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  1. 11 Dec '09 02:24
    A couple of questions here:
    Having no paternal bones in my body and considering that the future we are creating for the coming generations doesn't look too pretty, I am curious as to why people continue to have children?
    I can see that in developing countries, the more children you have, the better your retirement fund, but there doesn't seem to be that same need in the West.
    There is also the fact that most environmental problems would be greatly reduced by halving the population of the planet. So, should the world adopt a Chinese style one kid policy? Maybe just for a few generations to see how it goes.
  2. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    11 Dec '09 02:52 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    There is also the fact that most environmental problems would be greatly reduced by halving the population of the planet. So, should the world adopt a Chinese style one kid policy? Maybe just for a few generations to see how it goes.
    There was some interesting stuff about this in The Economist recently.

    Fertility and living standards - Go forth and multiply a lot less

    Oct 29th 2009 - From The Economist print edition - Lower fertility is changing the world for the better


    SOMETIME in the next few years (if it hasn’t happened already) the world will reach a milestone: half of humanity will be having only enough children to replace itself. That is, the fertility rate of half the world will be 2.1 or below. This is the “replacement level of fertility”, the magic number that causes a country’s population to slow down and eventually to stabilise. According to the United Nations population division, 2.9 billion people out of a total of 6.5 billion were living in countries at or below this point in 2000-05. The number will rise to 3.4 billion out of 7 billion in the early 2010s and to over 50% in the middle of the next decade. The countries include not only Russia and Japan but Brazil, Indonesia, China and even south India.

    The move to replacement-level fertility is one of the most dramatic social changes in history. It manifested itself in the violent demonstrations by students against their clerical rulers in Iran this year. It almost certainly contributed to the rising numbers of middle-class voters who backed the incumbent governments of Indonesia and India. It shows up in rural Malaysia in richer, emptier villages surrounded by mechanised farms. And everywhere, it is changing traditional family life by enabling women to work and children to be educated. At a time when Malthusian alarms are ringing because of environmental pressures, falling fertility may even provide a measure of reassurance about global population trends.

    [...]

    That points to another big reason why fertility is falling: the spread of female education. Go back to the countries where fertility has fallen fastest and you will find remarkable literacy programmes. As early as 1962, for example, 80% of young women in Mauritius could read and write. In Iran in 1976, only 10% of rural women aged 20 to 24 were literate. Now that share is 91%, and Iran not only has one of the best-educated populations in the Middle East but the one in which men and women have the most equal educational chances. Iranian girls aged 15-19 have roughly the same number of years of schooling as boys do. Educated women are more likely to go out to work, more likely to demand contraception and less likely to want large families.

    Lastly, a special case: China’s one-child policy, which began nationwide in the early 1970s. China’s population is probably 300m-400m lower now than it would have been without it. The policy (which is one of population control, not birth control) has had dreadful costs, including widespread female infanticide, a lopsided sex ratio and horrors such as mass sterilisation and forced abortions. But in its own terms, it has worked—20m people enter the workforce each year, instead of 40m—and, to the extent that China is polluting less than it would have done, it has benefited the rest of the world.


    Whole article here: http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14743589

    If non-subscribers are unable to access the article, here it is: http://tinyurl.com/yh4nekj

    I am curious as to why people continue to have children?

    Instinct? Which is then tempered by various other awarenesses and priorities - such as are inculcated in us by education. Plus socio-psychological motivations perhaps: I live in orbit of a large extended family (two of my kids' great grandmothers are still alive and active) and childless boughs of the family tree seem to relate differentlly to other leafs, twigs and branches - so there may be a kind of momentum of expectation and aspiration and belonging, all jumbled up, caused by the wider family environment.

    And I also think there is an auto-pilot factor, subtley nudged along by images in the media, films, books, advertising, subliminal encouragements and paradigms that make it easier to skip the scrutiny-of-the-big-picture phase.

