View Poll Results: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

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  • Yes. Having children is a moral obligation to God/society/family/etc.

    9 3.93%
  • No, they are free not to have children. They don't have to answer to anybody

    161 70.31%
  • Not if they have reproductive problems.

    2 0.87%
  • Yes, even if they have reproductive problems. They can adopt, you know.

    1 0.44%
  • They should get a medal for lowering world population.

    44 19.21%
  • Other

    10 4.37%
  • I don't know.

    2 0.87%
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Thread: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

  1. #201
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    With the level of consumption we have, a smaller population would be a much better thing for everyone.
    and you deny Malthus. So your solution is that you should just have the decency to die off once you get older?

    But regardless, I am still really confused about why this creates some kind of obligation for anyone to breed.
    I'm not saying you, smoke, are personally obligated to breed. I am saying that the incentives for child-rearing have changed and created a tragedy of the commons where public goods are provided at private expense to societal detriment.

  2. #202
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    and you deny Malthus. So your solution is that you should just have the decency to die off once you get older?
    There is a difference between saying something is bad and saying something is the end of the entire world, you know.

    My decision to be childfree isn't dominantly about society. It's dominantly about my own goals and wishes, like any parent, whether they'll admit it or not.

    It just happens to also match up well with my opinions on other things.

    I'm not saying you, smoke, are personally obligated to breed. I am saying that the incentives for child-rearing have changed and created a tragedy of the commons where public goods are provided at private expense to societal detriment.
    Child-rearing has never been more incentivized than it is now. The reason people are breeding less is because they have the option to, and at the end of the day, there aren't too many people who have half a football team of kids because they want to.

  3. #203
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    There is a difference between saying something is bad and saying something is the end of the entire world, you know.
    Malthus never argued the end of the world. Neither even did Ehrlich. But both did hinge their arguments on the notion that individuals represented a net drain on the system rather than a net plus.

    My decision to be childfree isn't dominantly about society. It's dominantly about my own goals and wishes, like any parent, whether they'll admit it or not.
    No one has stated or tried to argue otherwise.

    Child-rearing has never been more incentivized than it is now.
    That is not correct. Children historically were your labor for your most productive years, and your security in your old age. Children (and plenty of them) were part of survival. Now Children are a net cost for parents rather than a net benefit / survival technique. The state has attempted to step in at some points to mitigate this problem (which is, I think, what you are referring to), but even then it is not true to say that even today's state incentivizes children more than ever.

    The reason people are breeding less is because they have the option to, and at the end of the day, there aren't too many people who have half a football team of kids because they want to.
    On the contrary, fertility was much desired back when it was advantageous.

  4. #204
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Malthus never argued the end of the world. Neither even did Ehrlich. But both did hinge their arguments on the notion that individuals represented a net drain on the system rather than a net plus.
    Which is not my notion either.

    That is not correct. Children historically were your labor for your most productive years, and your security in your old age. Children (and plenty of them) were part of survival. Now Children are a net cost for parents rather than a net benefit / survival technique. The state has attempted to step in at some points to mitigate this problem (which is, I think, what you are referring to), but even then it is not true to say that even today's state incentivizes children more than ever.
    Yes, because people worked horrendously underpaid gigs in horrendous conditions, and children could be used as slave or near-slave labor. Gee, I sure miss those days. Don't you?

    But ultimately, children were still a pretty heavy cost (explained below). It was just that they had no other options, really.

    On the contrary, fertility was much desired back when it was advantageous.
    High fertility was never very desirable to humans until agriculture, at which point it became a necessity due to the reason above. Agriculture really screwed us quite badly for a very long time. The only reason we kept at it was because the natural output the land couldn't sustain us any longer.

    Naturally, relatively lower fertility was desired due to the high risk and high time requirement of making a functional human being. Women typically had children 5-7 years apart (made possible by women being incredibly fit and having relatively low body fat). Since they also started puberty much later than we do now with all the hormones we eat, this meant most women weren't pregnant more than 3 or 4 times in their entire lives, and typically of those pregnancies, 2 or 3 resulted in surviving children.

