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On Procreation

245

Posts

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Thanatos wrote: »
    I mean, I don't judge people for wanting to have kids, provided they keep it reasonable (I don't really see any reason for any couple to have more than two biological children). I personally think we should create a larger tax incentive to adopt or foster children (even moreso for special needs children), and fund that by eliminating any tax incentives for having more than two biological children.

    As it stands, adoption is fucking insanely expensive. My wife and I found out last year that I am infertile and it has been absolutely heartbreaking. In our time looking at different ways to raise a family together, we have found it absurd that using donor sperm is the lowest cost alternative. If you get lucky, you can end up spending a few thousand to get pregnant, while adoption is 15-20k+. It is absolutely nuts.

    Note, though, that this is only for adoption. Part of me would really like to foster a child, but I know that if the parent cleaned him/herself up and wanted the child back I would be devastated from what we've already gone through. Emotional cost/benefit brings it out of consideration.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2013
    I'm thinking that the assertion that being a parent lasts only for 18 years is incorrect. My mother is still doing parent-like activities 30 years past my birth, and I suspect she will until one or the other of us dies. My dad got away with only having that duty of parenting for 26 years, lung cancer decided he had paid his dues I guess (and beyond the scope of this particular post, having had a child helped ease this process for him I think, I might post more about that later).

    Just wanted to point out that procreating is more than an 18 year commitment, if you're doing it right. Think more along the lines of from now until you die most likely.

    My wife of 7 years and I haven't had children yet, just started trying to think that perhaps we will. My motivation has to do with a desire to raise a child with my wife, impart our knowledge, watch him/her grow to an adult, then hound this fully fledged human to procreate themselves so I can have the pleasure of grandparenthood.

    I agree that parenting can last beyond the initial 18 years. I hope we could also agree that once a child moves out, and starts to financially support itself, the parenting duties decrease. When that happens, the responsibilities of the child's well-being shifts from the parents to the child.

    That's the sort of notion I tried to fold into the notion of the child's preferences. The parents economically support it for 18 years, and then it has to support itself for 62 years. Seems strange to burden an individual with those 62 years of responsibility simply because one desires the 18 years of parenting responsibility.

    Edit: It's a backhanded way of getting the Existentialist notion that "We're thrown into a life we did not choose, and have to deal with it" into one's initial considerations of having a child. Since the act of procreation tosses another individual into that existential mess of life.

    _J_ on
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    What is the non-emotive benefit of having children in a first world country?

    Do you run a small-family owned farm that needs a constant source of cheap labor? Did you somehow figure out if your child is likely to be the next president of the United States and usher in a New Age of World Peace and Order?

    It seems to me like you are trying mightily hard to do a cost-benefit analysis where you focus on the cost and throw away the benefit. There's nothing rational about this.

    I can understand farmers having children. They need free, cheap labor, and children offer that. Then as the parent gets older and isn't able to work the child takes over the farm, and the parent gets to reap the benefits of its labor, so to speak. That system of procreation / family economics makes sense to me.

    I don't own a farm, though. So the benefits I would gain are:
    1) Vague sense of immortality.
    2) Excuse to buy toys.

    I'm not sure what other actual benefits there are.

    Then you should 100% definitely NOT have a child.

    Lh96QHG.png
    FeralQuidSo It GoesHacksawV1moverride367Corehealershryketestsubject23MrVyngaard
  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    I don't own a farm, though. So the benefits I would gain are:
    1) Vague sense of immortality.
    2) Excuse to buy toys.

    I'm not sure what other actual benefits there are.

    There's a long-term investment benefit, i.e. that if you raise kids with a decent work ethic and sense of filial piety, they'll look after your needs and keep you company when your hair falls out, your skin gets all droopy, and you start wondering how long it's been since you had a really successful poop.

    Shazkar Shadowstorm
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Ultimately, I think that all you really need to justify the choice to have children is (1) the emotional desire and (2) to not be manifestly unsuitable parents based on all other factors, taken as a whole.

