All posts by John Messerly

Benatar: The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions. 

I have previously written about the philosopher David Benatar’s anti-natalism. Now Oxford University Press has published his new book The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions.  Here is a brief summary of the book followed by a few comments.

Continue reading Benatar: The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions. 

The Prisoner’s Dilemma and Climate Change

Global temperature anomalies for 2015 compared to the 1951–1980 baseline. 2015 was the warmest year in the NASA/NOAA temperature record, which starts in 1880. It has since been superseded by 2016.

The Science

To understand climate change you just need basic physics and mathematics. The physics works like this. The earth’s surface temperature is governed by the absorption and emission of thermal radiation, and greenhouse gases (GHG) like CO2 and CH4 (methane) trap thermal radiation making the earth’s surface warmer. The mathematics is even simpler. Continue reading The Prisoner’s Dilemma and Climate Change

A Reader Reflects on Nearing the End of Their Life

What follows is the postscript from an essay by Sylvia Jane Wojcik. (She specifically asked to publish it and use her name. However, I am not advocating or endorsing any particular position she takes here.) I have also included her full essay “What’s It All About” below. Continue reading A Reader Reflects on Nearing the End of Their Life

Bertrand Russell on Thinking

Bertrand Russell 1957.jpg

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Continue reading Bertrand Russell on Thinking

Martin Hägglund’s, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom


Martin Hägglund’s, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, is one of the most sublime books I’ve ever read—and I’ve devoured thousands of books in my life. It is a work of great erudition and originality; it is carefully and conscientiously crafted; it overflows with thoughtful insights, poetic passages, and sparkling prose. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece. Continue reading Martin Hägglund’s, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom