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”.

These people are fucking stupid.

Without  going into too much detail, they think that life is inherently filled with suffering and therefore, since all suffering is to be avoided, we should all die and thus end suffering.

Except it doesn’t work that way.  It doesn’t stop all suffering, just human suffering.  If all humans just vanished off the planet tomorrow, suffering would continue.  That Thompson’s Gazelle is still going to suffer when the cheetah eats it. Animals are going to die, animals are going to get diseases, the suffering won’t take a moment’s break just because humanity is extinct.  The plan fails.

What’s worse though, their entire methodology fails.  They claim that their aim is to stop suffering so they’re just going to die a natural death.  What about all the suffering they cause while they’re here?  Every second they spend on this rock causes an immense amount of suffering to everyone around them!  Every breath they take kills millions of microscopic lifeforms.  Their immune system kills billions more every day.  Even though bacteria don’t feel pain as we recognize it, they still demonstrably move away from dangerous situations, they recognize, in a non-sentient manner, that something is bad for their survival.  I don’t see how you can call that anything but suffering.  So you idiots, STOP BREATHING!

Further, every time you eat, you’re causing suffering.  You must kill something, in fact, lots of somethings, in order to have a meal.  It doesn’t matter if you’re having a salad or a side of beef, something died to give you that food.  You’ve directly caused suffering!  But wait, you’ve also indirectly caused suffering.  By ingesting that food, you’ve deprived someone else, somewhere in the world, of the ability to eat it.  Everything you do, every day, causes suffering.  You use energy that others could otherwise use, you wear clothes that others could otherwise wear, you live in a house that others could otherwise inhabit.  Every second of every day that you’re alive, you are causing untold suffering.  In fact, by remaining alive at all, you are refusing to feed the bacteria and insects that will digest your body and break it down into component atoms for recycling.  How dare you!

I guess that brings us down to nuking the planet to a charred cinder.  End all life on Earth and thus end all suffering!  Except for the aliens, of course.  It’s absurd to think that there are no aliens out there in the universe, the odds are absurdly against such a thing.  Assuming for a second that they are anything even identifiable as life, they must also suffer in one way or another.  If we’re supposed to oppose *ALL* suffering, then we have to end their suffering too.  That means ending all life everywhere in the universe.  How we’re going to kill everything, everywhere, I have no idea, but it must be done!

See, these people really don’t want to end suffering or they’d be out offing themselves right now.  None of them want to do that.  They want to live out a long, happy, healthy life and die of natural causes.  This isn’t about suffering at all, it’s about wanting to remain childless and they’ve come up with this load of crap as a rationale to do it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a damn if they want to breed or not.  In fact, these people are so damn stupid, I’d rather their genes not get passed on to the next generation.  But seriously, enough of this idiotic rationalization nonsense.  They don’t mean it, it’s just an excuse so that when people ask them why they haven’t had kids and they’re not brave enough to be honest, they can pull out this ridiculous cock-and-bull story.

So let’s summarize.  They don’t really give a damn about suffering, only about specific kinds of suffering for one specific species.  They’re not really all that worried about that, they just want it to end at some unspecified time in the future because they can’t be bothered or inconvenienced to take steps to stop it right now.  And they want to be taken seriously?

Ha.

Of course, then you go off the deep end with this group.  Why, exactly, is there anyone around to maintain that web site again?

68 thoughts on “Just Reading it Made Me Suffer

  1. "It doesn’t stop all suffering, just human suffering. "

    Yeah. Problem?

    "What about all the suffering they cause while they’re here? Every second they spend on this rock causes an immense amount of suffering to everyone around them! Every breath they take kills millions of microscopic lifeforms."

    So… your "solution" to this is that we continue on perpetrating the very sufferings that YOU display here… because to try and stop it is stupid?

    You are saying that we do create all this suffering… and you do not agree for it to stop… and antinatalists are the stupid ones? Really?

    "Further, every time you eat, you’re causing suffering. "

    Yeah. So? We agree with that. Perhaps you should read more about antinatalism. That´s why we need to stop. We do cause suffering when eating. Duh.

    "You’ve directly caused suffering!"

    Yeah, yeah! Your point?

    "You use energy that others could otherwise use, you wear clothes that others could otherwise wear, you live in a house that others could otherwise inhabit."

    Yeah! Are you an antinatalist as well? =)

    "and thus end all suffering! Except for the aliens, of course."

    Aliens? What aliens? Are you high? Do not tell me you believe in green men from Mars…

    "It’s absurd to think that there are no aliens out there in the universe, the odds are absurdly against such a thing."

    I don´t see how this is relevant to the issue. Really.

    "That means ending all life everywhere in the universe."

    Ooa, easy there, champ.

    "these people really don’t want to end suffering or they’d be out offing themselves right now"

    This is beside the point. We are alive so we have survival instincts that actively try to stop suicidal acts.

    "They want to live out a long, happy, healthy life and die of natural causes."

    Yeah. You don´t? Are you crazy?

    "They don’t mean it"

    Really? How do you know that? Ever know and talked with an antinatalist before?

    "They don’t really give a damn about suffering"

    You say so without evidence…

    "only about specific kinds of suffering for one specific species. "

    I´m not going to delve into how much god complex this would represent if we did think of ending ALL.

    "They’re not really all that worried about that, they just want it to end at some unspecified time in the future because they can’t be bothered or inconvenienced to take steps to stop it right now."

    Well… can you? Can you stop it? No? I thought so.