    I think there are other relevant factors that bring in more than just one's attitude and abilities. Some of the things you mentioned in your next post seem relevant:
    Although this is somewhat outside the original mandate of the thread, what do people think about situations where the parents (who sincerely desire to have a child and will be loving parents capable of supporting him or her) know that there are serious risks of complication, such as both being carriers for a horrible genetic disease (this can be resolved through genetic testing, but that requires IVF plus expensive genetic testing which insurance does not cover) or taking extraordinary measures to get pregnant at an older age? Sitting in the waiting rooms at dr's offices, we would sometimes see older women who were undergoing treatments, and I'm not going to lie, it did strike me as somewhat irresponsible. It also aggravated me that people like this were making use of fertility services under medical plans, thereby driving up the cost of such coverage for people who are undergoing infertility through no fault of their own (as opposed to people who are perfectly fertile but for being too old to carry naturally). It strikes me that in a situation like this, adoption may be the more responsible route, but at the same time, it is hard to fault someone for wanting a biological child.

    Some biological / medical factors need to be assessed as well.

    I think it also sensible to assess the state of humanity / existence, and factor that in. Existence is pretty damn shitty, and ignoring the overall shittiness of existence seems irresponsible. That recognition may not be a defeater to having children, but one still needs to recognize that in having a child they are exposing it to shitty things, as well as pleasant things.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I'm wittering because I'm on the way to work and it's tremendously early, but my basic point is that your analysis of the situation is not the kind of analysis you need to be doing. You need to analyze, using a rationality that acknowledges and respects emotion, how this decision would affect actual you and the actual world, not a hypothetical human. And this analysis has to be done while acknowledging that there is a world around you that is going to keep having children whether you think it is justified or not. And finally, acknowledging that there are unpredictable possibilities and costs to having or not having a child (e.g. regrets).

    But then we are getting into deontology again, which happens every time I talk to you...

    I think regrets can cut both ways. But, yes, you are correct that one needs to assess the personal aspects of the decision. However, I think those personal aspects follow from universal, abstract notions. So I'm trying to ensure that I have all the generals up and running before I start engaging with particulars.

    Since that's how deduction works.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    What is the non-emotive benefit of having children in a first world country?

    Do you run a small-family owned farm that needs a constant source of cheap labor? Did you somehow figure out if your child is likely to be the next president of the United States and usher in a New Age of World Peace and Order?

    It seems to me like you are trying mightily hard to do a cost-benefit analysis where you focus on the cost and throw away the benefit. There's nothing rational about this.

    I can understand farmers having children. They need free, cheap labor, and children offer that. Then as the parent gets older and isn't able to work the child takes over the farm, and the parent gets to reap the benefits of its labor, so to speak. That system of procreation / family economics makes sense to me.

    I don't own a farm, though. So the benefits I would gain are:
    1) Vague sense of immortality.
    2) Excuse to buy toys.

    I'm not sure what other actual benefits there are.

    Then you should 100% definitely NOT have a child.

    Probably.

    I understand that there are some enjoyable aspects to parenting. One of my professors talked about playing Yu Gi Oh with his son, and how he would build decks and kick the asses of his sons friends who came over to play. That seems like a fun thing to do. And, yeah, teaching the kid to hate what I hate would be enjoyable.

    However,
    1) There's no guarantee that I'll get the sort of kid who is disposed to doing those sorts of activities.
    2) There's no guarantee that I'll get the sort of kid who is able to do those sorts of activities.
    3) Those enjoyable acts treat the child as a means to my ends, rather than treat the child as an end in itself.

    A few of my friends who had kids liked to talk about all the things they wanted to do with the kid, and my thought was always, "Who the fuck said your kid would want to do that shit?" It seems incredibly strange to want to have a child so you can take it to baseball games, without considering the possibility that the kid may not like baseball. That's part of the complexity someone else mentioned: The kid has its own preferences and desires. So I can imagine a world in which I buy my kid a gameboy-X, and we play games, but the kid I actually spawn may not enjoy gameboy-X games.

    It's a very complicated hypothetical, and only imagining the best possible outcomes seems...silly. Because you might spawn a child who gets leukemia at five years old and suffers a very painful, miserable death at age eight. Exposing one's self to that possibility seems problematic, but avoiding all procreation for the sake of avoiding that one possibility seems problematic as well.

