Considering that humans are the most intelligent species on earth, why do humans make infants?

I cannot understand the reason why humans make infants, when

  1. humans can't predict whether the child will be born healthy [mentally or physically],

  2. humans can't predict whether they will pass on genetic diseases that could occur at any point in the child's life,

  3. infants could be raised in poor environments, and

  4. death is inevitable for every living being at some point of his or her life cycle.

Knowing all the above, why do humans make infants? Aren't humans making infants for their own selfish interests?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Conifold, Eliran H, Frank Hubeny, Yechiam Weiss, Mark Andrews Oct 12 at 18:50

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I made some edits which you may roll back or continue editing. You can see the versions by clicking on the "edited" link above. Welcome to this SE! – Frank Hubeny Oct 11 at 11:33
  • "Aren't humans making infants for their own selfish interests?" Exactly; see The Selfish Gene. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Oct 11 at 12:09
  • You may find these of interest: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinatalism and philosophy.stackexchange.com/q/56011/33787 – christo183 Oct 11 at 12:44
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    References for interest. But if must know my opinion on this: Willful (or not) ignorance of your four points, and biological imperative. In other words, most people don't think that far. – christo183 Oct 11 at 13:19
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    Well... sometimes they do that for conformity. Not for selfish interests. And probably most of the time. Also, accidents occur. Condoms break, pills fail. And not everyone is a fan of abortion. – rus9384 Oct 11 at 16:41

Reproduction is something of a biological imperative, which means that we will continue having babies unless there's good reason not to. A lot of our behavior is determined by biology, and any question about human behavior has to include it.

With regard to (1) and (2), the odds are that a child will be healthy, and refraining from something that's probably good because it may go bad is not normally rational. As far as (3) goes, children can be raised in good environments. When my wife and I had a baby, we were confident of giving it a good environment. If you mean the world environment, it isn't doomed yet, although there are reasons to believe that chocolate will become rare. The possibilities are endless.

As far as (4) goes, we're all going to die (what happens after that is a matter of debate). This means that, if we want to do anything, we have to do it pretty much now, as most of us don't get a full century to do things with. Even if we were naturally immortal, stars will stop forming in a couple trillion years, and in a couple of trillions of years after that all the remaining stars will go out. Something lasting a century and something lasting four trillion years are both time-limited.

So, if I'm going to spend most of a century alive, what am I going to do? I'm going to do things that I like. Things that bring me pleasure, things that I feel are worth doing. I'm not biologically wired to kill myself or just mope for decades (well, as long as I get antidepressants). As long as I'm doing things, I can father and raise a child, and I'm happy I did.

If you're asking me for a logical reason for reproducing, you're not only assuming axioms that would not support a reason, which is debatable at best, you're missing the point.

  • As for points 1 and 2 you mentioned "the odds are that a child will be healthy" assumes crossing fingers and hoping for the best in a sense. So what if the luck runs out. As for point 3, no one can be 100% sure about good environment, there are lot of possibilities that could go wrong. My question didn't mention anything about killing or moping for decades. – Absolute Idiot Oct 12 at 0:30
  • @AbsoluteIdiot Well, the risk is not that huge regarding points 1 and 2. You can fail to open a business. It does not make attempting it irrational. – rus9384 Oct 12 at 0:35
  • @rus9384, Is the business still worth taking the risk, when you know what's gonna happen no matter what in the end, which is my 4-th point. – Absolute Idiot Oct 12 at 0:54
  • @AbsoluteIdiot You know, some people claim they like parenting activity. Or wish to try. And this has nothing to do with 4th point. – rus9384 Oct 12 at 12:19
  • @rus9384, so its nothing but personal interests aka selfish interests. – Absolute Idiot Oct 12 at 16:57

TLDR;

Humans creatively believe that the time spent alive can provide meaning and value that out-weights the negatives.

Well, so we can't know, why the universe started, or why matter exists at all.

It just is.

Then also, all humans are an unbroken chain of living organisms that have been going a while. You are just a link in that chain.

So really, anything more we decide to put on top of this is subjective.

Now, we can choose to put some kind of faith in our own subjective choices (perhaps being alive is worth the difficulty and risk of it) or strive to achieve, or whatever really. I get lost in existential wormholes all the time, and it's really a kind of waste of time. Perhaps some sort of stress response as I do a very stressful job a lot of the time.

This is something I wrote about humans providing meaning to each other in some way: How is it possible to re-apply subjective meaning to any belief given a starting point of Pessimistic Naturalism: Nihilism

This is something about taking risks in life - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX21TM6QFTI

And there is this french quote - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_precedes_essence

So, what this means is, you exist. First. You are. That's the starting point.

Then you have to decide what comes after. There is nothing intrinsic to being alive that makes it worthwhile.

Now, what are you going to do about it?

So, from the GTD outlook, you follow two steps.

  1. Makeup what you are going to do
  2. Do it

Bringing this back to your question. Why create more children. Well, and this is a very difficult thing for me to say, given I have struggled with your question all my life.

The answer is that we need other humans to function effectively. Evolution has left us in that state. Look at evolution? Can you imagine that if humans could function perfectly well alone the race would continue? Wouldn't everyone just sit alone in some room or go off to the forest to live in a hut or something?

So my point is, I'm not sure if we have much choice but to keep the chain / tree going. Perhaps...

Or maybe all children are just happy accidents or people believe ideologically that they should propagate.

In my eyes, we need a better answer than these two. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsyZcKUP_-k

Benetar is too dark and negative, but perhaps logically correct in a reductionist fashion. Peterson is a scared christian apologist who doesn't really know what anything is, he just tells people to #get on with it and have some balls. Which can be a nice thing to hear, but it is not the be all and end all of how to live your life.

Perhaps the answer lies in creativity. We know that we all fail, and it is the only certainty in life (if you consider death as a kind of ultimate failure). So we need things like, love, hero's, adventure, triumph and striving in order to fill our time with something to do that is worthwhile enough to overcome the all children are just going to die outlook.

This was covered here - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BSAC068/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Hopefully my answer is equally as relevant as your question!

  • I feel like your answer is only particularly focused on the 4-th point of my question. – Absolute Idiot Oct 11 at 12:30
  • I think points 1-3 are about risk, and so, you just have to take a chance / hope it'll be worth it. – Chris Barry Oct 12 at 11:34
  • Do you think it's worth you being alive? If the answer is yes, then why not create more. If the answer is no, then why would you create more? – Chris Barry Oct 12 at 11:34

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