people that become frustrated with reading on websites: the ones that are sincerely trying to understand and relate and get in touch with the subject being discussed or the individuals discussing it, AND the nay sayers. The nay sayers only become frustrated because they cant´argue on their week study basis on the subject against the hard work of others.

It should be beneficial for you to know in which side you are on.

John said...

JA, don't apologise. I agree with every word you said, and especially about Francois Tremblay. What prevents me from totally embracing AN is the unreflexive arrogance of some of the bloggers and contributors, not all, mind you, but I think a bit more humility would help the cause.

Shadow said...

John (and JA):

What are you guys talking about? Why do you care what Fran├žois Tremblay thinks? Who nominated him spokesperson for antinatalism anyway? Not me!

And anyways, you guys are wrong. You must try to get the logic, not to care about what other people think of the issue - what X, Y or Z thinks it´s nobody´s business. Go and READ websites, READ the books, watch the videos - it´s the ESSENCE of the thing that matters. If you don´t like what person X says of antinatalism, that´s ok, but remember, that´s only his/her opinion.

Now, I believe you, and many others defend themselves of the LOGIC behind antinatalism because you don´t personally like the people defending it, or think they are ugly, or whatever, and that´s bull! What do you have to say about the LOGIC BEYOND PEOPLE is what its important.

Shadow said...

And have you freakin read my blog yet? I don´t see no comments from any of you there. Go and leave me a comment, god damnit!!! =) For effin sakes, READ!

Shadow said...

From one of the latest vids from Gary:

"That´s not a philosophical argument to go out to someone else and say - 'I personally don´t like your face' - what would they do with that? That´s useless drivel... So there´s no point in articulating a position that´s completely based on your subjective life style choice."

Those that can hear, hear it. Those that can see, see it. =)

JA said...

I guess I wasn't clear --not that it really matters much in this instance-- but for clarity's sake: I am an "antinatalist," and have been for many years, and was for several years before I first came across that unfortunate (albeit accurate enough) term. (That's not intended as bragging in any way; just letting you know where I stand, and assuring you that I don't need convincing.)

What I was trying to express a couple posts back was mostly just that I wish people who seem to have sufficient time/patience/verbosity to get into exchanges with non-"antinatalists" about the subject would take a little more time and be a little more careful and thoughtful in what they say, and maybe a little less quick to write. When people as thoughtful and intelligent as that recent "Anonymous" (no, that wasn't me, or anyone I know) take the time to post on a site like this, anyone who is going to bother to take the time to respond should presumably take the time to consider and address what they actually say, and try to be at least as thoughtful and careful in their response as the other.

But then in my last post, I admitted that I probably should not put in my two cents since I have been content to let others do the talking, and have not contributed anything myself. I have not personally been able to find a good way to talk about this issue --for me it is all pretty obvious and visceral, and not some "philosophical" issue-- and at the end of the day, I find that I don't have much of substance to say about it. Creating wholly new and unnecessary suffering and death for others, for whatever reasons, seems clearly wretched to me, and the fact that it seems like such a fine idea to so many allegedly reasonable people just causes me to be filled with disgust, disdain, and near-hopelessness regarding the potential/value of arguments and mere "reason"; I often feel like a vegan at a barbeque, and I place about as much hope in arguments and the ulimate reasonableness and decency of people as that vegan should, and as a result, I find I have little to say.

That said, I don't wish to discourage any posters or website-owners, and I do retain a sliver of hope that some people may have things to say that could make sense to others; that's exactly what makes squandered-opportunity trainwreck exchanges like that last one with "Anonymous" so disappointing, and such embarrassments are a large part of what makes it difficult to recommend these sites to inquiring others (not trying to pick on Francois again, that's just the most recent example).

Shadow said...

JA,

I enjoyed your last post. I simpathize with you on it. I think what you said really represents much of what I believe also.

"for me it is all pretty obvious and visceral, and not some "philosophical" issue--"

I feel the same way, although I know that sometimes we have to try to translate this in language and idioms to try and convince other people, it´s all pretty obvious indeed. And past the subjective, it´s indeed visceral. Nicely put, sir.

Cheers.!

the_frachild said...

