Reddit Reddit reviews Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence

We found 64 Reddit comments about Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Medical Books
Medical Ethics
Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
Oxford University Press USA
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64 Reddit comments about Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence:

u/AwakenedToNightmare · 38 pointsr/collapse

You should check out the Better not to have been book. The general idea is that it is more beneficial to have never been born. But, suicide is so hard to accomplish - mentally and physically - that it might not be beneficial to kill yourself.

Besides there are costs involved - say I'm 24, I have finally moved out from parents, live on my own. I have never been as free in my life before. All the childhood that sucked, the school are left behind. Im finally my own person. Health wise this is one of the highest point in one's life. From 30 it's going to go on downhill. Basically this and the next decade are going to be the best time of my life. Might as well make use of it if only to compensate for the shitty early part of my life. If/when it gets bad in my 40s+ I might just opt out of this game, and no family would be great in that regard - I would always be able to leave whenever I would want.

Life is essentially about costs and benefits. Most people trudge on because the pleasure shots they get out weight the suffering and the pain of suicide. It is true for me too (for now). But I would still prefer not to have existed.

/r/antinatalism rules

u/StopCopingStartLDAR · 36 pointsr/Braincels

>be born without consent

required reading for depressedcels

u/RobotMugabe · 23 pointsr/philosophy

Check out David Benatar's Better Never to Have Been . Similar enough to be of interest I am sure.

u/MrDelirious · 16 pointsr/childfree

Like someone else mentioned earlier, please do check out "Better Never to Have Been", and please try to do so with an open mind. I'm a pretty upbeat and happy dude and I've had a pretty wonderful life, but I do find his conclusions convincing. The argument isn't that "all life is pain and suffering and blackness and emo music wah", but more about the dichotomy of pleasure and pain and the prevention of suffering. Seriously, give it a fair shake.

ANYWAY. More reasons than just that (although that book really lead me into thinking about childfreedom and accepting that it's okay to not have kids):

  • I simply do not want children. It is not a thing that interests or attracts me.

  • I know you think the overpopulation thing is tired, but there it is.

  • Children are incredibly expensive. That expense is not just monetary, but temporal and emotional as well. Your life is likely to go into stasis for 18+ years. I've seen couples broken up and people grow bitter and resentful. And sure, I've seen the opposite too, but it seems more rare to me. Do a quick google for "I hate being a parent" or "I regret having kids" or the like. It's not pretty.

  • If I don't have kids and regret it, I suffer. If I do have kids and regret it, I suffer, my partner suffers, and - most unfairly - the kids suffer. That is not a betting line I'm interested in, especially considering my aforementioned lack of any desire for children and moral motivations in the opposite direction.

  • My genetics aren't super encouraging, although it's not something I take heavily into consideration.

  • Finally, I have yet to hear a compelling reason (that didn't just sound selfish) on the other side of this argument.

    Especially given the last point, can you explain your thought process on wanting to have kids?
u/firefly416 · 12 pointsr/childfree

You might enjoy this book, the author doesn't suggest we all commit suicide, but I think the topic might be right up your alley. "Better to Never Have Been - The Harm of Coming Into Existence"

u/Uridoz · 12 pointsr/antinatalism

Thomas Ligotti - The Conspiracy Against the Human Race is probably the one I can recommend the most.

There's also Better Never to Have Been - David Benatar.

If you think one of them is too expensive tell me.

You could also Studies in Pessimism - Arthur Schopenhauer.

At last I can recommend this article from Richard Dawkins going into why nature pretty much sucks.

u/hoaxium · 11 pointsr/philosophy

>I want to give my future kids the same opportunity that my parents gave me when they decided to reproduce, I want to bring them out of the void of unbeing and introduce them to all the wonder and the pain of being real.

