Sunday, November 30, 2014

VHEMT Is Worse Than Humancentric Natalism

Originally published on November 30, 2014. Last modified on August 29, 2016.


Recent figures released by the World Wildlife Fund have validated a hunch I've long harboured; wildlife is depopulating at an exponential rate. While most of us were well aware that the number of animals in the natural habitat had been dwindling in some capacity, hardly anyone foresaw that the total amount of sentience on earth in 2014 would be sliced in half to the total amount that existed forty years ago. And yet here we are.

[Edit: On further inspection, 50% appears to be something of a stretch. See Brian Tomasik's speculative but detailed breakdown for a somewhat lower figure, cautiously keeping species and individual organisms separate.]

This is quite the bombshell for preservationists. What's more, according to the findings, it is unambiguously clear that human impact played a pivotal role in the quickened diminution. While human activity isn’t the sole culprit behind every bit of non-human sentience that’s been halved over the last four decades, it does apply to the overwhelming majority it.

In other words, had human beings gone extinct in the early 1970s, there would be roughly twice as much sentience on earth today as a result of our inactivity. Thus the overall amount of non-consensual suffering taking place on earth right now would have been duplicated; suffering caused by twice as many animals ripping off each other’s flesh to survive per brute instincts. This is one (of many) reasons as to why Unconditional Extinctionism lacks coherence when it targets human beings in the present.

Indeed, Natalists don’t promote procreation in order to abate suffering in the wilderness, just as ordinary breeders don’t ordinarily breed with those same goals in mind. Their collective intentions have nothing to do with safeguarding animal welfare by facilitating hastened depopulation of non-human species. Nevertheless, their collective efforts have amounted to a gigantic plus from where things currently stand. This remains so even after we counter in all the harm that carnists continue causing to select remaining species via factory farming. Such a human-friendly tally is deeply unintuitive, but the plummeting wildlife numbers unmistakably point to human presence serving a valuable end on a panoramic level, albeit inadvertently.

From a strict consequentialist lens, the inadvertent bit is irrelevant secondary. As such, cessation of humans should resonate with sentiocentric pessimists on a provisional basis only. Long-time readers of this blog will know that I've already grappled with this to the point of exhaustion, so I'll digress.

To most people, the above news is major cause for concern. Most everybody still believes in the perpetuation of overall sentience vis-à-vis preserving the integrity of the ecosystem. Contrastingly, the WWF's report is great news from where I’m sitting, as the widely held intimation of harms and pleasures being interpersonally commensurable is a laughable one in my view. Formed off of a rejection of parasitism, my proposed harms-for-pleasures incommensurability applies among separate individuals or among different species. The less non-human sentience on planet earth, the fewer invidiously parasitic trade-offs among them, the better.

This is not to imply that trade-offs involving scoped harms-for-harms reductions should be off the table in all imaginable contexts the way harms-for-pleasures should. Standard non-positive utility practice; restricting the permissibility of trade-offs to below-neutral states only, notably at the non-trivial level.

Similarly, we can infer that positive-for-negative-preference trade-offs amid humans should be impermissible, unlike trade-offs involving negative-for-negative-preferences amid humans on a situational basis. As always, this situational sequencing would factor in the separateness of persons and be based on the qualitative magnitude, rather than mere quantitative effect (i.e. the ‘person-oriented’ view rather than the aggregative ‘experience-oriented’ view).

In any event, the stats on rapid attrition need to be pounced on as they truly sharpen the contrast between humancentric AntiNatalists and sentiocentric AntiNatalists. The former camp is comprised largely of VHEMT members and is profoundly irrational. These people actually ascribe agency to non-human species, so it follows that they concern themselves with warding off global extinction by clamouring for human extinction. In this sense, humancentric AntiNatalism is just cherry-picked AntiNatalism. For every one cherry VHEMT adherents actually pluck, they are content to leave hundreds of thousands of cherries undisturbed, because agency!

Theirs is the polar opposite of a sensible overview, given what regular readers of this blog should know about consensual harm (ethically tolerable harm) and non-consensual harm (ethically intolerable harm), humanity being the only species in history capable of the former. My previous post on various utility formulas goes further into this by allocating the Classical Negative Utilitarianism calculus to all non-human species and the Negative Preference Utilitarianism calculus to humans. Tediously, VHEMT tends towards the converse allocation of formulas, likely even tolerating positive utility formulas or some other type of positive consequentialism (i.e. aesthetic consequentialism). The movement is not a monolith, after all.

The WWF’s revelations will therefore only make VHEMT more set in their haplessly misguided ways. It's not just that they consign themselves to anti-human tunnelvision as it relates to the ills of procreation, but they also fret over the ecosystem per se; believing that its shortened span stands to produce a disvalue ipso facto.

Pop-pessimism rearing its head in shows like 'True Detective' only compounds this problem (brilliant as that show is on the acting/directing/writing front). Consider the following statement by the dueling protagonist, Rust Cohle, when asked to summarize his worldview:

"I think human consciousness was a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. ... I think the honourable thing for our species to do is deny our programming; stop reproducing. Walk hand-in-hand into extinction. One last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal."

Too much self-awareness a bad thing? Natural law? The somewhat ambiguous implication here is that purely instinctual drives are meaningfully superior to thoughtfulness. Do I detect a speck of nature-endearment, ill conceived as usual?

Further; What's this about a tragic misstep in evolution? As opposed to what? All other self-unaware species galvanized by that same process? Organisms equally as (if not more) sentient as humans; organisms lacking the cognizance to comprehend the risk-equations they've been thrust into by crude engines; organisms who are by all accounts razed by the very process that brought them to the dance. Am I to understand that natural law did no wrong by those organisms? Such profundity!

This fair-weather-Anti-Natalism noise has to go, and if that means eschewing some of the most sophisticated AntiNatalists, like Ligotti, then so be it. No moral theorist should let sophistication or literary prowess get in the way of cogency, and humancentric (fair-weather) AntiNatalists are about as cogent as post-modernists.

Now to the even more interesting part; the above-linked findings show how bizarre it is to see indivisible consequentialists who are AntiNatalists of the sentiocentric caliber continue to be grandly hostile with our adversaries in the Natalist camp (or the natal-sympathizer camp) while having perfectly polite, milquetoast disagreements with members of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, as seen here. Rather odd, bearing in mind that, absent humancentric natalism, there would be twice as much hardship in effect across all non-human species today, as approximately half of them wouldn't have gone extinct over the last forty years given hypothetical non-interference by humans.

Respectful disagreement with VHEMT might make some sense were it not for sentiocentric AntiNatalists’ castigation of non-consequentialism. For those inflexible consequentialists in the Efilist camp, the motives of Natalists and ordinary reproducers should not matter in the slightest, so the fact that they never intended to safeguard animal welfare should be a non-factor in pure value terms. All that should matter is that their beliefs and actions did safeguard said welfare. This is just the logical outgrowth of austere consequentialism in action. Puzzlingly, despite the outcomes, Efilists still tend to assign moral blameworthiness to humancentric Natalists and camaraderie to VHEMT.