    I just need a more elaborate flow chart.

    PLA
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Luckily, we have Google.

    [url="should i have kids flowchart - Google Search
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=ms-android-verizon&tbo=d&site=webhp&source=hp&q=should+i+have+kids+flowchart&oq=&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.1.0.41l3.0.0.0.2753.1.0.0.1.1.0.0.0..0.0.les;..0.0...1ac."]should i have kids flowchart - Google Search[/url]

    Ed: yikes, my phone borked this post up awesomely. The link still does what I intended though, even though either my phone or Vanilla won't let me fix it now either...

    davidsdurions on
    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Thanks, google:
    should-you-have-kids-pop.jpg

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Exactly

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • marz_1982marz_1982 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Forar wrote: »
    Just that everything I've heard says that they are expensive as hell.

    Technically, they're as expensive as you want them to be. Studies have shown that the amount spent on child expenses increases with household income - so the more money you have, the more you spend it on your kids, or the more they demand from you.

    Edit: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2011.pdf
    Child-rearing expenses vary considerably by household income level. For a child in a two-child, husband-wife family, annual expenses ranged from $8,760 to $9,970, on average,
    (depending on age of the child) for households with before-tax income less than $59,410, from $12,290 to $14,320 for households with before-tax income between $59,410 and $102,870, and from $20,420 to $24,510 for households with before-tax income more than $102,870.

    I think people have an emotional "only the best for little Johnny" trigger that makes them throw money at their kids. You can buy the expensive, long-lasting items 2nd hand, or get hand-me-downs from parents or siblings. You don't need to send your kid to the most awesomest private school, or move into the best suburb to secure access to the most perfect school ever. They don't *need* a crazy weekly allowance, and they certainly don't need 100s of presents for Christmas/Birthdays.

    So basically, if you've bought into the consumerist trap, the stores are going to have a field day with you. If you're already watching the pennies, you should be able to find ways to save money and not spend a fortune.

    Having said that, they're still a ridiculous expense from what I've seen :)
    [Disclaimer : We don't have kids, don't want them :) ]


    marz_1982 on
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    marz_1982 wrote: »
    Forar wrote: »
    Just that everything I've heard says that they are expensive as hell.

    Technically, they're as expensive as you want them to be. Studies have shown that the amount spent on child expenses increases with household income - so the more money you have, the more you spend it on your kids, or the more they demand from you. Can't find those studies right now... and too busy to go hunting on Google.

    I think people have an emotional "only the best for little Johnny" trigger that makes them throw money at their kids. You can buy the expensive, long-lasting items 2nd hand, or get hand-me-downs from parents or siblings. You don't need to send your kid to the most awesomest private school, or move into the best suburb to secure access to the most perfect school ever. They don't *need* a crazy weekly allowance, and they certainly don't need 100s of presents for Christmas/Birthdays.

    So basically, if you've bought into the consumerist trap, the stores are going to have a field day with you. If you're already watching the pennies, you should be able to find ways to save money and not spend a fortune.

    Having said that, they're still a ridiculous expense from what I've seen :)
    [Disclaimer : We don't have kids, don't want them :) ]

    The prices I've found range from $180,000 to $300,000 to raise one kid from birth to 18. My assumption is that the $180,000 cost relies upon one feeding their child wheatgrass and twigs, while clothing it in burlap.

  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I'm not even saying, like, designer toddler shoes and pants that cost more than my computer.

    That kind of bullshit I'll be veto'ing, should my girlfriend and I choose to take that journey together.

    Luckily, she's against that kind of flagrant waste of cash as well. (Edit: "flagrant waste" being the cost much of this crap has on the upper end, versus what we're making in combined , no need for anyone in particular (you know who you are) to point out that for some families dropping $Texas on baby clothes is perfectly reasonable, etc, etc, etc))

    Like tech, there's a lot of diminishing returns present in these kinds of products, where perfectly fine, lasting stuff is available without kitting them out like they're movie stars.

    Forar on
    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
    marz_1982
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    always get the second cheapest for necessities

    that's what my pappy taught me and it's served me well enough

    override367 on
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Forar wrote: »
    I'm not even saying, like, designer toddler shoes and pants that cost more than my computer.

