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Con (against)
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It is better to have never been

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/13/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 13,825 times Debate No: 58737
Debate Rounds (5)
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It is better to have never been


This is the debate I have always wanted to win. Ever since I first came here, I wanted to shock and dazzle people with a successful affirmation on this resolution. Nowadays, I fully understand how insanely unpopular my arguments are going to be. It took me two years to go from Christian to anti-natalism, so I doubt that I am going to convert anyone with what I write here. But I have to argue this. I have to see it tested.

My arguments will extend from anti-natalist and efilist philosophy. Whilst on the surface, these arguments may seem abhorrent, I can assure you that at the very least, they are worthy of your consideration.

My arguments will be inspired by the likes of: Gary ‘Inmendham’ Mosher, Arthur Schopenhauer, Jim ‘Metamorphhh’ Crawford and David Benatar.

The Burden of Proof:

I have the BoP, which is to show that it is preferable not to come into existence.


Upon accepting this debate, my opponent is bound by these definitions:

Sentient: experiencing sensation or feeling (Humans are sentient creatures).

Extinction: the act or process of becoming extinct; a coming to an end or dying out: the extinction of a species.

It is better to have never been: It is preferable to not come into existence

My other definitions will be provided in my arguments, for if I were to give them here, there would be a lacking in context of which I think is essential for understanding, and thus I will not post them here. I will explain them so that the meaning can be grasped. I do you warn you that whilst the word used to describe the terms used may seem slightly off, all I ask of you is to follow the meaning I attribute to it. And please, I ask that we do not get into petty semantic games over that.

Round rules:

First round acceptance

Second and third for arguments and rebuttals

Fourth for furthering already made arguments + rebuttals (no new arguments)

Nothing new in the last


3000 Elo Min required. Sorry to anyone below this.

Style is 'Select Winner' (I have learned my lesson).

I have chosen my opponent as Envisage, who understands anti-natalism to a great degree. Not only that, but he is desperate to even the score with me :)

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, Envisage.

“That’s what people do. They breed, and then their children breed, and then their children do it, and their children do it. But, have you ever asked why we do it?

~ Jim ‘Metamorphhh’ Crawford

Well, have you? Have you ever critically evaluated your existence? Not with the initial purpose of ‘how can I live the best life I can’, but rather with ‘should I be bothering with life?’

P1: The context – A brief history

Firstly, I want you to relieve yourself of all you know, your prejudices, your feelings towards life and your opinion on god’s existence. Perhaps even your resentment of me. Everything. Now, we are going to put back on what seems likely.

The Big Bang

“The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the early development of the universe” [6]. The theory suggest that there was a beginning to the universe. There is nothing serious to suggest that it had to be a god, or gods, or some kind of miracle. All we know, according to what I have provided, is that there was a beginning to the universe, as indicated by its continual expansion (this is put in simple terms, of course).

13 Billion year old universe

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the universe is ~13 billion years old. The Lambda-CDM concordance model estimates that the age of the universe to be 13.798±0.037 billion years [1] [2]. What does this mean towards our existence? Well, it purely gives us an origin. There isn’t anything to seriously suggest that we have purpose. There isn’t anything to suggest that there is an entity looking out for us. The fact is that the universe is that old.

Evolution and reproduction

Evolution is a widely accredited scientific theory, almost to the point where it is an irrefutable fact. There are a couple facets of evolution that I wish to address.

Approximately 3.8 billion years ago, single celled eukaryotic species began to reproduce. From these organisms, all sexually reproducing organisms have their evolutionary roots in these organisms [3] [4]. All these organisms were doing was growing large enough so they could split. That’s it. This is the basis for all sexual reproduction – it’s just growing large enough to divide. Yes, there are a lot more emotions involved with humans, but this is the core function in which everything else, involving sex, extends from. The organisms that were continuing their genes were the ones that felt the urge to reproduce. That is it. Human reproduction has no greater basic function, it is only more complex.

Evolution and the nervous system

Around 2 billion years ago, life began to develop a nervous system [5]. Why? Because the nervous system helped animals survive. For example, animals became better at performing tasks, due to the feedback from their limbs [6]. Again, this is the function of the nervous system: it helps us to survive. That is it. It is not there for pleasure, it is purely there because animals that developed it were more likely to survive.

P2: Discomfort is bad

When I refer to discomfort, I mean deprivation, which are wantings or desires. For example, I may want to attend a certain rock concert, but I currently don’t have tickets. Wanting to attend is a deprivation itself, and if the feeling persists in not having the means to do so, then the entity begins to suffer (intense deprivation).

When I refer to comfort, I mean relieving myself of discomfort. It is absolutely vital to understand that comfort cannot come without discomfort; you cannot scratch and feel good if you did not have an itch to begin with.

Without any context, if any sentient entity were to be given the option of discomfort (having lingering deprivations), or comfort (no deprivations), every entity would choose comfort.

A1: Unintelligent Design

Simply put, humans comprise of molecular chemistry. According to evolution, this molecular chemistry performs purely based on what is more likely to help survival, so that genes can be passed on. Obviously, reproducing is required to pass down genes, and the nervous system is there purely to help us survive.

Now, in an objective sense, what neither of those things exist for is pleasure. Evolution takes no regard for generating pleasure; its sole ‘concern’ is continuing the cycle of life. Again, there is no regard for the welfare state of any sentient creature, and since it is a fact that no sentient creature would choose suffering over not suffering, this quickly becomes a problem.

This ‘Unintelligent Design’ of human life can be summarised into four parts:

  1. 1. Consumption

  2. 2. Reproduction

  3. 3. Cannibalism

  4. 4. Addiction

They are all intertwined and represent human psychology beautifully, as I will show you.

Consumption refers to ‘acquiring the part’. Now whilst I partly mean we literally consume things, I also mean this in a metaphorical sense, too. We have things that I will refer to as ‘deprivations’, which are wantings or desires. For example, feeling an itch would be a deprivation, and you ‘consume’ when you make the effort to scratch it. You have to have the energy to move your arm, as well as the time to do it. Clearly, there is little consumption here, but the principle should be plainly obvious. The fact is that desire is your unwillingness to stay in your current state, which implies that you are being deprived of something. The fact is that the discomfort must come before the comfort. This is all human life, and really any life, is doing, in regards to feeling motivated to exist. In other words, your sole function in life is to perpetually feel the need to consume, to chase things to consume.

“It’s like building a broken building, repairing it and then saying that now I have value in doing so…but it didn’t need to be broken in the first place.”

~ Gary ‘Inmendham’ Mosher

What does this mean in terms of human existence? It means that if you are existing, you will feel the need to consume. Since consuming requires acquiring the part, the part must come from another. This could be a sentient entity. Are you starting to see the problem? Cannibalism.

“A quick test of the assertion that enjoyment outweighs pain in this world, or that they are at any rate balanced, would be to compare the feelings of an animal engaged in eating another with those of the animal being eaten.”

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

You are not actually creating anything in consuming, you are merely ‘stealing the parts from elsewhere’ (I do not mean literal cannibalism, necessarily). The water you are drinking? Someone had to build the infrastructure to provide it cleanly, and now someone has to run and maintain the infrastructure. The air you are breathing? Foliage goes through photosynthesis for that. The meat you are eating? An animal has been murdered and might have even suffered for that. You are just taking parts from elsewhere. Giving birth simply creates a machine that has to take parts from elsewhere, in order to consume and never be satisfied.

Reproduction is also a type of consumption, yet it also produces a very different problem. I ask you, as a reader: why do we need to exist? Our origins indicate that we serve no objective purpose, that we are simply the product of Unintelligent Design. Yet we still continue to reproduce, despite not having a coherent reason to do so.

If you say that reproduction gives another entity a chance to enjoy life, then you need to affirm that life will be enjoyed, or else you are reckless and playing with the welfare state of another. But if we are honest, most people reproduce to bring a miniature version of their self into the world. These people are selfish, and only care for satisfying their own deprivations (hence reproduction being another type of consumption).

