A Unique Challenge to the Anti-Abortion Position

Warning: Political content ahead.


Here we go, the annual bullshit “March for Life” thing. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING makes me madder than religious idiots thinking they have the time and place to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. That includes on the topic of abortion. It seems the best any of the anti-abortion camp can come up with is to thump the Bible (read also: Qur’an, Torah, etc.). Well, as an atheist, obviously that doesn’t convince me in any way.

Alas, I’m sure you’ve heard the common defenses for a pro-choice political position. I’ll not go into those here because they usually fall on deaf ears. Instead, I am going to present a unique challenge to the anti-abortion position that many might not have heard about in order to get the gears turning.

The challenge is what South African philosopher Dr. David Benatar calls the “pro-death” view in his 2006 publication Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence. The pro-death argument for abortion comes from combining the common view of fetal moral status (specifically that of pre-sentient fetuses) along with his arguments in favor of antinatalism (the view that it is bad to be born). When you combine these two views, it generates the pro-death argument that would naturally suggest that it would be preferable to abort all pregnancies in the early stages of gestation.

So there we have it, a “pro-death” view of abortion, which is directly counter to the pro-life position. Now, both of these are philosophical/religious and not political views in and of themselves (I, for one, know a lot of people who are pro-life philosophically but pro-choice politically).

That said, let’s take the anti-abortion position, which is the term I prefer for the political stance. Now, let’s say we have a political lobby group that, consistent with the pro-death philosophical view of abortion, lobbies for a political anti-birth position. That is,  a policy where even those who hold a philosophical pro-life view would be forced to abort against their wishes. Let’s also say this were to become law in some states/countries.

Maybe if faced with the scenario above, those who are legally anti-abortion would see the value of the legal pro-choice position.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

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It’s a Horrible Life

Disclaimer: The following is a rant based on my own philosophical views and is not intended to cause offense to anyone for whatever life or reproductive choices you all might have made, nor is it a reflection on how I actually live. 


So this past weekend the local Paramount Theater screened the Christmas classic film It’s a Wonderful Life. I have nightmares about being forced to watch that movie every year as a kid. It’s probably the worst movie ever made – horrendous acting, a ridiculous storyline, fictional beings (angels/god), and out-of-body experiences.

Anyway, none of that even touches my main gripe with the movie. My biggest gripe? The title itself. Life and wonderful do not belong in the same sentence together. Life is anything but wonderful – pain, suffering, disease, illness, heat, cold, hunger, thirst, pissing, shitting, finances, grief, heartbreak, jobs, war and the list goes on and fucking on. Wonderful? What a fucking joke.

Alas, none of us realize how terrible our lives really are. As South African philosopher David Benatar (PhD, Cape Town) argued in the books Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence and The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions, very few people realize how horrible their lives really are. We just live under a state of an irrational optimism bias – a Pollyanna principle as it were. Nobody is immune to it. Not even me.

So, we all know the story – George Bailey (James Stewart) infamously wishes that he had never been born to his “guardian angel” (what a bullshit notion) who then shows him an alternate reality in which he had never been born and the results of those around him, which the then (very erroneously and under duress) begs for his life back.

Nah, Mr. Bailey was right the first time – he WOULD have been better off never existing. But so would have everyone else around him. His actor would have been better off never existing, as would every last one of us. At the end of the day, the fact that we exist is a BAD thing.

As for why this is, there are a number of arguments but Dr. Benatar’s are no doubt the strongest. I already presented one of his arguments above. His other argument is much stronger and does not even take into account the relative pleasure-to-pain balance of one’s life. Rather, his argument (namely that of the asymmetry) generates that any amount of pain, however small or insignficant, invalidates any upside to existence. Whereas:

  1. The presence of pain is bad, and
  2. The presence of pleasure is good;
  3. The absence of pain is good even if there exists nobody to benefit from that good, but
  4. The absence of pleasure is not bad unless there already exists someone for which such an absence would be a deprivation.

So what does this mean? It means any amount of pain, however small or insignifant, outweighs even the greatest amount of pleasure. Put another way, “And all the love and all the love in the world won’t stop the rain from falling – waste seeping underground.”

Now, this is not to say we should all commit mass suicide. This is where Mr. Bailey might have been slightly misguided, namely in thinking that suicide was the best solution. There are many things one must take into account when thinking about suicide – the means, how it will affect those around them, etc. However, the only reason for these implications are because such a person already exists. These implications become null and void if the entity contemplating suicide had never existed. Nonetheless, I remain steadfast in my view that we all have the absolute and indisputable right to commit suicide if we see fit and that the government/state does not have any right to try to prevent someone from committing suicide. We didn’t ask to be born, therefore we have the right to reverse that action at any time, with or without reason.

