Religions start with conclusions and any thinking is about finding ways to
support those conclusions, no matter how irrational they prove to be. This
article illustrates the problem and shows how dangerous it is. Belief in "Be
fruitful and multiply" keeps the band playing, even as the ship sinks.
Our current food chain requires large amount of oil to be used in fertilizer and
fuel. If the author truly believes we can support more billions he should be
promoting energy research and renewable investment.
I've lived in a very progressive part of the country where people
don't marry, are very career oriented, don't want children, and those
that do have children have two at the most and those children are to be
super-star overachievers if they are to be anything.It was hard to
raise five kids in a place like that because everyone had advice about how best
to parent, but no one had any kids, so they'd make it their business to
parent yours. One of the most refreshing things about moving to Utah
was that five kids wasn't an anomaly to be rectified. The whole culture was
turned more to sensible ways to help children succeed. I found the whole
cultural regard for children, handicapped, elderly and underpriveleged to be
much more engaged and effective. When we ignore the youngest in our
society in practice (not political stunts, but actually HAVING children) the
society as a whole benefits.
I read Mr. Last's book. He is dead on right. If you think overpopulation
is a problem, you are a complete fool.
Last ignores the exponential factor.When he sees a family with six
children, I'm guessing he sees only six children and thinks, "Great,
that will help our birth rate."When I see a family with six
children, I think, "If each of those kids has six kids themselves,
we've got 36 more kids out of one family. If *those* kids each have six
kids, we now have 216 more kids out of one family. And what if many other
families did the same?"Remember that encouragement to save, that
goes something like (I don't have the exact figures), "If you save one
penny the first month, then save double that the next month, then keep doubling
each month's total, within (a surprisingly short period of time)
you'll be a millionaire. That's the magic of compounding."Well it works the same for families, only in this case that's the
*terror* of compounding.Have children, yes, but not "many."
And if you don't want any, don't let anyone lay a guilt trip on you
for feeling that way. No child should be born as "obligatory," only
because s/he's loved.
Hans Rosling sums it up in his "Religions and babies" talk as follows
(and he has tons of great data to back it up). Across the entire globe babies
per woman decrease when:1. Children survive2. Many children are not
needed for work to support their families3. Women get education and join
the labor force4. Family planning is accessibleIt has nothing
to do with how religious people are and whether they feel like they need to
sacrifice their own interests to bring children into the world. There is tons of
data to back up his claim. Give it a google.
Look at all the people who are gay - They're not producing children through
natural means (generally. Those couplings usually lack some neccesary
equipment.)Look at the number of children in third world countries
who don't live to see the age of five. Look at all the people
in China who are only allowed 1 child. The trend in the US is for
women to start having kids in their 40's - once fertility starts to
decline. Simple mathmatics would prove the world is certainly
Last is up in the night trying to light a fire without a match, using nothing
but hot air.Although today's fertility is lower, at 1.93, it is
higher than it was in the mid-’70s (bottomed out at 1.74), and has mostly
risen since then.Immigration and "demographic momentum" (a
large proportion of the population in prime reproductive years) are projected to
offset lower fertility rates.But Last does not like immigration.
What he is ultimately arguing for is more homegrown American babies! It is
difficult to hide Last's racial innuendo, as well as partisan
propaganda.Last blames declining fertility on increasing levels of
higher education (which delays marriage and makes it more costly to raise a
child); the liberation of women; the spread of contraception; and shifting
social norms related to premarital sex and cohabitation (which have broken the
religious link between sex, marriage and childbearing).In short,
Last is subtly arguing for turning back the clock on these advances, and
offering pathetic quixotic Band-Aids instead. His blindness comes from staring
with inflated nostalgia into the rear-view mirror of our history.
Crime rates remind me of too many fish in a fish bowl.
If we had no such thing as crp ( goverment paying farmers not to grow.) No one
in any country should starv. Look around and see.all the farms just sitting .
The planet can grow enough to support all .its just goverment got to big. 70%
of the farms here are in crp. Who does the help? When i was growing up my
family were all farmers and ranchers from both sides.my family felt crp will be
the demise of our country. We were growing to much food. That they could not
sell it .So the goverment payed them not to grow. dont sell it then.store it
or have the goverment pay the farmers to grow it and give it to the needy.
All.would be helped those who are hungry, and those who have land will have a
purpose. Stored wheat and grain can last years.
