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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Oct 14, 2021


Ramparen writes:

No one really does it because of climate change imo, that is just a neat excuse to avoid the responsibility and limitations that being a parent brings into your life

Of course, this was immediately followed by some people (1, 2) saying they were seriously considering not having kids because of climate change, and this article had caused them to rethink their stance (you can find more further down).

I don’t want to pick on Ramperen in particular because a lot of people made this point. But I do want to pick on someone, so here goes.

We talk about the Principle of Charity here a lot, and most of you are willing to grant it to right-wingers. If this was the post about how some people really do oppose abortion for moral reasons, and it’s not just sexism - or how some people really do oppose immigration for cultural reasons, and it’s not just racism - or anything along these lines, everyone would be on board. But I think this ethos of acknowledging that people can be honest and have principles, and not immediately jump to “they’re making it up” cuts both ways. Some people are actually really concerned about global warming.

Some people in the comments linked to a University of Bath survey in which 56% of young people said they thought “humanity is doomed” because of climate change. I haven’t looked at the survey closely to see if the methodology was good or if this is a fair summary, and probably some of this is just mood affiliation - “‘yes’ is the side you’re supposed to take if you’re progressive, right?” But I think a lot of young people actually think the world is doomed. If you think the world is doomed - and that its death throes will be pretty horrible - that actually does sound like a good reason not to have children, doesn’t it?