So was Mr. Bailey correct in wishing he had never been born? In my view absolutely. Further, had he never been born, would those around him have been negatively impaced? In my view, no because they wouldn’t have known any different. Alas, further compounding that issue is all those others were also harmed by being brought into existence, and had they never been they’d have never suffered such unpleasantries.

So what about me. Do *I* wish I had never been born? Absolutely, without question the answer to that question is an emphatic “yes.” I 100% wish I had never been born. Further, even if some guardian angel were to appear to me and show me an alternate timeline in which I had never existed, I would not change my mind. I would still wish to never have been born at which point I imagine I would cease to exist in any form.

Do I wish to commit suicide? At the present time no, but there might come a time when I do. Now that I’ve already been forced into existence without my consent (no thanks to my biological parents), it could be argued that it would be bad to deprive myself of future pleasures, because as I already exist then the absence of pleasure would be a deprivation and thus bad. There’s also the issue of hurting what few people actually do give a shit about me, for even though would have been better never to have existed and our existences are all harms to us, they might be a benefit to some around us. Nobody, not even a crusty, bitchy antinatalist such as myself is immune to grief. That much should have been made obvious in my post a week ago today.

Anyway, I couldn’t let a showing of that movie go without some sharp critcism of not only the movie itself but also the message behind it. There ain’t nothing “wonderful” about life. Though some lives are better than others, no life is good enough to count as (non-comparatively) good. That much is obvious to anyone who steps back and looks at the evidence from an objective lens.

It’s a horrible life indeed.


Addendum: I had no idea my chosen title for this blog post is actually the title of a parody film of the aforementioned worst movie ever made. This might be worth checking out.

New(ish) Ink!!!

How fitting to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish themed tattoo right?

Well how’s this?

I’ve been wanting to dress up my semicolon tattoo for some time now and this was the idea I came up with to do so.

The Celtic knot is a nod to my adopted heritage and my pipe band life as well as to my earth-centered spiritual beliefs. The semicolon, though a beautiful symbol of my own battle with depression and suicidal ideation, has a Christian element that doesn’t jive with me. This makes it my own in a way.

Very happy with how it turned out. Once again, Jade rocked it out for me. She’s awesome and has been since day 1.

A great way to start the day and a great early birthday gift (tomorrow).

What do you think?

Spring Tattoo Preview

With my 31st birthday about six weeks out I’ve been starting to do preparations for my spring tattoo. For the past two years in a row I got my spring tattoo on my birthday but as my birthday falls on a Sunday this year and my artist doesn’t work on Sunday we’ll be doing it on St. Patrick’s Day which is the day right before (I was 9 hours and 40-ish minutes too late to be a St. Patrick’s Day baby).

So with that, what do I have in store for my spring tattoo? Not an entirely new tattoo but just adding onto an existing one. My semicolon, though meaningful, is quite a boring standalone tattoo. That combined with the heavily Christian conservative aspect of Project Semicolon (which I was oblivious to before I got the tattoo) and I’ve been wanting to do something different with it for awhile. I thought about doing a total cover-up but then I decided I would just modify it a bit with another symbol that is somewhat religious in nature but that is more suited to me.

That’s when I got the idea to weave some Celtic Knot through it. Celtic Knot goes back to the days of Druidism and Paganism when the Scots, the Irish, etc. were very one with nature. Though I identify more as an atheist, being stewards of our world combined with my (adopted, admittedly) Scottish heritage and that I think is so me.

I bounced some ideas off of the young-but-talented Jade (my artist for life, I swear) and she came up with this design:

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As the semicolon is a little off to the side of the wrist instead of smack center, that leaves enough room to take up some space around it in this way. The dark blue semicolon will remain the focal point but surrounded by the Celtic Knot which will be colored in with Eternal Mint Green (a lovely soft color that I already have in my Pisces tattoo) as to create an additional visual element and impart some of the symbolism of the Celtic Knot. I figured this would retain the “carry on” message of the semicolon while overshadowing its Christian roots with a faith much more closely aligned with my own religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

So what do you think? Good variation? Do you have a semicolon tattoo that’s a variation in your own way? I’m curious to see how some have remixed it.

A Spiritual Moment at Octoberfest

I promised you when I did my SLS post this post was coming up; well here you go.