The addiction is best demonstrated via the heroin addict example:

When you see a heroin addict shooting-up, what exactly do you see? Do you see someone ‘enjoying life’? I put to you that this is all humans are: just biology on an adventure to find different ways to please itself. The heroin addict is out of his/her mind, possessed by the pursuit of the drug. The heroin addict’s purpose has no dignity and no real purpose. Sure, in those moments after shooting-up, life is incredible/wonderful/sensational etc. Outside of those moments, it can range from a lacking to severe craving, and neither of those are desirable. Similarly, humans are possessed by a defunct psychology, which desires for this ‘heroin,’ and only temporary satisfaction can be met in the event of embracing the ‘drug’ – we are all chasing chemical releases, nothing of real value.

Imagine this heroin addict beating someone over the head for a hit of heroin. Completely despicable, right? What about a sporting match, where forcing someone to lose makes you feel good? Even though it is consensual, do you see the ridiculous of it? It would be like two heroin addicts trying to hurt each other, for the sole purpose of the heroin release.

Initial Conclusion

So which is preferable? Being subject to a seemingly objectively purposeless psychology? One of which naturally produces negative affect, and which sets the means of nullifying this negative affect by having to consume things. OR, would you rather not be subject to such things?


[1] Planck Collaboration (2013). "Planck 2013 results. I. Overview of products and scientific results". arXiv:1303.5062 [astro-ph.CO].

[2] Bennett, C.L.; et al. (2013). "Nine-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Final Maps and Results". arXiv:1212.5225 [astro-ph.CO].

[3] Letunic, I; Bork, P (2006). "Interactive Tree of Life". Retrieved 23 July 2011.

[4] Letunic, I; Bork, P (2011). "Interactive Tree of Life v2: Online annotation and display of phylogenetic trees made easy". Nucleic Acids Research 39



[7] Wollack, E. J. (10 December 2010). "Cosmology: The Study of the Universe". Universe 101: Big Bang Theory.NASA.



Thanks Pro.

I. Preface

I am going to stick with the interpretation that it is better that we, humans, have never been born. It seems to be the most obvious interpretation of the vague resolution and Pro's arguments.

I am somewhat surprised by Pro's opening arguments, as there is barely a paragraph related to the resolution at hand. I presume the bulk of her argument the will come in the following round, so I will deal with cards that have been dealt, so far.

II. Clarification of the Resolution

'It's better to have never been' has multiple interpretations, as it could mean both yourself (as a human) or the human species as a whole. For the sake of this debate, I mum going to take the population as a whole. Also this obviously is past tensed, and so refers to all of human history, or all of personal-history, so I presume Pro's arguments are going to be directly against this.

Therefore I kindly request Pro, and I think it would be beneficial to the debate as a whole if Pro presented her full stance on the matter so we are not shooting into thin air.

III. Presuppositions

I have absolutely no interest in arguing God's existence, divine valuation/causation, life's intrinsic value or the veracity of evolution/Big Bang theory. In all honesty I see them as irrelevant to this debate except for evolution because of explanations that involve our brains and perceptions.

I would even go as far as stating that evolution is a barbaric, although elegant theory, unlike how Richard Dawkins aptly likes to describe it. I would even go as far as to accept that life is intrinsically purposeless. For now, Pro can have her P1.

IV. Values

To make the call on whether or not it is better to have never been, we need to assess it according to our held values. There are two types of values humans can have, intrinsic and extrinsic. I will briefly discuss both.[1]

Intrinsic Value:
Are valuable by their own nature. An innate feature.

Extrinsic Value:
Are valuable by the virtue of an external entity.

I will not be defending life's intrinsic value in this debate, as far as I see all things are valuable because sentient beings value them. A lump of gold for example is completely meaningless absent of a sentient being to perceive it, and ascribe value to it, due to it's beauty, utility etc. Similarly human life can only be seen to be valuable in the light of sentient beings to perceive it.[2]

V. Comfort/Discomfort

Pro presents an apparent tautology of comfort/discomfort, and apparently has defined 'comfort' as follows:

Comfort- The 'relieving' of discomfort
Discomfort- A 'wanting' or desire, deprivation

Furthermore, she asserts that 'discomfort is bad'. And her argument roughly appears to be as follows (I would like to ask her to clarify it if it strawwomans her).

P1. Life is a state of discomfort
P2. Discomfort is not preferable to comfort
C1. Life is not preferable to comfort
P3. Non-Life is Comfort
C2. Non-life is preferable to life

Before I begin attacking the argument, remember the burden of proof is on Pro, and that being the case she has to actually support the assertion of 'discomfort is bad', especially given that this is essentially her central thesis for this debate!

Why should we accept this assertion? It appears prima facie plausible, but remember what 'bad' needs to mean for Pro to demonstrate the resolution (that we should have never been), 'Bad' needs to be a negative value, and not a 'absent positive value. I.e. Pro needs to demonstrate that 'discomfort is bad' means something worse than 'discomfort is not good', they are very different concepts.

For this syllogism, P2 and P3 are by definition true, so I can only contest P1.

Attack on P1:

This is a critical premise, which Pro needs to defend, or something like it for the resolution to pass. While it seems prima facie plausible, it is actually a rather bizarre proposition.

First, Pro may, and indeed has argued that life contains instances, or states of discomfort. You would have a want for food, water, sex, etc. However it does not follow at all, even if there was absolutely no individual state of 'comfort' within life, life itself is a state of discomfort. This would be known as a fallacy of composition.[3] To illustrate this fallacy, see the following analogy:

"Each work of literature has an an author, therefore literature has an author"

Where obviously what is true for a subset of 'Literature', does not apply to the superset of 'Literature', it is just absurd.

That can only possibly be true if we include something akin to the following argument:

P1. Life overall is the sum of the states of comfort/discomfort it contains
P2. Life contains a sum state of discomfort
C. Life is a state of discomfort

Even if we assume P2 to be true, which Pro has yet to argue for although III expect she will, then there is still no reason to accept P1.

It seems prima facie plausible yes, but there is a crucial thing we need to remember, the comfort/discomfort dichotomy does not address every state within life.

Remember, Pro defined discomfort as a want, or a need, and comfort as the fulfilment of that state of discomfort. However I would make the argument that there are many good and bad cognitive inputs which do not fit within those categories, such as states of pleasure or pain which are not part of a need of desire. Moreover even states of discomfort that have been 'fulfilled' would seem to not only induce a state of comfort (negation of the state of discomfort), but also induce a state of pleasure.

For example, if we take Pro's itch analogy, we would experience a state of 'discomfort', where you have an uncomfortable skin irritation, the antithesis of this would be to negate, or remove the uncomfortable skin irritation. There is absolutely nothing there that encompasses, or describes the brief state of pleasurable sensations you receive upon relieving the itch, it seems aparent that not only do you remove the state if discomfort, but you get an additional 'reward' from the reward-mechanisms within the brain.

This can apply to most things that Pro would classify as 'comfort' or 'discomfort', since Pro's definition of 'comfort' does not encapsulate pleasure, it only encapsulates by definition 'not-discomfort', there is a huge difference.

With this understanding in hand I would like to throw a parody counter-argument at Pro on this matter.

All pleasures are states of satisfaction, the negation of this is dissatisfaction (I.e. Not pleasured).

To put this into linguistic perspective, that sensation you receive from eating a steak is a state of 'satisfaction', and not having that sensation is a state of 'dissatisfaction'. What we can quickly see is that states of 'satisfaction' are 'good', but states of dissatisfaction are 'not bad'. Therefore, it is impossible to have an overall 'bad' state of life. Therefore:

P1*. Life is a state of dissatisfaction
P2*. Dissatisfaction is not bad
C*. Life is not bad

Here I hope you can see very clearly the issues of the false dichotimy, just as satisfaction/dissatisfaction do not encompass everything within life, neither does comfort/discomfort. If we don't accept the satisfaction/dissatisfaction dichotomy, then why accept Pro's?

VI. It is better for humans to survive

Another issue is that we cannot view 'life' on a per-organism basis, as the entire biosphere needs to be accounted for, including all humans as a superset, and all sentient beings as a superset of that superset. Both their states of 'satisfaction' or 'comfort' needs to be accounted for. It is possible of course to reformulate the argument I have given to account for this (a larger assumption needs to be made by Pro that all life as an entity is a state of discomfort). But even if we accept that
Iife IS a state of discomfort, then it doesn't follow that humans should have never been. See the following horned dilemma:

P1. Either life is a state of discomfort, or not
P2. If life is not a state of discomfort, then the resolution fails
P3. If life is a state of discomfort, then humans should live (or be), and the resolution fails
C. In either case, the resolution fails

We have already 'affirmed' P2, and P1 is true by the law of the excluded middle, so all I need to do is defend P3.

