it is better to have never been/exist
Debate Rounds (5)
1st round is acceptance only
2nd round arguments only
3rd round rebuttals and arguments
4th round more rebuttals and arguments
5th round rebuttals and conclusions only no new arguments
'it is better to have never been/exist' is the topic
just so we are clear definitions:
better= more preferable
never= at no time in the past or future; not ever
been= existence/ have objective reality or being
An issue that may arise is when does one come into 'existence' I think for arguments sake we should agree that existence occurs when one develops a consciousness and agreement should be met that this begins to be in place between the 24th and 28th week of gestation (1).
I the pro shall argue a number of controversial issues in relation to the topic. Coming into existence is a harm, procreation is always wrong, it would be better if as a result of there being no new people humanity became extinct.
If you wish to discuss the rules make a comment in the comment section
"Sleep is good, death is better; but of course, the best thing would to have never been born at all" - Heinrich Heine
This topic many will presumably dismiss as too obscene to be true before looking at the my arguments however by the end of the debate I hope I will have put forward a strong enough case to prove that it is indeed better to have never been.
For arguments sake I shall call those who take refuge in on con's side of the debate 'Pollyanna' ( which means "an excessively cheerful or optimistic person")
In order for coming in to existence to be beneficial a 'Pollyanna' must take the assumption that being brought into existence is a benefit (even though not been brought into existence is not a harm). However as I shall argue this assumption is false.
To varying extents bad things happen to everybody, no life is without hardship we also all face death.
It should be known that only those who exist can suffer only those who exist can be harmed. Existers can experience pain, hunger, thirst, despair, sorrow, loss, guilt, shame, e.t.c the list goes on for quite a while, obviously if one does not exist one can not experience these sufferings. However the 'Pollyanna's' would be quick to note that only good things can happen to those who exist, this is true but irrelevant.
This is because there is a crucial difference between harms (such as pains) and benefits (such as pleasure) this (which as I shall show below), entails that existence has no advantage over non existence but existence does have disadvantages to non existence, which must lead to the conclusion that it is better to have never been.
It is correct to say that
a) the presence of pain is always 'bad'
b) the presence of pleasure is always 'good'
As you can see there is a symmetry here however the symmetry does not follow when we replace the word "presence" with "absence" as we have an asymmetry occur.
This is because it is also correct to say
c) the absence of pain is always 'good'
however and this is where the asymmetry occurs
d) the absence of pleasure is not always 'bad'
We have a duty as humans to avoid bringing suffering people into existence but not a duty to bring happy people into existence this is due to the fact that someone who has never existed cannot be deprived of pleasure because they have not existed to be deprived in the first place; and still as we now know the absence of pleasure is not always 'bad' anyway. But someone who never exists cannot suffer which is always 'good' and as we know all life comes with some degree of suffering so obviously again one who does not exist does not suffer.
It should also at this point be known that one cannot have a child for the child's sake because before the child is born there is no way whatsoever to know how that childs life will turn out and again if the child is not born it is not deprived of anything as it does not exist, also it is impossible to gain consent form the child before creating it. One can only have children for one's own interests (such as wanting to start a family or become a mother) or others interests (such as grandparents or tribal strenght).
The mere fact that a parent can have no idea how a child's life will turn out and still go ahead and have a child is one of many reasons I believe procreation should stop. The parent is creating a conscious being where suffering is inevitable and in many cases catastrophic. The child will most likely outlive its parents and have to endure the hardship of their death amongst all the other trials humans face.
Thus the only way to stop the suffering inflicted upon us as a species is to stop reproducing, in fact i would also say It's the honorable thing for our species to do; "deny our programming walk hand in hand into extinction - one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal." - Rust Cohle
This is my opening argument thank you
If we did not exist, there would be nothing to admire or learn the cosmos. Without a creature with the understanding that we have, nothing would know the beauty of Euler's Formula, how galaxies are born, what is the awesome power of a black hole, what is pi, how calculus works, ect. These things would continue to exist even if we didn't, but without us, there would be nothing currently to our knowledge that could understand these things.
Humanity can be a benefit to all life on earth.