The issue I have with this is that it's always a selfish act (having children), you cannot have a child for the child's sake. There is no way to gain consent currently from a non-existent person, but that consent is absolutely needed if you're to have any moral ground on having children. Who are you to speak for these people you act to know best for? How can you guarantee they will want to live, and will not suffer? You're essentially stealing the dice from another person and throwing them for them w/o consent and gambling with their life.

I wish my parents had the forethought to think perhaps I might not enjoy this horrible game we're all caught up in, and that bliss of void, which we all hopefully go back to anyways, might be much much much more loving and peaceful.

Cheerful optimism does far more harm than good, especially when it concerns antinatalism. We're still incapable of not forcing life on those that willfully wish to end it with dignity. We're scary with our imposition of life.

>Those who never exist cannot be deprived. However, by coming into existence one does suffer quite serious harms that could not have befallen one had one not come into existence.

u/permanent_staff · 11 pointsr/selfimprovement

What you are describing isn't so much a mental state as it is a philosophical position. There are quite a few people, myself included, who believe people are better off not being born and that, consequently, bringing new sentient life into existence is a moral wrong. This position is called antinatalism and it is very rigorously argued for in Better Never to Have Been by philosopher David Benatar. (Here's an audio interview with him.) There's even a subreddit for antinatalism.

In antinatalism, it's very important to make the distinction between life that hasn't yet been started and life that has. While I can say it would have been better for me to never have existed, now that I do exist, I very much wish to continue existing. I didn't choose life, I was forced into it, but I try to make the most of the cards I've been dealt.

Edit. Also, the flip side of this is that I don't owe life, God, my parents or the cosmos anything, least of all my gratitude for being alive. I don't have any obligation to feel happy. Any feelings of gratitude or happiness are for my own benefit, and if I choose to leave early, I'm not being a poor guest.

u/Watchful1ntervention · 8 pointsr/childfree

I'm curious how it will compare to David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence". This appears to tackle another important issue for me: the right to die. I'll have to give this a read.

u/ADefiniteDescription · 7 pointsr/philosophy

> This is a much better argument for assisted/legalized suicide than it is for not having kids

Benatar's arguments don't really carry over into that domain at all, as he's primarily concerned with the harm of coming into existence, as opposed to the harm of existing.

If you're interested he gives more detail backed by some empirical studies about his view that people are actually less well-off than they believe in his book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence. It's chapter three of that book. I still don't buy it, but if you were looking for a fuller argument that's where you'll find it.

u/TychoCelchuuu · 7 pointsr/askphilosophy

If the human species were going to die out for lack of children, one might argue that reproduction is a duty, either because preserving species is important or because preserving humanity specifically is important. Obviously we're not in that situation and because of that I don't think I've ever seen anyone argue that procreation is a duty. Most talk about procreation in philosophy is about the right of people to be parents if they desire to and whether having kids is always wrong because it is better never to have been born.

Since some people can't even have kids for biological reasons, and since others are not in a position to easily raise their kids, it would be weird for philosophers to say that we have to have kids even if we don't want to: some people can't even have kids if they want to! I can't think of any reasons that anyone would be required to have kids against their will.

u/CFWoman · 7 pointsr/childfree

It seems that Buddhism and Hinduism have the same basis.
I know that the goal in Hinduism is to escape the cycle as well.
That's why people want to die in Varanasi.

I share your POV.
There is a great book to this topic - Better never to have been: The harm of coming into existence by David Benatar

u/Type_ya_name_here · 7 pointsr/Showerthoughts

Your post reminded me of this book which examines how there is more bad-ness in life than good-ness and how life is full of pain, illness, suffering and death. While there are lovely sunsets m, kisses with cute girls and various other ‘good’ things...the list is much smaller than the list of bad things.
Here is another great book. Emil (who was a fantastic modern day philosopher) examines the issues with being born, how it’s always too late for suicide and takes a sideways look at the world.

u/ROBOTN1XON · 7 pointsr/texas

It is a punishment, it is punishable by law if you don't take care of the child. Having to deal with a person you don't want to marry for 18 years because of a child is a punishment. Dealing with a child you never wanted for 18 years is a punishment. Knowing that you brought a child into the world that you cannot adequately care for is a punishment.

