So as is appropriate, I am starting a discussion rather than posting comments. I was going to go back and look at the original comment that started all the controversy but it has mysteriously disappeared. I would be curious to know if the author is the one who deleted it. It seems to me that he was not treated with respect from the beginning.

Maybe it is unpopular, but I thought he made valid points. I believe the first was a question about why have biological children rather than adopt. The second was concerning respect for children and treating them like people rather than inferior people. I apologize if my summary is inaccurate as the original post disappeared.

My husband and I chose to have two children of our own rather than adopt. I admit that we made that decision for selfish reasons, but my justification is that we are just replacing ourselves. Which is weak, I admit. I would, however, be open to adoption should I want any more children or perhaps under the right unforeseen circumstances.

I think he made several other good points regarding parenting. I do agree that children can learn to control their emotional reactions. After all, how do adults learn it? Hopefully they begin learning it from their parents when they are toddlers.

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No. You stated that people that reproduce biologically are not rational and don't have a grasp on reality. Not inferred. And since we here don't deserve your respect can you tell me how one can be worthy of the consideration of the great rational one?

Actually, that is not at all what he stated. Not to be redundant, here is the quote


how can any rational person with the slightest grasp of the state of the world reproduce biologically instead of adopting?


If you consider yourself to be rational and to have a grasp of the state of the world, then he is asking you how you made the choice to bear your own children instead of adopting. His word choice or tone may not be polite but how could he ask that and not offend people?

the whole reason i ask questions is because i can be persuaded by argument. maybe this isn't something many people here can relate to...
That was as retorical a question as I have ever read on the Nexus.   

no, i don't see the difference, other than that that phrasing fails to convey the reasons for my view or the feeling behind it. the best phrasing was dawn's "not only irrational, but down right irresponsible", but i would have rejected that as too judgemental and not very open to feedback, and i was trying to ask a question after all.

let me tell you what i do to try and maintain my objectivity in interpreting my or someone else's words. i use a control, i switch the subject matter to a neutral subject which all parties might agree upon, and see if the phrasing still stands up. like this:


"how can any educated physician with the slightest grasp of his field of study smoke tobacco or marijuana?"


still objectionable?

an invalid comparison. this is like walking into a university physics department and asking how somebody can understand physics and believe in the bible. there's a fundamental contradiction between those things.
And it is part of why wwe love you so dearly Nerd!

Great post Ida. 

you should reevaluate your definition of "better". everything you just said is used as a defence for believing in gods. it's just an excuse.


as for genetics, if a rationalist can be born to religious parents, then genetics are simply not the issue. self-discipline can overcome almost every aspect of behaviour, as can habits acquired from a community.

you have a highly inflated sense of what traits are heritable, which reveals a lack of an evolutionary perspective. humans are unusual among animals in that we're so similar to each other. behaviourally, without some actual brain disorder, we have the same range. if i were to have a child now, they'd be far more likely to inherit my family history of heart conditions, diabetes, and vision problems than any aspect of my personality. besides, which would they inherit, my personality as it is now, or my personality as it was when i was a kid? these are totally different things.


ideas are simply more important traits for humans to inherit than genes, doubly so considering the costs of overpopulation

Egan – you might be very interested in the extensively well researched book by Alfie Kohn – Unconditional Parenting – which basically talks about how punishments and rewards – extrinsic motivations are detrimental to child development – he promotes reasonableness to encourage a child’s natural altruism.


It’s normal for comments such as yours to induce guilt in others – which is an uncomfortable emotion.  I’ve prided myself in knowing what I’m meant to do and doing what I feel like doing anyhow… : )


Besides having just read Dawkins book on Evolution the greatest show in town – it clearly states in there that the ones that are most successful – will survive – meaning that there is no natural selective benefit in refraining to have children – it’s a competitive world out there and you have to be in it to win it – hell we’re all going to be start dust in a couple of billion years any how – so what the heck!  Pump out 10 of them if it makes you feel good : )


I love stirring the pot…  my life is otherwise so mundane – washing, dishes, floors, shops,…


Anyhow – good luck in your journey and may be find much compassion in your heart as life goes along…


I too have suffered at the hands of nature in my upbringing – life is cruel and harsh – as is natural selection…


It seems Egan that you are in need of support and crisis counselling from some sort of horrific childhood yourself.

"child's natural altruism". that sounds dangerously close to the "noble savage" school of behavioural science.


you should read dawkins more closely. the biggest threat to human survival IS human survival. we're populating ourselves to extinction.


yeah, heard that one before. "if i believe you're simply an emotionally damaged person, i don't have to consider your viewpoint". where was it i heard that? oh right, theists.




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