As I was back in Abilene last weekend (I still go back every now and then – pretty much all my friends and family live there and it’s not too far from Dallas) I of course dropped into my favorite local hangout there (Vagabond Pizza – if you’re ever in Abilene you have got to check that place out!) where I met this totally awesome couple. We shot the shit for awhile and mentioned we were both heading over to a local brewery afterward (a new place called Sockdolager – again if you’re in Abilene check them out) for Octoberfest.

While at Vagabond they both asked me what exactly it was that I did and I shared a bit about my work with them, which was interesting to say the least, but what happened next was truly amazing. The lady (who I’ll call K) noticed my semicolon tattoo and asked me about it. Not very often is it people ask me about any of my tattoos, much less the one that got me into tattoo culture to begin with, so I asked her how long she had and how long I had to tell her my story.

As she didn’t have long, I told her the condensed version of my story and how close I came to committing suicide and how if I wouldn’t have had this opportunity presented to me when I did, I probably wouldn’t be alive today, because nobody would give me the time of day to show what I could do despite my disability. Getting my foot in the door at my current company (even if it was because I had connections) is what really set me on the road to recovery, even if I didn’t realize it at the outset. I then went on to tell her about my eventual goal.

As I told my story K started tearing up and she hugged me and said “I needed to hear this today.” I kind of took it with a grain of salt at the outset but I knew I would follow them to  Octoberfest so I would get to see them again in a bit and she could tell me more.

Not surprisingly, shortly thereafter I caught up with them at Octoberfest and we picked up right where we left off. She and her husband were there as expected and we spent much of the night talking with each other as they introduced me to some of their friends and we wound up telling each other more about ourselves. As it turns out K is a financial advisor and she mentioned that she thought she could help me achieve my dreams sooner rather than later – well alright then, finally someone who actually does believe in me.

As the night wore on so did we (getting drunker by the minute), It was a beautiful night indeed – absolutely perfect ambient temperature with a gentle, peaceful rain. As the alcohol started taking hold K started divulging some of her own deep insecurities, many of which I related to straight away. We started talking about those insecurities, wound up on the topic of music (I was wearing my TFF and Hall & Oates souvenir shirt so we made our way onto the topic). She mentioned she loved the song “Mad World” and in her drunkenness asked me to sing it to her.

Of course, that was kind of on the spot and I’m self-conscious about my own singing voice to begin with (even though everyone reassures me it’s just fine) but after a second of thought I came to the conclusion “what the hell?” (I was pretty well intoxicated myself so my inhibitions were greatly reduced by this point – I might not have agreed to otherwise). We took each other’s hands, I gently cleared my throat and started making my way through the lyrics of the song. As I made my way through the song, at times she joined with me in a harmony almost, especially in the chorus parts.

As I finished the song she asked me, to the tune of the song, to keep singing to her. I wound up singing the entire song start to finish a 2nd time at her insistence. By that point, I didn’t really care and I gladly obliged. The reason? “Mad World” is one of those songs that, if you love it, it’s because you feel it deep into your core. It’s my favorite TFF song (and my overall favorite song) for that very reason. As I sang the song to her that night, I could tell how deeply she felt those lyrics. Wow, maybe I’m not the only one after all.

I left that night feeling as I had touched the hearts of two amazing people, just as they had touched mine. I’m not one for belief in god or angels, but it seems as though every now and then I come across someone who is on the same playing field as me – those who have been through the ringer, been through bad times and although in a better place, might not be completely satisfied with life. I felt like I had connected with both of these people on a deeper level than just meeting each other. I felt like I connected to them on the same level of conscience. Those are the few I have the deepest connections with. Pantheism asserts God is in all of us and we are all a part of a greater consciousness, and this greater consciousness is God. Experiences like this gradually shift me away from pure atheism and maybe more toward Pantheism. These were people I’d just met a few short hours ago, but it was as though I’d known them my whole life.

When I get down on myself and think there’s no way out of a seemingly dire situation, something like this almost always happens. Somehow K made it through seemingly dark times (she told me bits and pieces of it, but I’m sure there’s so much more to the story) and it reminded me that I can too. After all, if she hadn’t, she’d have never resonated with the lyrics of “Mad World” the way she seemed to.

I’m sure K and her husband and myself will cross paths again sometime. I really hope we do. They are amazing people, and meeting them just reminded me that you never know whose lives you might touch by just being there. If they’re reading this, I hope they realize they touched my heart as much as I seem to have touched theirs, and it’s bits like that which keep me going, even through the hard times.

