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| | |-+  "All other things equal, having and raising children is a service to society."
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Question: All other things equal, having and raising children is a service to society? Agree or Disagree
Agree   -32 (76.2%)
Disagree   -10 (23.8%)
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Total Voters: 42

Author Topic: "All other things equal, having and raising children is a service to society."  (Read 1337 times)
Beet
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« on: November 12, 2014, 12:33:15 am »

Currently, "Having children is a human right that should not be denied by society?" is at 71% agree, 29% disagree. I think this one will be more controversial. I propose that having and raising children is a service to society. First, let me add that I myself an childless and plan to remain so for the rest of my life, so this is not a 'my lifestyle is better than yours' question for me. Secondly, I am obviously referring to a reasonable number of children (1-3), not Octomom.

My reasons are basically that, if no one had any children, society would collapse. Most obviously, social security would not be there for the retired; the last generation would not be able to retire at all and would see rapidly eroding quality of life in the last years of their lives. The nation would no longer be able to defend itself, and we would quickly be extinguished; perhaps annexed by Canada or Mexico. The Constitution would cease to have power. The flag can be folded up, and the United States can be thrown in the dust bin of history.

So if one sees that scenario as a negative, then someone needs to have children. And having, and raising children, is hard work and very expensive. My friends who have had kids no longer have time for anything else. Most of them lose their freedom to travel or go on vacation. The bags under their eyes grow larger, their physical body is not as fit as before, and gray hair appears at a more rapid rate than before. These are just some of the changes I've noticed among my friends who have had kids. The financial burden is also huge.

So therefore, since this is something that benefits society but has huge costs to the individual, I would say it's a service to society.
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angus
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 08:40:49 pm »
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Yes.  Society is the natural condition of a social group, or a group of one's fellows.  Nurturing fellows contributes to the fellowship.  I don't think this is controversial because the syllogism is coherent.

Society can be cruel or polite, bad or good, but however fit or unfit it may be, it is propagated by its members, and those who add to its membership are propagating, and therefore serving, the society.
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Simfan34
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 10:16:27 pm »
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Obviously, considering if there wouldn't be any "society" to speak of if people did not have and raise children. It's tantamount to asking if, say, cadets and recruits are a service to a military.

I'm not sure how else you can answer the question.
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Beet
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 11:11:46 pm »

This is less controversial than I thought it would be? I'm pleasantly surprised..
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But everything was fine when Bush spent $250 million of taxpayer money for pro war propaganda on all the media for a $2 trillion war that created ISIS?
No, who said it was?
Redalgo
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 10:08:58 am »
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Having and raising children is neither inherently good or bad for society, and making it out to be a "service" is a communitarian angle on the issue - of it being some kind of higher duty individuals have in submitting to the common good. It does not speak to how well the children are raised, whether they are abused, live in impoverished households unlikely to provide them with an abundance of excellent opportunities in life, or how many children may be too many - whether on the scale of families, specific communities, or entire countries. Moreover, not everyone wants children - which is just asking for trouble if they are subjected to social pressures for having them. Whether childbearing is a service or disservice depends on a number of variables that are not addressed in the statement.

To address the concerns Beet outlined I am inclined to take a step back from conventional thought. For example, Social Security is not a permanent feature of society. It can and should be replaced if it ceases to be of use to us courtesy of demographic trends. It is also debatable to what extent armed forces are important to the survival of a country, and also to what extent neighboring countries would care if there were a sharp decline in American defenses. Moreover, why would a hypothetical end to the United States have to be a bad thing? There are conditions under which most Americans may be better off as Mexican or Canadian in the distant future - and if annexation were to occur perhaps society would not actually be gone so much as altered in the range of individuals of which it consists.

So although it can and often is a service to society, I am voting "no" in the poll because it does not always hold true as a general statement. For that position to change there'd need to be lots of caveats provided. It is not enough to offer "all things being equal" because the best interests of society are relative to who you ask and how said interests are profoundly shaped by a multitude of biasing influences.


Tl;dr version: No. The interests of society are unspecified, making an assumption of "yes" a little hasty.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 10:20:33 am by Redalgo »Logged
angus
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2014, 12:18:49 pm »
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it does not always hold true as a general statement

Well then, let us try another form of syllogism to convince you.  Here, we will attempt a proof by contrapositive.  The original proposition can be restated as "If you bring forth progeny, then you are serving society."  The contrapositive we will try to demonstrate is, therefore, "If you are not serving society, then you do not bring forth progeny."

Assumption:  You do not serve society.
Definition:  Society is aggregation of two or more individuals.
Restrictions:  Reproduction is achieved by sexual means only.

Not serving society means not communicating with other individuals of your species.  Without communication there can be no intercourse.  Without intercourse there can be no sexual reproduction.  Without sexual reproduction you will not bear children.

Quod erat demonstrandum
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Redalgo
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2014, 06:09:13 pm »
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In which case Angus I would agree that it is a service to society, but one that is only moral when practiced in moderation within the bounds of particular social and environmental conditions.
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Snowguy716
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2014, 06:40:28 pm »
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Yes.  Society is the natural condition of a social group, or a group of one's fellows.  Nurturing fellows contributes to the fellowship.  I don't think this is controversial because the syllogism is coherent.

Society can be cruel or polite, bad or good, but however fit or unfit it may be, it is propagated by its members, and those who add to its membership are propagating, and therefore serving, the society.
Sehr gut Herr Doktor Professor Angus.
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angus
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2014, 08:21:18 pm »
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Danke.

(Ich kann das Lesen, Schneemann.  Ich habe in Deutschland gelebt.)
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Angry_Weasel
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2014, 11:25:19 am »
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Society is what happens when we interact with one another. Without being able to propagate, there is no society.
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AverroŽs
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2014, 11:54:40 am »
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That depends on how the children are raised, and I am not sure whether you mean to include that in the "all other things" qualifier.
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King
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2014, 02:02:47 pm »
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Other things are never equal.
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angus
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2014, 03:37:16 pm »
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Other things are never equal.

Even if you take that as part of the conditional statement, then the proposition still holds.  In the logical implication (aka material conditional), the implication holds when the first operand is false, no matter the value of the second operant.  In other words, when P implies Q, and P is false, then Q can be true or false.  This is a well-established logical outcome.  (See, for example, "truth table")
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2014, 11:45:24 pm »
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Having children is the evolutionary purpose of humanity.
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angus
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2014, 06:56:52 pm »
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Having children is the evolutionary purpose of humanity.

Not just humanity.  For any living animal there really are only two important things:  food and sex.

We're above all that, of course, here on the forum in our little electronic ivory tower.  At least we let ourselves think that we're above all that. 
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