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Sep 25 2011

Hump smarter…save the snail darter

This is the way to help save endangered species: encourage humans to reproduce less. The Center for Biological Diversity is distributing Endangered Species Condoms as part of their 7 Billion and Counting campaign to increase awareness of the effects of overpopulation. More non-procreative recreational sex…to save the planet!

(Also on Sb)

120 comments

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  1. 1
    Scepticus

    What? No snail darter ringtone? That’s straight-up piscean discrimination.

  2. 2
    Inaji

    What a fabulous idea!

  3. 3
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    OK, I’m in!

    Cheers,
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

  4. 4
    Therrin

    I thought it went “Hump smarter, not harder.”

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Jim Mauch

    Endorsed by the Catholic church?

  7. 7
    David Marjanović, OM

    FOR GREAT JUSTICE.

    [to be loudly proclaimed at orgasm]

  8. 8
    A3Kr0n

    They should put humans on the endangered species list, and distribute those condoms.

  9. 9
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I’ve been fixed. Does that count?

  10. 10
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    They should put humans on the endangered species list, and distribute those condoms.

    Are you kidding? We’re the most successful megafauna on the planet right now.

  11. 11
    Revyloution

    non-procreative recreational sex? That just sounds so awkward.
    How about concreative recreational sex. Concreate, I like it. My new word for the week.

  12. 12
    ladyh42

    I need to stick those in my Ex’s mailbox. When we were together he basically bullied me into having a second child citing “replacement numbers!1!!1111″ He’s just had his fourth a month ago.

  13. 13
    PaulG

    Well, it’s obviously a wonderful aim (maintain global biodiversity), but as with such programs in the past, I detect more than a whiff of Western society tut-tutting at countries trying to catch up to our incredible levels of wealth and waste.

    In many parts of Asia and Africa, a life of constant pregnancy is how many women provide for their families over the decades. A few will die in utero, a few will die in infancy, but one or two will make it to the productive years (5-death).

    So yes, I am a little disappointed with this feelgood, self-righteous nannying. It feels so condescending. And besides: what is the magical number of children allowed? Who decides it, and what is the punishment for going over? How many children do you have, PZ (I have one)?

  14. 14
    John Marley

    Hey, PaulG,

    Did you actually follow PZ’s links, or just go straight to spewing your crap on this thread?

    The “7 Billion and Counting” campaign, and “Endangered Species Condoms” are targeted mainly at the USA, if the maps on their sites are any indication. I’m pretty sure the only person being condescending here is you.

  15. 15
    raven

    They should put humans on the endangered species list, and distribute those condoms.

    I assume this is a joke.

    It is estimated that 1/2 of the large animal magafaunal biomass on the planet is…human. Much of the rest is…cow.

    Our dominance of the planetary biosphere is truly astonishing. Ecologists have taken to calling this epoch of the earth’s history, the Anthrocene.

  16. 16
    CompulsoryAccount7746

    Ogvorbis@10:

    They should put humans on the endangered species list, and distribute those condoms.

    Are you kidding? We’re the most successful megafauna on the planet right now.

    I think the implication was the precarious nature of unchecked population growth, which risks mass die-offs leaving a tiny vulnerable population in their wake.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    Ogvorbis:

    I’ve been fixed.

    Me too. Plus, I never did breed. Do I get a cookie? ;)

  18. 18
    Dr. I. Needtob Athe

    It’s a nice thought but it’ll never happen. Richard Dawkins wrote “If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.”

    I believe that applies to the human race as well as all other species, and as a whole, we’re just not intelligent enough to overcome it.

  19. 19
    Fickle Ibis

    I’ve got to admit that I’m jealous of The Fixed Ones. I want to be spayed.

  20. 20
    awesome

    I’m not too worried about replacement numbers. I’m pretty sure these people have us covered.

  21. 21
    Aliasalpha

    Where does one sign up for this non-procreative recreational sex? Its just the kind I’ve always wanted

  22. 22
    Inaji

    axewaquestion:

    I’ve got to admit that I’m jealous of The Fixed Ones. I want to be spayed.

    If you’re female and young, good luck with that. You’ll go through a whole lot of doctors patting you on the head and telling you “of course you want children!” and “you’re not old enough, you’ll change your mind” and a host of other condescending statements*.

    Keep looking for a doc who will listen, going through PP can help.

    *It might be easier now, but I doubt it. I started seeking sterilization when I was 17, back in 1974.

  23. 23
    PaulG

    axewaquestion:

    I’ve got to admit that I’m jealous of The Fixed Ones. I want to be spayed.

    If you’re female and young, good luck with that. You’ll go through a whole lot of doctors patting you on the head and telling you “of course you want children!” and “you’re not old enough, you’ll change your mind” and a host of other condescending statements

    Question from ignorance: what drives people to be surgically neutered prior to children and during during their most fertile years? Circumstances and minds do change, so what is wrong with using contraceptives (and, for women, “morning after pills”/abortions)? Also, should neutering be paid for by (as fits the locale) by insurance companies/national healthcare services?

  24. 24
    Toiletman

    Oh yeah, that’s really what we need. People in post-industrial societies reproducing even less. Great idea! It does not help actual overpopulation problem since the population here is shrinking, not growing and also destroys our welfare systems (Americans might want to use wikipedia for that). There are already enough people deciding not to have children but I guess it’s natural selection but it seems to be something really cool for the corbon-footprint-and-gender-neutral-western-eco-liberal.

    Anyways, it was good for a laugh.

  25. 25
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Question from ignorance:

    Much, much ignorance, which, if you had really been listening instead of trolling while you were here, you would have learned a lot and had the answers to your questions. Or for an MRA, shut the fuck up and listen. Try it. You might actually learn something, so you don’t ask stupid questions.

  26. 26
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Caine:

    It might be easier now, but I doubt it.

    Frankly, I would be surprised if it isn’t harder now than in the mid 70s for a young woman to get elective permanent sterilization. Despite porn on the intertooooobz and all the pervasive sexual images in our current culture (and despite real progress in certain kinds of sexual equality), we seem (in the U.S., at least) bizarrely more hung-up and prudish now than in those days. We undoubtedly have more choices available to us (at least theoretically), but it often seems there’s more social shame and stigma than ever attached to actually exercising them.

    On the other hand…

    I started seeking sterilization when I was 17, back in 1974.

    17 might’ve given me pause, too, if I’d been one of the people you were seeking it from. I’m one of the first to say we underestimate the maturity of teens (and especially their sexual maturity), but that still strikes me as shockingly early to making irreversible life-changing decisions. Yes, I know that many of the decisions teens make turn out to be irreversibly life-changing, but that’s different from one that’s deliberately so. This, BTW, is irrespective of gender: I’d counsel a 17 yo boy who wanted a vasectomy to use temporary birth control and wait a couple years, too.

    On the gripping hand… I know nothing about your circumstances in those days, and your evident lack of regret all these years later tends to validate your decision.

