Saturday, October 6, 2012

You don't know how to argue

Source material

Of course it doesn't. If you don't accept the premise that all pleasure is the result of deprivation being nullified,

Citations to the contrary are necessary after affirmations like these; without them, you demonstrate absolutely nothing. Please provide an example of a pleasure which, as a fulfillment of a generalized desire, would not cause incredible suffering if not obtained after a sufficient period of time. There are a multitude of ways to fulfill various desires, but in the absence of any object of fulfillment, all prolonged desire leads to substantive suffering.

and/or you don't accept the further premise that "deprivation" is some dreadful thing that devalues everything good in life,

All deprivation has the physical potential for horrible suffering; if you are deprived of a piece of bubblegum, it isn't really the end of the world, but in the general sense, the desire to experience a simple pleasure going unfulfilled hundreds of times could lead to all kinds of bad: feelings of social isolation, feelings of ineptitude for failing to obtain any simple pleasures, or even starvation if what we're talking about is food.

Even if just one form of desire were to have this physical potential built into it, that would still be sufficient to warrant the antinatalist position. When you have a child, you are admitting that you want another sentient organism to experience fairly bad things at least a few times during its lifetime, and then die.

What if your child becomes suicidal later in life? Will you see the child as unappreciative of your thoughtful gift? Do you regularly force gifts upon people without any clue beforehand whether they will enjoy the gifts? It takes no energy and causes no suffering for you to not create a child, so without foreknowledge that the child will appreciate his life, why would you create it? These are not dice to be rolled so frivolously.

Further, even if your child grows up to love his life -- and you, of course, for creating him -- would that somehow justify your act? Suppose you have a son who comes out partially blind or missing an arm, then winds up experiencing the bad things pretty typical for our society: being picked on in school, having problems with debt, getting one too many really nasty stomach bugs. He still looks on the bright side and is glad to exist, but all of those nasty stomach bugs and all of that bullying wasn't necessary. Who are you to decide that he should face those things?

1. I have a child. I have no idea beforehand whether it's going to come out deformed, get cancer later in life, have relationship problems, suffer from depression, become a drug addict, or get into a serious car accident. In spite of all of these risks, the child may still wind up being glad to have been granted the gift of life. However, I'm pretty certain that the child will eventually die, and will suffer at least a few times during its lifetime. The child's overall assessment of its life aside, should I impose these risks onto it, having no idea beforehand how bad it's really going to be for it? Does it matter whether the child ultimately decides for itself that the bad was worth it?

2. I don't have a child. It costs me nothing to do this, and nothing horrible takes place as a result; the risk is extinguished.

Your son could have the most amazing life possible, or he could have the most horrific life possible, packaged with depression, suicidal thoughts, handicaps, or chronic pain. Is it worth risking creating something that will not only suffer immensely, but abhor its life as well? Why is it so important to take that risk? Why are you so bent on taking it? What greater bad will result if you don't take it? The stakes are incredibly high, here -- death, disease, depression, horrible pain, emotional torment -- so introducing the possibility for any of this certainly requires something far worse as a consequent of the alternative, i.e. not reproducing.

The risk involved in not having children must be greater than the risk involved in having children in order for your procreation to be justified.

Much of the rest appears to just be taking scientific theories or familiar philosophical positions and saying "Isn't this horrific/disgusting/depressing?" - to which the honest answer is generally "No."

This does not apply to all antinatalists, and is utterly irrelevant to the core position. You're attacking a methodology, here -- not the outcome of the methodology. I can use the worst logic imaginable to come to the conclusion that racism is a detriment to society, but that doesn't mean that racism is a wonderful thing.

The more obnoxious ones tend to do things like compare reproduction to genocide (and consequently condemn any and all parents with according severity) or generalize everyone who doesn't feel the same as them as being mindless sheep. This is the point where, for me, they go from "holds a weird philosophical position" to "is a seriously horrible person". But I find that more obnoxious than amusing; after a while it just gets repetitive.

Again, all irrelevant to the definition of "antinatalism." You don't need to equate reproduction with genocide in order to view reproduction as laden with far too much risk to warrant condoning.

Are these blogs and videos actually harmful?
To someone that's already depressed and looking for things that reinforce their world view? Yes, definitely. This can be as bad as joining a gang or a cult, psychologically.