You can't imagine anything worse than pain and suffering because there is nothing worse than pain and suffering.
Creating life is the biggest crime possible.
A torturer can only do his job if you give him a victim.
If someone says i am arrogant, please tell me where i'm wrong.

Shadow, when i click on your name i get an error.

Shadow said...

frachild,

It wasn´t supposed to display an error.

But you can access the blog through here:

antinatalismo.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

beJust read something about postnatal depression. I'm absolutely sure that these birthers realise what they've done the moment they pumped it out into this world.

KaBoom said...

Antinatalist named Irina.

http://uriupina.com/philosophy-psychology/antinatalism

Great introduction to the philosophy. Check it out:)

Anonymous said...

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/56929-is-it-unethical-to-have-children/

I don't know if any of you have already come upon this thread from May 2011 yet, but it's an excellent example of a discussion of the ethically serious imposition of the risks attendant to birth. I found this quote from the user "Marat," to be the most poignant:

"You see enough images of young hemodialysis patients screaming so loudly that the window panes rattle when their new fistula is needled for the first time to connect them to the dialysis machine, or whimpering like beaten dogs and begging the nurses to stop since they would rather die than endure the pain, all the while knowing that that pain will be repeated three times a week for the rest of their lives (barring a transplant, which is becoming an increasingly rare luxury), and you just shrink back from the indescribable horror of life and wish that no human had ever lived."

The word "antinatalism" never comes up once in the thread, interestingly enough. Is it too presumptuous of me to think that this is because a bare minimum of human decency and raw reckoning with the facts of life without distortions leads one to its conclusions?

Anonymous said...

Hey, guys. I have a question.

I see a lot of people describe Schopenhauer as an antinatalist, but from what little I know about his philosophy, I was wondering if this is accurate.

In his essay, "On the Sufferings of the World", he did suggest that if a children were brought into the world by an act of "pure reason", a man would have "so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence" rather than imposing "that burden upon it in cold blood", but to the best of my knowledge, he didn't believe humans were capable of "pure reason", and he also advocated positive eugenics.

Perhaps the answer depends on how you define antinatalism. Wikipedia defines it as "a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth, standing in opposition to natalism", in which case I guess he would be an antinatalist, but if the preferred definition implies we shouldn't bring new life into the world, I'm not sure if he qualifies considering that one of his beliefs entail doing just that.

Admittedly, I'm not the best person to categorize him. So far, I've only read his essays. I have a two-volume copy of "The World as Will and Representation", but I want to hold off reading it until I've read Kant and "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" (as he recommends). Hopefully, someone more well-versed in his philosophy can clarify this matter for me.

Karl said...

@Anonymous: I think Schopenhauer's position is somewhat contradictory, but in an understandable way that we all slip into occassionally. From my reading of World as Will, he clearly thought non-breeding by all was the optimum option (can't remember the exact chapter and verse, I'm afraid). When he looked at the world, however, he thought that the existence of intelligent, sensitive people was preferable to the existence of what he regarded to be brutes. Fair enough, although obviously the usual problems apply: why is the existence of cultured, educated people any less pointless than ignorant people? To what ultimate end can either type work toward? etc.

Anonymous said...

I see. That makes sense.

Thanks for the help.

Shadow said...

Schopenhauer maybe was amazed at what he found as an individual: that life is something that should not be. Maybe he was amazed at this paradox: how can life know that is better not to be life? How can I know that something is important, and that something is the very extirpation of myself? How can that be so? How can something be important if the cause of that importance is to not be?

A bit of dilemma that amazed a lot of individuals, I take. But even so, I saw in one recent video another good phrase that sums it up:

"Perhaps if Adam and Eve had choose not to procreate, they could´ve done the one and only moral act of humanity."

Stay out of drugs and don´t have kids. ;)

Shadow said...

chosen*

Anonymous said...

"A deaf lesbian couple in the United States have deliberately created a deaf child. Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullough used their own sperm donor, a deaf friend with five generations of deafness in his family. Like others in the deaf community, Duchesneau and McCullough don't see deafness as a disability. They see being deaf as defining their cultural identity and see signing as a sophisticated, unique form of communication."

Ann Sterzinger said...

(Reposted from comments section of whys and wherefores, since I'm really craving an answer:)

Oddly, I just had an argument with someone who sympathizes with antinatalism and definitely does not plan to breed, but who does not consider an argument from suffering to be a strong/valid argument. (!)