An example of this would be if an asteroid capable of causing a mass extinction event, was flying towards earth. Humans are the only creature on this planet capable of realizing that the asteroid was there, and we are the only ones who could have any hope of preventing it from eliminating all life on earth. The asteroid could effectively be deflected by several nuclear devices. Now I assume that earth not getting hit by an asteroid, is preferable to it getting hit.
Another example of benefits humans contribute to earth, is that with our understanding of science we can help nature in ways it would have otherwise not have help with. Humans are capable of finding out diseases, stress, and several other problems that occur in nature, we are also capable of helping nature with said issues. We have learned about rabies and are the only creature capable of treating it. Now I assume that treating rabies, is preferable to not treating it.
The good outweighs the bad on average.
Humans have shown from time and time again that it is possible to put aside differences and work together. While humans haven't been able to get a constant state of this across the world, we have been able to have it happen in small occurrences. This ability to put aside differences is just as much a part of human nature as violence. Effectively humans while capable of causing great pain and violence, can also cause happiness and cooperation. It is important to note that there is there is on average more happiness and cooperation than pain and violence. This can be notice by the fact that a small percentage of people commit crime. This can also be notice by the fact that majority of people don't suffer from depression. If pain was something that ended up being greater than happiness, then most people wouldn't ever feel happiness without it getting drowned out by pain.
Life is potential.
With every life, there is potential to do something. This potential is the reason why we live life. With our potential we can do good things, bad things, and varying shades on neutral. If I was to end my life today, I would lose the potential to do anything. Even if I was in extreme pain and misery there is always the potential for the future to be better. In the worse case situation imaginable, there is guarantied a chance that it will be better. This chance can be absurdly low (like so low that in the entire existence of the known universe, it would be unlikely to happen) but it is still there, and because of this chance, someone can find the meaning of life and existence.
Trying to prevent intelligent life is futile.
Since evolution has produce a creature like us, it will do it again. If all humans were to go extinct or never existed, monkey and apes, according to macro evolution and current primate social factors, would take our place. So if we were to end our existence, how would we get the future intelligent life to do the same? Theoretically you could kill all life on earth, thus preventing earth from having organisms evolve into intelligent life, but even that would be futile. Life, if occurred from abiogenesis before, it could do it again. Thus life will again come into existence, and then eventually become intelligent provided the conditions. In addition, with all of the planets in the universe, there is bound to be one already with intelligent life, so killing all humans would not even end intelligent life in the universe.
This is my opening argument. I will be looking forward to the rebuttals and reinforcement of arguments in round 3.
My opponent's opening argument is stating how knowledge is preferable to no knowledge especially it would seem in relation to the cosmos. However this is false as I shall demonstrate. Take for example a child of 1 year age who has been molested but has no memory and then in adulthood is informed of the molestation it could be said the victim is better of not knowing. Or the fact that a man knows his rent is due and he cannot afford to pay which can cause undue amounts of stress on him and his family. The knowledge of the inevitability of all human life, death this often leads to enormous amounts discomfort and grief amongst all those it affects. However if one does not exist these problems do not exist. Also if one never comes into existence they cannot feel they have missed out on the knowledge of the cosmos because to 'them' the cosmos obviously do not exist.
To the point "Humanity can be a benefit to all life on earth".
I can only see this as a step back for my opponent it would certainly be more preferable for these matters such as the "asteroid" and "rabies" to not exist and obviously to the non 'exister' these problems do not exist. These are trials, worries and stresses only those who exist have to worry about and the debate is not if humanity is good for the world it is if existence is preferable over non existence which in this case it clearly is not.
To the point "The good outweighs the bad on average"
(I will refer to this at the end of this round as it is long and very important)
To the point "Life is potential"
"In the worse case situation imaginable, there is guarantied a chance that it will be better" this also works vice versa with the very best life it is inevitably going to get worse. Even still with my point being made my opponents point I feel is somewhat contradictory as "The good outweighs the bad on average" (my opponents previous argument) so If the bad outweighs the good (which in my opponents hypothetical it does) then it must be more preferable not to exist otherwise my opponent is using a double standard.