Faith is fine, but please refer to science when commenting on a scientific
matter. There are more then 297000 google listings and over 300000 Bing listings
for studies and materials regarding over population. To imply that there are few
credible studies and that we are all going to be ok is to ignor imperical
evidence and mock the god that gave you our earth.
@banderson"I believe that an athiestic view of the world leads to
false conclusions about the future, including
'overpopulation.'"I don't need to be an atheist
(and I'm not, I'm a Christian) to realize that our increasing conflict
with Nevada over limited water resources suggests that overpopulation can become
a problem in parts of the world that don't have the resources to support
such a population (arguably there are parts of the world where it already is,
like Bangladesh)."Athiests, despite an intellectual curiosity,
are burdens to society"Well that's just rude..."Logically, if my neighbor has something I want, why would I stop myself
from taking it? "One can be moral without being theist. New
Hampshire is the most atheist state in the nation but has the lowest crime rates
(I pick crime because that's a nationwide standard that everyone is subject
to). That wouldn't be the case if atheism made people completely non-caring
about basic morals. "If I am an athiest, where do I turn to
define compassion?"Role models. Same as Christians do.
Christians consider Jesus (among other things) to be a role model.
If I am a Christian, then I can either be compassionate or not compassionate,
but I can always turn to Christ for the attribute. If I am an athiest, where do
I turn to define compassion? I have no doubt that athiests have many admirable
traits, perhaps just as much or more so than a Christian. However, those traits
did not come from the athiest theology, where ever that springs. It is purely
humanity an athiest depends on, without principle or standard, except for
whatever private interpretation that may be! Not the future I want for anyone.
merich39. Pyramid scheme you say? Welcome to Social Security.
bandersen is using the unfounded belief that only those people who believe in
mythology can possibly embrace basic human morality. Like many adherents to
mythology, he also believes all good in humanity originated solely in his belief
system. Just because you have a story of stone tablets etched with ten
commandments doesn't mean that many of those moral principles began and
ended with your religion. He believes his own caricature of atheists
even though it has no grounding in reality. All those positive human attributes
are not relevant to atheism? What is he talking about? How are they relevant to
God, then? There is no coherent thesis, no respectable logic, only wandering
through the rhetorical desert, casting aspersions at straw men.
@ bandersen – “If there is no God, there is no compassion, reason,
or logic”Prove it.And don’t put the question
back on me. You are the one making a positive assertion (not me) so the burden
of proof is entirely on you (just like it would be if you believed in Santa
Claus and I did not). I could not make sense of anything else you
wrote, and in fact while reading it felt like I had fallen down a strange
Wittgensteinian rabbit hole where it is possible to meet creatures who adhere to
completely different laws of logic & reason.Last response…
reached my comment limit.
Tyler, How can logic, reason, compassion, good will, peaceful co-existence,
knowledge, science, and human achievement mean much when all of the
aforementioned attributes aren't relevant to athiesm? If there is no God,
there is no compassion, reason, or logic? Logically, if my neighbor has
something I want, why would I stop myself from taking it? I want it? If I am
being compassionate, wouldn't taking from him/her be the compassionate
thing to do, sense all it does is make him/her cranky, ornery, and possessive?
The long trail of human existence informs me of the need to not steal? Says
who? This is about my definition of logic, reason, and compassion, is it not?
Compassion, logic, reason, peaceful coexistence come from somewhere, but they
certainly don't originate with an athiest!
If we look at demographics, probably the largest percentage of atheists (by
profession) would be found in the scientific community. If we include being an
agnostic in the mix, the percentage is well above 90%. Are these the
“burdens to society” you were referring to?And contrary
to your bizarre assertion (atheists believe in nothing), most atheists and
agnostics I know believe in a whole range of things – like logic, reason,
compassion, good will, peaceful co-existence, not to mention future oriented
things like knowledge, science, human achievement, the ability to better
ourselves and the world, the list is quite long actually…What
they don’t believe in is, magic, the supernatural (and beings who can
suspend it), superstition, dogmatic thinking of all kinds (religious being
perhaps the most dangerous), exclusive ways of knowing (seers, prophets,
etc…), sacred books, and perhaps most important, that the world is somehow
bad & temporary and the faster it is destroyed (in a
“prophesized” apocalypse) the better. Not sure those are
the sorts of beliefs that will promote the coexistence you claim atheists are
The athiest. I wasn't angry at all. I believe that an athiestic view of
the world leads to false conclusions about the future, including
'overpopulation.' Athiests, despite an intellectual curiosity, are
burdens to society, much like uncharitable welfare recipients. Rather than
becoming productive members of society, athiests spend their days thinking about
'their' universe and not much else. The future of a society depend
upon those who believe in a future, not a dead end! Athiests, therefore, are to
be pitied and reminded, perhaps without sublety, that coexistence requires a
belief in something, rather than nothing. Those who believe in nothing are a
burden to those who believe in something. Calmly stated, without anger, and
with reasoned clarity.