This is not an issue for all sentiocentric AntiNatalists mind you, since not all of us purport to be indivisible consequentialists. Make no mistake, I am generally more concerned with outcomes than with intentions, but as my previous posts make clear, I’m happy to provide breathing room for pluralistic sequencing between consequentialism and non-consequentialism whenever we’re evaluating negative consequences carrying only trivial impact (to be ranked below non-conceited good motives). In fact, the title of one of the posts I’m working on now is “Pseudo Dilemma: Consequentialism vs. Non-consequentialism”. In it I'll expand my earlier arguments in favour of Moral Particularism, contra Moral Absolutism.

If Efilists on the other hand maintain that intents are wholeheartedly irrelevant in terms of absolute value (as they've cantankerously told me on numerous occasions), how do they square this with their hospitality towards VHEMT? I’ll probably end up asking them individually, but if they’re reading this, they can tell me themselves.

I should note that, even in ironclad consequentialist terms, VHEMT is a lesser-evil when pitted against the scourge of sentiocentric Natalism (global conservationists). While both tolerate animalistic harms-for-benefits exchanges to an equal degree, at least VHEMT does so sans human suffering. This is ultimately an aside however, because the most common criticisms of both humancentric AntiNatalism and sentiocentric AntiNatalism are hurled from the standpoint of humancentric Natalism, not sentiocentric Natalism (global conservationism).

To recap; if VHEMT had it their way, humans would've been goners well before the 1970s, all so that the remaining life-forms can get to flourish or thrive. This alone should illustrate why divisible consequentialists mustn’t lose sight of the need to slice consequentialist concerns with non-consequentialist ones, no matter how uninviting non-consequentialism may seem on first impression due to the ornery absolutism of deontology.

Of course, even once pluralistic conceptions of value are taken into account, non-trivial negative consequences can supersede over motives when we're retroactively weighing the prospect of a post-1970s Earth without humans versus a post-1970s Earth with humans. All things considered, we can rank the four viable positions thusly:

1.
Optimal: Sentiocentric AntiNatalism

2.
Suboptimal: Humancentric Natalism

3.
Misguided: Humancentric AntiNatalism

4.
Woefully Misguided: Sentiocentric Natalism

More on this in future posts.

Yes, I plan on doing shorter but more frequent posts from now on.

49 comments:

  1. That's life AntiBullshitMan. If you don't like it, then you can get the hell on out.

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  2. ''That's life''

    Salient point. Can't believe I tried skirting around it.

    ''If you don't like it, then you can get the hell on out''

    And that's just what I'll do if my personal situation ever calls for it. The post you're commenting on isn't about me or any other individual, it's about life as a package deal. You might as well be telling all the animals who are being eaten alive hourly to just ''get out'' if they don't like it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fZZqDJXOVg

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  3. "And that's just what I'll do if my personal situation ever calls for it"
    If there's one thing I can't stand it's a weakling but I digress. Kill yourself if you so desire but don't expect us to mourn for you.

    "The post you're commenting on isn't about me or any other individual, it's about life as a package deal"
    No, it is about you. It's about your psychology, your emotions, your preference to see suffering eradicated by eradicating all life on earth.

    "You might as well be telling all the animals who are being eaten alive hourly to just ''get out'' if they don't like it."
    Animals, of the nonhuman kind, don't speak English.

    I'm surprised anyone still watches South Park. It's a terrible show which often finds it appeal among retarded teenagers.

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  4. ''If there's one thing I can't stand it's a weakling''

    Maybe you should examine that sometime.

    Now, how exactly does what you said there follow from what I said? What led you to believe that my wish to die with dignity should things turn horrible for me -- like if I were to get paralyzed from the neck down -- amounts to weakness? Am I to understand that you actually believe there's no state of being toilsome enough to make someone *not* want to wait to die of natural causes, without that decision entailing weakness? Care to experiment on yourself? If you had to pick sudden painless death over decades of captivity where your captor gradually pours increasing amounts of boiling hot water on you, do you expect anyone to buy your story when you say that you'd pick the latter?

    ''your psychology''

    You're familiar with my psychology? Please, elaborate on it. Do what certified psychologists admit they wouldn't be able to do based on the limited information available to them about me online.

    ''your preference to see suffering eradicated by eradicating all life on earth''

    Yeah, you don't read these posts. As I suspected, you didn't even read this one, where I wrote: "This is one (of many) reasons as to why Unconditional Extinctionism lacks coherence when it targets human beings in the present."

    As a Negative Preference Utilitarian, I only disvalue individuals' suffering insofar as the particular individual disvalues it. If you as an individual despise risk-averseness & would like to extend your existence, you should be given an immortality pill. I'd be all for that. But that's where it ends; the individual. Just because you're suffering from thanatophobia & such pills haven't been actualized yet doesn't mean you get to play creator & pretend that you're not implicating others; some of whom would rather not play. Don't force-feed life-pills into the mouths of those who want none of it.

    ''It's a terrible show''

    It's hit-and-miss, like most comedy. That right there was a hit, and you just made it all the more funny to me.

    You're a clown, go pester someone else.

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  5. "Maybe you should examine that sometime"
    I stand by my original statement.

    "If you had to pick sudden painless death over decades of captivity where your captor gradually pours increasing amounts of boiling hot water on you, do you expect anyone to buy your story when you say that you'd pick the latter?"
    I can tell you one thing, I wouldn't waste time thinking up ways to kill myself. If I were in that situation, I would try to persuade my captors to set me free (it's happened before), and if that didn't work then I would to fight my way to freedom even if it entailed some considerable risk to my life.

    "You're familiar with my psychology?"
    If you can't see that you are arguing from emotion (psychology), then that's your problem.

    "Yeah, you don't read these posts."
    Judging by the lack of comments on this particular post, it doesn't look like anyone reads what your drivel.

    " If you as an individual despise risk-averseness & would like to extend your existence, you should be given an immortality pill"
    I'm all for it, especially if it gives me the opportunity to make your life a living hell.

    "Don't force-feed life-pills into the mouths of those who want none of it."
    You're making an assumption here, one that you know you cannot prove. I'll leave it at that.

    "You're a clown, go pester someone else."
    Is that what you say when you're losing a debate?

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  6. ''I wouldn't waste time thinking up ways to kill myself''

    Total non-sequitur. Reread the scenario I posed. You're having trouble following along a basic thought experiment.

    ''try to persuade my captors to set me free''

    As they're pouring boiling water over you. I'm sure your persuasiveness will be registering with them any second now...

    ''I would to fight my way to freedom''

    Right after morphing into a power ranger, I suppose. Thought experiments premised on captivity kinda lose their luster when you just pretend that the captivity part is transitory, because you're a total superhero like that.

    Let me answer for you: You'd take the painless sudden death over the decades of torture, and you're refusing to admit it because it makes your initial ''weakling'' charge look all the more puerile.

    ''you are arguing from emotion (psychology)''

    So when I say ''Harm shouldn't be pointlessly inflicted on my worst enemy, even though seeing it happen would surely please me on an emotional level, because I really hate my worst enemy'' you deduce from this that the espoused ethical principle is arrived at psychologically? Have you read anything at all about basic ethical theory? Are you capable of grasping the concept of ethical discipline? You know, desiring things on a psychological level but not acting on those desires in light of philosophical underpinnings? Or are you just a typical anti-realist quick to shout ''emotion!'' at any ethical argument you dislike the way a Klansman would with MLK?