In defence of P3, if it was convincing that sentient life was a state of discomfort, then humans being the most intelligent animals would be capable of systematically causing the extinction of all other life in Earth. Moreover Humans would be capable of ensuring that sentient life remains extinct for the remainder of Earth's history, which would entail remaining so new sentient life doesn't evolve ever again. Ergo, fulfilling P3.


It's rather myopic to just look at the current state of affairs, we are currently on a very steep technological curve, with a rapid advancement of technology. It is very, very conceivable that if what pro said is true, then we would develop the techniques to breed sentient humans/machines that would not and could not experience states of discomfort & pain.[4,5]

They would experience all the positives in life, yet none of the negatives, and their lives would be overall positive.

Considering the future of the Earth is several hundred million years, then us 'not being' would deprive these putative organisms of a positive future. We cannot look too narrowly when making these assessments.

VII. Conclusion
I look forward to seeing Pro's entire argument, so I may adjust my refutations.

VIII. References
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, Con.

This round, I will be furthering or solidifying my arguments. I will not be dealing with every counter-argument Con makes this round, due to word limits.

Resolution interpretation:

Firstly, I apologise for making the resolution unclear. Although it was implied, I now say that I am referring to humans as a whole species, past, present and future. If there was a button that would stop any sentient creature from being brought into existence, then I would press it.

P1: The context – A brief history

Con basically concedes this premise. For the purpose of this debate, I can now say that:

  1. 1. The Big Bang is the best explanation we currently have for the universe’s origins, and that there was no divine influence
  2. 2. There is not apparent intrinsic value to life that extends from a god/gods
  3. 3. Evolution is a crude mechanism that has no external direction, and is also heavily supported as a scientific theory
  4. 4. The core factor of reproduction is the furthering of genes; evolution does not ‘care’ about pleasuring/hurting anything
  5. 5. There is absolutely no regard for a sentient creature’s nervous system or sentient experience. Both such things helped sentient animals to survive.

Our origins extend from an objectively purposeless spawn, which then transitioned into a reckless ‘I’m better than you’ game, wherein the welfare of sentient creatures is not regarded in the slightest. The bloodshed, carnage and brutality of our origins is something that should make you shudder. Remember that this is the context that allowed us to be born into today’s world. All our instincts and neurological hardwiring have been forged in these barbaric times. We are products of a brutal game.

P2: Discomfort is bad

Con’s syllogism and composition fallacy accusation (and later: VI. It is better for humans to survive)

My opponent has admitted that P1. (of his syllogism of my argument) is the only contestable premise. My opponent begins his syllogism of my argument by saying that my initial premise is ‘Life is a state of discomfort’. This is almost correct, in that I would say ‘life perpetually produces discomfort’. Life in itself is not ‘discomfort’, rather it is what life primarily produces. In between bouts of desire, there is peace. This avoids the composition fallacy my opponent refers to, in that I am not saying life is discomfort, rather that it likely contains many, many instances of discomfort, much more than comforts. For the same reasons, this also avoids the argument my opponent makes later, which argues the dichotomy of ‘life is either discomfort or not’.

Discomfort shown existent via motivation

Every sentient entity that has ever existed has been motivated by the discomfort-comfort mechanism. Right now, it is present within you and me. Without discomfort, why would you ever do anything? If I do not want food, then why would I seek it? Clearly, this discomfort exists, as shown by people’s drives to acquire things. From this, we know that discomfort exists.

Discomfort is bad

Now, since this discomfort exists, and it is true that it motivates people to do things, does that not indicate that discomfort is undesirable? If discomfort was not desirable, or ‘bad’, then why is it that people are constantly trying to escape it? Why do people say ‘that is not too bad’ when the discomfort is mild, and yet they scream ‘please stop!’ in the event of serious discomfort? If endure discomfort for long enough, a feeling of ‘I need to do something’ develops, rather than a ‘would it not be good if I had this?’ What this shows is that at its core, discomfort is bad.

To emphasise the inherent bad nature of discomfort, imaging wanting something. This could be anything: a medal, a nice car, a kind word etc. Now, let us assume that you will never be able to have this thing. Your desire for it will perhaps lessen, as you lose hope in attaining it, but would you not describe this as an overall bad experience? Would anyone prefer to live a life wherein there was no attaining things that they desired, OR have a life wherein there was no desire to attain them in the first place? As you can see, the discomfort, as a result of desire, is bad.

Pleasure and pain not necessarily factors of discomfort

When I refer to discomfort, I refer to a wanting, a desire to change. It is entirely possible that someone may experience ‘comfort’ when in pain, in some kind of masochistic way. It is also possible that someone could experience pleasure whilst in discomfort, as some sort of ‘bitter-sweet’ feeling. Whilst pleasure arguably has a high correlation to comfort, and pain with discomfort, the correlation is not absolute.

Con’s parody counter-example and false-dichotomy accusation

Firstly, if you ever watch a child whine about something he/she wants, you will see that the child is having a negative experience, due to the discomfort of not having. This reaction is obfuscated in adults, due to social pressures and maturity, but still occurs. If discomfort was simply ‘not good’, if it did not matter that you were in the state of discomfort, then why can ‘not having’ cause so much misery? Why do professional sportspeople become frustrated in the event of failure? Why do people dislike being turned down for a job they were interviewed for? Would not these people be in a neutral state if they had no failure or job application turned down, yet descend into a deprivation state (which is bad) when they do want something? There is reason I say that discomfort is bad, and it is not simply because it is the opposite of comfort.

Secondly, it needs to be absolutely clear that discomfort always comes first:

  1. 1. I want to scratch the itch
  2. 2. I scratch the itch

It makes absolutely no sense when this is the other way around:

  1. 1. I scratch the itch
  2. 2. I want to scratch the itch

The itch has already been scratched, so how could you even want to scratch it if it no longer exists? This is an integral point because this means discomfort (the negative) cannot always be satisfied.

A1: Unintelligent Design

My opponent has ignored the values and attributions I have made to life. I will elaborate on this argument in a future round, since it is already established without obvious opposition.

A2: What is of real value

I agree with my opponent that value cannot exist outside of human (or sentient life’s) existence. However, with sentient existence, some experiences are decidedly more or less negative than others. For example, outside of fringe psychologies (e.g. masochism), lying in a snug bed is preferable to having your genitals mutilated with several spikey roses. Therefore, in an ethical and absolute moral sense, it would be logical to try to have as many people lying in a snug bed, rather than trying to do the latter for everyone on the off chance that someone enjoys it, because the vast majority are going to enjoy the former. There is absolutely a qualitative difference between the two.

Now, when this applies to discomfort, ALL sentient creatures would prefer comfort over discomfort. So, we can construct a moral/ethical framework that reflects this.

My opponent alluded to a ‘lump of gold’ being of value, but this is not of real value.

“It is not the ice-cream flavour that is of value. It is the ice-cream itself that is of value.”

~ Gary ‘Inmendham’ Mosher

It is not the lump of gold that is of real value (think ‘consumption’), rather it is the relieving of discomfort that occurs when the gold is acquired, which is of real value. It does not matter how the relieving is achieved, whether it be a lump of gold, a holiday, conceiving children or burning yourself. Comfort is what people are actually chasing, not this perceptual value.

A3: What the real impact is

What does perpetuating life bring and how can it be justified?

The 2011 Global Hunger index report categorised the overall global hunger level as “serious. 26 countries still have levels of hunger that are extremely alarming or alarming” [1]. Looking into 2014, “Half a billion people live in water-stressed or water-scarce countries, and by 2025 that number will grow to three billion. In the last 50 years, cropland has been reduced by 13% and pasture by 4%” [3].

As of late 2011, the world’s population reached 7 billion people. Every day, at that point, 225000 people were added to the planet, and the rate was only increasing. In practical terms, if everyone would live by basic human standards for water usage, we would use 87.5 billion gallons of water each day, which is more than the world has, in terms of usable water [2]. Think ‘cannibalism’.

