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The Case Against Efilism

Why Efilism Will Never Win

1. Introduction

In this critique, I am specifically arguing against the Efilist philosophy that was created by (Gary) Inmendham, not necessarily what any random Efilist believes. Although, most of these arguments and criticisms will apply to most Efilists in general.

1.1. Definitions

Efilism
An atheist, determinist, materialist, and negative-utilitarian philosophy/religion supported by the observation and analysis of evolution and unintelligent design, which endorses antinatalism and the Benevolent World-Exploder Proposal.
Unintelligent Design
A range of biological phenomena characterized by Darwinian Evolution and unnecessary suffering, including the consumption, competition, reproduction, and death experienced by all sentient life.
Benevolent World-Exploder Proposal
An absolutist, negative-utilitarian ethic in favor of annihilating the Earth and euthanizing all its sentient life.
Hedonistic Imperative
An absolutist, negative-utilitarian ethic in favor of genetically re-engineering all sentient life to be devoid of suffering.

1.2. The Main Premises of Efilism

  1. Life is violent.
  2. No amount of pleasure can ever justify any amount of pain.
  3. Negative Utilitarian Hedonism is objectively the best moral system.
  4. Morality is not perspective-dependent.
  5. Humans have a moral obligation to be altruistic, to the extent of doing the Benevolent World Exploder.
  6. We should interfere with the current state of the Universe, even if it will be a self-defeating endeavor.

The only premise that I agree with is #1, and while I also agree with #6 that it is okay to “interfere with the Natural Order of things” up to a limited extent, I don’t believe that it’s worth doing so if the outcome will ultimately be self-defeating. The other four premises are false assumptions.

For the record, I didn’t come up with this assumption analysis myself. I first recognized these assumptions after watching Efilism: Arguing the Argument by Blithering Genius. This essay mostly consists of commentary regarding Efilism and its community, whereas Blithering Genius’s essay is more an axiological analysis of Efilism.

1.3. The Argument For Efilism

Supposedly, a world with absolutely no life really wouldn’t be that bad. We could create a new reality with no crimes against humanity, a 0% cancer rate, 0% starvation, 0% homeless, 0% poverty, zero need to work 40+ hours a week, no depression, no rapes, no deaths, no genocides, no wars, no slaughterhouses, no parasites, no animals eating animals, no pain, and no evil. Just eternal peace commenced through eternal nonexistence. There are a lot of good things to like about this.

Another common argument that resonates with many Efilists and Antinatalists is that nobody ever asks to be born. The idea is that if parents can’t get the consent of their prospective children to be born, then it’s unethical to give birth to an unborn child.

Efilists give many other arguments in favor of Efilism, but it’s not worth listing them all here. All their other arguments are fallacious in one way or another, for all the reasons and provided on this page and its external links. But for those who are curious, these arguments can viewed on: The Efilism Wiki | Archive.org.

It's pointless to create a robot that exists to suffer.

Philosophy is a creation of man intended to benefit the existence of humanity through reason.

This is not true. The goal of philosophy is to question unexamined assumptions. It’s about understanding the world and figuring out what to do about it.

2. Efilism Is A Self-Defeating Ideology

See: Efilism by Blithering Genius, the prequel to this essay.

Efilism will never win, because it is self-defeating, intrinsically contradictory, and diametrically opposed to the Universe itself.

  • Efilism is biologically self-defeating because altruism never wins against selfishness in Evolution.
  • Efilism is psychologically self-defeating because it is incompatible with normal psychological desires.
  • Efilism is ethically self-defeating because it argues that it is immoral to have children without their prior consent, but it also argues that it is ethical to euthanize people without their consent.
    Efilism also fails to recognize that it makes more sense to kill people who don’t want to live than to kill people who do want to live.
  • Efilism is physically self-defeating because the end of Life would never be the complete uninhabitability of the Earth, but rather “we have to travel across the galaxy to locations X, Y, and Z to eradicate the life on those planetary bodies as well! And then we must eradicate all the life at galactic locations A, B, C, D, E, F G, H, …. and so on…”

