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Fetus Don't Fail Me Now: How Scientists Raise Children

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the double-blind-man's-bluff dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 233

An anonymous reader writes "In the latest column from scientist, humor columnist, and stand-up comedian Adam Ruben, he examines his own umbilicus and considers how being a scientist will affect his approach to raising his only slightly post-fetal child. From the article: 'I don't know how other prospective fathers treat their wives' pregnancies, but I saw it as a science project. It had a protocol, parameters, a timeline, and even the one item that makes funding agencies happy: a deliverable. I found myself poking at my wife's abdomen, asking, "Who's Daddy's little gestating blastocyst? Who's recapitulating phylogeny?"'"

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233 comments

Divorced in (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36311852)

'I don't know how other prospective fathers treat their wives' pregnancies, but I saw it as a science project.'

5, 4, actually no, probably the minute she reads your blog.

Re:Divorced in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312206)

I found myself poking at my wife's abdomen, asking, "Who's Daddy's little gestating blastocyst? Who's recapitulating phylogeny?

Yea, I'm sure she's shocked and appalled. She obviously had no idea the guy she married was a geek.

Re:Divorced in (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312622)

1. Drunkenly post something to blog, sober up, realize your wife will divorce you if she reads it
2. Submit it to slashdot
3. ???
4. SLASHDOTTED!!!
5. Wife can't read blog, no divorce, no child support payments, profit.

Murderers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36311906)

Scientists are responsible for bringing abortion into the world. These days a fetus is lucky to even have a crack at life.

Re:Murderers. (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312028)

Abortion has been around since before ancient Greece existed. We just use more sophisticated methods now.

Re:Murderers. (0)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312168)

Nature dumps most fetuses before you're even aware you are pregnant. I realize you probably didn't know that. I do a lot of work with selective breeding. Of all the embryos fertilized very few gestate and are delivered. Do read up about this. You'll find that human purposeful abortion is actually a minor thing.

Re:Murderers. (2)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312382)

Yeah they also brought the field of modern medicine which has saved far more.

Before science it wasn't too uncommon for a woman to die during childbirth and the survival rate of children has risen drastically. So if you really cared about fetuses being born and having life you would encourage science.

Of course science also sometimes speaks against religions when the evidence points that way and it teaches people to think and criticize thought and knowledge both are very dangerous to the religious mind.

Re:Murderers. (2)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312468)

Yeah, and carpenters are responsible for building abortion clinics. Wake up, people! Carpenters are murderers!

Y'know... Come to think of it, wasn't Jesus a carpenter?

Re:Murderers. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312654)

Scientists are responsible for bringing abortion into the world. These days a fetus is lucky to even have a crack at life.

We scientists also proved to the rest of you that sperm were not complete, though small humans, thus masturbation is not a waste of human life as the religious medicine men were saying it was. So you're able to self-pleasure without feeling guilty about it.

You're welcome.

Sometimes not at all. (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36311936)

Data show that having children decreases happiness. They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science) and they're extremely expensive (scientists don't get paid that much). Knowing this, why would anyone who respects data have children?

Re:Sometimes not at all. (4, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312034)

Knowing this, why would anyone who respects data have children?

Genital arousal combined with absence of contraceptives.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312682)

Genital arousal combined with absence of contraceptives.

Or the failure of said contraceptives to perform. Although when used properly, this is rare - it does happen.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (4, Insightful)

LS1 Brains (1054672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312046)

All I can say, is "they're doing it wrong." If a child doesn't increase your happiness, you either had the child at the wrong point in your life, you weren't prepared for the supposed negative aspects, you have spousal issues, etc. Sure, there's a lot of things that can drag a parent down that aren't the direct effect of the child him/herself. I've read the studies, they say parents THINK they're happier when in fact they're not? Sounds like the incoherent ramblings of someone with some pretty hefty baggage from their own youth.

Take one look at any proud parent beaming when their child marks another achievement. Take one look at any parent boasting about how their child is so smart because they accomplished some task at an early age. Take one look at any parent when they arrive home from work, and walk through the door to be greeting with tiny feet and open arms. Take a look at all the videos parents post on YouTube!