    And there may be an "it'll give us something to do" factor. People climb on the hamster's wheel in their mid-20s and then at some point a few years later start to realize that this is going to be all there is right through until it's ok to stop at 60 or so - and so... having kids will "give us something to do" that at least feels like a unique hamster's wheel all of our very own.
  3. 11 Dec '09 04:31
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    A couple of questions here:
    Having no paternal bones in my body and considering that the future we are creating for the coming generations doesn't look too pretty, I am curious as to why people continue to have children?
    I can see that in developing countries, the more children you have, the better your retirement fund, but there doesn't seem to be tha ...[text shortened]... rld adopt a Chinese style one kid policy? Maybe just for a few generations to see how it goes.
    Simply put, it is my goal in life to have as many children as humanly possible for the express purpose of producing as many carbon footprints as humanly possible, if for no other reason, than to annoy Al Gore and company.
  4. Standard member joneschr
    Some guy
    11 Dec '09 05:05
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    A couple of questions here:
    Having no paternal bones in my body and considering that the future we are creating for the coming generations doesn't look too pretty, I am curious as to why people continue to have children?
    I can see that in developing countries, the more children you have, the better your retirement fund, but there doesn't seem to be tha ...[text shortened]... rld adopt a Chinese style one kid policy? Maybe just for a few generations to see how it goes.
    Because women exist, and they don't agree with you.
  5. 11 Dec '09 08:18
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    A couple of questions here:
    Having no paternal bones in my body and considering that the future we are creating for the coming generations doesn't look too pretty, I am curious as to why people continue to have children?
    I can see that in developing countries, the more children you have, the better your retirement fund, but there doesn't seem to be tha ...[text shortened]... rld adopt a Chinese style one kid policy? Maybe just for a few generations to see how it goes.
    Many of us do have paternal bones, though I don't currently plan on having more than one child.
    The retirement plan worry applies to first world countries too but in a different way - ie via taxes. In countries with low birth rates there is an aging population and worries that there wont be enough young people to support the costs of the old people. The solution so far has to been immigration.
    In Zambia, there is a strong cultural pressure to have children.
    Throughout the world many people have children by mistake. A large percentage of children are unplanned and better education and birth control methods do help.
    In general wealthier people have less children. A person living on the poverty line does not think about saving and thus does not worry so much about the extra cost of children. Once you start saving your perspective changes dramatically and you have less children in order to save more.
  6. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    11 Dec '09 08:39
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    A couple of questions here:
    Having no paternal bones in my body and considering that the future we are creating for the coming generations doesn't look too pretty, I am curious as to why people continue to have children?
    I can see that in developing countries, the more children you have, the better your retirement fund, but there doesn't seem to be tha ...[text shortened]... rld adopt a Chinese style one kid policy? Maybe just for a few generations to see how it goes.
    'Cause she who must be obeyed wants them.
  7. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    11 Dec '09 09:20 / 1 edit
    Simply because one of the fundamental urges of all the great apes, indeed all mammals, indeed all animals is to procreate. One need not even leave aside all those individual human animals who do not procreate, as in the global aggregate of any animal there will be those individuals that do not breed. Almost any other reason given for why people have children is but a post hoc rationalisation and wishful thinking.
  8. Standard member Wheely
    Instant Buzz
    11 Dec '09 09:29
    For most, it´s because they give up.
  9. 11 Dec '09 09:29
    Originally posted by DrKF
    Almost any other reason given for why people have children is but a post hoc rationalisation and wishful thinking.
    It is not as simple as that. We have a very strong urge to have sex, but that does not necessarily lead to procreation in the modern day and age. Many people have children or choose not to have children for reasons other than the urge to procreate. Certainly decisions regarding family size are quite complex and strongly related to wealth. It may be a balance between the urge to procreate and the urge to get wealthy, but it is certainly not true that poor people (who have more children on average) have a stronger urge to procreate.
  10. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    11 Dec '09 09:52
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It is not as simple as that. We have a very strong urge to have sex, but that does not necessarily lead to procreation in the modern day and age. Many people have children or choose not to have children for reasons other than the urge to procreate. Certainly decisions regarding family size are quite complex and strongly related to wealth. It may be a bala ...[text shortened]... not true that poor people (who have more children on average) have a stronger urge to procreate.
    Many people may appear - because they turn their thoughts to their actions, probably in search of a justification they can call their own for their animal behaviour, in an attempt to deny their nature and fate - to 'choose' whether or not to have children, but viewed as part of the aggregate of the species the reflection of consciousness on their actions is of little concern. I think you ascribe far too much importance to 'choice'.

    Every day, I try to be a little less Christian.
  11. 11 Dec '09 10:12 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by DrKF
    Many people may appear - because they turn their thoughts to their actions, probably in search of a justification they can call their own for their animal behaviour, in an attempt to deny their nature and fate - to 'choose' whether or not to have children, but viewed as part of the aggregate of the species the reflection of consciousness on their ...[text shortened]... ribe far too much importance to 'choice'.

    Every day, I try to be a little less Christian.
    'Every day, I try to be a little less Christian',

    if you'd like to step outside to the spirituality forum im sure we could try to put a smile on your face
  12. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    11 Dec '09 10:18 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    'Every day, I try to be a little less Christian',

    if you'd like to step outside to the spirituality forum im sure we could try to put a smile on your face
    I just meant that - even for modern humanists and atheists - the delusion that the human animal is radically different from other animals persists, a delusion which I take to be a peculiarly Christian hangover.

