Category Archives: Religion
I stumbled across this today. I feel like this guy could have taken the words right out of my mouth: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Wish-I-Was-Never-Born/393907.
This is the kind of thing I wish people would take into account before engaging in the act of reproduction. Of course, selfish ass breeders don’t give a shit.
Procreation is the supreme act of evil.
When it comes to winning the antinatalism debate (which, if you look at any of them, the antinatalist always wins the debate), I’ve come up with a new strategy to shut down pretty much ever pronatalist argument and use that to further imply why antinatalism is true.
Situational antinatalism is simple and profound enough that pretty much everyone agrees with it. The only ones who I have found reject it are individuals who are suffering from the most severe forms of the most common mental illness on the planet (namely religion). Basically, almost everyone I’ve ever encountered can agree that there are certain life forms that would have been better off being spared existence. Those with extreme mental and/or physical disabilities, animals raised solely for meat or other animal byproducts, among others qualify as such. There’s effectively no argument that these individuals would have been better off being spared existence. I’ve not personally met anyone who will disagree with these (though, most of them in their hypocritical ways continue to consume meat and/or animal byproducts, go figure).
That said, it is very easy to see how situational antinatalism implies general antinatalism. Given the level of uncertainty about what kind of existence awaits a potential individual, it is always best not to procreate. Nobody knows if a new, pre-sentient individual will be one of the many individuals cursed with severe mental/physical handicap. Since it is pretty much universally agreed upon that such individuals would be better off never existing, and given the fact that there is a statistically significant chance that any new individual will be afflicted with such a malady, we see that the risk heavily outweighs any potential benefit.
In short, the element of uncertainty and risk is the nail in the coffin for the pronatalist argument. Note I did not even invoke the Benatarian asymmetry here. While an elegant and watertight argument in favor of antinatalism, it’s practically impossible to convince anyone of the truth value of it. That said, when I argue for antinatalism from this argument, very rarely does the other person walk away not agreeing with me. I’ve even managed to convince my own mother of it, who has since apologized to me for bringing me into existence. No joke. Go figure, one’s own offspring turning his own mother to antinatalism. I never thought I’d see the day.
If only we could all move to Belgium. Suicide is a civil right, period, end of story. As none of us were given any choice as to whether or not to come into this world (and the fact that it would have been better never to have been born), we all have the right to leave if we so choose. I’m glad to see a government somewhere out there honoring this right.
It seems that most monotheistic religions (and interestingly enough, even most atheists I’ve met) deem suicide as an evil action. Alas, any claim deeming suicide immoral is defective.
Monotheistic religions claim that it’s an offense to god as we are the god’s creation and therefore have no right to destroy ourselves as it would be destroying god’s creation. Well, that’s OK if you’re working under the assumption that a god even exists and have sufficient evidence that god exists, but it’s still not immoral to remove something which is a harm to someone. As (1) our lives are a harm to us and (2) it would have been better never to have existed, it thus follows that if god created creation he did an evil action. Therefore god, if god exists, is evil. As such, no entity that is inherently evil has any right dictating anything about general morality.
In terms of the “new” atheism, they have all sorts of unfounded claims. They reject god or a driving uniting force but somehow make up some bullshit claim that there’s a purpose for our existence and that we should not terminate our lives because of it. Truth be told they have no more evidence for their claims of a transcendental purpose than theists have for the existence of god. As such, this claim can be dismissed as nonsense right along with the god theory.
Both atheists and theists argue that committing suicide is selfish because of the devastation left behind. I would counter this argument by saying the devastation over someone’s death is the selfishness of the grieving and is entirely their problem. They grieve because they wanted said deceased person (who died of suicide or other means, it matters not) to remain alive to please them. Let’s be honest, we never grieve a person actually dying. We grieve because they will no longer be there for us.
Lastly, psychologists will claim that suicide is a result of mental illness. Well, even if it was that’s not even relevant, but the real disturbing thing about this is what the general consensus is about mental illness, namely that we should forfeit our bodily autonomy upon being diagnosed with one of the plethora of mental illnesses people have made up out of thin air without any evidence backing them up whatsoever. That’s a slippery slope I don’t think anyone wants to go down, because what’s next? Left handers losing their bodily autonomy? I don’t even want to think about the potential implications.
Now that we’ve effectively destroyed every anti-suicide argument, we see that suicide is not an immoral action. This is not to claim that suicide is moral. Such action has a morally neutral value (i.e. it is neither moral nor immoral to commit suicide). However, suicide must be recognized as a right. As none of us were given any choice in whether or not to come into this world (rather, we were all selfishly forced into it by our parents), we should at least have the free choice to leave if we deem it the appropriate course of action for ourselves.