    "And they want to be taken seriously?"

    You made a post full of nonsense and not one single good argument for pro-natalism… and want to be taken seriously?

    Ha.

    Best to you, fella.

    1. I don't think for a second that we ought to stop all suffering, so your entire premise is faulty. I initially pointed out the implications of the antinatalist position, taken to their natural conclusion. In reality, I think some suffering is a good thing. It drives improvement. If there were never problems that caused suffering, we'd have no need to better ourselves, our technology or our societies. Ending all suffering, beyond being an absurd idea, actually shoots humanity in the foot. If nobody is hungry, there's no reason to improve our agricultural technology, no need to engineer better food that grows in more places. If nobody gets sick, there's no reason to improve our medical technology. If no one is cold, why develop better housing or clothing? We need suffering.

      So unless you can rationally explain why we ought to bother wiping out all suffering, antinatalism is little more than it initially appears to be: a serious case of self-loathing.

      Pass.

      1. Cephus,

        I didn´t say you were worried. I was just playing with your words. I know that you don´t give a fuck. You said so yourself:

        "I think some suffering is a good thing."

        Some suffering, as in little suffering, (as long as you are not the one who is suffering right?) is not actually the problem, but the HUGE AMOUNTS of suffering that take place everyday.

        And:

        "Ending all suffering, beyond being an absurd idea"

        I can´t respond in the name of all antinatalists in this one, but ending ALL seem to be a bit presumptuous, no? I said in my previous post that ALL isn´t the point here. We can only do what we can do.

        "We need suffering."

        A little suffering, like the one when you go the gym, and your muscles are sore, are ok. We are not even discussing this type of minor sufferings. Read more about AN.

        "So unless you can rationally explain why we ought to bother wiping out all suffering,"

        I really wish you have had some reading on this before you went to make this post. It would have made things much easier. Please search on the web – Benatar Asymetry – I´m not going to make the whole point (again) here in your blog.

        "antinatalism is little more than it initially appears to be: a serious case of self-loathing."

        Well, another phallacy as explained by True Atheist (thanks man).

        1. I think we need quite a bit of suffering, thank you very much. Suffering is a net positive. If it hadn't been for suffering throughout out history, we'd still be living in caves. Maybe that would make you happy. Who knows.

          As for reading more about AN, there's really no point as it makes two fundamentally fallacious claims at it's core:

          1) That we ought to end suffering

          2) That causing the extinction of the human species will result in #1.

          Neither of them are even remotely supported.

          1. "I think we need quite a bit of suffering, thank you very much."

            That´s ok. Really. It is your opinion. I do not agree with it (Need for what? Why is that neeed´s purpose anyway, and why is that legitimate?) but it´s on your tab.

            There´s this thing with suffering, though, people that say it is okay, find it is only okay when they are talking about it in their room, accessing the internet with all bodily functions more or less working.

            Not so much so when more tough moments arise. That´s the thing with suffering: it´s good to talk about it, aint it? Not so much when we are on the receiving end of it. Oh the irony.

            Not to mention there´s suffering that nobody profits from. But anyway.

            "we’d still be living in caves. Maybe that would make you happy. Who knows."

            You are so clueless it´s not even funny. Living in caves would make me happy? Are you not paying attention to the conversation? Antinatalism means ascribing negative value towards birth EVER. In any conditions – considering life as we know it. And yeah, that includes paleolitic times.

            "fundamentally fallacious claims at it’s core:

            1) That we ought to end suffering"

            And your point is that suffering should go on. Huh. Let the nobility of your argument try and convince those that will read this in the future then.

            "2) That causing the extinction of the human species will result in #1."

            Well if you want to argue practicalities, I would say that one day when humanity no longer exists, suffering in the human species will be terminated. Don´t you agree? And this is exactly the point. No more, no less.

            "Neither of them are even remotely supported"

            Wrong again. If there´s nobody alive, there´s no suffering. That´s pretty basic logic.

            Your argument is still going to the presumption that we should end ALL, and I´m not agreeing with it since the start.

          2. I've already explained that suffering fuels advancement and improvement. It is a natural part of being alive and therefore makes no sense whatsoever to attempt to end it entirely. Of course, you don't want to end suffering entirely, you only want to end human suffering, which places you in the role of the hypocrite.

            I suspect, and correct me if I'm wrong, this is an entirely ill-conceived, hyper-emotional idea without a shred of objective, logical or rational thought, appealing largely to the immature high school-age boy who would also be attracted to the works of Ayn Rand.

            Until I see a logically-constructed, rationally-defended explanation for why suffering is bad and why humanity ought to be exempted from the same reality as all other life, why should I take any of it seriously?

          3. Cephus, you apparently find living in caves dreadful, and find living in houses built with the latest technologies, equipped with running water and electricity etc., so much better.

            Have you examined why that is so?

  2. Ok, Let´s go again.

    "I’ve already explained that suffering fuels advancement and improvement."

    And I already said that some sufferings are ok, but there´s no way to differentiate in practical ways, which types of suffering will arise in any given life.

    Some sufferings are ok – I exemplified by the muscle soreness in the gym. That does not mean that suffering as a whole is ok.

    Other than that, when you talk about suffering being ok, in the security of your home is a thing. In a concentration camp or at knife or gun point, is another one completely, don´t you agree?

