Should responsible couples have a baby in today's world?

So, as a snapshot in time, would you say that people would be more responsible for having a baby, say, 10,000 year ago as opposed to today? How about 1000 years ago? 100? What about 50? Why would they be more responsible (or less?) then than now? What’s different today, in your estimation that makes this even a meaningful question as opposed to in the past?

Most couples–indeed most couplings–are not particularly focused on the long-term effect on the world, or from the world, with respect to their offspring.

Those who are have a fairly narrow view. Not “How will the world do, or the world’s children do?” but “How will my kid do?” Generally, the passion to procreate overcomes any reticence derived from a dispassionate answer to that last question.

Overpopulation is by far the most serious ecological hazard to Gaia, but we are way past the tipping point. The principle of the Tragedy of the Commons will ensure that we all continue to be focused on me, myself, I and my clan–and not on the common good.

Anyway, I’m pretty close to needing your kid to do my diapers, so please get going on your family.

From Castle: Ryan: I come to work. I watch the news every day. It seems like the world is falling apart. How am I supposed to bring a kid into that?

Esposito: The worlds always falling apart, bro. Since the beginning of time. But, having kids, making a family, that’s what keeps it together. So go home. Make a baby. You’re ready.

Ryan: (thinks a moment) Thanks, bro. Merry Christmas.
(Secret Santa, Season 5, Episode 9)

I like to think that my offspring will make the world a better place.

Dad? Is that you?

My personal feeling is if you don’t want to have kids, that’s fine. If you want to have a few, fine. I’d prefer that you be able to support them, though, and that you think hard before having more than a few.

Oh, and your politicians are wrong. So far nothing has happened? Not so. Every one of them has died or will die. If you don’t want to have children if bad things will happen to them, don’t have mortal children.

Some of the things that happen between the bad things can be quite nice, though.

I thought IQ regressed to the mean.

From a biological perspective, it regresses to the mean of the gene pool of the parent group. So smart outliers from a high-IQ pool will have children with lower average IQs than the parents, but not lower IQs than the children of a lower average IQ group.

Flynn’s point was that higher rates of reproduction from groups which have gene pools producing a lower average IQ would be detrimental to the total population average IQ.

He had to (predictably) back-pedal from all that, by the way, and got into more than a titch of toasty water for saying it.

If you live in northern India, parts of the Middle East or sub Saharan Africa, overpopulation might be a conceivable problem. Everywhere else , fertility rates are at, approaching, or below replacement.

We have some very serious problems today- overfishing is absolutely one, climate change is another- but overpopulation per se is not one of them. that’s a problem that we have more or less solved.

A lot of the developing world (South and Central America, the Caribbean, China, Southeast Asia, southern and eastern India, the more advanced parts of the Middle East, and possibly South Africa though I’m not sure) are already mostly through the demographic transition, if you mean a transition to low fertility rates. their populations are still rising, but that’s a temporary lag due to the age structure of the population. Really high fertility rates, nowadays, are something you only see in Africa, portions of the Middle East like Yemen, and the very poorest parts of India.

Yes that’s what I meant. You’re right that it is more accurate to say that most developing countries have gone through this demographic transition, with their populations only increasing because their population pyramids are currently very steep. Once their population ages, it will stabilize, and in turn world population will stabilize.


On a very different note (and tone), I suspect we’re at most a century away from vivid, tactile virtual reality, including virtual reality sex. Watch what happens to birth rates after that :slight_smile:

Just before we had kids, a lot of people thought that the world would be an over-populated polluted nightmare by the year 2000. In fact, in the US at least, things are much cleaner. Back then the news would show the pollution levels every night - today in California they don’t have to. The river through Cleveland was a nasty mess. A while ago I had dinner at a restaurant whose patio overlooked it, and it was splendid.

Your attitude is hardly new - there was an All in The Family episode echoing it exactly. Back then we had to worry about nuclear war and nuclear winter. If we had listened to the doomsayers most of you guys wouldn’t be here. So you should be glad we were optimists.

The past shows children were not regarded as a goal, but as a means to reach a social or economic goal. A couple would not be considered responsible if they had the same attitude today, would they?

Having and raising a child confers sense and fulfillment, a feeling shared by the extended family too.

