Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I've been threatening friends and family for some months with starting a blog, and since my personal and work commitments have reached the point where I really don't have time to add a single thing, this of course seemed like the ideal time.

Why "DarwinCatholic"?

For one thing, it's unexpected. If you're currently wondering what DarwinCatholic means, that's how I'm trying to help you remember it.

First, a little about me. (I've always been charmed by how Gregory of Tours began his History of the Franks with the creed, feeling that his readers should know what he believed before they heard what he had to say.)

I am first and foremost a Catholic.

Politically and culturally, I am a conservative.

My brief career as a published writer consisted of a couple SF/F stories and two book reviews in New Oxford Review in which I criticized creationism/intelligent design and defended the compatibility of Catholicism and evolution. Which I have the feeling is why I stopped being invited to write book reviews for NOR...

Professionally, I am a data analyst, web designer and all around entrepreneurial type.

I'm married to the beautiful MrsDarwin, and we have two little girls (monkeys?) aged 3yrs and one-and-a-half.

And I'm still under thirty.

Which brings me back to this blog's name: DarwinCatholic.

One of the things that really struck me was the cultural/demographic differences between my wife and me (and our friends from college) and most of the other people our age that we met through work.

My wife and I married a month and a half after graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville. (We had been going out for three and a half years.) Many of our friends also married within a year of graduation. Most of us also had our first child within a year of getting married, and our second within two years after the first. We got office jobs and middle class incomes. Some of our friends had degrees in majors, such as Computer Science, designed to win jobs. Others, like me (I majored in Classics), learned on the job and caught up fast. We bought houses before we were thirty. Several of us started businesses, with varying degrees of success. We became, in the buzzwords of David Brooks, exurban natalists.

Meanwhile, my co-workers (mostly several years older than I) dated, partied, and assumed that I must be over thirty. The idea of "settling down" in your early twenties was totally inconceivable to them, and when I mentioned that my wife and I hoped to have 5-7 children, everyone thought I was joking.

After several years, we moved to Texas, where we had a number of friends. Texas, even in the liberal Austin area, is certainly more family friendly than Southern California. However even here, hearing that someone has more than three children is almost a dead give away that they are religious and at least moderately conservative in their practice thereof.

Certain (admittedly tiny) subgroups present event more extreme examples. In the homeschooling circles that I knew during high school, families of 8-12 were not unusual.

Looking at all this, I can't help wondering: at what point does all this start to become statistically significant? My wife and I both know a lot of other alumni of the Catholic, large family, homeschooling environment, and most of them, like us, as still strong Catholics and look forward to having at least moderate size families. If this holds true for a couple generations, how will the Catholic and indeed the general American demographic landscape shift over the next 60-80 years? If liberals average 1.6 children (and based on European demographics that's pretty likely) and conservatives average 2.6 children, how long will it take the country as a whole to lurch to the right? Or will it?

I continue to have vague ambitions of going to trying to find funding to do a serious demographic survey looking for correlations between religion, politics and reproduction. But more on that later...


Todd said...

The other possibility is that children will continue to rebel against their parents, adolescent psychology will overcome both nature and nurture, and the world will be filled with liberals in twenty years.

But seriously, I look forward to your blog and have already bookmarked it on my browser.

Anonymous said...

Intriguing. As a hs'ing Austin Catholic, I am scouring your post for clues as to whether I know you....

Author Known said...

I'm new to blogging, too, and will bookmark yours. I'm in So. Cal, myself. Interesting that you moved to Texas. I know another young family which is moving to Colorado ... also because it's more family friendly. An encouraging trend...

Bernard Brandt said...

Dear Brendan:

So good to see that you are (we)blogging. I have been rather expecting and hoping that you would do so. I dare say that you have already seen mine. If not, then I am on over at

As Hannibal Lecter would say,


Bernard Brandt

Anonymous said...

Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web" blog calls this "The Roe Effect".

Originally named in regards to abortion, the Roe Effect is basically the flip side of the classic SF story "The Marching Morons":

Pro-aborts are more likely to abort their young. (If they conceive any at all -- children are such an obstacle to Self Fulfillment and Trendy Lifestyles...)

Pro-lifers are more likely to have children and raise them pro-life.

From then on, apply Darwin. Two groups with different reproductive success rates; which will prevail and which will eventually go extinct?