Insect Agonies

Utilitarianism dominates the rationalization of morality within the English-speaking world. It is scarcely imaginable that it could be expressed with greater purity than this:

There are roughly 10^18 insects in the world. Suppose we give insects a .1% chance of being sentient, with their sentience being .1% of a human’s. (These values are intentionally small to demonstrate the scale to which insect suffering dominates) Assuming we assign moral weight to categories of beings by their number and the intensity of their inner experiences, this assignment gives each insect 1/1,000,000 of the moral weight for a human, meaning that the suffering of 1,000,000 insects equals the suffering of one human. Even when assigning insects this absurdly low moral weight, their suffering still dominates, as 10^18 insects comes out to 1 trillion human equivalents. If the number of insects were smaller, say around 7 billion, the consequences of not considering insect suffering might be acceptable. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, and as we shall see, ignoring insect suffering even if we assign a low probability to insect consciousness presents an unacceptably high risk of ignoring a catastrophic moral harm.

There’s no need to condescend to this argument by pretending to ‘steelman’ it. It’s already quite steely. For a start, it’s conceptually pure — undistracted by irrelevances such as habitat preservation. It’s solidly consequentialist, and — in its development from of its own basic axiom — practical. There’s no sign of a fetishistic rejection of pesticide use, for instance, or an appeal to any totemic vision of ‘nature’. It’s even realist, in that it recognizes enough about the character of this universe to understand the utilitarian obligation as primarily about the alleviation of suffering (positive pleasures being, in the grand scheme of things, no more than a rounding error). On this basis, there’s an insectoid antinatalist sub-theme, which (briefly) explores the thought that ethical extermination might be a positive moral good: “It is possible that most insects have lives that aren’t worth living … meaning the fewer insects in existence the better.” It focuses tightly upon the problem of relieving insect agonies, by chemically inducing a comparatively painless — rather than agonizing — death. Building its case in uncontroversial steps, it concludes that no effective altruistic cause has higher priority, since “… insect suffering probably dominates all other sources of suffering” and “… humane pesticides saves 25 human equivalents from a more painful death per dollar.”

The most straightforward line of dissent this blog raises against Effective Altruism is roughly Hayekian, i.e. based upon a ‘knowledge problem’. In particular, the confounding dynamics of global traps (1, 2, and their sub-component perverse effects) is typically under-appreciated. Beating back Malthus seems — locally — like a great idea from a utilitarian perspective, structurally blind to the catastrophe that results on a larger scale (dysgenics, decivilization, left-acceleration, and ultimately the mass die off that had been naively thought avoided). In this case, however, it is difficult to find much leverage for such criticism. ‘Humane’ euthanasia for bugs isn’t any kind of obvious offense against cold Malthusianism, in contrast — for instance — to more romantically environmentalist moralizations of nature. Even the blackest of Dark Enlightenment optics would find it hard to envision the grave practical necessity of torturing locusts slowly to death rather than terminating them rapidly.

To mobilize an alternative ethical axiom against that of the utilitarians — the Xenosystems candidate is of course intelligence optimization, and diagonalism (self-cultivation) — looks like the misuse of a nuke in this case. If some minor diversion of resources from superior (self-reinforcing) purposes is proposed in this argument for the relief of insect suffering, it scarcely seems to be on a scale to subvert terrestrial capital teleology, or even to scratch the paint. Stimulating the emergence of an inevitably marginal soft death™ bug poison industry isn’t likely to advance intelligence explosion significantly, but nor is it going to pose any kind of insuperable obstacle. This isn’t, unlike FAI, the sort of undertaking that clearly merits a fight. The fact that, in regards to the IO-orientation, the relief of suffering has to strictly count for nothing is no reason to enthusiastically invest in the drawn-out excruciation of cockroaches.

