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Thread: Are believers culpable for overpopulation?

  1. #1 Are believers culpable for overpopulation? 
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    Are believers culpable for overpopulation?


    This question was born from my hearing the story of a man with 17 children of whom 6 were not as normal, so to speak, as the rest. No twins. This family is poor and arguably has no quality of life.


    Most Gods favor a reproducing group of adherents.
    Without adherents, there relevance would be lost to history.

    From Adam on down, we have not let God down, we have reproduced.

    Be they Eastern or Western religions, are religions and believers responsible for our dismal control of reproduction?

    Are believers culpable for our overpopulation?


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    DL


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  3. #2  
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    I'd be more inclined to blame it on evolution, if you think blame needs to be assigned. Those who reproduce more get to pass their genes, and their ideas about having children, on to their children.


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    Haha, Darwin's grandson once wrote that humanity was doomed to overpopulation because those with an inclination for lower numbers of children are being selected out of the population by their low birth rate.

    It seems to have more to do with education and socio-economic position. The poorest individuals in Western society seem to reproduce the most. The only western nation with a replenishing birth rate is the USA, maybe religion plays a part in this. Growth in all other developed nations is due to immigration.
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    I would speculate that one reason religion might help spur overpopulation, is that many religions are anti-birth control. So whether or not the woman becomes pregnant is based on biological processes at the time. In the case of the family you mentioned, it was likely a case of them not being able to afford birth control, but them also not wanting to give up having sex. At this point it is biological gamble, and they appear to have lost a few times.


    A lot of the over population of the earth probably comes from those two sources. People who can't afford birth control (or don't want to spend the money on it, and would rather take the gamble), or they refuse to use it for religious reasons.
    Always minimize the variables.

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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Haha, Darwin's grandson once wrote that humanity was doomed to overpopulation because those with an inclination for lower numbers of children are being selected out of the population by their low birth rate.

    It seems to have more to do with education and socio-economic position. The poorest individuals in Western society seem to reproduce the most. The only western nation with a replenishing birth rate is the USA, maybe religion plays a part in this. Growth in all other developed nations is due to immigration.
    I also wonder if education plays a role in this. However, I have not seen any literature on this.

    My wife just told me about a major effort by a local college, (a religious college), to send distance learning to Africa via live broadcasts.

    This seems exciting.
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  7. #6  
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    In the context of year 2009, the prime (indeed almost only) cause of population growth is lack of access to contraception. Numerous surveys done in the world's most rapidly growing populations show that women want to have only the normal 2.1 or thereabouts children. However, with a randy husband and no birth control, they end up having lots more.

    In nations with readily accessible birth control, human populations are often decreasing. eg. Japan and most of Europe. This is true even in Roman Catholic Italy, despite the pope's idiotic edicts.
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  8. #7  
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    Good points Skeptic.

    However availability of contraceptives doesn't change conditions of their lives compelling them to have more children. These women have practically no hope of independently realizing financial security. They've known since girlhood they've got to depend on a loving husband. To secure that they must, first, make themselves desirable; second, tie the knot (which may require the first pregnancy and a hurried marriage); and, third, when their charms are waning, make themselves indispensable to the man as caregiver of his progeny. See, if all his kids grow old enough they don't need mama and her kitchen, and he doesn't need her, she's on her own. Her obvious collateral is more children... if she can.

    So women rightly say they'd rather have less children, of course. Wouldn't you rather have to work less?

    Then liberated women from rich countries with unimaginable career options, come and offer the poor women birth control. That's gotta make them feel about two inches tall. How can they explain without feeling even more pathetic?


    ***

    Most religions do justify the condition of poor women, and celebrate the mother. Religions also serve women by compelling men to take wives and keep wives. For the career mama, I think religion is emotional crutch, collaborator, and apologist. It didn't cause her to choose one path. She chose, for lack of other paths, and may use religion on the way because it helps her.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    This is true even in Roman Catholic Italy, despite the pope's idiotic edicts.
    This looks a lot like an opinion to me. I thought this was supposed to be a *scientific* discussion of religion.

    What do you have against reproduction? The pope is merely advising people on a successful strategy for maximizing the survival of their genes into the next generation. That's a good thing.
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    Harold

    To the question :"
    What do you have against reproduction?"
    I do hope you are kidding, because I like to believe the best of other posters intelligence.

    Obviously reproduction is OK, to the tune of 2.1 kids per woman. Nuff said.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Harold

    To the question :"
    What do you have against reproduction?"
    I do hope you are kidding, because I like to believe the best of other posters intelligence.

    Obviously reproduction is OK, to the tune of 2.1 kids per woman. Nuff said.
    Now, now. Let's not inject our value judgments into a scientific study thread. From an evolution perspective, it's a good thing.
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    Things aren't good or bad in evolution, they are just adaptive or maladaptive. Moreover, natural selecting is immediate it can't foresee the ultimate consequences of a trait that is currently adaptive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Things aren't good or bad in evolution, they are just adaptive or maladaptive. Moreover, natural selecting is immediate it can't foresee the ultimate consequences of a trait that is currently adaptive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
    Assuming that the commons is an appropriate model, there are a couple of possible solutions. The neighbors could all come to some common agreement about how many cattle to graze in the commons. Or, they could divvy up the commons amongst each other and each defend their share as private property. One strategy that won't work is to unilaterally cut back one's own herd while some or all of one's neighbors are increasing theirs.
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    In fact, recent studies have shown that the tragedy of the commons is not as 'common' as often made out. Humans are social animals, and we are actually pretty damn good at cooperation. Only about 10% of the population refuse to do this, and the other 90% of whatever society it is develop ways of dealing with the recalcitrant 10%.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Things aren't good or bad in evolution, they are just adaptive or maladaptive. Moreover, natural selecting is immediate it can't foresee the ultimate consequences of a trait that is currently adaptive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
    Assuming that the commons is an appropriate model, there are a couple of possible solutions. The neighbors could all come to some common agreement about how many cattle to graze in the commons. Or, they could divvy up the commons amongst each other and each defend their share as private property. One strategy that won't work is to unilaterally cut back one's own herd while some or all of one's neighbors are increasing theirs.
    Certainly, the wonderful thing about the human brain is our ability to curb otherwise destructive behavior through foresight. The solution is for people to cooperate, or segregate. Which is what we do of course, we limit immigration so that our patch of the commons doesn't become over-exploited.

    @skeptic

    The commons analogy predicts why humans favor mildly destructive behavior when the consequences are unforeseen. If we can convince all human beings that reckless breeding is likely to result in mass death and starvation eventually, then there is a good chance of getting humans to cooperate. Which is precisely what the author of that paper was advocating, legal action to prevent reckless breeding.
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  16. #15  
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    Harold, if everyone has negative expectations, it comes true.

    A great tragedy is that 1 prowling burglar who only wants to steal a few DVD players each week causes 999 homeowners to spend $99,999.00 on locks and home security systems, and a total of 99 hours per day securing our stuff against the burglar's 1 hour skulking for an easy smash & grab.

    Just today I wasted at least half an hour all told on the crook, wherever he is. Locking doors, putting stuff inside, and so forth. Didn't we all? Hey, let's all do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and every day of our lives.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Pong

    This is totally off topic, but the costs to society of criminal activity are vital. I agree with your point, though I suspect the damage that burglar does is even more than the $100,000 per year approximately you quote.

    An interesting thought is that it costs around $ 100,000 per year to keep a crook in prison. It costs a hell of a lot more than that in policing and in the courts to put him there. If he is free, he may cost society $ 1,000,000 per year in damage. Why do we ever let the bastards out?
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  18. #17  
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    Well, the bulk of costs (individuals' time and inconvenience securing property not to mention protection of life and limb) we're going to incur whether criminals are 1 in 1000 or 1 in 10,000 (see 9/11 for mind-boggling ratio, but that's just too far off-topic). It's a vicious cycle unto itself because if the car parked next to yours has an alarm blinking on the dash, you'd better get one; and if your wealthier neighbours move to safer neighbourhoods your home's the next target and it's time to move. The actual value of property stolen and damage done by crooks personally is almost irrelevant. So more or less thieves on the street costs so little we wouldn't notice the difference. I mean the real cost to society, not anecdote or personal experience.

    I guess one could argue crooks are good for the economy: for example they make us uneasy about public transit so we manufacture more cars. We buy weapons and work hard lest we fall amongst the bad guys. Fear does drive us more than we like to admit.
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    Here is another thought to consider. Not everybody might share your vision of an ideal future where there is world peace, but at the price of submitting to an all powerful central authority, who tells you how many children you may have, how far you may travel, what you may eat, etc.