bandersen blames the lowered fertility rate on atheists?Give it a
rest. Such an attacking, angry, and false diatribe is unbecoming.
Res Novae,I think your comment is the best one so far on this thread.
Nicely written and lacking the irritation that characterizes my posts. To people like Mr. Evensen, there are no negative consequences of increasing
population. This ignorance is the product of a lifetime of unquestioning
adherence to a religious/cultural practice, combined with isolation from the
impact that a growing consumption-oriented population has on human health and
the planet's ecosystems. Apparently it is not enough to point out the
specific economic difficulties associated with a rapidly aging population. The
entire concept of carrying capacity, resource scarcity, quality of human life,
and right of other species to exist must be dismissed out of hand.
This believing member of the dominant Utah faith finds no small irony in the
accusation that being concerned with overpopulation is pushing a
"theological belief." Even LDS teachings have gone generally silent on
birth control for the past generation.Malthus wasn't wrong, he
just had no way to know of technological advances in agriculture that would
alter his predictions. But those advances haven't eliminated the
earth's carrying capacity - just elevated it. The next advance may be
right around the corner. Or it may not. The trouble with technological leaps
is their unpredictability.The article rightly points out the impact
of falling below the replacement rate. But trying to correct that issue carries
its own set of consequences that cannot be so easily dismissed.
Two things come to mind that might be exacerbating the problem for families
trying to make ends meet, and thus putting downward pressure on the birth
rate:1. Many of us in the US have expectations of a high standard of
living. We don't want to go without cable TV, smart phones, newer cars,
larger homes, etc. Higher taxes aren't helping, either. Money management
seems to be a lost art. As jrgl pointed out, stress over $ is a disincentive to
bearing children.2. The supply curve may also be working against us.
As women who would have been stay-at-home mothers have instead entered the
worforce, the supply of workers has gone up. This would put downward pressure on
wages, meaning fathers earn a little less or can't get a job, so the mother
has to help earn $. I am in no way blaming women here: only pointing out that
the transition to two-income households may have had this unintended side
What is this? Like the 5th editorial on this subject in the past 2 days? I'm so glad the Dnews is spending time on this issue instead of
focusing on real issues that really matter to Utahns. You folks are doing a
fantastic job of ignoring our state's pitiful education spending, ethics
laws, and the ongoing investigation of John Swallow.
It's no surprise to me that the birth rate in the US is dropping. Look at
the recession. Look at how expensive student loan debt is. Look at how
expensive housing is and ever stagnating wages. Look at how we don't value
mothers in society. Young women who want to have children are expected to work
(especially in Utah with our above average participation of mothers in the
workforce) and maternity leave is unpaid and short! Is it any wonder young
couples aren't having children? I keep hearing they are selfish, but I
think it has to do more with college loan debt, troubling economic times and
maternal policies in the US that aren't very fair to Mother's. It
takes two families working to pay the bills these days. There are a lot of
exhausted young people out there today. Having children is out of reach for
them and they are smart enough not to bring a child into the world they cannot
Consider two island nations:Population in Madagascar - about 22
million.Population in Japan - about 127 million.Madagascar has
more land, many more natural resources, and more of its land is suitable for
agriculture. It should be very prosperous, but isn't.Japan,
however, has thrived with little agricultural land and no other natural
resources except for fish. And people.It's not how many
people or how many resources. It's behavior.I bet the future
belongs to those who value their children.
@micawber:"Mr. Last says couples are being selfish because they are
not having more children."Well, we see that certain ethnic
groups ARE having more children... minorities such as African Americans and
Hispanics for two examples. We see in the news that minorities (probably all
sorts combined) will exceed White Americans in number in just a few years. This
means that White Americans are the ones not having enough children.
Too many corrupt governments, has given the illusion of over population. --North
Korea is just one of many examples.