  27. 27
    PaulG

    Nerd:

    Much, much ignorance, which, if you had really been listening instead of trolling while you were here, you would have learned a lot and…

    Bad grammar and the same stock phrases. Perhaps YOU, Nerd, could “learn a lot” from some of the wonderfully eloquent commenters on this site, and cease with your endless parroting of sycophantic nonsense.

    Anyway, I really shouldn’t get drawn again into personal arguments with people here. I will leave it at that with you.

  28. 28
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Paul G:
    Christ, what an asshole. What the fuck do you care what people do during their “most fertile years”*?

    If someone said to you, “oh, I’ve always wanted kids!” would you question them in the same way?

    Anyway, on topic, I wish I was still using condoms. What an awesome idea!

    *Which, for women (IIRC) is their teenage years.

  29. 29
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    I understand that the ‘fecundity rate’ is the number of female offspring a female produces.

    If so, my mother (two brothers, no sisters) would at first appear to have contributed more to population increase (3♀, 1♂) than I did (1♀, 4♂). But since I am the only daughter to have produced a daughter, and my daughter only has sons, our female line is about to become extinct.

    Given the Chinese One Child policy and preference for boys, is there going to be a massive population crash there in a few decades?

    Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

  30. 30
    marella

    @ Caine

    It isn’t any easier now. A friend of mine who is 39, unmarried, no boyfriend and raging endometriosis which causes her dreadful pain and has probably rendered her sterile anyway, can’t get a hysterectomy because she’s ‘too young’. She’s been trying for 20 years to get the offending organ removed with no success. Of course if she wished to disfigure herself with enormous mammary implants then that wouldn’t be a problem. But fertility is sacred.

    And as for the poorer countries of the world, it is lack of control of their own fertility which keeps women poor, not condoms. Education of women and birth control are the keys to improving women’s and children’s lives.

  31. 31
    Reynold

    It looks like at least one church group is ahead of the game on this one…they’re knocking off their own members: a fight night at church results in a death.

  32. 32
    PaulG

    Myself @23: Shit, I should of course have included an “exception for health” proviso in my statement.

  33. 33
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Urrk! If I’d'a known what was brewing while I was typing mine @26, I’d'a kept my yap shut. Sorry, Caine: I meant for that to be a thoughtful and sympathetic comment, but I grok it doesn’t look that way in context. Forgive me?

  34. 34
    PaulG

    Audley, 28:

    Christ, what an asshole. What the fuck do you care what people do during their “most fertile years”*?

    Not that much really. But I think you fail to realize how this affects people other than the reproductive system’s owner.

    *This is for people with no relevant health condition*

    Somebody has to pay for it. If a person (in the developed world, as I believe is a salient point here) can’t use free/low cost measures to stop themselves reproducing, who the fuck is to be responsible for neutering them?

    If they can afford it? Go ahead, cut whatever the fuck bits of your body you want, get three assholes for all I care.

    If you can’t afford it, and want to ask the taxpayers/insurance companies for it? Stick a condom on your/their cock and have at it.

  35. 35
    Toiletman

    @29 about China

    Yes, it is really a problem and the current official data is 10 females to 13 males and the real number is even worse. The Chinese government has taken measures against it through allowing a second child if you “only” have a daughter and getting benefits for having two daughters. Also, sex screening prior to birth was made illegal.

    In India, the situation is even worse than China though and daughters are nowadays only considered a cost-factor among India’s majority of poor people. The custom basicly means that the family has to pay more than a year’s earnings to another family so that they get rid of their daughter. Sounds cruel? It is cruel and sexist. One can still find excuses for the Chinese problem because of the idiotic one child policy (officially allowing 2 would have been much better since it keeps the number steady) but there is already consideration about abolisishing it withinn the politburo.

  36. 36
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Obliquely related to this thread because someone mentioned “morning-after” pills, Susie Bright’s latest edition of the In Bed podcast has an interesting round-up of the latest news on that front. Unfortunately, it’s not a free podcast, but I think single episodes are available at audible.com.

  37. 37
    Inaji

    Audley:

    Christ, what an asshole. What the fuck do you care what people do during their “most fertile years”*?

    Audley, ‘PaulG’ is the formerly banned MonkeyGenes/Jazzhands/Pollution. The same slime-filled douchecake as always, but now playing the “I’m a noob here, I didn’t know” card as a way to keep up xis usual assholism.

  38. 38
    Toiletman

    @30

    The problem is that at the end of the day, no matter how often educated people try to make the uneducated poor understand that it is a problem and that women should also have the right to do what they want, the father, brothers or husband is physically stronger and keeps her down. Solving the problem from the outside is impossible. One would be called neocolonialist, racist or whatever then. Sometimes, paternalism (in this case the pater can be a mater,too) is just better leaving everything to chaos. It’s not good but better than the other option

  39. 39
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Apropos of nothing, but why anyone would post here (or do anything other than produce some sort of fetish porn, really) under the name Toiletman is a mystery to me. Jus’ sayin’…

  40. 40
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    marella, your poor friend! I think it is outrageous that the paternalistic attitude that everyone knows better what is good for a woman than the woman herself hasn’t long since been buried by feminism.

    I am ever grateful that I had no problem getting a wanted hysterectomy when I was 37. Now I am concerned that it wasn’t done solely on medical grounds (tumours on both ovaries, endometriosis), but the fact that I already had five children was taken into account. That sucks.

    Toiletman, NO! Paternalism is never better than ‘the other option’; which isn’t ‘chaos’ but humanism.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Inaji

    Bill:

    I know nothing about your circumstances in those days, and your evident lack of regret all these years later tends to validate your decision.

    You know what a lot of people here do, about my childhood and so forth. I knew from a very young age (5 or 6) that I wanted nothing to do with children in any way, let alone have any. I would be one of the worst possible people to parent. I’ve had a difficult enough time in my life coming to terms with all the abuse, the last thing I ever would have wanted was to end up with a kid who would (guaranteed) had a life that was a hell.

    When it does come to sterilisation, yes, some people will change their mind, however, that’s no excuse for women being treated like feeble-minded creatures who couldn’t possibly know their own mind, especially when the same doctors who refuse a sterilisation won’t question a pregnant 15 year old who is intent on keeping the child.

    As it turned out, sterilisation wasn’t needed, as I ended up arguing for an IUD (a copper 7) as no one would sterilise me. I had to fight like hell just to get the IUD, the doctor kept trying to talk me into using the pill. I had a subclinical infection from the copper 7, which completely blocked my tubes. I had a hysterosalpingogram when I was 20 and I was completely sterile.

    Oh, btw, no apology needed, I wasn’t offended by anything you wrote.

    Marella:

    A friend of mine who is 39, unmarried, no boyfriend and raging endometriosis which causes her dreadful pain and has probably rendered her sterile anyway, can’t get a hysterectomy because she’s ‘too young’. She’s been trying for 20 years to get the offending organ removed with no success. Of course if she wished to disfigure herself with enormous mammary implants then that wouldn’t be a problem. But fertility is sacred.

    Jesus jumped up Christ, that’s infuriating. Absolutely infuriating. I’d be screaming my head off at someone if I were her. It goes to show just how much women are still treated like chattel and lesser beings. Personally, I really resent the idea that all women must, of course, want to be mommies. Some of us don’t.

  43. 43
    raven

    PaulG the troll:

    Question from ignorance: what drives people to be surgically neutered prior to children and during during their most fertile years? Circumstances and minds do change, so what is wrong with using contraceptives (and, for women, “morning after pills”/abortions)?

    A lot of reasons and most of them are none of your damn business.

    One is the possibility of producing an internet troll, something like a…PaulG. It’s not like the world needs any more trolls. Some people just can’t face that prospect.

  44. 44
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    and cease with your endless parroting of sycophantic nonsense.

    Why don’t you show me how it is done? I suggest you start by showing me how to shut the fuck up. That would also save the cogent regulars like myself from your idiocies.

  45. 45
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Caine:

    Audley, ‘PaulG’ is the formerly banned MonkeyGenes/Jazzhands/Pollution. The same slime-filled douchecake as always, but now playing the “I’m a noob here, I didn’t know” card as a way to keep up xis usual assholism.

    Yeah, he was acting like an asshole all over one of the Endless recently.

    PaulG:

    Not that much really. But I think you fail to realize how this affects people other than the reproductive system’s owner.

    ???

    This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    Somebody has to pay for it.

    No shit, Sherlock.

    Here’s a newsflash: Caine and Oggie? Americans. So, it’s pretty fucking likely that either a) they paid for the procedures out-of-pocket or b) their (private) health-insurance covered it for them. Either way, not an issue for anyone but themselves.

    But, since you’re a selfish douche, let’s put it into monetary terms, shall we? If Oggie had another child, how much would it cost the state to (for instance) educate that child? More or less than a snip-snip?

    Or how much money would be saved by allowing women to get their tubes tied earlier, rather than expecting a woman who wants to remain childless take the Pill for, what, 35 years of her life?

    The reason why I’m pissed off, Paulie, is ‘cos your assumption is that wanting to be child-free is somehow wrong. (Well, that and you’ve proven yourself time and time again to be a mega-douche.) I’m not surprised by your assholery, just annoyed.

  46. 46
    PaulG

    Bill Dauphin, 39:

    why anyone would post here (or do anything other than produce some sort of fetish porn, really) under the name Toiletman is a mystery to me

    Your concern is noted. If you feel the need, the swooning couch is just over there —>

    Caine, 37:

    Audley, ‘PaulG’ is the formerly banned MonkeyGenes/Jazzhands/Pollution. The same slime-filled douchecake as always, but now playing the “I’m a noob here, I didn’t know” card as a way to keep up xis usual assholism.

    Your attention to my posts is somewhat flattering, but mostly just…well, a little bit sad. PS: “xis” is soooo passe.

    raven, 43:

    One is the possibility of producing an internet troll, something like a…PaulG. It’s not like the world needs any more trolls.

    So, you think people would not have children because they fear that they may grow up to be an internet troll? Is this comedy (fail) or serious social comment (fail)? In summary: fail.

  47. 47
    raven

    It isn’t any easier now. A friend of mine who is 39, unmarried, no boyfriend and raging endometriosis which causes her dreadful pain and has probably rendered her sterile anyway, can’t get a hysterectomy because she’s ‘too young’.

    It might depend on where you live and who you ask, at least to get you tubes tied. I know a lot of 20 somethings with a few kids who had no trouble at all getting tubal ligation.

    There are a lot of female OB-GYN’s and more every day. Half of all med school students are now women.

    The OB-GYN department at the local mega-clinic has seven MD’s on staff. Every single one of them is female.

  48. 48
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oh, Paul, sweetie. You’re attempt at being combative kind of sucks.

    You might want to take a breather and try again.

  49. 49
    Inaji

    Audley:

    So, it’s pretty fucking likely that either a) they paid for the procedures out-of-pocket or b) their (private) health-insurance covered it for them. Either way, not an issue for anyone but themselves.

    I paid out of pocket for my IUD, which happily resulted in my being sterile. I did go through PP, which was the only way I could afford it.

    Throughout my life, I’ve met any number of assholes (along with the plain thoughtless and clueless, all with children) who, upon learning I’m childfree, have asked “what if you change your mind?”. I always wait a beat or three then ask them “what if you change yours?” There’s always a silence, followed by nervous laughter.

  50. 50
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Is this comedy (fail) or serious social comment (fail)? In summary: fail.

    If you posted it, it is fail on all accounts. Idjitcy does that to folks like you. You still aren’t showing me how to shut the fuck up by example…

  51. 51
    ChasCPeterson

    I got the operation after my first and only kid was born.
    Therefore I do not any longer require these “rubbers” of which you speak.
    Still, I’m all about saving endangered species.
    Maybe I’ll wear one in solidarity.

    nah

  52. 52
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Caine:

    I always wait a beat or three then ask them “what if you change yours?”

    ♥ it!

    For the life of me, I will never understand why people just don’t mind their own fucking business.

    (The mean-spirited part of me assumes that on some level they’re jealous– I would imagine that if there weren’t so much societal pressure to have children, a lot less women would choose to do it.)

  53. 53
    Inaji

    Audley:

    I would imagine that if there weren’t so much societal pressure to have children, a lot less women would choose to do it.

    That’s true. It’s one of the reasons that being openly and happily childfree is important, because a lot of people never give much thought to the life script, they just assume things should go the traditional way.

    I know too many people who put more thought into buying a car than they do about breeding.

  54. 54
    PaulG

    Audley, 48:

    Oh, Paul, sweetie. You’re attempt at being combative kind of sucks.

    You might want to take a breather and try again.

    Oh, you adorable thing. It’s “your” not “you’re”. Bless your heart.

    Caine, 49:

    I paid out of pocket for my IUD…

    What? Do you mean an “intrauterine device”? Of course such things should be available via insurance/national health care. Your previous comments seemed to indicate you had been neutered, which – outside of health reasons – would be inappropriate for a childless person.

    Nerd, 50:

    Idjitcy does that to folks like you.

    The word is “idiocy”. Using this fancy, faux Gaelic word just makes you look like an absolute ass.

  55. 55
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Dodge, dodge, dodge.

    You won’t actually address my relevant points, will you Paulie? Tsk.

  56. 56
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Being “fixed” doesn’t mean that you won’t ever need condoms. Sterility is not an HIV preventative.

  57. 57
    RFW

    Some years ago, Scientific American published a graph of the global population over time, using best estimates where hard data wasn’t available.

    It was a very striking graph: about 1850, the curve starts to shoot upwards, getting steeper and steeper over the years. My immediate reaction was “Oh. Any species that has a sudden increase in numbers like that usually experiences a sudden catastrophic drop in numbers.” And of course, Homo sapiens is just another species.

    When I’m feeling morbid, I think about the nature of the catastrophe. My best guess is that it will be some highly lethal virus akin to Marburg virus, ebola, or Lassa fever, but with the wrinkle that you become highly infectious before you feel even a twinge of ill health. Spread by coughing, sneezing, even skin contact (vide Hepatitis A, where you shed the virus in all your secretions). What with the ease of modern air travel to the far corners of the world, such a disease would spread like wildfire once it got going.

