The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #201  
Old 05-20-2017, 08:57 PM
Tee Tee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
Rust Cohle expresses this idea when he says that he thinks ďabout the hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence into this Ö Force a life into this thresher ÖĒ [5] (His talk of souls should obviously be taken metaphorically.)
True Detective was tough to watch at times because of Cohle's mere existence. You can't miss what a tortured soul he was and all that he did not have. Good show, high drama, incredible story, one of the best live-action scenes I've ever seen...not a good place to absorb lessons in life though.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #202  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:31 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
So, 99% of us should stop having children because life is unhappy, and let's let the Earth's population plummet down to a "happy" 500,000 inhabitants or something like that, with a happier life. Am I understanding this right Machinaforce? Not misrepresenting?
Reply With Quote
  #203  
Old 05-21-2017, 05:35 AM
Fuji Fuji is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: County Cork
Posts: 1,321
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
First, there is ample evidence from psychological research that (most) people are prone to an optimism bias and are subject to other psychological traits that lead them to underestimate the amount of bad in life [4]. We thus have excellent reason for distrusting most peopleís cheery assessments of how well their lives are going.

Second, when we look closely we notice just how much suffering there is. Consider, for example, the millions living in poverty or subjected to violence or the threat thereof. Psychological distress and disturbance is widespread. Rates of depression are high. Everybody suffers frustrations and bereavements. Life is often punctuated by periods of ill-health. Some of these pass without enduring effects but others have long-term sequelae. In poorer parts of the world, infectious diseases account for most of the burden of disease. However, those in the developed world are not exempt from appalling diseases. They suffer from strokes, from various degenerative diseases and from cancer.

Third, even if one thought that the best of human lives were good (enough), to procreate is to inflict, on the being you create, unacceptable risks of grotesque suffering, even if that occurs at the end of life. For example, 40% of men and 37% of women in Britain develop cancer at some point. Those are just terrible odds. To inflict them on another person by bringing him into existence is reckless. Rust Cohle expresses this idea when he says that he thinks ďabout the hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence into this Ö Force a life into this thresher ÖĒ [5] (His talk of souls should obviously be taken metaphorically.)
Since we're sharing blurbs or summaries or what-have-you, here's the description offered of the book I linked to a few posts back:

"Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America."


As an Auschwitz survivor, I think Frankl knows of what he speaks when he refers to "suffering".
Reply With Quote
  #204  
Old 05-21-2017, 07:35 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
First, there is ample evidence from psychological research that (most) people are prone to an optimism bias and are subject to other psychological traits that lead them to underestimate the amount of bad in life [4]. We thus have excellent reason for distrusting most peopleís cheery assessments of how well their lives are going.

Second, when we look closely we notice just how much suffering there is. Consider, for example, the millions living in poverty or subjected to violence or the threat thereof. Psychological distress and disturbance is widespread. Rates of depression are high. Everybody suffers frustrations and bereavements. Life is often punctuated by periods of ill-health. Some of these pass without enduring effects but others have long-term sequelae. In poorer parts of the world, infectious diseases account for most of the burden of disease. However, those in the developed world are not exempt from appalling diseases. They suffer from strokes, from various degenerative diseases and from cancer.

Third, even if one thought that the best of human lives were good (enough), to procreate is to inflict, on the being you create, unacceptable risks of grotesque suffering, even if that occurs at the end of life. For example, 40% of men and 37% of women in Britain develop cancer at some point. Those are just terrible odds. To inflict them on another person by bringing him into existence is reckless. Rust Cohle expresses this idea when he says that he thinks ďabout the hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence into this Ö Force a life into this thresher ÖĒ [5] (His talk of souls should obviously be taken metaphorically.)
Dum vivimus, vivamus.
Reply With Quote
  #205  
Old 05-21-2017, 08:22 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 33,810
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
First, there is ample evidence from psychological research that (most) people are prone to an optimism bias and are subject to other psychological traits that lead them to underestimate the amount of bad in life [4]. We thus have excellent reason for distrusting most peopleís cheery assessments of how well their lives are going.
This is silly. "You're not really happy - you just think you are" is a meaningless statement.

