One of my best friends Ed thinks that it is unethical for Fabien and I to have a biological child. A very brief thumbnail sketch of his argument is as follows:
- The earth is currently overpopulated
- This is (and will continue to be) harmful for the environment
- Harming the environment will eventually make earth uninhabitable for humans
- Having a biological child increases the overall global population
- Therefore having a biological child is harmful to the environment now and in the long term
- Ethics is about not decreasing and if possible increasing the sum of human happiness
- Therefore doing harm to the environment is unethical because it will make a large number of humans unhappy in the future when they become unable to inhabit the planet. Though the happiness of future humans may be better expressed as what an economist would call an "opportunity cost" rather than an actual unhappiness (the never-born can't be unhappy).
This has inspired weeks of entertaining and stimulating debates.
Tell me what you think and mail me if you want to join the discussion!