    Anyway, enough of my morbid ruminations.

    As for overpopulation itself, it amazes me that amongst all the various green initiatives, population control is rarely, if ever, mentioned. the real reason the ecosphere is getting wrecked is too goddam many people.

    There have been societies that practiced strict population control. I understand (i.e. it might be an urban legend) that on some of the smaller Pacific islands and atolls, the custom was to kill all children at birth unless there had been another death recently. Unfortunately, global culture is too diverse and numerous for any such unanimity to prevail.

  58. 58
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    PaulG:

    why anyone would post here (or do anything other than produce some sort of fetish porn, really) under the name Toiletman is a mystery to me

    Your concern is noted. If you feel the need, the swooning couch is just over there —>

    You miss my point, asshole: I’m not offended, or in any other way swoonish; I’m bemused. A serious, thoughtful commenter who calls himself Toiletman has raised a significant obstacle to being taken seriously; a troll who does so has forfeited his camouflage and given the troll hunters a clear first shot. Either way, it seems like a tactical misstep.

    The reference to fetish porn was not pearl-clutching shock — I like fetish porn as much as the next person — but rather my bemused attempt to think of a context in which such a nickname might actually be apposite.

    Also, bite me.

  59. 59
    PaulG

    RFW, 57:

    I understand (i.e. it might be an urban legend)…

    Headsup: this will not fly here. Scientific evidence (preferably citations to the scientific literature) required.

  60. 60
    Revyloution

    Bah, no love for my new word ‘Concreation’? Fine, Ill just go bug my wife and see if we can concreate before we go to bed.

  61. 61
    Inaji

    RFW:

    As for overpopulation itself, it amazes me that amongst all the various green initiatives, population control is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

    ZPG (Zero Population Growth) was quite the movement with active campaigning back back in the 1960s.

  62. 62
    PaulG

    Revyolution, 60:

    Bah, no love for my new word ‘Concreation’?

    Please accept my salty tears as recompense for the unacceptance of your word.

    Bill Dauphin, 58:

    I like fetish porn as much as the next person

    Really? And what do you consider to be “fetish porn”? Men with men? Men with chickens? Men with stones?

    “Fetish” is an awful, subjective, and exclusionary word, whose only real meaning is “fuck, that seems weird to me”. But what else would I expect from a person who can’t stand by their own words (see #33)?

  63. 63
    ChasCPeterson

    Sterility is not an HIV preventative.

    Indeed, nor a number of other STDs.
    So QFT.

    If I say I no longer require latex protection, it is because I know things that (of course) you do not.

    But excellent point.

  64. 64
    Tim DeLaney

    In between the trolling and sniping at trolls it seems as though the sentient people here mainly agree with the sentiment of PZ’s post, as do I. But most of you, if you give it a little thought, will realize that population control is not as easy as “stop when you get to two”. That’s a feel-good solution, but it ignores demographics.

    Consider the demographic profile of a poor country. It has the rough shape of a christmas tree–lots of young people, and very few old people. The “one child” China policy, if effective, would eventually turn that tree upside down. It’s not good planning to have a population consisting of a large number of old (i.e. non-productive) people and a small number of young people.

    It’s not an easy problem to solve–even in principle.

    If you think demographics doesn’t matter in the real world, consider the situation here in the USA where the “baby boomers” are approaching retirement age. This population bulge has a significant effect on our Social Security system.

    Any change in the fecundity rate takes–literally–a lifetime to come to population equilibrium. What this means is that humanity cannot solve the overpopulation problem with a crash program like the Manhattan project. We won’t feel the full effect of any solution for about 75 years.

    In practice, the simplest way to solve the problem is through mass starvation. I didn’t say the best way, notice, but the simplest way. And we are headed for exactly that solution. When the oil runs out–as we know it must–it will become prohibitively expensive to put deisel fuel in the tractor and the combine, and the semi to haul the stuff to market.

    The Green Revolution runs on fossil fuel. When that fuel runs out, we will be 9 or 10 billion–maybe more. Before the Green Revolution we fed perhaps 3 or 4 billion comfortably. Connect the dots.

    So, while I applaud PZ’s post because it calls attention to a problem that must eventually be faced, fucking smarter won’t solve the problem. But of course, it’s better than ignoring it.

  65. 65
    otrame

    I have two children because I wanted them (and to paraphrase Bill Cosby, because I didn’t want three). I have never regretted the decision, and they and their children give me so much pleasure and joy.

    And I applaud people like Caine who don’t want children and then don’t have them. Caine is right. The decision to have kids is very individual, should be made with due concern and is no one else’s fucking business.

    I have my own outrageous story. Here I am, 32 years old, about to have a semi-emergency C-section (this was at 37 weeks) because I am pre-eclamptic, with blood pressure extremely unstable and kidneys dumping tons of protien. My husband and I had discussed me getting my tubes tied after this baby (the didn’t want three part) for months, and since now I knew for certain that any subsequent pregnancies were very likely to end in my death, it was a no-brainer, and we asked my surgeon to tie off my remaining tube (had had an ectopic pregnancy many years before) while the C-section was being done.

    The paper work required my husband to sign off on it before I did. I was so furious that they decided to skip the required “counciling” because they were afraid with my precarious blood pressure situation I might stroke out.

    So I have two kids and I am happy about it and I think every single person who does not want kids should not have them, and societal and family pressures be damned.

  66. 66
    Inaji

    Otrame:

    The paper work required my husband to sign off on it before I did. I was so furious that they decided to skip the required “counciling” because they were afraid with my precarious blood pressure situation I might stroke out.

    Good for you for making a point with your fury, although I wouldn’t want your health harmed! When it comes to married couples, the sign off by your spouse is standard procedure in most states. Most doctors will refuse a sterilisation to a woman or man who is married unless the spouse shows up, has the “you understand this is permanent” talk and signs their permission.

    This has caused some very unfortunate results, in the case of women who are in impoverished circumstances, often with abusive husbands.

  67. 67
    otrame

    Hey, folks, let’s see if we can get PaulG to contribute something positive, instead of just disagreeing nastily with everyone about everything*. It could be something simple like “I like puppies” or “Ice cream is good”.

    I bet his head would asplode all over the intertubes.

    “And there was much rejoicing.”

    *It wouldn’t be so bad if he was any good at it. His insults would be considered lame in a 5th grade playground.

  68. 68
    Inaji

    Otrame:

    I think every single person who does not want kids should not have them, and societal and family pressures be damned.

    QFT. There would be a helluva lot less children stuck in the system, a lot less children being abused or killed every day if people gave having children more thought.

  69. 69
    Marie the Bookwyrm

    “PaulG: What? Do you mean an “intrauterine device”? Of course such things should be available via insurance/national health care. Your previous comments seemed to indicate you had been neutered, which – outside of health reasons – would be inappropriate for a childless person.”