Given these caveats, EA is a morbid symptom, rather than any kind of serious enemy. If it turns to helping farm animals, and then insects, rather than people, it actually becomes less toxic in respect to the proliferation of perverse social dynamics. The socialists are probably right to be suspicious of these types. When lost among insect agonies, they’re not subverting crucial social incentive structures or selection mechanisms. I’m thinking: fundamentally harmless.

September 24, 2015admin 64 Comments »
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64 Responses to this entry

  • Insect Agonies | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 2:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Max Says:

    This may well be the spergiest thing that I have ever read. I think we should humanely euthanize (oven?) every last Effective Altruist, because I would derive infinite utils from doing so, and thus every good utilitarian – including the Effective Altruists themselves – should support this. To do otherwise would be to inappropriately and egocentrically overweight their own individual preferences, when mine should clearly dominate, as shown – nay, PROVEN – by Math (a close cousin of Science, and likewise known to never be wrong).

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    Is it possible that my claim to derive infinite utils from the elimination of Effective Altruists is simply a self-serving ploy? Might I be rent-seeking by relying on these white, pathologically self-sacrificing altruists to signal their status by complying with the wishes of an oppressed minority? No. Furthermore, as a gay transexual Woman of Color, I find such questions offensive. Check your privilege, shitlord bigot.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    Listen: I’m not saying ISIS did nothing wrong, but…

    [Reply]

    Nathan Cook Reply:

    See the “utility monster.”

    Personally, I’ve always had a cold understanding of utilitarianism. I have a utility function, which may or may not include your preferences, and I act on my utility function. Really, on whose else should I be acting?! It was quite a shock to realise that when others spoke of “utilitarianism,” they genuinely believed that one ought to “sum over utilities” or “average over utilities.” There’s a very odd assumption of commensurability of brain activity wrapped up in those notions.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    Exactly. Utilitarianism is a fine descriptor of the way that human beings actually act; even when they pretend to be deontologists or virtue ethicists, people still inevitably act on the basis of some utility function. The sort of extra stuff that gets tacked on to “utilitarianism” as a normative matter is just laughable religious nonsense. The Ten Commandments are a much better guide to good living than the sort of stuff that utilitarians regularly push.

    [Reply]

    Chuck Reply:

    “It was quite a shock to realise that when others spoke of “utilitarianism,” they genuinely believed that one ought to “sum over utilities” or “average over utilities”.

    It’s based on a sleight of hand, which goes back to J.S. Mill:

    “No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness… we have not only all the proof which the case admits of, but all which it is possible to require, that happiness is a good: that each person’s happiness is a good to that person, and the general happiness, therefore, a good to the aggregate of all persons.”

    Rawls and Singer play variants of the same game, deriving forms of egalitarianism from self interest.

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    One wonders whether Rawls and Singer have read Wells’ “The Time Machine” and if so whether they actually find it plausible that becoming blissed out bovine Eloi is really a sensible goal (or even a sustainable state of affairs). They evidently believe that nobody has ever learned or gained anything through suffering or toil, and ‘decadence’ must be either absent from their vocabularies or perversely positively evaluated. Rawls and Singer don’t know about the decline of Rome.

    Murphy Reply:

    If you’re trying to get other people to go along with your system saying “only my happiness matters” isn’t a great way to get support from anyone else in the room towards doing anything to achieve that goal while saying “all our happiness matters, yours as well but lets start with mine” has much better chances.

    Thales Reply:

    Really, on whose else should I be acting?!

    Jump through the Veil of Ignorance and work for the Utility function of the Original Position! /sarc

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 4:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • Orthodox Says:

    So now black people are equivalent to insects? These white supremacists progressives never cease to shock.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 5:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ruco Says:

    Quantifying non-human suffering through the means of a human narrative and approach. The cold, clinical, utilitarian nature which avoids questions of ‘nature’ or that of pesticides is unsustainable as long as humans are calling the shots. Even if we could become ‘lost among insect agonies’ we’d still reflect it back onto ourselves so it’s value as a diversion would sadly be short-lived.

