Peter Singer: Nihilism Gone Wild

Peter Singer: Nihilism Gone Wild

by Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D.

Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer, who famously advocates the ethical right of parents to kill their newborn children for any reason, recently has written an article in The New York Times proposing a mass self-extinction of humanity through collective sterilization. (Read it here).

Citing the increasingly discredited global warming/climate change movement, Singer postulates an environmental future filled with senseless suffering for future generations. He then postulates that it is unethical to inflict such suffering on persons not yet born, with the only ethically acceptable solution being nonexistence.
headlinebistro.com/en/columnists/nadal/index.html
That has been the end-point of the Culture of Death all along. This cultic competitor of Christianity distorts human freedom by enlarging it to the point where the order of creation, both physical and spiritual, is eclipsed. In other words, arrogating to the self the power and authority in determining life and death, while simultaneously rejecting faith in God and a created order beyond that which we can immediately see. Such radicalized autonomy clouds the very human reason necessary to discover that order of creation, creating the implosion that is narcissistic nihilism.

Pan-Gnosticism and animism are the grotesque spiritual distortions remaining, as evidenced by the comments after Singer’s article, affirming a healthy, healing benefit to the earth that would result from humanity’s extinction. It is the return to offering human sacrifice to the gods of nature

True environmentalism.You first,Pete.

Sounds like he stumbled on VHEMT's website and got hooked!

You know what, it makes perfect sense from the secular point of view. All secular humanists ought to read Singer's argument's on the matter. He's not nuts, he's just a couple generations ahead of the secular culture. If more people read his arguments and recognized the trajectory of our civilization maybe more people would decide it is time to jump off the freight train called Culture of Death.

Singer could inadvertantly be a great evangelist! :p

[quote="manualman, post:3, topic:202229"]
Sounds like he stumbled on VHEMT's website and got hooked!

You know what, it makes perfect sense from the secular point of view. All secular humanists ought to read Singer's argument's on the matter. He's not nuts, he's just a couple generations ahead of the secular culture. If more people read his arguments and recognized the trajectory of our civilization maybe more people would decide it is time to jump off the freight train called Culture of Death.

Singer could inadvertantly be a great evangelist! :p

[/quote]

I bet he scares the "dickens",I'd rather employ a more scatalogical reference but when in Rome......out of a lot of bandwagon environtalists and Gaia worshippers who wouldn't die for ANY cause.

If he really believed what he preaches he would be found hanging by a rope by his own hand.

Does he practice what he preaches?

:thumbsup:

The author of the article in the first post has misread what Singer was discussing. Here is Singer's article:

opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/should-this-be-the-last-generation/

The suggestion for mass sterilization was a thought experiment, not a serious proposal. The purpose of the thought experiment was to get people thinking about whether or not human existence is important, in and of itself.

The core of his article seems based on an argument put forward by the philosopher David Benatar:

To bring into existence someone who will suffer is, Benatar argues, to harm that person, but to bring into existence someone who will have a good life is not to benefit him or her. Few of us would think it right to inflict severe suffering on an innocent child, even if that were the only way in which we could bring many other children into the world. Yet everyone will suffer to some extent, and if our species continues to reproduce, we can be sure that some future children will suffer severely. Hence continued reproduction will harm some children severely, and benefit none.

I don't buy this argument, since life is rarely (if ever) endless suffering without pleasure or joy. Nonetheless, Singer is interested in hearing people's thoughts on the topic. He ends his article with a series of questions and invites comments about the following questions:

*If a child is likely to have a life full of pain and suffering is that a reason against bringing the child into existence?

If a child is likely to have a happy, healthy life, is that a reason for bringing the child into existence?

Is life worth living, for most people in developed nations today?

Is a world with people in it better than a world with no sentient beings at all?*

Perhaps CAF members might want to add their comments to the article. Although there are already over 1200 comments, so maybe replies will be largely ignored at this point. I wish I knew whether or not he will read all of the reactions.

Would it be wrong for us all to agree not to have children, so that we would be the last generation on Earth?

After humanity is extinct, the next dominant species probably would not even appreciate our sacrifice.

Plus, we would be inflicting suffering on all those then-homeless pets.

[quote="Dale_M, post:7, topic:202229"]
Would it be wrong for us** all to agree **not to have children, so that we would be the last generation on Earth?