He couldn't seem to articulate his position beyond "it's a bad excuse for bad behavior" and "it's unquantifiable" and the old "what if other people see the color red differently?" argument.

He was playing the devil's advocate, and I floated the idea that he may feel this way because his terminally ill father is sometimes such a dick to him without getting an anger reaction.

What bothered me about the conversation was that I had such a hard time articulating, myself, what it is that makes an argument from suffering a scientifically valid argument, except to say that you can use analogy to suppose that when a cat upon whose paw you have just trod yowls and makes a face similar to the one you make when you feel pain, any reasonable person would suppose the cat must be feeling something like pain/suffering.

SO: Besides the typical antinatalist gut reaction of "oh jesus, have some empathy, motherfucker!", can anyone here really handily encapsulate or dissect the value of an argument from suffering?

Shadow said...

Well, if we could punch the person, we could readily demonstrate the weight of the argument of suffering. =)

Of course I´m not saying we should punch anyone, it´s just a thought experiment.

Ann Sterzinger said...

That's hilarious, because my first reaction was to offer to punch him in the face for the rest of the afternoon! (He just laughed rather nervously.)

Shadow said...

=)

metamorphhh said...

Hi, Ann. Outside of a strictly solipsistic worldview, we're all stuck inside a mindscape of assumptions (solipsism being its own sort of assumption, btw). To most of us, there seems to be an outside world filled with biological organisms, including other people who seem to share the same basic characteristics, more or less. Of course, it MIGHT be true that anybody else set on fire is running around the room screaming in orgasmic ecstasy rather than in excruciating pain, but which is the more (in)credible assumption? Deriving general principles through experience and observation is the path to knowledge, and until your friend can produce some pretty overwhelming, counterbalancing evidence that there are folks running around out there with cotton candy and gummy bears for guts, well...burden of proof, and all that.

Ann Sterzinger said...

That's useful for someone who won't get off the first horn of his devil's advocacy... but what about the other horn? What he really wanted to know was, why is suffering, even if it does objectively exist, valid as an argument... I think what he was getting at was, why does it matter? To which I want to say, here's another punch in the face, see how valid you think that is. But is there a less cavepersonlike argument?

metamorphhh said...

Ann-

"What he really wanted to know was, why is suffering, even if it does objectively exist, valid as an argument... I think what he was getting at was, why does it matter?"

"I'm not sure there's an answer to that, no more than there's an objective argument for preferring one flavor of pudding over another. Certainly his own suffering matters to him, as I'm sure would be ably demonstrated the moment he took your 'fist to the face' threat seriously. But whether that moves him to argue that you shouldn't punch other people in the face depends on if he cares what happens to other people or not. To me, it's always been a question of personal values, not transcending moral imperatives (which don't exist imo). If I don't care that others suffer, then obviously any 'argument from suffering' will hold no weight with me.

Karl said...

I've never been convinced by any attempt to establish "objective ethics". Even trying to establish morality on the grounds of self-interest along the lines of "If others suffer less, they're less likely to harm me" tend to crash when countered with the idea that self-interest could equally be served by simply eliminating other people. As Jim says, it really does appear to boil down to empathy. Either you have it or you don't. This may lead ultimately to a general perspective that is nihilistic, but that's just how things are, alas. Even someone like Adam Smith in his "Theory of the Moral Sentiments" and David Hume could only ultimately appeal to empathy as a ground of morality. And sadly, there are many people who appear to be endowed with very little of it or, worse, none at all.

Wrooines said...

http://cnx.org/content/m14304/latest/

Are we sure we want a link to this on the sidebar? It's more primitivist than anti-natalist, it's really poorly written and there's some unpleasant homophobia in one section.

filrabat said...

A gold mine from a professor at the University of New England

The Teleologists' Dilemma: Life Has No Purpose. (ironically, this is a major basis for my "Teleological Antinatalism")

filrabat said...

I got a comment from an e-mail correspondent, whom I will call K.A.

Hi!

I need to alert u to the following:

The South African Journal of Philosophy has a special edition coming up in May on anti-natalism.

Rivka Weinberg, a Professor of Philosophy (Scripps College) who is mentioned by David Benatar in Better Never to Have Been, has a paper in it titled "Is Having Children Always Wrong?"