    By neutering are you talking about a hysterectomy,PaulG, or what exactly? And why would it be inappropriate for a childless person? Also, what’s your opinion on a childless woman getting her tubes tied? Is that also inappropriate?

  70. 70
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Ahh, the cluelessness is strong with this one! (The humorlessness, too.)

    PaulG:

    Really? And what do you consider to be “fetish porn”?

    Go to an adult video store, find the rack labeled Fetish, and behold the wondrous array of peculiar outfits, equipment, physical characteristics, combinations of participants, and activities that are offered up for the delectation of the discerning video voyeur. (AFAIK, fetish has a rigorous definition within sex research, but I’m pretty sure most pornographers aren’t sticklers for technical accuracy.)

    Seriously, go; you sound like you could stand to get out more.

    “Fetish” is an awful, subjective, and exclusionary word, whose only real meaning is “fuck, that seems weird to me”.

    It’s only “awful” and “exclusionary” to the extent that you think “weird” is a bad thing. Me? I think whatever gets you through the night is alright… so long as it’s between (some number of) consenting adults. And whatever people get off on, people will also get off watching: I know it’s an “internet rule,” but the truth of Rule 34 predates the web, I’m quite sure. If you think you’ve caught me being priggish or “exclusionary,” you’re barking up the wrong tree.

    But what else would I expect from a person who can’t stand by their own words (see #33)?

    Wow, you now have a perfect score for misreading my comments! (The fact that it’s likely deliberate detracts from the achievement only slightly.)

    I stand by every word I wrote @26; I was being sensitive to the fact that the conversational context had changed while I was composing it… which is to say, you had dropped a turd in our collective punchbowl while I was off rinsing my cup.

    You’ll note that Caine — the one who would’ve actually had standing to be aggrieved by my comment — subsequently said she wasn’t offended. I know this will seem strange to you, but my expression of concern that she might have been was not an act of cowardice.

    And now, you’ve been a fun little chewtoy, but this cat needs to go to bed.

  71. 71
    julian

    “Fetish” is an awful, subjective, and exclusionary word, whose only real meaning is “fuck, that seems weird to me”.

    Don’t think that’s true when you’re specifically talking about porn. Fetish porn is just any porn that emphasizes a certain aspect of sex or kind of sex. BBW porn and Footjobs are both examples of fetish porn even if they’re both very common ‘kinks.’

  72. 72
    julian

    Well that rendered my comment pointless…

  73. 73
    Easterngal

    Isn’t this just conflating things? Over consumption and over population are two vastly different things – consumptions are mostly done in first world countries which the wealth allows them to do so, while overpopulation occurs more in developing countries which most are still poor.

    The fertility rate of the first world countries, except a selected few (like the US), are all well below their population replacement rate, I doubt you need to persuade these people to have fewer kids; on the other hand, until you can improve the economic situation in the poorer countries, they won’t be interested in saving other species – they would want to ensure their own survival first.

  74. 74
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Caine:

    When it comes to married couples, the sign off by your spouse is standard procedure in most states.

    This is not limited to issues like sterilization: If I change certain aspects of my employer-provided benefits (e.g., the amount of my life insurance coverage), I must have my wife’s signoff.

    If you accept the legal theory (and religious doctrine) that marriage creates a corporate person, then it kinda’ makes sense: In matters affecting the whole (corporate) person (which is to say, the couple), the consent of the whole person (which is to say, both spouses) is required. I may be mistaken, but I’ve always understood that this notion of corporate personhood is also behind the legal notion of spousal privilege: If the couple are “one flesh” under the law, compelling one spouse to testify against the other would be to, in essence, compel self-incrimination, and thus violate the 5th Amendment. (As an aside, this is yet another reason that marriage equality is so important: AFAIK, there is no “life partner” privilege in criminal cases.)

    Of course, even if you buy this model of marriage (in principle, I don’t, but I haven’t thought through the societal implications of throwing it out), matters of reproductive rights should absolutely be entirely under the control of the woman, regardless of her status as married or partnered.

  75. 75
    Inaji

    Marie the Bookwyrm, our formerly banned little troll is simply being an asshole for assholery’s sake. He doesn’t care much for me, as I have no problem calling him out for the slime-filled douchecake that he happens to be.

    As for his current pile of shit, there’s nothing at all wrong with a childfree person getting themselves sterilised.

    In my case, I did manage to argue successfully for the copper 7 when I was 17*, but I did not stop looking for a doctor who would sterilise me. I was still looking when I was 20 years old, and finally ended up with a doctor I found through PP. He was very reluctant, citing my age. We had a very long talk and at the end of it, he said “let me ask you one thing. What would you do if you were pregnant and had to have the baby?” I told him I’d kill it. (Yes, I know, I know. Shocking and all that. At this point, I had nothing to lose.) He agreed to sterilise (tubes tied and cauterized) me, but wanted to do a hysterosalpingogram because of the copper 7. I was already sterile, so the procedure wasn’t necessary.

    People like our little douchecake of a troll can’t manage to see past the end of their own nose and indulge in obnoxious assholery in an attempt to insult and feel superior.

    *It still bothers me that the doctor fought so damn hard to get me on the pill when it was medically contraindicated for me.

  76. 76
    Inaji

    Bill:

    matters of reproductive rights should absolutely be entirely under the control of the woman, regardless of her status as married or partnered.

    You won’t get an argument out of me, however, I don’t think I’ll see the day that actually happens, if it ever does, at least not in the U.S.

    I do think, ideally, all reproductive issues should be happily and openly discussed when one is in a relationship. Unfortunately, reality tends to be fairly complicated when it comes to this subject.

  77. 77
    Inaji

    Bill:

    I know this will seem strange to you, but my expression of concern that she might have been was not an act of cowardice.

    It most certainly wasn’t. You’re a very thoughtful person, Bill, and I appreciate that.

  78. 78
    Ichthyic

    Fetish porn is just any porn that emphasizes a certain aspect of sex or kind of sex.

    are you trying to describe paraphilias, perhaps?

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

    Like allergies, sexual arousal may occur from anything under the sun, including the sun

    nuff said.

  79. 79
    awesome

    Sort of off-topic, but…

    PaulG:

    The word is “idiocy”. Using this fancy, faux Gaelic word just makes you look like an absolute ass.

    One of the first things you learn in creative writing is that it’s okay, and sometimes even encouraged, to break the rules of grammar and spelling, so long as it’s done intentionally. Trying to criticize his style instead of his substance only makes you look petulant and shallow.

  80. 80
    Fickle Ibis

    Caine: Your guess was right on both counts! Which is where the envy kicks in. I don’t like kids, and now that I’m caring for my grandmother I know that I don’t want to have any children. Ever. So my options are spaying (not gonna happen with me only 25 and the apparent three kid minimum) or birth control (would help the vicious periods, but might kill me) which leads me to take the third option of becoming an Old Maid Cat Lady.

  81. 81
    Inaji

    axewaquestion:

    So my options are spaying (not gonna happen with me only 25 and the apparent three kid minimum) or birth control (would help the vicious periods, but might kill me) which leads me to take the third option of becoming an Old Maid Cat Lady.

