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Prisoner’s Dilemma and fecundity among free thinkers
Posted: 15 August 2007 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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The prisoner’s dilemma is hopefully familiar to most CFI forum readers. I am concerned with, the low birthrate of the secular populations, around the globe.
It seems logical that: groups that promote fecundity will dominate the future. The altruistic groups are selecting themselves, as well as their ideas and culture, from the nations of the world. Hoping conserve the ecosystem.
Are secular humanists in denial: of the need of a super-organism to reproduce future generations—a first principle of Darwinian evolution? Many groups have made the choice, to multiply their populations, and compete for more resources and power. Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject? I am a non-theist with a scientific world view and a larger family. My hope is for both my daughters and sons to have opportunity and freedom; while feeling they are moral individuals, if they choose to have more than two children. It concerns me; that it is viewed as virtuous: not to have children and a family larger than two or three children by many in the secular community. I am hoping to conserve the planet and human beings.
Farewell

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Posted: 15 August 2007 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You have a point, but I doubt that secular humanism is a genetically determined characteristic.  A couple of other factors are that smaller families usually educate their children more effectively, and smaller families are usually a bit more affluent.  Since humanity is probably going to be under rapidly increasing stress as global warming becomes more evident, I expect a major die-off of people.  It seems likely that those who are more educated and more affluent will have the best chance of surviving.

Occam

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Posted: 15 August 2007 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree with Occam. While I like to imagine my daughter will think like I do, the very value I place on intellectual and personal freedom means I have to teach her think for herself, not parrot me. I doubt we can breed our point of view into ascendancy. And I do believe that overpopulation is a real issue, and one that will most likely lead to a catastrophe of some kind someday. I don’t necessarily feel having small families is virtuous, but only because I don’t ultimately believe that a zero population growth is achievable. I think our innate drive to breed is too strong, and the only force to successfully overcome it so far while leaving civil liberties intact is a sgtandard of affluence that the planet cannot support for as many people as live here now.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Brad, you’re assuming religious and secular parents are equally likely to have likeminded children. This assumption need not be true. In Britain, nonreligious parents’ children become nonreligious in adulthood, while only half religious parents’ children become religious (link). In the US it used to be the reverse, as nonreligious adults would convert to their spouse’s religion after marriage, but lately, when interreligious marriages are flourishing and there’s a critical mass of nonreligious people, it’s no longer the case.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I have an idea: everybody, get off the net and run to make love to your spouse! GO!

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Posted: 15 August 2007 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The prisoner’s dilemma isn’t germane because the game assumes multiple plays. However, I get your point.

Planet Earth will not remain habitable (by humans anyway) unless we attain zero population growth soon. I fear that nothing will make that possible except worldwide legislation, and we’re nowhere close to being able to do that.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Actually, population growth is dropping so quickly that the UN has been continually revising population projections for 2050 downward. In Latin America, South Asia, and East Asia, rising levels of education, affluence, and gender equality are causing birth rates to plummet. On one of my old computers I used to have a file with every country’s population in 1959 (when the world’s population was exactly 3 billion), 1999 (when it was exactly 6 billion), and 2050 based on recent projections (which were 9 billion total). If I recall correctly, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and those areas of Africa where there remain more than five HIV-negative people will undergo population explosion, while the rest of the world will begin stabilizing.

Anyway, most of the post-2000 projections I’ve seen have world population stabilizing late in this century around 10-11 billion.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Yes, the key is increasing education and affluence, particularly education for women. I have heard much the same projections.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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BradIndianapolis - 15 August 2007 08:03 PM

The prisoner’s dilemma is hopefully familiar to most CFI forum readers. I am concerned with, the low birthrate of the secular populations, around the globe.
It seems logical that: groups that promote fecundity will dominate the future. The altruistic groups are selecting themselves, as well as their ideas and culture, from the nations of the world. Hoping conserve the ecosystem.
Are secular humanists in denial: of the need of a super-organism to reproduce future generations—a first principle of Darwinian evolution? Many groups have made the choice, to multiply their populations, and compete for more resources and power. Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject? I am a non-theist with a scientific world view and a larger family. My hope is for both my daughters and sons to have opportunity and freedom; while feeling they are moral individuals, if they choose to have more than two children. It concerns me; that it is viewed as virtuous: not to have children and a family larger than two or three children by many in the secular community. I am hoping to conserve the planet and human beings.
Farewell

watch the movie Idiocracy!