“81 million people worldwide are out of work. More than one billion people in the world on less than $1.25 (U.S) a day. 190 women who become pregnant every minute do not plan or wish the pregnancy. By 2050, world population is projected to reach 9.5 billion” [2].

The atrocities of life are often minimised by psychological masks, such as the valence effect and self-serving bias. “The valence effect of prediction is the tendency for people to simply overestimate the likelihood of good things happening rather than bad things[4]. Self-serving bias occurs when “individuals reject the validity of negative feedback, focus on their strengths and achievements but overlook their faults and failures” [5].

I will expand upon this contention in later rounds.

A4: Life is imposed

My argument here is simple: since you do not know what kind of life a person is going to have before you bring him/her into existence, you should not be allowed to bring him/her into existence, because it is otherwise reckless.

Furthermore, there is never any consent given by the person brought into the world before conception.









Thanks Pro.

I. Preface

Fortunately, Pro has wasted much of her last round, so I will add a few more arguments to the mix. First I will deal with rebuttals, beginning with the easy stuff.

II. Irrelevant Arguments

Pro made two contentions completely irrelevant to the resolution, namely the current state of the human population and the effects of overpopulation (the 'real' impact', and and the fact that life is imposed.

Neither of these demonstrate the resolution whatsoever. On human overpopulation, the best that it could possibly demonstrate is that the human population is currently at a state where additional children impinge on the well being of everyone else. This may well be true. But at best it demonstrates that the current population is 'too large' and not that it 'should have never been'.

If we imagine that the Earth's population was reduced to just 100 million, then it clearly follows that the system would be at saturation and additional people would not impinge on the well being of the existing population. This is well supported by science too, since we as a social species, survive better when part of a large, social system, which debunks the implied notion that 'more is always less'.[1]

Also it's very easily argued that two people with almost maximal well being is a more satisfactory choice than one with maximal well being. This argument simply doesn't demonstrate the resolution on any level.

Life is imposed:
So what? This argument presupposes that life is generally 'bad', and doesn't make any headway on proving the resolution. Moreover if life really is miserable then they always have the option of ending theirs, to put it bluntly.

III. Evolution & Unintelligent Design:

While I granted God, Cosmology and Evolution, Pro performs a sleight of hand attempting to slip in the fact that we are not built to care about pleasure/hurting. That or our cognitive faculties are not wired, or capable of being wired to appreciate this. That we are purposeless altogether, since we are just chemistry.

There are several things wrong with this leap which draws parallels to Alvin Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism, which asserts our cognitive faculties should be deemed unreliable because evolution doesn't care about truth. These are quite simply patently false.

It's hardly logical to make the leap from one's origins and what one possesses today, a computer can be intelligently designed, yet perform it's role of a computer poorly, similarly a biological organism can be unintelligently designed, yet possess sophisticated traits and functions, which include our cognitive faculties.

It simply doesn't matter now WHAT our origins were, it only matters what we now have, and what our faculties will do, and be capable of doing. Given that we are capable of linguistics, logic, reason and advanced social behaviour, it follows that we need to consider these on their own if we are to consider our current and potential states. But first let's apply this exact same reasoning to Pro's position, since she has done all the hard work for me.

IF we are completely purposeless, functional chemistry from barbaric origins which somehow imply we are barbaric and sufferable today, then why would we accept Pro's assertion that these imply that we are 'better to have never been'. After all according to Pro there nothing telic to life, so there is nothing to be gained by it's annihilation. If Pro argues that our purposeless origins and current states imply that life is better to have never been then it appears her antinatalist asserts are simply a case of special pleading, as the logic works both ways.

IV. Comfort/Discomfort

This is quite simply a failed contention, and relies on the equivocation on the meanings of the words "comfort" and "discomfort". First let's deal with Pro's new P1.

Reformed Argument:

P1. Life perpetually produces discomfort

Which leads to the following:

P1. Life perpetually produces discomfort
P2. Discomfort is not preferable to comfort
C1. Life perpetually produces something not preferable to comfort

This conclusion is simply not good enough to get Pro to her conclusion that non-existence is preferable. She needs to now positively assert that 'Discomfort is bad', yet as I have and will show, she has only justified that comfort is preferable to discomfort, nothing more.

Recall the definitions which Pro has put forth:

Comfort- The 'relieving' of discomfort
Discomfort- A 'wanting' or desire, deprivation

What needs to assessed closely is what it means to have 'comfort', Pro asserts that it's logically equivalent to the annihilation that state of discomfort. Scratching an itch annihilates the discomfort you were in before, nothing more, nothing less.

But. As I argued in the previous round, this is very much oversimplistic, and in fact runs into social norms. Also the most crucial equivocation is that a state of discomfort is worse than not having that state of discomfort in huge first place. While this might be true for some things that may be labelled 'States of discomforts', such as severe injury, or illness, it is not readily true for other types of "discomfort", such as career, sexual or prospective drives.

It is true that we desire for those things, and could semantically be put under the umbrella of 'discomfort', but it doesn't follow that the 'relieving' of such (by getting a good job, having intercourse etc.) is equivalent to never having that drive, or state of discomfort in the first place. While both acts do remove that state of discomfort, the latter route imbues one with their positive feedback mechanisms in their brain, and also memories of the accomplishment.

Both of which are outside of the comfort/discomfort false dichotomy, and are clearly valued.

Also, let's assume that annihilation of the discomfort is equivalent to 'fulfilling' the discomfort. It would follow then that people generally would not voluntarily put themselves into states of discomfort just to have that given state of discomfort 'relieved', since there is no net gain. One excellent example are painful massages, which endow the participants with agony for which the participants will overall feel better after the process.

Another example is going to the cinema in ignorance of what films are on. Clearly there is no 'desire' to see a specific film, and once a film is noticed, it would create a state of 'discomfort' according to Pro's logic, and in fact many states of discomfort as they would also see many other appealing available films which they will not watch, which will only be relieved according to Pro once the film is seen. I can briefly formulate as such:

P1) If discomfort was 'bad', then discomfort would not be voluntarily created
P2) Discomfort is voluntarily created
C) Discomfort is not 'bad'

Please note the definitions I am working with:

Good: An overall positive experience/state
Bad: An overall negative experience/state

Pro makes many rhetorical questions about why people want to escape discomfort, and hardly any of them actually demonstrate this, they only show at best that comfort is more desirable than discomfort. I freely grant there are some things which Pro would regard as 'severe discomfort' as generally 'bad', but I have absolutely no reason to accept that ALL states of discomfort are bad, and their annihilation would be preferable.

I also would be willing to grant for sake of argument if life overall was 'bad', then it is probably not worth living, but Pro has only affirmed that discomfort is less desirable than 'comfort', and relied on an equivocation of what 'comfort' means to achieve her conclusion. Note that my satisfaction/dissatisfaction alternative argument is based off of the same/similarly plausible premises and ended up with the opposite conclusion. The problem of both is they are demonstrably overly simplistic.

V. Nihilistic Existentialism is a more accurate descriptor of life

Pro has gone out of her way to negate life's intrinsic value and purpose, however this pretty much just affirms nihilistic existentialism, which states as I have argued, that one cannot argue either way that life inherently has meaning, or purpose. What it does say though is that meaning, purpose, values etc can be, and is, subjectively given by the sentient beings involved, such as ourselves or other beings.[2]

Moreover, it seems cogent that there are 'good' and 'bad' things in life, as well as neutral things, and a life lived with many more 'good' things to have happened is preferable to a life lived with far fewer, or none. This is very much because we have memories, and knowledge of our past accomplishments and failings. The fact there is a distinction between 'good' and 'bad' stuff in life has a large degree of scientific merit, since the reward and pain/displeasure mechanisms are well studied, especially in food sciences.[3]

In existential nihilism, 'neutral' states would be logical, a neutral state is a state where a person would not experience any significant or extant dissatisfaction, pain, or resentment of life. An athlete may have an extremely strong desire for an Olympic gold, and has trained for it, yet their desires for such would not be a constant 'deprivation' such as what Pro's philosophy entails. It doesn't automatically follow that one's desire for something is equivalent to being in new state of discomfort, or an overall decrease in the quality of one's life.