    Some might prefer it the old way, with all its faults, where there is conflict, but also freedom. For such people, having lots of kids may be a perfectly rational decision. The fact that it is not the decision you would make, does not make it "idiotic" it just means those people started with a different set of assumptions.
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  20. #19  
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    The baby boom happened in a time when religiosity was given a secular outlet(communism) and religious traditions(such as gender roles, and sexuality) were questioned and reformed significantly.

    No?
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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    The baby boom in the US happened in a time when secular traditions were being focused on(nationality and communism) and religious traditions(such as gender roles, and sexuality) were being questioned and reformed significantly.

    No?
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    The baby boom happened in a time when religiosity was given a secular outlet(communism) and religious traditions(such as gender roles, and sexuality) were questioned and reformed significantly.

    No?
    The baby boom was more of the effect of the spread of medical technology than any ideological reason.

    @Harold

    I would say my neighbour doesn't have the right to have 5 children if it will endanger the survival of my only child and myself. Just like we prescribe laws against theft and murder. If you want to advocate freedom to the point of allowing destructive behaviour, then you might as well advocate allowing theft and murder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    @Harold

    I would say my neighbour doesn't have the right to have 5 children if it will endanger the survival of my only child and myself. Just like we prescribe laws against theft and murder. If you want to advocate freedom to the point of allowing destructive behaviour, then you might as well advocate allowing theft and murder.
    I guess that's one way of looking at it. I could just as well say you are advocating a miserable existence lacking any freedom; therefore you are advocating the equivalent of theft and murder. But, I'd never do that.
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  24. #23  
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    Plainly there are strong arguments/excuses besides religious ones for having many children. It was Benjamin Spock, cheerleader of the baby boom, who said children are our visible immortality. Religion can't top that!
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  25. #24  
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    To Harold

    I have never advocated a powerful central government dictating every facet of all our lives, including how many children to have. As I pointed out earlier, women do not want more than 2.1 kids (mostly) and will settle for a moderate sized family given contraception. The proof of this is in the size of families in nations with easy access to contraception. eg. Japan, most European nations etc. This trend increases with good education and a high standard of living.

    Countries with a high number of immigrants from third world nations (eg. the USA with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, etc) will often have more than 2.1 kids per woman among those groups. However, studies already show that these numbers come down in successive generations, given education and a high standard of living.

    Put simply, there is absolutely no need at all for compulsion to reduce family sizes. Just time, access to contraception, education and a better standard of living.

    Incidentally, many demographers already say the population explosion is over. The time when the third world was averaging more than 4 kids per woman is now 30 years in the past. Average number across the third world is now 2.5. (Among populations with high educational standards and a good standard of living, fertility is below 2).

    The reason population numbers are still increasing in the third world is that the children born when fertility was higher are now reaching adulthood and having their 2.5 kids, while their parents are still living. Births outnumber deaths, but only for another few decades, until the people born when more than 4 was the norm, all die off.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic
    access to contraception, education and a better standard of living.
    You keep repeating that list. Do your brain a favour: The heart of the matter is simpler, as I explained in this earlier post. Women have excessive children when they're dependent on husbands. It's a role promoted by sexual inequality. Available contraception, education, dental care and clean water, isn't changing that. Did those things prevent the baby boom in America? What changes it is women's opportunities and economic security relative to men, e.g. reduction in the earnings gap. That's true for all women whether they're Swedes or Haitians.

    Better address the root of the problem, eh?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  27. #26  
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    "The baby boom was more of the effect of the spread of medical technology than any ideological reason."-IFTS

    That makes more sense. I'd assume industrial production, and the post war economic boom following a great depression helped as well.
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  28. #27  
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    I am a baby boomer, myself. My father fought in WWII, and then got married and came home. In the ten years following the war, my 3 sisters and I were born. My interpretation of the baby boom is that it was a consequence of WWII. Note, though, that there was no contraception available to slow that population spurt. The baby boom generation ceased to be with the introduction of the contraceptive pill.

