The morality of having children
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25-03-2017, 05:56 AM
The morality of having children
No, I'm not an antinatalist, but antinatalists will occasionally press their arguments in places like this. I ran across this article which stakes out a middle ground similar to my own position and wanted to share it and hear other's thoughts on it.

A pure antinatalist argument would be that any person's life represents some degree of harm because of the presence of suffering. The unborn are not exposed to this harm nor do they "loose out" on whatever benefits their life might have provided, since they don't exist anyway. Meanwhile, the born can't choose to be exposed to the "harms of existence" (and if they somehow truly could make an informed choice, many would choose not to). Therefore it is never moral to foist life upon a child, the human race should ideally stop having children and die out as a race.

Despite sometimes wondering if the human experiment deserves to be continued, I reject this as a caricatured nihilism run off the rails, but I do think that very few people consider the gravity of the choice they are making for their children in bringing them into existence, and that these choices are by and large not made nearly mindfully and responsibly enough. That there are scenarios where having children is primarily self-absorbed and ill-advised.

The article I cite suggests that such decisions should "err on the side of permissibility" rather than against. That conceiving a child while unemployed for example is not not necessarily a bad thing, because while it increases certain risks it is not fully determinative. But having a child that is likely to inherit a debilitating disease, would on the other hand be an unjust thing to do.

Bottom line, I believe that society has an irrational (though biologically understandable) bias towards having children as a sort of mindless default, and just as we have evolved memes to shame people out of innate leanings towards tribalism and war, we should discourage them from having children purely to satisfy their perceived primal needs unless there is some reason to believe the child will have at least an average or better prospect of self-actualization.

This is all very subjective of course, and outcomes are sometimes far better (or worse!) than one might think. One's crystal ball is always hazy. But an honest evaluation of my own life tells me that the value proposition one would retroactively make to a child for bringing them into the world is often terribly weak and disconnected from THEIR interests.

Back in my days as a fundie I simply expected that god blessed the righteous (which group I felt I self-evidently was a member of) and confounds the wicked, therefore, the fact that I was married at the time to a narcissist with dicey mental health did not even really factor in. I had two children by her; one never really thrived and died in young adulthood, the other has done well as far a she herself is concerned, but has a milder echo of her mother's narcissism and at least one of her three children will carry on that into his own life, possibly with profound mental issues of his own. She had her children despite my own warnings about the bad genetics represented by her own mother and by her then-husband. She generally makes sure she gets what she wants, torpedoes be damned.

I suppose for me all of this is of interest because while I love my children, I feel it was a terrible mistake to have them with the person I conceived them with and under the circumstances of that marriage, and it's definitely been "the gift that keeps on giving". What's done is done and I don't bemoan it but I do try to convey to others who still have these choices to make: slow down, think primarily of the kind of life you can give a child and not of how you want to play at grown-up by having them. Because I would not wish the heartache that led to for my children, or even for me, on anyone.
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25-03-2017, 06:24 AM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 05:56 AM)mordant Wrote:  Bottom line, I believe that society has an irrational (though biologically understandable) bias towards having children as a sort of mindless default, and just as we have evolved memes to shame people out of innate leanings towards tribalism and war, we should discourage them from having children purely to satisfy their perceived primal needs unless there is some reason to believe the child will have at least an average or better prospect of self-actualization.

Yes, we humans have biological default settings which should be modified as much as humanly possible to best match our new circumstances. It's not just a matter of the children's quality of life, but of over-population of the planet as well. We have changed the world too radically not to change ourselves as well.
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25-03-2017, 06:56 AM
RE: The morality of having children
Children aren't right - you're too poor to raise one in good conditions then tough shit, you shouldn't try to have one till your situation will be better. No one has right to force children into life in poverty - love does not solve all (and it is some strange kind of love to make harmless and defenseless being suffer), money, housing and all that are needed.

When one have means to raise the child then one should think if one would be a good parent and make honest appraisal, not just jump into bandwagon with scream everyone have one so I can too. I don't like kids and I very much doubt that I would be a good parent, therefore I will not have them.

There is also issue of general shittines of the world - were I able to choose I wouldn't pick option titled get born. People should reflect on such as their future/would be children aren't necessarily going to be thankful for their existence.

All in all I see it that way - you're lonely? Get a puppy. But only if you will be able to take care of it.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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25-03-2017, 08:10 AM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 05:56 AM)mordant Wrote:  No, I'm not an antinatalist, but antinatalists will occasionally press their arguments in places like this. I ran across this article which stakes out a middle ground similar to my own position and wanted to share it and hear other's thoughts on it.

A pure antinatalist argument would be that any person's life represents some degree of harm because of the presence of suffering. The unborn are not exposed to this harm nor do they "loose out" on whatever benefits their life might have provided, since they don't exist anyway. Meanwhile, the born can't choose to be exposed to the "harms of existence" (and if they somehow truly could make an informed choice, many would choose not to). Therefore it is never moral to foist life upon a child, the human race should ideally stop having children and die out as a race.

Despite sometimes wondering if the human experiment deserves to be continued, I reject this as a caricatured nihilism run off the rails, but I do think that very few people consider the gravity of the choice they are making for their children in bringing them into existence, and that these choices are by and large not made nearly mindfully and responsibly enough. That there are scenarios where having children is primarily self-absorbed and ill-advised.

The article I cite suggests that such decisions should "err on the side of permissibility" rather than against. That conceiving a child while unemployed for example is not not necessarily a bad thing, because while it increases certain risks it is not fully determinative. But having a child that is likely to inherit a debilitating disease, would on the other hand be an unjust thing to do.

Bottom line, I believe that society has an irrational (though biologically understandable) bias towards having children as a sort of mindless default, and just as we have evolved memes to shame people out of innate leanings towards tribalism and war, we should discourage them from having children purely to satisfy their perceived primal needs unless there is some reason to believe the child will have at least an average or better prospect of self-actualization.

This is all very subjective of course, and outcomes are sometimes far better (or worse!) than one might think. One's crystal ball is always hazy. But an honest evaluation of my own life tells me that the value proposition one would retroactively make to a child for bringing them into the world is often terribly weak and disconnected from THEIR interests.

Back in my days as a fundie I simply expected that god blessed the righteous (which group I felt I self-evidently was a member of) and confounds the wicked, therefore, the fact that I was married at the time to a narcissist with dicey mental health did not even really factor in. I had two children by her; one never really thrived and died in young adulthood, the other has done well as far a she herself is concerned, but has a milder echo of her mother's narcissism and at least one of her three children will carry on that into his own life, possibly with profound mental issues of his own. She had her children despite my own warnings about the bad genetics represented by her own mother and by her then-husband. She generally makes sure she gets what she wants, torpedoes be damned.

I suppose for me all of this is of interest because while I love my children, I feel it was a terrible mistake to have them with the person I conceived them with and under the circumstances of that marriage, and it's definitely been "the gift that keeps on giving". What's done is done and I don't bemoan it but I do try to convey to others who still have these choices to make: slow down, think primarily of the kind of life you can give a child and not of how you want to play at grown-up by having them. Because I would not wish the heartache that led to for my children, or even for me, on anyone.

No matter what circumstances a child is born into, as long as he has a mind and learns how to use it he or she has a good chance at happiness in life and can go on to do great things and achieve success and improve the lives of everyone on the planet, not that that should be anyone's purpose, but just a secondary result of his actions in achieving his own purpose.

Two men are responsible, primarily, for all the wonderful things we have such as Bridges, Satellite communications, radio, the internet, skyscrapers, cell phones that are supercomputers in our pockets, MRI machines and all of the future wonders that will be devised and built based off of their work.