So, while it is very much prima facie plausible, it also solves a lot of evidential issues that Pro's philosophy runs into.

VII. References

Debate Round No. 3


Thanks, Con.

P1: The context – A brief history

Counter-arguments addressed under A1.

P2: Discomfort is bad

Arguments not enough to affirm premise

My opponent’s claim of ‘I never showed discomfort as bad’ is flatly false. Under the subheading of ‘Discomfort is bad’, I specifically outlined why discomfort is bad:

“…Would anyone prefer to live a life wherein there was no attaining things that they desired, OR have a life wherein there was no desire to attain them in the first place? As you can see, the discomfort, as a result of desire, is bad.”

Feeling only discomfort, and feeling nothing (neutral), are different. It is also obvious that no one would want to live a life of forever not getting things. Could you imagine training every day for a place in a tennis tournament, yet never making it? 12 hours every day for 20 years. Would that life be one which others would envy? Would you want to live that life – always failing to meet your desires? Would not that life be filled with heartache and sorrow? Would it not be better to not exist?

If feeling nothing is neutral (neither good nor bad; there is nothing to value), then we can determine that because discomfort is less desirable, that it is bad.

Social norms inconsistent with ‘States of Discomfort’

Con and I agree that the need to have a career, is in itself a discomfort. However, even with this new career, even though it relieves plenty of discomforts, there are still other discomforts that are not fulfilled, unrelated to this one. Hence, you are making yourself less discomfortable, due to there being other discomforts that are not fulfilled.

As for the later example Con gives, again, the complexity of the scenario is an issue. Creating memories in itself does nothing, but wanting to remember them, is a different discomfort to that of the discomfort where memories were created under. In other words, multiple discomforts can exist at once.

Again, you must have the discomfort before the comfort. Overall, to have a poisonous cancer cut out is a huge relief, because it was such a burden. The relieving of an itch is hardly noteworthy, because it was hardly a discomfort. They cancel, as you can see.

Implications and semantics of ‘relief’

My opponent claims that relieving discomfort is not the equivalent of never having it. My opponent then makes the values at play ambiguous, by using complex examples with context, such a massage. The problem with this is that there will be other instances of discomfort that have been unaccounted for, hence the sudden overall positive trade of the situation.

For example, if someone had a stressful day at work (mental tension), and had a lot of muscle tension (physical tension), then a good massage will relieve both discomforts, hence creating a positive trade, for that instance.

To determine the true nature of things, there must be only one variable.

The role of boredom in discomfort

We are designed to be motivated, not satisfied. We intentionally create discomforts (desires) so that we may relieve ourselves of the discomfort of boredom.

“In the continual becoming, of that of our being… Unrest is the mark of existence”

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

This is why punishment, like solitary confinement, is saved for only serious crimes. A prison inmate in solitary confinement talks about the experience -- how he wrote letters to himself, pretending to be a lady in New York [9]. Boredom is discomfort.

A1: Unintelligent Design

We are not built to care about pleasure/hurting

I argued that evolution does not care about discomfort/comfort, NOT that “we” do not care.

We are purposeless altogether

Also, we are NOT purposeless altogether. My opponent thinks that because we serve no objective purpose in the universe (which I agree with), that purpose cannot be generated by humans. Humans are creating value. There is no inherent value in a chair. But when someone is tired, his/her perception makes the chair valuable, so long as the comfort of it is recognised. There is now purpose in the chair’s existence.

Sophistication in humans

Yes, despite the dreadful origins, humans have the capacity for sophistication – to a point. However, seeing that humans are only chasing perceptual value (things that supposedly bring comfort), rather than seeking real value in itself (comfort), this sophistication is always going to be limited. There will be biological imperatives, like the urge to relieve discomfort. There is no sophistication in the creation of discomfort; there is only sophistication in dealing with it.

"Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wants"

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Accusation of special pleading

Whilst there is no objective/intrinsic value to life, meaning can be generated through the human psychology. There is a difference between a relaxing massage, and having a pack of dogs rip your stomach and intestines out. The sentient creature’s welfare is of real value. Preventing that welfare state from discomfort has real value. Special pleading would only occur if I argued there is no value altogether, and then then for value here, which is clearly not the case.

A3: What the real impact is

***WARNING: Graphic links***

My opponent has strawmanned my argument here, arguing against an ‘overpopulation’ argument. My actual purpose in making this argument, is that perpetuating sentient life is causing a lot of suffering (extreme discomfort).

An estimated 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, including 91% of the Jewish population of Poland [1]. According to Davidowicz, “about 500,000 [Jews] died in the ghettos of Eastern Europe of hunger, disease, exhaustion and as victims of random terror and reprisals” [2]. What on Earth could be so great that it justifies risking such systematic extermination?

Throughout Africa, “more than 2,500 children are dying each day”, due to no clean drinking water being available. “When people are desperately thirsty, they are willing to take the risk of disease by consuming water that may not be healthy” [3]. Diseases like malaria, which causes “fevers, shivering, chills and headache”, and somewhat commonly, death [4]. Disease like trypanosomiasis, wherein infection symptoms start with fevers and headaches, and escalate to confusion and serious trouble with sleeping [5].

Since 2000, the Israel-Palestine conflict has killed ~1,800 innocent children, ~8,500 people and injured a whopping 68,337 people [6]. This war is happening RIGHT NOW.

And since I am speaking of right now, 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression [8].

Even if we, as humans, managed to bring about world peace, we would still have natural disasters that are devastating. The Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 saw 275,000 people killed, with a further 600,000 people losing their livelihoods [7]. There is not a word in the English language that would accurately describe the scale of suffering experienced in this single incident.

Imagine what happened to humans historically! This is the product of unintelligent design, and even with intelligent humans, who understand the kinds of serious suffering people can experience, WE STILL have events like these! It is easy to dismiss these almost incomprehensible, miserable tragedies that occur in our world, especially from the comfort of your home. But, does it not matter how many people are killed/suffer/mourn/die painfully etc.? How is this justified? Why do we need to create the need to fix these things, in the first place?

A4: Life is imposed

My argument here does not suppose that life is bad. Rather, it presuppose that life can be bad. The fact that life can be bad, that you really do not know what a life is going to be like until it is lived, puts you in no position to judge whether the life should be lived. You have no right to say whether a life should be lived, because you are ignorant of the vital information which would allow you to make such a decision.

Also, to say that a person always has the option of ending his/her life, misses the obvious fact that discomfort would have to be endured BEFORE this decision was made, and hence becomes a decision of lessening the discomfort, which is still bad, overall.

CA1: Nihilistic Existentialism is a more accurate descriptor of life

I have argued that discomfort is bad, discomfort comes before comfort, and that life perpetually creates discomfort. If these contentions hold, then this argument is irrelevant to the debate.

From the Round 2:

CA2: Humans needed to cause extinction properly

Even if this is the case, my opponent’s argument implicitly concedes that it is better to have never been. All my opponent’s argument here does is contest the method in which to do this.

CA3: Future improvement of humans

My opponent offered nothing in the realm of restructuring the motivation mechanism which gives us meaning to life. My opponent’s arguments and sources pertain only to bettering ways to relieve discomfort, rather than getting rid of the need itself.



[2] Lucy S. Davidowicz, The Holocaust and the Historian (1981), pp. 12-13.










Thanks, Pro.

I. Discomfort is bad.. Or is it?

Please recall the definitions of 'good' and 'bad':

Good: An overall positive experience/state
Bad: An overall negative experience/state

I had shown last round that for her argument to work, then discomfort must be 'bad', i.e. a truly negative state. It has become patently obvious that Pro simply has not done this, and in fact I do not see how she possibly could go about doing this. Given that she has already conceded that affirming 'life is discomfort' is an impossible to prove premise, then she needs to affirm the following argument:

P1. All states of discomfort are bad
P2. Life perpetually produces states of discomfort
C. Life perpetually produces bad states

Where even this is not enough to demonstrate her required conclusion. The simple fact the people do not want to be in a state of discomfort and would prefer a state of comfort only demonstrates what is said at face-value, that all things equal a state of comfort in a particular area is preferable to a state of discomfort.

