A Further Challenge to Procreators

In my so-called controversial pieces at 3quarksdaily.com, where I defended antinatalism and progressive adoption, I challenged readers to offer compelling arguments for creating new people. Unfortunately, none have been forthcoming. I was called a racist, elitist, colonialist, etc., for defending my views that those who exist matter more than those who do not. People, I’ve discovered, are more willing to invest in children who do not (yet) exist over children who do; indeed they brush over existing children who require that same parental attention, love and care.

I have found no reason why we should procreate. I will briefly outline my argument again:

(1)    There are no good ethical reasons to create a new child. It is impossible to create a child for the child’s own sake because the child does not yet exist. For something to matter to a being, that being must exist.

(2)   All reasons offered in defence of procreation, such as seeing one’s bloodline continue, seeing one’s smile in another person’s face, etc., are all obtuse and out of sync with the massive, colossal act of creating life. There is nothing genetically special about you or I that requires the human species’ continual genetic investment. I think the species can survive without my smile on a little person’s face.

(3)   What matters is not genetic but intellectual, emotional, physical, etc. These are properties we give and convey to non-closely related beings like lovers and friends, and even non-human animals. Adoptive parents give this to their children, like biological parents.

(4)   Biology means nothing important: it’s simply description. Josef Fritzl was the father of his sex-slave but no one would think he treated her morally. It does not matter that one’s parents are related genetically – it is actually unimportant (until we come to kidney-donations, bone-marrow, and so on. But for now, we will ignore this more complicated ethical problem.) What matters is how they treat you, whether they were caring, decent, hard-working, just, fair, and so on. Biological parenthood is second to what we might call “real-world” parenthood – the loving, caring, etc. of children. “Real world” parenthood is incredibly important but does not require us to be biological parents. Indeed, as in the case of Fritzl, biological parenthood does not automatically mean real-world or good parenthood.

(5)    We also know that adopted children are not lesser persons for being adopted; neither are relations between adoptive parents and children less meaningful because they are not closely genetically-related.

(6)   People who say it’s hard to adopt and easier to breed make no argument. Of course it is. There are very good reasons why parental scouting is difficult: not everyone can be a parent. If this is insulting, get over yourself. We are talking about the dependency of children and their future, not something to stroke your ego. When you are rejected as an adoptive parent, you are rejected as a “real-world” parent. That is, even if the child was biologically-related to you, you would not make a good parent. Are adoptive measures foolproof? Of course not. But they at least get us to consider whether we would make good parents at all instead of having this automatic licence to breed.

However, today I want to make a further point.

(7)    You fall into two camps: either (a) you would pass a kind of general acceptance from adoption-agencies (you are not mad, you have a stable income, have a partner and support basis for the child, a home, provisions, and so on) or (b) you would not pass acceptance (you are mad, too poor, unemployed or make too little money, live alone, or have too many children already that you can’t look after another).

If (a), then you should adopt. Adoption agencies in South Africa are overflowing with children that require real-world parents to love and care for them. Why create a child to love when there exist children to love in places desperately seeking good people, like most people I know?

If (b), then obviously we would not want that person to breed. It would bring more misery into the world by having another being suffer (notice, all beings are brought into existence without consent: the first major opposition to liberal thinking!)

No one falls in the middle. Either you would be accepted or you wouldn’t. Regardless of which, there is no licence to breed but if (a), there is a moral obligation to adopt.

 

Yes, Madonna has resources to look after the baby. This will be the subject of another post.

Every instance of procreation prevents a child from being adopted who specifically requires it; it merely adds to the list of people living dejected, poverty-stricken lives, as seen in South Africa; or they end up in adoption-homes anyway. Alternatively, as I’ve suggested, if a child is raised in a wonderful home, a place has been taken away for an existing child who could’ve been taken out of their poverty-stricken or adoption-homes.

When people create children they discriminate based on genetics. This I termed genecism. I will illustrate this by highlighting what happens with regard to parenthood, then show the problematic move biological parents make.

(Good) parenthood works like this: I have a space in my life, which requires a child. I want to love, care, nurture and raise a wonderful person who I hope will be better than me, will struggle less but become better than I ever was. Or something sentimental along those lines. We can term this what I referred to above as “real world parenthood”. We can do this only for existing beings. How do we care for non-existent entities?1

However, biological parents then commit the fallacy of genecism: This space in my life can only be filled by a being closely-related to me. It must have my DNA.

A prejudice based on genetics: this is genecism. On what basis do we make such a grand claim? It seems to me entirely selfish, solipsistic, bigoted and arrogant to assume the species requires your DNA or purely genetic aspects of yourself for us to function.

The point is, the idea of fulfilling the space in one’s life with a child must be done with an existing being. The difference matters how this comes about: do we create a being to fulfil this or do we acknowledge that there are beings who do exist already, desperately in need of adopting and caring and love?

I have yet to meet acceptable counters to these. More importantly, I have yet to see why anyone would want there to be a counter argument. I am asking us to simply take care of existing children. If we can, we should. Most people after all want to be parents – the problem is they make the genecist fallacy, thinking the child must have his or her DNA. This is prejudice no better than racism, sexism or speciesism: we are discriminating along arbitrary lines. Are children who lack your DNA not worthy, deserving, and so on, of your real-world parenting? This is nonsense. These existing children would clearly benefit.

The problems I’ve had are the following. People dislike that:

  1. I think there is nothing special about being a human person that its cosmic significance must continue. That is, there is no reason to continue the species.
  2. I am countering the most powerful biological drive. Let’s not forget, we also murder and rape and torture from biology, just as we nurture and love and care. Biology is merely an uninteresting description in this discussion.
  3. I am telling people they themselves are not special. I do not think people realise how colossal a thing it is to create a new human person. To align your reason with doing something this colossal with something so miniscule – selfish motivators like smiles and chuckles and eyes – is nonsensical. We have been doing very well without your smile for billions of years, thank you.

We need to stop creating children and start looking after them. I’m all for parenting, but real-world parenting. Parenting requires beings who exist. Why create them when these beings already do?

 

 

NOTES

1^Notice too that the application of real-world parenthood can be a property we apply to ourselves when looking after the elderly, too. Indeed, we can become real-world parents to our biological parents when their bodies begin shutting down.

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16 thoughts on “A Further Challenge to Procreators

  1. The first of your point 4’s is too strong. Biology does mean something important in this context, seeing as more oxytocin and vasopressin are produced with “natural” children over adopted children, probably leading to increased commitment, affection, etc. I agree with the argument in general, but it’s sweeping statements such as those which might lead people to call you names, as it makes you appear non-objective on these issues.

  2. I operate from a simple philosophy: “what if everyone did what you are doing?” Upon examination of daily routines we could all use this as a pertinent guide post to judge our own morality and benefit to the society which bore us out(accidental, intentional, or otherwise).
    While I understand your sentiment, I disagree with it’s diagnosis of the human intention towards child bearing. While desire to care for a living human being and desire to fill holes in our lives is real it is not the main reason for birth on this planet. Most pregnancies on Earth result from lack of education or simple lack of care when engaging in sexual behavior. Then, either that natural instinct to care for a child kicks in and we parent our children however well or poorly our morals and training will allow, or we place that child into a system designed to find better parents in an attempt to either save the child from ourselves or to save ourselves from the burden of our poor decision making’s result(s). I, like you, choose to create no children, but I also refuse to engage in the adoption process. This act alone, if adopted globally, would destroy our species in less than 100 years so I am thankful to those individuals who proliferate our species, however haphazardly or selfish it may appear. We all have our niche. Most of us have our own personal way of giving back to our communities and I am thankful to all those people who help in all their ways in which I am not a party to. I think perhaps your argument isn’t against breeders but more against poor parenting skills or simply lack of care for our fellow human brothers and sisters of any age. We define ourselves by our achievements and our failures and using children as our measuring point seems an inefficient, inaccurate tool. “We are all here to do what we are all here to do” and all I ask of any person is to do more good than harm, in whatever way you can. That is a global ideology that I can stand behind.

  3. Your statement (1) raises an interesting and intricate philosophical issue. If people can matter despite being spatially distant from me as I am making the relevant decision, why should temporal distance be any different?

    To put it another way: future people do exist — over there, in the future.

    Perhaps there is an important normative asymmetry between time and space, but I don’t think it is at all obvious that there is.

  4. Why do you not address the details of my linked counter-argument? Why do you not address the substantive meta-ethical questions I raised there?

    I’ll state this again: you argue from a particular perspective. You do not defend this perspective, you assume it to be valid. This is the utilitarian perspective, one in which are choices are to be evaluated solely in terms of their effects. Perhaps 5% of modern ethicists accept this theory, and most others virulently reject it. You must provide a defense of this perspective, or your argument simply begs the question.

    One last time: do not simply go on to list further utilitarian reasons against procreation. Defend utilitarianism.

  5. Nick,

    I think rather than utilitarianism, you mean consequentialism in general. Much of what Tauriq and I argue is directly in opposition to a pure consequentialist approach; how else could one argue that a person who claims to be happy has actually been wronged by being brought into being?

    Antinatalism is largely deontology: there is a right not to be born. Antinatalism leaves open the possibility for any human value at all to exist and matter for individual people – but applies a meta-ethical rule that we not force our values on others who do not share them. Giving birth to a person is wrong because it forces certain values – existence, preservation of humanity, puppies & sunsets – on a creature who did not and cannot consent to this imposition.

  6. Jonathan Webber – “To put it another way: future people do exist — over there, in the future.”

    Some people will exist in the future. Their identity is unknown. But any given person only might exist in the future.

    It is coherent to care about the welfare of future people who will someday come into existence. But that is different from somehow ensuring the right of a merely possible person to actually come into existence.

  7. @ Jacques

    Thanks, J. Perhaps it was a bit sweeping. I can’t help see oxytocin, etc., as merely another way of talking about the irrelevance of biology as a moral justification. After all, the argument stand regardless of whether biological mothers would be more likely to dive into a burning building for their child than an adoptive. Would it make a difference if I said irrelevant to the argument at hand? Unless you have another point here. Glad you agree overall. I remember stating this as a solution to the problem you raised at the last conference. Indeed, we might be able to solve Kaufmann’s challenge

    @ Justin

    Thanks for your comment, as always. Your simple philosophy reminds me of Mencken who said: “Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.” In a way, you are reiterating some Kantian claims but we will ignore that for this discussion.

    “Most pregnancies on Earth result from lack of education or simple lack of care when engaging in sexual behavior.”

    I don’t deny this. And I don’t see what your first point has to do with disagreeing with my argument. It might be the case that children are not, in most cases, intentionally created, but the problem remains for those who are still choosing to have children. My argument, as I said over at 3quarksdaily, more than likely can’t apply to situations where, for example, women have no control of their own bodies (i.e. the best way to fight poverty). I can’t tell this to my cousins in Saudi Arabia, for example. But that is not the point, since it only tells us something else: Women must be given the freedom of their own bodies which is something else to work toward.

    Nonetheless, my argument still stands.

    More importantly, I am bit surprised by this:

    “I, like you, choose to create no children, but I also refuse to engage in the adoption process. This act alone, if adopted globally, would destroy our species in less than 100 years so I am thankful to those individuals who proliferate our species, however haphazardly or selfish it may appear. We all have our niche. Most of us have our own personal way of giving back to our communities and I am thankful to all those people who help in all their ways in which I am not a party to.”

    1. It won’t be adopted globally, as I said, because there are certain environments in which this can’t apply yet . But for many of us, we are able to.
    2. Why not adopt?
    3. Also asking people to do more good in whatever way the can is precisely my problem. There are better and worse ways to do this, itself. For example, we can keep slaves well-fed or we can abolish slavery; we can use preventative measures to keep a brain-dead person alive as long as possible, or kill them. What you are asking is for people to rely on their moral intuitions which I inherently distrust.

    @ Jonathan

    There is no guarantee that even two people who want biological children will have. Many things can go wrong. We don’t know whether we are giving birth to Hitler or Mandela. These are being that either do not exist yet but more importantly there is a high chance they won’t exist at all. That’s what makes this all so strange: it is beings we know nothing about except certain aspects, like the statistical likelihood of them having this or that stigma, physical ailment, eye-colour, etc. But again there is no 100% guarantee.

    This is the temporal aspect. These beings do not exist (yet, and even then, there is no guarantee they will).

    Spatially, I can fly you over and take you to adoption homes. These children actually exist. However, there is no doubt if I tried I could create a child but that means nothing because s/he doesn’t exist. There is less statistical likelihood of me having a child, than two people who do , but should that stop me because there is some miniscule chance I might have a child in the future (through “accident”, say!). Of course not.

    These children exist now, need food, love, etc now. No future child should stop anyone from realising that. And BTW it’s called contraception and even then there is no 100% guarantee.

  8. @Nick

    Goodness. Do you really expect me to reply to this: “One last time: do not simply go on to list further utilitarian reasons against procreation. Defend utilitarianism.”

    And majority is not an argument, as you should know. It doesn’t matter that as you state so many philosophers are not utilitarian. I don’t really care what philosophers are – and indeed what anyone is – as I am concerned with the arguments they propose.

    Nevertheless, you have never replied to my argument as I stated in my reply and more importantly in my original post. Frankly, I don’t know what the problem is:

    Do you or do you not think that we should procreate? If we should, why? And why are existing people less worthy of concern than non-existent?

    Instead of answering my challenge you brought up this universal thing and this other utilitarian charge. That deviates from my central problem and is, therefore, outside this discussion.

    I’m not sure why you bring up the utilitarian thing all the time. Also, I’ve never stated what type of utilitarianism or indeed deontology or indeed any ethical theory, I support. You have decided that I favour one you dislike and are now asking me to defend it. I will not since that is for another post, if I ever feel inclined to go into it.

  9. @ Justin

    Your objection below is misplaced:

    ‘While desire to care for a living human being and desire to fill holes in our lives is real it is not the main reason for birth on this planet.’

    Tauriq was describing how good parenting works, not how people come to be parents. These are two distinct processes.

    Secondly, you say you endorse procreation (as a means to ensuring survival of the species) regardless of the circumstances in which said procreation takes place. Selfish or haphazard procreation is acceptable because it fulfills a higher function. This is a morally dubious position and one in which the ‘state of affairs’ trumps individual welfare. The logical conclusion of this view would render overpopulating the planet (provided the conditions ensured the continued survival of the species) morally obligatory, even if the result was that each citizen enjoyed minimal welfare. This is inconsistent with your philosophy to ‘do more good than harm’.

  10. Tariq and Sister Y —

    You’re right on the epistemic point that we don’t know who will exist in the future. But why should this matter? If I pour poison into the city’s water supply, it is unknown to me (indeed, unknowable) exactly who will get poisoned. Nevertheless, the reason I shouldn’t do it is for the sake of the people who would be poisoned.

    This is why I think Tariq’s argument in (1) requires the claim that it is metaphysically (rather than epistemically) indeterminate who will exist as a result of my procreative activity. As I say, that might be true but it seems far from obvious.

  11. Tauriq, I honestly don’t know what too say. Aren’t you a student of philosophy? Do you know what meta-ethics is? Have you read any significant work of meta-ethics in the past 40 years? Do you realize that the question I have been raising (that of the correct perspective for ethical thought) is perhaps the most common and controversial question in modern meta-ethics? Can you see that referring to this central problem as “this universal thing” exposes a troubling ignorance of these basic debates?

    There is no answer to the question “ought we to procreate”. That’s like asking “ought we to marry” or “ought we to buy a vehicle”. The answer will vary for each person given their situation. Each person will have to weigh a huge number of reasons. Some of those will be basically moral-consequentialist, such as the ones you continue to cite. Some will be more personal, as many will find their life’s meaning and happiness bound up with procreation. These varying kinds of reasons will have to be weighed. Is that a reasonable answer to the “question”?

  12. Firstly, apologies to all for my terrible HMTL-coding. I’m not even a so-called n00b. I’m what n00bs feed on.

    @ Jonathan:

    I see your point to a degree. It is intriguing. Thanks for that. It certainly will raise some interesting questions for me which I will engage with in the future.

    To reply, however, we can ask: Is it good to pour poison down the well? My basis is as I stated the reduction of unnecessary suffering, etc. (Ultimately no humans is an option, too, which will more than likely, happen one day) Also, these people in your city do exist. Perhaps, we can formulate an interesting juxtaposition between using poisons on living people in a city, and a women using poison on a body though she wants to have a child. Does this get closer to the mark. Excuse me if you feel I’m being obtuse.

    BTW: There is a “u” in my name after the “a” :)

    @ Nick

    I am a student, yes. And yes I am aware of what meta-ethics is. Excuse me for sounding glib but do the works of MacIntyre, Singer, Rawls, or Nagel count? Perhaps Hume? I’m not sure if Hume’s Enquiry counts?

    No doubt it is an important question but your challenge for me to answer it should then tell you something else: (a) either I’m unqualified to answer it adequately or (b) if great philosophers can’t answer it, what exactly are you expecting of me? There’s nothing I can reply to that you won’t have read before.

    Your “answer” is a very boring description of how people breed, not whether it is good or right. It is here where we talk cross-purposes, I suspect, in your continual refusal to answer the question.

    How can there be “no answer” to whether we ought to procreate? That seems relativistic and intellectually apathetic. I qualified the different scenarios myself (a Saudi Arabian women or a “Western” liberal, employed one for example, my immediate argument only applies to the latter. When Saudi women are in positions similar to Western women, then the argument will come into full force for them).

    Are you saying you think there is no answer to a scenario in which a woman, with eight children she is unable to feed, decides she wants another one and comes to you – and, let’s say, you’re her local doctor? You’re telling me there is “no answer” to that question? Doctors recommend these sorts of things all the time, based on a patient’s history, current situation, life-style, and so on, women should not have children if they are, say, smokers, alcoholics, etc. We will donate these kidneys to people who are below 60+, etc. etc. i.e. empirical findings. These are protocols that we can examine rationally and, therefore, in line with Kant and Aquinas, ethically.

    Perhaps you mean, there is an answer of a kind, but there is no so-called “universal answer”. That there are degrees, changes, different political motivations, different complex systems we must engage with first?

    I am willing to accept that, of course, but we can judge according to empirical/scientific studies, as doctors do. We can use economics for example to show that an increased population is “bad” for the world (we know this to be true, when weighing up resources in comparison to mouths and bodies). And these domains of scientific engagement can be applied to different spheres: national, local, international. Is it good that we have nuclear bombs? If no one had them, we might all think that a better world. Since that will never happen, does it mean we must not campaign for it?

    Should we not have campaigned to abolish slavery or defend the emancipation of women because it was not “universal”? Do you not think the universal emancipation of women, applied differently to different countries and scenarios, is something worth defending? For example:

    “Education contributes directly to the growth of national income by improving the productive capacities of the labor force. A recent study of 19 developing countries, including Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, concluded that a country’s long-term economic growth increases by 3.7 percent for every year the adult population’s average level of schooling rises.5 Thus, education is a key strategy for reducing poverty, especially in the MENA region, where poverty is not as deep as in other developing regions.6 According to the United Nations Population Fund, countries that have made social investments in health, family planning, and education have slower population growth and faster economic growth than countries that have not made such investments.7” from http://v.gd/3lHRsx

    We know empowering women means better results for everyone in a community, as we noticed here in Africa. Does this count, using empirical findings, since these are statistics which can be verified or refuted using real-world outcomes? I am not one for the is-ought distinction, by the way. I feel its largely a backward, irrelevant waste of time. The unwillingness and nitty-gritty displayed between us is an example of why so much of philosophy can be so bloody useless.

    Dammit, Smyth, you’ve made me want to read MacIntyre again.

  13. Hello,

    Sorry for misspelling your name. I realised at precisely the moment it was too late to change.

    In response to your reply: I agree that poisoning the well is bad, but think it creates problems for your claim (1) in your initial post that we can’t act for the sake of a future person. Here is another take on why I think it’s a problem, then an quick point about why I’m saying it ….

    – if time is just a fourth dimension alongside the three dimensions of space, then why should it be metaphysically indeterminate who I will find if I move through it in time when it is metaphysically determinate who I will find if I move through it in space?

    – perhaps time and space are importantly different in this way, but here is why I suspect not: if in 1900 it was metaphysically indeterminate whether or not you would exist in 2011, then when did it become determinate and (more importantly) how did that happen consonant with the laws of physics?

    – if you think that future people are metaphysically determinate, then you might try resting your claim (1) on the thought that they are epistemically indeterminate from our perspective (this was the kpve I took you and Sister Y to she making above);

    – but the example of poisoning the water supply seems to show that we can and should act for the sake of epistemically indeterminate people, so this cove won’t work for you;

    – finally, you could say that we should have a moral preference for people in our own time frame; perhaps this is right, but it would need some strong moral argument for it, since otherwise it will just look like a kind of temporal chauvinism.

    Why am I bothered about this? Well, I don’t know whether or not I agree with your overall anti-natalist and pro-adoption position. Notice that I have only critiqued your argument (1), and have leftf the others alone.

    What bothers me is that your argument (1) sounds a lot like arguments people use to say that we should stop worrying about climate change, look after ourselves and the people around us, and let the future generations fend for themselves.

    I don’t know what you think of climate change, but I suspect your general consequentialist outlook means you wouldn’t want to say that.

    All the best,

    Jon

    • Don’t worry about misspelling my name. Appreciated that you noticed though.

      I agree that poisoning the well is bad, but think it creates problems for your claim (1) in your initial post that we can’t act for the sake of a future person.

      As I mentioned, if we are talking statistically, it becomes negligible. What are the stats involved in my not using a condom, not wanting to have children, etc., and the impact on my future child? Probably quite dramatic in that he will continue to not exist. What is also strange, I’ve found, is talking about him, as you do, as if s/he exists – the point is, all sorts of people have the potential to exist, even from people like myself who are against procreating. But it becomes pointless to act as if that statistic – whatever it is – must affect my decisions now.

      What makes our discussion interesting is when talking about the statistical likelihood of people dying through “evil” Dr Webber poisoning the well (yes, you have lightning behind you whilst you cackle and brandish your bottle of poison) and the statistical likelihood of non-existence of my 13 children. Perhaps we are confusing ideas of death and non-existence, which I don’t see as the same thing? I’m not very good when it comes to complicated arguments so please excuse me if I am struggling to follow. However, I am seeing more territory to investigate for myself, so a continual thanks.

      To continue:

      – if time is just a fourth dimension alongside the three dimensions of space, then why should it be metaphysically indeterminate who I will find if I move through it in time when it is metaphysically determinate who I will find if I move through it in space?

      Does this relate at all to my speaking about the statistical likelihood of my future child and contraception, and the dispersal of water and the town’s people? Are we not again talking about non-existence and death? That is, the killing of living people, confined to our temporal domain and the continual non-existence of people of the future. I agree with Luper (Philosophy of Death: Cambridge Uni Press) and do not think death and non-existence are the same.

      You seem to know that certain people will exist in the future, but there is no guarantee. How do you know? If you say we can say there is a high probability, given induction, then we must remember it works the other way, too. At least, there is also a statistical likelihood against their existence. That means, just because there is a higher chance there will be future generations – which I don’t doubt there will be – means nothing because we can say little about them. For example, our medicines might not apply to them given advances in their technology, rights may be meaningless, classification might be erroneous. If you want to continue our talk about them like this, we might as well consider them alien-beings. Because it depends how far down the temporal plane you wish to travel – and why not travel all the way to the end? Why stop at some point just because its convenient for your argument about human rights, dependency, etc.? Does this make sense? (Reminds me of the potentiality argument, hence my counter! CF John Harris, The Value of Life, Ch. 1)

      – perhaps time and space are importantly different in this way, but here is why I suspect not: if in 1900 it was metaphysically indeterminate whether or not you would exist in 2011, then when did it become determinate and (more importantly) how did that happen consonant with the laws of physics?

      You almost answer my question with this point. I still don’t understand this point, though. Could you please clarify? Are you not tapping into hard determinism here? That is, looking back, there is no definite point. For example, we could say my parents meeting, but then, it was my grandfather’s decision to come to South Africa, which was because of a decision by the British to continue their horrid regime, etc. etc. I’m not sure there can be one from the past? But, as I say, I struggle with these things.

      – if you think that future people are metaphysically determinate, then you might try resting your claim (1) on the thought that they are epistemically indeterminate from our perspective (this was the kpve I took you and Sister Y to she making above)

      “kpve” in iPad-misspeak means? I have one, too, so I know what you mean. Those damn keys are deceptive!

      – but the example of poisoning the water supply seems to show that we can and should act for the sake of epistemically indeterminate people, so this cove won’t work for you;

      Right! OK! I see now. A brilliant point. But I had seen hints of this above.

      – finally, you could say that we should have a moral preference for people in our own time frame; perhaps this is right, but it would need some strong moral argument for it, since otherwise it will just look like a kind of temporal chauvinism.

      Thinking about it pragmatically, I again reiterate the potentiality counter: how far must we go when talking about potential people? And then, why stop there? For example, if you say we should care about the rights or desires of the next generation, we can ask why the next generation and not the one after – and so on. It seems we would be engaging in temporal chauvinism if we extend it only two generations because surely the non-existent third generation counts just as much as the non-existent second. Then, we can land up saying, well why not care about our descendants who are no longer recognisably human?

      And why only the future? Why not the past? Why do we not care about people who lived before us?

      It seems pragmatically, it seems unhelpful to go into it with this in mind. But perhaps my counters are nonsense. I’m really enjoying this discussion though, so please let me know where I am not making sense, wrong or have mistaken your views.

      Best,

      T.

  14. I think it is well-established that IQ is highly heritable, therefor it is perfectly fine when two high IQ people want to have a genetically-related child. I don’t think most children one can adopt have high IQs. Basically, you would let low IQ people breed, so that mid to high IQ people can adopt them. This will eventually lead to dysgenic effects, making it impossible to keep running a highly technological society, which in turn results in more suffering.

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