The problem, if you listen to the birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger,
isn't that too many people are being born. It's that too many of the
wrong sort of people are being born. Too many poor brown people, as she put it.
Last is absolutely correct that the entire civilizational model of
western civilization -- not to mention our social insurance programs -- are
premised on a fertility rate of at least replacement level. I know Utah
liberals have been fixated for several decades on the idea that babies=bad
(because Mormon culture teaches that babies=good, and whatever the latter is
for, the former must be against), but here's a case where those ignorant
Morons really have stumbled on a valid point: The birth dearth in civilized
countries is making their civilizational model unsustainable. That would be
fine, if the said liberals weren't deadset against any kind of reform of
the entitlement programs premised on rapid growth -- but they are.The gods of the copybook headings always win out in the end.
For a more productive discussion on overpopulation that presents multiple sides
of the issue, please refer to a recent Radio West on KUER.For LDS
readers, we know that there is "enough and to spare," yet the same
scripture makes the point that there is only enough and to spare if we use the
earth's resources wisely and provide for the poor in the Lord's way.
We aren't doing a very good job at that.
Ehlrich prophecied same thing and put time line on prophecies that did not come
To add to the above arguments, I'd also note that using immigration to fill
the gap is actually a great strategy. When has this country ever not relied on
immigrant labor? So, Mexico's rate is getting near the magical 2.1, great!
They're not the only country in the world. This point of view is so
America-centric it borders on the arrogant. Right now, we have overcrowding and
starvation in much of the world. Yes, there's enough food for everyone,
but we're not willing to sacrifice our gluttony to help them out. How
about this, let's keep our birthrate below 2, and bring in people from
other parts of the world to buoy our economy, and spread the wealth (slightly)
at the same time. Setting aside ethical concerns (because we're going to
anyway) and thinking strategically, we are right now in the position of being
able to cherry-pick the best talent from around the globe to fill out our labor
force. Instead, we identify that talent, bring it here and give it PhDs, and
kick them out. It's like a college football team limiting recruiting to
children of alumni.
It's only been 1.93 since the recession. People are acting responsibile
about being able to afford a child. When the economy gets better it will go back
up. Look at the last 50 years.In 1n 1920 our country hit 100
million, in 1970 we hit 200 million, and 2010 brought us 300 million. We are
growing faster than any other time in our countries history.
Athiests are equivalent to generational welfare recipients. They secure the
blessings of liberty and prosperity that come from a belief in God and the
future at the expense of those who believe in the future and do so by action, by
having children. Philosophic irresponsibility by any other name is still
irresponsibility. 7 billion people by even the most conservative estimates by
credible scientists is still far below the 'carrying capacity' of this
planet. Italy will be extinct by 2078 at current population trends. The
fearmongers of population control have been around for generations, instilling a
futile helplessness that compensates for an empty morality and view of the
universe. Wow! Look around. God is everywhere!
Human beings generally perform best when in a secure environment. Children
perform best and have fewer problems in a stable home. Economic anxiety and
apprehension about the future directly impact birth rates, negatively.It's no wonder that young people are hesitant to marry and have children,
as people above them in the economic food chain ship jobs overseas. This
shouldn't be a shock to anyone.Our forefathers recognized that
parents of child bearing age rarely have accumulated the economic resources to
afford to educate their children, so they implemented (what today would be
viewed as a redistributionist, marxist set of) tax policies so people would be
encouraged to have children when they're in perhaps the healthiest part of
their lives, their 20s and 30s.If society is really concerned about
falling birth rates, conditions need to be more favorable for young adults to
feel greater economic security. Those at the upper end of the economic food
chain seem far more sharply focused on maximizing profit, minimizing costs - and
moving good jobs out of the country, in the process. Presto! Economic anxiety
for young adults.This isn't rocket science.
7 billion human beings on earth.... and we need 'more' in
America. This is arrogance showing itself. As, America,
is not the center of the world.
Too many people consuming too many resourses leaves less for everyone. The
American way of life is not sustainable at its present rate and will continue to
deteriorate as we go on taking more from the earth than the earth can provide.
Procreate responsibly and stop filling your quivers with children.
This was never a commandment.
Mr. Evenson does not like the math; fair enough. There are 7 billion people on
planet Earth. Some countries are not having enough children to replenish their
populations. True. Other countries are not showing any restraint (i.e. India),
and the planet's population is going up (as is the number of people in
poverty). There is no doubt, we do have a mess. But just adding more people is
not a fix.