Moreover, Efilism fails to recognize and understand the Philosophical Abyss. Hypothetically, someone could create a more rational offshoot of Efilism that understands the Abyss and why no belief system is uniquely rational. But every Efilist has failed to do that so far, in large part since they’re not able to listen to or understand Blithering Genius’s objections. Accepting life and rejecting life both require crossing the is-ought gap, so neither is more reasonable than the other. Both choices can be equally rational, but the point is that neither one is uniquely rational. Every human is free to make whichever choice they want. He can give arguments for accepting life or give arguments for rejecting it. Both positions can potentially be equally rational since there is no foundation for value.

Regardless of whether someone accepts Efilism or not, the following facts will remain true for every living being since none of them are normative statements. You were created by evolution. Your ancestors created their descendants because they were designed to reproduce. You are designed to reproduce. Your body was naturally selected over thousands of generations of evolution to have and raise as many children as possible. Hence, you are effectively a reproducing machine, whether you accept it or not. You can choose to embrace that, or you can choose to detest it. That is Lucifer’s Question.

Related: What is Morality? - Blithering Genius.

3. Hedonism Is Not Self-Evident

Pre-Reading: Motivation - Blithering Genius.

There are several problems with claiming that pain is “intrinsically bad” and pleasure is “intrinsically good”:

  • “bad” and “well-being” are both subjective. Not everybody agrees with negative utilitarianism. For instance, some people would argue that average utilitarianism is better than negative utilitarianism. Since well-being is subjective, so is Utilitarianism, and so is everyone’s morals. The reason why there’s so many different forms of utilitarianism is precisely because well-being is subjective.
  • Pain and pleasure are transient experiences (they only exist in the moment), so it doesn’t make sense to insist that we should add them all over time, especially when we don’t even have objective units for measuring those experiences.
  • Pain is necessary to drive motivation. We wouldn’t do anything in this world if we didn’t have to endure at least a little bit of pain to do all the various things that we do.
  • The Positive and Negative Hedonic Treadmills conclude that even if you do experience a lot of pain or pleasure, then you’d eventually get used to it, and it wouldn’t matter to you anymore.
  • Even if we should add up pain and pleasure over time, they would balance out anyway.

    “Mathematically, we can model pain and pleasure (the hedonic dimension) as the first derivative of motivation as a function of time. Let’s use M to denote motivation and P to denote the first derivative of M. When M increases, P is positive, which corresponds to pain. When M decreases, P is negative, which corresponds to pleasure. If we assume that your life begins and ends with M = 0, then the integral of P over your lifetime is zero. In other words, total pain + total pleasure = zero.” – Blithering Genius, in Motivation

  • Although a lot of happiness surveys may show that people are “happier” when they have better material conditions (e.g. they make a decent living in a first-world country), they are unreliable:
    • These surveys don’t define “happiness” to the people who answer them.
    • Nor do they have a philosophy of emotions to back them up.
    • Nor do they consider whether we should have a hedonist theory/philosophy of value either.
    • Happiness is also subjective, so what one person considers happiness may not be the same as how someone else defines it.
    • The self-reported nature of these studies also introduces another source of unreliability.

Even if I accepted hedonism, I would still have to reject David Pearce’s reasoning that the pleasure versus pain axis is the ultimate value. All values are instrumental, so it’s impossible for there to be a single ultimate value. For example, having supreme knowledge is one of the most important values since it affects all the reasoning and conclusions that we ultimately make, including hedonism (potentially).

The Positive Hedonic Treadmill illustrates that we can still be sad, even if we've accomplished all our goals in life.

Hedonism is not self-evident. But even if we assume the validity of hedonism, it’s far from obvious that farm animals suffer more than wild animals, as vegans contend. It’s true that most farm animals live in enclosed spaces and are often denied the full range of behaviors that wild animals have. But farm animals are also fed on a regular basis and protected from parasites, predators, dehydration, heat, cold, etc to a greater extent than wild animals. Most farm animals die young in a slaughterhouse, and they even have rather humane deaths in some countries. Most wild animals die young from predation, disease, or hunger. It’s not clear how one is supposed to be objectively better than the other.

