We do have a choice:
I have hammered at the point that a couple does not choose how many children they have.  Once the couple has married, or otherwise established their abiding relationship, the number of children has been determined.  There may be a light scope for accident, disease or rational choice.  But that scope is very limited.  All but a small part of the number of children that will come along is fixed.  It is fixed by the size of the social pool from which the couple comes or fixed by their degree of kinship back for a few generations; it amounts to the same thing.

People speak of “reproductive choice.”  It is an illusion.  People make strenuous efforts to restrict or to increase their number of offspring.  It is mostly in vain.  The statistical evidence is very strong.

But we do have a couple of choices.  The first choice we have is what the future of the world is to be.

  1. We could return to being a scattering of little bands of warring people with no highly evolved culture – like books – no hope for a better future and no idea what has gone wrong.  The only thing to be said for that arrangement is that it does indeed produce babies.  The little bands are small enough to assure adequate fertility.  This future, already visible in the decline of the world’s birth rate, is more or less the default stetting.  That is not to say it will last forever.  My feeling for it is that a dark age is just another regime.  It will pass in about three centuries.  Then, just as Europe emerged from a dark age into the early medieval time, things will change.  Progress will be slow.  Enormous difficulties will be overcome.  The fact that all the best natural resources have been exploited by us will be a handicap.  But things will change.  It has happened in the past.
  2. We could go extinct.  This will not happen easily.  In order for us all to die out, we must first get everybody into the same program.  Everybody must be assured of adequate food, adequate mobility reasonable health and the freedom to choose a mate.  That will require enormous effort on the part of a lot of people.  In fact, I am doing my part.  I volunteer at the county health department.  If anybody lacks care in my specialty, it is not because I am unwilling to do it for free.  And the mechanism is already in place to make that possible effectively for everybody.  But these goals together come with a poison heart.  They give people a broad social horizon, in which I steadfastly believe.  But if that social freedom is exercised in ignorance of the implications for fertility, the result will be doom.  It has happened many times before.  It is happening now.  People cannot be free until they know.  And my primary interest is in obtaining the knowledge – a lot of science still needs to be done – and trusting that the word will eventually get around.  We may still choose extinction.  So be it if it is done with foreknowledge.  Personally I think there are good things about humanity.  I should not like us to fade away.  But this time I have not done my part.  I am not married and never have been. 
  3. We could go on to an ever more well-developed, secure, kind, tolerant and caring society or group of societies.  We could go on to a time where the future and past are both loved.  That, in fact, is the easiest option.  It just takes doing some science.  The cost and effort to run this down and figure out how to proceed would be trivial.  Then all those and only those who wanted a future could build it.  It would be the future that everybody sought.  We would feel at home there.  We can do it.


Of course there does remain the question of how much choice one has in one’s spouse.  There is an entire industry of producing literature examining how such choices are made.  I assume the situation will fix itself automatically.  But I don’t know.  It is only a hope. 

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