Open thread for episode #921: Duggar Family Values with Russell and Jen


We continue discussing Josh Duggar and the grotesqueness of using fundamentalists as live entertainment. (For earlier discussion on this blog, see “the problem with forgiveness as a core value.”)

Also: would nuclear war be the most moral action possible? And, a pen runs out of ink, proving God exists.

Comments

  1. says

    would nuclear war be the most moral action possible?

    Can anyone actually ask that question seriously?
    First off, offensive war is immoral. So that limits the question to whether nuclear weapons can be used defensively. Technically, no. So: no.

    I’m afraid I may have to listen to this, just so I can raise my blood pressure. It’s a cheap substitute for Viagra.

  2. Monocle Smile says

    Connor got a little weird, but I disagree with the hosts about his very first point concerning morality. He was saying that there’s no teleological “right” and “wrong” in that the universe doesn’t care what we do to each other. It’s all about our goals. Contrary to what Jen was saying, if the moral goal is to cause as much suffering as possible, then Josh Duggar’s actions were indeed moral. However, when we’re talking about morality in any pragmatic or meaningful sense, it only makes sense to hold well-being as the goal.

  3. pwuk says

    That ‘tard Conner reminded me of judge Death, all crime is committed by life, kill everything ; no more crime.

  4. Hippycow says

    The Duggars and their cult represent a perversion of the idea of “family.” Breeding like insects is a disgusting cult “strategy” for growing. These are reprehensible people who use their children as tools to try and outbreed the competition and should in no way be confused with a loving family. They are just mass producing people who they are allowed to legally subject to years of child abuse in the form of merciless indoctrination. Of course, Christianity is not the only cult that uses this contemptible tactic; it is very popular in Islam too. It is a shame that our society has not yet advanced to the point where this kind of violation of human rights is not seen as the abomination it is.

  5. michaelbuchheim says

    The whole nuclear war conversation made me think of Tom Lehrer’s “We Will All Go Togather When We Go”.

  6. paraless says

    The death guy needs a hug.

    He is seperating himself from the universe and acting as if the universe doesn’t have right or wrong. We ARE the universe. So, we can say, “Hey, I want to decide on some morals.”. And, there, the universe has morals.

    Seperating one’s self from the universe sounds like something a spiritualy or religiously minded person does.

    As an athiest, I am happy to know that I have the 13+ billion history of how I got here by way of the universe constructing me.

    There is an Adam Watts quote I can’t find that goes something like, “When I look at a mountain, it is the earth looking back on itself.”. That compliments my thought rather well.

  7. Kudlak says

    Unfortunately, Connor reminded me of that Whale Wars nut, Paul Watson, although to a greater extreme. Watson only feels that we should cull humanity down to a million, arguing that we’re basically a parasite species. I don’t think that he is at all concerned about human suffering.

  8. Kudlak says

    @ Hippycow #5
    To be fair, these modern Christian sects did not invent the concept of having super large families. It was quite common even within living history for couples to have at least a dozen kids. Those kids were, or course, put to work on the family farm, or other business. Education, especially for girls, was not a priority back then and there wasn’t really the stage in development we call “adolescence”. You were a child, and then you were a young adult in your teen years, with the same responsibilities that may 20-somethings still avoid in our culture. It was also quite common in those days for a few of those children to die relatively young from childhood disease and misfortune.

    Of course, this was a time before widespread availability of contraception, or the notion that a woman could be anything in addition to being a mother and wife. What the Duggars seem to be representing then is a step backwards to a time when the only purpose of women and children was to serve men, which may be biblical, but is also hopelessly out of date.

    One other thing, and I don’t know whether they’ve addressed it on the show (as I’m not a fan), but I assume that father Duggar sees himself as the breadwinner of the family despite most of their income coming from the show. If that’s the case, I wonder how he could justify such a view seeing that his wife and children put as much effort into the show as he does. I suppose he views them as just “helpers” in this thing he built?

  9. Kudlak says

    I find that the term “Quiverfull” is somewhat misleading. You can have a lot of children, relatively speaking, while still taking individual care in raising every single one, directing each towards achieving their individual goals. What the Duggars actually appear to have done is open full auto with a machine gun, allegorically speaking, with the hope that most of their children would end up where they want them to go in life without much individual guidance. Unfortunately, a few of their “shots” seem to have gone wide of the mark. Let’s hope that some of their younger children will come to see that success as a parent is measured in quality of children produced, not quantity.

  10. Blue says

    I’m still reeling from finding out that the internet had every detail right (even down to the Oprah trip), and yet it never occured to anyone that the sexual activity wasn’t consensual. The theory was that the sin in the camp was kissing with a same aged girl, and that the Oprah connection wasn’t true because why would Oprah care about teenagers kissing?

  11. MCD says

    Let’s hope they avoid drinking a quiverful of cool-aid once their tv money runs out

  12. ftrt says

    These were 4 of the most breath-takingly stupid calls I’ve ever heard on the show… millennials who like to hear themselves talk, but fail to engage others.

  13. HappyPerson says

    The way the hosts dealt with the guy who thought that god might exist because his pen miraculously ran out of ink to write “god does” instead of “god doesn’t” was pretty instructive. the guy sounded like someone who wanted to believe but got a dose of reality that he just couldn’t deny and two things strategies were pretty effective: if it was a miracle, then try to replicate the incident, and if you have an interesting notion, then it is a hypothesis/something that then needs evidence to support it. the guy sounded like he had some background in skeptical thought (he mentioned Sagan) but it goes to show how doubt/belief in woo can creep in if you are not vigilant if you ‘forget’ some of the rational principles just mentioned.

  14. says

    They are just mass producing people who they are allowed to legally subject to years of child abuse in the form of merciless indoctrination.

    Can I just point out that the child abuse suffered by those kids goes beyond “merciless indoctrination”? The Duggars subscribe to the Michael Pearl method of child rearing, i.e. beating children–even infants–with a rod or plumbing line to enforce complete obedience and the outward appearance of always looking joyful and happy.

  15. deesse23 says

    @16. Ibis3

    I just watched Episode 9, Season 5 of “game of thrones”. Reminds me much of ….what was his name……ah, yes, Theon Grejoys *career* 🙂

    Hope these “loving Christians” dont have acess to cable TV over there…….or….DO THEY????

  16. ironchops says

    On Jen’s topic:
    I find it odd that these “Quiver full” Christians (and most other large family Christians) don’t seem to be worried that Jesus is returning soon and all of their kids they brought into existence are going to suffer the end times events. Are we still under the “Be fruitful and multiply command”? God needed to let us know when to stop!
    It is clear that Josh is “living in the flesh”! What I find alarming is that he asked for help to control his urges and help didn’t come. Not from his parents or Jesus, if he prayed. I guess his parents allowed mammon (money) to influence their decision to get their son help for fear their show would be dropped. This reeks of pride and selfishness and which god are they worshipping anyway, the network?, money?, fame?…..oh yea, that other one….Elohim.

    To the dude that thinks nuclear war is not wrong…..DON’T BE STUPID MAN!
    I can see a point he made that we humans are perhaps in need of better population control/conservation or we may overrun the planet’s ability to support us. That plan should not involve killing whole populations. What that would be I can’t imagine. I think, but not sure, that some countries (China and India perhaps) already have something like that in place.

  17. Yos8 says

    I was so incredibly bummed to hear the way the hosts reacted to the Scottish fellow. I feel almost exactly like he does, I think, and I couldn’t understand why the hosts were so dismissive. They had a perfect opportunity to say, “I disagree with you and here’s why” (or even: “I disagree with you and don’t have a reason why.”) but instead they just got huffy and, in my opinion, kinda “holier than thou”, and ended the call.

    To this day, I haven’t encountered someone who can, without using religion, give me a good reason why reproduction is not at least slightly immoral.

    I feel like Connor kind of erroneously stumbled into the nuclear war thing, and the hosts latched onto it as a red herring ignoring his (admittedly too-weak) protests against their mischaracterization of his statements. To be clear, *I* don’t believe (and I don’t think Connor believes either) that the nuclear annihilation of humanity is moral or the right choice. He said that: he’s opposed to increasing human suffering. Killing and injuring people increases human suffering and hence he’s opposed to it.

    If the question was: if all humans stopped reproducing and died off naturally and happily (assuming loneliness and whatnot wasn’t an issue, which it of course would be) would human suffering be lessened? Yes, of course.

    From that perspective, it’s sort of a thought experiment. And I think that as the human population lessened I’d be inclined to say that the suffering of the remaining humans outweighs the existential suffering of future lives and, well, probably it’d start to be moral to procreate. I dunno. I haven’t thought enough about it.

    What I do know is that I don’t know why we’re here; I’m pleased as punch to be here; and I’m really fucking annoyed that I’m going to not be here someday. And, in the grand scheme of things, since I am alive and am pretty close to 100% guaranteed to have to die, I’d frankly just not endure this whole rigmarole to begin with. I’m not mad at my parents, but if you ask me whether I wish I was never born, I’d have to say “yes.”

    Finally: I’m probably going to have kids. My wife wants them. I’d prefer to adopt — because a lot of kids need families, and because I do want kids, but I find it hard to justify personally forcing life upon someone — but my wife wants to procreate and I don’t feel strongly that it’s completely immoral to do so.. I just lean that way.

    Anyway, again, I was really disappointed and embarrassed to hear the way that caller was treated. I just hated the way Russell and Jen got so huffy and exasperated. This is going to sound really snotty, and I apologize, but they sounded like Christians when you tell them that you don’t believe in God; just huffy, confused, and dismissive. I wish they could’ve been a little more intellectually curious.

