Monday, March 27, 2006

Daycares Don't Work

Thanks to Anon for forwarding a link to Daycares Don't Care.

Lots of choice points, eg: from the Magazine Articles page: The British Medical Journal carried a piece in 2003 entitled "Daycare Doesn't Reduce Poverty". This rightfully should put the kibosh on this government's drive to get mothers of young children back in the workplace.

24 comments:

Leo said...

This kind of propaganda is unfair and dangerous, Carlotta. Let me explain why.

Not everyone is a married mother comfortably living off their husband's income, having nothing much to worry about because they are well taken care off by others.

Married stay at home mothers do not need to use daycare institutions, but single mothers that want to work their way off poverty might. Even some couples might need them, as in my country at least, one income might not pay all the bills.

You might want to think of all children that go to daycare very damaged and traumatised for life, but it just isn't so, the same way bottlefed children are not dropping like flies, no matter what the "experts" and the activist stay at home mothers say.

It is quite obvious to some families that a daycare solution might help. What else do you sugest for lone parents that need an income do? Living on benefits? That's not a very libertarian solution, now, is it? Finding a partner, with the higher risk of the child getting abused than as a daycare?

Yes, some daycares don't care. Some are prisons with routine torture and I don't say this metaphorically. That's why parents have to make sure they investigate them properly and kids enjoy going there, not believing the stupid idea that crying is natural and good for children. It's not, it's a sign of serious distress and that something is going wrong. Parents should go with the children before they put them there to see the environment for themselves.

A good daycare can be quite positive for parents and children. They are rare, but they exist

Some daycares do care. Some daycares actually care more and care better than many frustrated mothers out there.

You seek some sort of perfect and idealised childhood, making a drama out of anything that is not exactly your own agenda, but you should remember that other parents that not in your social situation also want to be the best parents of the world like you do.

Your strict lifestyle and mislead idiological views will not fit everyone. Not even a tiny percentage.

In a sane world, there would be no need for kiddie prisons, children would be left playing outside in the company of their older peers while their parents worked. But of course this is not well viewed anymore thanks to Maria Montessouri and other intelectuals.

Carlotta said...

Leo,

I realise that there are some difficult situations that require the adoption of suboptimal solutions, but simply because something becomes a necessity does not then mean that it automatically becomes a good thing.

So let's not pretend otherwise. It is quite clear that day care and bottle feeding are suboptimal solutions for any family that is capable of doing an otherwise halfway decent job.

People considering having children would be better off knowing this in plain-speak it seems to me, since this may reduce the chance of them finding themselves in a situation of having to adopt suboptimal solutions.

Leo said...

LOL! Carlotta, you think so high of yourself and your lifestyle. More modesty needed, perhaps? Falibilism, have you heard of it?

The alternatives to your lifestyle are not suboptimal. They are as equally valid as the stay at home mum option and might even be better for the children. You are trying to persuade people with stories of disaster that are not even true. They pick some anecdotes and exagerate them. If you've spent less time on activist sites and look around you more, you will see it is not as dramatic. There are plenty of happy and clever kids that weren't attached to a boob 24/7.

Actually, if you go to sites like mothering, you will see the bliss that stay at home parenting is not.

Life is an experiment and those that risk nothing, learn nothing. A world where women stay at home to breed and be faithful wives is an old one and got boring quick.

Knowledge started evolving much faster since women started to work.

Carlotta said...

Fallibilism - certainly a good idea, but deliberately adopting poor theories in the name of fallibilism? Not so. I make a stand by seemingly good theories until they are obviously refuted.

Saying that bottle feeding is as good as breast feeding, on the evidence we have, is simply nonsensical.

Although objective measures of daycare are impossible to ascertain, it doesn't mean that we cannot look at the evidence that appears to be there, to think about our own experiences, to postulate explanations for this, and to go with the best possible theories that arise from that, unless they are otherwise refuted.

In my repeated experience, infants suffer when removed from familiar care and placed in the hands of strangers. The miserable cries of children seem like obvious information that should be taken seriously.

And there are seemingly some very good explanations as to why infants should suffer in this way...ie: there was evolutionary pressure upon children to make a fuss or die...those who didn't fuss died out quickly.

In fact, I do remember reading about the infants who died first in drought situations. They were the ones who complained least. It seems as if stranger anxiety is a primordially programmed instinct that aids survival and we are best off taking this seriously.

Also, just in case you are confused
no bfing baby I have known, even in profound illness, is stuck on the boob 24/7, and actually making up bottles can seem just as onerous to many women as just sitting down as soon as baby needs, bfing and then getting on with life!

Plus, I'm all for taking a risk with ones own life...but I would do my utmost not to have take any more risks with my children's lives than is absolutely necessary.

In addition, I don't see that women who decide to look after the kids need actually be anything like a stay-at-home person. As a rule, my life is anything but stay at home!

As for modesty...well, in supporting my lifestyle and saying that I think there are good grounds for it, I don't think I am necessarily being boastful...just arguing for my way of life and demonstrating that I have what I believe to be good reasons for it.

Finally, knowledge in my case, has grown exponentially since I had kids! Caring for kids doesn't rule out learning in some implicit way, though boring routine and sometimes quite high powered jobs often do.

Leo said...

"I make a stand by seemingly good theories until they are obviously refuted."

I thought falibilism was the idea that nothing can be known 100% for sure. I think that puts "obviously refuted" out of the game?

"Saying that bottle feeding is as good as breast feeding, on the evidence we have, is simply nonsensical."

Research is easily manipulated. Look around you. Babies survive on formula quite healthily. They get as developed as the breastfed ones and once they are 13 years old you definitly can't tell the difference. :)

Have you noticed that breastfeeding mothers even have to make up that formula babies gain weight too fast? Now happy chubby babies are not healthy anymore, they are obese! It just shows how effective formula milk can be and how the breastfeeding lobby went astray in their cause.