    Pong seems to think that it is female subservience that is the cause of over-population. I am happy to accept it as one cause among many. However, males are not (mostly) forcing women to have lots of babies. Males like lots of sex, which leads to babies. But if contraception is available, that is no longer an inevitable outcome. Men have to support big families in the financial sense, so lots of babies mean sacrifice for Dad as well as Mum. For that reason, most men are happy with a small family, and will not force their wives to have lots of kids when contraception is available.
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    There seems to be a lot of assumptions about why there is overpopulation in some groups; however, in other groups, population is declining.

    I wonder if any studies have been done that illuminate if the reason some groups have declining population is education, vs. contraception, vs. women's rights etc.

    I am not sure that a declining population is a good thing.
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    dedo

    If you check with the demographers working for the United Nations (www.un.org/popin) you will see that their projection for global population is continuing, though slowing population growth till about 2040, when it will stabilise at around 9 billion.

    This would seem to me to be an acceptable maximum global population. We can, by improving agricultural methods, feed such a number without destroying more wilderness. By using innovative techniques (like biofuel from marine algae grown in brackish water fertilised from sewage treatment), we can provide energy, water, and even luxury goods for that number. All this requires continued technogical development, and good management, but is well within human capability, given good will, and the removal of corrupt government.
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    but is well within human capability, given good will, and the removal of corrupt government.
    We are doomed.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    males are not (mostly) forcing women to have lots of babies. Males like lots of sex, which leads to babies. But if contraception is available, that is no longer an inevitable outcome. Men have to support big families in the financial sense, so lots of babies mean sacrifice for Dad as well as Mum. For that reason, most men are happy with a small family, and will not force their wives to have lots of kids when contraception is available.
    Yes, that's what I'm saying. Men's relatively better earning potential prompts women to secure men's commitment, largely by bringing children into the world. That's how we compel men to bring home bacon, and more of it.

    No woman gets through life with the body she married in.

    Throughout the baby boom, Western women had unprecedented access to education, the standards of living soared, and for contraception they already had douches, IUDs, spermicides, diaphragms, condoms, knowledge of fertility cycle, or (often illegal) abortion if all else failed. And as you said, Skeptic, the men were happy to have less children... in fact the image of 1950's breadwinner dumbfounded by a home full of children is cliché to those times. Overtly, both sexes agreed that two children was more than enough... but we concede that any baby's a blessing, so fate might dictate our lives... :wink: Women exercised what special powers the unequal conditions left them. Standard of living on an absolute scale wasn't the issue.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  33. #32 History 
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    People had more children in the past, Religion also played a larger part of life in the past. Just because these two facts coincide doesn't mean on caused the other.

    Although saying that:

    Religion often leads a person to believe in the 'importance of people'. Social interaction in turn leads to relationships developing... People these days can,t be bothered having kids but this 'importance of people' focus changes that.

    I think having lots children is more culturally based than religion based.
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  34. #33  
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    Causes are plentiful.

    Solutions rare.

    No political or religious will.

    Men refuse to be men.

    Regards
    DL
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    Having lots of children is neither culturally or religiously based. It is really simple.

    People like sex. People have lots of sex. Sex leads to having babies. The only thing stopping this is contraception. Thus, having access to, and knowing how to use contraception means fewer babies. Real simple!

    Religion is not an influence, because religious people have as much sex as non religious people. It does not seem to affect the use of contraceptives either. Roman catholics are told by the pope not to use contraceptives. Yet, catholic countries like Italy have very low birth rates. Why? Simple. The average catholic is not stupid and knows that the pope is wrong. They use contraceptives.

    People who are educated, and people who are wealthy have fewer kids. Why? Simple. They make more use of contraceptives.

    If anyone here feels that global population growth is too fast, then lobby your local politicians to get more aid to third world nations to provide contraceptives, and teach people to use them. Again, real simple.
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  36. #35  
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    Skeptic you are reducing it to reproductive mechanics.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  37. #36  
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    Pong, in what way does that make me wrong?

    Basically, if we want to slow or stop global population growth, we have to make sure everyone has access to contraception, and knows how to use it. That will do far more than all the talking, and all the law making in the world.
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    When our passions become our platform, we must explore those passions as passionately as we exploit them.

    Please indulge:

    Pivot of Civilization by Margaret Sanger, eugenics movement, Fabian society

    Fiction: Brave New World, Frankinstein and Animal Farm and their authors, Aldous Huxley, Mary Shelly and George Orwell

    Perhaps we are degenerates who are defective and so are dispensable as well. WHO will you allow to decide? I am a skeptic mr skeptic
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