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Overpopulation Scaremongering Never Gets Old

Neo-Malthusianism in the Sunday New York Times

TimesSquareTossi66DreamstimeTossi66/DreamstimeThe tiny land-locked African country of Lesotho is the poster child for the impending population explosion in the mind of journalist Eugene Linden.

In "Remember the Population Bomb? It's Still Ticking," an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times, Linden repeats a 40-year-old refrain: "Lesotho's biggest problem probably was, and is, the obvious: too many people."

That's far too simple a story. Malthusian conditions continue to exist only where people are not free. Overpopulation is not the main problem. Lack of liberty is.

Linden harkens back to his 1976 book, The Alms Race: The Impact of American Voluntary Aid Abroad, in which he presciently focused on how foreign aid often failed to actually lift poor people in developing countries out of poverty.

In addition to reporting on how economic development aid bureaucracies screw up, Linden's op-ed blames Lesotho's impoverishment on fast population growth.

How does Linden know that Lesotho is inhabited by "too many people"? The country's population density is 176 people per square mile. But compare that to Malthusian hellholes like the United Kingdom (694 people per square mile); Germany (601 people); or the deities forfend, the Netherlands (2,852 people). In fact, the population density of the entire European Union is more than 300 people per square mile.

Linden observes with alarm that since 1974, when the average woman in Lesotho gave birth to six children, Lesotho's population rose from 1.2 million to 2.14 million today. It would have risen faster but for the massive HIV/AIDS epidemic that has kept average life expectancy hovering at around 45 years.

Given that most demographers expect high fertility rates to persist when life expectancy is low, it is nigh unto amazing that the average number of children a woman in Lesotho has over the course of her lifetime (total fertility rate) has fallen from six to just above three kids now.

Linden recites the standard Malthusian zero-sum creed. "Even in 1974, many development experts knew their programs might worsen Lesotho's population pressures, but hoped in vain that economic growth would outweigh the burden," he writes.

Let's compare Lesotho to the trends during a period in which the population of the United Kingdom doubled. The U.K.'s population in 1861 was just over 20 million nearly doubling to 38 million by 1901. During that 40-year period, per capita GDP in the U.K. increased in real terms by nearly 70 percent. By the way, the U.K.'s total fertility rate in the mid-1800s averaged about five children per woman.

Even as Lesotho's population climbed, per capita GDP more than tripled from $399 in 1975 to $1,370 in 2015. Obviously people in Lesotho remain desperately poor, but their situation has improved considerably.

Linden also identifies 20 other countries where the "Malthusian concerns come back with a vengeance." It is true that their populations have substantially increased over the past 40 years, but they also have something far more deleterious in common: very low levels of intangible capital.

Intangible capital is the level of education of a population combined with the social, political, and economic institutions through which people work and live. These include the rule of law, democratic accountability, honest bureaucracies, a free press, strong property rights, and so forth.

With the exception of a couple of petroleum potentates, if a country lacks intangible capital its people will be poor. Each citizen of overcrowded Britain has access to about $350,000 of intangible capital, according to the World Bank, which has measured the intangible capital of most of the world's nations. Germans enjoy $425,000; institutions in the Netherlands afford its citizens an average of $350,000 in intangible capital.

U.S. citizens, by the way, average $418,000.

In contrast, the citizens of the 20 countries on Linden's list have access to less than $8,000 of intangible capital per capita. In fact, Nigeria's institutions were so bad when the calculations were made that it had negative intangible capital of $2,000 per capita.

On the Heritage Foundation's annual economic freedom index, 18 of the countries on Linden's list fall either into the mostly unfree or repressed categories.

As I have earlier reported, in my column on "The Invisible Hand of Population Control," Seth Norton, a business economics professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, published a remarkably interesting study in 2002 on the inverse relationship between prosperity and fertility.

Norton compared fertility rates of over 100 countries with their index rankings for economic freedom and another index for the rule of law. He found that the fertility rate in countries that ranked low on economic freedom averaged 4.27 children per woman while countries with high economic freedom rankings had an average fertility rate of 1.82 children per woman.

His results for the rule of law were similar: Fertility rates in countries with low respect for the rule of law averaged 4.16, whereas countries with high respect for the rule of law had fertility rates averaging 1.55 children per woman. When people are free, they choose to have fewer children.

Ultimately, expanding liberty is the solution to Linden's neo-Malthuian fears of overpopulation.

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    It sure would be easier if Malthusians would just admit that they'd like to see several billion people die.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    Malthus wrote in the 19th Century, before the rise of the upper middle class suburbanites, who don't want to give up their Friday night eating out adventures, and so settle for a cute dog to satisfy their oxytocin needs.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Cute dogs ARE pretty fucking great.

    PS
    All dogs are cute.

  • NoVaNick||

    Apparently climate change is supposed to make people less horny (and of course kill millions too) so perhaps that will solve the problem.

  • ||

    Evidence for this? Overpopulation is a threat to humanity and every other species on Earth. We want to see humans be responsible by using birth control. It prevents suffering.

  • swampwiz||

    No, they'd like them to only have 2 kids per family (on average).

  • WakaWaka||

    There is no and will never be any overpopulation. The bigger worry should be depopulation in the West and other industrialized nations. The notion that the richer we become the less children we have, is not something to celebrate.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Why not just enjoy our wealth and open land by naturally maintain a two kid to replace parents birth rate? Maybe part of the reason that America has done so well is because we are not sporting 2 billion Americans?

    I get itchy about motives when people advocate depopulating and artificially overpopulating.

  • WakaWaka||

    If you want to have less children, fine. If you want to have more children, even better. No one is talking about artificially overpopulating, but a declining population is not a sign of a healthy society.

  • colorblindkid||

    And as wealthier people have fewer children, or no children at all, and poor people continue toh ave large amounts of children, inequality will grow.

  • WakaWaka||

    You assume that having more children inherently makes someone poorer. That's illogical

  • Zeb||

    Depends how hard you are allowed to work them.

  • Stephen54321||

    WakaWaka: "There is no and will never be any overpopulation."

    Really?

    Take Nigeria. It had as of 2015 a population of about 182 million people, making it the seventh most populous country in the world. It also had a growth rate of some 2.6%. By 2050 the UN estimates it will reach around 391 million, making it the 4th most populous country in the world. At some point during the 2050s it will overtake the United States and become the 3rd most populous country.

    Let's put that in perspective. Nigeria, a country with one-tenth the land area of the United States, will have a population exceeding that of the US (which in 2050 is estimated will have a population around 438 million).

    If that population growth rate continues at the same pace then by 2100 Nigeria's population may exceed 700 million, and at some point during the following century will become the third country to exceed one billion people.

    You don't think that doesn't equate to overpopulation?

  • swampwiz||

    Well, it means there will continue to be a lot of spam in my inbox.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Beautiful......

  • Ron Bailey||

    W: Having the liberty to choose how many children you want to have is something to celebrate.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Hush, Ron. Don't step on his Clash of Civilizations narrative with your pro-individual liberty-ism!

  • WakaWaka||

    That doesn't make any sense, but it's par for the course with you

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it doesn't make sense.

  • Kivlor||

    Ron, one can celebrate that we have the liberty to choose how many kids we want, while also lamenting the decision to have drastically less. Just like I can celebrate our right to drink as much alcohol as we desire, while simultaneously lamenting that my father was an alcoholic that literally drank himself into a grave.

  • WakaWaka||

    That is the point. Get out of the 70's Ron, population is not a problem, unless it's declining.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    There you go -- saying something decent, followed by "unless" or "but" or "however".

    You just don't know how to work this disguise stuff do you?

  • WakaWaka||

    I don't follow. A declining population is a good thing? Well then our best performing states are Illinois and Michigan by that standard

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Kivior pointed out that personal preferences are not the same as coercive preferences. You said "that's the point .... unless ...."