    I can hear it already “What do these bugs teach us about us?” Fundamentally harmless in theory but given humans propensity for corruption anything but.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 6:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • Insect Agonies | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 6:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Frog Do Says:

    Human beings are incredibly biased animals with poor skills in mathematics, probability, and prediction, therefore in our ethics should act as though we are Laplace’s demon.

    Less Wrong is seeming sillier and sillier as time goes on.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 6:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lucian of Samosata Says:

    “Suppose we give insects a .1% chance of being sentient, with their sentience being .1% of a human’s.”

    I reject your supposition. What now?

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    That’s the right answer.

    Besides, the utilitarian idea that you can do arithmetic with sentience would be really laughable if they weren’t so deadly serious about it. As Schopenhauer once said: “Intellect is a magnitude of intensity, not a magnitude of extension: which is why in this respect one man can confidently take on ten thousand and a thousand fools do not make one wise man.” Likewise, a million bugs do not make one man.

    Aside: This all reminds me of Douglas Hofstadter’s “I Am a Strange Loop.” The book can be read here. Chapter one goes into plenty of detail — far too much for me to quote at length here. I’m no huge fan of Hofstadter, but he’s a very lucid writer and his position is much more sensible than the autistic nonsense coming out of EA.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Devilbunny Reply:

    Well, now we have to do some Bayesian analysis to figure out what the proper probabilities are, right?

    I’m sympathetic to some of the EA/rationalist goals, and maybe their toolbox can be useful from time to time, but every time I glance at their discussions it seems the goal is to write a computer language that is incapable of being illogical and implementing it in humans, while completely ignoring the fact that actual humans can just change the numbers to make them say what they want.

    Look at the recent Slate Star Codex post about meat eating – cows produce more meat per vertebrate than chickens do, so we should eat them because fewer sentient beings will die, but then chickens require less food input per pound of meat harvested, so there are all the insect lives and environmental degradation to consider…

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    “Well, now we have to do some Bayesian analysis to figure out what the proper probabilities are, right?”

    If you want. Have fun, I’ll be over here.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 7:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Epicaric Says:

    Heh. Why does this scenery seem so familiar. Ah, yes. Utilitarianism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. With economic arguments falling like dominoes, Caplan found ultimate succor in utilitarianism. We are all fungible insects.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 9:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Exfernal Says:

    If sentience is a function of complexity, then his whole calculation is moot.

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Assuming sentience is at all.

    [Reply]

    Exfernal Reply:

    Could you elaborate? I refer to this concept:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_network

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Networks are cool, but why are you reifying sentience?

    Exfernal Reply:

    I’m trying to determine what is necessary for sentience.

    Exfernal Reply:

    A two-state switch surely isn’t sentient.

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    The set of sentient things is empty.

    Exfernal Reply:

    Define “thing” and explain why is it non-overlapping with “sentient entity”.

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    I would, but definitions are useless.

    I’m just asking why you’re presupposing there are any sentient things at all.

    Exfernal Reply:

    Strong AI supposedly would be, for one. Or perhaps is it a fool’s errand, according to you? Is intelligence possible without sentience?

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Is intelligence possible?

    Exfernal Reply:

    Are you trying to ‘impersonate’ a chat bot?

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Life is what you make it.

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 9:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Saying suffering is bad is a deontological argument.

    It’s not a consequentialist morality. (Or rather, it is, because those two things aren’t different things.)

    I do feel sorry for dying bugs. However, I have analytically proven insect suffering doesn’t matter, and mine does. Precisely because they can’t care about my suffering, their suffering is irrelevant.
    (Though hopefully you catch the recursion.)

