Is living really better than never being born at all?

Is life worse or better than non-existence? And if it is, who is judging? Welcome to anti-natalism, a small but lively corner of philosophy. 

Affebook, Wikicommons

Is being born worth it? If you weighed life’s pleasure against the suffering and sorrow, do you end up ahead? Gustave Flaubert claimed that he would have cursed himself if he became a father, as he desired to “transmit to no one the aggravations and the disgrace of existence.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky was even more bleak in The Brothers Karamazov, writing, “I'd have let them kill me in the womb, so as not to come out into the world at all.”

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Why Religion Is Not Going Away and Science Will Not Destroy It

The US is arguably the most scientifically and technologically advanced society in the world, and yet at the same time the most religious of Western societies.


 

 

A man poses with a full back piece of Jesus Christ by Frankie Lee's Tattoo Parlour during the Australian Tattoo & Body Art Expo. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

In 1966, just over 50 years ago, the distinguished Canadian-born anthropologist Anthony Wallace confidently predicted the global demise of religion at the hands of an advancing science: ‘belief in supernatural powers is doomed to die out, all over the world, as a result of the increasing adequacy and diffusion of scientific knowledge’. Wallace’s vision was not exceptional. On the contrary, the modern social sciences, which took shape in 19th-century western Europe, took their own recent historical experience of secularisation as a universal model. An assumption lay at the core of the social sciences, either presuming or sometimes predicting that all cultures would eventually converge on something roughly approximating secular, Western, liberal democracy. Then something closer to the opposite happened.

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4 philosophers who dropped acid

There are many people who preach the supposed benefits of psychedelics, but none do it as well, nor as reliably, as these philosophers and scientists.

Aldous Huxley.
  • The world is enjoying a bit of a psychedelic renaissance.
  • The phenomenon of micro dosing, in which a fraction of a hit of LSD is taken to gain the supposed benefits without the hassle of hallucinations, is increasingly popular in Silicon Valley.
  • Medical research into psychedelics of all kinds is also expanding and finding new beneficial uses for these drugs in the treatment of psychological disorders.
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Why Aren't More Women Openly Skeptical of Faith?

Where are the four "horsewomen" of new atheism? Well, here are two of them, secular scholars Rebecca Goldstein and Susan Jacoby. 

Philosopher Rebecca Goldstein and secular scholar Susan Jacoby.

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What 46 Years of Hostage Data Tells Us About Religious Terrorism

New research claims religious terrorism is on the rise, and it appears that it's going to get worse before we see a decline in such horrendous acts. 

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