    That kind of bullshit I'll be veto'ing, should my girlfriend and I choose to take that journey together.

    Luckily, she's against that kind of flagrant waste of cash as well. (Edit: "flagrant waste" being the cost much of this crap has on the upper end, versus what we're making in combined , no need for anyone in particular (you know who you are) to point out that for some families dropping $Texas on baby clothes is perfectly reasonable, etc, etc, etc))

    Like tech, there's a lot of diminishing returns present in these kinds of products, where perfectly fine, lasting stuff is available without kitting them out like they're movie stars.

    Yeah, given how some of my friends spend money it seems that they had the kid purely for the sake of accessorizing it.

  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    I just need a more elaborate flow chart.

    You're great.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    PLA wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    I just need a more elaborate flow chart.

    You're great.

    Thankee.

  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Either way you decide, I think the simple fact that you're thinking about this would make you more qualified to be a parent than over half the actual parents out there. The sad fact is, most kids aren't born because their parents wanted kids or decided to have kids - they are born because offspring are the results of unprotected sex.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Mayabird wrote: »
    Either way you decide, I think the simple fact that you're thinking about this would make you more qualified to be a parent than over half the actual parents out there. The sad fact is, most kids aren't born because their parents wanted kids or decided to have kids - they are born because offspring are the results of unprotected sex.

    No, this is, everything J has posted in this thread proves to me that he would be a terrible parent.

    He isn't prepared for it, doesn't want one, and that does not spell out a good future for that child.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    I have a very, very low opinion of half the parents out there.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    A cat, no matter how involved, will never be able to be a very good motorcycle.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Some would still be significantly worse than others.

    I think we're looking at this from two different angles - you're looking at it from the perspective of actual functioning human beings. I'm looking at it from the perspective of my hometown, the place so stupid it elected Paul Broun to Congress. Top down vs. bottom up, you might say.

    I do agree that if you don't want kids, you shouldn't have kids. I'm just saying that there are far, far worse alternative parents out there.

    Also yes I did escape that horrible town.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Oh, I'm not arguing that there aren't horrible parents out there. I live in a small Florida town where teh biggest news is a sex scandal with the mayor next town over and a meth lab.

    I'm just saying that there's an event horizon of sorts where it doesn't really matter.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    Fair enough.

  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I've always viewed procreation as an innately selfish act.

    But people have the right to be selfish, I suppose, and as far as I can tell, procreation is the only point life has, insofar as life has a point.

    However, considering the inevitable population problem this world faces, I do wish people would restrict their child-bearing to a maximum of two. Traffic's bad enough as it is.

    RT800 on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    The idea of it being "selfish" is...

    Well let me put it like this. How often do you (anyone) say to people with newborns, be they strangers or not, "Wow, how selfish of you"?

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Henroid wrote: »
    The idea of it being "selfish" is...

    Well let me put it like this. How often do you (anyone) say to people with newborns, be they strangers or not, "Wow, how selfish of you"?

    Selfish has a lot of connotations to it in our culture, which are not always the case. Being selfish isn't inherently villainous.

    So It Goes
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    The idea of it being "selfish" is...

    Well let me put it like this. How often do you (anyone) say to people with newborns, be they strangers or not, "Wow, how selfish of you"?

    Selfish has a lot of connotations to it in our culture, which are not always the case. Being selfish isn't inherently villainous.

    That doesn't mean the view of selfishness being a negative doesn't matter.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    I try to avoid people with newborns.

    And people without newborns.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    I think it's very odd to call it a selfish act. You're creating another human, which the world, despite overpopulation, does need a continuous supply of. And you're creating a person who you will then sacrifice a lot for, which seems to make the idea of selfish or not a moot point.

    I'm not saying it's altruistic either - just that using the word 'selfishness' is a category error. Like calling the act of procreation 'purple'.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think it's very odd to call it a selfish act. You're creating another human, which the world, despite overpopulation, does need a continuous supply of. And you're creating a person who you will then sacrifice a lot for, which seems to make the idea of selfish or not a moot point.

    I'm not saying it's altruistic either - just that using the word 'selfishness' is a category error. Like calling the act of procreation 'purple'.