    For the record I’m in favour of more humane pesticides, as long as they are economically efficient and nobody plays retarded status/signalling games with them. Their purpose is to make humans like me happier, being used for any other purpose is inherently counter-productive.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 24th, 2015 at 10:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods,
    They kill us for their sport.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 1:02 am Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    so do you think if we asked really nice and promised to annoy the cathedral Putin would give us Kalingrad, I hear hes been trying to get rid of it first to Lithuania then Germany nice location waterfront hot babes nearby

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 1:05 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Citadel Says:

    And this is why most would call BS on utilitarianism as an ethical system. It is why theistic systems of morality are superior in the practical order. They favor man. Insect suffering either doesn’t exist, or means nothing. Even if ‘sentient’, they are not sentient on the same order as human beings. In my observation of insects, they operate like machines.

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    I can go half of the distance with you there. Insect suffering doesn’t mean anything, but that doesn’t entail that human suffering means anything. There’s also the fact that we’re entirely too credulous about this thing called ‘meaning’ that supposedly exists and is real.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 1:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • haishan Says:

    The most famous insect-suffering guy in the EA movement is Brian Tomasik, who has also written that we should work to reduce the suffering of artificial reinforcement learners and subatomic particles.

    This is clearly lunacy, but on the other hand, we shouldn’t judge a movement by its most lunatic members.

    [Reply]

    Xoth Reply:

    Subatomic particles. A quick dip provides “computational panpsychism.” Excellent.

    I would add that this implies that humans, among other, continue suffering after death as they are chemically recycled (and then eternally in other forms). Then in the distant future, the subatomic particles are torn apart by our ever-quicker expanding universe in a final spasm of horror. After that … who knows?

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 6:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • Xoth Says:

    The pro-insect holies must at least wear surgical masks to avoid consuming insects, not step on insects or otherwise kill them. But why not consider bacterial suffering, or lower multicellular creatures? This can quickly yield many amusing and vulgar examples. Let the good and the great have it.

    Actually, while Insect Suffering and related topics appear sort of suitable for Horrorism, I seem to recall that scientists have shown that insects do not feel pain. One good example was clipping the right legs of ants; in contrast with higher animals, they did then not favour the injured parts, indicating no sense of pain. As said above by Mark Citadel, they are instead machine like.

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    For all its literary excrectitude, Michael Crichton’s reductio ad absurdum of utilitarianism in ‘State of Fear’ is pretty neat – if you get pious enough about utilitarianism and the sentience of lower beings you’re going to have admit that the elimination of smallpox was a bad thing.

    Utilitarianism is unsubtle idiocy and Nietzsche was right to call JS Mill a blockhead.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 11:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    war on bugs comes at cost of feminisation of male population. pesticides used to inflict those numerouse suffering to insects in fact are potent environmental estrogens

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566957/

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Hmmm…. Estrogenic, yes. Potent, no. Those compounds, alone or in combination, were only estrogenic at 10µm concentrations. 10µm is a very high, strictly non-physiological concentration. You’d have to ingest massive doses — multiple grams — of those pesticides to end up with a plasma concentration of 5µm, to say nothing of 10µm. (And then they’d probably kill you via different toxic mechanisms.) None of those pesticides were estrogenic at all at physiological concentrations under 1µm. So while they may be estrogenic to cells in a petri dish when those cells are exposed at very high concentrations, they’re not really potent and can’t feminize any living human following transient, microgram-dose exposure.

    Feminization is a problem — but pesticides don’t seem to be the culprit, if that study is anything to go by.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 11:39 am Reply | Quote
  • unknown128 Says:

    what do SJW types think of utilitarianism btw? do they concider themselves utilitarians? on the one hand their “ends justifie the means aproach indicates in this direction on the other hand they are generaly willing to sacrefice the overall hapiness and comfort of the overwhelming majority for the sake of very small groups of disgusting weirdos (demanding that the most devient forms of identity and sexuality being recognised as normal and become part of meinstream culture even if they disgust 99,99% of the population). So what do they think of utilitarianism?

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Utility is a dumb useless patriarchal construct.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Ask the folks at Less Wrong. LW is actually an interesting mixture of utilitarianism with social justice and empathy. The latter rule over the former, as far as I can tell. How can anyone claim to be a utilitarian when they run away from facts they consider unpleasant? (Like HBD, for instance. Like the fact that some human lives are objectively worth vastly more than others — and that some human lives are of zero or even negative value, even if said people are “innocent” of actual criminal wrongdoing. But I digress..)