A 'desire' or 'want' is simply too broad and simplistic to give a precise description of what genuinely is 'good' or 'bad', it's the reason why words such as pain and suffering are actually useful. It seems patently absurd that somebody with a near infinite number of superficial wants or desires is in anything like the state of 'discomfort' that somebody with physical trauma may be in.

Pro attempts to justify the first premise:

""Would anyone prefer to live a life wherein there was no attaining things that they desired, OR have a life wherein there was no desire to attain them in the first place?"

This is an important question, which is also very subjective. Without the desire you would never have done the tasks between not having and accomplishing, and you would have missed out on the self-rewards and memories involved in succeeding. If having a 'new' desire does not impinge on one's well being (as Pro seems to affirm) then it quickly does not follow that 'discomfort is bad', and that 'comfort is (only) the relieving of a discomfort.

"Could you imagine training every day for a place in a tennis tournament, yet never making it?... ...Would not that life be filled with heartache and sorrow? Would it not be better to not exist?"

I would recommend asking Caroline Wozniaki, Jelena Jankovich or Miloslav Mecir, all of which have never won a grand slam despite being quite capable of doing so, or Jimmy White (snooker), a six time world championship finalist. It's a fairly safe bet that none of these regret pursuing their dreams('discomforts') of becoming a respective champion. The world just isn't that simple, and many smaller goals and accomplishments may lie between what you really want, all of which could be argued to add positive value to their lives.

"If feeling nothing is neutral (neither good nor bad; there is nothing to value), then we can determine that because discomfort is less desirable, that it is bad."

Discomfort could also be more desirable to a 'neutral' state, following this line of reasoning. In either case it's over-simplistic. Moreover it also implicitly concedes that 'comfort' states are preferable to neutral states, which essentially concedes this debate if true, since it drops its 'life is always a negative/bad state' premises.

Moreover Pro has offered nothing in opposition to my other refutations of 'discomfort is bad', people would not voluntarily out themselves in states of discomfort if the only gain is going to be a relief of that specific state of discomfort at most (massages, cinema examples). Pro has also not adequately addressed that other factors are involved other than discomfort/comfort, and that the relieving of discomfort is not equivalent to the annihilation of that state of discomfort.

Her only response is to obfuscate my examples, which is simply just a case of creating a strawman. Recall my argument:

P1) If discomfort was 'bad', then discomfort would not be voluntarily created
P2) Discomfort is voluntarily created
C) Discomfort is not 'bad'

P2 is affirmed frequently, every time one visits a museum, watches a film or flips on a porn channel. While it may fulfil other states if discomfort, it will create additional, larger ones as one realises more desires. Seldom does one cite a 'reluctance to have new desires' as a reason for not doing something, very seldom, which is something that would be predicted by Pro's philosophy IF 'discomfort is bad'.

Pro's boredom argument, is essentially just affirming my original point, that comfort/discomfort is an over-simplistic view a the state of affairs, and there are many other factors (both positive and negative) that are involved.

II. Unintelligent Design:

Pro agrees/strongly that subjective value can be attached to things, which weakens her own position as it can be attached to life itself, well being and other non-directly related to well being entities, such as knowledge, accomplishment, etc.

She also agrees that humans have capacities that are outside if what she portrays in her evolution/cosmology arguments. She agrees that the origin of something has no bearing on it's function, which weakens her position further. Much of her argument followed roughly the lines of:

Life is intrinsically purposeless/lacking in value - Life is pointless and therefore is better to have never been

But she has given absolutely no response to my counterpoint of that if we accept thre is no purpose/ultimate value in life, then why would life be better to have been/never been at all? Since it's all irrelevant. Human's extinction is ultimately unimportant, human's continuation is ultimately unimportant. It doesn't matter either way.

If that's true then I simply do not see how Pro can think the state of affairs ultimately favours human's complete non-existence, when it seems patently obvious it favours neither. The only way to address this debate is from the state of affairs from the point of view of the sentient beings involved, the grand scheme of things is clearly irrelevant. A lump of gold is worthless absent a sentient being to perceive it, yet there is no reason to accept that it is better that the lump of gold never existed in the first place.

It's a nonsensical statement.

III. Real Impact

Reading over Pro's arguments last round, I think my rebuttal to overpopulation was right on the money. Pro makes additional arguments for suffering life causes, which I am not sure if within the rules of this debate.

Her argument is life causes suffering (extreme discomfort), to which my answer is - so what?

Why should it matter that there are examples of extreme suffering as pro has pointed out, it simply does not demonstrate the resolution to even a weak extent. It only demonstrates the conditions that those specific individuals are in, she has a lot of work to extrapolate this to the entire human species, or even a significant fraction of it.

I made the assertion last round that having in individuals in a sub-optimum state of discomfort would be preferable to having much fewer, individuals in an optimum state of discomfort is a reasonable one. If some people are always going to suffer to an extreme extent which allows for a much, much larger population to live in happiness then I do not see how Pro can make her argument work unless she is to argue that a world in which even a minimal number of people undergoing extreme suffering negates the preference for the whole to exist.

So despite her graphic tale, it just doesn't support her position, it is made worse by the fact that these are very foreseeably mitigable in the future as technology mind society progresses in our stage of rapid intellectual development. It is very conceivable that we would have a sustainable society that would be absent of virtually all of this suffering in the future.

IV. Life is imposed

"The fact that life can be bad, that you really do not know what a life is going to be like until it is lived, puts you in no position to judge whether the life should be lived."

Are we? If I play a round of roulette which pays out 100:1, and my chances of I winning are 10:1, then gambling is a sensible option. While we may remain ignorant of how a specific life will be, we do not remain ignorant of how that life is likely to turn out.

Pro's argument can ONLY work is life is already known to be generally bad, that future lives are more likely to be bad than good, and this ignores potential future developments.

"You have no right to say whether a life should be lived"

Pro weakens her own position with this statement, as she is now including 'rights' into the mix of things that need to be considered with life, which is another clear concession that Pro's philosophy is over-simplistic.

V. Existential Nihilism:

Pro drops my points on that existential nihilism avoids virtually all the evidential problems in Pro's arguments, as well as better accounting for neutral states and is the natural concequences of the rejection of intrinsic value/meaning.

VI. Future:

It is very conceivable that emotions drives and sources of pleasure and pain can be manipulated in the near future, if not in humans then in sentient AI. If discomfort really is bad, as Pro asserts, then the processes that cause these can be manipulated.

In any case a society can be engineered to achieve maximal happiness/pleasure and minimal unhappiness/discomfort. This seems to have been overlooked by Pro, since by going extinct we deprive countless generations of a happy and meaningful life in the future. Remember that this debate's scope is not just the present moment and in the past.

VII. Conclusion:
Will save my full summary for the next round.

Back to Pro for her summary/closing!
Debate Round No. 4


Thank you, Con.

I am going to summarise each of the contentions.

P1: The Context – A brief history

Con has conceded every point I originally made here about:

- The Big Bang

- 13 Billion year old universe

- Evolution and reproduction

- Evolution and the nervous system

This means that there is no intrinsic value to life, due to The Big Bang being the explanation Con conceded – there is nothing that divinely mandates human existence.

This also means that there is no intrinsic regard for life, via an evolutionary point of view. All that is regarded is the chance of survival, and anything else is a result of trying to increase survival (including humans caring about the welfare state of humans).

P2: Discomfort is bad

Discomfort exists

My opponent did not contest whether discomfort is real – it is a given.

Discomfort is less preferable than a neutral state

Under this contention, the (eventual) winning argument for me is that if we consider a neutral state, and one in discomfort, people are going to choose the neutral state. It is obvious, when you consider the example I gave:

“the tennis player, who works insanely hard to achieve a goal, and never achieves it, would probably prefer that, if given the option of not going through such discomfort, to not struggle through all of that discomfort, and instead choose a neutral state. This shows that discomfort is bad.”

I had to repeat this argument a second time before Con responded to it, with counter-examples that miss the mark, as again, there are other discomfort values in play (i.e. being a professional, winning professional matches etc.). My example was specific in its dichotomy, in that there was a player trying to achieve a singular goal, meaning that there is only one discomfort in play (I am trying to indicate the value of discomfort, and so I need to eliminate variables).