    Oh, you’re contraindicated for the pill too? Yeah, that’s a fun one. If you have a Planned Parenthood local to you, start pestering the hell out of a doctor there, have the seriously long talk and keep having it, over and over and over. Try arguing (firmly and persistently) for an IUD if you can’t get anywhere with the sterilisation. You’ll still be given one hell of a hard time, but if you don’t let it go, you’ve got a good chance a doctor will concede.

    A doctor will give you all manner of grief over an IUD (these are really only recommended for women who have given birth, yada, yada, yada), but fight for your right to manage your own reproductive capability and fight for your right to autonomy. Best of luck!

  82. 82
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Well, it’s obviously a wonderful aim (maintain global biodiversity), but as with such programs in the past, I detect more than a whiff of Western society tut-tutting at countries trying to catch up to our incredible levels of wealth and waste.

    In many parts of Asia and Africa, a life of constant pregnancy is how many women provide for their families over the decades. A few will die in utero, a few will die in infancy, but one or two will make it to the productive years (5-death).

    So yes, I am a little disappointed with this feelgood, self-righteous nannying. It feels so condescending. And besides: what is the magical number of children allowed? Who decides it, and what is the punishment for going over?

    TMIBW;DR

    (Too Much Irrelevant Boilerplate Wankery)

    How many children do you have, PZ (I have one)?

    He/she has my sympathies.

  83. 83
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Trying to criticize his style instead of his substance only makes you look petulant and shallow.

    I’m suddenly reminded of Al Capone finally getting put in jail for tax evasion.

  84. 84
    julian

    are you trying to describe paraphilias, perhaps?

    Looks like. Thanks for the link and the awesome quote.

  85. 85
    julian

    Troilism! So that’s what it’s called. Always felt funny saying cuckolding.

    Symphorophilia… yeah that’s gotta have an interesting community.

  86. 86
    Jefrir

    Somebody has to pay for it. If a person (in the developed world, as I believe is a salient point here) can’t use free/low cost measures to stop themselves reproducing, who the fuck is to be responsible for neutering them?

    If they can afford it? Go ahead, cut whatever the fuck bits of your body you want, get three assholes for all I care.

    If you can’t afford it, and want to ask the taxpayers/insurance companies for it? Stick a condom on your/their cock and have at it.

    Well, a couple of reasons.
    1. Condoms aren’t just magically free. You seem to be okay with taxpayers providing most forms of contraception, why not the most effective one?
    2. Having a baby is fucking expensive. Even just the birth itself can cost tens of thousands of dollars quite easily, and that’s not including all the medical care a child needs through its life. Sterilisation is comparatively straightforward and cheap, especially for men.
    3. A well-raised child may well be a net positive for society (and taxes) eventually, but that is much less likely for a child born to someone who really doesn’t want a child, enough to consider sterilisation.
    4. Contraceptives aren’t perfect. You will get accidental pregnancies. In the long run, providing sterilisation is likely to be cheaper than providing a lifetime’s worth of condoms.
    5. People who can’t afford sterilization also can’t afford a child. Again, the likelihood of a child born in such cicumstances being a net positive to society is distinctly reduced; these are the very people who need that sterilization the most.

  87. 87
    Therrin

    Caine, Fleur du Mal:

    Throughout my life, I’ve met any number of assholes (along with the plain thoughtless and clueless, all with children) who, upon learning I’m childfree, have asked “what if you change your mind?”. I always wait a beat or three then ask them “what if you change yours?” There’s always a silence, followed by nervous laughter.

    There’s a good chance that I would have been one of those assholes prior to my finding this site. Put my name down on your “Made a difference” list.

  88. 88
    leel

    Refraining from human-overpopulating the planet to death is a novel idea how, precisely?

  89. 89
    John Morales

    leel, who here claimed it was?

  90. 90
    consciousness razor

    Refraining from human-overpopulating the planet to death is a novel idea how, precisely?

    No one here has claimed it is a novel idea, nor does it need to be except in the sense that it’s novel to the constant influx of additional people on the planet.

  91. 91
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Leel,
    It’s novel to put a picture of a polar bear on a package of jimmy hats. It’s novel to link the issue of biodiversity with safe sex.

    Beyond that, I don’t know what else you’re looking for.

  92. 92
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    PS:
    How cool would it be to have a picture of a polar bear printed on the condom itself?

    Rawr!

  93. 93
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    I’m still annoyed (but not surprised) at the patronising (and I use the gendered term deliberately) obstructions faced by women who wish to remain childfree. As with any elective irreversible surgical procedure, it’s ethically necessary to ensure that the person having the procedure is aware of the risks and consequences and is making the decision in a rational state of mind, but once that’s done, there should be no more objections to sterilisation than to any other surgery. The opinions of the woman’s partner may or may not have a bearing on her choice, but they should definitely not form any part of the medical clearance process.

    I’m actually quite shocked at what happened to marella’s friend. Even if it weren’t patronising to tell any woman she can’t have a procedure because she might change her mind, and even if it weren’t medically necessary to alleviate her pain, to tell a woman who has reached the age of 39 and chosen to remain childfree that she’s too young to have thought it through is unbelievable. We managed to get NHS funded IVF this year, and it was just in time because now, having turned 40, my wife is considered to be too old to be reasonably fertile. Exactly when have women had enough time to think about things before they are unlikely to change their minds? (It’s a rhetorical question, I know the answer is “after the menopause”).

  94. 94
    KG

    why anyone would post here (or do anything other than produce some sort of fetish porn, really) under the name Toiletman is a mystery to me. – Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    I’ve assumed since about his second post that it was because he’s full of shit.

  95. 95
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Most doctors will refuse a sterilisation to a woman or man who is married unless the spouse shows up, has the “you understand this is permanent” talk and signs their permission.

    WTF?
    Mr. and I have been talking for a while about him getting a vasectomy, but if anybody required me to sign any paperwork as if this was a medical procedure performed on one of my children who can’t consent, I’d ask the doctor if they were crazy.

    No, back to the OT:
    1. I’m all for birthcontrol. Let’s have more of it, let’s make it free, let’s get it to the places it is currently unavaible in.

    2. I’m all for species conservation. Even for slugs.

    3. Having said that, I too have big problems with the “overpopulation argument”. Not because I don’t think that we couldn’t do with a few billion people less on this planet, but because, like others have mentioned before, it ultimately shifts the blame from western overconsumption to third world populations.
    Yes, even if this campaign is targeted at the USA, the argument logically leads to the famous quote of the dumbass racist Gloria von Thurn und Taxis that the whole problem is that “Africans fuck too much”

    If we want to talk about how to feed those 7 billion, we should start looking at the total production of vegetarian food (I’m not a vegetarian myself) and how many people that could feed. Then we look at how much of that is fed to non-human animals so we in the west can have our daily ration of 1/2 lbs of meat. And we can take a look at how much corn is used for agro-fuel and how much the prices for corn have gone up for people whose food-basis it is.
    Large areas of primary forest are destroyed to make way for huge soy-bean monocultures and palm-oil plantations to feed our western hunger for energy, not to feed a large African family.

