For some reason, NBC News saw fit to indulge this scorching-hot take:

Nice ratio, huh?

In his “thought experiment,” alleged bioethicist Travis Rieder writes:

Although culturally controversial, the scientific half of this position is fairly well-established. Several years ago, scientists showed that having a child, especially for the world’s wealthy, is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. That data was recycled this past summer in a paper showing that none of the activities most likely to reduce individuals’ carbon footprints are widely discussed.

The second, moral aspect of the view — that perhaps we ought to have fewer children — is also being taken seriously in many circles. Indeed, I have written widely on the topic myself.

It’s certainly not being taken seriously in any circles we hang out in. And just because Travis has written extensively on the subject doesn’t mean he knows what the hell he’s talking about.

If you buy this view of responsibility, you might eventually admit that having many children is wrong, or at least morally suspect, for standard environmental reasons: Having a child imposes high emissions on the world, while the parents get the benefit. So like with any high-cost luxury, we should limit our indulgence.


In other words:

This kind of crap will never not be awful.

How devoted can Rieder really be to saving the earth if he insists on polluting it with such intellectual garbage?

What’s the point of any of this?

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional tweets.