  18. Kudlak says

    @ ironchops #19
    Yup, it’s an idea that’s making it’s rounds, particularly it seems amongst the more radical elements of the environmental movement. Like that idgit Paul Watson I mentioned. Let’s hope that these guys don’t get bored smoking weed and actually try making the movie 12 Monkeys a reality, eh?

  19. ironchops says

    @ Kudlak #20
    For real rite! I’ll bet they do not count themselves in the exterminated pile. Better yet they should lead the way to be the example. I would rather deal with most Christian zealots over this bullshit idea for cry’n out loud. That would be a good test for god, although highly undesirable. If we kill ourselves off and go extinct Jesus would return to an earth empty of man and have no one to harvest. He (God) may have to intervene to make sure his prophecy to “come to pass”.

  20. Kudlak says

    @ ironchops
    I’m old enough to remember what it was like during the Cold War, perhaps the time when we could have most easily reached that magical 10%. The weird thing is that all those old time televangelists were all in agreement that the “godless Soviets” were evil, would be playing a part in the imminent apocalypse (mind you, that was +30 years ago), and that nuclear war would be the means of our destruction.

    Jump ahead to today, and the rapture-ready are completely dismissing the environmental movement, claiming that God’s covenant with Noah that he would never destroy the world again with water somehow means that things like pollution and climate change aren’t a concern. Nowhere, however, did God tell anyone in the Bible that he wouldn’t let humans destroy their world, and he wouldn’t because he’s all about free choice to sin, and all that, right? Some of these same celebrity pastors and older Christians are forgetting that they took the threat of nuclear war just as seriously as everyone else did. Whether we destroy the world with our pollution or we destroy it with nuclear fallout doesn’t matter here as both would be human causes, but try making that distinction with them now and it just doesn’t seem to register. To them, we can pollute as much as we like and we needn’t fear astroid impacts, pandemics, or anything else either because they believe that only God can destroy the world.

    Stupid, eh?

  21. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Yos8

    since I am alive and am pretty close to 100% guaranteed to have to die, I’d frankly just not endure this whole rigmarole to begin with. I’m not mad at my parents, but if you ask me whether I wish I was never born, I’d have to say “yes.”

    I’m serious when I say that you might want to seek professional psychiatric help. You sound suicidal. There are hotlines that can help.

  22. Yos8 says

    I am 100% not suicidal. Read what I said — the whole point is that I think death sounds like it’s going to suck and I don’t wanna do it.

  23. Mas says

    EL, how did you interpret “I so much don’t want to die that I wish I hadn’t been born” as “I want to die as soon as possible”?
    Usually you don’t become offensive and dismissive this early in a thread.

  24. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Mas
    I am genuinely concerned. I do not understand. Preferring to never have been born sounds very worrying.

  25. Narf says

    @Yos8 – 20 & 25

    To this day, I haven’t encountered someone who can, without using religion, give me a good reason why reproduction is not at least slightly immoral.

    I think you’re coming at this from the wrong angle. Most things should be considered amoral, by default. Until I hear a convincing argument to make me consider it immoral, I don’t have to make an argument against it being immoral.

    I don’t have to make an argument for reproduction being moral, either. I don’t think that. I think it’s amoral. You have to get into specific conditions, before I would entertain the immorality of reproducing, when your children are going to be put into certain circumstances.

    I am 100% not suicidal. Read what I said — the whole point is that I think death sounds like it’s going to suck and I don’t wanna do it.

    Death doesn’t necessarily have to suck. A sniper rifle round to the brain is probably effectively painless. I’m sure there are plenty of other methods of death that are pretty painless, too. Some people’s hearts just stop, while they’re asleep.

  26. Kudlak says

    @Yos8 #25
    Dying may suck, but I really don’t believe that I’ll be able to feel anything once I’m dead, so I rather doubt that I won’t like it. I wasn’t alive for a very long time before I was born, after all.

  27. Monocle Smile says

    Yeah, I’m with EL. I’ve never understood anti-natalists who project their position onto other people, and I REALLY don’t understand people who say they wish they’d never been born if they aren’t in a constant state of horrific pain.

  28. Narf says

    What puzzles me is the perception he seems to have that dying will automatically be the worst possible experience we’ll ever have. It all depends how you die, of course.

    Being in a torturer’s pit for weeks, being kept alive while your body is slowly disassembled, would probably be the worst possible experience of your life, sure. Compare a heart attack to giving birth, though. Natural child birth probably hurts a hell of a lot more, for a longer period of time, than dying from a heart attack does.

    Ironically, I think his constant anxiety over dying is probably worse and is causing him more suffering than the actual process of dying is likely to. Sure, the act of dying will be a little scary and upsetting, knowing that you won’t be able to do those other things you wanted to do, but Christ. I find it puzzling that he could consider reproduction immoral simply on the basis that a child will have to die, eventually. It seems a ridiculous overreaction.

    Particularly given the world we live in now, our children are likely to have lives that are vastly net-positive experiences. That still doesn’t make it either a moral or immoral act, though. I don’t even see how he gets to it being a moral issue.

    Like I said in my first response, give us an argument that it’s immoral, first. Until you’ve presented a solid case for that, it’s ridiculous to demand that someone prove it isn’t immoral. Please, prove to me that god doesn’t exist. Same thing. We have a major failure of the comprehension of burden-of-proof, here.

  29. Narf says

    His one line:

    And, in the grand scheme of things, since I am alive and am pretty close to 100% guaranteed to have to die, I’d frankly just not endure this whole rigmarole to begin with. I’m not mad at my parents, but if you ask me whether I wish I was never born, I’d have to say “yes.”

    All I can say is, dude, get help.  😀  If you’d rather not have ever been born, just because you’re going to die one day … I don’t even know what to say to that.  It’s absurd.  I’m sorry he feels that way, but I can’t relate at all.

  30. Yos8 says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal: Thank you for your concern.

    @Narf – 28:
    I consider it immoral because I had no choice in whether I was born and wish I hadn’t been. And that decision has been made for people since the dawn of time. It’s the same as Connor’s; so there’s your argument, feel free to make an argument against it if you want.

    As well: I am sure death doesn’t have to suck. I think the odds are not high that I’ll catch a sniper round to the brain OR die peacefully in my sleep, but one can hope. But this doesn’t really address the concern of living with the knowledge that, no matter what I do, I am gonna die and I don’t want that. I wanna live forEVER. (The concept of living forever is slightly less terrifying than the concept of death, but still somewhat terrifying.) Regardless of my reasons though, I wish I hadn’t had to go through with all this.

    @Kudlak:
    I agree, I suspect it won’t be much of a problem for me when I’m dead. It’s the process along the way that is frustrating.

    @Monocle Smile:
    I hope you don’t feel like I’m “projecting my position” onto you, with all the negative baggage that I feel that statement carries. I’d like to know why you think that I am, if you do. Regarding wishing I’d never been born if I’m not in a state of constant pain: what’s not to understand? You think that live is for some reason worthwhile and I don’t. I’m making the best of my time here, but again, it wasn’t by choice.

    @Narf – 31, 32:
    No doubt the things you describe would be really terrible and, as you said, probably the worst experiences possible. But as for “net positive”, I’m free to ascribe my own values to my experiences. In the end, even though I really enjoy living, it’s not so fantastic for me that the idea of faffing about here for 50-100 years is worth dealing with the big mystery.

    Regarding the ridiculousness of “demanding” someone prove it not-immoral without evidence of its immorality: I don’t know how Connor and I both were too subtle in this. We never wanted to be here. We are happy enough while we’re here, but given the option of doing it in the first place or not, we would’ve chosen not to. …I get it: that’s a bummer for you guys. But I didn’t have the right to make that decision, and the wrong decision was made for me. You don’t know whether your children will feel like I do or not. So it’s a smidge immoral. That’s the argument. I find it incredibly obnoxious that you’ve claimed I don’t “comprehend” the burden of proof when I explained it above and when Connor explained it on the call. The choice was made for us. I hope I’ve spelled it out enough for you now.

    Per your final response: I get it, you don’t know what to say to it and you can’t relate. That’s fine. Don’t imply that I’m wrong in some way, though. Accept that parents make a decision for their children, and in some cases the kid wouldn’t have wanted that decision made. (…Like circumcision? I guess?) Anyway, because of that, it’s inherently a little bit immoral to do it. As I said, I’m gonna do it, myself, so obviously I don’t care that much, but I at least accept that that’s what it is.

    Finally: for those saying to “get help”, I would love to, I guess? i mean, being afraid of death isn’t pleasant. I hardly think about it, though, so I don’t really know what’s going to change. I simply believe that, the rest of the time, I’ve thought about this and come to a rational, albeit kind of dark, conclusion. Just like when I came to the conclusion that God didn’t exist. It’s too dark for most of the world; they can’t grok it. Doesn’t mean I need “help” though, I don’t think?

  31. Monocle Smile says

    We never wanted to be here. We are happy enough while we’re here, but given the option of doing it in the first place or not, we would’ve chosen not to

    See, this is just you talking nonsense. I don’t think you understand the nature of what’s at hand. This is Not Even Wrong territory, in my opinion.

    I hope you don’t feel like I’m “projecting my position” onto you, with all the negative baggage that I feel that statement carries. I’d like to know why you think that I am, if you do. Regarding wishing I’d never been born if I’m not in a state of constant pain: what’s not to understand?

    I’m not sure if a more extreme belief minority exists, so pretending as if this is easy to understand is rather disingenuous. Furthermore, you’re saying I’m immoral merely because I want to have kids some day and do what I can to make their lives as enriching, pleasant, and meaningful as possible. I almost want to tell you to go screw yourself, but I also think you need therapy and psychiatric treatment, so that would be unwarranted.