same premise but with smart and stupid people. the more educated people dont have as many children while stupid jocks sleeping with all the cheerleaders breed like jack-rabbits. the result is 500 years of social evolution produces an incredibly stupid society where the most popular tv show is “Ow, My Balls!” and plants are watered with gatorade because “it has electrolytes” (the result is a global drought and when someone from the past - who was chrogenically frozen for military experiments - tells them that plants need water, the idiots ask, “you mean like, from the toilet?”).

anyway, the movie is a good way to have a laugh about this topic

PS: its made by the creator of Office Space, Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill!

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Posted: 16 August 2007 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well, I couldn’t afford the education of many childrens. Not only because of its monetary price, but also because I invest a lot of time educating my son, teaching him how to discover things, playing with him, reading him, and as told before, I consider the intelectual growth a key adventage to survive (now, and in the years to come). I think this behaviour (limiting the birthrate) is not limited to the secular couples, I think is a common behaviour in urban midle class around the world. As far I can see, in midle towns only the smalls groups of fundamentalist have many childrens (and, except you are rich, you will live very unconfortable with five of six kids in a urban population).

On the other hand, I am sure the population growth will be limited in the future, by one reason or another. Nicely or not, the population will reach a limit, my only hope is not to be here to see it, because I bet it would be the hard way.

Anyway, I support Georges idea but she is working now… since the women use to work we left the path of the Lord. wink

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Posted: 16 August 2007 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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While I agree with most of the points made on the less intelligent not surviving global warming and such there is a point not addressed with the original question.

Why is it to much work to raise 3+ intelligent children?  I suspect this is a product of our culture.  I agree it may be beneficial on a world scale to have less people consuming resources.  I think it is silly to expect the people most likely to have offspring that can contribute to public awareness & technology, are the people who stop making children.  There is a reason it is economical for Al Gore to Fly Jets around the world to give speeches.  He elevates public awareness.  Wouldn’t a stay at home parent that raises 5 intelligent children have more of an impact than 2 equally intelligent children?  Now they may not have flat screne tv’s and a bathroom for each child, but I don’t think these are necessary to reach a high level of intelligence.

I think the root dilemma with this choice is: Do intelligent people find it morally & ethically acceptable to domesticate idiocy?  If the idiot mind threatens life, do we have a right to research propaganda & the human mind to the extent that the intelligent can domesticate the unintelligent?  Some could argue that this is what is happening today, think of the feudal system.  Or in respect of nature, do you you back and watch your predictions become evident and your dreams destroyed while hoping you are wrong, recognizing you are just as human as the idiots you label and thus, victim to error?

[ Edited: 16 August 2007 10:54 AM by retrospy ]
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Posted: 16 August 2007 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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retrospy - 16 August 2007 10:45 AM

Why is it to much work to raise 3+ intelligent children?

Well, because I have to pay for his medical care (although here there is free medical care, I will pay for it while I can afford it), I have to pay for his education, buy him books, toys and a lot of things. Also, I play with him, teach him a lot of things and I don’t have a lot of free time: I have to work to afford all the things I mentioned before.

I suspect this is a product of our culture.

No doubt, but it doens’t mean that one could decide to go outside our culture.

Do intelligent people find it morally & ethically acceptable to domesticate idiocy?

Sorry for the question, but ‘to domesticate’ mean to have the power to order them?. If it is the meaning, I’d say no. Because smart people are aware that sometimes (quite often) smart people make mistakes and critical analysis is the better way to try to avoid them. So, smart people encourages everybody to challenge their views.

Or in respect of nature, do you sit back and watch your predictions become evident and your dreams destroyed while hoping you are wrong, recognizing you are just as human as the idiots you label and thus victim to error?

What is the alternative?. Destroy my dreams while I try to make them reality?. My dreams are not only about goals, are about method to achieve this goals, too.

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Posted: 16 August 2007 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Barto - 16 August 2007 10:52 AM

Well, because I have to pay for his medical care (although here there is free medical care, I will pay for it while I can afford it), I have to pay for his education, buy him books, toys and a lot of things. Also, I play with him, teach him a lot of things and I don’t have a lot of free time: I have to work to afford all the things I mentioned before.