    What we had for most of post-agricultural history was a radical departure from natural human reproduction rates, which resulted in a lot of women and children dying (and men for other reasons, but also related to the down sides of agriculture, of which there are many). It's only now beginning to level out.

    It is not at all natural or desirable for humans to have high fertility rates, then or now.

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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    Which is not my notion either.
    Then do you recognize people as a net gain, or a net loss?

    Yes, because people worked horrendously underpaid gigs in horrendous conditions, and children could be used as slave or near-slave labor. Gee, I sure miss those days. Don't you?
    Nope. I'm happy that we live in the modern world. But it does come with unintended consequences that do have to be managed. Such as, for example, the flipping of traditional incentives regarding child-rearing.

    But ultimately, children were still a pretty heavy cost (explained below). It was just that they had no other options, really.
    If you have no other option but to produce children in order to ensure survival that makes having children pretty strongly incentivized.

    High fertility was never very desirable to humans until agriculture, at which point it became a necessity due to the reason above. Agriculture really screwed us quite badly for a very long time. The only reason we kept at it was because the natural output the land couldn't sustain us any longer.

    Naturally, relatively lower fertility was desired due to the high risk and high time requirement of making a functional human being. Women typically had children 5-7 years apart (made possible by women being incredibly fit and having relatively low body fat). Since they also started puberty much later than we do now with all the hormones we eat, this meant most women weren't pregnant more than 3 or 4 times in their entire lives, and typically of those pregnancies, 2 or 3 resulted in surviving children.

    What we had for most of post-agricultural history was a radical departure from natural human reproduction rates, which resulted in a lot of women and children dying (and men for other reasons, but also related to the down sides of agriculture, of which there are many). It's only now beginning to level out.

    It is not at all natural or desirable for humans to have high fertility rates, then or now.
    Ah, one of those. No, as I understand it, you are confusing higher child survival rates with higher fertility rates. People continued to raise as many children as they could manage to support (which agreeably wasn't always as many in hunter-gatherer societies as in agricultural ones - starvation tends to take care of the little ones pretty quickly).

    The net result of agriculture, however, was nowhere near the disaster you are portraying it. Though that is a debate for the history forums .

  6. #206
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Malthus never argued the end of the world. Neither even did Ehrlich. But both did hinge their arguments on the notion that individuals represented a net drain on the system rather than a net plus.



    .
    Actually, their arguments were predicated on a notion akin to "the tragedy of the commons" wherein individual decisions can make perfectly rational sense from one's own limited perspective, but the accumulated weight of such decisions across a wide spectrum can have negative consequences. It isn't that each individual represents a drain to the system so much as it is that the carrying capacity of the system is limited, therefore a tipping point is reached at some point where the additional burdon placed upon it by all the additional people acts to reduce the amount each individual can derive from it.
    "you're better off on Stormfront discussing how evil brown men are taking innocent white flowers." Infinite Chaos

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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    No. Inferior according to whose standards?

  8. #208
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gardener View Post
    Actually, their arguments were predicated on a notion akin to "the tragedy of the commons" wherein individual decisions can make perfectly rational sense from one's own limited perspective, but the accumulated weight of such decisions across a wide spectrum can have negative consequences. It isn't that each individual represents a drain to the system so much as it is that the carrying capacity of the system is limited, therefore a tipping point is reached at some point where the additional burdon placed upon it by all the additional people acts to reduce the amount each individual can derive from it.
    I'm aware of the arguments. Both men argued we had reached that tipping point, and each new individual now consumed more than they added to production, making them a net drain.

  9. #209
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Then do you recognize people as a net gain, or a net loss?
    I don't naturally think that clinically about human beings. But if I were to try, it would depend on the person and the larger situation.