It is also a punishment to the kid. My parents can't afford me, I'm a burden on my parents. My parents don't love me, because I was an accident. My parents are not married, other kids call me a bastard.

The kids are the ones punished the most.

you should read "better never to have been" by David Benatar

The idea that life is "inherently good" is bullshit. I think bringing any child into this world is a sin, because you cannot prevent bad things from happening to them. Even if you are well off and love your partner, bad things will happen to your child. They will feel pain, they will suffer at some point, and they will know loss. The child never asked to be brought into this world, you forced them into this world without consent.

u/corpsmoderne · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

In fact, I'm finding gay marriage preferable to straight marriage :)

I consider conception of children to be an inherently bad thing: each time a new being is born, the general level of suffering in the universe increases. Giving birth is ultimatly an egoistic thing which is armful to the child, which will endure a life dominated by bad experiences and suffering ( for detail about this, you can read ).

So, in a world where there are a lot of orphans, I see adoption as the best move to make by a couple which want a child: it doesn't increase the number of suffering beings in the world like conception, and is more likely to reduce the suffering of a child which is currently living in an orphanage.

Of course, my introductory statement was a little bit trollish. There are means for gay couples to conceive, or make conceive for them, which I find immoral. In fact the move I find the most moral is the straight couple which choose to not conceive at all, but to adopt.

u/Deergoose · 6 pointsr/childfree

Read this book and explain to them why you think having kids is wrong.

That would probably help your argument. Most doctors likely assume you just want to engage in risky sexual behavior and will change your mind later.

u/Cesar_w_x · 6 pointsr/conspiracy

I highly recommend you actually educate yourself about what you are arguing against rather than form a facade of your opponents argument. This book is an excellent source of information about antinatalism. Learn what you are arguing against if you want to form a good argument.

u/bobbeabushea · 5 pointsr/rage

David Benetar wrote a book called:
Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence

  1. it is wrong to bring someone into the world if that is going to cause that person too much pain.
    e.g. If you are sure that person is going to have AIDS or live in extreme poverty, so that she will suffer an immensely excruciating pain.

    He, then, argues that:

  2. All lives, even the best ones are very bad. So you know, for sure, that by bringing someone to life, that person is going to suffer so much pain. Far more than pleasure.

  3. Therefore, it is wrong to procreate.

    Further conclusions:

    In this line of thought, abortion, for instance, in the early stages of pregnancy is not only right, but morally mandatory. In addition, he establishes a very important difference between "lives worth continuing" and "lives worth starting", arguing that we are not morally obliged to kill ourselves. Absolutely not. But since by bringing someone into life I will expose this person to serious harm, it is best not to bring anyone into life.
u/genkernels · 5 pointsr/antinatalism

"Better to never have been" is something of a slogan for antinatalism ;)

u/Stalleek · 5 pointsr/short

>Since I LOVE the son I don't have, I would never do something like that to him.

Do I have a book for you! David Benatar "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence."

u/perlman_sonata_1 · 5 pointsr/slatestarcodex

Not the person you replied to, and myself unlikely to reply, but basically, the logic goes as follows:

There are lives worth starting and lives worth continuing (for me, this is an intuition that I can't really explain, unfortunately): There is a cutoff point for the quality of life where it would not be worth starting. Basically: what is the maximum probability of a child having leukemia to say that the child's life wouldn't be worth starting?

I believe most people would consider it immoral to start the life of a child that has a 99% chance of having leukemia, but people would object to ending a child's life if it had the same chance of having leukemia. Soft anti-natalists follow the same logic, but set the bar a lot higher: a life has to be extremely good to be worth starting, but not that good to be worth continuing, in fact, very few (or no) people have lives that would have been worth starting. Hard anti-natalists hold that under all conditions, even blissful perfect lives, are not worth starting, but I don't understand the logic they follow.