I knew a mother at a LLL meeting that was starving her infant by insisting on breastfeed when it obviously wasn't working! She didn't want to give in to the big evil corporations and the powdered cow milk, because it was against her beliefs. She had the wrong agenda.

"In my repeated experience, infants suffer when removed from familiar care and placed in the hands of strangers. The miserable cries of children seem like obvious information that should be taken seriously."

I agree, of course it should. The distress should be the sign, not the research. A parent that reads research and doesn't look at their children's will never get it, like that confused mother at the LLL meeting. If a child is unhappy or unhealthy the parent should know to spot it.

As for daycare, not all children are miserable there. I actually witnessed the other day, a father collecting his daughter from daycare and she didn't wanted to leave! She was crying because she wanted to stay. I also had a friend whose toddler asked to go to daycare. He loved his little friends there, he used to call them on the phone. He was only 18 months old. That time I was so hang up with AP and TCS, that even if I needed work I never considered the daycare option.

The babies I know that people took care off in daycare and as nannies many times prefered these people than their parents and thrived better with them.

Daycare can be a family for the children. It just matters how dedicated people are. I agree, unfortunately, that many are not and carers come poisoned with pedagogy they learned at university and not genuine love for the children.

"In fact, I do remember reading about the infants who died first in drought situations. They were the ones who complained least. It seems as if stranger anxiety is a primordially programmed instinct that aids survival and we are best off taking this seriously."

We cannot really know what is programmed in the brain, can we? Yours might be a good guess but I don't see how the droughs are related to strangers?

Not to mention people that the baby sees regularly quickly stop being strangers.

"I would do my utmost not to have take any more risks with my children's lives than is absolutely necessary."

You are saying that bottlefeeding and daycare, by itself, not specific cases or people, put children's lives at risk? How is not our society extinct yet?

"As a rule, my life is anything but stay at home!"

Yes, I know. "Stay with the kids mum", perhaps.

Carlotta said...

Hi Leo...
re Fallibilism, I agree that nothing can be known for sure, but within a realm of accepting reality as it is, some theories can be refuted, and if I recall correctly, Popper was of the opinion that it was best possible course of action to act upon the best possible available theories...

I personally can most definitely tell the difference between children who were breastfed and those who were bottlefed at age 13. There are a number of ways of telling from purely superficial measures, given that you are allowed to probe around for just a bit. For example, the upper palette of a reasonably long-term breastfed child will be flatter, (unless they thumb sucked as well, for example,) the jaw will be better aligned, the teeth will be better spaced, and the sinuses will be larger and better draining, with plenty of other possible clinical consequences, in this aspect alone.

Skulls dug up from ancient cemeteries when children were all routinely fed till age 4 plus, show that they almost uniformly never suffered from crowded teeth or overbite.

As for children not suffering long term consequences from being in day care at a young age...studies have shown that children who suffered in day care routinely demonstrate higher levels of cortisol in their blood. This basically translates into their being in a high state of alert or anxiety and very sadly these levels remain pretty consistent at least for the rest of the long-term study.

I don't call this finding at all trivial.

Whilst I don't, and I don't think I have ever suggested that daycare and bottle feeding necessarily put children's lives at immediate risk...though let us not forget that they can...my brother was one of only 50% of bottle fed babies to survive on a ward where 50% of the bottle fed babies did die...NB none of the breastfed ones died, I do believe that both can have significant, if not life long and potentially life shortening consequences, which people need to know about, and which should ethically not be pushed under the carpet if the interests of the parents do not coincide.

David said...

So, daycare is banished and some sort of law (or powerful meme) has come into being that a parent has to stay at home with the children. Given the decision on who stays will most likely be down to money, and men earn more than women (especially with the libertarian repeal of equal opportunity legislation), that'll be more women at home (or wandering the streets) looking after the children. I'm assuming schools (which obviously come under 'daycare') are also banished.

1) Obviously: what happens to all the jobs currently staffed by daycare parents?

2) What happens to single parents looking to make more than benefits bring in? And what about in a libertarian 'paradise', where the welfare state is no more? The parent relies on charity or farms the kids out to friends and family?

3) What happens to those on minimum/low wage, who need more than one income to get by? Though, obviously, minimum wage is long gone in Carlottopia.

4) What is the general effect on the economy?

David

Carlotta said...

Hi David,

"So, daycare is banished and some sort of law (or powerful meme) has come into being that a parent has to stay at home with the children"

No, these are not the conclusions that I would draw from what I have been saying. I am sorry that this has not been clear.

I would not banish daycare. I would simply tell as many people as would care to listen, that daycare is not usually a good place to leave young kids, since they often seem to suffer terribly there, and that if they do, you are doing something unethical which should seriously impact upon your decision about how you live your life.

"Given the decision on who stays will most likely be down to money, and men earn more than women (especially with the libertarian repeal of equal opportunity legislation), that'll be more women at home (or wandering the streets) looking after the children."

Perhaps they should have thought about not having kids. Worth thinking about how kids are going to manage and about whether you are going to manage their very, very basic needs, ie: a need to be with someone special who knows and loves them, before you have kids, I should have thought.

" I'm assuming schools (which obviously come under 'daycare') are also banished."

No, no, not at all. I have always said that if a child wants to go to school, and many do, (as do some slightly older kids who enjoy daycare), that a child should be able to do just this.

"1) Obviously: what happens to all the jobs currently staffed by daycare parents?"

They go about finding out how to generate cash in other ways. Even being a nanny seems to me to be much more ethical.

"2) What happens to single parents looking to make more than benefits bring in?"

