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February 27, 2013 / JayMan

Are you missing out by not having kids? Your DNA sure is…

Over at Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Ellen ellen-walker2Walker has a blog called Complete Without Kids, which is dedicated to the modern child-free (presumably professional) adult. There, she extols and rationalizes the conscious decision to not reproduce.

Of course, it’s not like Psychology Today isn’t loaded with the typical cutting-edge suspect psychological wisdom, and it isn’t like there aren’t many other advocates like her. But her latest post caught my attention in its usefulness a window into the mindset of these folks.

Her post, titled “Are You Missing Out by Not Having Kids?” starts off by defending the complaints of a childless 28-year-old woman who “was in [Walker’s] office expressing her frustration that her slightly older sister—married with two children, was making jokes about her becoming a ‘cat woman’ if she doesn’t act soon.”

Oh I don’t know, maybe this woman’s sister would like a few nieces and nephews to help continue the family line?

Walker then goes on to list the wonders of being child-free, such as having more sleep, more time for marital bliss, and the all important career (which we know doesn’t mix well with motherhood). All objectively valid, but isn’t this missing the point?

An interesting statement that speaks to Walker’s apparent ignorance of the reason for people’s desire to have children, I will note that she actually said this on her previous post:

The age-old human desire to procreate came about by necessity. Just think about it—families living in rural areas needed to have as many hands as possible to manage the workload, and it really didn’t cost much to feed and clothe another person. Many children died at birth or at an early age, and couples were unable to “plan” their families through use of birth control. The common practice of having extended families live together also made it easy to have many children underfoot while Mom and Dad went about their daily work. It was a different time and place from today!

I couldn’t help but mention Charles Darwin in my comment on her latest post.

Now, it’s my belief that if you’re someone who knows that you don’t want children, then you probably shouldn’t have them. People are encumbered by parenthood enough such that it’s something that should be undertaken only by people who have the desire. Whatever floats your boat and sinks your chromosomes.

But the key problem with advocating this is that this will dissuade procreation among those the most easily dissuaded: high-IQ, driven types; that is, the type of people we need to reproduce the most if we want to sustain our advanced civilization.

In my comment there, I decided to clue Dr. Walker in on a few things. One, while she may not be missing out on much, her DNA sure will be. I wonder, do voluntarily child-free people think that their genes will magically propagate themselves? Or course, I’d imagine that for most such people, heredity is not even being factored into the equation.

However, the thing that really got me, and the thing that sparked me to write a comment to Walker’s post and this blog post, was this part:

Doing your part for the environment. I’m happy to see more and more being written about the environmental footprint of each human. Just last week I read that the single action you might take that would make the most difference in saving our world is to have fewer or no children. I feel proud of what I’m giving back as a childfree adult.

Really? Funny, the ones who are actually doing the reproducing and overloading the planet don’t seem to be so concerned.

This is something I’ve heard before from others. Many people who curb their fertility (typically high-IQ, capable types, often on the Left of the political spectrum) actually believe by so doing, they personally are doing the planet a favor (well, some of them are). Of course, in reality, the inescapable consequence of this thinking is that this leaves the future with more people less concerned about overburdening the world and fewer people with the ability to provide for these individuals.

Now, I know that I’m not going to change many minds with this post. The reality is that for any individual, the decision to have children is mediated by forces beyond my—or most anyone’s influence (and I just don’t mean wealth, but heritable dispositions that lead to less procreation). And in the end, this isn’t a huge problem because of the slow (but steady) rate of decline in average IQ. As well, as I’ve noted previously, and as Jason Collins has affirmed, fertility will eventually rebound as the non-reproducers select themselves out of the gene pool. I’m not so sure that this is that much of a good thing, but that is where we’re headed none the less.

But, I couldn’t resist pointing out the folly of Walker’s blog, to which I’ll leave off with this reminder:

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10 Comments

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  1. szopeno / Feb 28 2013 6:37 AM

    This is not a comment to your current post, Jayman, but rather I want to share the recent thoughts of mine how to explain HBD to white males. I thought maybe I should start with the differences in crime between white males and white females. White males are many times more likely to murder; many, many times more likely to rape; many times more likely to steal etc. Does that mean that white females should treat all white males as potential murderers, rapists and criminals?

    • JayMan / Apr 5 2013 10:29 PM

      I’m going to tackle this topic in its own post… 🙂

  2. Staffan / Feb 28 2013 7:27 AM

    I’m also a bit concerned by this, especially seeing all the Muslims multiplying here in Europe. Their IQs seem to average around 85 or so.

