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.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Real Reason More Women are Childless

Here. Interesting article and comments section.

Contributed by commenter Karl.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Our First Entry!

And it's a goody, contributed by commenter and host of TheViewFromHell, Curator AKA Sister Y. The ball, as they say, is rolling.

UPDATE: I went ahead and started a new blog dedicated to an antinatalism pamphlet (link top left margin). Send your pdfs to the email listed there, and I'll post them. Thanks!

DOUBLE UPDATE: Compoverde has contributed a flyer as now, as well. You can view it at the aforementioned link. Totally awesome!

Flyer 1

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Atheist Forums

Good conversation thread happening here.

Toast in the Machine

A poem advocating condom use.

Freud opened the hood up,
and what did he see?
A fistful of pistons,
but an absence of me.

And Minsky, my old friend
(and a really smart guy,
(though he waffled on free will)
still supposes A.I.

All my dreams? 0’s and 1’s
going mano a mano.
And those bats in the belfry?
Just a grotto of guano.

It seems we're all tubes
with an 'in', and an 'out'.
We wiggle, and niggle,
and squiggle about,

but are rarely aware
of the motives inside-
which themselves are just beggars
gone along for the ride.

We scrape out a living
on this big ball of dust,
while self-replicating DNA
scrapes out an us.

And we love, and we bitch-
but mostly, we eat. ,
And we borrow, and lend,
and pretend we're not meat.

We perform, and we prattle.
We thank, and we think.
We poop, then pronounce
that our shit doesn't stink.

And before we go down
in the ground, we ensure
that our pipe dreams extend
just above the manure

long enough to disgorge
vision’s seed on the breeze,
on the off chance tomorrow
might cure our disease-

A new sun! A new world!
In a future so bright
as to justify aeons
spent alone in the night.

Brand new bodies to house
our vicarious selves,
with a thousand new gurus
to line our bookshelves,

who’ll assure with a wink
and a word from beyond
that we’ll all live forever
if we’ll only press on.

Then we pray to the sky,
suing stardust for mercy,
cashing in the old ghost
for a ride in the hearsie.

The story’s much older
than mold or sliced bread.
Everybody gets burned,
and we all wind up dead.

And so, if you’d value
your daughters and sons,
keep that twist-tie secured,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kicking Against the (pin)Pricks

I really like this article, enough so that I think I'll spend some posts arguing against several of its premises, conclusions and wild speculations. Stay tuned!

The Asymmetry Simplified (hopefully)

As you know, I’ve been looking for a concise argument to support Professor Benatar’s fundamental asymmetry. Here’s a decent summary of that asymmetry by one of its critics, Ben Bradley-

THE PRIMARY ARGUMENT OF DAVID BENATAR’S Better Never to Have Been is an argument for the claim that coming into existence is always harmful, because it is always worse for an individual to begin to exist than never to have existed (Benatar 2006: 30-49). Thus, it is always morally wrong to procreate.

I’ll begin by citing the first paragraph of commenter CM’s critique of Mr. Bradley’s critique-

Ben Bradley's BENATAR AND THE LOGIC OF BETTERNESS spends a lot of its time knocking down strawmen. The very first sentence of part I is a mischaracterization. Professor Benatar only uses pains and pleasures as exemplars of harms and benefits (p. 30, BNtHB), and makes no claims about hedonism being true or false...

Just so. Furthermore, it is unnecessary to ‘prove’ hedonism’s truth or falsity. That’s not to say that hedonism, or

the ethical doctrine that pleasure, variously conceived of in terms of happiness of the individual or of society, is the principal good and the proper aim of action.

can’t be shown to be a universal aspect of normative human values. It can, even when we take into consideration ostensibly mitigating defeaters. However, there’s really no need to pursue that tangent, since Bradley himself accedes to hedonism’s precedence as our presuppositional starting point. With that out of the way, I’d like to proceed with what I hope to be a very brief argument based on an idea we talk about a lot here- namely, that for practical purposes it is impossible to isolate existential ‘pleasure’, or happiness, from its own relativistic context. That is, happiness can be defined as much by the avoidance of suffering as by the accrual of so-called positive experiences. We might call these the positive and negative poles of happiness. Naturally, we could argue over which pole holds more sway regarding the overall human condition, but again...unnecessary to my argument. Let’s agree to call it 50/50, and leave it at that.

That said, everything else boils down to some very basic utilitarian math. Which better serves the hedonistic imperative, existence or non-existence? Regarding existence we’re stuck with a mixed bag, both on the personal level and in terms of humanity as a whole. The principles informing hedonism are never fully actualized. At best, preference utilitarianism (either positively or negatively emphasized) winds up being a wash in the present tense, and this doesn’t even begin to speak to the future risk of suffering becoming so predominant as to obliterate the hedonistic objective (this risk, of course, is already actualized at any given time within a sub-set of humanity in toto).

On the other hand, happiness’ fulfillment at the negative pole- that is, happiness as defined by lack of suffering- is ALWAYS fully realized in non-existence. To put it metaphorically, non-existence is the left hand of God; Buddhism’s Nirvana, or ‘blowing out’. On an experiential level, I’ve come to think of this ‘state’ as Negative Bliss.

To sum up: The goal of hedonism is never fully actualized within existence via either positive or negative utilitarian reckoning, and always fully actualized within non-existence via negative utilitarian reckoning. To put it another way-

positive happiness fully actualized/-1
negative happiness fully actualized/-1
final score/-2

positive happiness fully actualized/-1
negative happiness fully actualized/+1
final score/0

The asymmetry is validated.


Ok, this is pretty cool. In preparing this post tonight, I'd pulled up this link. The essay is entitled 'The Pinprick Argument', which is basically an argument used as a defeater of negative utilitarianism on the grounds that its logical ramifications are counter-intuitive.

Anyway, I never got around to reading past the first or second paragraph until AFTER I'd finished my own little argument and posted it. The whole thing is basically just another regurgitation of futurist 'happy pill' thinking, but I DID run across this interesting paragraph somewhere in the middle-

If the abolitionist project succeeds, whatever its ultimate time-scale, then should the negative utilitarian be morally satisfied with such an outcome? In an important sense yes: s/he will have discharged all his or her moral responsibilities. If this epoch-making transition in the history of life on Earth comes to pass, then it will be a revolution far more momentous and profound than anything to date. Moreover, unlike positive utilitarianism or so-called preference utilitarianism - neither of which can ever be wholly fulfilled - NU seems achievable in full.

In other words, even this transhumanist agrees that antinatalism is the sounder argument but for the fact that most people don't like it on an 'intuitive' level. So much for intuition.