Regards,
Shodan
Reply With Quote
  #206  
Old 05-21-2017, 09:12 PM
Machinaforce Machinaforce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
This is silly. "You're not really happy - you just think you are" is a meaningless statement.

Regards,
Shodan
Actually the research I found was that humans are more biased towards negative events than positive. The salience of negative events and views are stronger. It's why a bad day or moment can ruin the next one or how trust is so fragile (so much good but it just takes a few bad things to ruin it).

From what I have read around the internet his logic isn't that airtight and his sources seem selective rather than general.

But the part about the world having a great deal of suffering is true. The response to not have further children is the opportunity to reduce further suffering.
Reply With Quote
  #207  
Old 05-22-2017, 09:56 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
Actually the research I found was that humans are more biased towards negative events than positive. The salience of negative events and views are stronger. It's why a bad day or moment can ruin the next one or how trust is so fragile (so much good but it just takes a few bad things to ruin it).

From what I have read around the internet his logic isn't that airtight and his sources seem selective rather than general.

But the part about the world having a great deal of suffering is true. The response to not have further children is the opportunity to reduce further suffering.
Well... I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Reply With Quote
  #208  
Old 05-22-2017, 10:56 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Beervania
Posts: 51,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
Actually the research I found was that humans are more biased towards negative events than positive.
What research would this be?
Reply With Quote
  #209  
Old 05-22-2017, 11:06 AM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pacific NW. •
Posts: 8,836
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post

But the part about the world having a great deal of suffering is true. The response to not have further children is the opportunity to reduce further suffering.
If I was a poor person in a third world country, perhaps I'd agree (and perhaps not, I don't wish to speak for them.) But living large in a first world country, my children are experiencing a life where the good parts far exceed the "suffering." No one escapes all suffering, of course, but on balance, life is fun and interesting.
Reply With Quote
  #210  
Old 05-22-2017, 11:18 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 33,810
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
Actually the research I found was that humans are more biased towards negative events than positive. The salience of negative events and views are stronger. It's why a bad day or moment can ruin the next one or how trust is so fragile (so much good but it just takes a few bad things to ruin it).
Which argues against the anti-natalist position - even with that bias, most people think the good parts of their lives outweigh the bad parts, and they expect that this will also be true for their children. [/quote]
But the part about the world having a great deal of suffering is true. The response to not have further children is the opportunity to reduce further suffering.[/QUOTE]
And also to reduce a significantly larger amount of happiness.

Do the math. There is X amount of suffering in the world, and Y amount of happiness. Y - X > 0.

Regards,
Shodan
Reply With Quote
  #211  
Old 05-22-2017, 11:32 PM
Machinaforce Machinaforce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
But the point is that as long as we are alive we cause others suffering eventually. Living things prey off of other living things in order to live, it seems like a cycle of suffering.

I just don't get how everyone could have read the same things I did (I provided links) and still think otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #212  
Old 05-23-2017, 06:27 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
But the point is that as long as we are alive we cause others suffering eventually. Living things prey off of other living things in order to live, it seems like a cycle of suffering.

I just don't get how everyone could have read the same things I did (I provided links) and still think otherwise.
Tragedy and suffering is a part of life, yes. It's NOT THE ONLY PART. Majority of people find joy, love, friendship, purpose, meaning and hope in spite of all the challenges they face.

You're head's not right, son. Get the help you so desperately need. You might find you'll start to feel differently. At the very least, you might start to understand why virtually nobody except your cherry picked sources agree with your nihilism.
Reply With Quote
  #213  
Old 05-23-2017, 11:48 AM
femmejean femmejean is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
But the point is that as long as we are alive we cause others suffering eventually. Living things prey off of other living things in order to live, it seems like a cycle of suffering.

I just don't get how everyone could have read the same things I did (I provided links) and still think otherwise.
I think you have to understand that it's quite futile to argue with the majority people about topics like this.

Human behaviour is not at all rational in many cases. It's probably not rational to live a life when you know that the negative experiences will outweigh the good. There are people alive right now who know almost for a certainty that they fall into this category but they will continue to have kids.
Reply With Quote
  #214  
Old Yesterday, 09:18 AM
Machinaforce Machinaforce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Tragedy and suffering is a part of life, yes. It's NOT THE ONLY PART. Majority of people find joy, love, friendship, purpose, meaning and hope in spite of all the challenges they face.