    "It is a natural part of being alive and therefore makes no sense whatsoever to attempt to end it entirely"

    Yeah, it´s a natural part of being alive, alright. TO you and me, that are alive. But why do you feel the need to perpetrate it by giving birth to another suffering thing? You and me, and everyone else that is alive do not have a choice: suffering is our daily meal. But why procreate it into another being?

    That´s the issue and you are not dealing the issue, you are escaping it.

    "which places you in the role of the hypocrite."

    Says who?

    Ideally, suffering should not exist to ALL things. But we can only do what we can do. Trying to end ALL is not the game here.

    This argument of yours is FAIL.

    "I suspect, and correct me if I’m wrong, this is an entirely ill-conceived, hyper-emotional idea without a shred of objective, logical or rational thought, appealing largely to the immature high school-age boy who would also be attracted to the works of Ayn Rand."

    Wow… and I suspect you don´t even read the wikipedia entry on the subject before posting such words. Let alone ideas from the proponents of the thing throughout the centuries, some that are very far from being interested in Ayn Rand.

    You should, definately, read a bit more about it, man. Seriously.

    "Until I see a logically-constructed, rationally-defended explanation for why suffering is bad…"

    I´m sorry.

    I have to take a while before I write this.

    You need an explanation for why suffering is bad? Am I getting this correctly? You are kidding. You are kidding right?

    There´s no hope for any kind of possible good outcomes in ANY line of thought in humanism, if you do not agree that suffering is bad.

    This is close to psychopath talk.

    Look, I´m not gonna delve into this in a blog comment space. Try to study a bit about the problem of evil, or Theodicy, or ethical related issues.

    Really.

    "and why humanity ought to be exempted from the same reality as all other life, why should I take any of it seriously?"

    Again, ideally, all beings should be free from suffering. But humanity is the only that can have a choice in the matter. That´s the only difference.

    1. I honestly don't know if it's worth going again because you still haven't been able to justify your position that suffering is a bad thing in any demonstrable way. All you keep doing is repeating that it's bad. Why? Because it's bad! You have not showed your reasoned explanation for why it's bad, and in fact, so bad that you think the only solution is to genocide an entire species.

      That's your job #1, you need to come up with a reason why anyone ought to take this extraordinary claim seriously. You need to present a critically-evaluated, intellectually-based, evidence-driven argument, based not on emotion but on objective evidence. You might be convinced of the worth of your claims based on your own emotions, but your emotional state won't convince anyone else. If that's all you've got, then you're just wasting your time going over the same empty claims time and time again. You're taking a claim that you want to be true, and just because you want it, you're insisting that it actually is true.

      Ain't the way it goes.

      "Ideally, suffering should not exist to ALL things. But we can only do what we can do. Trying to end ALL is not the game here."

      Why not? After all, if your goal is to end ALL suffering, why should we only limit ourselves to ending human suffering? We certainly have enough nuclear weapons to fry this planet and everything on it to a cinder, why not do that? It isn't like the planet suffers, it's not alive. So why limit ourselves to one species?

      "Yeah, it´s a natural part of being alive, alright. TO you and me, that are alive. But why do you feel the need to perpetrate it by giving birth to another suffering thing? You and me, and everyone else that is alive do not have a choice: suffering is our daily meal. But why procreate it into another being? "

      Because you still haven't demonstrated that suffering is a bad thing. There is a fair amount of suffering involved in giving birth, yet I'm willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of women who do so will tell you that the suffering was entirely worthwhile. They don't view it as a negative and most would, and indeed, do, go through it again quite willingly.

      Like it or not, humans are just animals and we have the same evolutionarily-programmed drives to reproduce as every other animal. We can over-ride those impulses, of course, and if that's what you want to do, more power to you. Doesn't bother me one way or the other.

      What I do find interesting, however, is that you're taking this big philosophical stand entirely without consequence to yourself. You're not willing to actually end the suffering that you, personally, cause every single day, you're just going to live out your life in as much comfort as you can muster, then just die and act like you've done something to help the world.

      You haven't.

      "Wow… and I suspect you don´t even read the wikipedia entry on the subject before posting such words. Let alone ideas from the proponents of the thing throughout the centuries, some that are very far from being interested in Ayn Rand. "

      I have read it, I said that the ideas are similar in their approach. They are emotionally-based, they cannot be defended rationally or critically, they simply declare a position to be true, just because it makes the adherent feel good to think that it is. The same kind of person would embrace each position, although perhaps not both at the same time.

      "Look, I´m not gonna delve into this in a blog comment space. Try to study a bit about the problem of evil, or Theodicy, or ethical related issues. "

      Clearly, you haven't read anything on this blog beyond this post, which is fine, I guess. Debating Theodicy and the problem of evil are pointless because there's no evidence that there are any god(s) to begin with. Evil is a wholly human-made concept, we take things we don't like and stamp EVIL on it. That doesn't make it evil, there's no universally agreed upon definition of what makes up evil, the concepts of good and evil, like most concepts, change over time and across peoples. What is seen as good in one place may be seen as evil in another and vice versa. There is no problem of evil. Evil exists because we decided it did.

  3. Cephus,

    Even if I wasn´t an antinatalist myself, your post and comments are out of the issue. You do not present any coherent reasons for pro-natalism (which incidentally, there are none), you only say a lot of stuff that my comments dissuade in the next minute. You resort to try and attack me – hypocrite, living in caves would make me happy – without even knowing me, and do not attack the argument properly!

    You clearly have NO idea of what the issue is and after perusing for a moment the VHEMT website, decided to write something about a thing you don´t even comprehend entirely.

