Saturday, July 24, 2010


Well, I'm typing here this morning after having been up all night in excruciating pain (more to come, at least for the next few days), suffering through a bout of some mysterious intestinal disorder which flares up every year or so. It's resulted in several surgeries in times past, but no real answers. I've learned to live with it, and this particular attack is one of the milder ones i.e. I'm not crawling around on the floor and puking up black stuff. Ain't life grand?

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. Noodling my way through some difficulties, the details of which I won't bore you with. Also, I've recently joined a gym...trying to make sure I'm in really good shape when I die:) Anyway, my thoughts have been a bit scattered of late.

Fortunately, Sister Y over at TheViewFromHell, has taken up the gauntlet, and is more than adequately representing the subject we're all here for. It's been really nice to see her back, hasn't it?

Meanwhile, Chip Smith of The Hoover Hog fame is still ironing out his freethinking manifesto, which I'm sure we're all looking forward to reading.

Lastly, my book got a VERY nice review over at the Spanish Inquisitor, a very good atheist blog I've frequented for the last couple of years or so. Check it out, if you're so inclined.

Ok, I guess that's about it for now. Looks like I'll be chillin' for a couple of days, at least, so if any epiphanies fall out of the ceiling in the meantime, you'll all be the first to know. Until then, best wishes to one and all.


Former Shadow said...

Wow! Hang in there man!

All our destinies are the dust, but until then, hang in there!

CM said...

Get better, Jim.

The review is great. It's nice to see that His Inquisitiveness(?) is giving you a fair reading and not acting defensively, even though he has his own children (biological, I presume).

metamorphhh said...

Shadow: LOL! I'll keep that in mind as I lie in the fetal position.

CM: Thanks. Yeah, John the host over there is good people. You can tell he really thought about the issue, instead of giving it the usual short shrift. I appreciate it. Cya!

The Plague Doctor said...

Coincidentally, I have also been battling with severe gastrointestinal (and lots of other physical) problems over the last year; maybe I can help? Black vomit is usually curdled blood, which suggests an ulcer in either your stomach or perhaps upper intestines. Do you have gastric ulcers or Crohn's disease?

metamorphhh said...

Plague Doctor:

I've often suspected something akin to undiagnosed Crohn's disease. This problem always flares up under certain combinations of conditions. This time it was having an empty stomach, eating raw apple, and then some rather greasy fried fish. Tomato sauce is also a culprit, as is citrus. I only have an attack once every year or so, and the severity has been a lot less since I've become more aware of what and when I eat.

metamorphhh said...

P.S. I'm also really sorry that you're going through this kind of shit, Plague Doctor. I hope you've got some means of distraction to take the edge off once in a while. I tend to watch comedies. I'm doing a 3rd Rock from the Sun marathon this weekend while I'm bedridden. And I can watch News Radio over and over again. Love that Dave Foley! Also, if you don't have any dvds, pretty much all the MST3Ks are on YouTube. They see me through :)

The Plague Doctor said...

Very interesting. Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family of plants, which are suspected of causing autoimmune diseases (such as Crohn's). But that would require a long period of eating to cause problems, not immediately after a meal.

Apples and citrus, on the other hand, should not cause autoimmune disease I think. So if apples and citrus cause vomiting immediately after a meal, maybe you are intolerant to salicylates and salicylate-like aromatics found in these fruit. Some of these can apparently trigger a histamine release, and histamine activates stomach acid production, which might cause stomach bleeding.

Just totally speculating.

You could try following the ultimate elimination diet, which will also relieve you of the need to go to the gym to get in shape!

The Plague Doctor said...

(Correction: I just read that citrus is also suspected of causing autoimmune diseases.)

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I do have three children, although the middle one is adopted.She was born with genetic and congenital problems, which no one else wanted to take responsibility for. She was so cute, we couldn't resist, and she is now 25 years old and one third of my greatest joy.

Cactus Jack said...

Your book is on it's way to me as I type Jim so looking forward to that. What an awakening this has been for myself over the last few months. Thanks to all the contributors on this blog for making this the case. I hope to be able to have some more insightful input once I've fully got my head around this...

CM said...

Spanish Inquisitor -

that's really cool about your middle daughter.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I'm not sure whether this is the appropriate place to ask it, but I'll ask anyway.

Say the world embraced antinatalism. Then what? Humans have died out, all the other species will still be present and will continue to evolve until one of them develops a brain which was our size. They will make all the same mistakes, fight all the same wars, spill all that blood again. To me antinatalism just isn't "enough".

So many would-be e-philosophers only seem to focus on the human plight. (Mainly because to tackle the plight of other species would force them to confront their lazy attitude to veganism.)

I'm in no way attacking what I find on this blog. I am saying that I believe to merely prune our branch of the Darwinian family tree is selfish, seeing as we are potentially on the road to having the capability of pulling up the tree by its roots.

This of course neglects the possibility of life on other planets. A possibility which, if anyone has read an astronomy book, will agree is a perfectly reasonable one. Should we stay on this painful road in hope of finding a way to obliterate the road itself for all life? If we did, would the permanent distruction of life in the universe be possible? What's to stop abiogenisis occuring again and again. Are other species' plights our concern? If we do cause our own extinction should we leave them a message?

(I can feel a sci-fi novel coming on!)

In all seriousness, I would appreciate feedback on this questions which plague me.

Anonymous said...

Forgive all the spelling mistakes above, I'm hungover.

Compoverde said...

Jim, Chip, CM, Shadow et al.. Here is a link to a critique of Benatar. I just thought you all might like to look at it, review, and see if you have any counterarguments or thoughts.

CM said...