  32. Narf says

    I consider it immoral because I had no choice in whether I was born and wish I hadn’t been. And that decision has been made for people since the dawn of time. It’s the same as Connor’s; so there’s your argument, feel free to make an argument against it if you want.

    That’s insane.  You think that it’s immoral to bring anyone into existence, because the person can’t give his consent ahead of time, and any given person might wish he hadn’t been born.

    Your argument falls down flat, before we even get to the question of morality.  It fails at the point of simple functionality. Morality involves what is good for humans as individuals and the human race as a whole.  Extinction isn’t good for humanity, kind of by definition.

    Procreation isn’t immoral, because it’s necessary before we can even address morality.  Like I said, it’s amoral.  Your argument is completely unsound, on those grounds.  You haven’t even brought it to a question of morality, unless you’d like to redefine morality in some way that doesn’t require the existence of humans or some other species that can create morality.

    But this doesn’t really address the concern of living with the knowledge that, no matter what I do, I am gonna die and I don’t want that. I wanna live forEVER.

    Well, all I can say is that it’s time to put on your big-boy pants and suck it up.  Learn to deal with reality as it comes to us.  We were never promised fair, which is why we try to impose fairness on what bits of it we can control, as a moral species.  The universe doesn’t seem to give a damn about our sense of fairness.

    Regarding the ridiculousness of “demanding” someone prove it not-immoral without evidence of its immorality: I don’t know how Connor and I both were too subtle in this.

    There’s nothing ridiculous about putting the burden of proof where it belongs.

    We never wanted to be here. We are happy enough while we’re here, but given the option of doing it in the first place or not, we would’ve chosen not to. …I get it: that’s a bummer for you guys. But I didn’t have the right to make that decision, and the wrong decision was made for me. You don’t know whether your children will feel like I do or not. So it’s a smidge immoral. That’s the argument.

    Well, that argument fails, as I described.  *shrug*  You might not like the result of it: your existence … but that doesn’t make it immoral.

  33. Narf says

    @34 – MS

    I don’t think you understand the nature of what’s at hand. This is Not Even Wrong territory, in my opinion.

    Sounds like we’re about on the same page, although I was a bit more verbose about it, as is my want.  The question doesn’t even come to a question of morality, because it collapses into absurdity before we get there.

  34. k_machine says

    The problem with the Nuclear Scotsman’s argument is that if there is not right and wrong, why is suffering bad? Why is overpopulation bad?

  35. Kudlak says

    @Yos8 #33
    “The process along the way”?

    If you mean that we’re dying a little every day then, sure, life has its frustrations but, like most things, it wouldn’t be worth doing if it were easy, right?

  36. says

    Yeah, so this got pretty weird pretty fast.

    I don’t consider myself as being particularly privileged (but the privileged rarely do). I have a job in local government which I mostly enjoy and which I can look at and say ‘Yeah. My job helps people in my area. I don’t work every day simply to put money in shareholder’s pockets’. I have been in a happy relationship for almost 15 years.
    I have my family close enough, but also far enough away…

    Life IS good.

    I have a Catholic colleague who once told me that if she didn’t believe in heaven she wouldn’t be able to cope with this ‘hell on earth’. This was from a 21year old girl who got a job straight out of university, on a good wage, with a long term boyfriend in the RAF, who had just bought her first house, owns her own car and has a wonderful relationship with her family.

    This whole ‘veil of tears’ crap annoys me.

    Connor started well – and I don’t agree that he was sidetracked by the nuclear option – but, procreation as an imorral act due to potential pain diminishes the positive experiences of living to mere occasional byproducts, not worthy of mention.

    This post may be influenced slightly by the fact that I’m curently in the Lake District – one of the more beautiful areas in the UK.

    I wish I could link last night’s sunset.

  37. Kudlak says

    @Narf #32
    What he seems to need is a purpose to live, right?

    Maybe we can all pitch in and buy the guy a puppy… 😉

  38. ironchops says

    @ Narf #36
    I like the short answer much better.
    @Yos8 & all that apply
    Don’t focus on dying for crying out loud! Focus on living and do so to the best of your ability. I am not afraid of dying per say, just of the pain/suffering I may have to endure to get there. After that no problem!

  39. Yos8 says

    Haha! you guys! Enjoyed the sunset.

    @Monocle Smile

    See, this is just you talking nonsense. I don’t think you understand the nature of what’s at hand. This is Not Even Wrong territory, in my opinion.

    Well, I see you’re taking a highly-intellectual, nuanced view of this, and engaging my contentions point-by-point. Tell me, did my mother smell of elderberries, too? But in all seriousness: I came here to discuss my weird views with an intelligent, open-minded crowd to find out if people agree and, if not, am I making an inherently flawed point. I get that this is The Internet and you want to be a dick, but you can at least address my points while you’re doing it. Check out Narf’s posts; that guy’s a total asshole while still seeming pretty reasonable.

    I’m not sure if a more extreme belief minority exists, so pretending as if this is easy to understand is rather disingenuous.

    While I appreciate the completely unsourced implication that a more extreme belief minority doesn’t exist .. But given that it’s completely unsourced, it’s not fair to call it “disingenuous”. Anyway, I never used to talk about this at all until 8 or 9 months ago when I had dinner with three girls who I used to work with, one of whom was pregnant. The issue of me having a kid someday came up, too, and I did what I usually do, to be polite, is kind of dodge my opinion on the subject. But the pregnant one pressed, and so I explained that I had a weird belief about it being “kind of immoral, maybe”.

    It was the craziest thing, because she was like, “You mean, because you’re forcing life on a baby? The whole death thing?” and I was like, “Yeah!” She goes, “Yeah. I struggled with that a lot too. But, in the end I decided to do it obviously!” Which I said was reasonable. Then, wonder of wonders, another one of the girls said she knew exactly what we were talking about. (The third one thought we were all sick.) So, I really have no way of knowing how lunatic-fringe-minority this concept actually is.

    But the real point is, either way it doesn’t matter. Just because it’s a minority opinion doesn’t make it wrong.

    Furthermore, you’re saying I’m immoral merely because I want to have kids some day and do what I can to make their lives as enriching, pleasant, and meaningful as possible.

    …Not really. I’m not saying you’re immoral. I’m just saying that I believe or believed the act to be inherently a hair on the immoral side. Sorry.

    @Narf:

    Your argument falls down flat, before we even get to the question of morality. It fails at the point of simple functionality. Morality involves what is good for humans as individuals and the human race as a whole. Extinction isn’t good for humanity, kind of by definition.

    Procreation isn’t immoral, because it’s necessary before we can even address morality. Like I said, it’s amoral. Your argument is completely unsound, on those grounds. You haven’t even brought it to a question of morality, unless you’d like to redefine morality in some way that doesn’t require the existence of humans or some other species that can create morality

    Who says morality involves what’s good for the human race as a whole? Why do you get to assert that? I agree that morality involves what’s good for humans. The least human suffering, the greatest human happiness.

    If the continuation of the human race is for some reason moral — which, again, I reject — I could see your point. But I’m able to “address morality” just fine from the standpoint of *being alive*, no? Obviously you disagree, but I’d like to at least address either my logical mistake (so I can correct it) or else the fundamental impasse that exists between us. Did we hit it? Is it I believe morality doesn’t involve the continuation of humanity and you do — or am I making a mistake here?

    Well, all I can say is that it’s time to put on your big-boy pants and suck it up. Learn to deal with reality as it comes to us. We were never promised fair, which is why we try to impose fairness on what bits of it we can control, as a moral species. The universe doesn’t seem to give a damn about our sense of fairness.

    …You realize I’m a person, right? Like you’re talking to a person who you’ve never met before when you say “put on your big-boy pants and suck it up”?

    I’ve dealt with reality. Have you? My conclusion is that this is nice but I don’t see the point of it and for me, it’s probably not worthwhile. Obviously, that concept is terrifying to most of the people here. But it doesn’t really bother me. It’ something I intellectually recognize and accept, and it has weighed into my decision on whether to procreate.

    @Kudlak – 38:

    If you mean that we’re dying a little every day then, sure, life has its frustrations but, like most things, it wouldn’t be worth doing if it were easy, right?

    Not “dying every day” really, which implies degeneration to me. I guess I just have the nihilistic mindset that none of this matters, and so I just do what I do and work to be the happiest and healthiest I can be for as long as possible, just because I can’t think of anything else to do.

    @Simon Firth:
    I agree, that person sounds insufferable. Life is not just good for me; it’s great. Like, it’s not even fair how good my life is. I would not made any statements about actioning on the basis of procreation’s immorality. I just believe that society should be more pessimistic with regard to having babies, because we live in a world where it’s, in general, seen as kind of a blessing or something when it happens. And the people that SHOULDN’T be having babies because — aside from the reasons I pointed out before — they can’t even provide *close* to a net-positive life, are culturally conditioned to believe they should be reproducing.

    @Kudlak – 40:
    My wife says no puppy. 🙁 But yes to babies, so we’ll have to make do.

  40. says

    I understand that there’s a lot of pressure on couples to have children from people who have them, so perhaps should know better… As a 41 year old, last male of my name, with a 35 year old partner, there’s a certain amount of well-meaning pressure from people who see having kids as simply what you do…

    I don’t, however, see it as a moral question.

    I do agree that people should put a lot of thought into whether to have children, and why they want to. As I would if you wanted to – to use Tim Minchin’s example – invest in a digital camera.

    Explain to me, though, given what you’ve written so far, how you’re less insufferable than my colleague?