They often face a tough choice, but does it help to pretend that this isn't a tough choice and that one side of the argument is actually trivial, when it clearly isn't? Not attending to the attachment needs of an infant is a terrible thing, yet because the impact of it is not immediately obviously felt anywhere other than in the child's mind, it can be the easiest thing to ignore.

Perhaps a single mum could go looking for another responsible partner with whom to share the burden of childcare...could be another single mum perhaps?

"And what about in a libertarian 'paradise', where the welfare state is no more? The parent relies on charity or farms the kids out to friends and family?"

It seems quite likely that the welfare state will be letting us down very severely in the near future without any intention of this happening, given that so many departments have so massively overspent - we are unlikely to have anything like a reasonable pension, for example. We are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we do have to generate money, not simply be in receipt of it. Luckily money does actually grow on trees. It seems a shame that kids have to be so separated out from the world of work, so one thing I would do would be to repeal the laws against children working...whilst making it clear that children should at the same time not be exploited in this, but should see the point of helping to generate income or at least being allowed to accompany their parents to their places of work.

"4) What is the general effect on the economy?"

Couldn't be much worse than what we have now. Perhaps knowing that your child will suffer terribly financially if you walk out on it would constitute reason alone for fathers to stay and care more, though it does strike me that this would take a long time in the coming, now that people have got so used not to considering their own financial responsibilities.

Humans are not ideal animals. Our evolution has resulted in some severe anomalies which seem to be responsible for the problems we are discussing here, eg: children have such a long period of complete dependence due to the fact that they must be born before they are fully ready, since otherwise they wouldn't get out of our reformed upright pelvises...

We do need to seek out solutions to this problem, and ones that don't ignore a significant part of that problem (ie: the attachment needs of kids), because the solutions we have now are terrible and have terrible consequences for children that are frequently not acknowledged.

Anonymous said...

Will have to read in more detail when back from work - but from what I've read so far I think that when there is the need to attack people personally it is likely that argument is weak. It is also dangerous to make these personal attacks as one is only guessing as to the facts of their lives and what they might have done or not done in the past and present.

The aim of debate is to find the best possible theories upon which we attempt to act if at all possible; obviously events in our lives may mean that we can not act on these all of the time. However, deciding to twist evidence to suit the actions one is actually able to carry out is not the point of a blog that is devoted to truth seeking. Neither should one hide the good things one does actually manage to do in case other people who haven't done them feel bad.

So, our life is far from perfect and we are not perfect mothers and fathers - this shouldn't stop us recognising the difference between less good and better solutions to problems. Justifying our poor choices rather than looking at the truth is far from necessary and most probably doesn't help us make good decisions later on.

D

David said...

"I would not banish daycare."

The sentence was a cock-up. Apologies. The law/meme would be first (obviously, in a libertarian society it would be a meme), then, as it is simply unwanted, daycare is gone. Obviously, it was a hypothetical situation anyways.

" I would simply tell as many people as would care to listen, that daycare is not usually a good place to leave young kids, since they often seem to suffer terribly there, and that if they do, you are doing something unethical which should seriously impact upon your decision about how you live your life."

From what I can see, most people are living their lives in a straightforward Capitalist/Materialist fashion by going out to work to earn money to a) get by and b) occasionally treat themselves. To live in any sort of 'prosperous' way nowadays often involves two incomes.

So, no statist laws, just a lot of finger wagging? ;) I thought TCSers were against shaming? And I'm not sure how much people care about being ethical by your terms. The general ethical position in Britain seems to be a strange mix of Christianity (especially when on the receiving end of some meanness or other - "hey, I wouldn't do that to you!") and Classical Satanism (Crowley's "'do what thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law"). I say 'your terms', but I'm not too sure what your terms actually are. You describe yourselves as Moral Objectivists, but what those morals objectively are (and how they are objective) I've never quite been able to discern. For one, is it anything to do with Randian (hiss, spit) Objectivism?

"Perhaps they should have thought about not having kids."

Well, that's great. What are they to do now the kids are already here? Smother them? Give them away to richer, morally upright families? Is it the case that families that cannot get by on one income (often hard enough with all the measures currently in place, nevermind when they've all been removed) shouldn't have children?

"Worth thinking about how kids are going to manage and about whether you are going to manage their very, very basic needs, ie: a need to be with someone special who knows and loves them, before you have kids, I should have thought."

Quite. Except plenty of people don't 'decide' to have children, and maybe those that do think about it conclude daycare will meet the needs of the family.

"[Daycare parents] go about finding out how to generate cash in other ways. Even being a nanny seems to me to be much more ethical."

I meant the jobs worked by people who put their kids in daycare, rather than those currently employed by daycare centres. Should have been clearer - apologies.

"[Single parents] often face a tough choice, but does it help to pretend that this isn't a tough choice and that one side of the argument is actually trivial, when it clearly isn't?"

I wasn't pretending it was at all trivial. I know how damn hard these things can be. I've known quite a few parents who've been left - or had to leave relationships - where no family/friend help was forthcoming. Without state help or daycare.... I dread to think.

"Not attending to the attachment needs of an infant is a terrible thing, yet because the impact of it is not immediately obviously felt anywhere other than in the child's mind, it can be the easiest thing to ignore."

I agree. I just don't see what good making people feel crap for the position they find themselves in will do. Offer the real, practical solutions, *then* apply the guilt trip. ;)

"Perhaps a single mum could go looking for another responsible partner with whom to share the burden of childcare...could be another single mum perhaps?"

...which only seems to bring us back to the problem of attachment.

"It seems quite likely that the welfare state will be letting us down very severely in the near future without any intention of this happening, given that so many departments have so massively overspent - we are unlikely to have anything like a reasonable pension, for example."