Which brings me to the closing point: if we want to talk about true immorality and selfishness, let’s talk about the breeder scumbags that force new people into existence and the ones who try to force people to remain alive against their wills. That’s true selfishness and immorality. Nobody has a kid for their kid’s benefit; they have them for their own. Likewise, nobody keeps someone alive against his/her will for that person’s benefit. They do so because they don’t want to have to say goodbye. It’s a fucked up world we live in, for sure.
When it comes to breeders, I somewhat understand why so many religious folk hold the defective defense that it’s morally acceptable: their vile, despicable gods command them to do it. When it comes to atheists, however, they have no sort of adequate defense whatsoever.
I still just really don’t understand how atheists (and that includes atheistic religions such as Buddhism) can justify reproduction. I’ve heard a number of defenses for it, all of which I find defective. Here are some common ones and my responses to them:
“It’s a natural desire.”
Response: So if I have a natural desire to kill people that makes it acceptable?
“With religious families having so many kids, somebody’s got to have atheist kids.”
Response: That’s rather narcissistic.
“With so many stupid people having kids, somebody’s got to have smart kids.”
Response: Sorry, but just because you’re smarter than average doesn’t mean your kid will be. Also, see above.
“Even atheists have to experience the love of a child.”
Response: So that’s a justification for imposing existence and the harms thereof on an individual who did not give his or her consent to being brought into the world? Just goes to show that having children is at least as, and probably a far more selfish choice than choosing not to have them.
“We’ll go extinct if someone doesn’t have children.”
Response: You can’t give any sort of justification for why that is an inherently bad thing. I know it might be an uncomfortable thought to you Pollyanna types, but we will go extinct one of these days, and long before the world as we know it comes to an end.
There are some others, but that’s the most common of the ones I hear. Concerning Buddhism and similar religions who believe in the ridiculous notion of reincarnation, I would argue that the only way to break the cycle (which is the end goal of Buddhism) is to stop having children and making souls be reborn. If we do that, such would effectively end the cycle of Samsara (rebirth) and force the final and end-goal state of Moksha (escape from Samsara).
Why do people keep bearing children when life is so hard, ugly, and unfair?
Why to bring into existence a new life, when life is so much pain? why when anyway, most times, children bring more worries than happiness? why do parents look through ‘pink glasses’ while deciding to have children, hoping for a beautiful life for their children (and for themselves), and they don’t learn from the experience of their parents?
Why, when no-one thinks anyway that living his/ her life again (exactly the way it already was) does worth it?
I see children everywhere, new poor lives, it seems like their parents think that life is worth living. when they’re not happy anyway, why do they bring into existence a new life, that will suffer the same as they do?
It might sound depressive, but really, I rarely see people that enjoy their life and are…
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I have consistently noticed one thing about the flaming pronatalists who make their way over here to attack me that differentiates them against antinatalists and effectively reduces their case to nothing. Here is the key difference I’ve noticed:
Antinatalists: Use evidence-based arguments for their position.
Pronatalists: Use emotionally-based arguments for their position.
I’m dead serious, read any work by an antinatalist philosopher. They all observe the cardinal rule of academic writing perfectly, namely to not interject one’s self into the work. I don’t know a damn thing about what kind of a life David Benatar lives. All I know about him I know from his books (namely that he’s an antinatalist and that he’s an advocate for the men’s rights movement). I don’t know what kind of life he lives outside of this. For all I know he might have a really exciting life and going out there living life to the absolute fullest. He could be one of the happiest people on earth. That wouldn’t be a contradiction to being an antinatalist, for one’s own emotional attachment to life is irrelevant in determining whether it’s better to be born or not to be born.
On the contrary, I’ve never seen an evidence-based refutation of antinatalism from any pronatalist authors. They all invariably interject their own emotions and talk about how great their life is witout an ounce of logic or cold, hard evidence for their view. We all know what kind of lives all of the pronatalist authors live, which is a direct violation of the cardinal rule of academic writing. Does that mean, however, that all pronatalists are happy in life? The answer is absolutely not. Most of those that fall into that category also use religious arguments for their position, which again have no merit. Emotional and religious arguments have no place in the world of academia.