To the point "Trying to prevent intelligent life is futile"
I feel this is to an extent of topic the question asks whether or not it is more preferable to exist or not. I only talked about human extinction as an inevitability of my argument. And it is still more preferable to not come into existence, even for these other life forms that may one day reach human intelligence.
Now to the point "The good outweighs the bad on average" and also my new arguments
My opponent and other 'Pollyanna's' try to paint a rosy picture on the predicament 'existers' and we find this evident with my opponents "It is important to note that there is there is on average more happiness and cooperation than pain and violence". I quite frankly find this attitude similar to cheering at a funeral and I shall explain why.
I shall focus here only on human suffering but the picture becomes still more obscene when we consider the suffering of trillions of animals who share our planet, including the billions who are brought into existence each year, only to be maltreated and killed for human consumption or other use.
Consider first natural disasters. More than 15 million people are thought to have died from such disasters in the last 1000 years. In the last few years flooding for example has killed an estimated 20,000 anually and brought suffering to tens of millions(1). The number is greater in some years. In late december 2004, a few hundred thousand people lost their lives in a tsunami. Approximately 21,000 people die every day from hunger this is one person every four seconds(2). An estimated 840 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition without dying from it(3), this is undeniably a sizeable portion of the current population.
Disaster ravages and kills millions annually. Consider plague for example. The 1918 influenza epidemic killed somewhere between 20 and 40 million people(4). In 2013 HIV killed 1.5 million people(5). If we add all other infectious disease we get a total of over 17 million deaths per year(6).
Add approximately 3.5 million accidental deaths including 1.24 million road accident deaths per year(7).
In 2001 with all deaths added a colossal sum of 56.5 million people died(8), and as the population grows the greater the number of deaths occur, now multiply the number of deaths by the number of family and friends who survive to mourn and miss the departed . For every death there are many more who grieve for the deceased.
Although disease and accidents cause tremendous suffering now consider the suffering our species inflicts upon itself. According to 'death by government' estimates that before the 20th century over 133 million people were killed in mass killings(9), R. J. Rummel's the author demonstrates that the first 88 years of the 20th century saw 170 million maybe up to 360 million people shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, worked to death, buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed and in many other horrible ways governments have inflicted death on helpless people.
The suffering does not end here. Consider the number of people who are raped, assaulted, maimed or murdered (by private citizens rather than governments). About 40 million children have are maltreated each year(10). 130 million currentaly living femals have been subjected to genatile cutting(11). Then there is enslavement, unjust incarceration, shunning, betrayal, humiliation, and intimidation not to mention oppression in its myriad forms.
For countless the suffering is so great they take their own lives; suicide which kills one person every 40 seconds(12).
'Pollyannas' will think that they and their children will be spared all this. Even if there are some lives that are spared all of this suffering those relatively 'high quality' lifes are uncommon. One of these lives is so rare that for everyone there are millions of horrible ones. Some even know that their baby will be among the unfortunate, however no one can no if their child will be one of the allegedly 'lucky' few. Great suffering can await any person that is brought into existence. My opponent and other 'Pollyannas' surely bears the burden of justifying this procreational russian roulette. Given that there are no real advantages over never existing for those who are brought into existence, it is hard to see how the significant risk of serious harm and suffering could be justified.
As I have shown the con side not only play russian roulette they play with a fully loaded gun; aimed of course not only their own heads but that of their future offspring.
I would like to say that the main purpose of this debate, is whether people who exist would rather not exist. So if people who exist feel that they "...are a way for the cosmos to know itself" then the opinions (or lack of) of those who don't exist doesn't matter. So my opponent's comment: "Also if one never comes into existence they cannot feel they have missed out on the knowledge of the cosmos because to 'them' the cosmos obviously do not exist." means little, since it is about whether people who exist care about if they didn't, not vise versa. People who exist may be glad that they exist to see the beauty of the universe. Just because if they didn't exist they wouldn't feel like they missed out doesn't change the opinions of existing people.
Now I wasn't aware from my opponents main argument that he was also saying that it would be better if the entire universe didn't exist. Of course I should have took the raw meaning about statement "It is better to have never been/existed" rather than apply it to intelligent life. I would like to thank my opponent for clarifying this debate with the comment he made about asteroids:"...it would certainly be more preferable for these matters such as the "asteroid" and "rabies" to not exist..."