Well, not so fast. Today's national and world populations require
mechanized agriculture which has created an unreliable and even dangerous food
chain - carcinogens abound. And there is global warming which is a fact. Is
the world becoming overpopulated? Stay tuned as they say - but I'm worried
about the world my children and grandchildren will live in.
Mr. Last says couples are being selfish because they are not having more
children. He then says a main reason we need more children is so they can
support the elderly. That sounds selfish to me. I have five children and three
grandchildren, all of whom bring me great joy. But I am not looking to them as
the workers who will provide for me in my old age. I'm trying to put enough
aside to take care of myself. And I don't trust someone who is a
senior writer for the Weekly Standard any more than Mr. Evensen would trust a
senior writer for Mother Jones. A google search reveals remarkably little
response to Mr. Last's book or WSJ article. Thus far, his work seems to
have been met, not with ideological fury or even skepyicism, but with
To make an argument that we need an every increasing population of young workers
to support an ever increasing population of retired seniors sounds an awful lot
like a pyramid scheme. At some point, the pyramid scheme is doomed to collapse.
And was anyone else struck by the irony of Last and especially Evensen using the
term “theological” in an attempt to discredit the other side? For
someone whose entire worldview rests on theological presuppositions, I found
that strange… not to mention a bit amusing.
Wow, this article has more holes than Swiss cheese… where to begin?First off, Earth (or more accurately the habitable parts of it)
certainly does have a “carrying capacity” and to suggest otherwise
is to take the “theological” position. The timing of Malthus’
predictions were off because he did not properly account for technological
advancement, however, if and until we can find ways to live sustainably, with
extremely cheap energy, and with a large decline in our use of natural
resources, simple logic suggests that Malthus was right.And these
arguments say nothing about quality of life. Is there anyone who would trade the
open spaces of our country for the slums of Calcutta or the congestion of
Shanghai?The real solution is to let this leveling off in population
occur and then adapt our economics and public policies to that reality. Unless
and until we begin colonizing other planets, an economic system that relies
solely on growth to maintain itself is simply unsustainable.
We're foolish if we approach overpopulation the way we approach climate
change in utah. That is, if it's not happening in my backyard right this
minute it's not happening at all. It's truly bizarre to state that we
really don't know what the carrying capacity and then saying we should just
keep adding. "Just because we've always done it that way", my
favourite saying goes, "Doesn't mean it's not incredibly
stupid". Instead of encouraging all humanity to risk itself on your
religious premise or whatever is driving this desire to reduce the quality of
life for all of us by adding to our number, maybe we should slow down and think
for a while.
Mr. Evensen must truly be in love with Mr. Last's work to both cite it in
an article yesterday and to write a full editorial on it today. Evensen jumps
right on Last's bandwagon of calling overpopulation concerns
"theological belief" when his viewpoint is almost certainly rooted and
motivated by religious edicts calling for large family size. Overpopulation
doomsday predictions are the extreme belief. Jonathan Last's viewpoints are
the other extreme. In between are valid concerns about the resource,
environmental, quality of life costs of an ever growing population and the
unpleasant economic realities of a shrinking population. Pragmatists understand
this, zealots only see their side. Mr. Evensen, please do
objectivity a favor and publish, this week, an editorial about water shortages
in the Western US and in nations breadbasket, how we expect to power, fuel, and
feed a world with twice the current population, whether you will want to live in
Salt Lake City when the population has doubled, and what you think "multiply
and replenish" the earth actually means. Please do not include faith-based
arguments that human ingenuity will miraculously figure it all out.
Assuming that overpopulation isn't a problem after all, then I'd
assume that that Evensen would be promoting policies that would ensure a strong
middle class that can afford to raise larger families. That he'd support
increased funding for education and aid to poor families. That he's
support wider access to the contraceptives that allow people to determine when
they start their families and how large they want them to be. However, his wish for more religion in the public square gives him away. What
he (and the DN) are primarily interested in is using shaky statistics and
guilt-tripping to try to force everyone to live their lives the way the LDS
church sees fit. If you're financially and emotionally unable to comply,
that's just too bad. Take personal responsibility! And don't forget
to give Mitt Romney and his friends another tax cut while you're at it.
Oh, and gay marriage is going to destroy American society. No, really. It
totally is.Sad, guys. Just sad.