Do you know Elton John's account details, perchance? I'm sure he wouldn't notice. Or The Beckhams'? Tell me they're going to notice a few less zeros.

"We are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we do have to generate money, not simply be in receipt of it."

I can't find the Economics post now, but someone asked where money came from. That's something I'm trying to find out myself. Something in all this seems awry.

"Luckily money does actually grow on trees."

Eh?

"It seems a shame that kids have to be so separated out from the world of work, so one thing I would do would be to repeal the laws against children working...whilst making it clear that children should at the same time not be exploited in this, but should see the point of helping to generate income"

Good Lawd! No no no. Work is, by and large, a Horrible Thing. If anything, children need to be shown how so much more there is to the world than money, to be taught to have utter disdain for it. (I just wrote quite a bit more, but I'll blog on this instead of taking up your comments box). Given that adults are often exploited, I don't know how you'd keep children from being so.

"or at least being allowed to accompany their parents to their places of work"

I can't think of a single job I've had where the boss would go with this, and I can think of plenty where it's impractical at best, impossible at worst. On the other hand, maybe a short, sharp shock such as this would be the thing to make kids realise the awfulness of much work.

"[The effect on the economy] couldn't be much worse than what we have now."

Could you expand on that?

"Perhaps knowing that your child will suffer terribly financially if you walk out on it would constitute reason alone for fathers to stay and care more, though it does strike me that this would take a long time in the coming, now that people have got so used not to considering their own financial responsibilities."

Doubt it. Children do often suffer financially now, nevermind all the emotional upset. Plus with the single income and the repeal of employment laws, fathers would often be needing to work longer anyway.

"Humans are not ideal animals."

Humans aren't even ideal humans...

"We do need to seek out solutions to this problem, and ones that don't ignore a significant part of that problem (ie: the attachment needs of kids), because the solutions we have now are terrible and have terrible consequences for children that are frequently not acknowledged. "

The irony here is I largely agree with you on this; it's just I don't see any libertarian solutions. I see daycare as an obvious outcome of the pressure of low incomes/desire for prosperity (and various sociological factors), and there seem to be contradictions between your desire for better child/parent bonding and enthusiasm for laissez faire economics: the way companies go ape when any sort of pro-family/new-baby-time-off legislation is put forward, for one. I have ideas/solutions aplenty, but they're all evil statist/interventionist ones. :p

David

Carlotta said...

Hi David,

>So, no statist laws, just a lot of finger wagging? ;) I thought TCSers were against shaming?

You know, even with a wink, it does nothing to further accurate discussion to mischaracterise what someone says for the purposes of satire and strawman criticism.

Just in case it was impenetrable, what I intended to say is simply that many, many children who go to daycare from early infancy suffer because of it(or how else do you interpret the miserable cries of so many children?) This kind of behaviour in my sadly not limited experience, is almost uniformly the case, and even in situations where children are apparently not unhappy to be in childcare, one very often only had to ask about their adjustment history to hear about the amount of misery that has gone into creating this situation.

So here, to state the apparent facts as I see them, and to feel the urgency of doing it, for I am convinced through increasing evidence, that at least for some children, this kind of early experience is extremely significant, certainly in the shorterm, when mistreating your child in this way could be seen to amount to abuse, and even in the longterm (we actually know a child who was neglected in child care during the first year and this child still much later suffers from extremely limited speech, is not to finger wag or to try to shame anyone.

That this may a consequence of stating the apparent facts, would seemingly suggest that people perceive there to be truth in the assertion.

"You describe yourselves as Moral Objectivists, but what those morals objectively are (and how they are objective) I've never quite been able to discern. For one, is it anything to do with Randian (hiss, spit) Objectivism?"

Not much, no. If you are interested to know more, read Popper.

"What are they to do now the kids are already here? Smother them? Give them away to richer, morally upright families? Is it the case that families that cannot get by on one income (often hard enough with all the measures currently in place, nevermind when they've all been removed) shouldn't have children?"

As I have already said: there are no easy answers but to pretend, as is regularly the case, that the emotional consequences for a child are not significant, simply because one has difficulty in addressing these needs, is not to solve the problem either.

"Plenty of people don't 'decide' to have children, and maybe those that do think about it conclude daycare will meet the needs of the family. "

My guess is that it is about time people did start to think responsibly before they have kids. No earthly reason not to, with ready availability of contraception. They also need to know that daycare is NOT the easy panacea. Far better that people know this, surely, so that they can better balance that equation, and see if they can make sacrifices...ie: finding one or two signficant people to be with and attentive and sensitive to the child for the first 2 years of the child's life. This is a very basic need of a child and not to know this is a common mistake in our child-ignorant world.

"I just don't see what good making people feel crap for the position they find themselves in will do".

I didn't intend to make people feel bad. There is absolutely NO compulsion on anyone to read this blog, so if anyone is too discomforted, they could just click elsewhere. In simply pointing out the facts of life as far as a child is concerned, I was actually hoping to present the facts to prevent future misery.

"Offer the real, practical solutions, *then* apply the guilt trip. ;)"

So yes, one possible solution: I'd say: Find out about kids before you have them. Know what you are taking on and think about how you are going to attend to the very real needs of your kids before you go ahead. Foresight always a good thing.

"re: attachment figures..
...which only seems to bring us back to the problem of attachment."

Yup. Ime, attachment can happen with anyone who is responsible, sensitive, attentive, and persistently there. In just this last regard, daycare, even good ones, fall down. Most fall down in all the others too.

A friend recently left her temporary job in the smartest nursery in town. This nursery had a huge reputation for being by far the best in every way, yet she reports (and this coming from someone who is not an AP or HE mum was initially rather gobsmacking to me), that the infants were almost without exception, either overtly or covertly miserable, and that she felt she couldn't give them anything other than extremely basic physical care.