How harmful a philosophy turns out to be to an individual who has been raised to possess relatively poor life management skills is irrelevant to the veracity of the philosophy. You do realize that this same logic is used by antagonists to your precious video games, right? "Violent video games are corrupting our children! Shooting imaginary people increases the likelihood of desiring to shoot real people!"

Is it only true that an idea or piece of media cannot be held responsible for a bad tangential outcome when this concept conveniently applies to your stance? How do you live with yourself and all of the cognitive dissonance bottled up inside of you after accusing people of promoting mass death and cult-like sheepishness, then turning around and calling that same type of accusation disgusting and biased when it's someone else doing it to you?

CulturalPhilistine kind of freaked me out, not because I found anything he said at all convincing, but because he just seemed such a horrifyingly awful and depressing person.

Isaac Newton was a celibate weirdo and probably a big creep, but he was still right. Beethoven sounds like he was a huge asshole, but I still like his music.

Become enlightened.

At least these creeps aren't breeding.

This being more irrelevant ad hominem rhetoric aside, I would hope that in this year, more young people would be educated enough to know how genetic expression affects cognitive dispositions like philosophical outlooks. You might be referring to poor parenting, but I just wanted to point this out.

Furthermore, among the philosophers they admire, Schopenhauer was an anti-semite who became Hitler's favorite philosopher, Emil Cioran supported the Nazi party in his youth, and Lovecraft(shut up, I know he was a writer for the most part) is famous for his racism.

Schopenhauer was right about few things, and used faulty logic to arrive at those few correct conclusions.

Do you like some of the same video games and movies as the Batman shooter?

More enlightenment. God, it reads like one of my posts, doesn't it? Silly robotic me for getting all logical on you guys!

Do they know you don't NEED to agree with everything a philosopher believes to use his philosophy?

I know that. And if you really did, too, then you wouldn't be asserting that an antinatalist NEEDS to be a racist on the sole grounds that another antinatalist philosopher was also a racist.

I reread the posts by Aidan and have to say, that guy seriously needs a girlfriend. What a melodramatic little bitch.

Editorial refuted! Peer review at its finest right here, folks. Next time that I disagree with someone during a scientific debate of some sort, I'll remember to call him a little bitch so that I can automatically win the debate and get a cool prize.

People should probably seek help for their mental health issues from a psychiatrist or therapist and not these web-sites?

They should do the same when contemplating retreating into virtual worlds, don't you think? Does that make online roleplaying games bad for your health, physical or mental?

I mean, really, the fact that gang rape exists means no one should be born? Does he know that we have police to stop people from doing bad things, and that if the world was that horrible, no one would have bothered to consider making a police force?

How horrible the world is really doesn't affect the antinatalist conclusion; we could be living in the most idyllic society imaginable and it would still make sense. The point is that, if there exists the potential to create totally avoidable, horrible suffering, and the alternative involves less risk, then the alternative should be opted for.

Plus, from what I can gather, Inmendham started as out as a fanboy of the Amazing Atheist, which tells you something.

I "started out" as a Christian when I was a small child. So? You realize that this is about objective axioms of value and not which social club is right the most when it comes to said axioms, right? You realize that, if there were no humans in the universe, this would all still apply, right?

And that's what bugs me, I guess; pleasure is an emotion that doesn't need qualifiers and should not be ultimately subject to Cultural Cringe. Because, really, that's what this is about: seeing people suffer in the third world makes it seem like they're not worthy to enjoy what they've got, and they they should either end their lives or live as an ascetic.

Well, really, that's not what this is about at all.

Even more enlightenment

If at all possible, I'd like to avoid people taking it upon themselves to end their lives; suicide is messy, depressing, and often quite painful. It causes loved ones to suffer in many cases. But most importantly, if there is no discrete, permanent construction of self, then what really matters isn't your illusory sense of personhood, but how each constituent of your consciousness suffers; these constituents have equivalents all across the animal kingdom, so to end your life would be akin to ignoring "your" suffering as it occurs elsewhere, in places where the laws of physics prevent "you" from remembering it happening.

As for asceticism, that's obviously a bad idea: Why intentionally deprive yourself if deprivation is negative?

Which is where I start getting annoyed with them. First, it seems like they're looking a gift horse in the mouth. You have a good life in a relatively rich country with not much in the way of logistical problems or political strife, you're personally not struggling to survive like the people you pity so much are.