    It’s possible, though, that this trend isn’t entirely modern. When I looked at Richard Lynn’s figures on personality averages for various nations it was evident that the high IQ nations were also the most introverted. And introverts make fewer babies. This could actually be an evolutionary strategy, although one that no longer serves its purpose,

    http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/solving-a-mystery-for-satoshi-kanazawa/

  3. tyrionlannister69 / Mar 2 2013 10:58 AM

    You are right that less intelligent individuals actually procreate more than individuals with high IQ’s. I wonder what role sexual strategies play when it comes to procreation, relative to the evolving human mind. Almost all females get to reproduce some offspring, even though no female can produce a large number due to their greater obligatory parental investment into each offspring. Male reproductive success is is very heterogeneous and it depends largely on genetic fitness, so that high quality men can attain much greater reproductive success than high quality women. But the average women usually attain greater reproductive success than the average men. In contrast, female reproductive success is more homogeneous and uniform than male success. In men reproductive success is a factor depending on the restriction or sexual accessibility mainly, in women can be a free decision to not reproduce.

    There are many factors that could contribute to the decreased likelihood of marriage and children in those with high intelligence:

    1-Their unrealistic mate standards might be higher than those with lower intelligence levels. Those with high IQs may typically desire higher quality mates than their own mate value.

    2-The beliefs on marriage and children of intelligent individuals may also cause declined marriage / reproductive success levels in highly intelligent individuals. Perhaps it is the general logic of intelligent individuals that marriage is unnecessary.

    3- The social habits of those with high IQs could have an influence on the number of possible mates to choose from. Those individuals that dedicate themselves to their work may encounter fewer opportunities to engage in social activities with the opposite sex.

    Two main theories concerning g are the dependent domain and the independent domain models. The domain dependent model has general intelligence as a broad category which is divided into smaller more specific intelligences, including mate selection, cheater detection module, and face recognition module. Under this model, it can be inferred that if an individual’s g is high, then their ability to select and obtain a mate, detect lies, and recognize people’s faces would also be higher. It also follows that someone with a low IQ would have trouble finding a mate and detecting when people were lying.

    The independent domain theory states that general intelligence is only one of several psychological mechanisms, along with mate selection, the cheater detection molecule, and the face recognition module that have evolved. It is important to note that in this model, general intelligence is defined as the ability to use deductive logic and abstract thought.

    I believe the independent domain model is more realistic since there have been numerous studies showing that the psychological mechanisms of the brain are unlinked. One such study was done to compare the correlation between IQ, which measures g, and the success of individuals in finding a mate, which was measured in terms of marriage. The studies found shown that very intelligent individuals (with IQs above 125, at or above the 95th percentile of the IQ distribution) are the least likely to marry of all the cognitive classes (Kanazawa, 2004). This data suggests that mate selection and general intelligence are unrelated, such as in the field independent model.

    Based on the findings from the study above, it is possible to conclude that each of the psychological mechanisms is dedicated to its own area of expertise, which has been forged over thousands of generations of human evolution. The concept of dedicated psychological mechanisms denotes that each of the previously mentioned psychological mechanisms can solve adaptive problems in its own narrow domain but nowhere else (Kanazawa, 2004). This would explain why someone might have increased intelligence, but it would not be able to help in acquiring a mate, just like someone’s ability to find a mate would not increase their ability to use logic and abstract thought.

    Genetic analysis also supports the field independent model. One finding, “concerning specific cognitive abilities is that multivariate genetic analyses indicate that the same genetic factors largely influence different abilities” (Plomin 1999). This refers to the fact that genes involved in verbal ability are also linked to spatial ability and other cognitive abilities. Therefore, the psychological mechanism of general intelligence is not divided into smaller groups based on specific cognitive action; rather that it is a category that encompasses all cognitive ability. This supports the field independent model because the psychological mechanisms of mate selection and cheater detection are not cognitive fields, but are more hard wired gut feelings. Multivariate genetic analysis also discredits the field dependent theory because the analysis shows that verbal and spatial abilities are tied to the same genetic factors, whereas in field dependent theory, they are separate categories under g.

  4. asdf / Mar 3 2013 11:29 PM

    You already know that the only high IQ people reproducing are the religious, but you hate religion.

    Your entire demographic is going to die out, and good riddance. Liberal childlessness if the greatest manifestation of what awful and selfish people liberals are.

  5. barney / Mar 9 2013 11:30 AM

    stupid people will have children regardless and i don’t really care about “providing” for future generations. i hate kids and they’re bad for the earth as well so it’s a double win for me. more free time, etc. you’re writing as if it’s my duty to carry fourth and slave away raising kids because i’m one of the smarter ones. i understand humans are destroying the earth regardless of my decision but you being hyper rational about it doesn’t change my mind. this IS such a thing as doing something symbolically based on principal, you know;) you could’ve said the same thing about announcing you’re an atheist in the 1950’s…

  6. Boy Toy / Mar 16 2013 10:41 PM

    That last video is:
    1. Funny
    2. Scaringly true.

  7. Eric Lainson / Apr 16 2013 7:19 PM

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing
    all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

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