[/quote]

My most important question is, what happens to those who disagree, under this model? After all, we are the world, we are the children, and we may all one day join hands and sing Kumbayah, but we may not all agree to self-castrate. :p ;) However, Prof. Singer is entirely free to take a gun and shoot himself in the ..., or use a scalpel to surgically castrate himself. But what about the rest of us, who disagree with him, and do not plan to do anything like that, to ourselves (or to anyone else)? :hmmm:

Does the professor plan to chase us down, with a scalpel or something? :eek:

And what if the good professor will decide tomorrow that everybody should eat broccoli? Will he be coming to check, what's cooking in my pot? Will he get his likeminded friend, Cass Sunstein, Regulatory Czar in the current administration, to force me eat broccoli? :D (or get the state to chase me down with a scalpel, to remove my ... :eek:)

[quote="JimG, post:8, topic:202229"]
Plus, we would be inflicting suffering on all those then-homeless pets.

[/quote]

I think this is an extremely serious problem. Well worth a PhD thesis at Princeton University. :D Thanks for pointing it out, Jim. :p

[quote="Dale_M, post:7, topic:202229"]
The author of the article in the first post has misread what Singer was discussing. Here is Singer's article:

opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/should-this-be-the-last-generation/

The suggestion for mass sterilization was a thought experiment, not a serious proposal. The purpose of the thought experiment was to get people thinking about whether or not human existence is important, in and of itself.

[/quote]

There you go, using logic, reason, and the radical step of actually reading and comprehending the article to spoil everyone's fun. Tsk, tsk, tsk. It's killjoys like you, Dale, who rob the faithful of a rousing round of "aren't all secularists bad."

I hope you're happy.

[quote="Dale_M, post:7, topic:202229"]
T...
Is a world with people in it better than a world with no sentient beings at all?

[/quote]

....

Would it be wrong for us all to agree not to have children, so that we would be the last generation on Earth?....
Nihilism would agree that such a world is better. A superficial reading of Buddhism—or perhaps even a deep one—may also come to such a life-denying conclusion. It is in many ways the goal of ancient philosophies such as forms of Gnosticism too, which see this world as one ruled by evil that is a malevolent trap for the learned soul.

It is not the Catholic position however and never has been. In Catholicism, suffering is not a reason for denying life, but a means through which God reveals himself to a humble heart.

In the culture of death, and in hedonism in which pleasure is the ultimate reason and ultimate goal, nihilism is actually a fully rational response. Schopenhauer was probably the unequaled master of the basic Mick Jagger truth that we "can't get no satisfaction", no matter how we try.

Human life needs transcendence in order to believe in itself. Materialism denies such a possibility as anything other than a wish-fulfillment and delusion. Ergo, the conjecture that it is better to die that to live, and better yet not to have been born at all, is the final solution to the paradox that is human life.

Well, you could call Nietzsche's writings a thought experiment. When George Bernard Shaw suggested to use some gas that would kill humanity painlessly, it was a thought experiment. And boy, it got people thinking - see Hitler, for example.

Is John Holdren paying attention?

foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/21/obamas-science-czar-considered-forced-abortions-sterilization-population-growth/

President Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, "compulsory sterilization," and the creation of a "Planetary Regime" that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet -- controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings.

The Discovery Channel and the History Channel on TV regularly show series saying how wonderful it will be for the planet when all humans are dead and gone.

We have a Dr. Eric Pianka at the University of Texas who speaks about how great it would be if an ebola virus did away with most of the world's population.

Most of the science professors at the universities are agnostics who are devoted to "population control" which is basically just a euphemism for eugenics. They all want a one world death and slavery system sometimes called the "new world order."

I think the teaching of evolution to our children and in our universities has led to all of this "narcissistic nehilism". I wish Catholic scholars would have done a better job of speaking out against evolution and speaking for a literal 6 days of creation.

I really do not see how one can be a Christian and believe in millions and millions years of death before the Fall in the Garden. Genesis states clearly that it is sin that brought death into the world, for man and for animals. And the reason we needed a Savior was for redemption from sin and death. If there is not this relationship between sin and death as stated in Genesis, then there really was no need for Jesus to save us.

Someone should take him out and shoot him, and put the rest of us out of our misery.

I know it's tough to read an entire article, but just in case you missed Peter Singer's own opinion about the idea:

"I do think it would be wrong to choose the non-sentient universe. In my judgment, for most people, life is worth living. Even if that is not yet the case, I am enough of an optimist to believe that, should humans survive for another century or two, we will learn from our past mistakes and bring about a world in which there is far less suffering than there is now."

[quote="PPeterson, post:16, topic:202229"]
I know it's tough to read an entire article, but just in case you missed Peter Singer's own opinion about the idea:

"I do think it would be wrong to choose the non-sentient universe. In my judgment, for most people, life is worth living. Even if that is not yet the case, I am enough of an optimist to believe that, should humans survive for another century or two, we will learn from our past mistakes and bring about a world in which there is far less suffering than there is now."

[/quote]

The cogent point he and Bentar make remains the same: A life with suffering is not worth living, is in fact evil even.

From a purely hedonistic, materialistic view, how is this not true?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.