Hold your tongue. Who are you to tell someone whom you've never met that their suffering is trivial? You do not speak for all of us, and even if you were to somehow possess that god-like ability, it would still be irrelevant to the assertion that those third world sufferers shouldn't exist in the first place. If you're okay with putting a dog down after seeing it crap blood while whimpering, why aren't you okay with preventing starving people from coming into existence in the first place? Keep in mind that people in the third world are so bad off that they don't have time to contemplate the philosophical gravity of their existences or fates.

Meanwhile, a substantial portion of our population is on antidepressants, alienation is on the rise in large cities, and anxiety disorders are hitting record numbers; and let's not forget about overpopulation, body-mangling car accidents, school shooters, reported declines in empathy, or the elderly undergoing awful chemotherapy, just to name a few more "developed world" problems.

I find your tone incredibly condescending. You are not morally superior to anyone, for no one can be morally superior to anyone else, given that morals are dogmatic in nature. The world would be much better off without people of your disposition proclaiming to know everything about total strangers and what to do to make it all better.

Second, the fact that you're not struggling to survive puts you in a position to actually help the ople you see as suffering so much. As I've noted before, there are plenty of ways to help the poor and the less well-off, and contributing to them would be a good thing, as it would convert pity (which is kind of a passive-aggressive thing) into actual caring.

You can do all of this while also being an antinatalist; one is proactive, while the other is reactive.

Unfortunately, it also seems like blame-shifting is a big component of this. It makes sense, as it's a common feature of depression. These are people who don't want to really face their own demons and would rather blame society itself for their own ills. And that I can't support, either.

You have to see how stupid this is. I think you're being dishonest with yourself when you make statements like this and pretend that it's somehow philosophical in nature. You're only saying this because it sounds good -- not because there is any substance to it.

You can literally say this about any negative philosophical stance. Atheists don't want to face their sins, so they'd rather blame society for advocating the "god" model of the universe. Vegetarians don't want to face all the weight they gain when they eat meat, so they'd rather blame society for eating meat. Feminists don't want to face their own lack of domestic skills, so they'd rather blame society for forcing them into the domestic role.

Get real.

I hope that you realize that, in order for your assertion to be true, literally all antinatalists have to suffer from depression. If even a single one does not suffer from depression, then your assertion is false, and thus another exponent of our hideous preoccupation with generalizations.

this is the fable of the antinatalist and the antinatalist.

The first antinatalist was a shark antinatalist. He argues that sharks are by their very existence a blight upon the world, and that all sharks deceive themselves into happiness by feasting upon fish and squid. The second antinatalist is a human, and he argues much the same about us, and does so on the internet (sharks do not have internet, they have intercoral)

Tragically, while the two were conversing, an Old God arose from the sea and proved them both wrong in a hilarious manner.

The End.

Cute, but still quite wrong. First, a large number of humans are certainly happy, and are not deceiving themselves. The problem is not that happiness is a lie or an illusion; it's that it is built out of a faulty premise which necessarily allows for tremendous risk -- most noticeable in the forms of organisms forced into existence who subsequently decide that their lives are unwanted and negative. If just one organism in the past billion years has decided this, then the very risk-free alternative of no-life is the option with less risk; incorporate some of our culture's obsession with consent into this (not that I ever would), and the point becomes even more salient.

Second, we cannot frame life in human terms; animals can neither accept nor reject life as a concept, for animals do not possess the capability to abstract reality into symbols to be used later for constructing models and analogs. To your dog, there is no "life" versus "non-life," because his brain is incapable of boxing off the concept of life and separating it from the other possibilities. To your dog, there is only moving from one moment to the next, desirous until death, negative experiences unavoidable and blindly accepted.

Your dog cannot love life if it doesn't know to create the concept in its brain called "life." Your dog can love you, a piece of meat, a female dog, or a walk, but it cannot love life.

I agree that science alone can't determine a system of ethics,

Then what else is necessary? We can say this of so many things: Science alone cannot explain consciousness; science alone cannot dictate our economy. If something is declared unethical, can it not be empirically observed to be so? If it truly cannot, then why are you subscribing to the notion that it's unethical?

I'll stop there for now. I might tackle the other two pages later.

I don't understand this passive-aggressive, gossipy kind of cowardice. Are you so afraid of the argument that you have to throw rocks at it from a distance before running away into the bushes and laughing with your friends about how cool and brave you were for throwing the rocks?

All of the above is why we need logic courses in elementary school as soon as possible!!!