Also, a lot of anti-natalists hold that life tends to be net negative hedonistically, or believe that preventing suffering is ethically more important than creating happiness (some form of negative utilitarianism or suffering focused ethics).

So, what is to be done? Well, there are, like in every other movement, more and less radical approaches. A soft anti-natalist has two answers: First, try to improve the quality of the lives of people already living and the people that will become born no matter what one does. Second, not bring new children (or even other sentient beings) into the world unless you're really sure their lives are worth starting. A hard anti-natalist would argue that it would be ethical for the the human species to go extinct (because bringing new people into existince is always bad).

Practically, anti-natalists advocate for spreading of birth-control (it brings down the birth rate), adopting instead of procreating (and maybe even raising children on anti-natalist memes, but only carefully). More careful anti-natalists like David Pearce propose that anti-natalism fails because it is a genetically self-defeating strand of thought, and attempting to improve the lives of present and future people is a much better strategy.

Wow, I wrote a lot more than I thought. The most well-known book on anti-natalism is by the philosopher David Benatar: “Better to never have been”, but I've only skimmed it. He strikes me as a very careful thinker, but I am of course biased.

u/YahwehTheDevil · 4 pointsr/VeganChill

I have three: The Stranger made me stop believing in moral absolutes, Letter to a Christian Nation made me an atheist, and The Sexual Politics of Meat was the beginning of me going vegan.

I was looking at Better Never to Have Been and No Logo, and have been curious about socialism, anarchism, and the straight edge philosophy, and I'd like to consume any books that would challenge my current beliefs or ask me to radically change who I am.

u/anon22559 · 4 pointsr/SanctionedSuicide

Your comment reminded me of this book. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.

u/vickylovesims · 4 pointsr/offmychest

Yup, I can't disagree with you. I've thought this way for a long time. Others might disagree, but there are other people out there who think this. I came across a whole book about it.

u/suicidedreamer · 4 pointsr/samharris

Thank you /u/jamietwells. Here are a couple of links you might find interesting (one of which I've posted elsewhere in this thread):

u/SocratesLives · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence ~ David Benatar

This excellent book clarified what was once only a vague uneasy feeling about inflicting Life on the innocent and reaffirmed my dedication to refrain from creating new humans to suffer on this miserable mudball. It is always a moral wrong to have children. It then compounds the harm to inflict additional suffering through lack of proper resources for the emotional and physical care of that child.

u/baconridge · 3 pointsr/MGTOW

I happen to think that Dr. Benatar is correct in his views on reproduction.


u/NiceIce · 3 pointsr/MGTOW2
u/atfyfe · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Be forewarned, I am going to sketch this out very crudely. Okay, that being said...

I think there are three common answers in philosophy concerning the value of life which is a reflection of the general split in philosophy between three major ethical views -

  • Kantian Deontology

  • Consequentialist Utilitarianism

  • Virtue Ethics.

    Consequentialist Utilitarianism - Life isn't valuable, not directly. What is directly valuable is pleasure (or maybe satisfied desire) and what is directly disvaluable is suffering (or maybe unfulfilled desire). Either way, destroying life often leads to more suffering and less pleasure for those left alive. Furthermore, destroying life destroys the only place pleasure (which is valuable) can exist. Alternatively: if desire is really what matters rather than pleasure, destroying life leaves a lot of people's desires unfulfilled as well as destroying the only place where fulfilled desires can exist.

    Kantian Deontology - Life isn't valuable, not directly. Free choice is the only thing that is directly valuable. But usually you can't go around destroying life without also violating free choice. If life didn't exist, it wouldn't be a big deal. When the Kantian says free choice is the only thing that is directly valuable, the Kantian doesn't mean we need to maximize the number of free choices or free choosers--rather the Kantian means we have to respect already existing people's choices. So if no one existed, then there wouldn't be anything bad about it because it wouldn't involve violating anyone's choices. BUT life does exist and in order for life to go out of existence you would probably have to act against people's choices to keep living (which is the one wrong according to Kantians like me).