  41. Yos8 says

    Haha, I can’t promise that I’m less insufferable than my colleague. I don’t see how we’re actually comparable, even. But it sounds like your colleague goes out of her way to bemoan her terrible lot in life when, in fact, she is exceedingly lucky to have half of what she has.

    I try to appreciate everything I have and to give back to the world every day, if I can. I just happen to believe that there’s no purpose to any of this and, as such, I’d rather have not had to do it. It impacts my life almost not at all, except (a) I thought a lot about whether I was comfortable procreating and (b) sometimes it comes up when people ask my thoughts on procreation.

    Insufferability is directly tied to your perception of me, however, so I may certainly still be insufferable. In which case: I guess I apologize.

  42. Kudlak says

    @Yos8 #43
    If working to “be the happiest and healthiest (you) can be” isn’t enough to make it all worthwhile then its up to you to find other things to add meaning to your life. In the meantime, there’s no reason to believe that what you are currently doing is meaningless. You have a wife and others around you who are affected by what you do and, to some degree, they all depend on your contribution to the meaning of their lives as well, right?

    Babies are great too but, like all things worth doing, parenthood has its challenges as well. It can definitely add meaning to your life, but you have to accept that it won’t be easy. Anything that anyone can honestly call an accomplishment never is.

    I’m not sure if you do, but I think that it’s kinda unrealistic to expect somebody else to point out the one thing missing in your life which would give it meaning. People who claim that just one thing gives their lives meaning are either ignoring all the other things that bring them happiness and a sense of purpose, or are possibly obsessed with something to levels that are likely unhealthy to their mental state.

    Take care.

  43. Narf says

    @k_machine – 37

    The problem with the Nuclear Scotsman’s argument is that if there is not right and wrong, why is suffering bad? Why is overpopulation bad?

    They’re bad because we’ve set human suffering as the goal of our moral system … or rather, we’ve made it the primary consideration of our moral system, minimizing human suffering. Morality is something we make up, and we have to plug certain presuppositions and goals into it, if we want to get out anything meaningful. We should just try to make those inputs as basic as we possibly can, then extrapolate from there.

    We also plug in things like personal freedom, since most humans seem to enjoy that. We can add the corollary of minimizing suffering, which is maximizing personal joy and contentment for the most people possible.

    There are additional guidelines, like the veil of ignorance, which I quite like. In designing any system, we should assume that we don’t know where we’re going to be within society, so we should avoid crushing the minorities, and we shouldn’t pull down those on the top of the heap too badly, since that would kill any drive to try getting ahead in life.

    So, suffering fits in at a very basic level, and overpopulation is a bad thing because it will massively affect the quality of life of those in the society, increasing suffering and decreasing joy and contentment, on average. There are basic considerations that prevent most people from wanting to clamp down too badly on the overpopulation problem, and everything needs to be considered and weighed.

  44. Narf says

    @40 – Kudlak

    What he seems to need is a purpose to live, right?
    Maybe we can all pitch in and buy the guy a puppy…

    I dunno, he seems to be okay on the positive side. He just can’t seem to stop obsessing about the negative. At some point, everyone has to sort out their own shit. I can’t do it for him.

    He’s just gone so freaking over the top though, suggesting that it’s immoral to force anyone to be born, leading to the implication that we should cease all reproduction immediately, just because a certain small percentage of people will be resentful of the gift of existence. I don’t know what to tell him.

    I enjoy living (and remember, I’m bipolar, so if anyone has an excuse to be resentful of stuff, it’s me), and I want to continue doing so for as long as possible. I figure that most likely, any children I have will appreciate living, for the most part. At a certain point, you just have to roll the dice.

  45. Yos8 says

    Thanks Kudlak! The problem isn’t that the DAYS OF MY LIFE don’t have meaning. I feel like my days are super full and satisfying. I just cannot ascribe any meaning to things that I did once I’m gone.. I think? Like, I’ll die, and none of this stuff will have mattered. Or: it will in the short-term — hopefully I will have given happiness to some people who are still alive, and decreased the suffering of others and of people yet to come — but eventually I just recurse back a few generations and come to the conclusion that all of our collective actions didn’t really have any great meaning. We just “were”. …Which, again, I cannot stress enough how little this affects and bothers me day-to-day.

    So: I’m not asking strangers on the Internet to point out the thing missing in my life that will give it meaning. I’m merely positing that there’s nothing in the human condition that indicates this is working toward a positive end-goal, hence reproduction is not inherently moral, and because some of us would choose to not be born, I believe it’s slightly immoral to reproduce, y’dig?

  46. Yos8 says

    @Narf
    I don’t know where I’ve gone “over-the-top”, but suspect it’s just in your emotional reaction to what I’m saying. I’m attempting precision with my language, and I’m trying to be conservative in the quantity and strength of my postulations. I didn’t say we should cease reproduction immediately (although Connor may have wanted that; I didn’t get to hear). I have said that (1) I believe the act to be a shade immoral and (2) if humans didn’t exist there would be no human suffering.

    I also said, however, that I’m likely going to reproduce and that I believe the issue of morality might swing back to the other side if everybody actually stopped having babies. I didn’t go into detail on the subject, but I guess my belief is that if the people who are alive need (or would suffer less by having) more humans in their society, then the immorality of forcing life on their offspring (given the [unlikely] probability of said offspring feeling like I feel) would be outweighed by the societal need for people.

    I guess I believe that ensuring the happiness and well-being of existing society is more moral than the potential happiness/well-being of theoretical future people? Maybe? Sounds a little suspicious, actually, but I think in general I feel this way.

    I don’t know if I was going to be blessed by another reply from you, but if not is it safe to say you accept that there’s nothing logically flawed about my value system and that, under my value system reproduction is immoral? Because you didn’t address this at least in your last message.

  47. ironchops says

    At Yos8 #49
    I can’t agree that reproduction in of itself is immoral. Getting your neighbor’s wife pregnant (without their consent), Raping someone or neglecting the resultant child is immoral or at very least unethical, IMO. I don’t remember ever have a choice in this matter but I am thankful of my life and I have had a lot of fun. I have had some shit storms and health problems from time to time too and those certainly sucked. All in All I am glad to be alive and look forward to more.

  48. Narf says

    @43 – Yos8

    Who says morality involves what’s good for the human race as a whole? Why do you get to assert that? I agree that morality involves what’s good for humans. The least human suffering, the greatest human happiness.

    I get to assert that, because that’s the primary consideration of my moral framework, and anyone who doesn’t have that as a primary consideration of their moral framework doesn’t have a moral system that I can respect.

    We’re making this shit up, as we go.  I’m assuming you’re not a theist, so Divine Command Theory is right out the window.  Someone has to assert the moral presuppositions, and it’s us.

    You seem to agree with using ‘minimizing suffering and maximizing happiness’ as a presupposition, so where’s the argument coming from?

    If the continuation of the human race is for some reason moral — which, again, I reject — I could see your point. But I’m able to “address morality” just fine from the standpoint of *being alive*, no? Obviously you disagree, but I’d like to at least address either my logical mistake (so I can correct it) or else the fundamental impasse that exists between us. Did we hit it? Is it I believe morality doesn’t involve the continuation of humanity and you do — or am I making a mistake here?

    You’re making a mistake here, yes.

    I never said that the continuation of the human race is moral.  I said that we can’t have morals if the human race does not continue (or some other race that’s capable of constructing our sort of moral system).  Since we’re humans, we’re mostly interested in human morality, and thus we’re stuck with that context.

    Outside of the human race (or a similar social species), nothing can be either moral or immoral.  The huge rock that wiped out most of the non-avian the dinosaurs did not commit an immoral act.

    The continuation of the human species is not a moral action.  The continuation of the human species is not an immoral action.  It’s amoral, and it’s also a precursor of moral behavior, from our perspective, both positive and negative.

    If you want to talk about reproducing within a certain environment, in which you can be pretty sure that your children’s lives will be absolute shit, we can have an argument about the morality of that decision.  If you want to address the general act of reproduction as a whole, then we’re dead right out of the gate.  That’s too basic for it to be a question of morality.  If you’d like to propose a moral presupposition that will address the issue and get around the problem of existential necessity, then I’d like to hear it.

    …You realize I’m a person, right? Like you’re talking to a person who you’ve never met before when you say “put on your big-boy pants and suck it up”?

    I guess, if you want to push on the subject, I don’t know that you’re a person, no.  I’m willing to move on the assumption that you aren’t a bot, though, for the sake of argument.

    Going with that assumption, you’re a person who said something that I consider silly, and a little mockery is due.  Thus, I used a bit of mockery.  Feel free to return the favor, sometime.

    I’ve dealt with reality. Have you? My conclusion is that this is nice but I don’t see the point of it and for me, it’s probably not worthwhile. Obviously, that concept is terrifying to most of the people here. But it doesn’t really bother me. It’ something I intellectually recognize and accept, and it has weighed into my decision on whether to procreate.

    I don’t really think it’s all that terrifying for most of the people here.  I don’t like the idea of nonexistence, but it’s far from a source of fear.  Most of the people in the atheist community who have massive issues with death are those who have recently broken out of their childhood brainwashing.  Some people have some seriously fucked up issues, extending into a pretty good case of PTSD.  Rich Lyons, of Living After Faith, comes to mind.  He was a Pentecostal preacher, so you can imagine what sort of horror was driven into his head from a young age.

    I was raised Catholic, but I never really believed and was secure in my disbelief by the age of 12 or so.  Most of the emotional bullshit slid right off.

    When you talk about not seeing the point, I think you just need to adjust your scope.  Does anything ultimately have a point?  No, of course not.  Being here right now, doing stuff right now, enjoying the fact that I’m doing things to try to improve the future — even if the future itself is finite — is enough of a point for me.

