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Would human extinction be a tragedy? Show more Show less

If humans were to be wiped out and became extinct overnight, would the end of the human race be a tragedy? Or would it be a cause for celebration, the end of a malignant tumour in our ecosystem? Maybe it would be neither?
The world would be better off without us
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Antinatalism

Extinction would prevent future generations being born into this world that is so full of suffering.

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Context

Given the level of human suffering on earth, the extinction of the human race would be a blessing. It would prevent future suffering inflicted on future generations.

The Argument

Human sentience opens the human race up to suffering. Life is so gruelling, painful and full of suffering that the kindest thing to do is not have children and allow the human race to become extinct. [1] In this sense, reproducing is an intrinsically cruel deed. It subjects the new life to the horrors of this world. Far from a tragedy, the extinction of the human race would be the kindest, most compassionate end to mankind and sentient life.

Counter arguments

Almost everyone, when asked, would say they are happy to be alive. Even those in extreme poverty, the severely disabled, and the mentally ill take great joy in being alive. [2] This is reflected in the behaviour of many people. There are endless avenues for suicide all around us (tall buildings, noxious car fumes, rope) yet, comparatively speaking, very few people commit suicide. This is because almost everyone believes it is better to exist than not to exist.

Premises

P1: Life is gruelling, difficult and fraught with suffering. P2: To be born into this life is bad. P3: Therefore, it is far kinder not to subject future generations to this world. P4: Therefore, to allow humankind to die out would be an act of kindness and compassion towards future generations.

Rejecting the premises

Rejecting P2: To be born to this life is not bad.

References

  1. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/persons-of-interest/the-case-for-not-being-born
  2. https://www.econlib.org/archives/2011/12/a_cursory_rejec.html

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Monday, 24 Dec 2018 at 19:29 UTC