    The world is not really overpopulated. It's overpopulated in specific areas, and the problem is due to reasons pretty far removed from "people want kids" generally.

  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I think it's very odd to call it a selfish act. You're creating another human, which the world, despite overpopulation, does need a continuous supply of. And you're creating a person who you will then sacrifice a lot for, which seems to make the idea of selfish or not a moot point.

    I'm not saying it's altruistic either - just that using the word 'selfishness' is a category error. Like calling the act of procreation 'purple'.

    Well, to (sort of) play devil's advocate, you can totally be selfish and then more than make up for it; the latter doesn't change the former, really.

    I think the view of it being selfish probably varies due to personal background though - some people really like being alive, others have a lot of pain in their past or trouble coping with things and wouldn't want to inflict that on anyone else. That can't really be disentangled from views on having a child. I know my views on how selfish it is vary dramatically, but predictably, with my overall mood.

    Also I am not sure if you have seen a placenta after birth, but 'purple' is totally an appropriate word :P

  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Well, I guess it might be more accurate to say that procreation is never done 'for the child's sake'.

    It's always a bit of an imposition, if you will. You're inflicting the world upon someone, and them upon it.

    RT800 on
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Our language could use a word that covers "selfish" without the connotation, but our culture tends to heap connotation onto words like whoa.

    Selfish acts are not inherently bad. It just means that the act is done for yourself rather than for another. Playing video games is selfish. Eating tasty food is selfish. Enjoying a sunny day is selfish. You can be selfish without being Mr. Scrooge. For the sake of this thread, we should at least stick with that definition of the word so that the thread can move on.

  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    I don't think it's our culture, I think it's our neurology. The urge to categorize and then assign meaning to those categories is pretty widespread.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    Well, I guess it might be more accurate to say that procreation is never done 'for the child's sake'.

    At the moment of 'procreation' the child doesn't exist yet, but if you mean the whole enchilada of child-rearing, then lots of things are done for the child's sake.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    I don't think anyone disputes that. Or at least not many people.

    English doesn't even have the tenses we'd really need to discuss this. You don't, like, inflict life on someone, but you do do something which is going to have inflicted life on them. I am not sure how that intersects with ethics, if at all.

  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    poshniallo wrote: »
    RT800 wrote: »
    Well, I guess it might be more accurate to say that procreation is never done 'for the child's sake'.

    At the moment of 'procreation' the child doesn't exist yet, but if you mean the whole enchilada of child-rearing, then lots of things are done for the child's sake.

    I'm always talking pre-conception. Which is why I originally called it selfish.

    I mean, assuming it wasn't an accident, a child is conceived because someone wanted it to happen, and it certainly wasn't the child.

    Once the kid is born though, sure, lots of stuff is done for it's sake. Or not. You know, if the parent's an asshole.

    RT800 on
  • agoajagoaj Now is the time of my revengeRegistered User regular
    Henroid wrote: »
    The idea of it being "selfish" is...

    Well let me put it like this. How often do you (anyone) say to people with newborns, be they strangers or not, "Wow, how selfish of you"?

    Don't say it to people with newborns, say it to people with 18 year olds.

    "You mean you knew this was selfish the whole time and you didn't say anything?! I am so embarrassed."

    qnu0EMk.png
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    RT800 wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    RT800 wrote: »
    Well, I guess it might be more accurate to say that procreation is never done 'for the child's sake'.

    At the moment of 'procreation' the child doesn't exist yet, but if you mean the whole enchilada of child-rearing, then lots of things are done for the child's sake.

    I'm always talking pre-conception. Which is why I originally called it selfish.

    I mean, assuming it wasn't an accident, a child is conceived because someone wanted it to happen, and it certainly wasn't the child.

    Once the kid is born though, sure, lots of stuff is done for it's sake. Or not. You know, if the parent's an asshole.

    Wanting something to happen doesn't make an action selfish, though.

    I can decide to go volunteer for a charity tomorrow. That doesn't make it selfish just because the hard part hasn't happened yet.

    Selfish is when an action benefits you at the expense of others, right? Having a kid isn't that.

    I figure I could take a bear.
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