She's also got a forthcoming paper, "Existence: Who Needs It? The Identity Problem and Merely Possible People," in Bioethics.

Ben Bradley has a forthcoming paper in The Journal of Ethics, "Asymmetries in Benefiting, Harming, and Creating"

I think he might be one of Benatar's more formidable critics. I wonder if this is going to be in the same issue as Benatar's forthcoming defence of his philanthropic anti-natalism.


This one from just a few days ago, also from K.A.

The Journal of Ethics is having a forthcoming special issue on "The Value of Existence and Nonexistence"

Ann Sterzinger said...

In case anyone cares to gawk at the trolls, here's the comments section of a kind review Andy Nowicki posted yesterday treating my novel NVSQVAM as a parable of antinatalism... you can almost hear their DNA scream.
http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/untimely-observations/anti-life-fiction/#disqus_thread

Loads of wacky ad hominem attacks based on the way my face looks and the speculation that I may be a Jew (due to my German surname? Hasn't it occurred to them that I might be German?) involved in an evil plot to stop white people from breeding by proselytizing for antinatalism.

Wrooines said...

What else do you expect from the Inmalafide people?

Anonymous said...

New Report issues a warning about humanity’s ability to survive without a major change in direction

http://www.clubofrome.org/?p=4211

please, don't change anything!

Shadow said...

Anon,

TY for the link!

Anonymous said...

http://www.poodwaddle.com/clocks/worldclock/

KaBoem said...

Colombian Antinatalist Speech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9lXcgJ6s1g

""Heaven and happiness do not exist. That's your parents' way to justify the crime of having brought you into this world. What exists is reality, the tough reality, this slaughterhouse we've come to die in, if not to kill and to eat the animals, our fellow creatures. Therefore, do not reproduce, do not repeat the crimes committed against you, do not give back the same, evil paid with evil, as imposing life is the ultimate crime. Do not disturb the unborn, let them be in the peace of nothingness, anyway we'll all eventually go back there, so why beat around the bush?"

~ Fernando Vallejo"

(Text and rip by ObsidianTeen, thanks:)!

Anonymous said...

thanks for that.
i was an antinatalist since i was a small kid. it feels so good to see that i was right and that i'm not alone.

antinatalism is not the greatest taboo - natalism is the ultimate crime.

Shadow said...

Awesome video!

Anonymous said...

Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die (2011) - Full Documentary.

Anonymous said...

Russian mother killed her two sons, aged 4 and 7, by throwing them from 15th-floor balcony because she was ‘fed up’ with their behaviour

Shadow said...

Horrible thing. A monster, indeed.

KaBoem said...

Some new blog post about antinatalism

http://yeahokbutstill.blogspot.be/2012/07/anti-natalism-as-moralism.html

"Now, an interesting consequence of my view is that pro-natalism is also illegitimate. That is to say, I think it is equally ridiculous to say that the decision to procreate is morally justified. This is the trap that opponents of anti-natalism fall into: they get sucked into debating the moral legitimacy of a decision without first asking why it should be the subject of moral assessment in the first place. And if you search through the anti-natalist literature for an argument in favor of moralism, you will search in vain'

http://bitchspot.jadedragononline.com/2012/07/06/just-reading-it-made-me-suffer/

"Every time I think I’ve found the limit of human stupidity, someone surprises me. There’s a “movement” out there that proposes that humans stop breeding entirely and voluntarily go extinct so that we can “end suffering”. It’s part of a larger concept called “antinatalism”."

Shadow said...

I responded to them. Let´s see if they leave the answers there.

KaBoem said...

Oh God Shadow, now i regret linking those blogs. The first talks big but when confronted he backs away to the store to sabotage condoms.Lmao. The Second is the typical "you guys are weak" type. UGH. Sometimes it's hard to be compassionate to these types.

(Also lol the warts thing, thx for the chuckle trueatheist)

Shadow said...

KaBoem,

Right on!

And I chuckled as well from TrueAtheist´s joke.
=)

Jeff said...

.

Jeff said...

...I didn't mean to post just that period (though it is aptly succinct in a way), I was trying to sign in and accidentally posted that.