    Astonishes me that you can write but not read. Even the spam bots aren't that clever.

  • Kivlor||

    Scarecrow, I think it best to take the statement about population declining being a problem as being completely separate from the other statement.

    It can be a problem if it's declining. It being a problem shouldn't affect whether we have a choice or not. But it might affect what you personally advise others to do, and how you behave. Much like the alcoholism issue. You may advise restraint. Or abstinence. Because alcoholism is bad. Low birth rates can be bad. So we may want to advise people to have more kids. Or be prepared for their children to suffer the consequences.

  • ||

    I doubt it makes much difference, myself.

    Europe lost 1/3 of its population in 1348-49. The people who survived lived in a less crowded, and relatively more prosperous world.

    There was less food being produced, but also less people consuming it. Fewer people were out of work, and there seems to have been less poverty (at least for a few decades).

  • swampwiz||

    The Black Death also thinned out the labor surplus, which a lot of historians say really got the Renaissance going.

  • MyCroftxXx||

    HEY people are LEAVING the state faster than the birth rate. limited oppertunities NOT hipsters deciding not to have RATS(kids)

  • Kivlor||

    And it may not be a tremendous problem if it's declining. Which is why it's unnecessary to import foreigners just to fill spaces. Japan hasn't collapsed from it, and in time, they will start having kids again, if just by the fact that all those with the tendency to not have kids will breed themselves out, and those who do will inherit the kingdom.

    Most likely, this will sort itself out. It's quite probable that we are hitting a new homeostasis, and this is a natural adjustment.

  • Kivlor||

    If it continues to decline in perpetuity, then there's a problem. But are we really sure that's what's going to happen?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Why would that be a problem? If the human individuals who make up the human race don't want future generations and make that decision for themselves without coercing others, who is the loser?

  • Kivlor||

    The losers are those who did not pass on their genes, and all the ancestors who came before them. Also, each generation is injured further by this, due to declining genetic diversity, and due to the fact that whether you like it or not the old rely on the young to take care of them.

    But lets look at your basic argument, and use another freedom: libation.

    "Why would that be a problem? If the human individuals who make up the human race want to drink themselves into the grave and make that decision for themselves without coercing others, who is the loser?"

    We all are diminished by the bad choices of those around us. We aren't Greek atoms, we are interconnected. We are also individuals. But that connection still exists.

  • Zeb||

    The losers are those who did not pass on their genes, and all the ancestors who came before them.

    That assumes a certain value attached to reproducing. I think everyone gets to decide on their own how to value that (and everything).

    You are right that if a large portion of the population gives up on reproducing, that would cause a lot of pain and difficulty. But that seems very unlikely (as you suggest above) and hardly something to worry about.

  • Kivlor||

    That assumes a certain value attached to reproducing. I think everyone gets to decide on their own how to value that (and everything).

    It presumes that human life and existence has a value, regardless of whether your preference on having children. I'm opposed to moral nihilism Zeb, so your argument really just falls flat on me. People can choose good or bad. Just because they have a preference for bad doesn't somehow change it to good.

    You are right that if a large portion of the population gives up on reproducing, that would cause a lot of pain and difficulty. But that seems very unlikely (as you suggest above) and hardly something to worry about.

    Without outside interference (like importing replacements) then the issue actually doesn't take long to become quite severe. It snowballs in a few generations. (so 40-80 years)

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Just because they have a preference for bad doesn't somehow change it to good.

    Unless they have a different value system from yours, of course.

  • Paloma||

    "Value is what one wants to obtain and/or keep" Ayn Rand I agree.

  • Zeb||

    More agnosticism than nihilism. I don't actually know whether population growth or decline are good or bad things in the long run. And I don't really believe that anyone else does either. So I'm inclined to mind my own business and not try to tell people how they should live their lives.

    I also don't think that most things are unequivocally good or bad. People can attach whatever value they choose to things.

    Of course, we can and should discuss these issues. But I'm not comfortable with making pronouncements about the absolute good or bad of a lot of things that come down to personal preferences and values, especially in an area like reproduction which is very personal.

  • Kivlor||

    Again, just because they disagree doesn't mean they're right. If you believe that, then libertarianism has nothing to stand on except your preferences.

    Now you may argue there is nothing inherently valuable in human life. Then, we can just bury the idea of libertarianism, because there's nothing wrong with taking a human life, because there isn't anything inherently valuable, and as long as you value their death...

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Killing someone isn't anywhere near equivalent to not having children. Just because you value human life doesn't mean you're duty bound to create more of it.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    libertarianism has nothing to stand on except your preferences.

    Just like every other moral/political system in the world.

  • gaoxiaen||

  • Paloma||

    You have to have human life in the first place to have any value at all. There is no value apart from human life.

  • Kivlor||

    Sparky, if you're going to make arguments for moral relativism / nihilism (and they're really the same thing) then I'm going to hit at the hard points to tear it down. I'm not using murder as an analogy for choosing to not have kids. I'm directly attacking your "well if they have different values than you" stupidity.

    Let's dispense with the pretense and your faux outrage.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Let's dispense with the pretense and your faux outrage.

    What outrage? You seem to be saying that your moral value system is the correct one. Unfortunately, everyone else says that too. Just because you believe that not having children is bad doesn't mean you're objectively correct. You're welcome to believe whatever you want to believe, but everyone else on Earth doesn't owe it to you to believe the same things.

    You're also making the argument that not having children means not valuing life which leads to murder. That doesn't even logically follow in the world I live in.

  • Zeb||

    If you don't believe in an all-powerful, rule making creator, you are kind of stuck with nihilism is you dig deep enough. (And if you do, you are stuck with the possibility that you might have got it wrong, who are we to say that Muslims or Aztecs practicing human sacrifice haven't got God's will perfectly correct?) I'm OK with that. Morality is something people invented (and evolved). It's one of the best and most useful things people have done (even if it's also often been perverted and used for unpleasant ends).

    But reproduction rates aren't really a moral issue, rather a practical one.

  • BYODB||

    Two things are import to recall for both sides of the issue:

    Birth rates will not always be going upwards at the same rate; and the corollary is that they won't decline at the same rate all the time either. They will fluctuate based on the individual choices of millions of people so drawing any kind of across-the-board 'trend' is someone looking to justify something, and probably something pretty egregious.

    As for moral relativism, it's something that intellectuals use to excuse their own ethical and moral shortcomings in the name of their own narcissism. Can you make the case as a moral relativist, in a moral relativist society, that I shouldn't pour bleach into your eyes? I think not, as long as my morals say that pouring bleach into your eyes is good and right.

    I've read plenty of moral relativist arguments and while I get where they're coming from it's mostly just a lot of intellectuals navel gazing and/or making excuses for madmen in my experience.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Can you make the case as a moral relativist, in a moral relativist society, that I shouldn't pour bleach into your eyes?

    Absolutely. You believing that bleaching eyes is morally good doesn't stop anyone else from believing that self-defense is morally good. You could try to bleach all the eyes you want up until someone kills you because they don't share your beliefs. Are you willing to risk your life for your morals?

  • BYODB||


    Absolutely. You believing that bleaching eyes is morally good doesn't stop anyone else from believing that self-defense is morally good. You could try to bleach all the eyes you want up until someone kills you because they don't share your beliefs. Are you willing to risk your life for your morals?

    It was a trick question; you just described anarchy. Every wonder why moral relativism, anarchy, and nihilism go hand-in-hand? This is why. You just described a society that is not, in fact, morally relativist. That's because there is no such animal.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    It was a trick question; you just described anarchy.

    How does describing anarchy make it a trick question?

    Every wonder why moral relativism, anarchy, and nihilism go hand-in-hand?