    Your arguments are flawed, non-sequiturs and insults that do not present the issue correctly even for those that are pro-natalist, even for those that only want to get to know this without bias!

    You are making everyone else here a disservice with your attempts to try and say whatever you think will work in the discussion, without further thought about it.

    I hereby stop this mad conversation because I know it won´t resolve anything.

    But it would do you good, very good, actually, to try and READ a little about what you are talking about.

    As for antinatalism, try Schopenhauer, Cioran, David Benatar for starters. And at least, the wikipedia article.

    Good luck in your endeavours.

    Cheers.

    1. Wish I could say I'm surprised by your decision to run away, but frankly, I'm not. The second I made it clear that emotionalism was not going to be acceptable as evidence for your argument, I could pretty much predict the next move.

      The problem is, you're the one suggesting a change from the status quo, not me. You're the one making the absurd touchy-feely arguments against suffering. You're the one suggesting that humanity ceasing to exist will do anything to change general suffering.

      I have only to do one thing. Point out that evolution, if there is one thing it demands, is reproduction. Reproduction is the norm. It is natural. It is pre-programmed into each of us as a biological imperative. You claim there are no reasons for pro-natalism, there's the only one I need, even though I know you'll dismiss it because you've already convinced yourself that your argument is flawless. In religious terms, I see nothing but fanatical faith in you.

      If anyone is doing a disservice, it's you and your antinatalist brethren. You take a vague concept like suffering, you make claims about it which you cannot rationally defend and then you declare an absurd solution to that problem which you cannot even present a well-reasoned and articulate argument to support. When you're challenged on your most basic and fundamental assertions though, instead of taking a few steps back to evaluate them rationally, you freak out and run away.

      Okay, if that floats your boat. It's not the first time, it won't be the last.

      As for Schopenhauer and the like, what makes you so sure I'm not familiar with them? This is yet another place where you and the libertarians seem to have similar ground, you both appeal to authority. It doesn't matter what Schopenhauer said, it matters what he can… or could… defend and support with evidence and reason. Benatar, likewise, argues from an emotional basis of what he wishes were true, not what he can actually demonstrate is true. As such, both are actually pretty weak.

      Anyhow, best of luck to you in not breeding. I'm sure the next generation will… not really give a damn.

  4. P.s.: One more thing. You can delete what I have posted here, but I copied the discussion and will post them in my website, if I see fit.

    All the best.

    1. Yeah, unfortunately. I wouldn't say if they could present a well-reasoned argument, but they can't. Lots of them think spamming is a good idea though, which shows the maturity of their ideas.

  5. Cephus, what an idiot you are. Suffering is good and useful because it causes progress. OTHER PEOPLE'S suffering, of course, not yours. As long as you can sit on the internet all day, spouting crap and feeling smug, the fact that others are bombed/starved/tortured/raped etc etc doesn't bother you one little bit. Two World Wars, 60 million killed in the second, the deathcamps, the gulags, the killing fields, nuclear weaponry, the fact that there are 27 million slaves in the world today (more than at any other point in human history), 25,000 dying of starvation every day, all that is justified because it created YOU and you're on the golden highway to the magical 'future'. Such delusion and indifference to other people.

    1. Says the idiot who wants to live out their own life in comfort and your only sacrifice is not getting laid. If you're really worried about suffering, go out and kill yourself right now. Go ahead. Put a bullet in your brain. At the very least, you'll end the suffering of people who otherwise would have to listen to your asinine ideas.

      But no, you're not going to do a damn thing to actually end any of the suffering you list above, factoids you cherry picked, and ignore all of the good that suffering has done. We have the highest life expectancy in human history, the best medical technology we've ever had and, in most areas of the planet, the best standard of living ever.

      Of course, those very real examples of suffering aren't going to be improved by your laziness. Where you're wasting your life online, instead of actually doing any demonstrable work to ease such suffering, politics and religion continues to cause good men, women and children to go through torture. You'd rather just shrug your shoulders and give up instead of fighting.

      Your call. I call it pathetic.

  6. Actually, pal, I do voluntary work at a homeless shelter. What do you do?

    And 'factoids', I love that. Countless millions killed through technology and that's just a 'factoid' to you, not even a fact. I feel nauseous even reading your comment. And the 'we'. Who is this 'we'? What have you ever contributed to anything?

  7. Rabbit said:

    "Cephus, you apparently find living in caves dreadful, and find living in houses built with the latest technologies, equipped with running water and electricity etc., so much better.

    Have you examined why that is so?"

    Hmmm, asks the person on a modern computer, using the modern Internet, posting on a modern blog…

    I don't know, call me crazy, but dying at 30 or younger, lacking nutritious food, clean water, being infested with disease and parasites, freezing in the winter and frying in the summer, being by predators, suffering constant injuries, many of them debilitating, with no medical technology to heal or correct, those things just aren't terribly appealing to me. We stopped living that way because the people who did so were miserable enough to find better ways to live.

    Now if you want to stab yourself in the eye repeatedly with a needle, knock yourself out, but I'm just as happy to live comfortably and work toward increasing the comfort of those around me.

    1. "I don’t know, call me crazy, but dying at 30 or younger, lacking nutritious food, clean water, being infested with disease and parasites, freezing in the winter and frying in the summer, being by predators, suffering constant injuries, many of them debilitating, with no medical technology to heal or correct, those things just aren’t terribly appealing to me."