One was Isaac Newton who started with a single question, does the moon fall just like an apple from a tree, and then set out to find the answer. Along the way to answering this question he invented calculus at about the rate that a student learns it in class today, and in doing so he discovered the equation for gravity and the laws governing motion.

The other was Micheal Faraday who discovered the equation for electromagnetism. Now maybe their parents didn't think through having them. Maybe they were just "accidents". Maybe they had suffering in their lives. But all of us are so fortunate that they lived and most importantly thought.

The great majority of the suffering in this world is brought about because so many don't know how to think or just don't care to. The answer is not to throw up our hands and give up, but to think and to teach our children how to think. We don't do that, even in schools. We teach them what they should think, not how to think. Religions teach that their minds are corrupt, flawed, evil, and that they should "lean not on their own understanding". I know because I've experienced it firsthand and have seen it at my children's school. Don't think for yourself. Go with the group.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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25-03-2017, 08:20 AM (This post was last modified: 25-03-2017 08:23 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: The morality of having children
My opinion:

I won't have children because I don't want to bring anyone into this world who doesn't have to be here. It sucks. It's something they can't easily get out of when they're here, either. Suicide is hardly an easy option.

I don't see happiness and suffering as being in the same currency, so I don't feel confident that even a fairly decent life is a "net gain". Also, humans suck. We're a cancer to the planet and all other life on it.

I don't expect people to agree, nor do I judge. I do wish people would put more thought into having kids though.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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25-03-2017, 08:29 AM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 08:10 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(25-03-2017 05:56 AM)mordant Wrote:  No, I'm not an antinatalist, but antinatalists will occasionally press their arguments in places like this. I ran across this article which stakes out a middle ground similar to my own position and wanted to share it and hear other's thoughts on it.

A pure antinatalist argument would be that any person's life represents some degree of harm because of the presence of suffering. The unborn are not exposed to this harm nor do they "loose out" on whatever benefits their life might have provided, since they don't exist anyway. Meanwhile, the born can't choose to be exposed to the "harms of existence" (and if they somehow truly could make an informed choice, many would choose not to). Therefore it is never moral to foist life upon a child, the human race should ideally stop having children and die out as a race.

Despite sometimes wondering if the human experiment deserves to be continued, I reject this as a caricatured nihilism run off the rails, but I do think that very few people consider the gravity of the choice they are making for their children in bringing them into existence, and that these choices are by and large not made nearly mindfully and responsibly enough. That there are scenarios where having children is primarily self-absorbed and ill-advised.

The article I cite suggests that such decisions should "err on the side of permissibility" rather than against. That conceiving a child while unemployed for example is not not necessarily a bad thing, because while it increases certain risks it is not fully determinative. But having a child that is likely to inherit a debilitating disease, would on the other hand be an unjust thing to do.

Bottom line, I believe that society has an irrational (though biologically understandable) bias towards having children as a sort of mindless default, and just as we have evolved memes to shame people out of innate leanings towards tribalism and war, we should discourage them from having children purely to satisfy their perceived primal needs unless there is some reason to believe the child will have at least an average or better prospect of self-actualization.

This is all very subjective of course, and outcomes are sometimes far better (or worse!) than one might think. One's crystal ball is always hazy. But an honest evaluation of my own life tells me that the value proposition one would retroactively make to a child for bringing them into the world is often terribly weak and disconnected from THEIR interests.

Back in my days as a fundie I simply expected that god blessed the righteous (which group I felt I self-evidently was a member of) and confounds the wicked, therefore, the fact that I was married at the time to a narcissist with dicey mental health did not even really factor in. I had two children by her; one never really thrived and died in young adulthood, the other has done well as far a she herself is concerned, but has a milder echo of her mother's narcissism and at least one of her three children will carry on that into his own life, possibly with profound mental issues of his own. She had her children despite my own warnings about the bad genetics represented by her own mother and by her then-husband. She generally makes sure she gets what she wants, torpedoes be damned.