    Nope.

    That's because there is no such animal.

    There is no libertarian society either so you might as well get off that horse.

  • BYODB||

    It describes a situation that can't exist, in that a civilization and an ordered society can not be morally relativistic by their very nature. Hence why it's purely an intellectual exercise divorced from reality.

  • BYODB||

    Or to put it another way that might be easier to understand, every society has an underpinning set to ethical guidelines and one can see the end result of those ethics in their society.

    If there is no right or wrong, and no truth, than who are we to say that socialism is a flawed ethos? Just because millions, perhaps billions, of people have been killed by it who are we to say that human suffering and death is a bad thing when the intentions are noble? They just have 'alternate ways of knowing' after all.

    If you buy into the notion that there isn't a superior set of ethical guidelines than you have bought into the idea that there is no right, no wrong, and no truth, and thus no society. I suppose it depends which kind of moral relativism you're talking about though, but I didn't see anything that made which type you're talking about clear.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    If there is no right or wrong, and no truth
    you have bought into the idea that there is no right, no wrong, and no truth

    Why did you decide to throw truth in there? That's got nothing to do with the discussion.

    If you buy into the notion that there isn't a superior set of ethical guidelines

    Who said that? The superior set of ethical guidelines is the set that I believe. I'm willing to bet that you believe that yours is the superior set. I'm also willing to bet that there's a rather large overlap of the two. I'm thankful that many people agree with enough of my preferences that we can coexist.

  • BYODB||


    Why did you decide to throw truth in there?

    What is a moral or ethical system usually concerned with discovering, or based on, if not truth?

    Who said that? The superior set of ethical guidelines is the set that I believe. I'm willing to bet that you believe that yours is the superior set

    Perhaps so, but that's when examining the end results of an ethos comes into play in various societies around the world. This is one of the proofs of socialisms failures come into play, in fact, but perhaps that's because you're an empiricist.

    Are you even capable of clarifying the following basic question? If not, please read up on the subject because it sounds like you would actually find it interesting.

    I suppose it depends which kind of moral relativism you're talking about though, but I didn't see anything that made which type you're talking about clear. -BYODB

    If it helps I'm assuming normative relativism because it seems to be the overwhelming majority of those who espouse this stuff, even if they don't seem to be aware that this is what they're doing.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    What is a moral or ethical system usually concerned with discovering, or based on, if not truth?

    There's a difference between right and wrong and true and false. Claiming that morality has anything to do with truth is standing on suspect ground.

    Are you even capable of clarifying the following basic question?

    I don't know that I'm firmly in either the normative or meta-ethical camps. As with most other things, my philosophy is my philosophy. I don't expect that any other person would necessarily agree with me on everything though we may find common ground on any number of things.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Hence why it's purely an intellectual exercise divorced from reality.

    This is not surprising given that, as Zeb said, morality is a human made construct.

  • Paloma||

    There is a case to be made for the MORAL law of cause and effect. "God said: 'Take what you want,...and PAY FOR IT.' "

  • Ankah||

    "They will fluctuate based on the individual choices of millions of people" plenty procreate because of the sexual act, and nothing to do with any type of thought out process.

    One of the fears of those that study the subject is the lack of common reasons to the change in birth rates, and the potential to run in extreme to one direction or another.

    "Can you make the case as a moral relativist, in a moral relativist society, that I shouldn't pour bleach into your eyes? I think not, as long as my morals say that pouring bleach into your eyes is good and right." Of course. Just because you are in a moral relativist society does not mean two people have to agree, and in this case, one disagreement is enough to stop the other because it modifies the circumstances.

  • Zeb||

    it's unnecessary to import foreigners just to fill spaces

    It's also unnecessary to have 23 types of deodorant available.

  • Kivlor||

    Wow, I wasn't aware that paying to import foreigners with tax dollars is totally the same as me having the option of what deodorant I want to buy at the store! Thanks for that completely sane and coherent point Zeb!

  • Zeb||

    My point is that the necessity of something isn't relevant to whether it should be allowed or encouraged. The question when it comes to immigration (or anything) should not be whether something should be allowed, but whether there is a good reason to prevent it.

    Now, if you are talking about using tax dollars to actively bring people to the country, I'm entirely opposed to that. But that's not how immigration works here for the most part. I don't see any obligation to bring in refugees unless their displacement is a direct result of US actions.

  • Hugh Akston||

    There's no decline in US population. It grew by .8% in 2015, which is pretty average for the past half-century.

  • Zeb||

    I think people overstate the problems of lower birthrates. Yes, if it drops below replacement levels, it can cause some economic problems. But like most things, it will be self-regulating in the long run, even if there are some short term difficulties.

    I think it's likely, and probably desirable, that the world population will reach some kind of equilibrium state in the not too distant future. The 20th century saw huge and unprecedented population growth because of economic and technological advances. That's not a bad thing at all. But people are going to change reproductive behavior because of that, and that is a good thing.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    What about the liberty to squander millions of potential children on a daily basis?

  • Lester224||

    Every sperm is sacred.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Every sperm is great.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Demographic Transition??? I think that is a thing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Quality of life is a concern of too many people in one area though.

    Its just a different life to be packed into an area like Manhattan compared to say Los Angeles. NYC has about 8.49M people in the 5 boroughs of 469 sq miles. Los Angeles has about 3.929M people spread over 503 sq miles.

    Why do we need more people? What is the magic number that people would agree that the Earth has enough people? Why cannot we just enjoy the US population of 330M and let it work itself out through natural births and deaths? Why this need to flood America with more people?

    Kind of why I sometimes that I feel like we're in the Matrix.

  • Rhywun||

    Its just a different life to be packed into an area like Manhattan compared to say Los Angeles.

    How is that at all relevant? Obviously people are choosing that lifestyle for a reason. Could it be that their quality of life is better for it?

  • ||

    Could it be that their quality of life is better for it?

    No.

  • Rhywun||

    You mean people making their own choices does not improve their quality of life? I'm curious to know how you arrive at that conclusion.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Maybe it isn't for you, given your individual desires and preferences, but that doesn't hold true for others.

    If I value looking out my window and seeing open fields and woodlands, and listening to bird songs, I probably wouldn't be happy with anything more than a brief visit to New York City.

    On the other hand, if I value having a world of job opportunities, restaurant choices, and entertainment and cultural events of every conceivable type to choose from without even having to drive anywhere, I won't be happy spending more than a few days in the country.

    This much should be obvious!

    Part of being libertarian is giving people the freedom to make choices based on what works best for them, and you doing the same for you. This is in contrast to all those busybodies who want the power to decide for everybody else. I happen to prefer city life myself, but you'd goddamn better not start decreeing that I must live in an urban area whether I like it or not.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I think quality of life as it relates to population density is part of the discussion of population and often gets ignored.

  • Rhywun||

    There's a difference between high density caused by people's free will versus being crowded against their will. Not everyone uses the same measures for "quality of life" as you do.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    I second that. I prefer cities, the more densely packed the better. Maybe I am a humanist at heart and get comfort from seeing humans around me and human life flourish. Other people prefer the Walden lifestyle. I guess most of us can all agree that suburbs are hell, though.

  • Paloma||

    Nah. My boyfriend, who grew up in Brooklyn, LOVES the suburbs.

  • creech||

    "What is the magic number that people would agree that the Earth has enough people? "

    Easy peasey. The magic number is whatever number there are today, just like the magic ideal average temperature of the earth is whatever it is today!

  • mtrueman||

    "Why this need to flood America with more people?"

    Markets need to expand, and the native American population doesn't seem to have it in them to keep up with the growth imperative.

  • BYODB||

    If American markets need to expand than why is the government keeping them in chains?

  • Griffin3||

    Population density where I live in NW Florida is 41/sq mi. And, if you ask me, it's still too damn high.