Anon -

Jim addresses some of these questions in his book, which you should totally buy:)

The problem with wild animals is that it may be hard to exterminate them in a humane way, let alone catch and sterilize every individual animal. But all the animals we breed for our own purposes would die out with us. And even if a new human-like species evolves, at least there will be a period of time without human suffering.

I'm not sure what you mean by "stay on that painful road". You're not implying that we should keep reproducing in order to permanently destroy life down the road, are you?

FWIW, there is a very high proportion of vegan commenters here. I'm a vegetarian trying to become a vegan (alas, unsuccessfully so far). And leaving a message to other life forms sounds like a great idea.

CM said...

Compoverde -

Her main objection can be found in endnote 3 (sadly, the body of the paper is devoted to the irrelevant discussion of impersonal goodness and badness - I'm starting to suspect that all critiques of BNtHB are required to contain it). I would say that even if we did take the interests of existing X into consideration in a world where he does not exist, they would be defeated by the fact that the absence of good does not deprive in such a world. I came up with an analogy, but I'm not sure if it's a good one. Let's say, for the sake of this analogy, that the only reason to avoid physical pain is that it feels unpleasant, not that it is usually bundled with injuries. But in a world where I have pain asymbolia, holding on to my interests from the real world would be irrational because I wouldn't find pain unpleasant, so I would have no reason to avoid it. I think it's extremely hard for people to dissociate the absence of pleasure from its negative features for existers, and this analogy takes something from the empirical world that is commonly perceived as bad and shows that under certain conditions, it is not bad. But it's still true that X's interests in not experiencing pain could have been satisfied in a world where he does not exist (in fact, it's the only way they could have been satisfied), which is why they are relevant there. What do you think?

I also recommend this paper by Elizabeth Harman, particularly endnote 15. She appears to accept that one cannot use a fact which is dependent on one’s X-ing to justify X-ing (even though she says she needs a more sophisticated explanation for the purposes of that paper). And yet she uses the good things of existence (dependent on coming into existence) to justify coming into existence - which she contends is harmful - in cases of ordinary reproduction here (p. 144).

CM said...

*X's interests in not experiencing bad things, rather, not just the kind of pain I was talking about in my analogy.

Sister Y said...

Anonymous - there's a science fiction book that I have lying around my house but haven't read that posits advanced alien robot technology that goes around searching out life and destroying it.

Of course, in the book, this is seen as a bad thing and humans trying to survive in the face of this forms the central conflict of the book, but I can definitely see the ethical point of such technology.

Former Shadow said...

Hey, if anyone has ideas of posting material and wishes to help me with some stuff for my blog about the subject, please be my guest!

my e-mail is

cheers everyone

Unknown said...

IIRC, Chip's antinatalism essay's - specifically on the page he addressed ethical blind spots in Benatar's Cost-Benefit approach, addresses the issue of animals. I think his podcast on Cape Talk 702 (Capetown's talk radio station) brought up the matter of animals as well.

Apparently, he conceded that, ideally, we would eliminate all life with a nervous system (or at least all "higher level" life) precisely to stop more of them from suffering.

Still, I could very well be mistaken (if I am, PLEASE inform me of this, as I put it on my own blog in my just-uploaded series of antinatalism essays m Part IV, at.. )

Karl said...

Looks like the truth is spreading, folks. To complement the Slate article, here's an interesting feature from the BBC on women choosing to be childless, with the usual variety of interesting comments:

Former Shadow said...

Filrabat´s blog is bitchin, if I may use the american slang.

Jim, if you are reading this, I want you to know, that your book has arrived, today.

Im reading it, and it´s good. Very good. The word is spreading.

Let´s make history, folks.

Karl said...

In sharp antithesis to the BBC feature I put up a couple of comments back, here's a self-righteous, delusional article about 'the misery of parenthood'. Not a hint of genuine reflection on the morality of the act of procreation itself.

CM said...

Karl -

what a puke fest, that last article! My favorite part, though, is the mental hoops he's jumping through (along with the guy on whose post he's commenting and the original article) to redefine happiness and convince himself that he has it. It goes like this:

1. Breed.
2. Find out the breeder lifestyle sucks.
3. If you are a regular breeder, redefine "sucking" as "rocking". If you are a more sophisticated breeder, redefine "sucking" as "nobility", and "nobility" as compatible with "rocking". So sucky situations actually rock!
5. PROFIT!!!

Compoverde said...

Someone should introduce real legislation regarding anti-child laws. How about no special tax allowances for people who have children? That is a real cause we can and should take up. Anything in the books that hints at promoting pro-natalist causes, we should be battling in the political arena.

Anonymous said...

Compoverde, I agree. And we hardcore antinatalists are not alone. There's a seemingly much larger group of generically childfree people out there who would also like to see the publicly subsidized financial perks for breeders evaporate. The problem with the whole childfree "movement" is that it doesn't really seem to be a movement in a meaningful sense. At least based on most of what I see online, it's about socializing with like minds (which is great), but not about political change. I'm as guilty as anyone in that I haven't lifted a finger to actually do something. But then... I don't know where to begin! The concept that society shouldn't be supporting families (read: other people's choices to reproduce) is so out there and so abhorrent to the general population that it's not an easy thing to sell. Let us not forget that you and I don't really matter until/unless we've reproduced. We're viewed as wallets to pay for others' selfish decisions.

CM said...

The problem with the whole childfree "movement" is that it doesn't really seem to be a movement in a meaningful sense.

I wonder if breeding encourages people to try to effect long-term change that they would be unlikely to benefit from personally - at least their descendants might benefit. Childfree people, on the other hand, might not want to devote their time to political campaigning just so future generations of unrelated childfree people can have a better life.

I think it's actually quite easy to sell the idea that society shouldn't support certain breeders to almost anyone, including other breeders. You just have to pick a group the person you are trying to convince finds inferior. I'm not sure if that would lead to any political change, though.