"re: children helping parents at work...
Good Lawd! No no no. Work is, by and large, a Horrible Thing."

Wow...that meme has to go, I'd say, if there is any chance of human survival. Guess that may be school-induced...but work could and should be thrilling, creative, exciting, fulfilling...Would rather pass this notion on to the kids...and the weird thing is, people get their kicks out of the strangest thing. Friend of Dh's who could quite frankly be running a hedge fund, or a law firm, with her quick mind and business savvy nonetheless gave her life to and enjoyed beyond all measure, picking mushrooms all day. OK, I couldn't easily explain it, but it was the honest truth!

"If anything, children need to be shown how so much more there is to the world than money, to be taught to have utter disdain for it."

So if the parent is to demonstrate this disdain for money, why are they bothering to go out to work at all? Surely far more important that they should attend to the emotional needs of the kids!

"I can't think of a single job I've had where the boss would go with this,"

Bad luck. I can. Not to say that it wouldn't take some culture change but I think this could quite easily be managed.

David said...

Hi Carlotta

>So, no statist laws, just a lot of finger wagging? ;) I thought TCSers were against shaming?

"You know, even with a wink, it does nothing to further accurate discussion to mischaracterise what someone says for the purposes of satire and strawman criticism."

Well, "I would simply tell as many people....decision about how you live your life." sounds like finger wagging to me. Nor have I made strawman criticism - at any rate, Strawman/ad hominum points are only fallacies in the context of a philosophical argument. As I agree with your premise, I don't see how one could place this conversation in that category.

I've simply tried to clarify, for my purposes... well, it's like a trajectory. I know where you're starting from politically/philosophically, and that you're going through the point of No Daycare Where It Causes Distress, and I'm now trying to find, with your help, the destination of that journey (there may even be solutions there). It's what I like to do with ideas (my own and others'). I find it interesting and fun.

Anyway, from my experience I'm nowhere near as fine a Sophist as your average TCS enthusiast.

"Just in case it was impenetrable..."

It wasn't at all impenetrable. What's more, I said I largely agree with you. But, as you say, you're looking for quite a culture change. You know when fervently pro-Capitalist Christians go on a tirade against popular culture, unaware that what they're against comes from what they support? That's what I see here.

"Not much, no. If you are interested to know more, read Popper."

I have read some Popper (years back now, mind), but it didn't really interest or persaude me. Which is why I was (and am) hoping for some clarification. Enlightenment, if you will. What's more, critics or endorsers of a philosopher are often better at putting their ideas than the philosopher themselves. Also, I'm talking to you here, not Mr Popper. If I ask a Christian what they believe, they can quite fairly hand me the Bible. If I ask you, is it the case that I'm simply pointed in the direction of, say, 'The Open Society...'?

"My guess is that it is about time people did start to think responsibly before they have kids..."

Yes, that would be great. But so would everyone putting their guns down and getting along. It's the matter of getting from one state to the other that's the problem. The world/life in general, and people in particular, are far too messy.

From my POV, we've (tentatively) reached this statement: 'Couples shouldn't have children unless they can provide for them on one income, thus leaving one parent to see to the emotional needs of the child.' Leaving aside single parents and children already born, that seems to me to be a point the trajectory is heading to - if I'm wrong or unfair, do correct me. The problem is that I don't see that the current workings of The Market at all allow for many single income households.

"I didn't intend to make people feel bad. There is absolutely NO compulsion on anyone to read this blog"

I had more in mind "I would simply tell as many people as would care to listen....decision about how you live your life", rather than whoever happened to stumble on your blog. If those who would 'care to listen' and those who stumble on your blog are one and the same, apologies.

"So yes, one possible solution: I'd say: Find out about kids.... before you go ahead. Foresight always a good thing."

Foresight is indeed a good thing, especially in hindsight. I'm concerned about the millions already here. Saying, "Well, you should have thought about it a bit more, shouldn't you?" doesn't seem to do much in the way of help - I assume we are trying to help here, after all, to relieve human suffering - and making people feel shame about their children or their situation (the only outcome I can see) hasn't much of a positive history.

"Yup. Ime, attachment can happen with anyone who is responsible, sensitive, attentive, and persistently there. In just this last regard, daycare, even good ones, fall down. Most fall down in all the others too."

Could we not simply encourage the responsible, sensitive, attentive and persistently present among us into daycare?

"A friend recently left her temporary job in the smartest nursery ... other than extremely basic physical care."

Out of interest - to repeat myself I'm mostly in agreement with you on daycare - what does 'best/smartest' mean here?

>Good Lawd! No no no. Work is, by and large, a Horrible Thing."

"Wow...that meme has to go, I'd say, if there is any chance of human survival. Guess that may be school-induced..."

A *meme*? No, it's my experience, and the experience of most of the people I know. Similarly, everone I knew at (secondary) school couldn't wait to get to work. Most work is dull, repetitive and gives no fulfillment. Nor do I understand your remark about human survival - I don't imagine many people in history have gone about their work truly enjoying it, and glad they were doing it (as a means in itself) rather than not. We've struggled through okay so far.

"but work could and should be thrilling, creative, exciting, fulfilling...Would rather pass this notion on to the kids..."

Should be, but isn't. That's why it's *Work*, and they pay you. I'd like my children to take interests that have absolutely nothing to do with making money. If one earns them money, great, but the things that fulfill them and excite them should be done for those ends, not for the financial ones.

Passing notions onto your kids? I'm saying nothing, me.

"and the weird thing is, people get their kicks out of the strangest thing ... picking mushrooms all day. OK, I couldn't easily explain it, but it was the honest truth!"

I couldn't explain either, not knowing the woman and all, but I can think of plenty of plausible reasons and I don't find the decision at all odd.

