Thursday, June 10, 2010

Singer - Neuter and Party On, Wayne

Just when I thought C. S. Lewis's provocative and prescient book, That Hideous Strength, couldn't possibly become more prophetic, Princeton "ethicist" and "philosopher", Peter Singer gives grist for the mill of satanic delight: ‘Why Not Sterilize the Human Race and Party into Extinction?’


Frank said...

As if that would even possibly work out as Pete intended. Like Jeff Goldblum's character says in "Jurassic Park", "life intervenes" or in our case, Life!

Athos said...

Yeah, thanks for that reference, Frank. One reason I enjoy the Jurassic Park films is the thread of human hubris vs. a respect and reverence for what has been and should not be tried again through our Gnosis.

Goldblum's character, for whatever reason - partly being a fringe scientist (Chaos theory) - is already open to moving out of the mainstream of "progress through science" human pride. He becomes a true believer and even a prophetic voice after his first experience on the island; a voice of sanity that, sadly, can't seem to sweep the overwhelming tide of hubris, greed, and scientism. Cheers

Mike O'Malley said...

One of the few things I appreciate about Peter Singer is how he boldly speaks when his fellow travelers dissimulate. He brings a degree of candor and clarity to the public square, does he not?

I do agree with Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, a longtime critic of Singer’s work, responded to Singer’s recent article, saying, “This is nihilism on stilts and it is polluting the West’s self confidence and belief in universal human equality like the BP oil well is polluting the Caribbean.

“Only the resulting mess isn’t measured in polluted beaches and dead birds, but existential despair that destroys human lives.”

“Under the influence of anti-human advocates like Peter Singer, we have gone in the West from seeking to ‘secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity,’ to seriously questioning whether there should be any posterity at all,” Smith wrote on his blog. “This is not healthy. But it is the natural consequence of rejecting human exceptionalism.”

There is an emerging appreciation in some quarters that we "positioned" to decipher the Universe from which I expect the the Universe will be made meaningfully (not void) be its deciphering. Singer seems bent on negation that meaning. Why?

The fact that our atmosphere is clear; that our moon is just the right size and distance from Earth, and that its gravity stabilizes the Earth’s rotation; that our position in our galaxy is just so; that our sun is its precise mass and composition: all of these factors (and many more), are not only necessary for Earth’s habitability; they also have been surprisingly crucial for scientists to measure and make discoveries about the universe.

Mankind is unusually well positioned to decipher the cosmos.

The Privileged Planet

Of course in the real world by the mid 1940s acting upon Dr. Singer's proposal would earn one charges before the judges at the Nuremberg Trials. In our day Dr. Singer would bring about great suffering as he thus would "make straight the way" of the Ummah.

Mike O'Malley said...

Thank you for relaying this report.

Upon further reflection, I think I've missed the centrality of avoiding suffering to Drs. Singer's and Benetar's argument. I'll quote Dr. Singer from the linked article:

"Singer explains Benatar’s antinatalist philosophy, which bases its moral framework by weighing the consequences of existence, in this way: “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.”

Singer then invites readers to engage in a thought experiment: “So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required — we could party our way into extinction!”

“Even if we take a less pessimistic view of human existence than Benatar, we could still defend [this scenario], because it makes us better off — for one thing, we can get rid of all that guilt about what we are doing to future generations — and it doesn’t make anyone worse off, because there won’t be anyone else to be worse off,” he continued."

To an extent Dr. Singer's though experiment is being played out in negative population growth societies as in Europe, one must wonder how someone with an endowed chair at Princeton University can not notice how that real world experiment will almost certainly conclude in suffering and horror not unlike Europe's 20th Century experiments in anti-Christian radical Secularism. Dr. Singer has got to know that his assurances that there "will not and it doesn’t make anyone worse off, because there won’t be anyone else to be worse off" is false and unless Dr. Singer has something unspoken in mind like a Masada like suicide pact among the surviving elderly. Even then profound doubt and guilt will afflict the members of such a pact.

So just what are Drs. Singer and Benetar doing. I don't know but I recall a book about magic a friend told me about years ago. He said the author intentionally inserted critical errors into several complex formulas presented in the book so that anyone carrying out what he taught suffered the likelihood of severe injury or death. Can not Dr. Singer and Benetar know that their proposal will not eliminate suffering but cause immense suffering if acted upon?

Again I don't know but I'm left wondering to what degree are Singer's and Benetar's proposals informed but a hidden malice.

I've more to say but I want to check C.S. Lewis before proceeding.

For now I'll offer that if the soul is infinite then finite suffering can teach wisdom.