And that is the difference between antinatalist arguments and pronatalist arguments and why the pronatalist position is reduced to all but nothing. There is no hardcore evidence in favor of pronatalism but an abundance of it in opposition of pronatalism and in favor of antinatalism, thus antinatalism wins.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
Many people on this site and my main blog have made miserably failed attempts at refuting antinatalism. I say miserably failed because not one of them is a logical refutation. Here’s is a summary of some of the attempts to refute antinatalism I’ve gotten, and every last one of them falls into one of two categories:
“I’m happy to be alive.” Sorry, but that’s not logical. That’s emotional. When it comes to constructing a logical argument, personal emotion is, shall we say, irrelevant. There are times I’m kind of glad to be alive too, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still believe it would have been better never to have been born.
“God said ‘be fruitful and multiply.'” Well, two problems with that: 1) you haven’t proven beyond a shadow of a doubt your god/gods of choice even exist, and 2) that’s still not a logical refutation, but a religious one. Of course, we know with religion logic goes out the window, but that’s beside the point.
Either one of these arguments fails to construct a logical refutation, and it’s easy to see why. It fails to state any sort of necessary premises and draw a natural conclusion from these premises. It matters not if you’re happy to be alive. Had you never been born you wouldn’t have known what happiness was (which is neither here nor there), but most importantly you’d have been spared suffering of any kind. It doesn’t matter if life is 99.9% pleasure and 0.1% pain, it’s still better never to have been brought into existence because of that 0.1% pain. The 99.9% pleasure is completely irrelevant and has no value in determining the value of existence vs. non-existence. Only pain and suffering have any weight. This asymmetry between pleasure and pain provides the logical framework for antinatalism and makes it easy to see why antinatalism is the only logically consistent conclusion.
It seems like a big misconception people have about antinatalism is it’s some sort of new philosophy conjured up by depressed people to rationalize their depression. Well, the fact of the matter is that this claim is simply not true. Antinatalism is not new nor is it necessarily only depressed people who subscribe to this theory.
The reality is that antinatalism has been around for millennia and many of the most respected philosophers in history were antinatalists. This club includes none other than Aristotle, whose antinatalism was so strong that not only did he claim that life was not worth starting, but also that life was so bad that it was not worth continuing!
“Wretched, ephemeral race, children of chance and tribulation, why do you force me to tell you the very thing which it would be most profitable for you not to hear? The very best thing is utterly beyond your reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. However, the second best thing for you is: to die soon.” – Aristotle
It seems as though he’s not only promoting antinatalism, but also suicide in the same breath. One can only wonder then why Aristotle didn’t commit suicide himself, or maybe if he did but we’re unaware of his method of death. Who knows, he lived so long ago it would be hard to know exactly how he died.
So there we have it, Aristotle, probably one of the top 3 most respected philosophers (along with Socrates and Plato) shows himself to be an antinatalist. A man regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of all time managed to figure out even in his time that it’s better never to have been. So much for the notion of antinatalism being a modern invention.
“As we have seen, nobody is lucky enough not to be born, everybody is unlucky enough to have been born – and particularly bad luck it is.” – David Benatar; Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.
I’m an antinatalist. I believe that it would have been better for all of us to have never been born. As for why, the reason is simple: to come into existence is a prerequisite for experiencing all of the pain, suffering, and harm in one’s life. To borrow another quote from my favorite antinatalism advocate David Benatar:
“We infrequently contemplate the harms that await any new-born child—pain, disappointment, anxiety, grief, and death. For any given child we cannot predict what form these harms will take or how severe they will be, but we can be sure that at least some of them will occur. None of this befalls the nonexistent. Only existers suffer harm.”
Since nobody wants to experience harm, and experiencing harm is negative, so it follows that it’s better never to have been. The so-called “good” stuff in life doesn’t negate this fact, for even the “good” stuff in life doesn’t cause on a direct benefit. Merely, things like happiness, joy, love, among other “positive” human experiences are merely the absence of negative experiences and not really inherently positive (for the non-existent aren’t deprived of them since they are unaware they even exist).
So being brought into existence is terrible luck. OK, but just how terrible? Well, when you actually look at the odds of your unique individual self coming into existence, we see just how rare and terrible this luck is. Of the hundreds of thousands of eggs in a mother’s ovaries and billions of sperm produced by a man’s testicles over the course of his lifetime, it took one specific egg and one specific sperm to create the unique individual that is one’s self. With that, we can see that the probability of you coming into existence was astronomically low, and much lower than the chance of winning the lottery. Yet you came into existence. Talk about absolutely rare and unfortunate luck!
Case in point, when I hear someone say to me that they’re unlucky, I just have to nod my head and agree, because it’s so true, for we were all incredibly unlucky to have been brought into existence.