    ''You're making an assumption here''

    How so? You took issue with AntiNatalism here, so you have some level of interest in seeing procreation not subjected to criticism. How is procreation unlike the interpersonal force-feeding of life-pills?

    ''doesn't look like anyone reads what your drivel''

    This was published yesterday & has over 100 views, which is just fine by me, as it limits the amount of noise cluttering my inbox (trolls like yourself). If I cared for going viral, I'd play the viral game.

    ''Is that what you say when you're losing a debate?''

    If you're interested in an actual debate, learn to decipher my points. All you've done so far is 180 a basic thought experiment I gave you, after showing that you haven't the faintest clue as to what the post you're commenting on is about. If your reading comprehension is this atrocious, I'll gladly debate you in a video call in real time.

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  7. This is so interesting. I've been thinking a lot about similar things lately. The troubling thing to me about antinatalism is that it can be used to justify things like resource wasting since, hell, it'll get us there faster. Should I stop recycling because I'm a sentiocentric antinatalist? It seems wrong that something like resource wastage should be the conclusion I draw in my personal life. (And I am purely about philosophy influencing my personal actions in the world. Personally, I'm not interested in talking about how morally superior veganism is while scarfing down a bacon burrito.)

    I understand what you're saying here, but I can't help but suspect that it's a misstep to place humancentric natalism above humancentric antinatalism. Even if the outcomes are better for net sentience, does it not give you pause that reproductive slavery had to be used to get there?

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  8. "Should I stop recycling because I'm a sentiocentric antinatalist?"

    I wouldn't. These questions are best answered in an idealized state of hindsight. Right now, we simply can't predict the severity of the negative consequences likely to arise from our recycling, so we can't do comparative cost/benefit analyses by weighing them up against any potential good consequences. Suppose a prognosticator assures us that, by not recycling, we will have spared a generation of gazelles their existence in the wild; gazelles who would've otherwise been eaten alive like many of their predecessors. If that's the difference maker, ceteris paribus, it'd be more than enough for me to stop recycling. Simple as. The reason I'll continue recycling comes down to my inability to scale costs vs. benefits. I'd imagine that in select cases, the effects of recycling merely reduce harm without forestalling wildlife extinction.

    "it's a misstep to place humancentric natalism above humancentric AntiNatalism"

    In pure consequentialist terms, the last 40 years suggest otherwise. The prospect of a post-70s human-free earth entails too much harm differential. But remember, I'm not advocating for consequentialism as the only sound ethical theory. Apply virtue ethics in place of consequentialism & my ranking will be more kind to humancentric AN. Then again, virtue ethics has its own problems, which is why I'll be doing a post on Moral Particularism soon.

    "not interested in talking about how morally superior veganism is while scarfing down a bacon burrito"

    How about admonishing militarism while subsidising it via taxation, as I do? Technically, nothing's stopping me from moving to a country with a minimalistic military, yet I haven't done that. I also tend to not meticulously watch my step when I'm walking in the forest so as to avoid treading on bugs. Should that change? No, we can abhor humancentric outlooks despite doing ethically suboptimal things on a daily basis. I see no line of demarcation between taxes/walking vs. diet.

    "does it not give you pause that reproductive slavery had to be used"

    Of course. The means are quite bothersome, but the flipside is even more bothersome (like, times 100000 bothersome).

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  9. "No, we can abhor humancentric outlooks despite doing ethically suboptimal things on a daily basis. I see no line of demarcation between taxes/walking vs. diet."

    Maybe I misunderstand you, but do you mean you don't see any difference between neglecting to move to another country to avoid supporting the military, and switching to a more ethical diet?

    I see huge differences between these actions and I don't think it makes sense to equate them. There is a major difference in attainability and personal/community cost in those examples. It's pretty easy to choose the veggie burger, while it's much more difficult to leave your culture/friends/family/way of life/job/etc. to permanently move to another country. (Not to mention the added component of force in the case of taxes; you need to pay taxes or else suffer the consequences. This isn't the case with a cruelty-free diet.) How easy an action is to adopt should matter when weighing oughts.

    The way you were arguing against my vegan/burrito point makes it seem like you don't think ethical hypocrisy is a problem. I understand that people who are trying to live ethical lives often have to choose the lesser of evils, but the fact that we sometimes do bad things shouldn't let us justify worsening ethics because only bad options exist—or because we also do other bad actions. So yes, I may not sweep the sidewalk to avoid crushing ladybugs, but I am ethically obliged to integrate parts of a cruelty-free diet into my life if I argue that its the best way to be.

    I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I think actions matter most. I'm interested in the lived experience of antinatalists just as much as I am the argument. Or to put it another way, the argument will directly influence my actions. I don't come from a formal philosophy background, but I suspect there are a lot of people interested in philosophy and argument that don't practically implement their ideas, and that, to me, is just so colossally bankrupt, since these discussions principally matter because of their capacity to be implemented into people's lives.

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  10. Thank you EmmaOrange! Thank you for putting ANTIBULLSHITMAN in his place. That man is such a hypocrite, such a charlatan, such a moral nihilist. He should be slapped across the face with a sewer lid. He should have an electric eel inserted into his asshole. His head should be sewed, or at least super-glued, to his ass crack so he can be made to smell and eat the shit he puts out in his blogs. This man, this evil, rotten little man causes nothing but trouble and should therefore be dealt with accordingly, through being humiliated in public. 50 lashes to his ass I say!

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  11. Emma,

    You say it's easy to choose a veggie burger over a real one, & that's certainly true for me at this stage, but this wasn't the case 10 years ago when I was on a tighter budget. Around here, the type of 'tastes-like-meat' veggie products are more expensive than the real deal or the average veggie product. I tried to encourage a couple of friends/coworkers to get into the habit of replacing real hot-dogs & burgers with veggie ones, & even though they thought it tasted the same, they were unable to commit to it because of their tighter budget. Maybe higher costs are a strictly regional issue though, I'm not sure. But this is just vegetarianism. We're yet to approach the even more restrictive vegan territory.

    At any rate, despite their inability to commit, they're largely agreeable when it comes to vegetarians' condemnations of standard factory farming practice. Insofar as pure theory goes, their concession is enough. I believe this is applicable to online discussions.

    I'm not convinced that people would have such a hard time leaving friends/family, considering the advent of Skype along with the seemingly countless social media platforms. The internet has entirely flip-turned global communication in 2014 from what it was in 1994. Leaving a decent job may be tricky, I'll give you that. But by the same token, a drastic dietary change may be problematic depending on the individual. I had a co-worker tell me that he used to be a vegetarian for roughly six months & had to transition back to carnism because he'd often feel his energy levels fall well below what they used to be (maybe initial stages of Sarcopenia? Who knows). He's certain it was the former; the absence of meat intake, because his energy levels went back up after he incorporated meat into his diet again (so he says). He's half-black & has a (rather unconventional) theory that blacks cannot supplement meat intake to a sufficient enough degree, because their particular dietary standards stem from their distinct evolutionary configurations.