  • Shirley Knott||

    People who are opposed to population growth fail to recognize that people are valuable.
    People are the ultimate valuable resource.
    Worst case, you regard the ones who are a waste of space as 'failed attempt to get a productive human', not as a reason why people in general aren't valuable.

    Anyone complaining about overpopulation needs to be asked why they think people are disvalues.
    Then they need to be asked why there is a perfect correlation between population growth and economic improvement (globally).
    There is also the incredibly strong correlation between economic improvement and dramatic decreases in the rate of population growth.

    If it's a problem, and it's not, it's a problem that is self-limiting by natural feedback mechanisms.

  • WakaWaka||

    Yes

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Of course people have value. So does open land and water reserves and many other things. In other words, people are not the ultimate valuable resource.

    I just ask why we need more and more people when 330M will do. My point is that population will reach an equilibrium on its own based on minimal immigration and American birth rates.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I just ask why we need more and more people when 330M will do. My point is that population will reach an equilibrium on its own based on minimal immigration and American birth rates.

    I think what people are saying is that they'd like it if the propagandists stopped going off on this Malthusian angle ('there are too many people--10 repetitions a day, every day, from pre-K through post-grad) and just let things be so they CAN reach an equilibrium on their own.

  • Paloma||

    You mean OTHER people are not the ultimate valuable resource. YOU are one of these people and you value your own life, hopefully. Other people value theirs. There can be no value apart from a valuer, in other words, a human being.

  • ||

    Suffering is the source of all value in the universe. If you're causing more harm than good then your life has no value. Breeders create suffering when they create life (for completely egotistical and selfish reasons). Therefore they are an example of disutility. The more people, the less resources, duh. I really hate to see libertarians using their brains as ashtrays and not seeing reality. Just like most libertarians try to justify the enslavement of non-human animals, again for selfish illogical reasons.

  • mtrueman||

    "People who are opposed to population growth fail to recognize that people are valuable."

    Diminishing marginal returns.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    So far, the correlation between population growth and economic growth is so high that we are really far from the peak of the curve, when an additional human life will be a cost rather than a huge benefit to our earthly society.

  • mtrueman||

    This curve may not be up to the task of accurately predicting when diminishing returns start to kick in. It's just a model, after all.

  • SKR||

    The Earth's population increased for thousands of years without a rise economic improvement. Your correlation is far from perfect.

  • damikesc||

    Unless he kills himself, I won't take him seriously.

    If you REALLY think too many people are on the planet, you'd kill yourself and your family.

  • Zeb||

    That only really makes sense if he's proposing killing a bunch of people to fix overpopulation. It's perfectly consistent to worry about overpopulation without wanting to murder everyone.

    There are much better reasons not to take him seriously.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Maybe Eugene Linden can propose a program whereby only people with preferred qualities like education or economic stability are allowed to procreate. We can even name it after him. We'll call it "Eugene-ics".

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I've often pondered the near-portmanteau appearance of "malthusian" --- "mal" + "enthusiasm" -- and it's almost made me religious after the Greek sense -- if I were a god, this is the kind of Olympian clues I'd scatter around just to see how stupid and gullible humans really were.

  • Paloma||

    That would REALLY be cool!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, life expectancy, is a function of high infant mortality rates (unless specifically corrected for that), and cross culturally and throughout history, fertility rates and infant mortality rates are directly related--the higher the infant mortality rate, the higher the birth rate.

    In societies without Social Security and Medicare, male children are the way to ensure your retirement income--especially if you're a woman who outlives your husband. And, no, people aren't just living to 45 years old on average--if you survive past the age of 12, your chances of living to 70 are probably pretty good. It's just that when so many infants die per capita, it brings the average age at death down statistically.

    Incidentally, this is the thinking behind the Gates Foundation vaccinating kids in Africa for free against childhood diseases--the more of them that survive, the fewer children their parents will have. Economic growth is the ultimate solution. Not only does it bring down the infant mortality rate, but it gives women more opportunities to contribute to household income by working outside the home--and, cross culturally and throughout history, that's also associated with lowering the fertility rate.

    Of all the things the Malthusians are wrong about, opposition to economic growth, tacit or otherwise, is probably the worst.

  • Ken Shultz||

    E.g., the reason the fertility rate in the developed west is so low is because our infant mortality rate is so low and because women have so many opportunities to contribute to household income outside the home.

    I don't care if you're talking about Ireland and Italy, where devout Catholics won't use birth control; the fertility rate dropped from an average of six per woman to under two per woman over the course of a couple generations--as infant mortality rates dropped and women started entering the workforce in the 1960s and 1970s.

    http://tinyurl.com/csz5hz

    CIA Factbook

  • SKR||

    I was going to add this to your first statement about decreasing infant mortality. Declining infant mortality and female empowerment are the two most clearly correlated factors to a declining birth rate.

  • mtrueman||

    "Economic growth is the ultimate solution. "

    Ultimate solution to what? CO2 emissions? In fact, economic growth goes hand in hand with increased CO2 emissions. CO2 is a heat trapping gas that some scientists believe may contribute to 'global warming' and 'climate change.'

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Economic growth is the ultimate solution. Not only does it bring down the infant mortality rate, but it gives women more opportunities to contribute to household income by working outside the home--and, cross culturally and throughout history, that's also associated with lowering the fertility rate."

    Economic growth is the ultimate solution to whatever problems are associated with overpopulation.

    You can read what I wrote. You even quoted it. Can't you understand what you read?

    Bringing down the infant mortality rate to bring down the fertility rate.

    Adding more opportunities for women to earn income outside the home--to bring down the fertility rate.

    Why were you confused by this? You seem to have reading comprehension problems.

  • mtrueman||

    "Why were you confused by this? "

    Because fertility or lack of it has little or nothing to do with increased emissions of heat trapping green house gases. Increased economic growth may indeed be a solution to bringing down fertility rates, if that's what you want, but it's not a solution to reducing these emissions.

    "You seem to have reading comprehension problems."

    I have my problems, so thanks for your concern. The reason I'm commenting is to show that economic growth cannot be an 'ultimate solution,' as it has its own problems, such as emissions of CO2.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Seek professional help.

  • mtrueman||

    I'll make it easier for you. Economic growth brings along with it its own problems, such as increased CO2 emissions. In other words, increasing economic growth (your supposedly ultimate solution) does not decrease CO2 emissions.

  • Stevecsd||

    Mr. Trueman,

    Since you seem fixated on it, here are some facts about CO2:

    1. Currently carbon dioxide amounts to about 0.04% of the atmosphere. (4 / 100ths by percentage or about 400 parts per million.)
    2. From all of the reading I have done it appears that human caused CO2 generates somewhere between 3-7% of all global carbon dioxide. (For one source see http://www.manhattan-institute.....myth10.htm ) Even if it as high as 10% per cent, natural causes dwarf human generated CO2. And if humans double their CO2 output, global concentrations go up 10%.
    3. There is proof that over the history of the earth there have been times when temperatures climbed first, then an increase in CO2 appears.
    4. There have been times when CO2 concentration was as high at 7,000 ppm, one of those during the Cambrian period about 500 million years ago. There have been several times when the concentration was in the 4,000 to 5,000 ppm range. This was long before the industrial age. Since there was no human created CO2 how did this happen? Natural causes, of course.
    5. If the level of CO2 in the atmosphere goes too low (somewhere around 200 ppm) it will be very detrimental to growing crops.
    6. There has also been some research about CO2 "climate sensitivity". Which means how sensitive is global climate to increases or decreases in CO2. Recent research is showing that climate may less sensitive to CO2 increases than earlier studies showed.

  • Sevo||

    Uh, trueman is a bleever, and not real bright, besides, so you can save the electrons.