"So if the parent is to demonstrate this disdain for money, why are they bothering to go out to work at all? Surely far more important that they should attend to the emotional needs of the kids!"

That's not quite what I meant. I'll blog about it soonish, and I'll be sure to let you know. But disdain... too many people are obsessed with money, or scared of it. I think it better to, as much as one can, simply not care. How easy is it to care for the emotional needs of your children if you're having trouble feeding them, or housing them, or clothing them? To me, it seems we're being led to the conclusion that children simply aren't for the proleteriat. Which would be interesting from a scientific point of view, but horrible (and most likely disastrous) otherwise.

>I can't think of a single job I've had where the boss would [have kids around]

"Bad luck. I can. Not to say that it wouldn't take some culture change but I think this could quite easily be managed. "

It strikes me as absurd, frankly. I've worked both blue and white collar, and heaven knows what would happen to productivity if everyone brought their kids along. Also, would you ignore your kids to get on with your job, or your job to get on with your kids? If the former, you're showing your work is more important than your children (a lot like daycare, perhaps?). If the latter, you're showing them it's okay to take money under false pretenses. Quite how one can be "responsible, sensitive, attentive, and persistently there" on a production line, laying bricks, at a telesales/helpline desk, walking a beat, putting out fires, working as a paramedic, putting in plumbing is beyond me.


David

Carlotta said...

Well, "I would simply tell as many people....decision about how you live your life." sounds like finger wagging to me.

I still think that simply telling someone a fact, and even advising them that this aspect is very likely to make a difference in their lives or the lives of their children differs in quality to making a moral evaluation.

"Strawman/ad hominum points are only fallacies in the context of a philosophical argument".

I am not sure that ad hominem is necessarily a fallacy, even within philosophical conversation. I don't think it is very important whether or not a conversation is defined as a philosophical one or not. I simply maintain that avoiding ad hominems and attacking strawmen are often useful techniques in the type of conversation we are attempting to have here. For example, I cannot see how it would help if either of us were to start slagging each other off, or critiquing arguments purportedly belonging to the other person that had absolutely nothing to do with what the other person had actually said.

"As I agree with your premise, I don't see how one could place this conversation in that category".

Well, independent of whether this conversation is or isn't a philosophical one, are you implying that philosophers never agree?

"I find it interesting and fun".

Excellent, so do I...conjecture and refutation...and thanks for it.

"Anyway, from my experience I'm nowhere near as fine a Sophist as your average TCS enthusiast."

By sophist...you mean? As I understand it, Sophists via Plato...their ideas are pretty vague, save for the fact that they liked the odd rhetorical device...is this what you mean? Popper, btw, the predominent philosophical influence upon TCS, was very much against the idea of weighting words too heavily, at the same time invoking writers to try to be accurate, (rather than merely rhetorical) and to encourage readers to try understand the writers meaning, rather than to neglectfully or willfully misunderstand it, so sophistry, even in its most pleasant sense doesn't seem a very accurate designation for what TCS is about.

"I said I largely agree with you. But, as you say, you're looking for quite a culture change. You know when fervently pro-Capitalist Christians go on a tirade against popular culture, unaware that what they're against comes from what they support? That's what I see here."

I personally am not averse to many aspects of popular culture...I prefer a free market, globalisation if necessary, anarcho capitalism, but am not a Christian, and don't view my form of humanism as some sort of misguided theism either. I am quite specific in the tiny bits of our culture that remain problematic, and stuffing infants in childcare is an area we still haven't sorted out, and one of the reasons for this is that children are easy to ignore, imo.

"I have read some Popper (years back now, mind), but it didn't really interest or persaude me".

I know what you mean! My brother read philosophy with Bryan Magee as his special tutor..and wrote his final paper on Popper, so I tried it back then and thought "cold fish"! But, after coming across takingchildrenseriously.com, I started back that way by reading Magee's Popper and that along with Popper and Deutsch's Fabric of Reality now seem to me to be the amongst the best, most meaningful and most beautiful bits of prose in the whole of the English language.

"Which is why I was (and am) hoping for some clarification. Enlightenment, if you will."

Wow..am flattered that you ask! But the problem is that I couldn't possibly hope to convey their ideas fully or accurately, let alone in a comment section, although of all philosophers I suppose I should be able to manage it, since Popper was an avid critic of deliberate obscurantism and did attempt to put his ideas across as simply and as clearly as possible. In addition to which, all his theories do connect up and make sense together, so often understanding one idea properly can lead to this sort of cracking out experience, where the connections between different ideas of his all become apparent and meaningful...(happened to me in the bath actually!)

"It's the matter of getting from one state to the other that's the problem. The world/life in general, and people in particular, are far too messy".

The point I was having problems with initially in this thread was actually getting someone to agree that there was a problem at all...so you do now present me with a different problem and one that I am not sure that I can answer more fully than I have already.

"From my POV, we've (tentatively) reached this statement: 'Couples shouldn't have children unless they can provide for them on one income, thus leaving one parent to see to the emotional needs of the child.' Leaving aside single parents and children already born, that seems to me to be a point the trajectory is heading to - if I'm wrong or unfair, do correct me. The problem is that I don't see that the current workings of The Market at all allow for many single income households."

We are only talking about 2 years out per child. All it would take would be for employers to be flexible about taking people in and out of the workplace, since most people could probably scrape by for 2 years if they knew that this is what they were best off doing.

"Could we not simply encourage the responsible, sensitive, attentive and persistently present among us into daycare?"

The thing is, daycare staff are always going to take days off, have holidays, get sick, leave for one reason or another, etc. It is a different relation to the child and a hard one to alter without a seriously unworkable contract I would have thought, but in not doing so, does not really allow for the real needs of the infant. .

