Well, that was enlightening.
I think that just about summed it up for me.
Essentially, although you did not use the term, your line of reasoning conforms to game theory.
"The prisoners dilemma."
The only way to win is for the parties to agree not to compete, but because you cannot be certain that others will not compete against YOU, you feel
compelled to compete yourself.
In case you are not familiar with game theory, (aside from your own use of it)
Wikipedia the Prisoners Dilemma
In this game, as in all game theory, the only concern of each individual player ("prisoner") is maximizing his/her own payoff, without any
concern for the other player's payoff. The unique equilibrium for this game is a Pareto-suboptimal solution—that is, rational choice leads the two
players to both play defectly even though each player's individual reward would be greater if they both played cooperately.
In the classic form of this game, cooperating is strictly dominated by defecting, so that the only possible equilibrium for the game is for all
players to defect. In simpler terms, no matter what the other player does, one player will always gain a greater payoff by playing defect. Since in
any situation playing defect is more beneficial than cooperating, all rational players will play defect, all things being equal.
You are essentially saying that in your mind your odds of winning are greater if you "cheat" the system by competing, rather than by agreeing to
cooperate. You are assuming that most others would think like you do. And, perhaps you are right. But because the odds are slightly skewed in favor
of the cheater, most people cheat, hence the outcome is most often lose/lose.
Your assumptions about our current ability to colonize space are incredibly flawed. We cannot even build a closed self sustaining environment here on
Earth. Much less in space in an alien atmosphere with no possibility of emergency intervention. (Bear in mind before you say "space station" that
it is NOT a closed and self sustaining system, it relies on supplies from Earth)
I love science fiction, but it is just that at the moment, a fiction to think that we have the capability to inhabit other worlds, OR that that will
ever be an option for poor schmoes like us. If we DO destroy the environment here, do you really foresee a mass exodus of all the worlds, (or even
the first worlds) peoples and their children? Or do you see only the very wealthy and some of the worlds most gifted intellects getting in the
lifeboats much like the passengers of the Titanic when it sank?
I foresee the latter should it ever come to that.
You could be right, that some technological miracle will occur to make it possible to survive here even if we continue to reproduce at the current
rate. But in my opinion, it is just poor planning to have "Do nothing and hope for a miracle" as your game plan.
Thank you, however, for providing the insight I needed. That fits much more with the sense I had, I just needed to hear it stated by someone who felt
that way so that I could examine the underlying logic. It is MUCH more consistent with what I actually see around me than the supposition that some
people just love children that much.
(Though I do not doubt that some genuinely do, Alora.)
Now that I understand the nature of the problem, I can resign myself to hopelessness. Lol.
Or try to figure out a way to make it a repeating game. Hmmmmmm.
Edit to try to repair the link, finally, after several tries.
[edit on 26-8-2008 by Illusionsaregrander]