I would like to say that in the point I made was "The good outweighs the bad on average" which doesn't mean that the "good outweighs the bad in all situations". I feel like my opponent may have overlooked the word average. I would just like to say that if pain was something that ended up being greater than happiness, then MOST people wouldn't ever feel happiness without it getting drowned out by pain. If a person would have their happiness drown out by pain, then if they were ask the question "Would it be better if you never were conceived?", they would say yes. Now if you were to take a large sample of people and gave them that question. The "majority" would say no. While there are some suffering by depression who would say no, they are in the minority of people.
I feel that my opponent obscured the picture by saying human consumption causes animal to be maltreated. Human consumption merely causes animals to be kill, maltreatment occurs from significantly smaller group people not caring about their treatment. While the cause of the maltreatment are humans either way, I feel that my opponent is trying to give the feeling that majority of people are guilty for the animal maltreated. This would help him with trying to give the impression that the all of humanity is responsible for the misery, even though in reality it is a minority of the humanity.
Now the next argument my opponent makes is that there are large amounts of suffering on earth. My opponent gives a wealth of statistics of suffering that seems to overwhelm human existence. While the numbers he gave are in the 100's of millions, it is important to know that a 100 billion people existed during the same time frame(1). The entirety of the horrible things that my opponent has mention, end up only to be less than a percent of people who existed during the same time.
I feel that my opponent fails to consider people who prefer to exist even in horrible situations. While he and others may prefer to not exist because of the likeliness of suffering, there are people that prefer to exist and deal with the likeliness of suffering over not existing at all. Now I feel my opponent has made a drastic oversimplification of the con's side. He claims that all on the con's side are 'Pollyannas' and goes on to say "...that they think that they and their children will be spared all this [misery]". I would like to say that there are many people, myself included, that do not believe that they or their children will be spared from horrendous misery. Yet myself and others like me still prefer to exist despite the likeliness of misery. Personally I am fairly sure someone will eventually brutally and painfully murder me some day. Yet despite this likeliness of pain, I still prefer to exist and have the potential of happiness, rather than never exist and be free from misery. There was an example I gave in a previous argument of a horrible situation and the was a small probability of it getting better. I and many others would be willing to live through such an ordeal for this small probability. And if we are willing to live through such an ordeal, we are certainly willing to exist through such ordeal, just to exist.
So in the end the pro side not only makes a claim that is false in all situations for people willing to go through hardship to have the potential to live life to its fullest, but also false for the majority of people on earth.
"the main purpose of this debate, is whether people who exist would rather not exist" and " it is about whether people who exist care about if they didn't" ...umm. No. This may be a misunderstanding rather than a straw man argument but none the less ill refute. The debate is about "It is better to have never been" the key word in this instance is "never" which we agreed upon in the beginning means "at no time in the past or future; not ever", it should be known there is a difference between continuing life and creating life, also at no point in this debate have I suggested that those who already exist should kill themselves thus ceasing to exist (obviously this would cause immense suffering which is what I am trying to avoid) instead I have suggested those who already exist stop creating 'existers' thus eventually ending suffering.
We have another misunderstanding with " he was also saying that it would be better if the entire universe didn't exist" this is not at all what I meant the universe still exists but conscious beings do not exist which is also a condition we agreed upon before we begun the debate with "been= existence/ have objective reality or being" and "I think for arguments sake we should agree that existence occurs when one develops a consciousness". Now my point being that whilst comets and rabies may be a problem they are only a problem to the someone who exist but to a non 'exister' they are not a problem, thus it is better to have never been.
"I feel that my opponent obscured the picture by saying human consumption causes animal to be maltreated". Oh no make no mistake this is still maltreatment and Ill show why. It is creating life/ conscious beings that to can suffer and the animals have no other purpose but to die, it is creating life to take life. Billions upon billions each year. Now let me put this into perspective, imagine instead of sheep farms there were people farms, people were breed raised to about 20 and then slaughtered and their meat and other parts sold; also some children would be created and then killed at age 1 or 2 (like lambs) so the child is brought into the world just to have its throat slit. It is painfully obvious in this case that it is better to have never been.