  49. Narf says

    @41 – ironchops

    @ Narf #36
    I like the short answer much better.

    Yos seems to prefer the elaboration.  😛

  50. Narf says

    @49 – Yos8

    I’m merely positing that there’s nothing in the human condition that indicates this is working toward a positive end-goal, hence reproduction is not inherently moral, and because some of us would choose to not be born, I believe it’s slightly immoral to reproduce, y’dig?

    I don’t see how our understanding of the universe allows for either a positive or negative end-goal. The heat death of the universe just is … or will be. A thin soup of subatomic particles isn’t really a positive or negative thing.

    If anything, I think far more people are glad they were born and would do it again, if they could. I think they vastly outnumber those who would wish for not having been brought into existence. If we were going to make it a moral consideration, which I don’t think we can, wouldn’t that make it a significantly moral thing?

  51. Narf says

    I didn’t say we should cease reproduction immediately (although Connor may have wanted that; I didn’t get to hear). I have said that (1) I believe the act to be a shade immoral and (2) if humans didn’t exist there would be no human suffering.

    It leads to that conclusion, though.  If an act is inherently immoral, in an absolute sense, shouldn’t we stop doing it and try to prevent others from doing it?

    I also said, however, that I’m likely going to reproduce and that I believe the issue of morality might swing back to the other side if everybody actually stopped having babies.

    I still don’t think it would be a moral issue, if everyone suddenly decided to stop reproducing, and we died out.  *shrug*  It would be weird, and I would have other problems with the proposition, but those aren’t on moral grounds.

    I didn’t go into detail on the subject, but I guess my belief is that if the people who are alive need (or would suffer less by having) more humans in their society, then the immorality of forcing life on their offspring (given the [unlikely] probability of said offspring feeling like I feel) would be outweighed by the societal need for people.
    I guess I believe that ensuring the happiness and well-being of existing society is more moral than the potential happiness/well-being of theoretical future people? Maybe? Sounds a little suspicious, actually, but I think in general I feel this way.

    Sure.  But then we’re into questions of overpopulation, rather than reproduction in general.  That’s a separate issue.

    I don’t know if I was going to be blessed by another reply from you, but if not is it safe to say you accept that there’s nothing logically flawed about my value system and that, under my value system reproduction is immoral? Because you didn’t address this at least in your last message.

    Give me time to get through the queue, man.  😛  I do have a life, you know.
    Wait … I tell a lie …

    Anyway, there is something logically flawed in the value system you’ve laid out, as I explained in #52.  You’re trying to force everything into a moral/immoral dichotomy.  Some thing’s just aren’t, which is when we use the a- prefix.

  52. Kudlak says

    @Yos8 #49
    Ah, you want some guarantee of immortality! Sorry, only religious types make such promises, and why do you care what people think of you once you’re dead? You won’t have any functioning synapses to care, right?

    I guess you can join the transhumanists, and hope to download your consciousness in a few decades, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. Such a thing would largely benefit the super rich who could afford it, but even if it were to become cheap, who is possibly going to have the time to maintain relationships with all these people living under extended warranty? Who are you gonna talk to as a consciousness trapped in a network when we already block every popup and junk email that comes our way as it is? What kind of existence would it be to just be another bit of internet clutter that nobody wants to listen to?

    As it stands, the only people who are really remembered long after they’re gone are the famous and the infamous, but there’s no guarantee that you’d be happy being remembered as either. If you happen to have a long dead relative whom people still talk about in a positive way you might want to try copying their example. Do interesting stuff. Be an interesting person. Become a focal point in as many people’s lives as you can, and it may help to help establish a future generation who might remember you. That may not be as awesome as getting to live forever is made out to be, but it may be a lot better than you imagine anyway.

  53. k_machine says

    They’re bad because we’ve set human suffering as the goal of our moral system … or rather, we’ve made it the primary consideration of our moral system, minimizing human suffering. Morality is something we make up, and we have to plug certain presuppositions and goals into it, if we want to get out anything meaningful. We should just try to make those inputs as basic as we possibly can, then extrapolate from there.

    We also plug in things like personal freedom, since most humans seem to enjoy that. We can add the corollary of minimizing suffering, which is maximizing personal joy and contentment for the most people possible.

    There are additional guidelines, like the veil of ignorance, which I quite like. In designing any system, we should assume that we don’t know where we’re going to be within society, so we should avoid crushing the minorities, and we shouldn’t pull down those on the top of the heap too badly, since that would kill any drive to try getting ahead in life.

    So, suffering fits in at a very basic level, and overpopulation is a bad thing because it will massively affect the quality of life of those in the society, increasing suffering and decreasing joy and contentment, on average. There are basic considerations that prevent most people from wanting to clamp down too badly on the overpopulation problem, and everything needs to be considered and weighed.

    So the original argument made by Connor on the show was: right and wrong doesn’t exist, and it is better to be dead or not being born at all so that you do not experience suffering. Left out was any reason why suffering is bad. If we say “death is better than life”, why say “suffering is worse than not suffering”. In your reply you write that we’ve made minimizing human suffering the main goal of our morality. But we’ve also set the preservation of life as a goal. The question is why we have done this, for what reason is the reduction of suffering meaningful while the preservation of life is not? This also goes for things like freedom and joy: if there is no right or wrong, why does it matter whether people are free and happy?

  54. Kudlak says

    @Yos8
    Depends on what you mean by a positive end goal, doesn’t it? If you’re a realist, and recognize that your consciousness probably won’t continue to exist in any meaningful way after you die, then you’d count your personal end goals at the end of your life, correct? Did you manage to enjoy life? Did you avoid becoming a total dick? Did people love you?

    However, if you’re thinking of some kind of accumulative end goal, something that counts towards every human being that has ever or will live having an everlasting impact on the world, then sorry, that’s another of religion’s empty promises. My best advice to you is to get your head out of the clouds and stop lamenting something that you know you probably weren’t going to get anyway.

  55. Monocle Smile says

    But in all seriousness: I came here to discuss my weird views with an intelligent, open-minded crowd to find out if people agree and, if not, am I making an inherently flawed point. I get that this is The Internet and you want to be a dick, but you can at least address my points while you’re doing it. Check out Narf’s posts; that guy’s a total asshole while still seeming pretty reasonable

    This is getting a bit close to troll territory. Your later posts bring it back a bit, but you certainly care an awful lot about tone for someone who doesn’t think life is worth living. If life is meaningless, why does it matter if I’m a dick? Why are you even responding? I don’t buy this “I don’t have anything better to do” crap. On some level, you’re being disingenuous.

  56. Yos8 says

    @52 Narf:

    I get to assert that, because that’s the primary consideration of my moral framework, and anyone who doesn’t have that as a primary consideration of their moral framework doesn’t have a moral system that I can respect.
    We’re making this shit up, as we go. I’m assuming you’re not a theist, so Divine Command Theory is right out the window. Someone has to assert the moral presuppositions, and it’s us.
    You seem to agree with using ‘minimizing suffering and maximizing happiness’ as a presupposition, so where’s the argument coming from?

    Not a theist. Agree we assert our own moral presuppositions. The argument is coming from “human race as a whole” implies continuance of, and I don’t care about that. I care about the happiness of the individuals alive. But I think we work out this confusion in your next paragraph of reply, so I think we’re understood.

    Outside of the human race (or a similar social species), nothing can be either moral or immoral. The huge rock that wiped out most of the non-avian the dinosaurs did not commit an immoral act.
    The continuation of the human species is not a moral action. The continuation of the human species is not an immoral action. It’s amoral, and it’s also a precursor of moral behavior, from our perspective, both positive and negative.

    Agreed; this is how I see things.

    If you want to talk about reproducing within a certain environment, in which you can be pretty sure that your children’s lives will be absolute shit, we can have an argument about the morality of that decision. If you want to address the general act of reproduction as a whole, then we’re dead right out of the gate. That’s too basic for it to be a question of morality. If you’d like to propose a moral presupposition that will address the issue and get around the problem of existential necessity, then I’d like to hear it.

    Good point, and I guess I [wrongly] came into this with some sort of internal presupposition that we’re talking about “my” environment. (Meaning, the environment of a person living comfortably in the Western world (or a comparable situation). I presume this corresponds roughly to the situation of most of the readers here.)
    I regret and apologise for my use of the term “inherently”, earlier, because I agree that procreation is inherently amoral. This is likely a source of great confusion. My belief is that in the situation of comfortable, well-off parents in a world where needy children are reasonably available for adoption, to procreate carries a little bit of a burden of immorality. Perhaps we can talk about that point specifically?

    Going with that assumption, you’re a person who said something that I consider silly, and a little mockery is due. Thus, I used a bit of mockery. Feel free to return the favor, sometime.

    Not unreasonable, especially given how much of a dick I can be. For some reason the intentional infantilisation of someone who’s engaging you completely respectfully and vulnerably on a topic seems to go a little beyond the pale for me — but all it makes me want to do is call you out on being a beyond-the-pale dickhead, so I’ll deal with it!

    I don’t really think it’s all that terrifying for most of the people here. I don’t like the idea of nonexistence, but it’s far from a source of fear. Most of the people in the atheist community who have massive issues with death are those who have recently broken out of their childhood brainwashing. Some people have some seriously fucked up issues, extending into a pretty good case of PTSD. Rich Lyons, of Living After Faith, comes to mind. He was a Pentecostal preacher, so you can imagine what sort of horror was driven into his head from a young age.
    I was raised Catholic, but I never really believed and was secure in my disbelief by the age of 12 or so. Most of the emotional bullshit slid right off.