You're head's not right, son. Get the help you so desperately need. You might find you'll start to feel differently. At the very least, you might start to understand why virtually nobody except your cherry picked sources agree with your nihilism.
The majority of people can be (and have been) wrong before. Using them as a barometer for what to do is pretty poor. I find the majority of people that aren't bothered by nihilism haven't fully grasped what it means, philosophy tends to be far removed from most people's lives. If it were widely believed because it was true then I would buy your response but you say it's true because most people believe it (which is the wrong response and an appeal to the bandwagon).

Itís just the realization that to live is to suffer (a la Buddhism). That every living thing that exists visits suffering on another living thing in some way. It makes it hard to reject antinatalism when you learn that. Would it be better if life didnít exist at all? Then there would be no suffering in existence. Try as I might I canít find a logical reason for life to continue and that scares me. Scares me that they might be right and that life is just a net negative for all things involved. It makes all the efforts we do to solve our problems seem like window dressing when the only actual solution would seem to be death. Then there would be no struggle and no one to suffer. Itís hard to beat logic like that. Even birthing new people exposes them to the terror of dying, while never being prevents that.
Reply With Quote
  #215  
Old Yesterday, 09:19 AM
Machinaforce Machinaforce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by femmejean View Post
I think you have to understand that it's quite futile to argue with the majority people about topics like this.

Human behaviour is not at all rational in many cases. It's probably not rational to live a life when you know that the negative experiences will outweigh the good. There are people alive right now who know almost for a certainty that they fall into this category but they will continue to have kids.
Topics like this are going to surface in the public eventually and they will call into question everything we call progress and all we hold dear.
Reply With Quote
  #216  
Old Yesterday, 10:42 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
This thread is TL;DR ... so maybe this has been covered already ...

Isn't the OP the same as the premise of the movie Idiocracy?

Last edited by watchwolf49; Yesterday at 10:43 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #217  
Old Yesterday, 11:25 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Again, Titletown
Posts: 19,551
Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
Isn't the OP the same as the premise of the movie Idiocracy?
The OP's premise is basically "Life sucks, why bother" as far as I can tell.
Reply With Quote
  #218  
Old Yesterday, 12:10 PM
marshmallow marshmallow is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
If moral nihilism is true, anti-natalism is false.

Popular anti-natalist arguments generally divide into consent, pessimist philosophy, or utilitarianism (Benatar's asymmetry).

The consent angle strikes me as formidable, especially since consent based ethics is so popular now, but I don't see it come up in natalism arguments much for either side. It's usually considered wrong to use other people as ends. This is about the consent of the unborn, but one can imagine another scenario. If humanity were on the brink of extinction and there were only a few women left and they refused to have children then anti-natalists would support their decision. Pro-natalists would face quite the dilemma.

The OP probably won't find most arguments against Benatar's asymmetry persuasive, especially ones that bite the bullet about real people's suffering being equal to the unborn's lack of pleasure. That descends into repugnant conclusion arguments. Cabrera's argument against the asymmetry (PDF) is often cited, though Cabrera himself is an anti-natalist due to his negative ethics (which falls under pessimist philosophy, I think).

Another asymmetry is that chronic pain exists, but chronic pleasure doesn't. Wireheads don't exist yet, and I don't think most people would argue being one would be desirable.

I don't think most people believe that a failure to commit a positive action is equivalent to committing a negative action. Quite the opposite, usually people treat negative actions as tainting or undoing everything good. A doctor who cures thousands of people is a hero, unless he tortures and kills someone for fun, then he's evil. Those who say yeah that was bad but he did a lot of good would be denounced as apologists.

Anti-natalism is the ultimate civil disobedience against God. It's interesting how pro-natalist arguments resemble religious commands to multiply, which I suppose springs from the biological imperative.

Some pro-natalist logic reminds me of when pro-lifers ask pro-choicers how they would feel if their mother aborted them.

One pro-natal argument is that utilitarianism is reductive and there's more to human life than pleasure/pain, and that pain can often be a route to growth and contentment. Or that being alive is, if nothing else, interesting. Even if it ends in misery at least you got to ride along.