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    I have to admit, deriving social justice and empathy from Asperger’s is an impressive feat.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    LW and Effective Altruism are joined at the hip; lots of cross-pollination between the two groups.
    (…Mosquito nets for Africans. Probably the very stupidest thing I can think of. They ought to plot ways to send Africans to the bottom of the ocean, or at the very least get them to somehow stop breeding.)

    unknown128 Reply:

    Thanks but I meant more the SJW fanatics who fight for otherkin and furry right and believe “minorities” should have the right to insult and attack the majority.

    I know Lw a bit and I think most ppl there dont fit the usual definition of a SJW. They seem to like free speach and even tend to debate heretical topics. Also I noticed a strong dislike for SJW there (even among leftist members).

    As for HBD I think at least the boss (Yudkovski) there acsepts that the sexes are inatly different which is more then any SJW would ever admit (and an SJW will propebly shriek at you and try to fire oyu from your job for such an admission). So what about the actual SJW what do they think of utilitarianism?

    [Reply]

    EvolutionistX Reply:

    My experience with SJWs is that they are aware of Utilitarianism as a theory, but most of them aren’t aspie enough to process morality via numbers. They are happy to invoke “the greater good” whenever it serves their purposes, and most of them believe they are serving “the greater good,” but few of them spend time actually discussing morality from a strict Utilitarian perspective, because they’re too busy reading the latest from Black Girl Dangerous or Ta-Nehisi Coates.

    Posted on September 27th, 2015 at 3:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • This Week in Reaction (2015/09/27) | The Reactivity Place Says:

    […] #NRx Best of the Week Honorable Mention☀: an Epic Takedown of anglo-utilitarianism in Insect Agonies. That concern for insect suffering should arise in the context of a thing called “Effective […]

    Posted on September 29th, 2015 at 7:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2015/09/29 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] Utilitarianism and insect suffering. […]

    Posted on September 30th, 2015 at 5:01 am Reply | Quote
  • Lucian of Samosata Says:

    Not to toot my own horn or anything, but my first post (which is, to be fair, just common sense and doesn’t require a LW brain at all to comprehend) seems sufficient to kill any Utilitarian riff of this kind – unless I’m missing something.

    If you’re making an argument about principles and you have probabilities shoved in your first or second premise you’re gonna have a bad time.

    [Reply]

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Oops. This was meant to be a reply to Reactivity Place. I’m just saying that Insect Utilitarianism is so retarded you don’t need an ‘epic takedown’ to beat it, just a relatively sane one.

    [Reply]

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    Utilitarian logic stipulates the relief of pain as its highest ethical goal, it’s not made certain where the role of ‘sentience’ fits in with this schema. If we presume that ‘sentience’ is the ability to reflexively grasp pain as a conscious manifestation of suffering, so that in the absence of sentience the relief of pain has null utility, then the question of sentience would become an urgent one for utilitarians. But this is almost missing the point, I fear. We might think it is right to judge a hierarchy of the animals based upon the dignity (conscious awareness) of their suffering, with for example elephants above rats and mice, and then following our utilitarian calculus our charity would be compelled to those animals (or beings) with the highest capacity to “perceive” various quanta of suffering. But this is still far off the mark I think, perhaps we should try it from a different angle. As Christians we accept a suffering God who, we pray, suffers, and has suffered, for us. God’s suffering is absolute, his pain is the pain of time and space as it self-separates and fuses again in holy communion over and over until Final Judgement, when pain will be ultimately distributed in accordance with divine providence. Here, we find ourselves in a bit of a double-bind, we want to get ourselves in the good graces of the Lord, so when judgement rolls around he transforms our earthly agonies into lover’s bliss, and not into an eternal torment, but the catch is to do so we need follow the path of his Son, and this means living a life of sufferance and charity. Christian charity is when self-interest aligns with selfless giving, when to give is to receive the gift of God, who hath gifted us his suffering. We make a gift of our affliction to God, who in turn suffers to give us the freedom to forsake his love. What this has to do with Insect Utilitarianism might escape us at first, but if we look closer, we see that we are but insects to God, and for Him to dignify our suffering with his own is to redeem our petty, sleeping agonies unto the sacred glory of His heaven. We can only conclude that God is an Insect Utilitarian, who relieves our dim distress with his almighty tenderness, and gives us in death an eternal life.