I meant to say something about the bitchspot post that was linked to here, which I decided to frustrate myself with by reading this morning, but I've been up so long that I don't know if I'm in any condition to articulate my thoughts on it very well, besides registering my extreme irritation :)

I'll just say for now that I'm glad Jim is back, and I might comment some more here later after some sleep.

Jeff said...

Since I'm already here, and this is, uh, watercooler conversations, I'll make a few off-the-cuff remarks before going to bed:

I recently ended a job I've been working at for a few months, and can afford to spend some time not working (yes yes yes!). I've been thinking about how I will eventually have to go back to work again, and spend a great deal of time working to survive, until I will most likely die in pain, and how much that, well, sucks.

Since the job ended yesterday, the atmosphere was rather relaxed, and a friend played a George Carlin album on the boombox. It was from his later, most pessimistic era. I appreciated it, since it reflected where my head was at, but when listening to how eloquently he expressed how fucked up the human condition is, I had to bite my tongue from asking aloud "So, how many children did you have again, George?" It's like I can't stop thinking about the obvious conclusion that so many voices around me increasingly hint at without going all the way to. So it's a good thing I won't have to be around people as much for awhile :). Though, it does make me wonder if antinatalism might suddenly become a larger phenomenon than just its current fringe status. Even without the help of antinatalists speaking up. Like, many people might suddenly find themselves finally reasoning themselves into a place they can't back out of.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, the same thought has occurred to me so many times. My mother complains about life all the time (and yet she chose to have me). She has commented about how her grandfather bemoaned the abject misery of life (and yet he begot her mother). It sickens me how people act like they're helpless, choiceless pawns in the game of life, and seem to believe they haven't the power to conscientiously object. Why can't everyone stop a moment and just think before the damage is done? Why can't people take a stand and say, "No more"?

Shadow said...

It´s incredible how we can relate.

I live in Brazil, hundreds, thousands of kilometers away from the noble people who write here, whom I write to in my blog, and I suffered through the same nonsense around me.

Parents, especially my mother, always complain about life as well. Like always. And yet, like Anonymous said, she gave birth to me.

It´s all nonsense.

But the information is out there, for those that decide to take a stand and stop the madness.

Anonymous said...

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Stacy said...

My mother is the same way. She keeps talking about terrible life is, but she desperately wants grandchildren. It's strange how people continue to want children even though they know how difficult it is to live through a life.

KaBoem and The Four Efilists of the Apocalypse said...

Can a catholic be anti-natalist? (not pro-abortion / pro-contraceptive)
I am not talking about supporting abortion or contraceptives.. I am talking about having the desire not to have kids.


http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=690928

Some cool responses:

- "Fail-Safe? Well, non-existance does not allow the baby to go to Heaven and be happy for trillions of trillions of trillions of years for ever....fail-safe?
It is like saying it is better not to go to collect your lottery money for it is tiring to walk 1 (ONE) mile down the road !!!!"

- "Jesus actively chose a tortured existence - in fact as God He knew exactly what tortures were in store for Him. One presumes that this is because His sufferings (and therefore. by extension ours) can serve a purpose which makes them entirely worthwhile.

And I think it is worse to deprive a child of that potential good and the potential bliss of heaven than of very temporary (as all our lives are only the blink of an eye) suffering."

Someone responds in a surprising way

"Yes. Jesus had a purpose and a plan. As an adult I see no purpose or plan in being tortured or abused.It all sounds nice but when you've been on the receiving end of sheer horror, it's not cool. Don't get me wrong, I'm here, not much I can do about that, but I'd rather not be here than endure what I did."

(End)

Also a new AN kefkaponders.wordpress.com/

Pretty cool content and Kefka ofcourse^^

Karl said...

Great link, KaBoem. I love Irish Gal, particularly the tag line from Yeats she has on her profile. Being Irish also, I can only concur:-)

Here's a Christian who's read Benatar and asvocates abortion:

http://www.examiner.com/article/abortions-are-moral-when-compared-to-bringing-a-child-into-existence?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150171818461476_21438468_10150642999191476#f1c6387e34

filrabat said...

I generally don't self-promote but ZI have added immensely to my two posts on suicide (particularly the first one, but the second one as well).

Shadow said...

Not a problem man. I think Jim won´t mind. =)

fil rabat said...