    OK, but to be clear I didn’t mean non-existance as terrifying. I mean the idea of accepting that all existence is meaningless on a grand scale and that some people might think it not worthwhile. Hence all the “you’ve got mental problems.” I’m open to the idea, but I don’t think I do given my comfort with the subject. I’m just engaging the crowd of [otherwise] like-minded creatures.

    When you talk about not seeing the point, I think you just need to adjust your scope. Does anything ultimately have a point? No, of course not. Being here right now, doing stuff right now, enjoying the fact that I’m doing things to try to improve the future — even if the future itself is finite — is enough of a point for me.

    I mean, sure, I could adjust my scope. But why? So I can feel good about having babies? I don’t really feel bad about it, but I did have to think about it a bit.

    @53 Narf:

    @41 – ironchops
    @ Narf #36
    I like the short answer much better.
    Yos seems to prefer the elaboration.

    Yes, I do, thank you.

    @54 Narf:

    I don’t see how our understanding of the universe allows for either a positive or negative end-goal. The heat death of the universe just is … or will be. A thin soup of subatomic particles isn’t really a positive or negative thing.
    If anything, I think far more people are glad they were born and would do it again, if they could. I think they vastly outnumber those who would wish for not having been brought into existence. If we were going to make it a moral consideration, which I don’t think we can, wouldn’t that make it a significantly moral thing?

    Yes, I agree it’s amoral, and I think you may be right that the people alive who prefer to have been born probably outnumbers the opposite by a vast amount. But I don’t know how I can say that the odds of the “right” (non-bummer) mindset being produced would produce higher morality than otherwise because their existence is fundamental to their experiencing happiness (and hence is purely amoral?) whereas the existence of the bummers is the cause of the first modicum of suffering for them. I guess?

    @55:

    I still don’t think it would be a moral issue, if everyone suddenly decided to stop reproducing, and we died out. *shrug* It would be weird, and I would have other problems with the proposition, but those aren’t on moral grounds.

    Yeah, agreed. And apologies again on misusing “inherently”.

    Give me time to get through the queue, man. ? I do have a life, you know.
    Wait … I tell a lie …
    Anyway, there is something logically flawed in the value system you’ve laid out, as I explained in #52. You’re trying to force everything into a moral/immoral dichotomy. Some thing’s just aren’t, which is when we use the a- prefix.

    Right, sorry, haha.

    @56 kudlak:

    Ah, you want some guarantee of immortality! Sorry, only religious types make such promises, and why do you care what people think of you once you’re dead? You won’t have any functioning synapses to care, right?

    No, I don’t desire immortality; I find the idea vaguely horrifying as well, in an abstract sense. I just prefer it to dying. I do not care what people think of me once I’m dead; I apologize if I gave that impression. (Although… I don’t know where I did.)

    @58 kudlak:

    Depends on what you mean by a positive end goal, doesn’t it? If you’re a realist, and recognize that your consciousness probably won’t continue to exist in any meaningful way after you die, then you’d count your personal end goals at the end of your life, correct? Did you manage to enjoy life? Did you avoid becoming a total dick? Did people love you?
    However, if you’re thinking of some kind of accumulative end goal, something that counts towards every human being that has ever or will live having an everlasting impact on the world, then sorry, that’s another of religion’s empty promises. My best advice to you is to get your head out of the clouds and stop lamenting something that you know you probably weren’t going to get anyway.

    Yes, accumulative. I have a pretty aggressive set of my own life goals, I guess, mostly surrounding money and trying to make things better for people. But re: empty promises and religion – I was never religious so I don’t know what that’s like. Why get my head out of the clouds, though? I asked this of Narf too. It would make me comfortable with procreation, but I don’t see why that’s necessarily preferable.

    @59 Monocle Sclerosis:

    This is getting a bit close to troll territory. Your later posts bring it back a bit, but you certainly care an awful lot about tone for someone who doesn’t think life is worth living. If life is meaningless, why does it matter if I’m a dick? Why are you even responding? I don’t buy this “I don’t have anything better to do” crap. On some level, you’re being disingenuous.

    …All right, well, I dunno what to tell you. You don’t interact with people much off the Internet, do you? In what world are there trolls that spend hours engaging in detailed, more-or-less respectful dialogue with others who seem to be able to fruitfully engage the troll back?

    “Why does it matter if you’re a dick?” Are you the neighborhood theist? Please see the handful of other comments on this page alone about the morality of lessening suffering in humans. The answer is because I find it unpleasant and I am not otherwise getting anything out of your posts. Please, though, continue to spot my replies from the sidelines for any impending forays into “troll” territory and keep us apprised.

  57. Kudlak says

    @Yos8
    If its just the act of dying you’re worrying about then you have to admit that there is a wide range of possible ways you could go, with only a fraction of them involving a long, painful end. Odds are that you won’t suffer in any of the really horrific ways, so why worry about it? Everyone eventually stops driving as well, but not everyone stops because they die in a crash, and that possibility isn’t a rational reason for regretting you ever got your licence, right?

    Having an aggressive set of life goals involving money and other measures of success is linked to what is commonly referred to as the “American Dream”, correct? It’s a cultural promise that’s reached an almost religious status, and I think that a lot of people would say, especially in today’s economy, that it’s unattainable for most people. Defining the success of your life upon becoming rich and influential isn’t very practical then, so get your head out of those clouds.

  58. Yos8 says

    …Again, I’m not really concerned about dying or how I die. It’s not up to me and I don’t really concern myself with it.

    Regarding The American Dream: Uh, OK. I don’t really know what to say to you. I define success pretty much solely as happiness, and it takes very little to make me happy. I really don’t know where you’re getting this “head in the clouds” stuff.

  59. al jones says

    Yos8.
    Yes, I agree that Connor raised a philosophical conundrum that the hosts didn’t deal with. I imagine the hosts are pro choice so give little weight to an unborn life and the lost opportunities of that potential human. So is there some kind of net benefit to the existence of all humans? Would it be ‘better’ if we just stopped reproducing and this ultimately led to extinction.
    There was a recent excellent UK TV series call “Utopia”. Worth sourcing if you can locate it in the ether. It’s a brilliant drama which kind of touches on this subject. Spoiler alert:- a plot is afoot to drastically reduce the human population.

    Anyway, Connor raised a serious philosophical point that merited a decent and thoughtful response.

  60. Kudlak says

    @Yos8
    Hey, you’re the one who said that you “have a pretty aggressive set of my own life goals, I guess, mostly surrounding money and trying to make things better for people.” Well, that’s wanting to be affluent and influential, and that’s what the American Dream is all about, isn’t it?

    If you’re lucky enough to be easily made happy then I have to scratch my head like a lot of others talking to you here and wonder what the hell you’re complaining about.

  61. Yos8 says

    @Kudlak
    I don’t know if that’s what the American Dream is about. But I didn’t say influential, I said I wanted to make people’s lives better.

    I came here complaining that Russell and Jen shouldn’t have been so dismissive of Connor. I have since complained that death sucks, that people are mischaracterizing my remarks, and (only sorta) that I don’t believe people are appropriately taking into account the negatives of reproduction.

    I’ve gone through my posts again and — maybe I’m making a mistake, but — I can’t find a part where I otherwise “complained” about stuff. I came here with basically a philosophical argument and feel like I got a bunch of emotional responses. I don’t think that was unreasonable of people, and I think it’s rather nice that people cared enough to help, but I don’t know how to say any clearer that I’m interested in the philosophy of this and, I guess, the way that philosophy affects or doesn’t affect our decision making.

  62. Monocle Smile says

    I don’t know if that’s what the American Dream is about. But I didn’t say influential, I said I wanted to make people’s lives better.

    …the fuck? I don’t think anything more needs to be said.

    …All right, well, I dunno what to tell you. You don’t interact with people much off the Internet, do you? In what world are there trolls that spend hours engaging in detailed, more-or-less respectful dialogue with others who seem to be able to fruitfully engage the troll back?

    We’ve had several here on the AXP blog.

    I can’t find a part where I otherwise “complained” about stuff. I came here with basically a philosophical argument and feel like I got a bunch of emotional responses

    Yeah, you might just be unwittingly trolling. Like, you don’t mean to do it…but that’s the way you come off. I count zero emotional responses and a whole lot of whining on your part that Kudlak has pointed out.

  63. Kudlak says

    @Yos8
    I think that if you were being honest here the first thing you’d have done is looked up the American Dream on wiki at least and been able to see my point.

    Don’t you have to be influential in order to affect people’s lives either way? What you want to do could involve having either advanced interpersonal skills, or the financial resources to be able to influence people’s lives for the better, right? Influential people have these kinds of resources to draw upon.

    Connor sparked an emotional response because it isn’t difficult to imagine that there are crazies out there who feel as he does who are more than willing to release a pandemic to end humanity, taking murder-suicide to it’s ultimate degree.

    Sure, death sucks, but I don’t see any practical reason to even think about it.

    It will happen.

    What possible use is complaining about it?

  64. Yos8 says

    @Kudlak:
    …I didn’t look up the American Dream because I’m familiar with it. I don’t know why you’d take what I said to mean I wasn’t. The American Dream is largely definitionless. I mean, it has a large number of definitions. To me the most common definition is the capitalist dream of pulling oneself up from nothing to become a rich and powerful. But I also think that (and more relate to) the notion of pursuing your own happiness in your own way without being shackled to any external constraints. Anyway, irrelevant to anything at hand except I find the constant undermining of my sincerity to be obnoxious.

    You do not have to be “influential” to make people’s lives better. Obviously we are all “influential” in the sense that we are influencing everything around us constantly, but I hope we don’t have to be so semantically obtuse to get into that. I mean that I try to listen to people when they talk to me, I try to donate to charity, I try to be kind wherever it’s not inappropriate.