I suppose for me all of this is of interest because while I love my children, I feel it was a terrible mistake to have them with the person I conceived them with and under the circumstances of that marriage, and it's definitely been "the gift that keeps on giving". What's done is done and I don't bemoan it but I do try to convey to others who still have these choices to make: slow down, think primarily of the kind of life you can give a child and not of how you want to play at grown-up by having them. Because I would not wish the heartache that led to for my children, or even for me, on anyone.

No matter what circumstances a child is born into, as long as he has a mind and learns how to use it he or she has a good chance at happiness in life and can go on to do great things and achieve success and improve the lives of everyone on the planet, not that that should be anyone's purpose, but just a secondary result of his actions in achieving his own purpose.

Two men are responsible, primarily, for all the wonderful things we have such as Bridges, Satellite communications, radio, the internet, skyscrapers, cell phones that are supercomputers in our pockets, MRI machines and all of the future wonders that will be devised and built based off of their work.

One was Isaac Newton who started with a single question, does the moon fall just like an apple from a tree, and then set out to find the answer. Along the way to answering this question he invented calculus at about the rate that a student learns it in class today, and in doing so he discovered the equation for gravity and the laws governing motion.

The other was Micheal Faraday who discovered the equation for electromagnetism. Now maybe their parents didn't think through having them. Maybe they were just "accidents". Maybe they had suffering in their lives. But all of us are so fortunate that they lived and most importantly thought.

The great majority of the suffering in this world is brought about because so many don't know how to think or just don't care to. The answer is not to throw up our hands and give up, but to think and to teach our children how to think. We don't do that, even in schools. We teach them what they should think, not how to think. Religions teach that their minds are corrupt, flawed, evil, and that they should "lean not on their own understanding". I know because I've experienced it firsthand and have seen it at my children's school. Don't think for yourself. Go with the group.

That's very well articulated but if our population gets much higher those brains are going to be used for Soylent Green instead of thinking.
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25-03-2017, 08:31 AM
RE: The morality of having children
I chose not to and when people hear that I don't have kids, they pity me.

Kids bring their parents much happiness and much sorrow, too. Looking around my friends now, that we are older, it's mostly "they never call, they never visit". Or "they want to get rid of me and put me in an institution".

I acted my conscience - my life style was not good for kids, and I didn't get the urge. Maybe because I always had dogs - they do utilize the mothering instinct. Old now, I still have dogs to brighten my days. I feel good about not contributing to the over population (and that was a consideration). I had a heck of a life so far, and I am content and happy with my choices.

Nothing to pity here. Tongue

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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25-03-2017, 09:01 AM
RE: The morality of having children
I have no intention of spawning any kids. Heck I'd get a hysterectomy right now if it weren't so invasive and expensive (and heavily discouraged?).

If I ever change my mind (I won't, I'm terrible parent material) I would much rather adopt a child that is already here and needs a home.

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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25-03-2017, 09:03 AM
RE: The morality of having children
I didn't want kids when I was eighteen, in the service and tried getting a vasectomy through military medical.

They made me an appointment to see a doctor - who turned out to be a shrink.

He refused to allow me my decision.

I thought he was a pretentious, overbearing cocksucker, who had no right in making MY reproductive plans.

I still don't want kids, I got the vasectomy after I got out of the service, and that Colonel is still a cocksucker.....

.......................................

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25-03-2017, 09:29 AM
RE: The morality of having children
(25-03-2017 09:03 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  I didn't want kids when I was eighteen, in the service and tried getting a vasectomy through military medical.

They made me an appointment to see a doctor - who turned out to be a shrink.

He refused to allow me my decision.

I thought he was a pretentious, overbearing cocksucker, who had no right in making MY reproductive plans.

I still don't want kids, I got the vasectomy after I got out of the service, and that Colonel is still a cocksucker.....

Beautiful!
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