Climate scientists thinking twice about getting pregnant

Oh, but isn’t unhelpful doomerism the ONLY morally correct response!!! /s


Only if one confuses morality with virtue signalling.


Oh stop, you’re acting as if it is somehow possible to be aware of all the massive societal problems we face without being needlessly defeatist!


now you are kinda “smearing” him.

because I agree on some positions of his in the matter of climate Im not a serious person on the issue?

I looked him up, of course. An argument from authority* doesn’t change the fact he wrote that profoundly stupid and unhelpful article. And the question I asked you (which you still haven’t answered) indicates that I am not assuming you agree with him on his thesis, despite your posting the piece as a source for the Franzen quote.

[* Though I’m not sure if the UK Greens have turned into the joke that the U.S. ones have.]


To put things in perspective, I still think that a child born today is likely to be better off than a child born before the invention of antibiotics. I certainly would hesitate to take my chances with polio.


Isn’t he arguing that downplaying the severity of climate change and offering reassurance that it can be contained has the same effect on pubic opinion as outright denialism, regardless of scientists’ personal integrity and motives? He isn’t saying that they are corrupt; he is saying that they are mistaken if they think that “holding back” is justified in order to build public support for action.

A lot of the sadness (at least in the West) comes from people’s understanding that their children will very likely have no chance at enjoying the general carefree prosperity (speaking very broadly) that many of them grew up with and spent most of their lives experiencing as a lifestyle. Even accepting that the economy between approx. 1946 and 2007 was an anomaly; even accepting that large numbers of Americans were systemically and deliberately excluded from it; even accepting that what might be called the mid-century middle-class lifestyle was purchased by borrowing from future generations, it’s still a hard pill for any parent to swallow that their kid will probably be worse off than they were.


No, he’s broadly smearing scientists who are not in reality hiding any of the incontrovertible truths he lists from the general public. The weasel-word hed he wrote (“Mainstream Climate Science: The New Denialism?”) and the equally dodgy bolded thesis statement (“By not calling out these incontrovertible realities, mainstream scientists are at risk of becoming the new climate deniers.”) leave little room for a generous take on the article. It’s doomer clickbait skirting the edges of conspiracism, mainly serving the purpose of showing that he’s supposedly morally superior to mainstream climate scientists.

It’s government bodies and emitter corporations that are and have been downplaying the gravity of the situation; if any climate scientists are holding back (and again, the vast majority are not), it’s under their pressure and coercion.

There are few more effective ways to turn off the public from taking action than downplaying a problem, but one of those ways is being a self-righteous defeatist scold.


What strikes me as puzzling(which is not to suggest I assume it’s false; many true things are puzzling) is how the weighing of risk behind the implied assessment of whether or not existence would be an infliction on ones offspring cruel enough that it’s not a justifiable option.

It’s certainly true that continued climate change and its likely effects are going to be a grim business for many, perhaps most; but it’s also true that, say, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-14 and 25-34(bumped down to third by homicide for 15-24) which (among other indicators; this one is just particularly blatant) suggests that things are already a grim business for a fair few, including some who enjoy ample resources.

I’d assume, obviously, that no parent for whom that was a choice goes in with the expectation that their child will draw the short straw and get one of the abjectly miserable outcomes; but (if concerns about ecological collapse or nuclear war or the like have an effect) they are clearly doing some sort of risk assessment.

Is climate risk judged differently because it’s expected to be bigger and more broadly distributed; with basically everyone who doesn’t get to be the Ayatollah of Rock and Roll-ah expected to be some degree of screwed? Is it something about climate risk being perceived as something you can’t mitigate by good parenting or support?


I would say the same; of the seven young people in my immediate family and friends, only my niece has a child and I think that was a surprise, as I don’t think she was prepared for one at the time (very young and in an abusive relationship, which she is thankfully out of). The others have said “No marriage (although they may be in committed relationships), and no children”


I hate to break it to you, but well educated women that study climate change and understand that it is real are EXACTLY who Fox has in mind for those labels.


She must be a hoot at office parties.

Do we really need this sort of faux-amusing, snide, ad hominem comment? One can be a hoot at parties and still have concerns about the world’s future sufficient to elicit serious comments and decisions about bringing kids into it.

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Just because I can’t find it in the thread yet:

I think there’s a broad consensus that while Idiocracy had its moments, it was also written around a fundamentally classist and even eugenecist premise.


I’d like to see a citation for that statement.

Surely, it was entirely about education and intelligence…?

“Society is getting dumber because poorly educated people are having too many children” is a classist premise.

“Society is getting dumber because too many of the people making babies lack the genes for intelligence” is a eugenicist premise.

I don’t think Mike Judge is a bad guy, but there’s no way around the problematic premise of that movie.



Here’s a discussion of the genetics and education angle from a biological anthropologist.

Also, evolution doesn’t work that way. In the movie 500 years pass – not enough time to completely breed out averge-plus intelligence from the entire human population. In addition, take into account that the operative term in Darwin is “survival of the fittest” – congenital idiocy leads to a lot of accidents, hence the saying “evolution in action” when we joke about idiots killing themselves pulling stupid stunts.

It’s a fun fictional conceit for Idiocracy, but I doubt Judge really believed eugenics is sound science (CM Kornbluth, I’m not so sure…). The classism is definitely present in the intro as well, although I’d argue he’s also making fun of the yuppie couple.


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