Is Having Children Immoral?

When a couple philosophers weigh in on the moral implications of having children, they reach some alarming conclusions. Might the Universe be better off without the human race?

What's the Latest Development?

Are people's reasons for having children morally justifiable? In a new book, philosopher Christine Overall dissects couples' motives and reaches some surprising conclusions. First, that childbearing is natural does not mean it is good. Plenty of our natural tendencies need restraining, she says. Next, the claim that giving life will benefit the yet-to-be-born is unacceptable since nonexistent people do not have moral standingthere are an infinite amount of nonexistent people who seem quite content in their current situation. Finally, Overall references studies which suggest that having children typically makes their parents less happy. 

What's the Big Idea?

Philosopher David Benatar comes to some even more surprising conclusions based on how we think of pleasure and pain. Every life is a mixture of both, to be sure, but Benatar concludes that the world is worse off when needless suffering is brought into it. So what about those people who are happy to have been born despite the pain they undoubtedly suffer from time to time? They are fooling themselves, says Benatar, because their genes come from a long lineage of people who thought procreating was a good idea. Though one might rightly wonder why Benatar continues to shoulder his own burdensome life.

Photo credit:

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less
  • Climate change is no longer a financial problem, just a political one.
  • Mitigating climate change by decarbonizing our economy would add trillions of dollars in new investments.
  • Public attitudes toward climate change have shifted steadily in favor of action. Now it's up to elected leaders.

Following sex, some men have unexpected feelings – study

A new study shows that some men's reaction to sex is not what you'd expect, resulting in a condition previously observed in women.

Credit: Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study shows men's feelings after sex can be complex.
  • Some men reportedly get sad and upset.
  • The condition affected 41% of men in the study
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less