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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first, i don't think anyone can argue that there should be no standards to determine whether someone is a fit parent before allowing them to adopt. but you're right that something like gender or sexuality is a stupid basis to make such a decision. seems odd to me to treat sexuality and child raising as related issues. if three people who aren't in any kind of sexual relationship with each other want to raise a child together, i see nothing about that that would suggest they wouldn't be able to do it.


but i don't understand this idea, which is very common, of "nobody can tell me i can't have a child". some people are clearly not capable, and some situations make it impractical. i'm reminded of chris rock: "just because you can do it doesn't mean it's to be done!"

"nobody can tell me i can't have a child". some people are clearly not capable, and some situations make it impractical. i'm reminded of chris rock: "just because you can do it doesn't mean it's to be done!"


Of course some people shouldn't have children. And they do, all the time. People make lousy, stupid decisions every day. Despite that, it is up to the individual to decide whether they have children. Unless you are suggesting something else?

yes, i'm suggesting something else. having a child is a serious thing, yet it's treated as something that should be done on a whim. i know americans tend to go crazy about rights (stephen fry put it best, americans see freedom as the ultimate goal, and justice as a means to it, while most people see justice as the goal and freedom as a means to it), to the point where the right to do something is more important than whether it's a good idea, but rational people wouldn't let a thing like that affect their thinking, would they? reason transcends cultural biases, right?


even the currently fashionable relativistic morality which justifies self harm draws the line when a person's irrational choices start to affect other people. of course, they've gotten around this by saying the child isn't another person, that it's a tumour or something.

Please elaborate on what you think should be done to prevent undeserving people from becoming pregnant? 

this is the same as my view on drug prohibition. there's a harmful behaviour that people engage in, which ought to be stopped, but there is simply no way to do it. it must be prevented by education, not stopped by top-down enforcement, that's impossible. unless somebody figured out a way to change human biology to the point that faithful or superstitious thinking rendered people infertile, there's just no way to stop unfit parents from having children. but we already take children away from parents who are particularly unfit.

this is actually why child-raising is so important, because you cannot change human behaviour with a top-down approach. it's like trying to stop an asteroid. you have to divert it in small, incremental, measured steps as early as possible


this is why i asked how somebody can justify it to themselves, because they are the only ones with power over their actions.

That seems to me to be at least as rational as doing anything else one may do for the sheer joy of it. It may be a virtue to reduce the suffering of others but since when did it become a sin to increase ones own happiness?

when it affects the lives of others. that includes creating those lives.


let me ask you this: would that still be enough justification if the couple in question were siblings or had some genetic quirk which they knew would result in severe birth defects? would "the joys of childbirth" be enough to justify, as buddhist as this may sound, causing the suffering of another?

My decision to have children does not directly harm anyone else. The only harm is by diversion of resources. That no more hurts children than my decision to eat meat, drive a car, buy my wife a wedding ring, have pets, vacation in foreign lands, etc.. Do you condemn these things as well?
you seem to forget about the child in this arrangement. you talk about it like it's a decision to buy a piece of art. the child is a person, and the child's well being must be the first and foremost factor in the decision to bring it into being.
Nope. Not forgetting about the child. Maybe I'm just arrogant but I thought my odds of my child becoming self aware then promptly deciding he would be better off never being born were pretty slim. I would imagine Jake feels like he got something out of it. And could you please stop denigrating me? I am referring to the "buying a piece of art" comment.

So since I am doing a pretty good job of giving my son a life worth living (arrogant me), is my decision to reproduce different in kind different than any other use of resources that doesn't go to the maximum reduction of suffering. Bonus points: Is adopting children from abroad the best way to reduce suffering? For instance, for the thousands of dollars it costs to adopt an infant could potentially support that child until adulthood in it's parents home. If that's stretching it then consider the money you spend raising a child in a wasteful first world country like Canada. Or would investing it all in birth control and sex education in the developing world be more efficient? You get the idea.
what a very, very small scope you view things on. a very karl pilkington-esque, domestic worldview.
Ok Egan, you passed on addressing either of the questions I raised, namely ,"is a decision to reproduce biologically different in kind from any other allotment of resources that doesn't achieve maximal reduction of suffering?" and, "is adopting children from foreign countries the best way to reduce suffering?"

You also continue to be a condescending prick. How wise of you to be able to comprehend so completly the scope of my worldview.

This seems to be your m.o., ignoring the points of others (not just me) and being a jerk. So I guess I was wrong and you are a troll.

So unless you care to comment on the questions I posed I will be unsubscribing to this discussion as it has been utterly fruitless.

And I don't even disagree necessarily with you first points but you can't seem to stop making little digs at people long enough to have an actual discussion.




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