If anyone could think those parents aren't happy, I can't imagine what those folks think would improve a parent's happiness.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (3, Insightful)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312082)

Amen to that. I'm tired all the time, my spare time is shot to hell. I can't schedule video game time reliably anymore, and travel is Highly Inconvenient. The house is a mess and I'm always stressed. All of that is worth it when my kid gives me a big squeezy hug, and watching my kid's joy unfold is pure magic.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312434)

Abso-freaking-lutely. The best things in life aren't things - spare time, video games, travel, house, things in the house etc. - none of that brings true happiness. A child, however difficult, on the other hand can make you grow and feel things so deeply it's scary. The depths of a parent's joy and love when they watch their children thrive can only be understood by others who've felt the same.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312866)

I agree...I'm not a happy person right now, I work full time and have 3 kids under the age of 7. Thats not what makes me unhappy, what makes me unhappy is that right now, on top of all of that, I'm in school full time. What makes me unhappy is coming upstairs from spending that last 10 hours writing a paper to seeing 3 little heads pop up to see if I am going to play, only to watch them go back down broken-heartedly because I say "I'm sorry, I still have a lot of work to do". What makes me happy is when I let my wife know I'm done with that paper and I hear 3 elephants running down the stairs only to try to (and failing miserably at being quiet) sneak up on me and tackle me over the couch. Or when I open the door and hear "DADDY!!!!!!!" and get mugged before I can get more than 1 foot in the door.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312416)

You can't argue with science:
http://fyiliving.com/research/the-happiness-factor-in-parenthood/
"Happiness decreases by 0.03 units when parents have one or two children. Having 4 or more children further decrease happiness by 0.06 units."

Re:Sometimes not at all. (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312470)

I've read the studies, they say parents THINK they're happier when in fact they're not?

Yes, self deception is a common coping strategy.

Take one look at any proud parent beaming when their child marks another achievement

Sure, if you only look at the positive moments. The net balance swings towards the negative. Parents don't see it because of choice supportive [wikipedia.org] bias.

If anyone could think those parents aren't happy, I can't imagine what those folks think would improve a parent's happiness

Some free time and a good nights sleep.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (2)

LS1 Brains (1054672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312684)

Yes, self deception is a common coping strategy.

Looking at my own life as a parent, I have yet to feel like I'm coping. Rather, I find myself looking forward to the next opportunity to spend with my family. Judging by their reactions when I walk through that door, they apparently suffer the same coping strategy as I do.

Sure, if you only look at the positive moments. The net balance swings towards the negative. Parents don't see it because of choice supportive [wikipedia.org] bias.

The "negative" moments are no more troubling than those elsewhere in life. Heck, a lot of those negatives are a great source of amusement for my wife and I, and they make for some absolutely adorable photos. Work issues have been much more of a chore than child rearing, and I feel my job is quite productive, in a nice laid back atmosphere. The net balance is FAR greater in the positive, than the negative for both work and family life. Maybe I'm coping... But damn if I don't have fun doing it.

Some free time and a good nights sleep.

The kids sleep fine, so I sleep as much as I want. I have plenty of free time, I just choose to spend it with friends AND family. Our children are active participants in our daily lives, not burdensome tethers. That may be the key for folks who think like you though, and again refers back to my original comment - if you're not ready, you're not ready. For those "adult" things you don't take your kids to (loud concerts, romantic evenings, etc) the kids LOVE spending the night/weekend with the grandparents.

Put simply, if you feel you screwed up your life and regret your choices, it doesn't mean everyone else did.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (2)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312686)

Not getting a good nights sleep is typically only in the first few months, or year. I have no problem with getting a good nights sleep because of my 9 and 12 year olds. Even when my wife has another child, I don't think I'll be missing much sleep due to her refusal to allow me to get up in the middle of the night to take care of the baby. Even if she does want me to get up, I did that for 2 kids before. It was a pleasure then, and will be a pleasure in the future.

As far as free time, I have a lot of it. I just choose to spend most of it with my kids instead of playing video games. It's more fun to take the kids to the zoo, go bowling, or even just hang out and play Uno than playing a video game by myself.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312892)

Self deception is what keeps us from being insane.