    I don’t know why you keep asking what the point of “complaining” about this is. I described my thoughts and how they affect my actions precisely. I think the conversation’s run its course.

  65. Martin Zeichner says

    I’m sorry. I do not agree with Russell. Russell jumps the shark with his “Nuclear War” example in exactly the same way that theists ‘Godwin” the discussion by bringing Nazis or the Holocaust into the discussion. I do not accept the kind of ‘Moral Realism’ that seems to have pervaded the show. It sets up false dichotomies such as objective/subjective and means/ends. It leads to bizarre categories such as subjectively objective and objectively subjective ( credit to Daniel Dennett for that one ). How can, for instance, Tracie appeal to consequences when discussing the Duggars and then derogate the Scots caller for appealing to consequences?

  66. Monocle Smile says

    @Martin
    Learn what the appeal to consequences fallacy is.

    @Ben
    I mentioned antinatalism above. That doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever.

  67. Narf says

    To elaborate on what MS said:

    Martin Zeichner, that isn’t an appeal to consequences fallacy.  The appeal to consequences fallacy involves objective facts and things of that nature.  We often see it from creationists and other Christian apologists, although there are plenty of non-creationist apologists who use it, as well.

    William Lane Craig isn’t a young-Earth creationist, although he seems very confused on a lot of issues.  He seems to accept a lot of modern cosmology, although that might just be a ploy, since he (probably deliberately) misunderstands it and butchers it for use in his Kalam Cosmological argument.  Craig often seems to accept the age of the earth but not the theory of evolution.  His thinking is a bit muddled on many subjects; go figure.

    Anyway, Craig’s favorite argument is the appeal to consequences fallacy, which he makes freaking nonstop, in his books and on his website.  He uses it in its most blatant, classic form.  “If absolute morals don’t exist, then [insert hyperbolic horrifying thing which doesn’t actually require absolute morality].  But who can live with [hyperbolic horrifying thing]?  So, absolute morals must exist.”

    There’s the additional issue that often the second premise of his arguments, that A automatically leads to B, is absolutely false.  Most of his arguments are both horribly unsound as well as invalid, due to a usage of the appeal to consequences fallacy.

    What you seem to be referring to on the show is something along the lines of:
    1.  Behavior A seems to lead to result B, most of the time.
    2.  We don’t want result B.
    3.  Therefore, we shouldn’t engage in behavior A.

    That’s a perfectly valid argument.  We’re talking about behaviors, not established scientific theories and how they can’t be true because they make me feel all sad inside.

  68. Martin Zeichner says

    My understanding of the fallacy of appealing to consequences is this:
    .
    The fallacy is invoked when the truth or falsity of a proposition is asserted to be dependent on the consequences of that proposition. So that when a fundamentalist asserts that Nazism is a consequence of teaching people about evolution we can say that even if that were the case it wouldn’t matter because we have other evidence to support the various assertions of evolution.
    .
    It appears to me that the proposition before us is, as the Duggars might phrase it, “Raising a family using the standards and practices of the quiverful movement is a good thing to do.” Jen will assert that this can’t be the case because look at your son Josh. He molested his younger sisters, possibly damaging them for life. His parents made bad ( hypocritical ) choices in order to protect Josh and their status in their community, including their TV show.
    .
    I am not defending the Duggars. Nor am I denying the facts of the case. What I am saying is that this is all anecdotal evidence, that the external evidence that might condemn the practice of raising a quiverful family is nowhere near the quantity and quality of that of evolution given in the example above. How is Jen’s argument not one from consequences? What she is doing is citing consequences to support her argument, just like our fundamentalist above. Is the difference that we like Jen’s argument and we don’t like the fundamentalist’s argument?
    .
    I would go so far as to say that the problem is with the way that the fallacy is worded. The proper answer to our fundamentalist should be more like, “Even if what you say were true, it wouldn’t matter. In order to prosper our society can’t ignore the insights that evolution gives us. If Nazism is a consequence of that then it is our responsibility to find a way to enjoy the benefits of understanding evolution and at the same time avoid the terrors of Nazism.”
    .
    I am saying that we should be careful in our choice of rhetorical devices because they can become double edged swords.

  69. Martin Zeichner says

    Narf @73

    .
    I doubt that you would disagree with me when I say that when WLC makes the kind of argumentation that you describe that he is committing more than one fallacy. This is, after all, why they are called informal fallacies.

    .

    IATM that the more egregious fallacy that WLC is committing is one of argument from personal revulsion or from emotion. I think that this comes from his assuming that his audience shares his emotional responses. (Personally, I am more revulsed by his attempts to rationalize the old testament stories of genocide.) WLC seems to not understand that other people may not share his emotional responses. And so he thinks that he is making a logical argument when in fact he is not.

    .

    Needless to say that I could be wrong but, somehow I doubt that he allows such errors to affect his professional work. That he allows them into his public debates is, I think, indicative of his attitude toward people outside of his professional circle.

  70. Monocle Smile says

    It appears to me that the proposition before us is, as the Duggars might phrase it, “Raising a family using the standards and practices of the quiverful movement is a good thing to do.” Jen will assert that this can’t be the case because look at your son Josh. He molested his younger sisters, possibly damaging them for life

    I don’t believe Jen ever implied this at all. Her opinion is that the nature of Quiverfull prevented these actions from being stopped or exposed, and I think she’s right. Religious cults tend to hide or candy-coat shit they don’t want the public to probe, just like the Catholic church, and pointing out that religious cults get an extra layer of special treatment isn’t an appeal to consequences fallacy.

  71. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Martin Zeichner in 74
    If you use the desirability of outcomes of the truth of a factual material (non-moral) claim to defend the claim, then it’s a fallacious appeal to consequences. If you use the desirability of outcomes of the truth of a moral claim, that’s not a fallacious appeal to consequences – that’s just consequentialism.

    Compare and contrast the following examples:

    Fallacious: I will never die, because if I were to die, that would be undesirable.

    Correct: It’s wrong to kill me, because I don’t want to die, and it would be undesirable for you to kill me.

  72. Kudlak says

    @Yos8 #68
    You said that you had monetary goals and, unless you’re a youth with aspirations towards getting your first minimum wage job, that fits with the most basic understanding of the American Dream. Assuming also that you want to do more than just paint other people’s nurseries, or walk their dogs, you’d need some degree of influence to really make an impact, but you’re right, this conversation has run it’s course.

  73. Narf says

    Millennials are beyond hope. Just sad.

    Errrr, all of them?  You don’t think that this is perhaps a bit of a broad statement?

  74. Narf says

    I dunno, MS.  At least give us a quote or something, so we know what the heck you’re even referring to, when you say something like that, Gelf.

    Considering that millennials are vastly more atheistic than the previous generation, I think they have at least a few things going for them.

  75. Narf says

    @Martin Zeichner – 74

    The fallacy is invoked when the truth or falsity of a proposition is asserted to be dependent on the consequences of that proposition. So that when a fundamentalist asserts that Nazism is a consequence of teaching people about evolution we can say that even if that were the case it wouldn’t matter because we have other evidence to support the various assertions of evolution.

    Sounds about right, yes.

    It appears to me that the proposition before us is, as the Duggars might phrase it, “Raising a family using the standards and practices of the quiverful movement is a good thing to do.” Jen will assert that this can’t be the case because look at your son Josh. He molested his younger sisters, possibly damaging them for life. His parents made bad ( hypocritical ) choices in order to protect Josh and their status in their community, including their TV show.

    Admittedly, pulling out one specific instance isn’t the best sort of evidence to use, to put it mildly, but we also have statistical evidence on our side, as well. I’d take Jen’s statement, if she said it as you’re portraying here, as more of a personal shot, preempting a few of the most common Christian objections.

    I’ll usually hear stuff out of evangelicals, something to the effect that the statistical evidence is worthless, because most of the people getting lumped into the statistics aren’t real Christians™. Their anecdotal evidence is more important than a thorough, statistical study of the situation.

    There’s also the objection, from the belief-in-belief sorts of nonreligious people, that even if Christianity is false, there’s value in making people think that it’s true and raising kids with religion, because it makes them better. The evidence does not bear out that position, though, unless you want to cook the results as badly as a Barna Group research study.

    In that light, Jen’s comments could be interpreted as saying, “Oh yeah, well sticking with anecdotes, it doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for you, either.” I would have outlined the steps of the reasoning a bit more thoroughly, if I was saying something like that, but then I’m a very verbose bastard.

    To call back:

    @Martin Zeichner – 69

    How can, for instance, Tracie appeal to consequences when discussing the Duggars and then derogate the Scots caller for appealing to consequences?

    What exactly did the Scots caller say that Tracie called out? I don’t remember. I think I need to listen to the episode again or something.

    Tracie was appealing to the consequences of raising children in that sort of environment, in which they don’t have anything approaching the necessary level of guidance from their parents. There’s also the issue of not doing anything about the situation that will likely have a positive effect on stopping the behavior. Christian counseling, particularly the sort that ultraconservative Christians tend to use, doesn’t freaking work and doesn’t address the real issues.

    That isn’t an appeal to consequences fallacy, though. That’s just appealing to the consequences of certain actions or certain methods, since they have statistically poor results. Can you explain what you’re objecting to in the Scots call?

  76. Narf says

    @75 – Martin Zeichner

    I doubt that you would disagree with me when I say that when WLC makes the kind of argumentation that you describe that he is committing more than one fallacy. This is, after all, why they are called informal fallacies.