    Virtue Ethics - Here is the only position were you might get someone close to saying life is valuable directly. The idea here is that morality concerns being a good instance of the type of thing you are. So good knives are sharp ones that cut well, good wolves can hunt and work well with their pack, etc. Human beings are living beings (reproduce, self-maintain, etc). and human life specifically takes the form of living through the human capacity for abstract reflective judgment (i.e. taking into consideration many conflicting reasons relevant to their situation/decision, and making the right decision). Presumably you are bad at human life if you don't value your own life. Furthermore, you would be pretty immature, childish in the development of you capacity for reflective judgment if you didn't recognize some intrinsic value to life itself. Why is that immature not to recognize? Sorry childish person, you'll need to just grow out of your blindness to the intrinsic value of life. (I am not insulting you, I am only stressing the way in which being able to recognize what is and isn't intrinsically valuable according to the virtue ethics comes with the mature, skilled judgment of a good human being; presumably someone's unwillingness to see the intrinsic value of life would--according to the Virtue Ethicist--be rooted in their childishness in some respect).


    Myself, I am a Kantian concerning morality. But here is a recent work on the topic by a Utilitarian -

    Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence Paperback – September 15, 2008
    by David Benatar (Author)

    You might also look at some of Korsgaard's recent work on animal rights (where she tries to extend the Kantian position so that animal life is valuable in addition to free choice):

u/Rakajj · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Not quite and I want to be careful here. Animal abuse is an unjust action toward an animal. A human being, though he has dominion over an animal would still be wrong to abuse it. However, using an animal for his own legitimate purpose is not abuse (e.g., clothing, travel, nutrition, companionship, etc.) God, as the creator over these beings, has complete authority. God cannot abuse His own creation. To do so would mean that He is not its creator. Abuse is to use in a way contrary to which it was intended. God is the intender.

I disagree on multiple points here and think you'd run afoul in multiple places if you were to present definitions for the words with contentious definitions employed.

>Animal abuse is an unjust action toward an animal.

Without a meaningful definition of the word just (or unjust), this sentence has no content. Justice is not simply whatever something's creator deems to be, and hasn't been since at least the Socratic era.

>A human being, though he has dominion over an animal would still be wrong to abuse it. However, using an animal for his own legitimate purpose is not abuse (e.g., clothing, travel, nutrition, companionship, etc.)

'Legitimate purpose' again requires a definition because you are using it in a context where the meaning of that phrase is what the rest of the statement is contingent upon. Your definition of 'legitimate purpose' is not one that would be agreed by people who do not share your presuppositions. I wouldn't even grant that clothing or nutrition would be appropriate in that list and that's not even the contentious presupposition.

>if you assume that Jesus is God, has power over demons, knows what is best for people, and that this act was in furtherance of what is best for people, then He is not manipulating anyone.

I disagree, even if you assume all that you've stated the manipulation remains you've just deemed it a just manipulation. You are still putting people through harm regardless of what their will is so that Yaweh might arrive at his desired end. I'd also caution that you can justify a hell of a lot if you operate following this sort of logic where you grant huge swaths of assumptions.

>God, as the creator over these beings, has complete authority. God cannot abuse His own creation. To do so would mean that He is not its creator. Abuse is to use in a way contrary to which it was intended. God is the intender.

Ah, and this is the pivotal point of disagreement. No, an agent does not have unlimited authority over anything it creates. This is dangerous, ancient thinking that has been tossed aside in every aspect of human life aside from supernatural consideration.

Even when it comes to children, we recognize that they have rights relative to their agency. Prior to meeting the standards of personhood (of which a crucial one is agency) a human life lacks almost all of the rights it ultimately will acquire as it matures and grows its agency. As agency increases, the parent / creator's control and 'dominion' over the creation wanes.