    "makes it seem like you don't think ethical hypocrisy is a problem"

    Not at all, I just understand it to be a spectrum, not some rigid binary. Put bluntly, a pedo who never fondles toddlers is better than a pedo who sometimes does, even if both pedos speak out against toddler fondling. At the same time, the anti-fondling views of the pedo who breaches them (but still preaches them) aren't in any way diminished.

    So technically, I see no categorical difference between the move & the diet. In each case, it comes down to personal sacrifice. It's a spectrum of sacrificial hardship, sure, but a spectrum nonetheless. Recognizing this won't lead to a carte blanche attitude where horrible acts are fair game, because such outcomes aren't in anyone's interest (except maybe apocalypse fetishists, but they're a fringe). Perhaps our dispute here is analogous to the clash between direct vs. indirect utilitarianism, me being firmly in the indirect camp. Here's a post that echoes my views: http://www.philosophyetc.net/2005/06/indirect-utilitarianism.html

    Does that sound right? Or do you favour the direct approach?

    Anon, you're the lamest troll ever. If you want your tripe to remain on here, post something that's at least minimally witty, or comment with an actual name rather than the stale 'anonymous'.

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  12. TheAntiAntibullshitManDecember 10, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    Oh fucking lord, an indirect utilitarian approach? You're telling me your pansy ass is too lazy to commit to a full ethical lifestyle? You know what, I can see a rapist using your arguments to excuse himself from raping a girl. You're a sick and twisted man.

    I don't care if you remove my "tripe" or not. Censorship is for pansies, like you.

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  13. "So technically, I see no categorical difference between the move & the diet. In each case, it comes down to personal sacrifice."

    I'm not so sure that the move example rests so easily on the spectrum of sacrificial hardship because it's not merely a personal sacrifice. It's also a decision that affects your community/your friends/family/etc. They also pay for the decision, while this just isn't so with the change of diet.

    But, I definitely agree that hypocrisy in no way devalues an argument. However, I think there should still be some social penalties/accountability for that hypocrite relative to the challenge of adopting the behaviours they advocate. A world of philosophical hypocrites is a world where ethical arguments make no difference, and I firmly hold on to the primacy of the *usefulness* of ethical philosophical inquiry. Why else is it worth spending time on?

    And with my original comment, I was just highlighting the fact that I'm interested in ethical inquiries about our lived experience. So when I'm reading your ideas about antinatalism I guess I was looking for an action-oriented conclusion. Maybe this is the fault of my expectations, since you're looking at the issue abstractly. (Wouldn't be my first time looking for practical conclusions in a theoretical place.) As for your indirect utilitarianism link, I tried to read it a few times but I think I'll need to try again tomorrow. All these ethical camps confuse me.

    I also want to bring up one other issue with your initial hierarchy that you didn't take into account (at least I don't think you did—you're writing is extremely good and relies on a bunch of terms I'm unfamiliar with), and that's degrees of suffering.

    While it's true that more animals die horrible natural deaths in nature, around 50 billion land animals per year are slaughtered for human consumptions and are kept in torturous conditions for sometimes years on end. I would argue that a torturous, years-long life of a cow in a factory farm is far worse than multiple natural death in the wild. Of course it's impossible to quantify and compare suffering of this nature, but I think it's important to think about.

    And there's also the fact that not all sentience is created equal. The vast majority of those animals listed by WWF are likely insects, or animals of lesser sentient capabilities than the average factory-farmed animal. I think this fact upsets your 1 death = 1 unit of suffering equation. I think it's possible that fewer humans on earth could actually still result in lesser net suffering, while still resulting in more animal deaths. (And that's not even including the torturous things humans do to one another. 1000 giraffes may take 1000 days to die, but how does that compare to the experience of a single prisoner in a Guantanamo Bay for 5 years?)

    Oh yeah, and vegetarianism and veganism aren't necessarily more expensive! I think it's actually cheaper *if* you don't always replace real meat with mock meat. Meat and dairy are basically the most expensive things in the grocery store and to just by beans/tofu/veggies instead is often much cheaper. I actually think it's one of the biggest myths about becoming vegetarian. The most challenging aspect of the change (other than the sacrifice) is getting inspired by veggie dishes, I think.

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  14. TheAntiAntiBullshitManDecember 11, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    @EmmaOrange

    It's laziness, Emma. This guy is just a lazy ass.

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  15. TheAntiAntiBullshitManDecember 11, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    And he's an excuse maker, always finding excuses to justify his immoral behavior.

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  16. Emma, "your community/your friends/family"

    Once again, it's 2014 & people communicate electronically much of the time anyway. If Bob's community/friends/family are clingy to the point where staying in touch with him online once he moves would leave them emotionally distraught, then Bob must be one truly exceptional person. A rarity, not a rule of thumb. Not in the digital age.

    "social penalties/accountability for that hypocrite"

    Ideally. Of course, we can take it further; Trying to socially ostracize douchebags in a douchebag society results in the ostracizer being ostracized. Maybe you meant something else by "accountability", but if you just think that hypocrites should lose social capital, it won't go anywhere because of the current minority/majority configuration. A hypocrite will at least fess up to the evils of factory farming, unlike the carnist majority (Look at YT comments on any veg vid, they still make tired appeals to the natural order to justify the industry). Without anything close to a majority on the vegans' side, there will be no fear of social fallout for the hypocrite (who is still better than the carnist). I imagine that encouraging vegans to accost the hypocritical minority (who at least concede the basics) may sour hypocrites on the whole thing & leave them psychologically inclined to validate carnism again.

    Also, I'm curious as to what kind of social reprimand my fellow vegetarians & I deserve in your view, for not being vegans.

    "reading your ideas about antinatalism I guess I was looking for an action-oriented conclusion"

    Insofar as AN goes, it's more about a non-act, really. The 'act' comes down to "don't procreate". As simple as contraceptives.

    It gets tricky with inflexible consequentialism (as this entry argues) but it still works if you're a virtue ethicist or if you tolerate some other brand of non-consequentialism.

    "not all sentience is created equal"

    Of course.

    "vast majority of those animals listed by WWF are likely insects, or animals of lesser sentient capabilities"

    Not according to the report; emphasis was on elephants, tigers, snakes, turtles & other sentient species escaping me at the moment. It's the link in the 2nd paragraph. I believe that's the abridged article on the report, from "The Guardian".

    "1 death = 1 unit of suffering"

    Nowhere have I remotely implied that. The relatively quicker deaths are nothing compared to the worst the slaughterhouse has to offer. I'm saying that wilderness, due to its vastness & its eat-or-be-eaten blueprint, trumps factory farming on the overall harm scale. It's a Billions vs. Trillions comparison. Though I'll grant the possibility that the per capita suffering of all farmed animals may be worse than the per capita suffering of wildlife, depending on the region.

    I'm aware that veg diets are (on the whole) much cheaper. I brought up veg burger costs as a response to your remark about how easy it is to replace a real burger with a veg one.

    Troll guy/thing, those consecutive antis suit you well, being mutually cancelling & all.