You should read those studies too :)

Being realistic about yourself and your surroundings rarely leads to happiness.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (3, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312562)

Exactly. I can have the shittiest day ever, and when I walk in the door and my kid runs up to me excited to see me saying 'Dad! Dad! Dad!' everything else disappears.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312104)

You don't think your genes and memes deserve to live on beyond you?

It is over rated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312314)

I don't have kids. I don't want kids. My genes are inconsequential.

The world is over populated as it is, there is no need for my spawn to add to the misery. If you feel the need to have kids, by all means do. But please, don't pressure me into having offspring. I don't want any. I can't cope with the responsibily. I won't have kids. It don't bother me,please don't have it bother you.

Re:It is over rated (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312450)

No, I think what he was saying is that by a very real property of genetics your point of view on offspring cannot be a prevailing opinion for long. At most, until a single generation dies off, or a specific social culture dies off, but either way such an opinion cannot continue to thrive indefinitely because the genes for it (if any exist) will not be passed down, and the particular world experiences that structured that kind of mind cannot be taught in the absence of children.

Re:It is over rated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312802)

That's not how genes work.

Re:It is over rated (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312856)

Of course, opinions can be spread through the internet nowadays. Parenting is only part of the equation now, and for some kids it's getting smaller and smaller.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312672)

I fear that in the next decades we will hit deep, deep shit. I am at an age where I still have the option, but at the moment, I think that putting children into this world would not do them a favour.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312142)

They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science)

If the scientist is concerned about the amount of science they would work to interest their progeny in science. If they have multiple children who become scientists and that trend continues through multiple generations you're talking about an exponential increase in the amount of science done rather than a reduction.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Ascoo (447329) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312150)

Data show that having children decreases happiness.

Since when were scientists ever concerned about happiness. If they were, they wouldn't be in such an often-unrewarded (financially, emotionally, etc.) profession. Scientists are happiest when they can bring some sort of meaning and structure to what appears to be chaos. Arguably, children are the ultimate form of chaos!

They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science)

No doubt. I'd wager that the majority of the most successful scientists (in terms of publications, innovations, peer respect, etc) are that way because they devote the vast majority of their time to science and nothing else.

and they're extremely expensive (scientists don't get paid that much).

Children can cost plenty but our memory is selective; we often ignore the constant "cons" for a few blissful, and unfortunately infrequent, "pros". In the end, you're probably right that logically, people that make science their raison d'être shouldn't have children. Fortunately for society, these people do as they often encourage the next batch of new scientists...

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312152)

Data show that having children decreases happiness. They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science) and they're extremely expensive (scientists don't get paid that much). Knowing this, why would anyone who respects data have children?

Because:
- They don't believe the data
- Scientists are curious and want to experience things for themselves
- They or their partner have a biological urge that it would make them even less happy not to fulfil
- They wish to pass their knowledge and expertise to someone
- Even scientists are not entirely rational beings. We're all just a species of monkey in the end.

If you can afford having children, the unhappiness comes from the overwhelming demands on your time. (Even that could be mitigated to a degree if you can afford to hire a Nanny). The nature of those demands changes as the child grow up. I will tell you this. Though my wife and I have had a very rough trot raising these kids (our own chronic and ongoing medical issues), neither of us for one moment would prefer that they had not existed (2 children under 3). And I'm not saying that just to be politically correct. I'm happy to admit that it took me time to warm to my children (but I always felt a very strong protective instinct). The idea that you just fall in love with them the moment you pick them up was bunk for me. But I do love them dearly now.

If those biological urges did not exist, neither would nearly 7 billion people...Any species that outsmarts it self in the way you are suggesting will perish, and won't be around to have this conversation. I do not see that happening any time soon. Even the poor people of the world who can't afford children are driven by social and biological needs (and often a lack of education) to have them.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312908)

People shouldn't do or attempt things that are difficult or unpleasant. They should just kick back, take it easy, play a few games and get lots of sleep. Anyone who disagrees with this is a fool.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

DamnRogue (731140) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312160)

Data show that having children decreases happiness. They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science) and they're extremely expensive (scientists don't get paid that much). Knowing this, why would anyone who respects data have children?