      And why is THAT?! Isn't that because "dying at 30 or younger, lacking nutritious food, clean water, being infested with disease and parasites, freezing in the summer and frying in the summer, being by predators and suffering constant injuries, many of them debilitating with no medical technology to heal or correct," constitute — ahem ahem … drum roll … SUFFERING?!!!!

      1. Sure they're all suffering, they're also things that were true centuries ago, but have largely been eliminated today. The reason we worked so hard to improve our situation is because living under those conditions sucked. So we developed new technologies, we worked on solutions that made many of those problems largely extinct. We've wiped out diseases, we've improved lifespans and today, the human condition is better than it has ever been in the history of the species.

        And tomorrow will be even better.

        Unfortunately, you're not happy with slow and steady progress, you want instant gratification and if you can't get instant gratification, you want to pull the plug, pick up your marbles and go home.

        Sorry, don't buy that.

    1. There's no point in turning this into an off-topic dick-waving contest. The point remains that you espouse a philosophy for which you can offer no support, you claim you want to end suffering, yet no one has ever produced a reason why that ought to be true, and worse yet, the philosophy itself doesn't advocate any action directly other than sitting back and dropping dead of natural causes.

      There are lots of problems with it and no rational explanations that I have seen. Stop trying to change the subject and just deal with the issues at hand.

  8. I'm not trying to change the subject in the slightest. You were the one who started the 'dick waving' contest with your ad hominem attack. When I replied you had no answer.

    As for having to prove that suffering should be ended, all I can say is that clearly you must lead an extremely privileged and cosy life, and be someone to whom the fate of others is an irrelevance. Of course, your comment about the Holocaust, Gulag, Killing Fields etc. being mere 'factoids' amply demonstrated this. I leave you to your callow, juvenile and self-serving 'philosophy'.

    1. We return, once again, to the unanswered question that you keep avoiding. Not that some of the horrific suffering ought to be ended, which certainly we agree with, but that *ALL* suffering ought to be ended. We can work to end the most egregious examples of human suffering right now. You dropping dead and leaving no offspring does absolutely nothing whatsoever to change suffering happening right now. In fact, it does nothing to change the same type of suffering that will occur after you're dead and gone because humanity is not going to up and send itself into voluntary extinction.

      So we're back to the fact that you follow an absurd philosophy and supposedly want a ridiculous goal that is entirely unachievable. Okay, whatever floats your boat. That still doesn't change the fact that you refuse to address the most basic questions and failed assumptions of your position, likely because you realize that they have no good answers.

  9. Antinatalism = the choice that benefits the rest of humanity. Leave us, you walking dead. Make more room for the living.

    1. Seriously. What is it that the antinatalism movement doing right now that is improving humanity? Not a damn thing. What is it that the antinatalism movement is going to do in the future that is going to improve humanity. Nothing. Why? Because they don't want to improve humanity, they want to end humanity. And they act like that's doing anyone a favor.

      Laughable.

  10. Cephus, often a lot of good can be done by NOT doing anything. I am doing nothing by not shooting you in the stomach, but would you rather I actually DO that?

    Not having children *UPROOTS* EVERY SINGLE SUFFERING that can befall them, OR THEIR DESCENDANTS — PLUS every single suffering THEIR EXISTENCE will cause to OTHER CREATURES.

    That's a lot of suffering eliminated, even though far from all suffering.

    I once again request you to deliberate on why you consider modern life better than the life cavemen led.

    1. It also destroys any happiness that they may have as well. Certainly, for the vast majority of humans, there is far more happiness in life than suffering.

      Back to square one.

      1. Cephus, we antinatalists are very well aware about happiness too. So no, not back to square one.

        No 'person' is 'deprived' of happiness when they are not born. [You may not understand this, let alone agree with it. Not really a problem. Even my agreement with this is not ABSOLUTE.]

        The "far more happiness" thing about 'vast majority' is not something we can be all that sure of. But in the large scheme of things, it doesn't matter either.

        There is no way for a particular person to ensure that there will be no/negligible suffering, nah, not even that there will be far more happiness than suffering, in their child's life. It therefore amounts to gambling with the child's life, without the child's consent. It is an evil thing to do. In fact, it is THE evil thing to do, for it opens up the doors for every other evil.

        You can also see that there is no way for a particular person to ensure that their child will cause less suffering to others than bring them happiness (except, of course, shooting them in their head when they show the signs — back to square one?).

        1. No person is deprived of happiness when they are not born, any more than they are saved from suffering. Both states are only potential until they actually come to pass. However, you're choosing to only pay attention, and an inordinate amount of attention IMO, to suffering, to the point where you seriously suggest the voluntary universal extinction of the human race to avoid even the merest possibility of it. It's like suggesting everyone cut their fingers off to avoid the merest possibility of a hangnail. It just isn't a rational proportional response to the potential problem.

          Keep in mind, your philosophy is not arguing that individuals ought to consider not breeding for the sake of their potential children, it advocates universal human reproduction stop, without exception. You say that you are gambling with your child's life without the child's consent, however you do the same thing by stopping people from breeding. Nobody ever consented to be born, but nobody ever consented not to be born either. In both cases, you're not taking any potential consent into account, nor should you. Reality doesn't take a poll to find out what ought to be true. What is true simply is true. Your genes don't ask you if you'd rather have red hair or brown hair, blue eyes or green eyes, male or female. You take what you get and you make something of it. In most cases, the net result is overall positive. In a relatively few cases, that might not be so. You take what you get. There are no guarantees, stop looking for any.