I just made a challenge to BrettKeane (YouTube Vlogger) with regarding the suicide argument. He said my briefly stated reasons to not commit suicide were a copout, and I told him to refute what I wrong on Why Not Commit Suicide?. You all are welcome to chime in if you want.

KaBoem said...

http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/suicide.htm

I posted this on Karl's blog it's called Beyond the Pale. Tt has some great anti-life quotes,(foreign)poems,etc. It's kinda trippy (it has NSFW sections and gore, just warning the more sensitive).

Anonymous said...

Well, this is an unusual response to AN:
http://philosophyprime.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/antinatalism-a-serious-treatment/
Here we have acknowledgement of the cold facts...

"‘Good intentions’ just don’t matter if you deliver some deformed kid in excruciating pain, or a person who has some kind of subtler misery, or whatever."

"...everyone should realize that the AN predicament is real and anyone who initiates a life is rolling the dice..to hide from that would be cowardly and wrong."

...juxtaposed with the typical rebuttal to AN, although in refreshingly explicit terms:

"There is one direct way to answer it, and that is to say that yes..life is just really dirty that way..we will do our best, but we are willing to have a few tragedies in order to sustain many nice lives."

If we could ask them, I'm sure every baby born with harlequin ichthyosis would agree.

Karl said...

Wow! I read the post an hour ago, enjoyed its honesty and was planning on making a reply. Then when I went back to do so, the post was gone! I wonder if the consequences of AN were too much for the guy:-)

Anonymous said...

That's quite plausibly what happened. The ability to revise one's beliefs when the consequences they entail are just "too much" has always bewildered me.

At times I wish I had this ability. But we know those fictions come at a terrible price. The difference between a self-deluding life-affirmer and an AN is not merely one of intellectual integrity. It's a difference in compassion.

Karl said...

I asked the guy to repost but he refused outright. He now has a new position entitled 'Conditional Natalism'. I posted my objections.

http://philosophyprime.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/conditional-natalism/#comment-299

Anonymous said...

Since the Wikiputians deleted the quotations under the Antinatalism lemma a long time ago, I created a Wikiquote page which I hope you are interested in helping expand.

Anonymous said...

How do you guys feel about environmentalism? From your perspective, wouldn't global warming be a good thing, as it has the potential to wipe out all human life?

Shadow said...

Taking aside from the fact that, beforehand, global warming will bring a lot of suffering, I would many AN´s are in favor of it, since it is a way to end it all, albeit one that will bring a lot of suffering beforehand. But almost all process of ending will bring harm alongside, so....

KaBoem said...

Great Interview with Chip on Antinatalism

http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/08/interview-with-chip-smith-on-anti-natalism-cosmic-pessimism-and-his-plans-for-the-future/


Some comments on the soulless abominations called antinatalists:)=

"My thoughts exactly. It takes a certain kind of genius to come up with something so utterly insane"

"Perhaps anti-natalism is nothing more than a symptom of a more serious disorder – a warning as it were. Indeed, I recall reading that refusing to procreate was one form of rebellion that slaves resorted to when their misery became too much to bear…"

"I am glad that you interviewed him. He reminds of why I left the left. Most of them are exact clones. A Christian would feel obligated to try and save his soul. After all, the good book tells you to do that. My question is what if they have no soul? Why bother looking for what isn’t there? That is the endgame of nihilism."

"Those of us living today are the children of thousands of generations, and the result of millions of years of evolution, I find that incredible. And when I see babies I don’t say to myself, “Sucks that they were born; because they’re going to die.”, sure life is tragic, but doesn’t the continuation of life make it less so? That is to say if you were on your deathbed, wouldn’t you feel at least slightly comforted if you had your children there with you?"

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how I missed this article (hopefully it hasn't already been posted here... if so, sorry!) As always, it's refreshing to see someone expressing Benatarian sentiments in the mainstream media. Just started reading the comments, and am looking forward to going through them some more.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/think-before-you-breed/?_r=0

Anonymous said...

Jim, I don't know if you know this, but the writer of True Detective referenced your book in a recent interview:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/02/02/writer-nic-pizzolatto-on-thomas-ligotti-and-the-weird-secrets-of-true-detective/

Kaboem said...

Fun review ofJim's book by Matt Forney

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