What arguments are there for arguing that human reproduction (in modern times) is not pointless?

Since there are few reasons which make it irrational:

  • Suffering of other animals and nature due to too large human population.
  • "Meaningfulness" of continuing human existence (can there be any objective meaning? If not then why would subjective meanings be good?)
  • You are trying to address a physical process from a philosophical perspective, like asking why quantum entanglement is irrational. Biological entities reproduce in order to exist along time, whether Aristotle had a good or bad philosophical opinion of it. Even in modern times, we need sex, and children will be conceived. Perhaps you can rephrase your question. – RodolfoAP Jul 31 '18 at 4:55
  • @RodolfoAP I don't fully agree. Because one cannot display whether the spiritual should necessarily precede the biological or the other way around. E.g. absurdism and nihilism question the worth of life. – mavavilj Jul 31 '18 at 10:32
  • Well, right now there are arguments, but if people will defeat aging and will be able to live for eternity (or, at least, until universe' end), it will be much harder to defend reproduction. – rus9384 Jul 31 '18 at 13:42
  • @RodolfoAP, then why childfree exist? Your argument is flawed. "children will be conceived" - contraception... – rus9384 Jul 31 '18 at 13:42
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    Maybe there's an SE-answerable question in here, but I think you should edit and clarify until it becomes crystal clear what you're asking... / specifically, what type of argument (for anything) would state X is not pointless ? Do you believe things in general have purposes??? – virmaior Jul 31 '18 at 13:55

I have been hearing some of David Benatar's antinatalist arguments recently, so have been thinking about this. People readily dismiss his case, but don't in my experience then make a positive case, like you ask for.

There is a sneaky universalising that goes on, whereby suffering, pain etc are considered universal and objectively meaningful, but meaning and purpose aren't - that's inconsistent. It seems to be they are the same kind of thing - judgements or reactions for navigating the world.

The population in developed countries is generally dropping rapidly, except in immigrant communities. Female education, good birth and infant care, availability of contraception, look to give birth rates like Japan. However, climate change and resource use are overwhelmingly driven by those stabilising or declining developed world populations, so.

That draws attention to culture. We can impact our culture in many ways, as active citizens through participation, and through pursuasion abd influence etc etc. But, probably no cultural impact we can have is more impactful than that we have through having a family. Through that, we institute a mini-culture, with a particular capacity to spread. If say we focus a family on reducing climate & resource impact, that can help lead a change in the next generation. This is the most poweful impact most of us can have, if done well - or, badly..

You can't justify having children if you don't think you will be a good parent. Having sufficient resources, that may be more ambiguous & based on optimism, but realistic appraisal has to help.

I am deeply suspicious of the urge to have objective meanings. It's like approaching the world with your eyes closed, having already decided what to see. Given the idea of all meaning being 'subjective' (subjective like say, Indra's net!), what is good comes down to what we have the intelligence to argue for coherently, and the passion and fortitude to believe. And, if that makes us more adaptable and resilient, it will be more likely to survive, along with adherents.

Being human is challenging, full of pitfalls and pains. But we have the scope in each of our lives, to be among the happiest and most fulfilled animals. It is sad we are so damaging the natural world right at the moment we can truly appreciate it. If we have found happiness and fulfilment, and we truly think we can help others to, we should say yes to life, and pay forward the care and support we had as children, to the next generations. Who can continue the task of healing & understanding the world.

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