  11. Cephus, where do you think the abstract thing labelled 'humanity' is going? Human needs only serve human life. We are a species like any other, nothing special. One day we'll either go extinct or the death of the sun will end it all. 'The future of the species' is only an abstract concept with no substance, a hook line that keeps people like you tottering merrily along. Obviously, antinatalists are people who see this obvious truth and say 'there's no point to all of this so why should I throw someone else into the grinder'.

    1. Sure there's a point to it, you live your life to the best of your ability. If you're going to run around all angsty and pretend like just because reality isn't all rainbows and unicorns, you're just going to throw in the towel,

      Yes, this planet is going to fry when the sun becomes a red giant in about 5 billion years. So what? The whole universe is going to end in 10^100 years or so when all matter gets spread so thin, the universe suffers heat death. So sure, why don't we all off ourselves, potentially millions of generations before the sun even gets close to burning through it's fuel. All because you're emotionally uncomfortable that some day, it all might end. Of course, by the time it does end, every atom in your body will have been recycled so many times that there will be no trace that you ever existed.

      So we're down to you being terminally worried about an event trillions of years in the future and the fact that everything isn't perfect right this second, so you want to genocide the entire species?

      Seriously?

  12. You're totally missing the point. It's nothing to do with 'genocide'; no one is going to be 'eliminated'. Serious philosophical questions are being asked: why should the species procreate? What is it accomplishing?

    All human lives contain suffering and death. It's a progress from nothingness to nothingness, so why bother? All talk of 'progress', 'purpose' and 'meaning' is an abstraction. You say 'Sure there’s a point to it, you live your life to the best of your ability.' That only applies to those already here.

    The question is why should new people be created?

    1. Because we're a biological species and that's what biological species do. This ridiculous philosophical masturbation really doesn't do anyone any good if you can't even grasp the simple biology of it all.

  13. Thank you, Cephus, for going through my responses and responding to them.

    'Sure they’re all suffering, they’re also things that were true centuries ago, but have largely been eliminated today.'

    … says the person on a modern computer, using the modern Internet, posting on a modern blog… 🙂

    Do open your eyes a little wider to the state of the world today, and you will see how "largely" they have been "eliminated" today.

    And then deliberate more. Thank you.

    1. Things are much better today than they were centuries ago. In the future, things will have improved further and many things that cause suffering today will be eliminated or improved. The general trend for human life is always toward the better.

      You just want 100% perfection today. That's an entirely unrealistic expectation.

  14. Right nothing matters to you people. Until people decide to have children because hey, why not, nothing matters anyway, at which point things suddenly start mattering a lot.

  15. I was on your side, there. I was trying to point out the hypocrisy inherent in claiming that nothing matters and then getting morally outraged when someone decides to have children because nothing matters and it makes them feel happy, or they want to contribute to the next generation, or whatever.

    Sorry if I was unclear.

    1. No, it's okay. I get what you were saying and agree. The problem is, this is just not a very well-thought-out idea, it strikes me as being held by a bunch of goth, angsty, emo kids who can only see the bad in everything.

      1. 'Because we’re a biological species and that’s what biological species do.'

        Humans also rape and murder; is that good? I suggest you look up 'naturalistic fallacy' in the dictionary.

        'In the future, things will have improved further and many things that cause suffering today will be eliminated or improved. The general trend for human life is always toward the better.'

        Pure, blind, pitiful faith. 25,000 die of hunger every day; there are more slaves now than at any point in human history; is life good for them? Just because you might have a cosy life doesn't mean everyone does. Your good fortune is precisely that: fortune. Like all utilitarians, you seem to think that other people's good justifies other people's suffering; it doesn't. The fact that you have the internet, electricity means absolutely nothing to someone killed in war, murdered on the streets etc. There is no 'justification' for, or 'redemption' of suffering.

        1. "Humans also rape and murder; is that good? I suggest you look up ‘naturalistic fallacy’ in the dictionary."

          Nobody said anything about good or bad. Those are subjective terms. I was talking about reality.

          "Pure, blind, pitiful faith. 25,000 die of hunger every day; there are more slaves now than at any point in human history; is life good for them? Just because you might have a cosy life doesn’t mean everyone does. Your good fortune is precisely that: fortune. Like all utilitarians, you seem to think that other people’s good justifies other people’s suffering; it doesn’t. The fact that you have the internet, electricity means absolutely nothing to someone killed in war, murdered on the streets etc. There is no ‘justification’ for, or ‘redemption’ of suffering."

          So because 25,000 people die of hunger every day, you propose to wipe out an entire species? Seriously? Talk about a ridiculously disproportional response! That's like saying someone in that town over there murdered someone, let's blow up the town and kill everyone in it, just to be sure! It's a ludicrous response to a solvable problem. You don't want to work toward a solution, you want instant gratification or you give up.

          You're not going to get far in life if that's your only way of thinking.

          Of course, nobody said that everyone has a cozy life, nor does it matter if everyone does. That's the problem with you fatalists, you think that if everything isn't perfect for everyone, nobody ought to be happy.

          In fact, the real problem here is that you're hyper-emotionalizing everything. You're not accepting reality as it is, you're constructing a fantasy world how you think reality ought to be and when reality doesn't match up to your fantasy, you choose the fantasy over the reality.

          Sorry, life doesn't work that way.

  16. 'Nobody said anything about good or bad. Those are subjective terms. I was talking about reality.'