I’ll get to where I want to be. So will K. Her husband seems to already be there (good for him). There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so long as we continue to push through that tunnel and don’t get off the train.

May peace be with you all this day, in the name of whatever deity you personally worship. Amen.

Hurricane Harvey – A Reposted Facebook Rant

Before we get into my reposted rant, let me express my sincerest condolences to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Abilene and Dallas/Ft. Worth are both far enough inland that I was not adversely impacted by the storm but my company has several branches in coastal cities that were and I have several bell ringing friends in Houston who were also devastated so I’m feeling the impact in my heart nonetheless.

That said, I’m going to repost a brief political rant over the storm here, not because I necessarily like to post those here but because this needs to be said. I do try to remain as politically neutral on my blog as possible, though sometimes it’s impossible. There are some takeaways from Harvey that everyone needs to wake up to. Hopefully after a major disaster like this maybe some people will wake up and smell the coffee.

Rant below:


The thing about science is that it is true and it doesn’t give a fuck about your worthless, uneducated opinion. Climate change is very real. Hurricane Harvey is living proof. Pretty much every other hurricane would have dissipated by now. Harvey is still a tropical storm and one not too far below a category 1 hurricane. 

I say this as a slightly right of center libertarian. I ain’t no bleeding heart, liberal tree hugging hippie snowflake. I just acknowledge science. The movie The Day After Tomorrow is coming true right before our eyes and the scientifically illiterate Bible thumpers in this country can’t see it. In their delusional state of confirmation bias they see it as the “end times” and nothing else. 

Even despite my antinatalist beliefs and believing that existence is inherently harmful, the reality is life will continue to exist on this planet for billions more years. We need to take care of our planet so those life forms after us can have the least bad existences possible. 

Put your Bibles down and learn some science. That’s all there is to say here. 


This rant can also be read on my Facebook page (link in the “contact me” section of this blog) and by all means comment both here and there. The bottom line is we cannot continue ignoring this problem and we need to address it head on. Go paperless, trade in those gas guzzlers, switch to LED light bulbs, do whatever you feasibly can. Every little bit helps.

We need to be better stewards of our planet than we are now. That’s all there is to say. If the destruction of Hurricane Harvey doesn’t wake you up to that, well, you’re pretty much hopeless.

You can read more at this link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/climate/how-hurricane-harvey-became-so-destructive.html.

Concerning LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

I saw a video on Facebook earlier today that moved me to tears. I just have to share it here. For those of you who read my blog and think like me, you will be too. If you have nothing but hateful religious drivel to spew, please fuck off right now because your comments will be deleted and you will be blacklisted.

The fact of the matter is this is the reality facing so many LGBTQ+ youth, and these problems carry over into adulthood. If you don’t pay attention to anything else you read, hear or see today I beg you to pay attention to this.

As I think about my own life and as difficult as life at home was growing up dealing with parents who were ill-equipped to deal with an autistic/special needs child (probably through no fault of their own), when I see this I’m reminded my childhood was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. The reason? I’m bisexual.

I feel very, very lucky that I have an immediate family who 100% supports my sexuality. They are a lot wiser than I often give them credit for, having grown up in the era that still considered anything other than the cishet mold as an illness. I’m so grateful that they were able to move past that mentality. I’m also lucky to have siblings and friends who are nothing but supportive of me. I do have a lot of extended family who are not and my brother-in-law is definitely not supportive but that pales in comparison to when a parents (biological or otherwise) turn their backs on their kids just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I saw a quote recently that said something to the effect of “Gay pride has nothing to do with celebrating being gay but fighting for the right to exist without persecution; so instead of wondering why you don’t have ‘straight pride,’ be glad you don’t need one.” It’s so true. I don’t rub my sexuality in anyone’s face. I just want to be able to live my life without persecution.

We’re in difficult times in America right now with the election of one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ administrations in the recent history. Fortunately President Trump hasn’t gone out of his way to actively target us, but Neil Gorsuch is far from our friend and there’s a real possibility that he will be impeached and removed from office and Mike Pence is probably one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in America today. Don’t believe it? Check out his track record as governor of Indiana: he put into place a program that uses taxpayer dollars to fund gay conversion “therapy,” which has correctly been deemed as illegitimate by scientific medical research.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say in the matter. You love who you love and you are who you perceive yourself to be, and you have the right to equal protection under the law (including access to legally binding relationships and all the benefits of those) and have the right to exist peacefully without persecution or mistreatment. We are all human beings, after all.