    Cat, meet pigeons...
  13. 11 Dec '09 11:00
    Originally posted by DrKF
    I just meant that - even for modern humanists and atheists - the delusion that the human animal is radically different from other animals persists, a delusion which I take to be a peculiarly Christian hangover.

    Cat, meet pigeons...
    I have no delusion that I am not an animal, nor do I have the delusion that other animals are incapable of thought (as you seem to). Humans are radically different from other animals - thats what makes us human. There is nothing Christian about it.
    You seem to be claiming that we do not choose whether or not to have children as it is some sort of animal instinct to do so, yet you cannot then explain:
    1. How they manage to have less children in China.
    2. Why rich people have less children than poor people.
    3. Why family planning counseling and birth control pills have such a large impact on family sizes.
  14. 11 Dec '09 11:09 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by DrKF
    I just meant that - even for modern humanists and atheists - the delusion that the human animal is radically different from other animals persists, a delusion which I take to be a peculiarly Christian hangover.

    Cat, meet pigeons...
    sorry i had to paste this Dr.K for it appears to me that the argument is fundamentally flawed, because the two are incomparable. why? because there are many aspects of animal behaviour which if viewed in human terms would have disastrous consequences.

    No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals.' So began a feature article on evolution in TIME magazine ('How Man Began', March 14, 1994). The more I thought about this sweeping statement the more I began to warm to it.

    For example, like humans, apes have well formed rational faculties. Their ability to develop an argument, follow a line of logic, draw conclusions and frame hypotheses is quite remarkable.

    Also like humans, apes have a marked faculty for language. (This, of course, is intertwined with their powers of reason.) Their vocabulary is enormous, their grammar complex, and their conversations deep and meaningful.

    The apes' ability to codify language in writing is further proof of their close relationship to humans. In this respect, it was most gratifying to see the number of apes who wrote to TIME magazine in response to the article on 'How Man Began'. I was particularly interested to follow the line of reasoning of the orang-utan who argued that apes had evolved from humans, not vice versa.

    Like humans, apes also have a strong spirit of inquiry. Their research in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, medicine and physics is noteworthy.

    Apes also (again, like humans) yearn for meaning in life. This is why they devote so much of their time to philosophy, theology and ethics. The religious sentiments and practices of all apes can be traced back to their intense and endless quest for meaning.

    Apes are concerned about questions not only of origin but also of destiny. The best proof I can offer for this claim is the maxim by one famous ape philosopher who said, 'Whether my life leads ultimately to the dirt or to the Judgment, either way, I've got a problem.'

    Apes also have, like humans, a refined aesthetic sense. They admire beauty and long to surround themselves with it. When an ape cultivates a garden, puts flowers in a vase, or hangs up a painting, what is it doing if not expressing a love of beauty?

    Again like humans, apes have a strong creative impulse. This is seen in their poetry, painting, dance, drama and music. To a lesser extent their creativity is also evident in the way they gather in weekly craft groups to weave baskets, spin wool, knit shawls, and cover photo albums.

    The sense of humour shared by all apes is another proof of their close kinship to humans. Their delight in the ridiculous and their love of a good laugh is plain from the popular ape jokes they tell.

    Reason, language, inquiry, wonder, longing, religion, morality, aesthetics, creativity, imagination, aspiration and humour ... such intangible but fundamental qualities are by no means unique to humans, as I hope I have conclusively shown. Therefore, in the profound words of TIME magazine: 'No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals'.

    This being the case, Christians are plainly wrong to insist that humans and animals are vastly different. And they are also obviously wrong to insist that this difference arises from the fact that God created us humans in His own likeness. And if they are wrong to insist that God made us in His own likeness, then they are wrong to insist that God has any claim on us.

    Furthermore, if God has no claim on us, then we are free — free to be animals like our evolutionary ancestors — free to be as low-down as snakes, and to make pigs of ourselves, and to act like donkeys.

    Did I say 'free'?

    Hiss! Oink! Hee-haw!



    Postman Cat, meets the Doves........
  15. 11 Dec '09 12:40 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    sorry i had to paste this Dr.K for it appears to me that the argument is fundamentally flawed, because the two are incomparable. why? because there are many aspects of animal behaviour which if viewed in human terms would have disastrous consequences.

    [b]No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals.' So began a featu d I say 'free'?

    Hiss! Oink! Hee-haw!



    Postman Cat, meets the Doves........
    Not bad for an ape man, however, I'm no ape man. Now hush up and throw me a bananna!!