Also See: Consciousness Thought Experiments.

Read More: Morality FAQs.

4. Efilists Are Wrong About Demographic Transition Theory

Many Efilists believe in Demographic Transition Theory. Inmendham has repeatedly advocated many times that educating people in developing countries and raising living standards in the rest of the world will lead to a long-term decline in global fertility rates. Unfortunately for their movement, he is completely wrong about this, as it could only be a temporary decline at most.

The religious fundamentalists and other people with the highest fertility rates will out-compete the rest of the entire world, and the genes and memes that caused child-free people to choose not to have children will die out. The end result is that the genes that caused higher fertility rates will become more populous, and this will cause the world population to skyrocket once more until it crashes against the carrying capacity ceiling. The world population will not max out at 11-12 billion people. And if it does, that will only be because the world population reached the carrying capacity of the Earth.

Read More: Population Dynamics and Demographic Transition Theory FAQs.

5. The World Would Destroy The Efilists If Their Movement Grew Large Enough

If Efilism ever grew big enough into a sizable activist movement (say millions of self-identified Efilists) and/or they ever dared to destroy the Earth, then it would be easy to get mass public support to arrest and execute all the Efilists before they have any time to act. Governments all over the world could pass legislation declaring Efilists to be enemies of the State, and sentence all the Efilists to death. It’s weird how Efilists talk with others on public forums like r/Efilism about their plans to destroy the Earth, as if there isn’t anyone listening in on them who would be keen to stop them in their tracks and punish them. They haven’t thought the effects of their activism through all the way.

Natalists could also rationalize eliminating all of them. The Efilists have already said that they would skin literally everybody alive if it was necessary to destroy the Earth and if they had the means to do it, so the Natalists could justify killing all the Efilists for “Self-Defense”. Most Efilists also hate their lives and would rather be dead instead of alive anyway. So, if the Natalists (who want to live) managed to kill all the Efilists before the Efilists could kill the Natalists, then the deaths of the Efilists could be further rationalized as having done a favor for most of them. After all, doesn’t it make more sense to kill/euthanize people who don’t want to live than to kill people who do want to live? Just because they hate their lives, that shouldn’t mean that people who enjoy their lives shouldn’t have to have theirs end as well.

6. Why It Should Be Illegal To Be An Efilist Activist

I’m all for supporting truly free speech, and I think that more discussion about Efilism as a philosophy should be encouraged, but I have to draw the line when Efilists are trying to recruit people to do harmful, illegal, and threatening activity.

Inmendham has spoken innumerous times about how he wants to kill people, how he’s okay with violating people’s autonomy, and how he would destroy the Earth if he had the power to do it.

7. The Vast Ignorance Of Anti-Natalists And Efilists

Efilists and Anti-Natalists are about as ignorant about the world as most other humans. Since they’ve rejected life and are only focused on destroying it, they don’t care much at all about developing a good understanding of the world. I will list the following as examples of this, but the reader should keep in mind that some of these bullets are just critiques or observations about the philosophy, community, and their related beliefs, not necessarily arguments against anything:

As soon as someone wholeheartedly rejects life, there is no reason to explore the rest of philosophy. This is one of the biggest reasons why I personally reject Efilism. If someone does learn about Efilism, it shouldn’t be the end of their philosophical exploration. If anything, it should be just the beginning. Knowledge ought to be one of the ultimate values, since knowledge is necessary to conclude Efilism. Even if someone is inclined to accept Efilism upon being introduced to it, how can they know for sure that they’re right if Philosophical Abyss could lead virtually anyone to believe in potentially anything?

8. Efilists Can’t Distinguish Rhetoric From Actual Arguments

9. Final Thoughts

In spite of all my criticisms against Efilism and the refusal of Efilists to question their moral assumptions, I can at least respect Efilism for being a notable attempt to create a worldview based on (negative) utilitarianism and (negative) hedonism that is more rational than mainstream humanist culture.

Last Modified: 2024 May 20, 23:16

Author: Zero Contradictions