"Passing notions onto your kids? I'm saying nothing, me."

Well, Ok, if you insist then...Tentatively offering the children your best available theories! Lol..

Sorry, in haste...

Anonymous said...

To only mention one point you raise, David, that reminded me of something. (very interesting debate incidentally!)

"To me, it seems we're being led to the conclusion that children simply aren't for the proleteriat. Which would be interesting from a scientific point of view, but horrible (and most likely disastrous) otherwise."

This apparently was Marie Stoppes' goal and the reason why she started her initially 'charitable' abortion clinics. She was actively seeking to prevent the proletariat from reproducing! Pretty sick. I only wish that I had read that sooner than I did.

D

Carlotta said...

Hi D,

It would obviously be a horrible idea for people to, say, forceably be prevented from having kids, but simply not thinking clearly about how one is going to cope with a kid when that kid arrives, and not attend to what seem to me should be perceived as basic needs, also seems to me to be equally unethical, since it merely shifts unethical/coercive behaviour from such as the state, to that of the parent.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to narrow down a very interesting debate here (please don't let that happen!) but am not at all sure that one can very often make the sensible decision re: having a child or not with enough certainty to warrant killing a child-to-be. For instance, one can have the child whilst, for example, married and financially well off, when suddenly husband dies or illness strikes or some such thing. Equally well, one could believe one had nothing and no way of paying for the child when in very little time something could happen to dramatically change this situation.

It is very hard to assume anything about the future. Therefore, the mother who decided to have four kids then finds herself widowed and struggling terribly might regret every day of her life that she had those children, and the impoverished single mum who (I realise this is a very unlikely event but it is one of many!) might have won the lottery the day after ending the pregnancy when if she had had enough money to have had it so that she could be the main carer, she would definitely have done so.

Every route has a potential tragedy and having done the right thing at the time rarely feels like a good enough reason if one's heart, also, wasn't in the decision. It isn't possible to say with any certainty whether one should be able to tick all the boxes for being a good parent at the time one decides to have a child.

D

Carlotta said...

Hi D,

Yes, plans go awry, but better to try to forestall those disasters than to sit haplessly by, I would say. So, for example, better to stock up on food supplies and get in the Tamiflu should lethal avian flu head our way. And in similar way, better to try to build in some way of meeting child's emotional needs than not, I would say.

David said...

Hi Carlotta

"For example, I cannot see how it would help if either of us were to start slagging each other off"

I can't argue it would be helpful, but it might be fun.

"are you implying that philosophers never agree?"

Yes. At best, they *think* they agree. Indeed, when not outright disagreeing, a lot of philosophers seem to enjoy taking another's argument and twisting - sorry, *improving* - it. Don't forget Popper and Wittgenstein nearly coming to blows. And Russell having to separate them. Pure Monty Python.

"conjecture and refutation"

Is that what it's called nowadays? I always had it pegged as Socratic Debate. My 'method'... I like to find out what people think/believe, and take those thoughts/beliefs for a 'logic walk' (terrible term, but it'll do), to see where they lead, and if they're happy with where their beliefs have led. Obviously, there's a danger of mischaracterisation, but I try and make each step clear and work out any disagreement or 'unfairness'.

"By sophist...you mean... designation for what TCS is about."

By Sophistry I mean rhetorical tricks, yes. Having read through some of the TCS related blogs, and even articles on the actual site, I've picked up on quite a few rhetorical flourishes - twisting what others have said, reductio ad absurdum, false analogies, strawman arguments, begging the question and so on. Especially in arguments with others.

I also have lots of criticism and misgivings regarding TCS, but I think that, too, is best put in a blog post - it would be getting seriously off-topic, for one. My 'must blog about' list is getting long...

"I personally am not.... children are easy to ignore, imo."

I meant that there seemed to be the same sort of conflict - that daycare seems a perfectly predictable/natural occurance in a Capitalist/Materialist society. I may as well throw in something else I've been wondering about: is advertising/marketing 'coercive'?

I'm still trying to get answers on economics before I'll take a position, but there are aspects of Capitalism (Hyper-Capitalism, perhaps?) that concern me.

"I know what you mean! My brother ... amongst the best, most meaningful and most beautiful bits of prose in the whole of the English language."

I don't have any Popper in the house (nor does the library seem to have any), but I've found an essay (there was a great series a while back called 'The Great Philosophers'), which I'm currently reading. Some interesting points, and the criticisms relate to mine of TCS. Which is both interesting and unsurprising.

Ah, Mr Deutsch. Well, in short, I don't like him. This, obviously, has nothing to do with whether his ideas (particularly regarding physics) are sound or not. However, I also don't trust him. Whilst I know enough about philosophical argument to pick up on when I'm being misled with sophistry, I don't know anywhere near enough about physics (let alone the quantum variety) to trust him to be sufficiently impartial on something as important as The Fabric Of Reality. Though again, this is somewhat off topic, and best left for my own blog.

"so you do now present me with a different problem and one that I am not sure that I can answer more fully than I have already."

I don't think there is a libertarian one, beyond asking a) people to think a bit more about having children and b) asking employers to be nicer to those looking to start a family. I suppose if you were sufficiently roused, you could rewrite A Christmas Carol, targetting anyone who (implicitly or explicitly) create and support daycare, rather than misers. Which sounds sarcastic, but it's the only route I can see.

"We are only talking about 2 years out per child. All it would take would be for employers to be flexible about taking people in and out of the workplace"

Yes, but look at the hullabaloo surrounding any sort of pro-family legislation. Would they do this voluntarily?

"since most people could probably scrape by for 2 years if they knew that this is what they were best off doing."

