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Never heard of the magazine and can't tell which of the stories your link references is yours.

I asked Eliezer Yudkowsky what he thought of anti-natalism and he gave a somewhat approving response here:

Chip, is any of your freelance writing accessible from the internet? I tried to google you, but googling is a pretty hopeless task when you're looking for anyone with the last name of "Smith."

On the antinatalism issue, I wondered if you or TGGP had considered the Mormon/LDS theological perspective. They actually strike me as having the best argument for having children. (Better, I think, than Catholics, and again, I'm a Catholic with two kids of my own.) Of course, you have to buy into their first principles to swallow their argument... They think that human souls exist in a pre-existent realm somewhere, so when you have a child you're calling one of these souls into this world, where (again, Mormons believe) you have the chance to progress into a more exalted spiritual state, including the possibility of eventually becoming a god. So being born is actually a positive good, because it almost invariably helps a person get from a worse to a better place.

The article isn't online yet. My understanding is that they delay online publication until an issue has been out for a while.


Thanks for linking to the Eliezer Yudkowsky comment. It's pithy, and possibly wise. I still think negative value is a problem, even for post-singularity Prometheans. But Yudowsky is one of those guys. I think five times before disagreeing with him.


The LDS position is white noise to me, since I don't believe their theology and can't contort my synapses to embrace the possibility of "pre-existent realms." (Though I would be interested in knowing the population of those souls in the green room of eternity -- is there one soul for every conceivable gamete combination? If so, we had better get busy.)

The notion does point up the bind some people find themselves in when they try to fashion a response to the second half of the asymmetry; you can't really do it unless you posit that the pre-existent somehow suffer by not being brought into existence. A secular philosopher who has actually affirmed such a view is RM Hare, in his oft-cited anti-abortion paper, "Abortion and the Golden Rule," which is worth a read. It's archived at:


You should write an essay about hot, hot sex.

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