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  17. TheAntiAntiBullshitManDecember 11, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Let's hope the lazy breed of antibullshitmans becomes extinct as well.

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  18. TheAntiAntiBullshitManDecember 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Inmendham worshipper!

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  19. Poor thing, you really can't pull off minimally witty, can you?

    It's probably my fault for setting the bar so high. Tell you what, you go ahead and comment any way you wish. No more minimal wit expectations. No pressure.

    "Inmendham worshipper!"

    Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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  20. AntiBullshitManSucksDecember 11, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Hahaha! Butthurt much? I knew if I called you an Inmendham worshipper, you'd get upset.

    Now go and bow down to your God, Inmendham, and then kiss his skinny ass, you little Inmendham wannabe.

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  21. "Trying to socially ostracize douchebags in a douchebag society results in the ostracizer being ostracized....if you just think that hypocrites should lose social capital, it won't go anywhere because of the current minority/majority configuration....A hypocrite will at least fess up to the evils of factory farming, unlike the carnist majority"

    Yes, that's true. And the confession is better than not identifying the action as problematic in the first place. I just feel like there still needs to be something further encouraging the adoption of the identified ethical action. Maybe instead of a penalty, it's an extra reward or something. I mean, cruelty free products are becoming available in mainstream outlets, so something is getting through. Social consequences can certainly turn the tide of popular opinion (think popularizing smoking, later popularizing anti-smoking, demonizing drinking and driving, promoting public breastfeeding), etc. I confess I don't have a solution though.

    "If Bob's community/friends/family are clingy to the point where staying in touch with him online once he moves would leave them emotionally distraught, then Bob must be one truly exceptional person. A rarity, not a rule of thumb. Not in the digital age."

    I'm afraid I disagree completely. Physical proximity is integral to creating deep bonds between people, and also of creating a sense of place and a richness to one's community or city. For example, I can't electronically visit my favourite cafe, go on a stroll with my friends, visit a cinema, etc. And these types of actions are intrinsic to civic cohesiveness, identity, and belonging. So I still maintain that electing to leave a city may seem like a simple personal choice, when really it is a type of individualistic action, and one that has much broader negative ramifications when you consider it from a collective perspective.

    Look at the United States, for example. they are a very transient nation, and they are also a nation of the ugliest contemporary architecture, terrible city planning, and the most devastating lack of character in their communities. Huge swaths of land in America (and much of Canada even) are dedicated to highways, strip malls, and Burger Kings. Of course this isn't all the fault of transient behaviour, but I believe that this type of nomadism supports the creation of places that people don't ever get invested in. Places 'not worth caring about,' as Kunstler would argue: http://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_suburbia?language=en. All that to say, that even though one may hate an aspect of their federal government, I think it is far better on a whole to stay (and also denounce said federal policy.) Furthermore, we need contrarians who have moral objections to government policy to say in the country, not flee it and leave others to deal with the situation.

    "Insofar as AN goes, it's more about a non-act, really. The 'act' comes down to "don't procreate". As simple as contraceptives."

    Yes, of course. But it is still a decision; a course of action. My point was your entire blog post could have been read as an endorsement of having children, and I was confused by that (from a practical perspective.)

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  22. "'1 death = 1 unit of suffering' Nowhere have I remotely implied that."

    Yes, maybe I mischaracterized your position a bit there. You said this:

    "In other words, had human beings gone extinct in the early 1970s, there would be roughly twice as much sentience on earth today as a result of our inactivity. Thus the overall amount of non-consensual suffering taking place on earth right now would have been duplicated; suffering caused by twice as many animals ripping off each other’s flesh to survive per brute instincts."

    But you also didn't take into account the lack of animal testing/factory farms/human torture/human wars, that would not have happened had those humans gone extinct. You seem to think this is a simple equation—that the net suffering is clearly and unquestionably worse in nature because of the sheer numbers of animals. ("Billions vs. Trillions" as you put it.) And I'm saying I'm not completely convinced of this simply because of the uniquely imaginative, uniquely fucked up horrors that humans place on other humans and also animals, for sometimes years on end. I clearly have no way of demonstrating this in any quantifiable way, but I believe this perspective should at least have a seat at the table.

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  23. AntiBullshitManSucksDecember 12, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    One word, Emma: OWNED.

    You owned him real good. Let's see what excuses he comes up with now.

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  24. "Physical proximity is integral to creating deep bonds between people"

    Was integral, now it's on its way out. More films pandering to introverts are being made as of late (because the overtones of such films are resonating with more people). To me it's beyond dispute that conversational compatibility is the cornerstone of deep bonding, while physical proximity just "seems to be" that thing, as no one wants to be perceived as a shut-in or whatever. I'd say the misappropriation is driven by most cultures' stigmatization of recluses, loners & to a lesser extent introverts. Do you think the average introvert develops bonds which are less deep compared to the bonds of the average extrovert, simply because the former bond is likely to manifest online? If anything, people who myopically limit their bonding prospects to the happenstance of their geography are likely to develop shallower bonds. (see: hedonists)

    They're also more likely to develop compromised bonds, as their options start & end with their geography, resulting in less to choose from.

    "I can't electronically visit my favourite cafe, go on a stroll with my friends, visit a cinema, etc"

    Question-begging. You can do all that while chatting up your friends on your phone. And many do. So the café in the new city will be slightly different from the one you're accustomed to. It's not a deal-breaker.

    As for what's intrinsic to identity or belonging or whatnot, you underestimate the range of preferences across different individuals. As the digital age becomes the norm worldwide, the dominant preferences will mirror those long-held by introverts.

    "I think it is far better on a whole to stay (and also denounce said federal policy.)"

    With ordinary citizens, federal policy is best denounced online; usually results in more eyeballs. Further, it'd be democratically wise for any Republican living in NY or Democrat living in Texas to move to a swing-state ASAP so to ensure their vote is actually effective. The US still suffers from the Electoral College & its "winner-take-all" nonsense, so moving to adjust for those arbitrary barriers makes perfect sense. Though this is less of an issue in more rational countries with the national vote, & less gerrymandering.

    "could have been read as an endorsement of having children"

    An endorsement of humans existing over the last 4 decades is not an endorsement of the Natalist position per se, nor of future procreation, since we don't know how humans will tilt the harm scale from here on out (until it's "all said & done"). What we do know is; no one reproduces to safeguard animal wellbeing, so non-consequentialist criticisms of Natalism are as palatable as ever, while consequentialist ones are (from a sentiocentric viewpoint) somewhat iffy at this stage. Sorry if that's too word-jargony, but it's impossible to unravel my point in any other way. For aspiring breeders already living in eco-friendly regions, the likelihood of their breeding doing environmental damage is minimalistic, thus one could still make AN-minded consequentialist arguments contra breeding in those cases.

    I did bring up factory farming in the post btw, followed by "Such a human-friendly tally is deeply unintuitive". I maintain that fastened extinctions trump the (purported) uniqueness of human suffering because I'd wager that humans' mastery of language & similar cognitive functions has dampened our sentient capacities/thresholds below the sentience levels of some mammals, much in the way the blind often have their remaining senses heightened as a result of never utilizing eyesight.