    Wrong, pal. A few comments back you wrote: 'Things are much better today than they were centuries ago. In the future, things will have improved further and many things that cause suffering today will be eliminated or improved. The general trend for human life is always toward the better.'

    'Better' is an adverb of good, so you've just completely contradicted yourself. By your own admission, your view of life getting 'better' is totally subjective.

    And 'you propose to wipe out an entire species'. How does refusing to have children equal wiping out the species? Wiping out means to kill existent creatures. If a couple declines to reproduce, are they commiting genocide? Genocide means the systematic murder of an entire race or species. You really need to think about your terminology before throwing terms around in such a slapdash manner.

    But anyway, now that you've admitted that your 'everything is getting better all the time' line is pure subjective fantasy, perhaps we should leave it there. Just try and remember that while you're happily tapping away at your laptop, other people all over the world are undergoing horrific experiences to which your self-contentment is of no relevance whatsoever.

    1. Fine, we can rewrite that. Things are objectively and demonstrably improved today than they were in the past. We have demonstrably longer lifespans, we have demonstrably beaten many diseases, we are healthier than we used to be and we have used our brains and our technology to solve problems that were lethal to people not that long ago. We're not talking about subjective improvements, we're talking about objective improvements.

      What you're proposing to do is entirely unnatural. Biological organisms in nature do not choose not to reproduce, certainly not at a species level. You are taking an active role in an activity, the goal of which is to see the end of an otherwise ongoing biological species. We're not talking about one couple, or a dozen, or a hundred, or a million couples choosing not to reproduce and neither are you. We're talking about *ALL* couples choosing not to reproduce. That violates biology on a species-wide scale.

      But hey, in the end we both know you're just blowing hot air, your movement has zero traction and is made up of a few dystopian, angsty nutballs who are never going to convince even a minuscule percentage of humans to go along with their self-destructive scheme. Seriously, don't breed and do us all a favor. In a hundred years, in a thousand years, when humanity is still doing just fine and antinatalism is a forgotten wingnut idea, nobody will remember you or any of your childless, long-dead compatriots.

      And it just won't matter.

  17. Again, your vapid utilitarianism just doesn't wash. How does your well-being compensate or justify for someone else's suffering?

    And if you're going to talk about more objective good, then you'd better acknowledge objective bad: more starvation, more slavery, more child abuse etc etc. Intersting also that the highest rates of depression and suicide occur in the so-called 'developed' world. So much for your 'progress'.

    And I love the 'we'. Who is this imaginary 'we' you belong to? Are you going to be around in a hundred years time celebrating your own ego?

    1. Where do you keep coming up with this "your well-being" nonsense? I've never once, in any response, mentioned myself, how I'm doing or anything of the sort. Humanity as a whole is doing demonstrably better today than it was just a couple of hundred years ago. There are still starving people, but by percentage, there are fewer than there were. There are still slaves, but by percentage, there are fewer than there were. Chronic disease affects fewer, by percentage, than ever before. As for suicide, so what? Suicide has always been with us. I'd think you'd support suicide, at least those people are no longer suffering!

      We. Humanity. The species. Thought that much would be obvious.

  18. Ah, the old percentage game. The favourite recourse of every desperate optimist who needs to avert their eyes from the blood-stained reality.

    Moral consideration adheres only to individuals. There are more individuals suffering, starving, enslaved etc etc now than there ever has been. Their suffering is not magically 'cancelled out' by others' well-being.

    'Humanity' is an abstraction that people like you take refuge in in order to avoid facing unpleasant facts.

    1. You're the one who argued that there are more slaves today than at any point in time before. Sure. We have almost 7 billion people on the planet. 25,000,000 represents .35% of the population. If you go back to just 1800, the world population was just over one billion. Since it's hard to come up with exact numbers for worldwide slavery in 1800, let's give you the number of slaves that were brought to the Americas from the 16th to 19th centuries, which was about 12 million. That's 1.2% Clearly, there were more slaves in 1800, by percentage, than there are today. You are purposely not adjusting for population increase so your numbers look better.

      And let's talk about that, you're taking the highest estimate anyone has, which includes things like indentured servitude, to make the situation look far worse than it actually is.

      I'm not going to say slavery isn't a horrible thing. It is, but the reality is, we've come from an estimated 1.2% of the total human population in 1800 to, at the wildest, most unrealistic number out there, .35% of the total human population today. Are you going to try to argue that .85% fewer slaves is somehow a step in the wrong direction?

      I go with percentages to keep you honest, which frankly, is a challenge sometimes.

      Try again.

  19. Sorry, pal, but again you just don't get it. Percentages don't matter; individuals do. Do you really think it matters to those enslaved, starving etc that someone thinks there's a lower percentage of people enslaved, starving etc now than previously? And again the core point is that more people are enslaved, starving etc now than ever, and it's people that count, not percentages.

    And again this 'we'. The 'we' that allows you to fantasise you're on the deck of the good ship 'Humanity' sailing over the horizon toward the happy future. Maybe you should try being honest about the reality of life instead of living in la-la land.

    1. When you're trying to talk about numbers, they do. You made a faulty claim, you got hammered for it, at least be honest enough to admit you were wrong, instead of playing "look! Over there!" nonsense. You made a claim, your claim was wrong. In fact, you make a lot of factually faulty claims and have been caught in them time and time again. It does matter, no matter how much you keep pretending it doesn't, because it demonstrates the general lack of validity of your claims. You claim these things support your larger contention, yet we're finding that you really have nothing to back you up except a bunch of hyper-emotional whining.