Note that in the first round of arguments, I specifically qualified my last paragraph with “without any context…” My opponent’s appeals to over-simplicity extend from his overly complex examples, wherein it is not possible to determine value. Again, I repeat this point because it is integral: we are trying to determine the value of discomfort. We DO NOT want more than one variable in examples, otherwise we will not be able to determine the value of one, and therefore the real value. Having more than 1 discomfort/comfort in play (e.g. needing to buy a house, plus trying to physically appear aesthetically pleasing) is the reason why my opponent is confused.

My boredom argument accounts for Con’s objection; it is not designed to indicate the value of discomfort, but rather why people are encouraged to make themselves discomfortable.


  1. 1. Discomfort exists
  2. 2. Discomfort is less preferable than a neutral state

C. Therefore, discomfort is bad

A1: Unintelligent Design

Con’s arguments seem to struggle to contend with subjective meaning, which is objective in the sense that all humans hold these values. All humans naturally have the discomfort/comfort mechanism at play. Real purpose is generated in trying to generate real value, which is maintaining the welfare of the sentient state. Even if this does not exist independent of the human mind, the human mind generates this real value. This is addressed further under A2.

Anyway, what this contention ACTUALLY tried to argue was this: that we’re just heroin addicts that are chasing heroin (consumption). One we get some heroin, we become addicted to it (addiction). Since the world is finite, we have to take the heroin from others things (cannibalism). Once we have aged enough, we crave a specific type of heroin that will create something else that will become addicted to heroin (reproduction). This is the function of sentient life, as simple as it can get.

Why do we need to produce heroin addicts?

A2: What is of real value

In the end, this contention was virtually dropped by Con, or at least not addressed in full.

From this contention, it is important to understand that what we actually do with of lives is not of real value, that it is simply consumption, cannibalism, reproduction and addiction taking place, in that regard. However, what is important, if discomfort and comfort have value, is the welfare state. This is all we are trying to do: satisfy the welfare state.

The nice cars, fancy clothes and all of that, are perceptual value. However, maintaining the welfare of humans is of real value. Furthermore, there is an absolute moral/ethical sense, in trying to make what is of real value. The example I gave:

“…it would be logical to try to have as many people lying in a snug bed, rather than trying to do the latter for everyone on the off chance that someone enjoys it, because the vast majority are going to enjoy the former. There is absolutely a qualitative difference between the two.”

Applied to discomfort:

“ALL sentient creatures would prefer comfort over discomfort. So, we can construct a moral/ethical framework that reflects this.”

My opponent only contested whether discomfort was bad, not that all sentient creatures would prefer comfort over discomfort.

So, given that this contention was eventually conceded:

  1. 1. Perceptual value is not of concern
  2. 2. Real value is of concern
  3. 3. There is an absolute sense of what is preferable

C. Therefore, we should be focused on worrying about real value (i.e. human discomfort/comfort, rather than the things that humans chase).

A3: What the real impact is


“My actual purpose in making this argument, is that perpetuating sentient life is causing a lot of suffering (extreme discomfort).”

My argument here is not an ‘overpopulation argument’, as, one again, falsely attributed by Con, outside of one (unintended) interpretation: that the ideal amount of people living in the world is 0. The fact that he thinks I am making a new argument in the 4th round, shows that he did not understand the purpose of this argument, and despite my clarification, he still does not understand.

The ultimate question to take from this contention is: how is this justified? How can you justify all these atrocities? Con’s answer is no less than frightening: “so what?” So what if the Israel-Palestine war continues? So what if hundreds of thousands die in a tsunami? So what if hundreds of millions suffer from depression?

Another of my opponent’s points was a bare assertion: “if some people are always going to suffer to an extreme extent which allows for a much, much larger population to live in happiness”. No statistics are given for this. No arguments, outside the bare assertion. On the contrary, I have given extensive documentation and statistics of the world’s sufferings.

The other point is mitigation. Notice the term “mitigation”, meaning that we cannot stop these horrible atrocities from happening, but we can lessen them. Even if this could be true, even if we could stop all the wars, the mass exterminations and natural disasters, what kind of carnage would sentient life suffer through until then? As I already suggested, have a look through history. Have a look at the extreme suffering already endured. We can fly to the moon easily, yet we cannot yet stop giving into our territorial instincts and killing people for power.

So, to answer the vital question of ‘how is this justified?’ It is not; the problems are ultimately ignored. Remember that discomfort always comes first, and so it must be justified.

A4: Life is imposed

Con ultimately fails to justify the imposition – he does not even get close to providing arguments for it. This is a serious moral dilemma. Con does not show that there is an argument for birth, and all this shows is that there is no argument to affirm life should be lived. Meanwhile, I fulfil my own burden of proof (for the resolution) by showing the risks involved.

As asked elsewhere, what is worth putting 6 million Jews through a Holocaust? What if you gave birth to one of those people? You did not have to subject them to life, and all the risks that come with it. What justifies this? Playing golf on a nice course? Drinking high-tea with your friends? Are all these perceptual pleasure worth the occasional holocausted individual?


  1. 1. Life is imposed
  2. 2. Life can bring excruciating discomfort to certain individuals (A3)
  3. 3. Life also brings discomfort to everyone
  4. 4. None of this discomfort is consented to

C. Therefore, life should not be imposed

V. Existential Nihilism

This was a red-herring. If my arguments hold, then this argument is negated by default, as explained in the previous round.

VI. Future:

My point was that the desire mechanism was not talked about in either article. My opponent ignores this, and continues to refer to physical pain and pleasure, which are products of the discomfort/comfort mechanism, rather than the things themselves. The mechanism is the problem, and this argument does not address this problem.

Also, even if we were able to rid ourselves of the mechanism, as suggested under A3, what sentient life suffer through until then?


I firstly want to thank Envisage for this debate. My understanding of Anti-natalism has been furthered mid-debate, and I hope that this was worthwhile for him, too.

I also want to thank you, the reader, for reading whatever you did. Philosophy of life is the most intriguing thing in this world, and you are doing everyone a favour by reading this debate, so thank you.

Although it is heavily implied, I wish to make it absolutely clear that I am not arguing for suicide or genocide. I am arguing for people not to be born.

Lastly, I wish to refer you to this Youtube page (, and I want to give extra credit to the man running it, because I used a lot of his arguments. He is arguably the best exponent of Anti-natalism/Efilism, and I have really benefited from listening to him. His work makes the complex simple. I will end my arguments with a quote of his:

“It’s time to engineer a graceful exit to the game, a graceful exit for life.”



Thanks Pro.

I. Preface

Given the rules and structure of this debate, I will only be making summaries, conclusions and pleasantries. It shouldn't be required as the content of this debate has already been given in the previous six rounds.

Pro had to demonstrate only one thing in this debate, which is that it is better that we (humans) have never been. Pro needed to give good reasons for accepting this pessimistic outlook on life is either logical or preferable. I maintain that Pro has failed spectacularly on all accounts.

II. Debate Overview

Pro's most substantial and most accurate/relevant argument was her argument that life produces lots of discomfort. Before that though we need to consider exactly where her other arguments puts this into context.

First she affirms that life has no intrinsic value/meaning. Fine, I had absolutely no intention of arguing for this anyway, however that doesn't make it any more plausible that life is negative, it only mitigates common notions of intrinsic worth. In fact I affirmed that it fits in very nicely with nihilistic existentialism, which is not a red herring as Pro seems to argue, since it allows for both positive and negative live outlooks.

More 'good stuff' is preferable to 'bad stuff', and life is not inherently good or bad, it is dependant in how each life is lived.

I argued that given the times in which we live in, that even if live was overall bad NOW, it doesn't necessarily hold that it will be bad in the future, since advancing technology can very conceivably change how we perceive 'bad stuff', whether it be human life or some other artificial fabrication. Pro has not justified why this very plausible future is not going to happen, and in fact drops the main points here with her handwaving.

Furthermore Pro has skipped the point on humans being good for eradicating stuff if life is inherently bad, contrary to Pro's rebuttal, this is directly relevant to the resolution, since humans possess the intellect to make these happen, and without humans life would continue on in the way in which Pro asserts is sufferable..