Just because there's an ongoing cost and time periods where the net return might be negative doesn't mean that the whole project isn't worthwhile. Driving to the store is less fun and more expensive than reading a book. Cooking is also work. However, after I've done both I get to eat a delicious meal. These studies also tend to only interview people who are in the immediate throes of child-rearing. It shouldn't be surprising at all that if you talk to people in the early stages of a project with heavy up-front cost that they might feel worn down. Now go ask your parents or grandparents what they think about children. Mine have said repeatedly that children are the most, if not the only, truly rewarding thing they've done with their lives. (However, none of them denies that it isn't work.)

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312766)

They've actually done these studies. Child-free people are happier at all stages of life, including after the children are grown.

When you think about it, this makes sense. They've been doing what they wanted for the past 20 years, instead of what they had to do. They're better off financially for it too.

Sure, parents and grandparents will deny it. Self-deception is a common coping mechanism, and it's required for propagation of the species. You can't rely on self-reporting to measure differential happiness since people can only imagine how happy they would be if they had made another choice. You have to do long term longitudinal studies. These studies have been done [nytimes.com] and they show that parents of adult children are happier than parents of young children, but not as happy as married but child free individuals.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312840)

Self-deception works both ways, including for those child-free individuals who say that they are happier.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312238)

Data show that having children decreases happiness.

You have data? Does it show a correlation, or a causation (perhaps the parents need to refine their methods or their attitudes)?

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312242)

Hmm... Well, if you find children to make you unhappy, eat your time and expensive then you're doing it all wrong. Yes, if you follow the Parenting Magazine rules it may be that way but that still doesn't change the fact that you're doing it wrong. The reality is that it costs little more to raise a child than it does to already exist. Having a child does not change my housing budget (biggest expense), taxes (next biggest) and does almost nothing to my food budget. Basic clothing and other things are hardly expensive.

Reality: Kids are a lot of fun, bring joy to our lives, provide more hands and minds to get things done and pay for themselves many times over without being very expensive at all. Children our a wonderful investment in the future.

What we need are more people in the world to help solve the big problems. But if you don't want to breed, don't worry, I'll have a big family to make up for you.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312536)

I would say if having kids does not change your housing or food budget you are the one doing it wrong. Before we had children we lived in a one bedroom apartment. Now, we have a three bedroom house. That is a significant change in the housing budget. And if you can feed teenage boys on the same budget that you had before you had children, you were either way over-buying before, or you are starving them now.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312826)

Or it could be that pubwvj already had a big enough house (my best friend has a 2 bedroom condo, so 1 kid would not increase his housing budget), and possibly ate out a lot (again, best friend does this). After having kids, shift eating out to buying groceries and cooking at home, thus not increasing the food budget either. I've done similar with food budget in that I'd go out to nice restaurants 2 - 3 times a week and eat out at lunch nearly daily before I had kids. That adds up. Spending that money on groceries allows for more food for the same cost. Easy to do.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312612)

Reality: Kids are a lot of fun, bring joy to our lives, provide more hands and minds to get things done and pay for themselves many times over without being very expensive at all. Children our a wonderful investment in the future.

That's just wishful thinking on your part. The data is inconsistent with your position here.

If you still want to have a big family, go right ahead. We need new blood to feed into the ponzi scheme we call our economy. I'll happily take advantage of the cheap labor young people provide for as long as you're willing to raise them.

data does not tell the whole story (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312258)

http://www.ted.com/talks/rufus_griscom_alisa_volkman_let_s_talk_parenting_taboos.html Let's talk parenting taboos: Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman

here is a TED talk that takes that first data point on decreased happiness and digs deeper.

Re:data does not tell the whole story (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312366)

http://www.ted.com/talks/rufus_griscom_alisa_volkman_let_s_talk_parenting_taboos.html Let's talk parenting taboos: Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman

here is a TED talk that takes that first data point on decreased happiness and digs deeper.