We're set to also run up against this problem in a very drastic manner as a species soon(ish) when we get AI to a point where it more accurately resembles consciousness.

Right now, AI is basically just a complex command set. If condition X or Y is met, perform task A. It's complicated by algorithms, conditions that change over time, and command sets that are structured into complex hierarchy but currently there's not a Will that exists anywhere in this and thus no true agency, just an extension of their human creator no meaningfully different from a set of dominos.

Maybe Humans never get our creations to a point in which something reasonably resembling will/agency exists. However, if we do Humans won't be fully justified in doing whatever we desire to our creations because our creations will have agency and agency must be recognized as a requisite of Rights.

So, just as Humans would not be justified in doing whatever they desired to a conscious robot or their child, a human-creator would also not be justified in all circumstance in their interactions with humans. There are consequences to action and very serious consequences to creation. David Benatar wrote a great short book on this awhile back called Better Never to Have Been though it was more geared towards the ethics of procreation than our larger topic of conversation. Were we as a species to have a creator that creator would have strong limits on what they were justified in doing. Justice is predicated on harm, before something (or someone) exists it cannot be harmed. Once it has been conjured into existence harm is possible and if harm is done to something with agency that harm requires justification (or it is not just).

u/doctoroetker · 3 pointsr/MGTOW

This book by David Benatar provides the philosophical base for your perspective. It solidified my thoughts that life is a scam.

Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence

u/kreco · 2 pointsr/france

Un bouquin anti-nataliste qui est pas trop mal si t'as le courage. Rien que le titre donne bien le ton.

u/SaintBio · 2 pointsr/changemyview
u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/childfree

/r/antinatalism is a sub about the topic. Also, David Benatar wrote a book called "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence" that discusses the topic at length.

Dr. Benatar's book was truly eye-opening and resonated with me in a way that few things ever have.

u/goiken · 2 pointsr/vegan

I think the (difficult) discussion about fetal sentience is mostly besides the point. Even if one is to subscribe to sentience as a sufficient criterion for basic rights’ attribution, most meaningful theories would still maintain, that rights can be overridden by other rights in certain circumstances, particularly if one rights-holder poses a threat to another. Arguably the situation of pregnancy could be understood as such a scenario thus rendering abortions per se as permissible -- even if fetuses had full basic rights qua sentience.

As of the "right to die"-discussions, I never really got the point of them. There might be some obligations that one has towards their community, that are frustrated if someone commits (assisted) suicide, but how well could one live up to these obligations anyways, if one has formed an honest and reflected wish to die?

And I think Singer’s not helpful to further a discussion about rights, because he’s not really interested in rights.

Also one of the more neglected questions, about reproductive ethics is the one raised by David Benatar: Couldn’t coming into existence be a harm to the one who does? You might think this is true, if and only if misanthropy is true, but his argument for the propostion that it’s better never to have been is pretty consistent with simultaneously asserting that most human life is actually worth living.

u/Bukujutsu · 2 pointsr/BlackPeopleTwitter

The strongest influence on anti-natalism in modern times is a book published in 2006, written by a Cape Town professor of philosophy David Benatar. He explicitly names his philosophy as antinatalism. Its title is:

Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence:

u/theZeeBird · 2 pointsr/antinatalism
u/SomeIrishGuy · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

I haven't read it, but a recent book on this subject is Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence by David Benatar.

Notre Dame Philosophical Review has a review of it here.

u/0valtine_Jenkins · 2 pointsr/intj

I'm not going to be able to give this argument the clarity it deserves, but I will say just because I lack clarity does not mean that my argument is invalid. I based it off of my memory of this book that I would suggest to everyone that wants a child. This is just a book, not something that will automatically change your mind or anything, but it changed mine along with Albert Camus' work. I agree with the idea that we should try to enjoy the time we have, but don't bring someone else into it. Enjoy yourself while causing others as little suffering as possible

u/flickdigger · 1 pointr/atheism

On existence:
One of the premisses for Harris' argument is that existence is preferable to non-existence. The opposite view, that non-existence is preferable in all cases (even though this seems counter intuitive at first glance) is debated at great length in philosophy.

