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Thread: Doodler's take on Fermi's Paradox: An idle thought

  1. #1
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    Doodler's take on Fermi's Paradox: An idle thought

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14535863/site/newsweek/


    Increasing education, advancing medical tech keeping us alive longer, and the increasing independence from traditional rules of reproduction...

    I wonder if the answer is, they simply unbred themselves out of existance? The end of an intelligent species isn't war, or disease, or other drastic form of self annihilation, but the liberation of the individual from the very fundamental role they play in propogating civilization.

    When survival stops being a challenge, is it possible that a species can actually lose the impetus to survive?

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    Even in once conservative societies, more and more couples are choosing not to have kids. That means good things for restaurants and real estate.
    How is that good for restaurants?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent View Post
    How is that good for restaurants?
    Childless coulpes have more money to spend on restaurants. Also, they do not go through fairly long periods (known as "baby") when going to restaurants is pretty much impossible, and even longer periods (known as "toddler/preschooler") when they are limited to cheap restaurants.

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    In Rome, many restaurants make it clear that children are not welcome—in some cases by establishing themselves as "clubs," where members must be older than 18 to join.
    I have children, yet THAT I would definitely welcome -- sometimes I want to be in the company of adults, dammit! And I would welcome adult-only airline flights even more. When I fly on a business trip, the last thing I want is a leather-lunged infant behind me, and when I bring MY children on a plane, I do not want some business traveler to look at me like I am bringing in a plague. Don't know about the rest of the world, but in US adult and children's worlds are entirely too intertwined.

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    And yet, that cultural hostility to kids makes them even more unattractive as a lifestyle choice. People who do have them are considered outsiders and ostracized for it. Ultimately indulgent and self-destructive. In some ways, this new tendency to want "playtime" as an adult is putting off what in the past was an otherwise grown up responsibility. Instead of living vicariously through their kids, they're wanting to live vicariously for themselves.

    Uncontrolled population growth is bad, self inflicted population decline because its inconvenient to your free time is much worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler View Post
    And yet, that cultural hostility to kids makes them even more unattractive as a lifestyle choice. People who do have them are considered outsiders and ostracized for it.
    We live in very different worlds. In mine, there are still American societial groups that encourage having plenty of kids. In mine, the children's clothing section at my local Target is, if anything, bigger than the adults' clothing--probably to accomodate a wider range of sizes. Not to mention Baby Gap and A Children's place in my local mall, near the clump of quarter kiddie rides. In mine, kids are practically celebrity fashion statements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    We live in very different worlds. In mine, there are still American societial groups that encourage having plenty of kids. In mine, the children's clothing section at my local Target is, if anything, bigger than the adults' clothing--probably to accomodate a wider range of sizes. Not to mention Baby Gap and A Children's place in my local mall, near the clump of quarter kiddie rides. In mine, kids are practically celebrity fashion statements.
    I was responding to a particular point Ilya mentioned.

    The attitude described in the article was primarily European. The US isn't that bad off, if you don't mind speaking Spanish. At the same time, it is an attitude I see more of in people my age here in the US. Most women I know have their trophy baby in their 20's, and that's pretty much it, unless they end up married and stable in their 30's. Guys are somewhat worse, most of them are into their extended self-supporting adolescence in their 20's and 30's (guilty as charged).

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    Increasing education, advancing medical tech keeping us alive longer, and the increasing independence from traditional rules of reproduction...

    I wonder if the answer is, they simply unbred themselves out of existance? The end of an intelligent species isn't war, or disease, or other drastic form of self annihilation, but the liberation of the individual from the very fundamental role they play in propogating civilization.

    When survival stops being a challenge, is it possible that a species can actually lose the impetus to survive?
    I think that's extremely unlikely. Improved technology means longer life spans, healthier babies and less painful births and easier child rearing. It also makes artificial gestation a possibility. There is no real reason why future citizens couldn't be reared in a tank and raised by robots. Men can also be retrofitted to give birth.

    One of the biggest barriers to reproduction in the developed world is marriage. As long as women think they need to be married before they have children there will be few births as marriage has very little to offer modern women. I imagine that society will reorganize itself and people will be paid to have children, much more than the amounts they currently receive in many countries and much of the process will be automated with nanny bots to change nappies and so forth. And the children want be deprived of human contact because the robots will be programmed to supply it better than any human could.

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    I don't like the idea of children being raised by robots, but maybe in the near future we'll be able to do what Heinlein suggested in his book Podkayne of Mars: have children early, then freeze the embryos until the parents are ready to raise them.
    The problem we have now is that there's a lag between physical and emotional/financial maturity.

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    I'd suggest required exams in parenting as well, instead of the practical we have now, which so many fails so spectacularly to the detriment of the warped monsters they produce and the people who suffer the consequenses.
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  11. #11
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    I think you may have a point. The answer to the FP is in technology. It could be that an ultra-advanced species will merge the individual minds into some sort of virtuality, ā la Asimovīs "The Last Question".

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    Maybe they are already here; we just don't recognize them.

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