" The entirety of the horrible things that my opponent has mention, end up only to be less than a percent of people who existed during the same time." This is definitely a straw man argument. If we look at my opponents reference we see that all up 100 billion people have ever existed on earth my statistics of suffering (excluding death as obviously death affects everyone therefore the number would be equal to 100 billion) is indeed only in the hundreds of millions, however the earliest records I used (excluding the natural disaster statistic) only began at the start of the 20th century. Now consider that my opponents reference said that the human species have been around for 200 thousand years. I have shown the terrible suffering only in the 20th century and the star of the 21st century, that's only 215 years out of 200 thousand years. In the totality of human existence the amount of suffering would be unthinkable.
" I would like to say that there are many people, myself included, that do not believe that they or their children will be spared from horrendous misery." If this is the case I hope you don't have children, but then again as I have argued I hope all procreation stops.
Now to my final arguments
My opponent has at several times made claim that people overall have good lives, this is an illusion and self assessment of ones own life is usually wrong. Also my opponent claimed "I and many others would be willing to live through such an ordeal [immense suffering] for this small probability [of life getting better]". This is a very easy thing to say until one is thrown in such a situation, talk is cheap. Take for example Donald Cowat who suffered from a gas explosion that burnt two thirds of his body. He refused extremely painful but life saving treatment, but the doctors ignored his wishes and treated him nonetheless. His life was saved and he then went on to achieve considerable success. My opponent has claimed that it was well worth going through that suffering as his life got better, his life did in fact get better. However Donald the actual sufferer in this instance says that the post burn goods were not worth the cost of enduring the treatment which he had been subjected to (1).
I previously said self assessment of one's own life is usually wrong I shall now explain why.
There are a number of well known features of human psychology that can account for peoples favorable self assessments of their own life. It is these psychological phenomena that explain why my opponent and other 'Pollyannas' are living in illusion. The first is called the 'Pollyanna principle' people usually tend to recall when asked about their lives positive memories over negative one's (2) this means people actually tend to remember past experiences as more rosy than they actually occurred. This selective recall distorts how well we think our I lives are it is a self assessed bias.
Also adaption (the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment) and habituation (make or become accustomed or used to something) could be biological reasons for this illusion.
The above psychological phenomenon are unsurprising from an evolutionary perspective. they militate against suicide and favour reproduction. If our lives are quite as bad as I have argued they are and If people were prone to see this true quality of their lives for what it is, then they might be much more inclined to kill themselves or at least stop reproducing. My view whilst still true tends not to be naturally selected.
Next my opponent claimed that "...at no point in this debate have I suggested that those who already exist should kill themselves thus ceasing to exist...". While my opponent never claimed for people to commit suicide directly, he has given a quote that infers it. In my opponent's opening argument he gave the quote "Sleep is good, death is better; but of course, the best thing would to have never been born at all" - Heinrich Heine. In this quote, death is stated to be better than sleep. Now if my opponent finds nothing wrong with people going to sleep, he shouldn't find anything wrong with people being killed. Now my opponent claims that he doesn't support people killing themselves because "(obviously this would cause immense suffering which is what I am trying to avoid)". I find that my opponents supposed reasoning for not wanting people to kill themselves is flawed by his standards. If a person was to be destroyed or vaporized faster than their nerve could send signals of pain, then their death would be painless for the time that they exist. Now unless my opponent believes in an afterlife(highly doubt he does), he would find certain manners of death to be without suffering and have no problem with them. I am fairly confident that he would support everyone on this planet being instantaneously vaporized by nukes.
Now the next contradiction in my opponent's argument follows:
__________"We have another misunderstanding with " he was also saying that it would be better if the entire universe didn't __________exist" this is not at all what I meant the universe still exists but conscious beings do not exist which is also a __________condition we agreed upon before we begun the debate with "been= existence/ have objective reality or being" __________and "I think for arguments sake we should agree that existence occurs when one develops a consciousness". Now __________my point being that whilst comets and rabies may be a problem they are only a problem to the someone who exist __________but to a non 'exister' they are not a problem, thus it is better to have never been."