    "a seat at the table"

    Agreed, & our exchange is here for all to read. I'm not going to addend this post (trying to keep my posts shorter), but next time I cover humancentric Natalism vs. AN, I'll delve into the concerns you raised.

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  25. AntiAntiBullshitManDecember 14, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    lmaoooooooooooooo, AntIBullassMan is scared of me. Remember this you lazy bastard, I FEAR NO ONE!

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  26. "A tragic misstep in evolution you say? As opposed to what? All other self-unaware species galvanized by that same process? Organisms equally as (if not more) sentient as humans; organisms lacking the cognizance to comprehend the risk-equations they've been thrust into by crude engines"

    I agree with your criticism of antinatalism that primarily regards self-awareness as inherently negative. I see no reason why the negatives of self-awareness should be regarded as being inherently more significant than negatives of other kinds of awareness.

    "For those inflexible consequentialists in the Efilist camp, the motives of Natalists and ordinary reproducers should not matter in the slightest"

    I think your view of what has consequences is too limited. Intentions are irrelevant in terms of intrinsic value, but they are not irrelevant to ethical considerations in terms of affecting what the future will be.

    "Puzzlingly, despite the outcomes, Efilists still tend to assign moral blameworthiness to humancentric Natalists and camaraderie to VHEMT"

    Philosophically, Efilism is in opposition to VHEMT in regards to non-human animals, but in practical terms human-engrandizement is societally a far stronger opposition to Efilist ideas than interests in preserving the natural world. If that situation were reversed, and VHEMT was the dominant philosophy worldwide, then probably Efilism's primary focus would be different, which is not to say its philosophy would be any different.

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  27. AntiAntiBullshitMan, you are so stupid that you don't even realise the absurdity of your chosen screen name. I suppose you cannot be blamed really, because being a retard you don't realise you're a retard. If you did then you would never have even attempted to argue with ABS in such a pathetic manner. He is one of the most intelligent people on this sorry planet and thankfully he is treating your juvenile slurs with the contempt they deserve.

    As for being frightened of you... maybe, but only because retardation may be contagious.

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  28. I'm not saying I'm against anti-bullshit. Rather, I'm saying that I'm against this character, this fucking joke who goes by the name of AntiBullshitMan. The difference is crucial.

    As for this jackass being one of the most intelligent people on earth, I fucking doubt it. While I don't think he's an idiot, I do think he needs to understand the inconsistency between what he preaches and what he actually practices.

    Insulting the intellectually disabled is so fucking low. You need help buddy.

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. I'm an Efilist, albeit it one who thinks intent is very important, so I'll try to answer your question.

    The news about animal numbers dwindling is... very new. Sure, people might have guessed animal numbers were going down, but it doesn't necessarily matter, because today is a small snapshot of a long time-frame: a few thousand years from now several planets could be full of life, as natalists go out there to 'make it so'.

    The VHEMT may support planets full of non-human life, maybe not, but if everyone was a member of VHEMT we'd not get the chance to leave the planet to do that. Only natalism can lead to seeded planets, and thus more sentient suffering.

    The other thing is Efilists, ANs and VHEMT supporters have been members of the same groups for a while. We are the unpopular kids in the corner. Friendships have created links that one or two stories won't break, and we all share the 'Human breeding is wrong/selfish' idea, so there will always be that.

    I'm also aware a lot of ANs find the VHEMT before they find the groups that are more suitable for them. That group can be a staging post for the 'creation' of new Efilists.

    If you are the type of person who only cares about the consequences of an action, or that end goal... well, they could simply be lying about how they feel about VHEMT. Perhaps they think 'supporting' it will help their own ends. More likely, though, is that most people do care about both the intent and consequences of an action, even if they are sometimes unaware that it's the case.

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  31. P.S. I think you'd write a great AN book, ABM. It'd be a bit of a slog perhaps, but you could mellow it down. 'Knowing' you, however, you'd probably keep the panoply of staid language as you enjoy it. ;)

    P.P.S. You put Humancentric AntiNatalism below Humancentric Natalism at the end of your post. If you look at the numbers today, sure, but longer term, Humancentric Anti-natalism would probably win the day on your 'consequences' table.

    It'd be like saying Germany was doing the best in WWII, right before we knew the Americans were coming.

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  32. Rignolo,

    "Intentions are irrelevant in terms of intrinsic value"

    Not to those of us who subscribe to pluralistic theories of value where static arrangements of "intrinsic vs. instrumental" hierarchies are frowned upon. If an unpredictable consequence carries (1) trivial impact, (2) is born out of non-conceded good intentions, (3) the recipient who was trivially effected/harmed by it doesn't take issue with it, the initial act ought to have been permitted. Contrast this with (1) non-trivial impact, (2) conceded good intentions or bad intentions, (3) a recipient who takes issue with the end result.

    With the latter, the consequence should trump the motive.

    Saying that only consequences tie into intrinsic value is moral myopia. A drunk driver who drinks & drives for decades & miraculously never causes a single accident in the process (& never inspires anyone else to drive under the influence) still commits a wrongdoing; simply because of his willingness to expose others to risk. Recognizing this in no way downplays actual consequences, which, when non-trivial, ought to take precedence. Flexibility > traditional moral systems. Context over doggedness.

    Also, I see no point in being chummy with VHEMT, even as a political apparatus. If you'd like to take a "scaling enemy targets by popularity" approach & really run with it, you'd start out by going after standard theism by making nice with strong atheists & anti-theists who may be neutral or sympathetic towards natalism, but who at least still scrutinize religiosity (the same religiosity which on average encourages natalism far more than standard anti-theism does). Such an alliance between ANs & anti-theists has been eagerly discouraged by the coiner of Efilism. If fact, father Efil doesn't even think people can be *real* atheists unless they're also ANs. This is the sort of stuff that makes even sentiocentric ANs want to disassociate with Efilism, rightly so.

    Anon arguing with the troll thing; don't. The fact that he still persists with the same one-note shtick is more unintentionally adorable than annoying at this point.

    Gregory, "Friendships have created links that one or two stories won't break"

    I'd never suggest people should break friendships on account of any of this. I'm on good terms with people who hold drastically different views & have no reason to change any of that. I just don't parade those associations online.

    Other than that, your input is largely agreeable. If you scroll up you'll see similar thoughts by me in response to others.

    It's unlikely that I'll ever write an official book, but if I do, AN will be a single chapter.

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  33. Thanks for your reply ABM; I read back over some comments I missed today.

    To balance out the trolling comments, I have to say this: your blog is excellent. I agree with you on practically every issue you raise too (which is a plus).

    Thanks for providing entertaining and thought-provoking posts/videos. :)

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  34. "If an unpredictable consequence carries (1) trivial impact, (2) is born out of non-conceded good intentions, (3) the recipient who was trivially effected/harmed by it doesn't take issue with it, the initial act ought to have been permitted."

    The "ought to have been permitted" should take into account the fact that there are factors in the scenario that are definite only in retrospect. Before the initial act, there were only assessments of probabilities and possibilities. The consequences of the particular kind of act being permitted can be compared to the alternative consequences of an extremely strict social system, since it would be very difficult to entirely prevent possibilities of unpredicted trivial impacts.

