Quantcast
Connect with us

There is no “scientific” argument for claiming deliberately childless people are failures

Published

on

I was on CNN to talk about a piece I wrote for the Daily Beast about the pope shaming people for not having kids. As usual, I think the pope has an amazing track record of being wrong in nearly every utterance about child-bearing, marriage, sexuality, etc. So you can imagine my opinion on this.

ADVERTISEMENT

But I wanted to add that, as I said on CNN, this isn’t just about the pope or Catholicism. Elizabeth Wurtzel, who is thrashing around in fear these days upon realizing the “train wreck” act stops being cute when you pass 40, spewed another piece of garbled nonsense claiming that “science” agrees with the pope, that having children is the most important thing you can do. (She can safely say that now that she’s only starting to consider trying at 46, making the likelihood that infertility beat her to the punch nice and coincidental.) A sample of her typing:

We are on this earth to keep on keeping on. We are here to reproduce. We are here to leave something behind that is more meaningful than a tech startup or a masterpiece of literature. Everybody knows this. The biggest idiot in the world who thinks he knows better—even he deep down knows this.

I will remind you that neither the pope nor Elizabeth Wurtzel has children. Also, off the top of your heads: Name Shakespeare’s children. Or Einstein’s. Yeah, didn’t think so. One of Charles Dickens’ descendants is on Game of Thrones, but he died in the first season.

But the argument that we are “here” to reproduce is nonsense. We aren’t here for any reason. We’re here because a series of accidents led to the development of life on this little rock we call “Earth” and it evolved and because those genes that propagate happen to continue to exist while those that don’t didn’t. But “continuing to exist” isn’t a purpose. Propagation isn’t a purpose.  It’s a thing that happens. There’s nothing in my particular DNA sequence that is transcendent or meaningful. And even if there was, having children doesn’t really do much to preserve it. Each only will only be 50% me. Each grandchild, only 25%. And so until my magnificent, oh-so-important DNA sequencing is thoroughly reshuffled. The fact that propagation is a thing that happens has no more moral significance than the fact that gravity is a thing that happens. Just because we all walk around on the ground and always have doesn’t mean that you’re wrong if you suddenly start to fly.*

ADVERTISEMENT

The fucked up thing is that, in the same paragraph where she writes that she is speaking “as someone who believes in science”, she also writes this:

Or as University of Washington psychologist and zoologist David P. Barash writes in the journal BioScience, “[L]iving things are survival vehicles for their potentially immortal genes. Biologically speaking, this is what they are, and it is all they are.” He adds, “For most biologists, the promulgation of genes is neither good nor bad. It just is.

Emphasis mine. She quotes a scientist who says that reproduction is not a moral imperative in order to argue that science says it is. She may be stupid or high, but her editor, at least, should have caught that. Unless the point of publishing Wurtzel is because her writing is a train wreck that people point and laugh at.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is the same woman who wrote this last year:

I went to a party in Williamsburg, where I definitely do not live, and was 50 percent older than anyone else. When I told a gentleman that I am 45, he was shocked. He wondered what I know that Ponce de Leon did not. Mainly it is a refusal to be a grown-up. Or just having missed the leading milestones. I have never been married, which has spared me the unhappiness of that, and the misery of a divorce. Or two. Or three. I don’t have kids, so I don’t invest energy in telling people how gifted my children are, or in figuring out how deep into the spectrum of autism they fall—nor do I turn over my hard-earned cash to SAT tutors and Mandarin coaches. Of course, I have been deprived of the pleasure of breastfeeding my baby on a barstool in a Park Slope tavern while nursing a Campari and soda, but I will survive the privation.

It’s possible she changed her mind, but she never says that’s the case in this new piece. More likely, she’s just someone who just drifts around spouting whatever bullshit momentarily flits through her mind without a whiff of thought or consistency or care, and then sits around impressed with how awesome she is. It’s pretty gross.

ADVERTISEMENT

But cats are pretty cool. If you are thinking of getting one (or two!), what are you waiting for? Add one to your life.

shutterstock_157938281

*And yes, I realize that flying objects are still affected by gravity. It’s a metaphor. Calm down, pedants.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Pandagon

Ch-ch-changes…..

Published

on

After many years and many server changes and finally landing here at Raw Story, which has taken very good care of us, it's time to say goodbye to Pandagon. I've been blogging under this banner for ten years, after Jesse Taylor asked me to join. He, in turn, had been running this joint since he was in college. A lot has changed since then. I became a journalist, moved from Austin to New York and learned to play Dungeons & Dragons. Jesse became a lawyer and, just this past weekend, a married man.

Continue Reading

Pandagon

Carly Fiorina defends her lie with a whole bunch of lies

Published

on

I do like it when Republican candidates sport a resume full of corporate executive work, because it really shows the public how many fools and idiots coast into that position not on merit but on their bullshitting abilities. Donald Trump, Herman Cain, and now we have Carly Fiorina, who just can't understand why her perceived underlings (voters, journalists) won't scurry away, pretending to accept her bullshit like former employees of hers had to do, lest they lost their jobs.

And so it goes that Fiorina, who could make this entire Planned Parenthood controversy go away by saying something like, "I may have misremembered the video, but I still think abortion is wrong," instead is doubling and tripling down. And every time she does, she lies more and more. She was on Meet the Press and, so enamored of the idea that she is perfect and could never do anything wrong, just went to town with the defensive posturing.

Continue Reading
 

Pandagon

Marco Rubio has an astoundingly low opinion of women’s intelligence

Published

on

At RH Reality Check, I covered this story that I wish was getting more press, about how Marco Rubio goes back and forth between suggesting that women who get abortions are greedy monsters who get pregnant for cash:

I just think you’ve created an industry now … a situation where very much, you’ve created an incentive for people not just to look forward to having more abortions, but being able to sell that fetal tissue for purposes—these centers—for purposes of making a profit off it, as you’ve seen in some of these Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image