    Heh, well sure.  William Lane Craig is a freaking fallacy vending-machine.  😀  I think the appeal-to-consequences fallacies often have an emotional appeal wrapped up in them as well.  After all, if you and your target audience didn’t find the consequences upsetting, your fallacious argument wouldn’t be very appealing to them, would it?

    IATM that the more egregious fallacy that WLC is committing is one of argument from personal revulsion or from emotion. I think that this comes from his assuming that his audience shares his emotional responses. (Personally, I am more revulsed by his attempts to rationalize the old testament stories of genocide.) WLC seems to not understand that other people may not share his emotional responses. And so he thinks that he is making a logical argument when in fact he is not.

    I’m of a different opinion, on this point.  For one thing, an appeal to emotions is far more difficult to formalize.  You can sort of intuit when someone is doing something that you consider an emotional appeal, but it’s hard to draw a line, if you and someone else disagree about a given example.

    Sure, the two go hand-in-hand, traipsing their way through Craig’s entire bibliography. I just have a different reaction, in regards to the emotion being the more egregious appeal, in part because it’s perhaps more difficult for someone of Craig’s intellect to tell that he’s doing it.

    Needless to say that I could be wrong but, somehow I doubt that he allows such errors to affect his professional work. That he allows them into his public debates is, I think, indicative of his attitude toward people outside of his professional circle.

    Uh, I dunno, man.  What the heck would you consider Craig’s professional work, other than evangelizing and writing apologetics?  Craig’s books are just as full of this stuff as his debate spiel is.

    Speaking of your revulsion at his rationalization of Yahweh’s behavior in the Old Testament, I think that one of the things that I find most off-putting is his treatment of the Empty Tomb.  It isn’t as viscerally disgusting, but I find it much more intellectually offensive.

    Try getting through that entire article I linked, if you fucking hate yourself.  Or maybe you’ve done something horrible, lately, and you feel the need to torture yourself, in penance.

  77. says

    @ Narf – 84.

    By posting that WLC link you’ve pretty much made the case that life isn’t worth living…

    I joke, of course. That said, I have read most of that article previously
    , and it’s painful. I’ve heard him state, in debates, that the fact of the empty tomb is proof enough of christianity’s truth to whooping adulation from the peanut gallery.

    He rarely goes into the ‘depth’ of this article, he seems to accept the applause of his hand-picked audience as proof enough of WLC’s truth…

    Almost as wonderful as ‘you can’t corner Sye, he’s completely circular’

  78. Hippycow says

    I’ve heard him state, in debates, that the fact of the empty tomb is proof enough of christianity’s truth…

    This is what really drives me crazy when I watch WLC debate pretty much anyone. He will rattle off a long (Gish-gallop) list of completely unsubstantiated claims made in the New Testament, or by Christians. And yes, it is a fact that the NT makes these claims. He will then wring that list of “facts” (the fact that the NT claims X, the fact that the NT claims Y) into simply a list of facts. It is outright equivocation and nobody calls him on it. It is not a fact that there was some tomb to be empty or not empty, it is just a part of a story.

    When pressed, he will try to claim that “the fact of the empty tomb is either true or false,” but even this is completely dishonest. It is not a fact, it is a claim. Allowing him to use this dishonest language allows him to slant the discussion in a dishonest way so that he can bear false witness to his irrational belief system. It is simply dishonest to refer to these claims as “facts” and that should be pointed out repeatedly and emphatically by his opponent.

    I wish the people debating him would point out these kinds of dirty and dishonest tricks, because I think they make a big impression on a lot of the audience. They see WLC talk about all these magical fictional events as “facts” and they don’t hear his opponent dispute that they are “facts.”

    WLC is all about acting and abusing the debate format with clever tactics. I would like to see someone spend a little bit of the time pointing out these tricks instead of pretending that WLC is playing fair. Point out that the falsetto voice of astonishment, the Gish-gallop, the warping of the debate format rules, frequent equivocation, appeals to authority, appeals to ridicule, calling claims “facts” and so on are all dishonest attempts to “win” the debate without making good arguments.

  79. says

    @ 86 – Hippycow.
    Yep. It’s the reason that WLC controls how and where he debates so closely.
    He is a masterdebater and he uses the format to his advantage. I’d like to see him do a conversational style debate and see how well he does. Though I’m sure he’ll just play the victim and claim he’s not being allowed to speak when he’s pulled up on his dishonesty.

  80. Narf says

    @86 – Hippycow

    And yes, it is a fact that the NT makes these claims.

    Well, that depends upon which version of the New Testament you mean, doesn’t it?  Do you mean our current version of the New Testament, or do you mean the original versions of the gospels, as written down, before early Christians began altering them to settle theological debates? Do you mean the stories as they were originally told, or do you mean the versions written down a few decades later?

    Do you count all of the letters supposedly written by Paul, or do you leave out the ones forged in his name? Do you include the later insertions into Paul’s genuine letters, or do you leave those passages out?

    There are so many failure points, when it comes to the provenance of the Bible.

  81. Raen says

    Is this Connor guy a Buddhist? He sounds a lot like a Buddhist… albeit a really weird, scary kind of Buddhist.

  82. Narf says

    @20 – Yos8

    I was so incredibly bummed to hear the way the hosts reacted to the Scottish fellow. I feel almost exactly like he does, I think, and I couldn’t understand why the hosts were so dismissive. They had a perfect opportunity to say, “I disagree with you and here’s why” (or even: “I disagree with you and don’t have a reason why.”) but instead they just got huffy and, in my opinion, kinda “holier than thou”, and ended the call.

    I’ve finally been playing catch-up on the last few episodes, and I just listened to this call.  I now disagree with you even more strongly than I had previously, Yos.

    This guy’s thinking was utterly fucked.  Two big things jumped out at me.

    First off, he thinks that a nuclear war happening, wiping out humanity, would be the ultimate, positive occurrence.  He thinks that the choice of thinking, feeling, decision-making beings being taken away and wiping them out would be a positive thing, but bringing one of those beings into existence without it’s prior consent is an immoral thing.  This is so fucked and inconsistent; I don’t even know where to begin explaining the problem to him.

    Then, he explicitly said that someone’s ability to experience happiness doesn’t get to count in favor of bringing them into existence, but their ability to experience suffering gets to count in favor of not bringing them into existence.  This is also fucked.

    And apparently, happiness is only the removal of a negative, not an actual positive.

    I would have hung up on the guy more quickly than Russel did.

  83. Yos8 says

    @Narf: I just listened to his marked-up version of the call that someone (he?) posted in #90 and I think that, based on what [little] he added in voiceover and overlays makes him sound like a bit of a dumbass. And, especially given the fact that he had a chance to clarify certain things, he’s also possibly a WRONG bit-of-a-dumbass.

    He had an opportunity in that to say explicitly that nuclear Armageddon that ends humanity would be a bad thing, and immoral, which it clearly would be. He reiterates that he would not be happy with it because it violates autonomy, and he declares it a strawman, but he doesn’t condemn it which he should.

    Had he done that, would he have been a more worthwhile discussion to you?

    I disagree with your point that it “is fucked” to say that someone’s ability to experience happiness doesn’t get to count in favor of bringing them into existence, but their ability to experience suffering gets to count in favor of not bringing them into existence.

    I assume you agree that the state of nonexistence would be a moral 0. …Once again: his and my assertion is that — since having existence forced upon you is inherently done without consent — birth sets the scale to a negative value. If it’s negative 1, and your kid grows up to value the joys of life more than a value of 1, then [s]he came out positive (…and they probably will). Good! But otherwise you did a bad thing by having them

    I can’t agree with the statement “happiness is for the most part a removal of a negative”… But I understand that he means you start at -1, so you’re working yourself out of that ditch. Either way, you can ignore that statement if you care to talk about it with me.

  84. Monocle Smile says

    Once again: his and my assertion is that — since having existence forced upon you is inherently done without consent — birth sets the scale to a negative value

    I still don’t think you get it at all. There’s no consent to be had. Where was I before I was born? Furthermore, I completely reject the bald assertion that having something forced upon you without your consent is always immoral, so your point is rather moot.

  85. Narf says

    @Yos8

    I assume you agree that the state of nonexistence would be a moral 0. …Once again: his and my assertion is that — since having existence forced upon you is inherently done without consent — birth sets the scale to a negative value. If it’s negative 1, and your kid grows up to value the joys of life more than a value of 1, then [s]he came out positive (…and they probably will). Good! But otherwise you did a bad thing by having them

    Let me clarify my main point there, specifically what I disagree with you even more about, after listening to the call.

    The big thing is that you said is that they shouldn’t have ended the call.  We can have a discussion about this sort of thing, sure.  Hell, you and I did so, further up in the comment section.

    I don’t think Connor is capable of having a useful, rational discussion about it, though, as you indicated in regards to his marked up commentary on the subject.  There was no real point to continuing a discussion with him on the subject.  If you wanted to call in and present a better case, that would be of far more value.

    My response to your -1 birth (sounds like a cursed D&D item, doesn’t it?  😀 ) proposition is the same as what I said further up above.  I think you might change your mind a bit, if you could get your head a bit further out of the moral/immoral false dichotomy.

    Think of it as being comparable to a doctor providing medical care to someone who arrives in the ED (AKA, what used to be known as the ER) completely unconscious and unable to consent to treatment.  You don’t know for a fact that the person won’t wake up extremely pissed about being saved, but it’s a pretty safe bet.  Was providing life-saving care immoral, when you were forcing it upon the involuntary patient without their express consent?

    Likewise, bringing someone into the world will result in them appreciating it, the vast majority of the time, assuming you’re in a social situation that will give them a chance to have a decent life.  There are immoral ways to go about procreating, such as is the case with the Duggar Family and other quiverfulls, but the basic act is in the middle ground.