  • BYODB||

    I've brought those facts up with mtruman before, but they are unable to reason so facts have little effect.

  • mtrueman||

    "I've brought those facts up with mtruman before, "

    The moran's done much more than that. He's convinced us all that this global warming thing is all due to natural cycles of the heat rays that comprise solar flares.

  • mtrueman||

    Solar flares are responsible for global warming. This is the conclusion that BYODB has drawn from pretty much exactly the same facts you are quoting.

  • BYODB||

    I'd suggest you read up on what a solar flare is and what they signify as opposed to a sun spot, but even the idea that you would read anything about science at all gave me a chuckle. Keep up your willful ignorance mtrueman, you make our case for us every time you open your idiot mouth.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'd suggest you read up on what a solar flare is and what they signify "

    Once upon a time, I might have actually done as you've suggested. That was before I discovered you a idiot.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Even if you accept CAGW, the way to deal with it/change it/adapt to it is through innovation that will come from free market economies. Top down mandates, price controls, and restrictions will only make matters worse, as usual.

  • mtrueman||

    " the way to deal with it/change it/adapt to it is through innovation that will come from free market economies."

    Like nuclear power, carbon sequestration, geo-engineering, cap and trade schemes and all the other solutions discussed in these pages.

  • Sevo||

    San Francisco has a 'housing crisis'; residential units are so expensive, many people who want to live here can't. So the government is doing what it can (or claiming to do so) to lower housing costs so more people can live here.
    Its current population density? 18,187/sq. mi.
    How 'bout NYC, where the steaming pile of crap was published? 26,403. Well, of course, but how about New York state? Oh, 420.
    This guy is barely worth a laugh.

  • Rhywun||

    So the government is doing what it can (or claiming to do so) to lower housing costs so more people can live here.

    Yeah, no - they are not. Everything they do is in service to making it more expensive to live there unless you are connected to a politician and willing to wait years on a waiting list.

  • SKR||

    If they wanted to increase the supply of affordable housing, they would be upzoning everything and eliminating HPZs instead of contantly caving to NIMBYs.

  • Paloma||

    If they don't have "affordable housing", who is buying or renting the housing? People who can't afford it?

  • NoVaNick||

    This guy is barely worth a laugh.

    You have to keep in mind that the average NYT reader is the educated, aging boomer who remembers Ehrlich's famous book. I'm sure they will read it with a smug, self-satisfied nod, saying "as with everything else-we were right all along...", take another sip of their bloody mary, then go to the crossword.

  • Ron Bailey||

    S: See my column on how the government is "helping" the "housing crisis" in SF and NYC via stupid zoning laws.

  • Sevo||

    Ron,
    I've read it, plus I live here.
    Last week, I posted about an acquaintance who, in the midst of a (fully-permitted) remodel was found to have a ceiling 3" too low, which requires raising the roof the same amount.
    Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go back to 'public comment' section of the permitting process, 'way back there at the beginning.

  • SKR||

    And it's never the city's fault for improperly providing a permit in the first place. I hate dealing with big city building departments.

  • Ben_||

    Overpopulation an article of faith for religious environmentalists. They want to sacrifice poor people to their appease The Earth.

  • Lester224||

    The best cure for overpopulation in overpopulated areas is more personal freedom for women (including access to birth control) and simple heath-care solutions like vaccination and mosquito-nets to reduce infant mortaility. No sacrifice of poor people needed.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It might also be noted that Linden is big on climate change.

    "Linden recites the standard Malthusian zero-sum creed. "Even in 1974, many development experts knew their programs might worsen Lesotho's population pressures, but hoped in vain that economic growth would outweigh the burden," he writes."

    Even as the "development efforts" (he's talking about economic growth and lowering infant mortality, right?) eased the pressure of overpopulation, he's blaming the solution for the problem?

    It would help the cause of climate change dramatically if the people with big microphones like Linden didn't make foolish arguments. If I accused him of not really believing what he's saying--he just thinks the ends justify the means--that might be giving him the benefit of the doubt. The other likely explanation is that he has no clue.

  • ||

    It would help the cause of climate change dramatically if the people with big microphones like Linden didn't make foolish arguments.

    I'm certain the movement would collapse. You'd just end up economists and conservationists working together to produce energy more efficiently and consume fewer natural resources in doing so.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh God, not that!

    I'd like to see environmentalism really become more like a religion.

    Religion can have a big influence on culture and the way people behave. It shouldn't be a political movement about how to use the coercive power of government. Its should be about individuals making voluntary sacrifices for things they care about--and, sure, why not be evangelical about it?

    Some people only eat fish on Fridays, won't work on Saturdays, pray five times a day, or won't have blood transfusions because of religion. People accuse environmentalism of being a religion--make it a religion!

    We're a religious species--our neocortex isn't like our ape cousins because of our capacity for religion and language. A lot of people have a big spiritual hole in their lives because they want to feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves and that their struggles on this world have purpose. For goodness' sake, make environmentalism a religion.

    I just don't want them to force their religious beliefs on others.

  • Rhywun||

    I just don't want them to force their religious beliefs on others.

    That comes with the territory for most people.

  • Ken Shultz||

    And yet here we are in a society that's largely uncensored by religion, anyway, where prayer in public schools failed miserable, where creationism isn't taught in public schools, where gay marriage is legal, etc., etc.

    Yeah, some will still push for that. Meanwhile, Christians in the south don't even want evangelical extremists on their school boards. Meanwhile, a majority of Christians now support gay marriage.

    Christians believe in the separation of church and state. Hell, I was raised in a fundamentalist faith that was so extreme on the separation of church and state, they wouldn't support outlawing abortion--even though they thought elective abortion was evil.

    Whether to force your religion on others is a question some people will land on the wrong side of, but the wrong side seems to lose that war over time. I'd consider myself an environmentalist even as I denounce those who would impose environmentalism on the unwilling through the coercive power of the state.

    Hell, I think that probably describes a lot of "conservationists", too.

  • Ken Shultz||

    One of the problems with science is that it can't really address people's qualitative preferences. Once scientists start advocating qualitative preferences about the importance of the environment relative to our standard of living, they stop being scientists.

    Religion doesn't have any problems addressing people's qualitative preferences. Look at the Sermon on the Mount. Look at the beatitudes. People have found profound meaning in that stuff--and it's all about getting your qualitative preferences in order.

    Stop being a religion masquerading as science and be a religion already!

  • mtrueman||

    Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world. It's not about this world, which is the concern of environmentalism and science, but religion is all about the world beyond.

  • BearOdinson||

    That's a nice Scotsman you got there.

    Environmentalism ≠ Science

  • mtrueman||

    My point, in case you missed it, was that both environmentalism and science concern themselves with the material world. Religion concerns itself with the super natural world. It's not that fine a distinction.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 1:16PM|#
    "My point, in case you missed it, was that both environmentalism and science concern themselves with the material world. Religion concerns itself with the super natural world. It's not that fine a distinction."

    My point is that, as always, you don't know what you're posting about:
    "Angela Merkel hails message from Pope telling her to take on Trump over Paris agreement"
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/.....nge-Europe
    And I'm sure the victims of various religious murders agree with you also, you imbecile.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I'm sure the billions upon billions spent by Christian charities spent around the world providing education, health care, food, drinking water, disaster relief, and countless other services agrees that it's all about the next world. Have you ever set foot in a church and listened to the pastor?

  • mtrueman||

    Our father who art in heaven. That's the beginning of one of Christianity's important prayers. The 'heaven' part is about the world beyond. Christians believe that they will live forever in heaven after they die, provided they meet certain requirements during their life on earth.