In David Benatar's book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, for instance, he argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm, regardless of the feelings of the existing being once brought into existence. A consequence of this view, is that death in itself is a "positive state" compared to existence.

From Amazon reviews:
> His argument rests on an intuitive asymmetry between the 'good' that is the 'absence of pain', and the 'not bad(ness)' (or neutralness) that is the 'absence of pleasure'. His argument also turns on the distinction between two ways of talking about 'a life worth living'. We can (and ought to) separate our ideas on 'a life worth starting' from 'a life worth continuing'. This is very important. Where as some lives may be worth continuing (he agrees most are) NO life is worth starting. If i come down with a painful condition i may consider my life to still be worth continuing. However if i am faced with the choice whether to create a being who has such a condition it is As all life contains guaranteed harm the interests of a conceivable person are best served by not creating them.His argument rests on an intuitive asymmetry between the 'good' that is the 'absence of pain', and the 'not bad(ness)' (or neutralness) that is the 'absence of pleasure'. His argument also turns on the distinction between two ways of talking about 'a life worth living'. We can (and ought to) separate our ideas on 'a life worth starting' from 'a life worth continuing'. This is very important. Where as some lives may be worth continuing (he agrees most are) NO life is worth starting. If i come down with a painful condition i may consider my life to still be worth continuing. However if i am faced with the choice whether to create a being who has such a condition it is As all life contains guaranteed harm the interests of a conceivable person are best served by not creating them."

On suffering:
A theist's best response to Harris' argument is that we do not know the full scope of things, and sometimes suffering is necessary to allow for good, like a doctor prescribing bad tasting medicine.

Let's assume it is the the case that God offers eternal happiness after we die. You then live in this superorgasmic state for 90 million years. Then a reporter ask you how bad the stuff that happened to you on earth was in the full scope of things.

Even in a case where you were tortured for all your life on earth, the suffering on earth will seem like something equivalent to you looking back now and remembering the suffering you experienced when you fell playing basketball as a kid. If you feel you have a good life now, was the suffering you felt that day in the basketball court worth it?

For some theists the time scope is eternity, so suffering on earth is completely insignificant.

u/GiantWindmill · 1 pointr/tifu

If you want to research the different stances yourself, you can look up anti-natalism in general. Personally, I subscribe to David Benatar's idea (taken from summary of this [book] (

>David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm. Although the good things in one's life make one's life go better than it otherwise would have gone, one could not have been deprived by their absence if one had not existed. Those who never exist cannot be deprived.

u/afrohads · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

David Benetar would argue the exact opposite and makes a very thorough case for it (from a materialist world viewpoint).

u/blodulv · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I read Better Never to Have Been (which is not pro-suicide but rather anti-natal, but comes across as bleak if you haven't encountered the argument before) and immediately afterward picked up Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow. It was the perfect emotional counterpoint, if not a perfect logical one (to Benatar's argument at least).

u/willowoftheriver · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

A book you might be interested in: Better to Never Have Been

u/FliedenRailway · 1 pointr/changemyview
u/Pyrogenesis · 1 pointr/philosophy

First, join VHEMT (wiki because website is down) and then read this book.

u/Sich_befinden · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

David Benatar is pretty well known for explicitly arguing that having children is unethical (see his *Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)

Peter Singer is phenomenal for his breadth of topics, he does discuss the ethics of overpopulation and consumption fairly regularly (see this little speech or his book The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty).

Other than that, as TychoCelchuuu suggests, the SEP is a good place to start.

u/skadefryd · 1 pointr/changemyview

Believe it or not, there is a fairly well-defended philosophical thesis somewhat similar to your defense of anti-natalism, although the position it takes is possibly even more extreme.