The community enjoys seeing their ranks increase.

Political leaders urge their subjects to have babies for cynical reasons.

A plethora of labor makes corporations happy.

Earth has really become a space capsule. An unstable overpopulated Earth brings about stress and insecurity – alienation. A stable overpopulated Earth is a rigid society, with increasingly limited opportunities for personal fulfillment.

It’s vicious cycle. Having babies helps people to maintain the illusion of personal and collective sense and fulfillment and to deny the problem. As a result, the problem worsens, more children are born and the illusion has to be reinforced even more vigorously.

10,000 years ago human migrations were common and the feeling was that the earth would never run out of inhabitable space. People would have ridiculed the idea that deforestation had any impact on the environment or overfishing would one day deplete the ocean.

The environment did seem hostile, but an individual’s hope ran high as the spirits were always there to help her/him provided s/he went through the right ritual. Plus, the prospect of the afterlife played an essential role on the individual’s perspective on things.

1,000 years ago the earth still seemed to offer colonization scope galore. Faith and hope ran high.

By 1914 people had partly come out of the spell, but this time they were becoming captive of secular utopias.

50 years ago it became clear secular utopias were religious at their heart too and they were abandoned.

Today, parents promising their children they will enjoy the chance to fulfill themselves and lead a rational life in dignity are making hollow statements (and if they’re responsible people, they know it).

I’m not sure where mankind is going, but for the most it is not going to be a happy place.

Nowadays even teenagers no longer care about the prospect of terraformation. This seems a type of metanarrative gone bust.

People are highly adaptable and they will still live “happily” even if the woods have been replaced by heaps of plastic junk and toxic wastes as long as they can identify a constant source of nutrients to sustain their metabolism and reproduction.

But under what set of principles does this life qualify as a dignified future for a rational being? Do people still believe this is the best of all possible worlds? Or do they keep putting their faith in a brighter future when all problems can be magically solved?

Responsible couples will raise responsible children; otherwise only the irresponsible will grow children and the world will go to pot.

Maybe you should let them decide? What gives you the right to judge future generations in absentia?

How about the past generations?

What about them?

I would say it is usually the case. I assume most couples have a baby because they WANT to be parents / have children. I also think most couples will make better parents if they’re having children because they want to, rather than having children because they think they can provide a reasonably high “future fulfillment” level for the would-be child!

Bullshit. 10,000 years ago most people never strayed more than 10 miles from where they were born, and even hunter-gatherers in marginal environments had sharply defined limits. You didn’t go outside them because strangers were regarded as dangerous, either potential raiders or people taking the stuff you needed to survive from your territory.

Riiiiight, they just had to deal with periodic starvation.

Oh, really? Apparently you are unaware that not all afterlives are happy ones. And I can’t help but think that it was not the case that “hopes ran high” when someone broke a limb and no one knew how to fix it, or was mauled by an animal (or another human), dying of disease or an infected tooth or cut or starving to death because the rains didn’t come…

Yeah, sort of sucked if you were one of the groups being colonized, though…

Get over yourself. Every generation has problems. Every generation thinks the world is ending. Every generation thinks the one following is worse yet.

What’s the harm in not being born? I see this sentiment expressed in this thread: “You should feel glad that your parents had you.” But if they hadn’t, would I know the difference, or care? I’ve never understood why people say that.

I think the OP’s question, and subsequent posts, are awkwardly worded/put, but the sentiment (if I understand it correctly) is one I’ve been curious about for as long as I can remember, and specifically regarding climate change, I’ve been curious about asking it here. I know someone who recently put it this way in a podcast/radio interview: “I’m 61 years old. I have grandchildren. I hope they get to live as long as I have, but right now it doesn’t look likely.”

I’m not sure about that, but what does that have to do with this thread?

I’ve only pointed out that people’s quality of life is likely to undergo a decline due to overpopulation, pollution, diminishing resources, climate change, extreme social phenomena and the lack of hope and/or faith.

Some think humanity will manage okay since it has always dealt with such challenges. Some believe today’s challenges are different from the ones in the past.

I believe a responsible couple should either have a child and teach her/him the future does not look bright for mankind as a whole or have no children at all.