Yeah, the time and effort sucks. It ages you. It can make you unhappy. Now ask them if they could, would they give up their children for someone rich and successful to raise. I don't see them adopting their children out.

There is value in their analysis but their conclusions are crap. The value lies in breaking the expected stereotypical social norms and allowing parents to say "no, it wasn't a fairytale romance the minute I picked up my son/daughter". "No it hasn't always brought me untold bliss. Some days I want to scream". What we should be looking at is decreasing the bullshit and providing better support groups where parents help each other so they do not feel alone. Concluding with "children make you unhappy" is just not helpful - certainly not to people who've already had kids. And while they try not to do this, I think the ending is the weakest part of their presentation. (The data and analysis isn't the best either, but as I said it has some value).

Re:data does not tell the whole story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312868)

I have to say, that TED Talk made me want children even less. They rationalize around it, but that happiness over time graph is just a killer.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312260)

Data show that having children decreases happiness. They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science) and they're extremely expensive (scientists don't get paid that much). Knowing this, why would anyone who respects data have children?

Happiness is not the most important aspect to being human. Social integration superceeds it, as does honor and empathy, none of which where considered in a silly over simplified study.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312414)

Unless you are a product of asexual reproduction, you might note that the older generation invented the original sin. You cite "data", which is more accurately described as "statistics". Data is what you fill their heads with so that they can make the next generations of discoveries and advancements. If you do not wish to participate in the long term advancement of science and knowledge then go ye forth into the woods alone and multiply fruitfully.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

csubi (950112) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312490)

If you are 100% pragmatic and atheist at the same time, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the only thing you can really accomplish in life is raising your progeny.
You might speak of social acclaim, success, wealth - all this crap does not count. Only survival.

Now go make one. Or two.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312618)

Nope. Spreading Ideas (ie memes) can be just as much an accomplishment as spreading genes. If the population is big enough it may even be more of an accomplishment. Theres no reason you can't do both though.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312512)

Putting aside whether that's actually true or not, being happy, having luxuries, and doing your job aren't the only goods. There's also continuance of your existence. Since scientists are less likely to believe in life after death, it becomes all the more important to pass on your genes and legacy to the next generation.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312602)

Data show that having children decreases happiness.

bullshit. where's your source? "some people say" having kids makes you unhappy is not proof of anything.

first, quantify happiness in a way that can be verified, exactly like how you can verify the volume of liquid in a gallon jug. then define for me what deficient amount of happiness one must possess to be considered, scientifically, unhappy. then show me how you measured the deficient quantity of happiness in a predominant number of people who are raising children (not the worthless kind of person who abandons their kids to a television or the internet, a nanny, ritalin, or adoption agency because of convenience).

i suggest that it is the parents who refuse to raise their kids who report the most "unhappiness" in those retarded surveys. i'm not even a parent myself but i would never say something so blatantly stupid like "having kids decreases happiness."

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312862)

This is a well established result in the social sciences. Do your own research.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312640)

why would anyone who respects data have children?

You've got to get a control group from somewhere.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312644)

Given the usual reasoning as to why scientist do anything around here lately, they probably do it for the funding. Also, to establish a communist world government. Of course, taking your tax money is part of it, but that is a given. There might be some other conspiracies involved, but I am not enlightened enough to see through those. I am sure, though, that someone will open my eyes soon...

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312712)

Data show that having children decreases happiness. They also eat a lot of your time (which could be better spent doing science) and they're extremely expensive (scientists don't get paid that much). Knowing this, why would anyone who respects data have children?

Yeah, but that data showing children decreases happiness comes from "social scientists." There's data and then there's "data."

PS. I'm sorry to any social scientists who were offended at that joke, but 100% of poll respondents found it was totally true and furthermore that you should all get real jobs and quit crying about it.

PPS. I tease because I'm envious of your easy methodology that don't require working with dangerous chemicals or squinting at slides.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312804)

I have to disagree with your data. Children can cause happiness in many people. Yes they're expensive and they eat a lot of your time but that doesn't make someone unhappy. What the data does is take love out of the equation and substitute in the number of diaper changes over a lifetime.