    "A drunk driver who drinks & drives for decades & miraculously never causes a single accident in the process (& never inspires anyone else to drive under the influence) still commits a wrongdoing; simply because of his willingness to expose others to risk."

    Again you are assessing wrongdoing based on factors that are only definite in retrospect. While the drunk driver was exposing others to risk, he did not know that it would turn out that he would never cause an accident. If the consequences were certain then by definition there would be no risk.

    "the sort of stuff that makes even sentiocentric ANs want to disassociate with Efilism, rightly so."

    Nature is a horror, and a negative assessment of it is a central reason for the existence of Efilism distinct from other forms of AN. I still think it's reasonable to regard as a positive attribute VHEMT's prescribing human extinction. In that respect, I'm more in agreement with VHEMT than with relativistic forms of AN that regard procreation as an ought-not only "personally" and not prescriptively. Inmendham's disagreements with VHEMT are also clearly conveyed in the interview you linked.

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  35. AntiAntiBullshitMongoloidDecember 19, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    You call me a troll-thing simply because I called you out on your inconsistency? Why am I not surprised.

    Look, people don't want to do the right thing because they are lazy. This is probably why you advocate a indirect utilitarian approach. It allows you to act unethically all the while retaining the label of being "ethical". You know I'm right about this, Eric. Deep down in your heart you know I am right but you don't want to admit it.

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  36. Your name is Eric, right?

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  37. "Your name is Eric, right?"

    Oh totes, in Serbia "Eric" was the most popular name for males born throughout the 80s. Tons of Serbs named Eric out there.

    Rignolo,

    "there are factors in the scenario that are definite only in retrospect."

    My point doesn't rest of a negation of this. I'm merely allowing for a backward-looking assessment of ethics, in addition to championing a forward-looking one (for years).

    "The consequences of the particular kind of act being permitted can be compared to the alternative consequences of an extremely strict social system, since it would be very difficult to entirely prevent possibilities of unpredicted trivial impacts."

    I understand but this has to do with moral strategizing. My example was meant to be a fully controlled hypothetical; the drunk driver committed a wrongdoing despite never having harmed anyone. No strings attached. No probing required.

    "If the consequences were certain then by definition there would be no risk."

    Obviously I'm not suggesting that the harmless outcomes were known by the impaired driver at the time. I think we're talking past each other because you're superimposing a quest for moral strategy onto my (admittedly contrived) example.

    I'm happy to discuss moral strategy (aka political theory) & agree that consequences would be the locus of value in that context. Still, there's room for theory beyond strategy.

    "Nature is a horror, and a negative assessment of it is a central reason for the existence of Efilism distinct from other forms of AN"

    I don't think the term is necessary. Most ANs who'd rather not identify as 'Efilist' understand perfectly the horridness of nature. Because efil is life backwards, the central theme of the position (philosophy?) is 'life' as categorically dumb/wrong/inefficient. Problem is, this just stretches the bull's eye supposedly woven to AN, so you get people criticizing AN by stressing how much they appreciate their own life. Enter Inmendham's insistence that "It's not about YOUR life, it's about you having kids". Sounds good in the moment, but it doesn't fly if Efilism is under scrutiny. The efilist does actually have to explain why the individual's life is "fail" or whatever. ANs generally absolve themselves of this task because AN criticizes only *features* of life rather than the totality of it. AN only takes issue with the interpersonal. Efilism extends this to the intrapersonal. A fool's errand.

    "relativistic forms of AN that regard procreation as an ought-not only "personally" "

    You conflate AN with the child-free movement. AN isn't relativistic in the sense that it doesn't operate on moral relativism, nor moral realism, nor moral nihilism, nor moral anti-realism. All of that is for the individual AN to sort out for herself.

    "Inmendham's disagreements with VHEMT are also clearly conveyed in the interview"

    I know, but it's ironic how he fully maintains his composure with VHEMT, & gets irate with most everyone else; people whose promotion or tolerance of human breeding did wonders for wildlife extinction. As the post argues.

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  38. From now on your name shall be Ivan. Ivan Gurlukovich! Yes, that name suits you and it has a nice ring to it.

    One last thing, why do you keep ignoring my point about you being lazy? Peoples reading this blog, am I right or am I right? Hahaha, the answer is obvious!

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  39. ABM, since writing this a month ago do you know if Inmendham has seen or (as is more likely to be the case when you consider his pathological aversion to the printed word) been TOLD about your post? I don't watch his vids very often these days, mainly because I much preferred the Bill Murray version of Groundhog Day. Nevertheless, I can bet my bottom dollar that if he was made aware of your charming little dig at his self-contradictory afternoon of tea and crumpets with the VHEMT guy then there would have been an automatic spewing forth of ill thought out expletive ridden verbiage in his defence. I certainly wouldn't want to miss that, so please, if there's been any post-posting interaction with him on this issue then don't keep us in the dark. Santa screwed me over once again and I would think of this as a very welcome late Christmas present.

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  40. "do you know if Inmendham has seen or (as is more likely to be the case when you consider his pathological aversion to the printed word) been TOLD about your post?"

    No clue as to whether he's seen or been told about it. I'm not going to shove it in his face because I'm not terribly interested in his reply. Also, I try not to self-advertise. Still, I'm interested in the replies of people who've been convinced by him that Efilism is insightful or necessary because plain AN doesn't cut it, apparently. This view is driven by the unfounded assumption that the average non-efilist AntiNatalist is unable to grasp the idea of animals as moral patients.

    Anyway, whenever I've brought up atypical counterpoints to him in the past (targeting, say, his praise of The Golden Rule), he'd belittle the entire project by launching into that irritating 'downplay tone' mode of his, followed by calling me a "whore for minutia" in TinyChat or wherever. It's funny on some level, but it's also annoying when you consider that he does end up shaping many newcomers' conceptions of these issues.

    "don't keep us in the dark"

    No worries. Appreciate the spectator interest.

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  41. What an odd way of telling me I am missed.

    You're a day early by the way.

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  42. Interesting post - I need to go through it again and figure out a lot of what you are saying - it's not exactly writing for the layman. I found your article researching an answer to how long humans would actually survive if people collectively stopped reproducing. I would love to hear your thoughts, and would be especially grateful if you posted them on my site (the latest article is on this topic). I'd also be interested (and a bit scared) to hear your thoughts on my recent articles on how human behavior is linked to the third law of thermodynamics.

    As for AN, I believe it goes against the laws of nature as much as our current horrific behaviors of self-inflicted suffering and degradation of the planet. Probably more, as the time over which the punishment is meted out would be swifter. Life and happiness are real, as are death and suffering. To me, the universe rewards behavior in line with its laws with the former, and behavior against its laws with the latter. Hence as death and suffering are certain outcomes of everyone following AN, AN must be against the wishes, if you will, of the universe.

    There are other principles I apply to reach a natalist conclusion. The first is the Golden Rule, which from your comment above you may disagree with, but which I hold to be THE essential universal law. I would have my parents follow a natalist path, thus creating my life. Therefore I should do likewise in paying that gift forward. The second principle is that if something is difficult, scary, an opportunity to learn, and I don't want to do it - it's probably the right thing to do. All of these apply to having a child.