  • BearOdinson||

    Many religions absolutely do concern themselves with the material world. Judaism very specifically deals with the material world. Germanic paganism (both original and neo) doesn't concern itself nearly as much with the supernatural as it does in what is important about living in this world. Most religions have behavioral requirements/guidelines as to how to act IN THIS MATERIAL WORLD.

    The question is not whether or not it deals with the material world. It is about what types of questions are asked, and what process is used to find the answers.

    Science is a process in which physical phenomenon are observed, falsifiable hypotheses are posited and then the tests are performed. Hypotheses are then said to be confirmed (at least within the bounds of that particular test), modified, or thrown out. Basically, can you take what has occurred so far, and make predictions as to what will occur later.

    Religion is concerned with such supernatural things as god/s, afterlife, souls, etc. But it is also concerned with values, and human behavior and what is important about being a human while here in this world. But the answers aren't necessarily falsifiable. (To use Carl Sagan, "How do you know you loved your father?") Is love supernatural? Is it only a bio-chemical reaction?

    Environmentalism (as it is practiced by the Sierra Club, NRDC, etc.) most certainly doesn't posit falsifiable hypotheses. And it does absolutely concern itself with values.

  • mtrueman||

    "Many religions absolutely do concern themselves with the material world."

    I agree. What's crucial here is that a religion needn't concern itself with our material world, and it will still be a religion. A religion may not make pronouncements on women's clothing, but it will still be a religion.

    "Environmentalism (as it is practiced by the Sierra Club, NRDC, etc.) most certainly doesn't posit falsifiable hypotheses. And it does absolutely concern itself with values."

    Same can be said of literature and poetry. Doesn't make them religions.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 2:45PM|#
    "I agree. What's crucial here is that a religion needn't concern itself with our material world, and it will still be a religion. A religion may not make pronouncements on women's clothing, but it will still be a religion."

    And a religion may make comments regarding the environment, but it is still a religion. Imbecile.

  • mtrueman||

    "And a religion may make comments regarding the environment, "

    You're not following this, are you? My advice, stick to your bluster and insults.

  • BYODB||

    It's pretty obvious that what little mtrueman knows of religion, he learned second hand. If he's ever been in a church I would be shocked, but it's just as possible than they sat through church and simply never bothered listening.

    It's astounding what conclusions can be drawn by someone without the ability to reason. His comment above is literally a nonsequiter.

  • ||

    Reasoning is not what mtrueman does. He gainsays. Nothing more, nothing less. He's worth the occasional pot shot for amusement, but not serious engagement.

  • mtrueman||

    "Reasoning is not what mtrueman does."

    I'm stating that environmentalism and science concern themselves with the material world, whereas religions necessarily focus on a super natural world beyond this one. It really shouldn't be out of your intellectual grasp. Maybe more thinking, less commenting.

  • ||

    I'm stating that environmentalism and science concern themselves with the material world, whereas religions necessarily focus on a super natural world beyond this one.

    Yes. That's what we're all trying to explain to you.

    You've pulled a couple of definitions straight out of your ass and are now demanding that everyone take them seriously as if you've reasoned yourself into them.

    The way you've chosen to define religion makes it distinct from "science." This faux distinction you are making contributes precisely nothing to this discussion.

  • mtrueman||

    "You've pulled a couple of definitions straight out of your ass and are now demanding that everyone take them seriously as if you've reasoned yourself into them."

    If you have a better definition for religion, that includes your pet bugbears environmentalism and climate science, then now would be the time to air it. No point in keeping it a secret, is there?

    "This faux distinction you are making contributes precisely nothing to this discussion."

    How is it faux? I believe you believe it is, but I can't see why. This is the point at which you explain yourself or tell me to fuck off because anyone with brains knows precisely why it's faux. Which will it be?

  • Inigo Montoya||

    "Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world. It's not about this world, which is the concern of environmentalism and science..."

    Umm, if religion is not about this world, why would any religious folks care what women wear, what men do with their facial hair, what sorts of food gets eaten, and especially who has sex with whom?

    Religions developed both as ways of accessing the supernatural AND influencing the material world. Ever hear of agricultural deities, animal spirits, or fertility rituals? Religions also sprang up to provide frameworks for every sort of social interaction -- for better (Ex: "thou shalt not kill") and for worse (Ex: a woman cannot go outside the home unless accompanied by a male relative).

    Science too is can be "impure" in that it can reflect prevailing social mores and institutional pressures. Ever hear of Galileo being under house arrest for publishing about a heliocentric solar system? Ever read any of Thomas Kuhn's book about scientific revolutions and how science advances by periodically overturning previously held hypotheses as more and more experimental data weakens a prevailing theory?

    Do you think that efforts to build consensus and support established hypotheses never influence what research gets funded? Do you also think government never chooses winners and losers among legitimate researchers?

    You may be a bit naive and misinformed about both religion and science.

  • mtrueman||

    "You may be a bit naive and misinformed about both religion and science."

    You missed my point. There are lots of religions. Some have strong ideas about women's fashion, some don't. Some of them recognize a deity, some don't. Some have a holy text, some don't. Some have a creation myth, some don't. What all religions have in common is the belief in the existence of the super natural and the means to communicate with it.

  • ||

    What all religions have in common is the belief in the existence of the super natural and the means to communicate with it.

    Depends on how you define religion.

    As usual, you're talking in circles.

  • mtrueman||

    "Depends on how you define religion."

    I was thoughtful enough to define religion for you in the first sentence of my first comment in the thread. I'll repeat it for you:

    Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world.

  • ||

    I was thoughtful enough to define religion for you in the first sentence of my first comment in the thread.

    Have you heard the term "circular argument" before, and are you familiar with what it means?

  • mtrueman||

    "Have you heard the term "circular argument" before, and are you familiar with what it means?"

    It seems you don't.

    Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world.

    Environmentalism and science have no interest in the super natural world.

    Therefore environmentalism and science are not religions.

    No fallacies here.

  • ||

    *takes mtrueman by hand*

    Let me walk you through this:

    1) You define religion as "a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world."

    Ergo science is in no way related to religion because religion is "a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world."

    I.e. Your "conclusion" is simply a restatement of your opening premise.

    IOW, "Circular Reasoning:" an argument that presumes/relies upon the truth of its own conclusion.

    You're welcome.

  • mtrueman||

    "Your "conclusion" is simply a restatement of your opening premise."

    No, I defined religion. Then I concluded that science and environmentalism fall outside the definition.

  • ||

    "Your "conclusion" is simply a restatement of your opening premise."

    No, I defined religion. Then I concluded that science and environmentalism fall outside the definition.

    Please just keep re-reading that over and over again. It may sink in eventually. But maybe not. You never know.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 3:13PM|#

    imbecile defines religion thus:
    "Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world"

    Defines greenies thus:
    "Environmentalism and science have no interest in the super natural world."

    And then, circling back on his definitions, declares:
    "Therefore environmentalism and science are not religions.
    No fallacies here."

    And this imbecile expects to be taken seriously.

  • mtrueman||

    "Depends on how you define religion."

    If you think Buddhism fails my definition, you need to learn more about it. The concept of Maya, that this is a world of deceptive appearances, and that the real world lies beyond this one. You can gain access to the real world, overcoming maya, through meditation.

  • ||

    The concept of Maya, that this is a world of deceptive appearances, and that the real world lies beyond this one.

    And when circular reasoning fails, you can always just change what you were arguing!

    If you think "Buddhism" sees "Reality" as "Beyond This World," then it is you, my friend, who needs to polish his understanding of Buddhism.

    There is Nowhere but Here, which is Nowhere. Thinking there's a "Here" and a "Beyond" is the essence of Maya in the first place, which fools you into thinking that there is a "Beyond" and "Something False to See Through."

    But you were originally talking about the Supernatural, not overcoming egocentric Delusion through TM.