Re:Sometimes not at all. (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312834)

Anyone who understands logarithmic expansion understands the impact of raising a child successfully will most likely far outweigh anything you will do in your lifetime. As well I am going to have to ask for citation on your "Data show that having children decreases happiness" Here is the first non-religious result in a google search for Children and happiness http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/11/the_effect_of_c.html [econlib.org] (There is a newsweek article there but it has no data).

Being a childless couple that Fosters, I can say firsthand that I have experience with many different families and the negative side. Some people are excessively self centered, having children exposes that self centered nature. For the folk that already understand that they aren't the center of the universe, parenting is a joy. Not having children allows the selfish to continue in their ignorant world, maybe that makes them happier, but evolutionarily speaking we have had a couple million years to have it hardwired into ourselves to procreate. This alone suggests that deep happiness should be found in successfully parenting progeny..

Scientist treating pregnancy as science experiment (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36311956)

This reminds me of one of those "Autistic Reporter [google.com] " stories at the Onion News Network.

Fortunately, nature generally is pretty good at stopping scientists from reproducing--which may ultimately be for the best. I can really only take so much of there pedantic over-analysis of even the most trivial things. I guarantee you that, even now, a scientist reading /. is furiously typing away at his keyboard to point out the fact that I misused "there" in my previous sentence.

If you ever have children, don't make my mistakes. (5, Funny)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36311992)

1) You never bug a pregnant, hormonal woman. EVER.
2) You never refer to fetus as a blastocyst, parasite, or nickname him "blobby"
3) The only acceptable response is "Yes dear, no dear, I will rub your feet right away dear".
4) Never tell her that stretch marks are camoflauge to help her hide in the tall grass to escape predators.
5) In the later stages of pregnancy, when she is immoble, that is not an opportunity to dutch oven or teabag her.
6) Never refer to pregnant sex as "intercourse and a handjob all in one", otherwise you will not get intercourse OR a handjob.

Learn from my mistakes young nerdlings. Oh, and if you'er wondering, I'm still married. Why, I know not.

Re:If you ever have children, don't make my mistak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312132)

Alternate response:
3) Yes dear, I will go out for pickles and ice cream.

bonus - guy gets some alone time

Re:If you ever have children, don't make my mistak (5, Informative)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312170)

Agree with all of the above. When I referred to our "little blastocyst" my wife got upset and chided me for not knowing that by three weeks we most certainly had a gastrula.

Re:If you ever have children, don't make my mistak (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312304)

You never refer to fetus as a blastocyst, parasite,

No kidding! A parasite reduces the host's reproductive efficacy!

You'd have to be a gibbering idiot or completely ignorant of the foundations of evolutionary biology to refer to a fetus as a parasite.

Re:If you ever have children, don't make my mistak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312500)

I can't tell if you are joking or not. I want to think you are just having fun...but there really are people with huge sticks up their asses and I can't tell if you are not one of them.

Ever see the movie 'alien', honey? (3, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312598)

No kidding! A parasite reduces the host's reproductive efficacy!

well, technically a fetus is a barrier to it's host becoming pregnant.....I think you just added to 'parasite' argument rather than detract from it.

Re:If you ever have children, don't make my mistak (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312726)

7) Never assume that when a guy is a humor columnist and a stand up comedian he might not be intending things completely seriously.

Sheesh.

Re:If you ever have children, don't make my mistak (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312844)

2) You never refer to fetus as a blastocyst, parasite, or nickname him "blobby"

Totally. If you actually -do- have a blastocyst, you wouldn't know it. The blastocyst stage is over by two weeks after conception. [wikipedia.org] You can't tell if a woman is pregnant even via pregnancy test until the blastocyst stage is over. Calling it that would just be plain INACCURATE. I guess you could have sex and then start saying that 5 to 6 days later, but you wouldn't actually know for certain at that time. No self-respecting scientist would do that.

Oh, also it might annoy your wife/baby mama, but that's beside the point.

Only one possible response ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312030)

At times like this I wish that I was a stupid, shallow person rather than a scientist -- just so that my children don't end up with the long list of psychoses that that child will end up with.

(Don't get me wrong: it is important to raise creative and rational children. But treating them as a science experiment, even in good humour, is going to be damaging.)