    Apologies if I have misunderstood some of your points of view - a) they were difficult and b) I didn't take the necessary time to go through all of them sufficiently - just wanted to get my initial thoughts out the same day as I posted on similar material.

    Are you living in Japan?

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    1. Though my ego appreciates the ''not for layman'' impression, I'd like to think the post is fairly straightforward for anyone who has an interest ethics & perhaps those whose pet issue may be AN. No formal schooling required.

      ''As for AN, I believe it goes against the laws of nature''

      Well of course, that's the point. The laws of nature are ontologically agreeable, which says nothing about whether they're ethically agreeable:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature

      Natalism & AntiNatalism are ethical (or unethical) positions, they're not ontological positions. Parasitism for instance is ontologically sound, but you'd be hard pressed to find an ethicist clamouring for it in human affairs. So if the laws of nature allow for limitless parasitism involving sentient creatures who run on pure instincts, I can file that under 'bad' while still being a naturalist, materialist, physicalist, etc...

      If you've concluded that our views on ontology must shape our views on ethics, you'd be arguing against the above link. If so, I'm all ears.

      ''degradation of the planet''

      The planet is not a moral patient: http://www.animal-ethics.org/why-we-should-consider-sentient-beings-rather-than-ecosystems/

      Sentient beings on the other hand are, so if no creature exists on an uninhabitable planet earth years from now, this would be as inconsequential as is the absence of sentient beings on moon or mars, both of which are uninhabitable.

      ''Life and happiness are real, as are death and suffering''

      You think AN denies that life & happiness are real? AN as I've advanced it merely prioritizes the alleviation of all non-consensual suffering (or dispreferences) above the furtherance of any pleasures (or preferences) for which the former must be a package-deal. There's only one way to guarantee this, & it involves not opening the door to future risk. This is usually echoed through legal systems (i.e. first rule, do no harm). We're typically obligated not to harm others. We have no such obligations when it comes to benefitting others, especially in cases where the benefit ends up harming a 3rd party.

      It'd be ideal if we could just arrange to have Natalists confined to intrapersonal risk-exposure, as opposed to interpersonal risk-exposure. Sadly, this can only be pulled off by having life-affirmers take immortality pills. That way, the only welfare they'd subject to innumerable risks is their own. Until then, I don't accept the perpetuation of non-trivial harms in the wild, nor the perpetuation of the million or so suicides humans commit on a yearly basis after having been dealt enough blows.

      "the universe rewards behavior"

      Your vocabulary anthropomorphizes 'The Universe'. The universe is not an agent. Why should anyone take their intellectual marching orders from unintelligent forces?

      "Golden Rule"

      You realize that millions of people are itching to voluntarily end their lives via physician assisted suicide, right? Many have already gone through with it in Switzerland (where it's actually legal). Should they have dragged life-affirmers with them into non-existence? It would be in keeping with TGR.

      No, they shouldn't have, because we should do unto others as *they* would do unto themselves:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Platinum_Rule_(Golden_Rule_variation)

      Anything else is control-freak ethics, impositionism, paternalism, etc...

      I live in Canada btw. Never been to Japan. Curious as to how this is relevant?

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    2. Thanks for your reply and apologies for the delayed response.

      On the topic of planetary degradation it's an interesting distinction between caring for sentient beings vs the ecosystem in which they live. I had equated the two but now understand they can be separate issues. My hope would be to work for the preservation and flourishing of both, which I don't see as a contradiction. I think we can give equal importance to not destroying our water and energy stores, the earth's mineral content, plant life, and animals, all of which we and other sentient beings depend on for life. Indeed I see all of these things as imbued with a "life energy" that has brought them into this 3-D manifestation of existence, though I can't point to any reference that proves this.

      On universal law, I hold that there there is an intelligence in nature that fosters order and rising consciousness. This is supported in esoteric texts such as the Kybalion (https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Kybalion). I also think that we can draw a moral law from the physical laws of nature. Specifically, according to my friend's article on "Entropy and the Inevitability of Life" (http://www.bluebeltlife.com/the-meaning-of-life-according-to-thermodynamics/), the physical purpose of all life is to dissipate the excess energy of the sun in the most efficient way possible. Rising consciousness is a result of this tendency toward efficient dissipation. Humans are better at dissipation than our lower-consciousness brothers in the animal world, not because of our destructive tendencies but because of our enhanced ability to produce/build/create and do work in the world. It follows also from this theory that the great sin against the third law is the taking of life, with all its potential for dissipation. On this point I agree with you. The taking of other sentient life by humans, whether intentional or not, is a grave mistake, and one for which we do and will experience the consequences of, in line with the Golden Rule (Law of Karma, Principle of Cause and Effect, Law of Attraction, etc.).

      Speaking of which, you bring up an interesting counterexample to the Golden Rule. As your Wiki link points out, neither the Golden Rule nor the Platinum Rule are viable as universal moral guides, the former because it assumes all people feel the same, and the latter because enacting it requires perfect understanding of every individual. I prefer the original Karmic stating of the rule -"that which you do unto others will be done unto you". Though the time and scale over which this manifests make it difficult to perceive the way we can other natural laws such as gravity, we can perceive it with our intuition. If we do harm to others, harm will be done to us - in this way we can eventually learn from our missteps and grow in consciousness, or perish if the imbalance becomes too great.

      On the original topic of Antinatalism, I find an interesting paradox in the idea. AN asks for people to become enlightened enough to realize the harm they are causing in this world. And then after becoming so enlightened, stop ignoring the harm and do something about it. But if people had such wisdom, wouldn't we be able to harness our great imaginative capacity to turn things around?

      I think we are both calling people to do the same thing - learn, understand the impact we have, know that we can do something about it. We disagree on what that something is. I hold that humans can realize our role as caretakers of sentient life here, whereas you would say that we need to realize that the growth of the human population is incompatible with the growth in total sentience on the planet. You may be right ultimately, but what is obvious is that we will not make either realization without widespread (90%+) enlightenment of people. Given that we are hovering at fractions of a percent, we have a lot of work to do in spreading this message.

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  43. Nice article. :) I added a link to it from this page.

    A researcher at Sentience Politics is digging deeper into the WWF numbers to explore whether they hold up when we weight the Living Planet Index by abundance rather than weighting all species equally.

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    1. Thanks for linking to it. I just updated this one with a link to this post of yours: http://reducing-suffering.org/humanitys-net-impact-on-wild-animal-suffering/

      I'll add 'Sentience Politics' to my list of research items to follow up on.

      They're discussing WAS over on EA forums, without any real pushback. Looks like some headway is finally being made on this. Let's see if the Open Philanthropy Project is also receptive

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  44. Hi Antibullshitman, Do you have an email address that I can write to? I didn't find any contact information on this page.
    You can find my contact information here: http://www.simonknutsson.com/contact/

    Thank you.

    Best, Simon Knutsson

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    1. Hi Simon, message sent your way via the contact info you left. Thanks.

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