If the human race continues to breed and expand, particularly into space, there's a good chance there will be future atrocities of unimaginable scale. These could be prevented by voluntarily extinction.

It's funny to me that if anti-natalists don't breed then the genes for accepting anti-natalist arguments will be selected against. This reminds me of how religious fundamentalists don't believe in evolution, yet have many more children than secularists.

Under a natalist framework, having children can be argued to be immoral if there are already existing children who could be adopted. It's selfish because the parents are asserting that continuing their genetic line is the most important consideration.

As is common in anti-natalist threads outside of philosophy forums, a lot of pro-natalists here sling insults instead of debating. The OP has been called depressed, suicidal, and mentally ill.

Last edited by marshmallow; Yesterday at 12:15 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #219  
Old Yesterday, 05:56 PM
Machinaforce Machinaforce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by marshmallow View Post
If moral nihilism is true, anti-natalism is false.

Popular anti-natalist arguments generally divide into consent, pessimist philosophy, or utilitarianism (Benatar's asymmetry).

The consent angle strikes me as formidable, especially since consent based ethics is so popular now, but I don't see it come up in natalism arguments much for either side. It's usually considered wrong to use other people as ends. This is about the consent of the unborn, but one can imagine another scenario. If humanity were on the brink of extinction and there were only a few women left and they refused to have children then anti-natalists would support their decision. Pro-natalists would face quite the dilemma.

The OP probably won't find most arguments against Benatar's asymmetry persuasive, especially ones that bite the bullet about real people's suffering being equal to the unborn's lack of pleasure. That descends into repugnant conclusion arguments. Cabrera's argument against the asymmetry (PDF) is often cited, though Cabrera himself is an anti-natalist due to his negative ethics (which falls under pessimist philosophy, I think).

Another asymmetry is that chronic pain exists, but chronic pleasure doesn't. Wireheads don't exist yet, and I don't think most people would argue being one would be desirable.

I don't think most people believe that a failure to commit a positive action is equivalent to committing a negative action. Quite the opposite, usually people treat negative actions as tainting or undoing everything good. A doctor who cures thousands of people is a hero, unless he tortures and kills someone for fun, then he's evil. Those who say yeah that was bad but he did a lot of good would be denounced as apologists.

Anti-natalism is the ultimate civil disobedience against God. It's interesting how pro-natalist arguments resemble religious commands to multiply, which I suppose springs from the biological imperative.

Some pro-natalist logic reminds me of when pro-lifers ask pro-choicers how they would feel if their mother aborted them.

One pro-natal argument is that utilitarianism is reductive and there's more to human life than pleasure/pain, and that pain can often be a route to growth and contentment. Or that being alive is, if nothing else, interesting. Even if it ends in misery at least you got to ride along.

If the human race continues to breed and expand, particularly into space, there's a good chance there will be future atrocities of unimaginable scale. These could be prevented by voluntarily extinction.

It's funny to me that if anti-natalists don't breed then the genes for accepting anti-natalist arguments will be selected against. This reminds me of how religious fundamentalists don't believe in evolution, yet have many more children than secularists.

Under a natalist framework, having children can be argued to be immoral if there are already existing children who could be adopted. It's selfish because the parents are asserting that continuing their genetic line is the most important consideration.

As is common in anti-natalist threads outside of philosophy forums, a lot of pro-natalists here sling insults instead of debating. The OP has been called depressed, suicidal, and mentally ill.
That's the usual response. But the thing is that I don't know what to do here. I mean I didn't plan on having kids either way (for reasons not listed here). But this makes me question whether or not life is worth living. Some people say yes, some say no. If logic says no then does that mean I should kill myself? How do I interact with the rest of the world that isn't aware of this?
Reply With Quote
  #220  
Old Yesterday, 06:22 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
The majority of people can be (and have been) wrong before. Using them as a barometer for what to do is pretty poor. I find the majority of people that aren't bothered by nihilism haven't fully grasped what it means, philosophy tends to be far removed from most people's lives. If it were widely believed because it was true then I would buy your response but you say it's true because most people believe it (which is the wrong response and an appeal to the bandwagon).