Looking at families I know, I don't think that they could. The one time you need more money, you'll have less. Around here, nurseries have recently had an intake. The amount of horror stories we've heard when children used to spending all their time with mommy have to adjust to nursery... and these kids are three, not two.

"The thing is, daycare staff are always going to take days off, have holidays, get sick, leave for one reason or another, etc. It is a different relation to the child and a hard one to alter without a seriously unworkable contract I would have thought, but in not doing so, does not really allow for the real needs of the infant."

What about employing a lot more daycare staff? Also, it would be interesting to look at the kids brought up in communes, as a similar model could be applied here (to daycare. And otherwise, I guess).

My main concern here is that, as I've said, if you marry libertarian economic policy to anti-daycare memes, a lot of people will either not have children (or feel bad for having done so), or bring them up in dire financial circumstances.

David

Carlotta said...

Thanks for your comment...just quickly...would have asked re the ad hominems, but don't have a mo and so let it slip...but your argument is great in most areas, so plllleeeeeseee......?

Briefly as a dolls house is drying fast...

Re: not knowing whether to take Multiverse theory, if you can get yourself to a Sky TV this pm, there is a repeat on TV Documentary Channel of the Horizon episode which lays out the increasing case for taking multiverse theory seriously. More and more physicists are thinking that it is a good theory, and indeed helps to take us a step back beyond the big bang.

Will come back to the rest of your comment when don't have to help with painting the dolls house.

1:40 PM

David said...

Some quick notes of my own.

Ad hominum, to me, is:

1) John thinks the earth goes around the sun.

2) John wears stupid looking glasses, and has questionable personal hygiene.

3) Therefore, the earth doesn't go around the sun.

I realise I've offered up personal evaluations of a character that have nothing to do with their arguments but, as I haven't used those personal evaluations to deride their arguments, I'd hesitate to call it ad hominum. Perhaps I should've kept those thoughts to myself, but I thought they were relevant. I did write a lot more, but thought (again) my own blog was a better place to give a fuller explanation. In time...

I know little of multiverse theory (though my understanding of it raises thoughts on morality and free will), and I wouldn't make a decision on it based on my opinion of Mr Deutsch. However, my opinion of Mr Deutsch does make me take Mr Deutsch's evaluation of multiverse theory with caution.

I'll keep an eye out for the Horizon programme, though if it's up against The Simpsons or My Name Is Earl it'll lose out.

Carlotta said...

Lol, David...

>However, my opinion of Mr Deutsch does make me take Mr Deutsch's evaluation of multiverse theory with caution.

This IS ad hominem...even in the doubting!

David said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_hominum

>However, my opinion of Mr Deutsch does make me take Mr Deutsch's evaluation of multiverse theory with caution.

"This IS ad hominem...even in the doubting!"

Ad hominum would be:

1) Mr Deutsch believes multiverse theory to be true.

2) I don't think Mr Deutsch is intellectually trustworthy.

3) Therefore, multiverse theory is false.

I am not saying this.

When I've read his evaluation of non QM matters (where I have some knowledge/experience), I have found Mr Deutsch using rhetorical devices, often to steer the argument to a conclusion, which makes me consider him a less than impartial evaluator of facts. This being the case, I consider it quite prudent to be cautious if reading his evaluation of something as radical and controversial as QM matters/multiverse theory (where I have no experience *whatsoever*, and so am completely in the hands of my guide). While it may not be an ideal situation to be in, it is the situation I am in, and I don't consider it to be ad hominum. Nor does it affect how I would go about looking into QM/multiverse anyway, which would be to read as much in the way of 'primer' material before reading the more advanced stuff. What's more, if you deem this caution to be a bias (which doesn't necessarily follow), I am aware of and acknowledge this bias.

Also worth remembering is that there can be an inverse of ad hominum:

1) John thinks spanking children is a good idea.

2) John has a degree in chemistry.

3) Therefore, spanking children is a good idea.

David

Carlotta said...

Ah...OK...I am beginning to get it...it is the rhetorical devices that could be the problem, not the personality. Thanks for your further explanation.

So your position,I agree, is not ad hominem, though I would be interested to see an example where you think Deutsch is philosophically rhetorical, cos I rarely, very rarely am aware of him overstating anything for effect. And I think I can state with near confidence, that in his published work, he has never produced a meaningless sentence. He just doesn't do it.

I would also say that he is, ime, extremely aware of the problem of "inverse" ad hominem, and refuses to be named in various contexts on the basis of this problem.

In addition, I personally was absolutely not convinced of the sense behind TCS on the basis of the reputation of the authors. If anything, I was even more sceptical for this very reason. I was persuaded entirely on the basis of the arguments that were presented.

Incidentally, I personally do not see the relevance in the least of the personal lives of the individuals behind TCS. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the theories of TCS. I am happy to know a number of families who are extremely happy living TCS lives and this is good enough for me in terms of ad hominem argumentation!

David said...

I'll write a more thorough critique of TCS (My opinion in short: does it make sense to me? Would it work for us? 'Not really' to both) on my blog. It may be a while, though, as I'm in an unusually good mood at the moment, so I'm more inclined to chatter about the things that inspire or gladden me than to have a go at someone/thing. Also, I need to find all the bits that have had me slack jawed with incredulity, so's I can reference/quote/link properly. Obviously, I'll include Mr Deutsch in this. For a quick reference of what set my Rhetoric Alarm Bell (£8.99 from all good and most mediocre stockists) ringing - if you can find them, as I can't at the moment - there's the Material Facts/Moral Assertions piece, and a piece on car safety seats in an emergency. But, as I say, I need to pull it all together properly and double check that things are as (bad as) I remember them.

Finished the Popper essay. I'll have to go through it again, with a highlighter.

Didn't go near the TV much this evening, but I couldn't find that multiverse programme.

Anyway. Daycare...