    One Paris Hilton does probably as much damage to this planet as the whole of Sierra Leone. A western upper-middle class DINK couple with a 6 bedroom house that is always 24°C while they think that insulation is the noun derived from “to insult” and two SUVs aren’t better for this planet just because they don’t have kids.

    I know people here aren’t like that, but so far whenever the topic of overpopulation has come up, people have brought forth elaborated schemes to control population growth via women’s uteri, just like pro-lifers, only from the opposite extreme, thinking people in general and women in particular too stupid to make good choices about their reproduction themselves.

    We should care about the insane number of pregnancies third world women have to endure, the insanely high childhood-mortality rates, the horrible plights of hunger and the horrors of poverty because of the human being who have to endure them, not because of some slug.
    Yep, call me a specieist.
    If we want to slow down population growth and probably reduce the population, let’s do it for humanity’s sake, for the sake of the children not born to a mother who didn’t want them into a family that cannot feed them. Don’t treat them as harmful parasites that kill off pretty species.

  96. 96
    KG

    As for overpopulation itself, it amazes me that amongst all the various green initiatives, population control is rarely, if ever, mentioned.- RFW

    Oh FFS! If I had a dollar for every time some lackwit made this completely false claim, I’d be in Warren Buffet’s league.

  97. 97
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    you had been neutered, which – outside of health reasons – would be inappropriate for a childless person.

    And who the fuck made you the arbiter of appropriateness with regards to the choice of whether or not to have children? What gives you the right to tell another human being that his or her choice regarding reproduction is invalid?

    ==============

    regarding latex and neutering:

    Agreed. I understand that a vasectomy provides protection against one, and only one, sexually-transmitted condition. Wife and I are kinda boring on the sexual front, so no worries for the two of us. But the rest of y’all? Wrap that rascal.

  98. 98
    otrame

    One minor point. Having your tubes tied. Is not “spaying”. I would argue that a simple hysterectomy is not. Only when the ovaries are gone are you truly spayed. To prove my point, I know of a woman who remarried after her tubal ligation. She and her new husband had a set of twin boys through surgical removal of eggs and in vitro fertilization.

  99. 99
    KG

    In many parts of Asia and Africa, a life of constant pregnancy is how many women provide for their families over the decades. A few will die in utero, a few will die in infancy, but one or two will make it to the productive years – PaulG

    Anything related to demography seems to bring out the ignorant fuckwits who like to sound off without the slightest knowledge of the subject. Here is a table of infant mortality rates by country. As can be seen, while there is still much to be done in bringing rates down, there are very few countries in which more than one in ten dies in infancy. So for “a few to die infancy” per woman, the number of live births per woman would have to be in the dozens. As can be seen here, it isn’t. Anywhere. Moreover, birth rates and fertility rates (number of children born per woman) have been declining just about everywhere since the 1970s. Here is an article on it from the Economist. Here’s a brief extract:

    Behind this is a staggering fertility decline. In the 1970s only 24 countries had fertility rates of 2.1 or less, all of them rich. Now there are over 70 such countries, and in every continent, including Africa. Between 1950 and 2000 the average fertility rate in developing countries fell by half from six to three—three fewer children in each family in just 50 years.

  100. 100
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    As others have pointed out, one problem with trying to quell overpopulation by drastically cutting the birth rate leads to a small working population trying to support a large number of people too old to work. Maybe we should institute some sort of system that randomly culls people after they reach a certain age. For some reason, 30 springs to mind.

  101. 101
    John Morales

    [OT + meta]

    Marcus, you saw the movie, but didn’t read the book, did ya?

    (Hint: 21)

  102. 102
    raven

    As for overpopulation itself, it amazes me that amongst all the various green initiatives, population control is rarely, if ever, mentioned.- RFW

    It used to be a common position. In the 70′s, it was Zero Population Growth, ZPG.

    It isn’t mentioned much for three simple reasons.

    1. It never became popular and accepted for one reason or another.

    2. It also didn’t work very well. No one paid much attention.

    3. It turned out to be unnecessary. In developed countries population growth slows to zero anyway. In a lot of Europe and Canada it is negative. It would be negative in the USA without immigration.

    The feeling is, it is better to educate and develop third world countries rather than have rich white people preach at them that they are having too many kids.

    ZPG is still on the table but seems like no matter how blindingly obvious a problem is, seems like people have to learn the hard way. Peak oil, global warming, exponential population growth, and anything that isn’t happening tomorrow just doesn’t get planned for.

  103. 103
    raven

    If you think demographics doesn’t matter in the real world, consider the situation here in the USA where the “baby boomers” are approaching retirement age. This population bulge has a significant effect on our Social Security system.

    This is one of those truisms that probably is way overstated.

    Sure demographics matter. But probably not necessarily all that much.

    There is no shortage of willing workers to support the old people in the USA. The unemployment rate is 9.2% for Cthulhu’s sake. A lot of these are older, well educated, experienced people who can’t find good jobs becaue the jobs aren’t there.

    60 is the new 50. It wouldn’t take much to fill any jobs needed, the problem isn’t a shortage of workers but the reverse.

    What is stressing social security right now is a lot of people retiring early at 62 or getting on disability because they can’t find a job.

  104. 104
    KG

    exponential population growth – Raven

    *sigh*
    How many times is it necessary to point out that global population growth has not been exponential? Prior to the 1960s it had been super-exponential (the proportional rate of increase itself increasing) for centuries. Since then it has been sub-exponential, that rate having approximately halved to about 1.2% p.a., and since the 1990s, even slightly sublinear (the absolute annual increase falling a little). If you mean “very fast” or “too fast” then FFS say that, rather than pretentiously using a long sciency word.

  105. 105
    Bernard Bumner

    As others have pointed out, one problem with trying to quell overpopulation by drastically cutting the birth rate leads to a small working population trying to support a large number of people too old to work. Maybe we should institute some sort of system that randomly culls people after they reach a certain age. For some reason, 30 springs to mind.

    Presumably, if a significant fall in birth rate also leads (directly) to a significant increase in the employed working population and a higher tax yield, then this may mitigate that effect?

    Is there any evidence that lower birth rates lead to higher taxation revenue? (Rather than the other way round – that wealthier populations tend to have a lower fertility rate.)

    (And none of this really starts to address the issue of global resource management. We know that wealthier populations consume much more under the current model for living. The developing world is saving the planet by remaining poor and consuming less. Any significant increase in living standards in the developing world must be a least as great a resource problem as the continued growth in population.)

  106. 106
    RFW

    Since the comments have veered in the direction of the demographic effects of a declining birthrate, let me point those interested to a well-informed blog on the subject:

    http://spikejapan.wordpress.com/

    Pachiguy, who writes it, is a British ex-pat employed in the financial sector in Tokyo. His blog, while it features some of his pet enthusiasms (abandoned railways, rust, decaying urban architecture), is mainly devoted to the effects of demographic change on rural Japan. In SpikeJapan you will find hard figures on all manner of details.