Itís just the realization that to live is to suffer (a la Buddhism). That every living thing that exists visits suffering on another living thing in some way. It makes it hard to reject antinatalism when you learn that. Would it be better if life didnít exist at all? Then there would be no suffering in existence. Try as I might I canít find a logical reason for life to continue and that scares me. Scares me that they might be right and that life is just a net negative for all things involved. It makes all the efforts we do to solve our problems seem like window dressing when the only actual solution would seem to be death. Then there would be no struggle and no one to suffer. Itís hard to beat logic like that. Even birthing new people exposes them to the terror of dying, while never being prevents that.
Since you seem troubled, I will give you my logical counterargument to the argument you seem to be discussing here.

Argument: Existence is worse than nonexistence because any suffering is worse than no suffering.

Counterargument: I can equally say that existence is better than nonexistence because any pleasure is better than no pleasure. Independently, both statements are equally valid, but any attempt to reconcile them would require you to quantify both suffering and pleasure - which doesn't seem to be possible. This means that neither argument -that suffering invalidates existence or that pleasure validates it- can be considered sound. And since it's impossible to determine which of suffering and pleasure tip the scale further, it's impossible to determine whether life is 'better' than nonexistence. Which means that you shouldn't bother attempting to quantify the value of life or base decisions off of it - you should instead stick to the status quo. If you're already alive you might as well keep living; if you have no other reasons to have/not have kids, do whatever seems most convenient at the time.

This argument is based on my position as an atheist - it assumes that new babies come from nothing (cognitively speaking) and that when people die they cease to exist (cognitively speaking). If you are *not* an atheist, things get hella confusing because dying isn't necessarily an end, and because failing to give birth to someone doesn't necessary mean they don't already exist somewhere with an existing ability to suffer. And, given that many gods are described as being complete and total assholes, killing yourself might just result in you being sentenced to an existence with more suffering than life. So yeah, not such a great option there.

Oh, and if you think that your life is so obviously and blatantly full of suffering that it can't possibly be balanced by current or anticipated pleasure, then please seek help. Depression is relatively treatable nowadays, I hear.
Reply With Quote
  #221  
Old Yesterday, 06:38 PM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pacific NW. •
Posts: 8,836
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
That's the usual response. But the thing is that I don't know what to do here. I mean I didn't plan on having kids either way (for reasons not listed here). But this makes me question whether or not life is worth living. Some people say yes, some say no. If logic says no then does that mean I should kill myself? How do I interact with the rest of the world that isn't aware of this?
The phrase "don't worry, be happy" comes to mind.

Seriously, why even spend time contemplating this if it bothers you? Think about baseball, or sex.
Reply With Quote
  #222  
Old Yesterday, 06:54 PM
Machinaforce Machinaforce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
The phrase "don't worry, be happy" comes to mind.

Seriously, why even spend time contemplating this if it bothers you? Think about baseball, or sex.
Because it affects how I see the rest of the world. A world where everything is pretty much for the future of man and that life is worthwhile, that's essentially truth in the world we live in. How do I respond to everyone else when they ask me and i say " i don't know".

Last edited by Machinaforce; Yesterday at 06:55 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #223  
Old Yesterday, 07:45 PM
marshmallow marshmallow is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
But this makes me question whether or not life is worth living. Some people say yes, some say no. If logic says no then does that mean I should kill myself?
Anti-natalism doesn't require life to be so miserable you want to kill yourself, nor would it recommend it. IIRC Benatar had a chapter about this in his book. There's a difference between hurting yourself versus not creating life in the first place. The standard arguments against suicide would apply, like not causing grief in your friends and family. We all die eventually, so there's no need to hurry the process along, assuming normal life circumstances. I don't know anything about you, but poor people in the global South suffer unimaginable indignities and manage to find happiness, so you probably can too.

Lots of philosophical debates have smart people engaging each other with sophisticated arguments that would take years of schooling to really understand. Ideologies come and go, like fashion. Basing your whole worldview on what amounts to mental onanism probably isn't a good idea. Personally, I don't have concrete beliefs on a lot of topics, but I try to understand the arguments and follow how the rhetoric changes.