      You've still yet to demonstrate that anything I've said is wrong. The facts support my statements. They do not support yours.

      Maybe it's not me living in la-la land.

  20. Again, morality only has meaning in terms of individuals. Percentages do not have moral claims. The aggregate of individuals sufffering is now greater than at any point in human history. This is the only fact that counts. Your percentage reckoning is utterly irrelevant, and only displays your desperation to hold on to your Pollyanna fantasies.

    1. The percentage of people suffering today is far, far less than at any time in human history. That is a fact. It is demonstrable. There are less people suffering per capita than ever before and this improves on a yearly basis. This is a fact. It is demonstrable. I'm producing facts, you're spewing emotional pap.

      And you've come to entirely the wrong place to make a moral argument. Morality is open to the whim of the individual, there is no objective morality. Hence, when you try to make a moral argument, especially one so entirely unsupported by actual facts, you're just putting forth your own wishes and desires as fact, which certainly they are not. Moral arguments are horribly weak, you can't prove that what you claim is moral, actually is. You can only insist it.

  21. You really don't know how to think about morality and suffering, do you? Indiviudal suffering is only 'pap' to you'; the Holocaust, Gulags etc are only 'factoids'. Yet again, percentages do not moral claims; percetnages do not suffer. It's individuals who suffer and have moral cliams and the amount of individuals suffering rises every year.

    And you're totally inconsistent. You've been saying continually that people's lives have been getting 'better'. What is that but a moral judgement about what constitutes good and bad? You really need to think more about your terms before spewing out your angry defensiveness.

    1. I keep saying the same thing. As a species, humanity is getting progressively and demonstrably better. I've never spoken about it on anything but a species level. You, on the other hand, operate on whatever level is most convenient at the time. When you try to argue that there are more slaves in the world than ever before, that's on a species level. When that didn't work out, you shifted to an individual level. That isn't working out too well for you either.

      Since we're talking about human extinction, there's no point in dealing with claims except on a species level. What happens to one individual, while tragic, has no bearing on the entire species. Producing one person who is suffering is evidence that one person is suffering, nothing more. It's like producing one person who won the lottery and claiming it as evidence that everyone is rich. It just doesn't work that way. Just because you can find one person, or ten people, or a thousand people, or a million people who are suffering, that says nothing about the billions of people who are not. You're asking billions of people to give up the species to extinction over the suffering of paltry millions?

      Sorry, that's a ridiculous overreaction.

      1. Cephus,

        Working at the species level (as VHEMT too does) is not entirely appropriate. That is because the species does not have sentience of it's own; sentience is present only at the individual level. The species itself never experiences happiness or suffering. We may have a notion of 'successful' species as one with large numbers, or with larger life expectancy or larger geographical spread or whatever, but all those are just statistics.

        Many of us antinatalists have reservations against VHEMT, who seem to be the group you have read most. That is unfortunate.

        VHEMT on-its-face ignores suffering in the non-human world, as if tyrannosauruses and baby bunnies can live happily together.

        1. If you want to reduce the population, that's certainly fine with me. I'm not arguing against population control, I'm arguing against any form of species extinction. One can make a rational case for population control, species extinction simply has no rational case.

          1. 'One can make a rational case for population control, species extinction simply has no rational case.'

            That is very heartening. 🙂 This establishes my hunch that you are a very good person at heart, and will think rationally given appropriate stimuli. I will carry forward the debate later on.

            This also reminds me of this 'anecdote' often attributed to Winston Churchill. 🙂

            Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?

            Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…

            Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?

            Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!

            Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

  22. Cephus, you really are just a hopeless debater. You can't make up your mind as to whether morality, good and bad is objective or subjective, and so you switch from one to the other whenever it suits you. Now you're trying to attribute metaphysical status to an abstraction known as the 'species'.

    Yet again, percentages and species are not moral agents. Percentages do not suffer; species do not suffer. It is only individuals who do so. There are more suffering individuals now than at any point in history, therefore the aggregate amount of individual suffering has risen over time. This is an extremely simple fact to grasp, but clearly your desperate need to hang on to your rose-tinted spectacles won't let you acknowledge it.

    And again, your vapid utilitarianism. Don't you comprehend that other people's joy does absolutely nothing to redeem or justify someone else's suffering? Just because you're happily tapping away on your computer doesn't make it ok that others are starving.

    Of course, as your disgraceful 'paltry millions' comment indicates, you appear to be one of the 'have to break eggs to make an omelette' brigade, as long, that is, as it's not your eggs being broken and you can heartily tuck into the omelette.

        1. You can take it as whatever you want, you've already demonstrated your complete inability to deal with reality as it stands. So you keep repeating the same ridiculous nonsense, no matter how many times it's demonstrated to be absurd. You post entirely out of emotion, without the slightest hint of rationality or logic. You can't change your mind, debating you is like debating the religious, you've got this bizarre all-encompassing faith that everything you believe must be true because you didn't come to that faith by logic or reason, you came to it by faith and wishful thinking and cannot be reasoned out of it. You cannot demonstrate where any portion of your beliefs are remotely true or remotely justified by evidence. That's the sign of a fanatic.

          We don't cotton to fanatics here.

  23. Extinction is a fact anyway, every species goes extinct. In just 500 million years, the oceans will be boiling, let alone the yellow giant.

    1. It's actually much longer than that, but honestly, if we haven't gotten off this planet in 500 million years, we deserve to die.

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