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On Population Control
Posted: 04 April 2007 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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One thing that I favor in general, for a variety of reasons, is across the board regulation of the number of children people can have.

I think that for starters we should limit everyone to three children.

Every individual person can produce three children. This mean that if you are married and you and your wife have three kids, then you are the father of three and she is the mother of three, and both of you are done.

Of, you may have three kids with three different people, but on the third one you are done.

This equals it out more for everyone, and makes it less competitive. There are real potentials for population wars. Indeed in Israel right now I think that it is really true that Palestinians are trying to out breed Jews to the point that they will outnumber them so much that there will be nothing to Jews can do. They have already recognized this which is why they are pulling back from certain settlements.

When you talk about Israeli democracy though, what the Israelis fear is that they can’t implement democracy because the Palestinians are going to outnumber them and out vote them.

"Breeding" can literally be a way of gaming the system in a democracy where there is major conflict along ethnic, religious, or other lines.

I think that regulating birth rates to a certain a level is good environmental and sustainability policy and good democratic policy. I think that 2 children per person is ideal, but 3 is more realistic, especially to start.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Rationalrevolution,

Well… I do think the population issue is probably the most serious problem humanity faces, and I’m pretty pessimistic that we can solve it. So in principle I think limitations on people’s reproduction are reasonable and could be morally justified. In reality, though I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell of them working. We can argue about whether China is a good example or not, but the drive to procreate is as hard-wired as anything can get, and I find a system that effectively limits people’s reproduction, without being such a thoroughly totalitarian system that it reduces individual liberty to nothing, impossible to imagine. I would also argue that there is an implication in your comment that “outbreeding” is a deliberate political strategy, and while I can see a leadership trying to implement it as such and exhorting people to be prolific, I think the way people make reproductive decisions and the circumstances that inform such decisions are unlikely to be successfully manipulated on a population level either to encourage or discourage breeding. So far, only being educated and reasonably prosperous materially (to a level not all of opur current population could sustainably be raised) seems to effectively limit reproduction on a population scale.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It would be very easy to control on the female side. After your third child you get your tubes tied. The only problem is if a child dies, you should be allowed to have another. I’m sure that science could find a way to make the procedure reliably reversible.

Men are harder to control, though legally you could require the same thing.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Before you both keep talking about how easily government can control reproduction would you please look long hard at China and its ridiculous and absolutely failed policy?

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Posted: 03 April 2007 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Chris,

Before you both keep talking about how easily government can control reproduction would you please look long hard at China and its ridiculous and absolutely failed policy?

I don’t think this is what I was saying at all. What I did say was,

We can argue about whether China is a good example or not, but the drive to procreate is as hard-wired as anything can get, and I find a system that effectively limits people’s reproduction, without being such a thoroughly totalitarian system that it reduces individual liberty to nothing, impossible to imagine….I think the way people make reproductive decisions and the circumstances that inform such decisions are unlikely to be successfully manipulated on a population level either to encourage or discourage breeding. So far, only being educated and reasonably prosperous materially (to a level not all of opur current population could sustainably be raised) seems to effectively limit reproduction on a population scale.

I doubt government could control resproduction, which was basically my point.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]Before you both keep talking about how easily government can control reproduction would you please look long hard at China and its ridiculous and absolutely failed policy?

I’m not sure I’d call it absolutely failed, nor would I say that they had much choice. You are in Hong Kong, what specifically are you talking about?

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Posted: 03 April 2007 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]Chris,

I don’t think this is what I was saying at all. What I did say was,


I doubt government could control resproduction, which was basically my point.

Indeed, my bad. Sorry. Thats what I get for skimming and replying to what I thought I read.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“rationalrevolution”][quote author=“cgallaga”]Before you both keep talking about how easily government can control reproduction would you please look long hard at China and its ridiculous and absolutely failed policy?

I’m not sure I’d call it absolutely failed, nor would I say that they had much choice. You are in Hong Kong, what specifically are you talking about?

I am talking about the absolutely failed one child policy. It has failed, utterly failed.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”][quote author=“rationalrevolution”][quote author=“cgallaga”]Before you both keep talking about how easily government can control reproduction would you please look long hard at China and its ridiculous and absolutely failed policy?

I’m not sure I’d call it absolutely failed, nor would I say that they had much choice. You are in Hong Kong, what specifically are you talking about?

I am talking about the absolutely failed one child policy. It has failed, utterly failed.

Can you say anything other than that it has failed? Failed in what way?

How exactly is the policy implemented? Could there be improvements on implementation?