    Ergo, back to the original observation, "Religion" and "Science" are only distinct in the distinction that you made. IOW, you have not in fact done anything other than express an unsubstantiated opinion, but you behave as if you've proven something no one else understands.

    In other news, the sun rose this morning.

  • mtrueman||

    "Ergo, back to the original observation, "Religion" and "Science" are only distinct in the distinction that you made. "

    That was not the original observation I made. I will copy and past it here:

    Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world. It's not about this world, which is the concern of environmentalism and science, but religion is all about the world beyond.

  • ||

    That was not the original observation I made.

    So it's not about a distinction you made between religion being about "the world beyond" and environmentalism and science being about "this world," it's in fact about a distinction you made between religion being about "the world beyond" and environmentalism and science being about "this world."

    Gotcha.

  • mtrueman||

    "Gotcha."

    No, you only think you've got cha. You said, not that long ago, "Ergo, back to the original observation, "Religion" and "Science" are only distinct in the distinction that you made"

    There are many distinctions between science and religion. Not only one. Priests were black skirts while scientists wear white coats. That's pretty distinct, There are others too. Distinctions, I mean.

    "are only distinct in the distinction"

    You misunderstand again.

  • Sevo||

    "Religion is a set or beliefs and practices that we follow to communicate with or influence the super natural world. It's not about this world, which is the concern of environmentalism and science, but religion is all about the world beyond."

    Repeating a claim does not improve the honesty of that claim.
    You are full of shit.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 2:36PM|#
    "What all religions have in common is the belief in the existence of the super natural and the means to communicate with it."

    You mean like 'mother earth'?

  • mtrueman||

    "You mean like 'mother earth'?"

    No, I mean like heaven.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 4:18PM|#
    "You mean like 'mother earth'?"
    "No, I mean like heaven."

    So you agree, but are too stupid to understand?

  • mtrueman||

    "So you agree, but are too stupid to understand?"

    No means disagreement. It means I don't agree. But I wouldn't worry too much about this if I were you. You have better things to do. Remind us all about the evil of Al Gore or some other celebrity you saw on TV.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 7:41PM|#
    "No means disagreement. It means I don't agree"

    So your example agrees, but you seem to think it does the opposite? I am not surprised.

  • mtrueman||

    " I am not surprised."

    I am not interested.

  • Zeb||

    I think that religion being about things beyond this world is a relatively late innovation. For the most part, religion has been all about this world seen in a pre-scientific way. Gods and demons and whatnot weren't creatures from beyond this world. They were the forces that make the world work the way it does.

  • ||

    I think that religion being about things beyond this world is a relatively late innovation.

    ^ This.

    It's only here and there in the ancient world that you start to see the notion that what you do in this life has any bearing whatsoever on what happens to you in the next, or where you see any concern for the "Other World' except insomuch as it affects this one.

  • mtrueman||

    "It's only here and there in the ancient world that you start to see the notion that what you do in this life has any bearing whatsoever on what happens to you in the next, "

    The Egyptians were no slackers when it comes to the ancient world. They certainly believed what you did in this world influenced the next. Hence the pyramids. We know this because they wrote stuff down on papyrus, an ancient kind of paper made of rather attractive grasses native to the banks of the Nile. Some couple hundred years ago their writing was translated into modern languages such as English. Now dig this, their whole economy revolved around the construction of accommodations fit for a pharaoh's (after)life in 'the western lands.'

  • ||

    It's not about this world, which is the concern of environmentalism and science, but religion is all about the world beyond.

    So, theorizing is a purely religious phenomenon and science is strictly/merely a collection and cataloging of facts. We owe as much, if not more, to the study of the occult than we do to legitimate scientific inquiry.

    Collecting facts about the atmosphere around us is science. Generating hypothetical Earths, based on those facts, that can/do/will never come to pass is literally communicating or influencing the super natural.

    Some of the models display(ed) more warming (faster) than is now thought to be possible based on the facts. Literally super natural.

    Benzene rings in your sleep? PCR on acid? Daydreams about riding light beams? Unearthly visions about AC Motors? All religious innovations!

  • mtrueman||

    "Benzene rings in your sleep? PCR on acid? Daydreams about riding light beams? Unearthly visions about AC Motors? All religious innovations!"

    No, you've misunderstood. Dreams, acid, deliriums etc are all part of the physical world. They are not super natural, like heaven, for example.

    " science is strictly/merely a collection and cataloging of facts."

    No, it's more than that. You need to hypothesize before you're doing science. You don't have to go to heaven to hypothesize, you can do it on earth.

  • ||

    They are not super natural, like heaven, for example.

    But Heaven is not supernatural, either!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Science is a process that's limited by rules associated with observation of the natural world.

    What I was talking about, in the sermon on the mount and the beatitudes isn't limited by that.

    Bless those that curse you, if you have done so unto the least of these, you have done so unto me, etc., these are ideas about how to live your life that aren't necessarily based on anything that can be quantified. Religion speaks directly to such issues. When science speaks to those issues, its stops being science.

    There is no scientific answer to the question of why I should care more about polar bears than my own standard of living. The answer to that question can't be found through observation and quantification. It simply isn't a scientific question--so there is no scientific answer. It's a question of morality, ethics, it's a philosophical question. It's a question of qualitative preferences.

    Religion speaks to questions like that. Stop making science try to answer questions that it can't possibly answer--and start treating those questions like exactly what they are--questions of values and ethics. In short, they're religious questions, If AGW is a real problem, the libertarian solution isn't scientific. It's individuals persuading each other to make changes in their lives by persuading people to value the environment over their other interests.

    Religion is an artifact of culture that evolves as people choose to embrace and transmit certain values to their progeny.

  • mtrueman||

    "Religion is an artifact of culture that evolves as people choose to embrace and transmit certain values to their progeny."

    Same could be said of a Jackson Pollock painting. But without this extra-worldly dimension, it's not a religion.

    But I agree with you on the limitations of science and have said as much in these pages in the past. I should add though, that more knowledge of your standard of living or polar bears could have bearing on what you consider their value relative to each other.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Some of the things you're calling supernatural didn't seem so when they first became religions.

    Tracking the sun through various constellations to tell you when to plant and when to harvest wasn't supernatural--even if they believed in Gods. Those were explanations of the natural world that people came to believe because they accurately told them when to plant and when to harvest.

    Taboos work the same way. No matter what continent you're on, the close you get to the equator, the more likely you are to find a taboo against having sex with women until after their last child's first birthday. In Africa, Asia, and Central America, they have various religious explanations about gods and curses that will get you if you do.

    Those taboos are actually an evolutionary adaptation. Protein is hard to come by in the tropics, and if a woman becomes pregnant while she's nursing, her infants' chances of survival drop dramatically.

    Religions are evolutionary adaptations. They evolve and survive because of real forces in the natural world. Most of them have to do with people coping with uncertainty and adding meaning to their lives--answering questions that can't be answered through observation. What should I care about? Does my spouse love me and will she be true? What happens after death? How should I raise my children? What values should I instill in them?

  • Ken Shultz||

    These are not supernatural questions, and they can't really be answered with science.

    If environmentalists want to be successful, they need to work on persuading people to share their religious beliefs--rather than using the coercive power of government to force people to practice those beliefs regardless of whether or not they share them.

    Certainly, their beliefs don't need to be any more supernatural than the forces that shaped religions over the course of millennia. If their values are about caring for the natural world, that just makes them more powerful. Before people understood geology, they needed to understand why there are seashells on the top of mountains--if flood stories aren't as persuasive explanations as they used to be, that doesn't mean environmentalists need to replace the old myths with new ones.

    There's no reason why environmentalists developing an explanation for why we're here in the cosmos (to care for the environment) needs to be supernatural at all.

