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Why do we use birth control?

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Why do we use birth control?

Postby Alwaysrushed » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:43 pm

PLEASE correct my assumptions if they are inaccurate/wrong: 1) Organisms act instinctively in order to pass alleles on. 2) Human biology is similar, but we have some sort of more developed intelligence (more developed or a distinct one?) that allows us to weigh options and make decisions. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that we can act in contradiction to assumption #1 (ex: taking birth control), is this because of the 2nd assumption?

Do other animals act similarly (is there some consciousness we have that they don’t)? Or do they choose not to act in contradiction to assumption #1
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Postby biohazard » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:05 am

We just reached the 7 billion mark a few days ago, so I think even humans do quite a lot of the 1). In many areas people would be way better off if they really made the right decisions instead of making 10 babies per woman...

Anyway, the 2) is quite obviously correct as well, the capability of making such conscious decisions as birth control seems to be exclusively a human thing. Animals do have means of birth control as well, but these are genetically determined rather than a conscious act. For example, the litter size is typically smaller when the food is scarce - a very convenient, though automatic, way to reduce the number of offspring in order to increase the survival chances of the ones that are born. Unfortunately humans seem quite poor at this version of birth control: since the "litter size" of humans is normally one, they tend to make that one baby whenever possible, no matter if their environment can actually sustain all the babies.

This is naturally mostly a problem in the developing world and many parts of Asia, since much of the Western world have opposite problems: women give too few births to properly sustain the number of people needed to run the society. This is not so much linked to the use of birth control, though,, but rather the tendency of many Western women to educate themselves for a long time and try to make a good career, which both typically lessen the time available for making babies. Cultural reasons and such naturally apply as well.
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Postby JackBean » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:33 am

as kind of birth control in animals could be considered also restriction of mating from female side to get the best male.
Otherwise I agree with biohazard, maybe just to add, that this trend in "Western" countries is because people are trying to get good living before having babies, so that the babies don't have poor conditions in the start of their life. However, sometimes it may be late...
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Postby Cat » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:45 pm

Interesting question…

What about adding another one to the mix?…

If assumption 2 is correct (“Human biology is similar, but we have some sort of more developed intelligence (more developed or a distinct one?) that allows us to weigh options and make decisions”), than

-Would we, humans, with our intelligence etc. be able to control/limit our reproduction if NO convenient birth control was available? (ex: abstinence?) And I don’t mean just a small number of individuals…
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Re:

Postby biohazard » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:57 am

Cat wrote:Interesting question…

What about adding another one to the mix?…

If assumption 2 is correct (“Human biology is similar, but we have some sort of more developed intelligence (more developed or a distinct one?) that allows us to weigh options and make decisions”), than

-Would we, humans, with our intelligence etc. be able to control/limit our reproduction if NO convenient birth control was available? (ex: abstinence?) And I don’t mean just a small number of individuals…


My guess is that we would be very poor in that kind of birth control - pretty much just like all other animals.
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