The short version is: Failing to bring a person into existence means that they do not experience certain benefits, but a person who is not brought into existence cannot be said to be deprived of such benefits. However, a person who is brought into existence experiences serious harms that otherwise would not have befallen them at all. Thus, even if beneficial experiences outweigh harmful ones in the end (as you concede they might), the harm incurred in bringing someone into existence is always greater.

The name of the book is Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence by David Benatar.

edit, since I've apparently violated rule 1: Why would consent be important? In our society, we regularly entrust legal guardians with the power to give consent on behalf of family members or loved ones who cannot legally consent.

u/Leon_Art · 1 pointr/TooAfraidToAsk

> your determination to catapult this question I had into a debate … Instead of hopping on to assume the worst about mothers who may have a question to ask another

I don't want to catapult this into a debate. I was just interested in the answer to my question. And I don't know why you think I assume the worst, far from it. I'm just wondering why you'd not be interested in a dad's perspective on this question. I don't think it's similar to asking about "how come I have erectile dysfunction?" - and even so, there are plenty of female sexologists that have a 100x better answer than any random dude.

> I do feel asking other mothers about their experiences was warranted due to the hormonal aspects involved

Thanks, I can get that, I guess that could make it more likely for women/moms while men/dads can have the same experience. know, that answer was basically all I was wondering about. Other people have tried to turn this into a debate.

Have you heard of David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm Of Coming Into Existence", I also found it after the fact. Perhaps you might find that interesting.

u/DonMcRon · 1 pointr/samharris

If you haven't already read it,
'Better Never to Have Been' by David Benatar,
is a very thought provoking book on the subject.

u/DarkSummit90 · 1 pointr/todayilearned

This would just reinforce the idea that some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids.

u/IceRollMenu2 · 1 pointr/vegan

>Nobody's saying "we need more abortions! Abortions are great!"

Well actually…

u/tesfts · 1 pointr/atheism

>So ethically, we could abort every foetus on the grounds that they would have no frame of reference to object to it? It would certainly ensure nobody had to suffer.

That makes sense to me.

u/OtherSideReflections · 1 pointr/AskReddit

>From a purely rational perspective, existence is all that you really have. A mind that can perceive suffering is still a mind, and infinitely more valuable than a rock. It would definitely be irrational for me to choose to simply stop existing.

If you actually think that it would be worth it to spend all eternity having a power drill driven into your skull simply so that you could exist, we have nothing more to discuss. Your view of rationality, or existence, or something is apparently so diametrically opposed to mine that we would simply be talking past each other. We'll have to agree to disagree.

By the way, you should check out antinatalism, particularly David Benatar's book Better Never to Have Been. It would probably make your head explode.

u/EM_EUS · 0 pointsr/DACA

>Hoping for a car to run you over is not going to help you or your family.

No it wont help my family; they'd hate to have to pay my half of the rent.
but it would help me. I bought this book the other day.

and its all making a lot of sense to me know. it's like its all coming together for the first time in my life.

u/MoHammadMoProblems · 0 pointsr/todayilearned

This book is for you.

u/SammyD1st · 0 pointsr/changemyview

> No need to worry about hypothetical people who never existed.

While I admit that this seems intuitive, this very point is hotly debated among philosophers. On one side is this, and you can easily google responses to that book that argue the other side, if you feel so inclined.

u/ps1lon · 0 pointsr/changemyview

/r/Antinatalism's Wiki presents the basic arguments better than I can. But reading may be obligatory for more details.

u/ScornedSun · -2 pointsr/Parenting

Greatest book about parenting, your life will never be the same again.

u/BrianW1999 · -5 pointsr/childfree

I wouldn't tell her parents they made an immoral choice because I have a heart, but in my opinion, it's always morally questionable to have children.

20,000 children starve to death each day. Is it moral that people continue to have children despite such abominations?

Here's a book that espouses my beliefs: