SFDebate : Listen, Speak, Discuss, Understand


This House Believes it's Selfish to Have Children

Hung : 7:7 (5 Abstained)

Most of our debates are usually a good mix of men and women, but surprisingly, this group was heavily male with some 22 people, 17 of them guys!

Will kicked off the debate speaking in favor of the motion. We all had a good chuckle at the analogy of the earth as the number 30 bus in Chinatown. There gets to be a point where there just isn't enough room and resources for everyone, and then life is miserable for all of us.

Rob spoke against the motion, and made the important distinction between self-interest and selfish. It's fine to do things out of self-interest. Breathing is done out of self-interest, and no-one would say it is wrong to breathe. Selfish requires an element of doing something at the expense of others... usually deliberately.

Rob - If your kids will contribute to society, it is not selfish, but altruistic to have kids. Ask yourself, will my children make the world a better place. If so, it's not selfish.

James - The issue, is not whether it is selfish to other people, but whether it is selfish to the planet. If the world were being viewed by outsiders, the human species would appear as a plague. It is overfishing, over-forresting, burning fossil fuels, destroying the habitat of animals, with no end in sight. Furthermore humans are adaptive, and are defying natures attempts to control us. How many is the right amount of people on this planet. 6 billion seems to be too much. Therefore adding more is selfish and inconsiderate of the planet.

Casey - If only the compassionte people abstain from having children, and selfish people have lots of children, then we'll just have lots of children of selfish people, and the world won't be very nice.

Dan - having 4 or 5 kids is selfish. But having 1 or 2 isn't. If we're all sharing a pizza... if everyone takes a slice, it's ok, but if someone takes 4 or 5 slices, that is selfish.

Rob - Technology will solve global warming and many of our issues.

SO - There is always winners and losers in nature. Having more cats is detrimental to mice, but you can't call cats selfish.

Hannah - Having children might be an initially selfish act, but raising children is a selfless act. It dosen't feel very selfish having a child vomit on you at 4am.

James - Who cares about the enviroment? We all do. If I were to drive a hummer, would you call me selfish? Probably. Yet, driving a hummer will probably add about 20% to my CO2 emissions, raising it by 5 tons a year, probably 150 tons over the course of my life. Having a child will create another consuming human who will probably create 1500 tons of CO2 in its life... ten times worse than driving a humer. For global warming, having a child is far far worse than driving a bigger car.

It was a fun debate. Everyone contributed to the conversation at some point even if I wasn't always taking notes. While I want to have a family at some point, and while I might like to have a big family, the impact on the environment is important enough that I'll probably only want one child, and would be happy adopting.

Pleaase feel free to add your thoughts below....

-- james

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