    He’s particularly amusing when he dissects some article in The Economist and makes clear that the authors didn’t know what they were writing about – and had evidently made up the figures.

    It’s a fairly large blog by now, but well worth investigating in depth. Be thorough in your exploration: you can never tell when a paean to rust will have embedded in it some startling demographic statistics.

  107. 107
    Easterngal

    I guess I am a specieist too. I am always a little unnerved by some passionate, eh, nature-lovers heatedly declare how humans are parasites and should all die as soon as possible…

  108. 108
    Inaji

    Therrin:

    Put my name down on your “Made a difference” list.

    Thanks. :)

  109. 109
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Count me in as one of the lucky childfree fixed folks. I got it done when I was 24, and part of the wait was getting the doctor to do it. (Doctor shortage in the province I’m from.) I had it put on my record every year through my adolescence that I intended to pursue tubal ligation when I turned 18, which, combined with an excellent family doctor and OBGYN, made getting it a lot easier. I’ve never regretted it for a second. :)

    I’m also on the pill for my vicious endometriosis, which will hopefully soon be dealt with. And yeah, I prefer sex with condoms. Always have. But I was amazed when I got fixed how much time I was spending before worrying about pregnancy. I only really noticed when it was definitely off the table.

  110. 110
    Infinite ?s

    First time posting. I read some of the comments and had to throw in my two cents. I’m a 28 yo male who had a vasectomy at 25. My private health insurance covered it with a $20 copay. The urologist asked me what I would do if I met someone else (I was married at the time and still am) who wanted children or if I changed my mind. I told him I had thought about it since I was 18 and wouldn’t be changing my mind, but even if I did I would adopt as opposed to procreate. He said it was my choice and I simply had to sign a paper stating that I understood the outcome of the surgery. I have had no regrets in the 3 years since, and I doubt I ever will.

    My reasons for having a vasectomy:
    Lack of desire in having children
    Genetic predispositions I wouldn’t want to pass on to a child
    Plenty of unwanted children in the world already
    Cost involved in raising children
    Enjoy my freedom and time to myself
    Overpopulation
    I’m sure there are other reasons bouncing around in my skull

    One of the commenters mentioned that other people’s children would be paying for me in my old age. Somehow they forget that I pay property taxes that help to educate the children in my community. I’m happy to do this, as an educated public confers benefits on the society as a whole as well as for those individuals being educated. I also pay taxes that support other social programs, and I don’t get any child tax credits while doing so. Some of the money I pay in now also goes to support me later in the form of Social Security. And I’ll hopefully have enough saved and in retirement so that others won’t have to pay for me while I’m dying. Of course, if voluntary euthanasia were legal, this would be even less of a problem. The last thing I feel guilty about is the fact that I won’t be having children. There are positive and negative consequences of both having and not having children. People should be able to decide for themselves. The point of the campaign, however, seems to be in combating unwanted pregnancies. Something I would expect almost everyone supports.

  111. 111
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Hello and welcome, Infinite ?s, and high-five to a fellow fixed person! I got mine done in Canada where I live, so mine cost me a grand total of…cab fare? I think? Or possibly Mom got that for me, I can’t recall. That said, my taxes chipped in, as they do for everyone else’s procedures/babies so it evens out. Us childfree/childless folks chip in for people’s kids all our lives as well in terms of schools and stuff, so yeah.

  112. 112
    Ichthyic

    One of the commenters mentioned that other people’s children would be paying for me in my old age.

    come back with:

    at least your grandkids won’t be paying for my children’s retirement then.

  113. 113
    Ichthyic

    Maybe we should institute some sort of system that randomly culls people after they reach a certain age. For some reason, 30 springs to mind.

    “There is no Sancturarrrryyyyy…”

  114. 114
    Don Quijote

    I was fixed 35 years ago in England absolutely free of charge. I just told the doctor that I am an atheist and would probably eat any babies my wife might have.
    Been married now for 38 years, no regrets.

  115. 115
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    [OT + meta]

    John Morales #101: Wrong, as it happens, I just figured the movie version would be more widely recognised.

  116. 116
    Super Shala

    PS:
    How cool would it be to have a picture of a polar bear printed on the condom itself?

    Rawr!

    “For those who can’t bear to have it break.”

    Incredible!

    I always wait a beat or three then ask them “what if you change yours?”

    +1

  117. 117
    orbitfold

    Love how this is coming from someone with three offspring.

  118. 118
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Ah, OK, Marcus.

    (I believe you)

  119. 119
    hackerguitar

    Caine:
    >QFT. There would be a helluva lot less children stuck in the system, a lot less children being abused or killed every day if people gave having children more thought.

    You are MY HERO. My wife & I have been childfree since day one. Neither one of us wanted children – we like each other’s company and that’s been a real treasure-well for us for the last almost-quarter-of-a-century.

    Up until a few years ago – when we were about forty – people would ask if we had kids, and when we said “no,” they’d either ask “why?” or indicate sympathy. Eventually it got to the point where we would just respond that we didn’t want kids, and so we’d elected not to have them….and often, shocked silence would ensue.

    And then the counterarguments would begin. “Who will take care of you in your old age?” “That’s not right – it’s against what G*d says!,” “How selfish of you!” and more. We figured that you let ‘em rant for a minute and respond with “Our choice. Do you really want people who don’t want to be parents to be parents?”

    That often shut them up, because I got the distinct sense that some of my interlocutors were in that position….

  120. 120
    Inaji

    hackerguitar:

    And then the counterarguments would begin. “Who will take care of you in your old age?” “That’s not right – it’s against what G*d says!,” “How selfish of you!” and more. We figured that you let ‘em rant for a minute and respond with “Our choice. Do you really want people who don’t want to be parents to be parents?”

    Oh yes, I’m familiar with those questions, too. As for the classic “who will take care of you”, I always ask “have you ever visited a nursing home?” That tends to quiet the indignation that goes with that particular ‘gotcha!‘ they think they have. Having children is simply no guarantee of anything. Your kid could turn out to be a happy, successful genius or a criminal. People don’t think that way, though. There’s always the assumption that their kids will turn out to be fantastic adults. A lot of them do turn into fantastic adults, but a lot of them don’t.

    I’ll be responsible for myself in my old age (which I’m already in, technically, being 53.5 years old). Even if I had children, I’d be responsible for myself – I’d do everything I could to remain independent and make my own decisions when it came to my care and eventual death.

    As for being selfish, yes, it’s definitely a matter of self-interest that I’m childfree. However, it’s also a matter of self-interest when someone has children. :shrug: It’s a non-argument. As for God? Who the fuck cares?

    That often shut them up, because I got the distinct sense that some of my interlocutors were in that position….

    Yeah, I’ve run into my fair share of people who seem to be more than a bit shocked once they actually start thinking about the whole subject. It’s extra nice though, when I come across people who have thought and agree – when I first moved to the tiny town I now live in, a neighbour came over to say hello, a woman in her 60s. She did ask if we had kids, I said “no, never wanted them, never had them” and she nodded her head and said “good for you!, I wish more people thought about it.” Those are good days.

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