Don't bring the clipboard to bed... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312032)

It had a protocol, parameters, a timeline, and even the one item that makes funding agencies happy: a deliverable.

So does sex. Note that scientific jargon doesn't usually make good pillow talk.

Re:Don't bring the clipboard to bed... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312216)

It had a protocol, parameters, a timeline, and even the one item that makes funding agencies happy: a deliverable.

So does sex. Note that scientific jargon doesn't usually make good pillow talk.

Monty Python disagrees. (Sign in required)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLKMQtfZLUw [youtube.com]

Re:Don't bring the clipboard to bed... (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312922)

An early pioneer at microscopy, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek [wikipedia.org] was one of the first ones to look at sperm cells, around 1677. He describes that the samples were obtained fresh, and added the disclaimer "What I investigate is only what, without sinfully defiling myself, remains as a residue after conjugal coitus." [doctorsreview.com]

In other words, in this pioneering study of human sperm, Mrs. van Leeuwenhoek was an uncredited lab assistant in an unusual capacity.

Pregnant Science Experiment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312054)

I like the way you put this, but I took it from a phsycology angle. It is amazing to watch how children go through each stage of development. You can almost mark the day when they go on to the next stage. It is amazing. But, don't over analyze your child, just take them for face value and you'll have much more fun!

I know how he will raise his child (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312092)

'I don't know how other prospective fathers treat their wives' pregnancies, but I saw it as a science project. It had a protocol, parameters, a timeline, and even the one item that makes funding agencies happy: a deliverable.

I know how he will raise his child. With supervised visits every other weekend.

Statistics (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312098)

Definite science project. The whole thing from wooing to breeding to birth to development through adulthood. We spaced ours apart by five years so we could repeat the experiments to test for statistical validity in our sample set. The cool part is you can let the kids participate in, at least some, of the experiment. Kids are great fun!

Who's recapitulating? (2)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312200)

Ummm... nobody actually. I'm always amazed to find that people are still taught that and believe it. Haven't they ever heard of DNA? Perhaps his joke went "wooosh". I sure hope he was joking.

Recapitulation Theory [wikipedia.org]

Re:Who's recapitulating? (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312444)

Haekel's specific theory of recapitulation was wrong, but mammals, including humans, do generally recapitulate the physical traits in the order in which they appeared evolutionarily. I'm not sure to what you are referring to with the "Haven't they ever heard of DNA?" remark, but DNA merely provides the guidelines for development which we see adjusting the length of time for certain traits to develop in the womb, not the order of development. For example, the minor DNA differences between humans and chimps makes humans spend more time in the brain development phase, but that phase occurs in the same sequence in both species. Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, and Stephen J. Gould all refer to embryonic recapitulation as a valid hypothesis in their books, but many scientists got scared away from it because Creationists have exploited the fraudulent Haekel drawings. Whether you like it or not, you went from a single cell, to multi-cell, to something that looked like a worm, to something that looked like an amphibian, on up through your evolutionary history... not species by species, but trait by trait.

Not ammused. (2)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312214)

Without RTFA, I guess there isn't much here in terms of humor or science. I mean talk of an experiment with "protocol, parameters, a timeline, and..a deliverable," but no control?

Weak sauce.

Re:Not ammused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312564)

It is actually quite rare with controls in studies on child rearing. Exception being twin studies. But those usually show that child rearing practices matter almost not at all and nobody wants to hear that.

I want twins. (4, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312398)

I tell my girlfriend that I want twins, that way I can name one "Control". With Triplets you'd even be able to do 2 different studies.

Re:I want twins. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36312898)

I offer to help if you want to include double-blind testing during conception ;)

Man, and I thought _I_ was geeky! (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312436)

I think I may once have referred to my daughter, before I knew she was a daughter, as a zygote, and I did often refer to her as a fetus. However, my wife did the same. Also, since my wife has various health issues (celiac disease and tyroid problems), we were always treating it as a schedule to follow with milestones and all sorts of measurements. None of this seemed conspicuously unusual to either of us, except perhaps for a combination or envy and pity for those people who people who know nothing about any of this.