If you're suffering from nihilism you can still find personal contentment, even if it's objectively meaningless. Would the existence of objective meaning or purpose really change anything? What would that even look like? Do you want to live up to God's commands or some other cosmic ordering principle? I think it was Hitchens who referred to that as a celestial dictatorship.

If nothing else, there's lots of weird and interesting people out there to meet, new experiences to appreciate, media to enjoy, or world events to follow. Like Carlin said, we have front row tickets to the freak show.
Reply With Quote
  #224  
Old Yesterday, 09:25 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
I don't knock anyone who chooses not to have kids...I'm pro-choice all the way, baby! However, the OP was about selfishness...and I think, in general, people who choose not to have children in a modern nation generally do so for 'selfish' reasons...they are more concerned with their careers or just enjoying their lives and maybe their partners and perhaps pets. Basically, I don't believe being 'selfish' is a bad thing, to be honest.

YMMV, and I'm obviously painting with a very broad brush in all of the above. Not as ridiculously broad and misinformed as the OP, but still Tom Sawyer-esq in broadness. Gots to paint that fence, after all...
Sure, the whole idea of 'knocking' somebody for having kids (per se as opposed to being a bad parent) or not is absurd to me. Just saying that people who want to judge it can cut it either way. As in begbert2's statement subsequently
"Also I'm an atheist, so yeah. Having a child is something people do for their own benefit - they want a child of their own loins, and so they have one (or try to). Selfish. However I don't consider selfishness to be inherently harmful, so as long as you treat the kids decent once you have them, birth away."

You can make an argument having kids is selfish or not having kids is selfish, as well as play around with the definition of 'selfish' and what forms of it are 'bad'. Also that statement has an interesting (though pretty common nowadays) twist where what the speaker believes is all that counts: if other people have kids for some truly felt religious reason, it's still selfish because *somebody else* doesn't accept their way of thinking. Anyway, I just realize the pointlessness is a society with decreasing ground of common values (at least with any given stranger one encounters as on the internet) of debating stuff like this. I think your and other positions amount to the same thing though, no real disagreement. To each his own.

Also as to whether it has anything to do with one's belief or lack of, I doubt that also. Personally I am at somewhat religious, but it doesn't make me think all social patterns really arise from belief, though OTOH I definitely don't think everyone who doesn't believe really sits down and figures out how to run their life 'rationally' on their own from scratch. We follow traditions (or deliberately rebel against them, which is in a way equivalent). We follow the crowd. We follow instincts, all to some degree, IMO though independent thought and interpretation of religion (for those to whom it applies) play some role too. Except maybe some smaller subset of deep thinkers who figure it all out. I admit I might not understand them, not being one of them. But that's not most people I know, in my observation.

I don't take philosophical arguments for preventing suffering by not having kids seriously. Again it could be lack of deep thought. But a lot of people really making that decision that way, for that reason, *really*, people who have their heads where the sun shines in general, I really doubt it.

Last edited by Corry El; Yesterday at 09:29 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #225  
Old Today, 01:18 AM
UY Scuti UY Scuti is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by snfaulkner View Post
This statement illustrates your naive world view. People living in poverty still experience joy, even if it is unfathomable to you.
The idea that the miserable are content with their lives reminds me of Margaret Mitchell's description of the dark laborers singing happily at their work in the cotton fields.
Reply With Quote
  #226  
Old Today, 02:42 AM
UY Scuti UY Scuti is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Are poor people fundamentally happy? Do they have reasons to enjoy their lives? I don't think so.

Brain development differs between children of lower and higher socioeconomic status (sciencemag.org).

Poverty disturbs childrenís brain development (Scientific American).

Poverty is linked with rising levels of homelessness and food insecurity (American Psychological Association).

Poverty creates long-term disadvantages for children (livestrong.com).

Poverty damages children and their life chances (Child Poverty Action Group).

Global poverty affects countless lives internationally (Children International).

Childrenís well-being and development are greatly influenced by poverty (princeton.edu).

I wonder why one could imagine poor people are happy. Is it because poor people are endowed with a sense of humor like any of us? Is it because they can sing and dance too? Or is it because they can love and cling to hope?
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.