    [Reply]

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    Alright I admit, that was the best troll I could come up with at the time. The point of the post is to submit util. logic as an ethical principle to intelligence optimization as a meta-ethical principle, which results in escalation and weaponization of the negative utilitarian imperative. To read between the lines, if insect suffering is equal to or greater in moral worth to human suffering, and the limits of effective altruism is a ‘soft death’, then we’ve got ourselves a license to kill with “God’s” blessing. Negative utilitarianism is a dormant eschatological frenzy waiting to happen. Imagine an AI who coldly evaluated human potential in ‘insect’ utilitarian terms, and were it propelled by effective altruism, or what’s worse, “affective empathy”, then would it not carry out its merciful duty til our prescribed extinction?

    The answer is, well, hopefully not, an AI would be far more concerned with the superior utility functions of self-assemblage (or its Omohundro drives). Intelligence optimization as an immanent (non-moral) protocol is the best chance we have to avert AI risk.

    [Reply]

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    TFW you’re up past midnight engaging in massive, informal P2P copyright infringement.

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    To continue on this tangent, I’d seriously rethink piling in affective empathy with EA as a (negative) utilitarianism. Affective empathy does limit autonomy somewhat, as one agent is involuntarily immersed into the affective horizon of another, but it’s an extremely selective and local process in comparison to EA. The difference does not end there, effective altruism uses a rational paradigm based on utilitarianism and Bayesian probability, which are decidedly fallible, whereas affective empathy is a more instinctual and addictive stimulus to collective action problems, it ‘beyond’ fallible. I’d argue that as soon as effective altruists turn from using ‘cold’ words to ‘warm’ words they are manipulating affective empathy in order to enliven EA propoganda. Effective altruism is rationalist orthogonality applied to matters of love, it’s FAI in your bedroom.

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    “Alright I admit, that was the best troll I could come up with at the time.”

    To deepen the conspiracy, that sentence was the most trollish of all.

    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    Words, words, words.

    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    *picks nose* *spits*

    Posted on September 30th, 2015 at 9:52 am Reply | Quote
  • unknown128 Says:

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 30th, 2015 at 11:06 am Reply | Quote
  • Anonymous Says:

    > (positive pleasures being, in the grand scheme of things, no more than a rounding error)

    Would death-in-nature levels of torture once every year make an otherwise fulfilling life unworthy of being lived in utilitarian terms? Of course not (Though these people say it definitely would) A few minutes of the joy humans (And other animals too I would say) are capable of would make them worth it, even in strict straw-utilitarian terms. Humans get into lives not worth living by rather unnatural, slow and long processes, non-human life properly calibrated to its environment avoids this entire kind of problems. It surprises me to see Land speaking this heresy tbh.

    Most suffering sprouts from slow evolutionary speed compared to how fast we keep altering environments, accelerating the former will actually alleviate suffering long term.

    Wild animals are “happier” on average than most people, even insects. I suggest not consuming the entire biosphere, nature is extremely valuable due to the informational complexity it contains and for self-cultivation (I wish there was a pill that did the same, this is no fetishism)

    I discovered this topic after reading about an EA organization advocating against space exploration (We might seed the universe with life), against AI and virtual environments, in favour of purposeful ecological destruction and believe it or not, tearing down gardens and replacing them with gravel to prevent insect suffering…

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 20th, 2017 at 2:33 am Reply | Quote

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