I find this to be in contradiction with:
__________"I can only see this as a step back for my opponent it would certainly be more preferable for these matters such as __________the "asteroid" and "rabies" to not exist and obviously to the non 'exister' these problems do not exist."
__________If you read carefully, you will notice that he states that it would be "more preferable for these matters such as the __________"asteroid" and "rabies" to not exist" then he says "and obviously to the non 'exister' these problems do not exist.".
Now if you look at the use of 'and' it shows that he is stating two different claims. He claims it would be better if 'asteroids' didn't exist, and he also claims that " to the non 'exister' these problems do not exist.". Later in the debate he claims to only have made the point that " to the non 'exister' these problems do not exist.". He clearly is either ignoring or doesn't realize that he made the claim "be more preferable for these matters such as the "asteroid" and "rabies" to not exist".
Now with my opponent's argument about the 'Pollyanna principle', I have decided to type into Google "which are easier to remember, bad or good memories" surprisingly I had a hard time finding information to support my opponents argument. I actually found the opposite. I kept on finding sources that claim that bad memories stick better than good(2,3,4). Now I was able to find one source to that claimed "pleasant emotions appear to fade more slowly from our memory than unpleasant emotions" and "among those with mild depression, unpleasant and pleasant emotions tend to fade evenly" (5). Unfortunately for my opponent, if you thoroughly read through the paper, you would find:
__________The effect of mood
__________Another aspect of emotion is mood - your emotional state at the time of encoding or retrieving. There has been __________quite a lot of research on the effect of mood on memory. It is clear that mood affects what is noticed and encoded. __________This is reflected in two (similar but subtly different) effects:
__________mood congruence: whereby we remember events that match our current mood (thus, when we're depressed, we __________tend to remember negative events), and
__________mood dependence: which refers to the fact that remembering is easier when your mood at retrieval matches your __________mood at encoding (thus, your chances of remembering an event or fact are greater if you evoke the emotional __________state you were in at the time of experiencing the event or learning the fact).
Now according to this, a happy person has an easier time remembering happy events, and a sad person has an easier time to remember sad events. The fact that happy memories fade for slowly is because the person is generally happy. This seems to also explain why "among those with mild depression, unpleasant and pleasant emotions tend to fade evenly". A generally neutral person would have memories fade at the same rate since his mood is generally neutral. So in conclusion this article shows that we aren't programmed to remember good events because of some biological adaption for preventing suicide, but because we generally are happy.
Now my opponent tries to explain the supposed 'Pollyanna principle' by saying that:
__________Also adaption (the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment) __________and habituation (make or become accustomed or used to something) could be biological reasons for this illusion.
__________The above psychological phenomenon are unsurprising from an evolutionary perspective. they militate against __________suicide and favour reproduction. If our lives are quite as bad as I have argued they are and If people were prone to __________see this true quality of their lives for what it is, then they might be much more inclined to kill themselves or at least __________stop reproducing. My view whilst still true tends not to be naturally selected."
The problem with this statement is that it is opposite of what is observed in nature. In nature, it is detrimental to be happier than what the environment is. If you are surrounded by predators, it is better to be more fearful than of the predators than their actual threat level. If you are limited on food, it is better to be scared of starving more than you need to be. If you end up being less scared of the predators than needed, you will be much more likely to be eaten. If you are less worried about starving than needed, you would be more likely to starve. If a person sees their life as better than it really is, then they would be more vulnerable and less likely to survive than a person who thinks the opposite. Since my opponent's claim runs counter what happens in nature, it should be discarded if he doesn't give evidence of it in round 5.
Now for my final arguments.
If I were to give a survey to people and ask them if they would have preferred to never have been conceived, majority of people would say no. My opponent gave the definition of better as more preferable. Since non-existers cannot prefer,
clearly the statement "It is better to have never exist" cannot apply to them. Since it cannot apply to non-existers, it would have to apply to existers. Now since majority of people do not prefer to never have been conceived, by my opponent definition of better, not existing is not "better" for the majority of people. My opponent will claim that anyone who thinks it is better to exist than not, is a delusional 'Pollyanna' and that what is better for them should be discarded even though they are the majority. But earlier in this argument I have shown that most people are not delusional 'Pollyanna' that see their life as better than it really is. I shown with a source that at first glance, would have supported my opponents claim, but when read thoroughly shows the opposite. I have also shown several sources that show that traumatic memories are far stronger than good ones. In conclusion existence is something that most existers prefer, thus the statement "It is better to have never been/exist" is incorrect.