... But she hasn't even gotten that far!

Most of Pro's other points have completely missed the mark as far as the resolution is concerned, with her arguments against the effects of overpopulation presupposing the conclusion to be relevant, and her arguments over the 'real impact' with examples such as the holocaust etc. only able to demonstrate there are instances where life is sufferable, and does no more to demonstrate the resolution than a single flat note demonstrates a bad singer.

Pro had to go a lot further than just stating the 'bad stuff' in life, she necessarily needed to make a case that life AS A WHOLE was 'bad'. I argue that she has only done this through her discomfort arguments, which I will conclude in the next section.

Lastly, Pro's 'Unintelligent Design' contention was a mixed bag. Moreover I cannot see how it possibly supports the resolution and still seems to be largely irrelevant, much less relevant than her attacks in intrinsic value. Especially considering they are just as effectively used to argue that there is no reason for life not to exist, given that everything is naturalistic. There is nothing 'inherently bad' if we are just molecules or 'self-sustaining entities' as they depict. Wants are only 'wants', and are not by themselves a negative thing, how could it be negative?

Essentially, this argument just defeats itself when it wasn't even compelling in the first place. So what if we cannibalize, reproduce and have addictions, Pro needed to actually demonstrate why this is all 'bad' outside of subjective emotional appeals. In fact, I cannot see how she could ever affirm they are bad without shooter in herself in the foot.

III. Discomfort arguments

So after much squabbling we have an argument which looks something like this:

P1. All states of discomfort are bad
P2. Life perpetually produces states of discomfort
C. Life perpetually produces bad states

Which leads to the conclusion that it would be preferable if life did not exist. This is literally her only on-target contention as far as I am concerned. Pro's literally only logical support for this contention is that discomfort is bad because comfort is preferable to discomfort.

However, as I hope I have thoroughly shown, the dichotimy is oversimplistic and a false one, moreover it doesn't follow that 'comfort being preferable to discomfort' means that discomfort is bad. It has been a non-sequitur from round 1, and Pro's defence of this has become weaker and weaker as the rounds have progressed.

In my original reformulate of Pro's argument (below), she might have been justified in her conclusion that life is bad given that discomfort is logically equivalent to the annihilation of that state if discomfort. Since she has changed her arguments however, not even this applies. Her most significant point, that discomfort seems to precede comfort is rendered irrelevant when we realize that pleasure and happiness exist separately from just the annihilation of a state of discomfort. I.e. Even if 'discomfort is bad', it doesn't follow that the 'relieving of the discomfort' is equivalent to never having that state of discomfort in the first place. We have both the pleasure, satisfaction and memories if the event.

To this, Pro has failed spectacularly to address with any precision.

Pro drops most my points that voluntary creating of 'discomfort' seems to falsify 'discomfort is bad' by only attempting to convolute the arguments, and she also fails spectacularly to address my satisfaction/dissatisfaction dichotimy which is made with essentially the same justification as her discomfort/comfort dichotimy:

P1*. Life is a state of dissatisfaction
P2*. Dissatisfaction is not bad
C*. Life is not bad

Pro seems to place a lot of emphasis in the neutral state, but she has missed the point. Of it is possible for a state if discomfort to be preferable to the neutral state, then her entire argument goes up in smoke. I gave numerous examples and reasons in this debate as to why some of these states are preferable to the neutral state. If they pass (and they should), then it also passes that discomfort is not necessarily bad, and her argument fails.

IV. Borderline Arguments:

Pro seems to make a new argument in R3 (which would be against the rules) about 'boredom', which is why I am not addressing it, nor do I see it could be relevant without compromising her own position, and she seems to add material to her 'life is imposed argument', which seems borderline.

To clear this last argument up, Pro has not justified why bringing in life without consent is inherently any worse than bringing in life with consent. In fact if she were to do so she would undermine her comfort/discomfort dichotomy by proposing additional relevant factors outside of it. Not that she hasn't done that enough already!! I demonstrated by gamblers analogy why this is a poor argument anyway. Pro needed to demonstrate with confident why the gamble would most likely lose... today and also in the likely future.

V. Conclusion

I haven't seen a clear, coherent argument from Pro as to why 'It is better to have never been', and none of her arguments have soundly reached this conclusion. Either they were off-target, irrelevant, or unsubstantiated/false. An unsound argument is a bad argument, and a bad argument is not good enough to affirm the resolution. As such, the resolution is negated.

VI. Closing

I am glad this debate is finally over, and I thank the readers for getting this far. I also am very grateful to Zarroette/Cassandra for agreeing to stick her neck out and for providing stiff competition, and I wish her best of luck in the voting.

I would like to leave you with a couple of quotes and a reminder to never, ever, think about pressing this button:

click="document.location='/Envisage/photos/album/3882/25074/'" src="../../../photos/albums/1/4/3882/156777-3882-94nyx-a.jpg" alt="" />

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” R13; George Bernard Shaw
Debate Round No. 5
304 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Astal3 2 years ago
We probably dnt unless he told someone but I don't see him just leaving either.
Posted by Adam_Godzilla 2 years ago
Im confused, how do you exactly know that Envisage was banned instead of leaving the site?
Posted by lifemeansevolutionisgood 2 years ago
MikaelChuaungo joins this website yesterday. He only does one thing, defends LMGIG. He has not come one since. There was no work put into his account. I have a feeling that LMGIG made an alt to try and defend himself.
Posted by YamaVonKarma 2 years ago
Every other word out of your mouth claims we'll all be sent to hell, if we don't follow your God. You are a spam bot with the mindset of a Crusader. Both make me sick. When you grow up and stop claiming your religion to be the best, I'll consider treating you like an intelligent being. Until then, hello. Would you like a biscuit?
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 2 years ago
and the guy who threatned me great bodily harm repeatedly should get banned....I don't try to get anybody banned or thrown in jail. I believe in freedom of speech but not freedom to make felonious threats or to incite violence by announcing that I think a person shoujd be assualted to make them shut up. Envisage got himself banned. If I were a moderator, there are about five others who would have been banned five times over for the way they have repeated insulted and harassed me with vulgarities and attempts to stir up other people trying to get others to attack me.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 2 years ago
Yama should get banned for that trash talk
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
His opinion is fine. What's not fine is him spamming the comment section of debates.
Posted by MikaelChuaungo 2 years ago
@wilted.the reason he is not banned is because this use a debate site and he is just expressing his opinion
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Why isn't LMGIG banned? Seriously, this is the only complaint I have about the modding. They are extremely good in most respects but his relentless spamming of the comment sections should have him permanently banned.
Posted by Astal3 2 years ago
Saying you do not condem anyone and then continue to say the same crap over and over again makes you a hypocrite. You know people do not agree with you and you express your opinions in a very disrespectful and forcful way. You have a right to your opinion, so do we. If you decide to engage in an unwinnable battle that's on you. And if other people continuously attack you "unprovoked" then you have every right to report them. But what you say and how you say it is offensive and saying no offense and continuing to do it makes you look like an a#$.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments. Its a long one
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: 1: History: Minor Con vote. Con "concedd" cuz no purpse hurts Pro; nihilistically means nothing good/bad. 2: Bad Design: Minor hinging Pro vote. Relevnt if Discmft is Bad. Supprts overall discmft of life. 3: Imposed Life: No vote. Consent not proved good/bad, its non/existence irrelvnt. 4: Intrinsic Value: No vote: Both agree value from obsrvr. Possbly objctvly true, but obsrvr's beliefs are subjctv & irrelevnt to objctv resolutn. 5: Life W/O Discmft: Minor Pro vote. Pro proved unsupprtd & implausible (w/o desire, noone acts), supprts discmft of life. 6: Humans Live to End Life Forever: Hinging Con vote. Relvnt if Discmft is Bad. Con proved humans can reduce discmft more than resolutn. 7: Discmft is Bad: Con vote. (A) Sentnt life avoids discmft: Is-ought fallcy. (B) Cmft > discmft: Both agree, helps Pro, but cmft > discmft =/= discmft bad. (C) Non-cmft, postiv emotns: Seems possbl, hurts "life only discmft". (D) Satisfact/dissat: Same logic, diff cnclsn, hurts Pro. ***TOTAL VOTE: CON**