The Real Story Here (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312596)

Is a scientist got laid. And his partner kept it.

Which puts her in a group of 2, not since Kathleen Fent has a woman loved such a humongous geek. :-)

Model parent right there. (1)

mevans86 (931724) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312608)

Who's Daddy's little gestating blastocyst? Who's recapitulating phylogeny?

That'll make for some great home movies! And people wonder why kids don't want to go into science these days...

How Scientists Raze Parents. (4, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312848)

My first word was "Light", not Mama or Dada.

As a 6 year old boy I black-mailed my parents into subscribing to scientific journals and magazines (discovered via articles referencing them I read in the library). Ethics be damned, I knew all about many of their embarrassing secrets, esp. their gossip of others -- Someone had to take charge of my learning. In their ignorance, they couldn't see the value in feeding a young mind's thirst for knowledge with anything other than Sesame Street, Legos and 3-2-1 Contact. Money was not the issue, I saw many purchases attributed to leisure, and offered to give up my own current & future toys in exchange for knowledge.

I eventually came to respect my parents, but not until they had respected me as sentient member of the family (not an unquestionably obedient pet to be amused with mere toys). "Because I told you to, and I'm your Parent!", was never a logical argument -- It was tyrannical, and I revolted as any free-thinker would to tyranny. They eventually learned that respectfully explained commands worked far better: "Go to bed early so that you'll be refreshed, we have an earlier schedule than normal tomorrow morning." or "Go to your room, I'm upset enough to be irrational!" or "Mom and Dad need some alone time -- could you go play outside or at the neighbors?"

Perhaps having to explain yourself to a child is outrageous -- I say that to do otherwise is to foster ignorance, misunderstanding and thus irrational anger.

For my initial "insolence" and "ungrateful" attitude I suffered copious amounts of corporal punishment (it had little to no effect on my mind -- only reasoning did), but my unlucky parents suffered too under the burden of psychological warfare as I pitted one side against the other; Eg. placing Dad's porno under Mom's pillow, or putting things from Dad's wallet into Mom's purse -- there are so many little things that irritate adults.

My parents finally came to realize that they should also be grateful that they didn't have to talk down to me, or worry about censoring the world for me -- I knew what not to say and when not to say it, and right from wrong because they told me these things. They became grateful that they could simply say: "Sorry, that's too expensive, or dangerous I won't change my mind", and I would understand -- instead of arguing, whining, or throwing a temper-tantrum in public as other children sometimes do.

If you are of a strong scientific mind and high intellect: Toss out everything you know of the parent / child roles. Treat your children as you would like them to treat you, or as adults treat each other -- With respect. If they disrespect you, discipline them, but if you disrespect them, they will discipline you (what do you think an embarrassing fit of kicking and screaming is?).

A wife would be outraged at being sent to her room by a Husband, or vise versa. -- Indeed it may be best at times to calm down after a bit of distance and time, tell your children this, they will be less prone to irritate you if they can tell what's irritating. Oft times the whole issue can be avoided with a bit of communication: "Please stop that, I don't like it when you do that." You do not have to abandon your role as parent -- "Trust me, son, I can't explain why but you shouldn't do that" or "I need you to do this for me..."

Scientists beware -- Your genes may cause you to spawn a "monster" such as me -- A thirsty mind frustrated by its role as a child.

Re:How Scientists Raze Parents. (4, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#36312958)

Perhaps having to explain yourself to a child is outrageous -- I say that to do otherwise is to foster ignorance, misunderstanding and thus irrational anger.

I encourage my daughter to disagree with me if she thinks she's right and can support her claim. I frequently point out that mindless obedience is not encouraged either. That said, she's very respectful and treats others well, including teachers who've claimed she doesn't know what she's talking about when she does.

A personal moment of pride was when she wrote a note to get herself out of after-school care. She wrote it first person, not claiming to be from her parents, included my cell phone number on it as back-up, and left it with a friend and took off. My phone rang with a panicked teacher explaining that she had this note I obviously didn't write and I told her it sounded fine to me.

Watching other parents raise mindless blobs is very frustrating.

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