    Nope. I'm happy that we live in the modern world. But it does come with unintended consequences that do have to be managed. Such as, for example, the flipping of traditional incentives regarding child-rearing.
    Human reproduction rates are having a snap-back after centuries of that extremely unnatural system which resulted in too much crowding. They will -- and are -- leveling out. Various areas will go through this at different rates in accordance to the quality of life the people in that area have.

    If you have no other option but to produce children in order to ensure survival that makes having children pretty strongly incentivized.
    Yes, however bad the impact on your life will be. It's kill yourself slowly by over-producing (and other things) or kill yourself quickly without. I am glad humans in the developed world no longer have to choose between evils like that.

    Ah, one of those. No, as I understand it, you are confusing higher child survival rates with higher fertility rates. People continued to raise as many children as they could manage to support (which agreeably wasn't always as many in hunter-gatherer societies as in agricultural ones - starvation tends to take care of the little ones pretty quickly).

    The net result of agriculture, however, was nowhere near the disaster you are portraying it. Though that is a debate for the history forums .
    No, I'm not confusing the two. I am pretty sure I actually mentioned the high mortality rate, and hunter gatherer's comparatively lower ones, overall. But women living in less advanced agricultural systems can get pregnant more than a dozen times. Most of her later children will die because the female body just isn't built to take that kind of abuse, but she will probably still have more that survive than most hunter gatherers.

    Hunter gatherers don't produce less due to starvation. They actually ate much better than agriculturalists did, for most of history. They were able to naturally space children due to their lifestyle and fitness.

    I'd say it was pretty disastrous up until quite recently. 50% cut in life expectancy, the birth of true warfare, more starvation, more poverty... yeah, it was pretty nasty. Still is, in some places.

    But once your population gets high enough that the area can't support it, you either have to kill people or start farming.
    Last edited by SmokeAndMirrors; 03-19-13 at 11:35 AM.

  10. #210
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    Re: Should childless couples be considered inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    I don't naturally think that clinically about human beings. But if I were to try, it would depend on the person and the larger situation.
    We're not talking individuals. We are talking aggregate; which can be broken down through averaging to the individual.

    Human reproduction rates are having a snap-back after centuries of that extremely unnatural system which resulted in too much crowding. They will -- and are -- leveling out. Various areas will go through this at different rates in accordance to the quality of life the people in that area have.
    That is sadly uncorrect. At no time, for example, prior to the 20th Century did Japan go through an extended period (that I am aware of) where their fertility rate was below 1.8. Ditto for China, and Europe. Birthrates are not "snapping back to norm", they are "diving below replacement." The result of their failure to replace themselves is going to be a poorer, dirtier, more pain-filled world, not a better one.

    Yes, however bad the impact on your life will be. It's kill yourself slowly by over-producing (and other things) or kill yourself quickly without. I am glad humans in the developed world no longer have to choose between evils like that.
    And me as well. I wouldn't want to raise 10 kids any more than I would want to subsistence farm for a living. But that alters the fact that our elderly are still dependent upon the productivity of the generations that follow them not a whit.

    No, I'm not confusing the two. I am pretty sure I actually mentioned the high mortality rate, and hunter gatherer's comparatively lower ones, overall.

    Hunter gatherers don't produce less due to starvation. They actually ate much better than agriculturalists did, for most of history. They were able to naturally space children due to their lifestyle and fitness.

    I'd say it was pretty disasterous. 50% cut in life expectancy, the birth of true warefare, more starvation, more poverty... yeah, it was pretty nasty. Still is, in some places.

    But once your population gets high enough that the area can't support it, you either have to kill people or start farming.
    So your argument is that agriculture was disastrous because it was the poorer option to genocide?

    But, again, the human populace exploded after agriculture. Agriculture gave us the security (and reduced our mortality rates) that hunting gathering did not, which is why we shifted to it. But, again, that's for another thread. G'night, smoke.

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