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Posted: 03 April 2007 11:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hmmm you really aren’t aware of the long tried, internationally famous and historically failed China One Child Policy? To me it is a fundamental item of study, the one place to start, if you are going to advocate socialistic control of reproduction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_child_policy

As for what went wrong I am by no means an expert. But there is plenty of analysis in the world free for the taking. Even China has recently made sounds as if it agrees with the failure, though with China getting admission of the governments fault is always a problem, and always done ambiguously.

http://www.overpopulation.com/faq/Population_Control/one_child.html

This sequence of events is significant mainly for this reason—the one-child policy wasn’t adopted by China until 1979, yet China’s huge fertility drop occurred between 1970 and 1979 when live births fell from 34 per 1,000 people to 18 per 1,000 people. Since the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979, there has been no large drop in fertility and in fact China experienced a slight increase fluctuating around 21 births per 1,000 people in the 1980s (Tien, et al 1992, pp.6-8 ). As Tien, et al put it, the impact of the one-child policy has been minimal:

Why did the one-child policy fail? The likely explanation is that there are limits to how far government policies can push demographic changes. Policies emphasizing later marriage and fewer children in the 1970s clearly played a part in lowering total fertility rates. Contraceptive usage in China by the early 1980s, for example, was extraordinarily high for Asia at 71 percent of women of reproductive age.

    The one-child policy, however, was strongly resisted by people, especially couples living in rural regions. Enforcing the one-child policy in the face of such heavy resistance would have required more forceful measures than the Chinese government was willing to use. This is the source of criticism of China from population advocates such as Garrett Hardin who argued China needs to more strictly enforce the one-child policy.

    Finally, the one-child policy and the successful resistance to it should give pause to claims made in Western nations that there are up to 500,000 “missing” girls in China. The usual claim is that the “missing” girl phenomenon is caused by infanticide. In fact a far more likely explanation is that Chinese couples systematically fail to report the birth of girls. Tien et al note that figures on the sex ratios of adoptions bear this out:

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Posted: 04 April 2007 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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So basically its a failure of implementation. As I said, if you tie the tubes of women after their third child, there is no way that implementation can fail, other than doctor refusal or underground child birthing.

Also, a limit of three is much different than a limit of one.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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So, let me make sure, are you advocating governmentally forced female castration?

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Posted: 04 April 2007 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Chris/Rationalrevolution,

See, this is why I passed by the example of China. I happen to agree with Chris that it is a good example of why state control of reproduction is a mistake, but the basic issue is more important than debating the example. The only way such control could work, if at all (which I still doubt) would be under the auspices of an absolute totalitarianism even greater than that in 1970s-80s China. Surely humanists cannot rational advocate for that and still have any claim to our basic policy of valuing the richness of the human experience and the fulfillment of human potential? So either people control their reproduction voluntarily (which, sadly, also seems pretty unlikely to me) or we find a technological fix to the population problem (I am skeptical here, but at least it seems slightly more plausible than voluntary or forced control of reproduction) or we keep fiddling until the place burns down, which seems the most likley. But, the future has a way of surprising people, so rather than give up I say we do the best we can to deal with the problem by education and improvements in standard of living (still the most effective form of population control ever found, though there are concerns about how many people the planet can support at a high enough standard to achieve this effect) and continue to look for ways to emphasize the welfare of human beings while dealing with the environmental consequences of their being too damn many of us. Devil, of course, is in the details, but I think forced sterilization is a non-starter: immoral and impractical.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]Chris/Rationalrevolution,

See, this is why I passed by the example of China. I happen to agree with Chris that it is a good example of why state control of reproduction is a mistake, but the basic issue is more important than debating the example. The only way such control could work, if at all (which I still doubt) would be under the auspices of an absolute totalitarianism even greater than that in 1970s-80s China. Surely humanists cannot rational advocate for that and still have any claim to our basic policy of valuing the richness of the human experience and the fulfillment of human potential? So either people control their reproduction voluntarily (which, sadly, also seems pretty unlikely to me) or we find a technological fix to the population problem (I am skeptical here, but at least it seems slightly more plausible than voluntary or forced control of reproduction) or we keep fiddling until the place burns down, which seems the most likley. But, the future has a way of surprising people, so rather than give up I say we do the best we can to deal with the problem by education and improvements in standard of living (still the most effective form of population control ever found, though there are concerns about how many people the planet can support at a high enough standard to achieve this effect) and continue to look for ways to emphasize the welfare of human beings while dealing with the environmental consequences of their being too damn many of us. Devil, of course, is in the details, but I think forced sterilization is a non-starter: immoral and impractical.