I don’t find it difficult to provide medical care, education, books & toys for 5 children on 1 income.  I think this is a matter of priorities, goals & motivation.

No doubt, but it doens’t mean that one could decide to go outside our culture.

I “go outside culture” every time I decide not to drink soda pop…

Sorry for the question, but ‘to domesticate’ mean to have the power to order them?. If it is the meaning, I’d say no. Because smart people are aware that sometimes (quite often) smart people make mistakes and critical analysis is the better way to try to avoid them. So, smart people encourages everybody to challenge their views.

I meant domesticate in a sense that we domesticate sheep for our purposes.  I agree that even smart people make mistakes, that is what led me to make my final statement.  To take it another step, if scientists were convinced by scientific studies that collective idiocy would destroy the planet in X years in the future with equal certainty that we know the earth is round, would you support domesticating idiots via media, propoganda, business & government control?  Keep in mind that to refuse on moral grounds would be claiming that domesticating animals is just as wrong, because we can’t know for sure that this act will lead to a better, safer, longer lasting world.

What is the alternative?. Destroy my dreams while I try to make them reality?. My dreams are not only about goals, are about method to achieve this goals, too.

In explaining my points I have taken generalized harsh examples I see dominating our culture.  Can you think of more effective methods to bring about goals in the example of this idiot populated world than through media, propoganda, business & government?  I am assuming we are talking about a gradually escelating problem in this example (time constraints).

Note: This is a hypothetical situation.  I am not advocating that Global warming is equally conclusive as the world being round.

[ Edited: 16 August 2007 11:32 AM by retrospy ]
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Posted: 16 August 2007 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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retrospy - 16 August 2007 11:23 AM
Barto - 16 August 2007 10:52 AM

Well, because I have to pay for his medical care (although here there is free medical care, I will pay for it while I can afford it), I have to pay for his education, buy him books, toys and a lot of things. Also, I play with him, teach him a lot of things and I don’t have a lot of free time: I have to work to afford all the things I mentioned before.

I don’t find it difficult to provide medical care, education, books & toys for 5 children on 1 income.  I think this is a matter of priorities, goals & motivation.

The problem is that five children don’t necessarily ensure more grandchildren than for example one son or a daughter. The whole thing is more complicated than just how much money or time we invest in our kids, and I wouldn’t really worry about it. Let’s not forget we are not trying to get anywhere, are we? There is no really a final destination for the human kind or the cosmos itself. We won’t probably be here within the next million years, and even if we are lucky enough to make it for some time, Andromeda will smack into the Milky Way in not so a distant future. And even if we are somehow lucky to survive that, the universe might keep on expending, coming slowly to an irreversible point of cold and dark death.

[ Edited: 16 August 2007 03:47 PM by George ]
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Posted: 16 August 2007 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I don’t know what the exact cost of raising 3 children is, but if you live in a city or a suburb, it’s higher than the cost of raising 2. In the US, a professional woman loses about a million dollars in lifetime earnings for every child she has, or so I’ve heard from moderately reliable sources. In the first world, the highest birth rates are actually in those countries that offset that disadvantage by offering lush child credit and cracking down on gender discrimination (the US is a major exception, but it’s attributable almost entirely to insane levels of teen birth, and to immigration from high-fertility Mexico. Even France, which has a fraction the USA’s net migration rate, has its rate pulled up due to recent Algerian immigrants.)

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Posted: 16 August 2007 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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My concern is the composition for the future population of human beings on the earth, as well as the well being of the planet for future generations. The existential nihilistic notion: that the human species is certain to evolve or go extinct is true—in my person opinion.

The civilizations of the world will probably continue for many generations into the future.
Who will inherit the relatively near future? Will they be groups of paternalistic groups, which use coercion to control women into child bearing and rearing? The earth has a limited carrying capacity with many variables. What groups get control of the limited resources?

My desire is for secular humanists, freethinkers to have a legacy of peaceful cooperation and sustainable economic development.

I respect individuals not having children as a life style choice or upon moral their strongly held moral principles. Please respect, the minority of free thinkers, who think conserving their family, complements a desire to conserve the earth and nature.

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