  • mtrueman||

    Thanks for your considered response, and your admirable restraint at flinging insults. I agree with what you are saying, that religion is a social phenomenon. What I'm on about is that physics is physics and religion is metaphysics. (Greek for beyond physics.) To make any headway in understanding any religion, sooner or later you are going to bump into metaphysics. Gods, and so on. Science, no. Physics is physics.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 5:20PM|#
    "... and your admirable restraint at flinging insults."
    Nothing ou don't deserve, imbecile,

    "I agree with what you are saying, that religion is a social phenomenon. What I'm on about is that physics is physics and religion is metaphysics. (Greek for beyond physics.)"
    You have been shown evidence proving you're wrong and yet, as an imbecile, you refuse to accept it.

  • mtrueman||

    "You have been shown evidence proving you're wrong and yet, as an imbecile, you refuse to accept it."

    Would it be rude to ask to be shown this evidence a second time?

  • Sevo||

    "Would it be rude to ask to be shown this evidence a second time?"

    No, it wouldn't and you were shown it twice. And then the third time and then the forth and then the fifth and so forth.
    By now, it's not only rude on your part, it's an admission that you can't either read or comprehend logic.
    In short, you're an imbecile and I doubt anyone here is willing to explain it to you again.

  • mtrueman||

    "In short, you're an imbecile and I doubt anyone here is willing to explain it to you again."

    That's circle=square's line. I told him we've reached the point in our discussion where he best explain himself if he wants me to understand him, or blather on with the kind of comment you resort to so readily. He's wisely chosen to shut up about the whole matter. You choose bluster and insults. I am neither surprised nor interested.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|6.19.17 @ 8:28PM|#
    "That's circle=square's line. I told him we've reached the point in our discussion where he best explain himself if he wants me to understand him,..."

    It turns out that is impossible.
    Circle = square, and many others (me, too), have explained it to you and provided evidence to support those explanations. You have responded by re-stating a claim as if it were evidently true. It is not only not evidently true, it's not true at all. You are either willfully ignoring the explanations and the evidence which have been handed to you, or you're simply too stupid to understand.
    Given your inability to cite any evidence at all for any of your claims (from day one; I'm still waiting to see evidence that the Ukrainians were 'known collaborators'), there's pretty strong evidence that you are ignorant of the rules of logic and the requirement of supporting stated claims with evidence. Put another way, you are stupid enough to presume that if you say it, it's true. Or dishonest enough to hope others are dumb enough to do so.
    What you claim here is not true, as has been shown many times, so even if you chose to try to support the claim, there is no support. Your claim is false.
    In short, you are an imbecile and you are due every insult tossed your way. Or dishonest enough to hope that we, here, will ignore your dishonesty.
    I don't call you an imbecile because I despise you; I do so because it's true.
    Fuck off.

  • mtrueman||

    "Circle = square, and many others (me, too), have explained it to you and provided evidence to support those explanations. "

    Where? I'd like to see the evidence. Otherwise I don't know what you're on about. I understand I've done something very wrong in your eyes, but can't say what it is.

  • Paloma||

    Totally false. Have you never heard of Buddhism? Most Buddhists don't subscribe to any "world beyond"

  • mtrueman||

    "Have you never heard of Buddhism? "

    It's a religion that believes the world around us is illusory and to get beyond the illusion to the truth, where we can dally in the unity of the universe, achieve total consciousness, we need to meditate. Read my definition again. It fits. We've got the promise of a truth beyond the everyday world held out before us, and the means to achieve that.

  • Paloma||

    No, it's not. I'm a Buddhist. Buddhism is about the inner self transforming which, in turn, transforms the environment, which is very real. There IS no "other world". That's a Platonian concept.

  • mtrueman||

    "There IS no "other world"."

    But our experience of this world is limited until you follow the secret methods of the faith. Then your eyes will be opened and you will be enlightened. The 'other world' business is just a metaphor.

  • NoVaNick||

    The malthusians should do more to make free online porn available to guys in poor countries, that would definitely help control their urge to procreate.

  • The Last American Hero||

    And video games.

  • ||

    The malthusians should do more to make free online porn available to guys in poor countries

    I posit that porn is a poor substitute for the real thing. Dedicated Malthusian women should voluntarily sterilize and, to avoid prostitution charges, offer their services for free.

  • BearOdinson||

    Sounds like what Lesotho needs is a good case of Vegan choriomeningitis.

  • BearOdinson||

    Oh come on! None of you nerds replied to this? What the hell kind of geek fest is this?

    Hello? The Mark of Gideon? ST:TOS 3rd Season????

  • ||

    Nerd.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Much as I LOVE it, I admit that Star Trek the Original Series' 3rd season was the weakest of the three. And within the 3rd season, The Mark of Gideon was a pretty weak episode. While it didn't reach Spock's Brain levels of bad, it's quite forgettable.

    For me, Star Trek was at its best when it focused on character development. That's what makes episodes like Balance of Terror, Amok Time, The City on the Edge of Forever, and The Doomsday Machine particularly great.

    Theme episodes meant to be symbolic or allegorical so as to comment on contemporary issues could sometimes be very good indeed, such as the anti-war episode A Taste of Armageddon or the one about the problems with social control/rigid conformity: The Return of the Archons. But they were also frequently hokey and ridiculous, such as Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. Unfortunately, The Mark of Gideon wasn't even silly enough to be enjoyably bad the way, say, The Way to Eden is so bad it's actually fun.

  • mtrueman||

    What's that episode where Kirk leads the ship on an illegal and highly dangerous mission to follow through with some personal agenda, about an old flame, if I recall correctly. If I were commander of the fleet, Kirk would have has all the silvery bits publicly torn from his tunic and his phaser broken in half over his knee.

  • Sevo||

    Inigo Montoya|6.19.17 @ 3:38PM|#
    "Much as I LOVE it, I admit that Star Trek the Original Series' 3rd season was the weakest of the three..."
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaB_G1WNT70

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Overpopulation Scaremongering Never Gets Old

    Global cooling, global warming, climate change and overpopulation scares never get old...or funny.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Overpopulation issue #1:
    In case nobody noticed, the nature of market economies has changed. With increasing automation, which is about to hit white color jobs just like it did blue color jobs, we no longer need masses of people to produce goods and services. In fact, this changes the essential social paradigm in place since the Egyptian and Aztec elites owed their privileged status to the hordes of peasants they controlled. And with increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top, the significance of the broad consumer market also diminishes. A perhaps inevitable result will be millions (billions?) of "surplus" people. At least some social(ist) planners have already recognized these trends and have some scary ideas in mind, which leads to...

    Overpopulation issue #2
    Whether in Lesotho or Los Angeles, even what might be recognized as short term social ills suffered by growing numbers of people will be used as ammunition for greater government intervention. This includes reactions to real or perceived environmental impacts. If only a million people were running around, they could each pretty much dig or burn or dump anything, and the impact would be lost in the global ecosystem noise. Ratchet the population up to a few billion, and suddenly we all have to worry about our footprints (and will get plenty of reminders).

  • Sevo||

    "Overpopulation issue #1:"
    Thank you, Ned Ludd; you've been shown to be full of it.

    "Overpopulation issue #2"
    Hypothetical with no reason to presume the opposite isn't true.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So how do you feel about the concept of a Basic Income or GMI?

    As for the significance of physical/environmental impact per capita, that is just math.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    The solution to over-population is for the people who are worried about it to kill themselves.

  • ||

    No, the solution is actually for irresponsible human breeders like yourself to cease to exist. That would be great.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    You first, dweebster....

  • swampwiz||

    So is the author trying to say that the free countries of the world should sop up the excess population from these failed states and let these teeming masses come and ruin their Western heritage? Like Sweden seems to be doing? How about we encourage these folks to have less children, which BTW, makes it easy to sustain civilization?

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