This is the problem though. This is similar to a recent study that, indirectly was basically claiming that it was “more morally acceptable” to let everyone die than to kill one person.

They were giving tests to people that were along the lines of: If someone puts a gun in your hand and a gun to your head and says that you have to kill one person in a group, or they will kill you and everyone else too, what do you do, etc…

They said that choosing not to personally kill someone and then having you and the whole group get killed is the “more moral” choice.

This is nonsense, that’s no different really than you killing everyone yourself. A choice in which more people die is not a more moral choice.

I also take issue with prison, because I think that prison is by far more damaging and harmful and immoral than corporal punishment.

We view infliction of pain on people as “barbaric” and immoral, yet I doubt that anyone, if given the chance, would choose prison time over a whipping, or electro-shock or some other form of punishment. Would you rather have 10-15 years of your life taken from you, or go through 1 really bad and painful day? I’d take the 1 bad day any time.

Our sense of morality itself is an evolved and flawed mechanism. We weigh immediate concerns over distant ones when making choices, we weight direct personal causation over indirect causation, we weight blood and physically obvious pain over mental or unseen pain.

Yet, in reality, obvious and physical pain can be far less hurtful than unseen pain. Consequences in the future can be far worse than consequences now. Indirect causation is really no different than direct causation.

We are emotionally maladapted to make truly correct moral choices. Our emotions actually impede morality. We will cause greater pain and suffering to to people in backwards attempts to make “moral” choices to reduce pain and suffering.

Animal food is a perfect example. I want to raise my own livestock, chickens, pigs, etc., so that I can ensure that they receive humane treatment. My soon to be wife, however, says that that’s cruel and she will not abide it because killing animals is bad… but she eats meat! She says that it’s okay as long as the food comes shrink wrapped in a plastic container.

She is incapable of making the mental connections between her actions and reality. The animal products that she buys have undoubtedly suffering industrial farming practices. These animals suffer immensely, but she doesn’t see it, so as far as she is concerned it doesn’t happen, and to her, me raising animals for food is “worse” than her buying them in the store.

Now, this isn’t exactly the same, but some of the same mentality comes into effect.

I fail to see how saying “oh well , the world will be destroyed” is “more moral” than liming birth rates.

Our emotional sense of morality is simply incapable of properly dealing with the type of challenges that we face today. Our moral instincts are still set back 100,000+ years ago, for what is right and wrong in small tribal groups.

I don’t think that the issue of reproductive regulation is a huge issue, but making it socially acceptable would require advocacy and education on the matter. I guarantee that if some sect of Christians started preaching regulation of birth rates, it would be widely accepted.

Look at the Catholic Church. If they were to turn around and preach a 3 baby limit instead of “have as many as you can”, this itself could have a huge effect, yet who is holding them to the fire on this issue? They won’t even endorse birth control at all, much less a limit.

cgallaga’s use of the term “castration” is also inappropriate and a perfect example of trying to make the situation worse. Tying someone’s tubes is not a form of “castration”, a word that carries a negative connotation with it.

My mother and one of my sisters have both had their tubes tied voluntarily, though my sister was approached by Planned Parenthood after her 3rd child out of marriage by 3 different fathers, her second time into drug rehab, and her 4th abortion. She was paid to have her tubes tied by PP, and I’m glad for it. Planned Parenthood is one of the few organizations that I donate money to, the only one that is not a specifically atheist oriented one.

My sister no longer has possession of any of her children. One got taken to Mexico by the illegal immigrant that fathered it, one is now being cared for by my mom, and the other is in foster care, and she is in an unknown location, probably being a prostitute for drugs.

“Free parenthood” isn’t all that its cracked up to be.

Now, people are instinctively driven to procreate. Those instincts are now detrimental to the survival and health and quality of life of our species and the planet as s whole.

Doing nothing to address this problem is NOT the “more moral” option, it is an immoral failure to make the hard decision and take the difficult steps that are required to ensure survival and quality of life for future generations.

Edit: Actually it may not have been planned Parenthood that paid for the procedure, I just assumed it was, but now that I think about it, she never said who it was.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Edit to add: Brennen Again well said.

But I think Technology is already solving the problem. The first world is now largely suffering from underpopulation. In Hong Kong the government is trying to find new ways to incentive young couples to have kids.

Even at its most simplistic level this is obvious. In an agrarian culture one needs to make many babies in order to handle the workload of the family the babies then go on to allow the elderly to semi-retire.

But with technology the farming becomes much less physically demanding and so the family size can diminish.

The solution to the population problem is totally humanistic. Lifting the uneducated and impoverished into the first world as quickly as possible.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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