Thank you for this debate, I look forward to seeing how the final round plays out.
The view that coming into existence is a harm is pessimistic (but still true) in both factual and evaluative sense. I have shown that factually, the human life contains much more pain (and other sufferings) than people realize. Evaluatively, I have shown the asymmetry of pleasure and pain and suggested that lives pleasures do not make life worth starting, however life's pains to make life not worth starting.; and the longer sentient life continues the more suffering their will be.
Pessimism tends not to be well received. On account for the psychological disposition to think that things are better than they are, as i previously discussed.
When evaluating both arguments my opponent cannot be right just because his view is 'cheery', just as my view cannot be right because it is grim. Which view we must adopt must depend on the evidence, and as I have argued the grim view about coming into existence is the right one.
There is nothing in my arguments that suggests we should not 'count our blessings', if by this one means that one should be pleased that one's life is still not worse than it is. But this injunction to count one's blessings is much less compelling when it entails deceiving oneself into thinking that one was actually lucky to have come into existence. I would say it is similar to being grateful that one is on the first class cabin of the Titanic as one awaits descent into a watery grave.
Many may view my opening arguments ("coming into existence is a harm, procreation is always wrong, it would be better if as a result of there being no new people humanity became extinct") as depressing however I see them as rather enlightening, as it is the most effective way of preventing suffering. Not creating a person absolutely guarantees that the potential person will not suffer, obviously because that person will not exist.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed."
R13; Friedrich Nietzsche
"We are a way for the cosmos to know itself" Without existence you wouldn't have suffering but you also wouldn't have art, math, history, science, poetry, love, and hope. These are things that are lost without our existence. While my opponent may say non-existers wouldn't care if art, math, history, science, poetry, happiness, love, and hope, didn't exist. By the same logic non-existers wouldn't care if suffering didn't exist.
The good is on average more than the bad. If I posed the question to an exister "Would it be better if you were never conceived?", your average exister would say no. This is evidence that existence on average is more good than bad. This isn't a 'cheery' view, it is a fact. Even some pessimist believe it is better to exist than not, and those people aren't cheery. In addition majority of people on the last leg of their life, look back on it and are glad they existed.
Life is potential. This potential is something worth existing for. For you have the potential to choose to try to reduce suffering. My opponent has given the example that if you got "everyone" to not procreate, you would end all human suffering. My argument of life being potential, shows that "everyone" has the potential to reduce suffering. In addition, if you got "everyone" to use their potential to reduce suffering, then you would completely eliminate all human caused suffering and you would greatly reduce natural caused suffering.
So in conclusion existence is preferable over non existence. With existence you also have the potential to eliminate the downsides of existence. If you truly want to reduce suffering then use your potential for good and help people. Everyone trying to help people is better than everyone not procreating. In the end you should use the potential you get from existing and "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi.
Thank you for this debate.
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Vote Placed by Wylted 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had sources that were more relevant to the debate, and from more reliable places. Pro's arguments that it is better to have never been because your suffering would be completely eliminated was never rebutted. Con showed how their were some good things that came out of existence, but not that is was preferable and he never got to mitigating the suffering arguments until the last round, and even there it was only mitigation. Certainly absolutely no suffering is preferable to a mild amount of suffering. Actually, I am removing the source point now. It was strategic voting based on the last guy saying he judged the entire debate by a single question posed at the end.
Vote Placed by EAT_IT_SUKA 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This was an all-around good debate, and a very interesting topic. But really, I was going to vote for PRO until CON said: 'If I were to give a survey to people and ask them if they would have preferred to never have been conceived, majority of people would say no. My opponent gave the definition of better as more preferable. Since non-existers cannot prefer, clearly the statement "It is better to have never exist" cannot apply to them. Since it cannot apply to non-existers, it would have to apply to existers.' Good job to both contestants, spelling and grammar, conduct and sources were all there. But I think CON won with that one statement above. Good job, PRO and CON.
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