World Population DayPosted by Jim Newman on July 11th, 2012 – 1 Comment – Posted in religion
Post by Jim Newman
Today, June 11, 2012, is World Population Day. Established in 1989 it was inspired by the Five Billion Day of 1987 when world population reached approximately 5 billion. The world population reached just over 7 billion July 9, 2012. This year’s theme is reproductive health.
Reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide. Some 222 million women who would like to avoid or delay pregnancy lack access to effective family planning. Nearly 800 women die every day in the process of giving life. About 1.8 billion young people are entering their reproductive years, often without the knowledge, skills and services they need to protect themselves.
They note that 10-15% of infant death could be averted if children were spaced just 2 years apart. In spite of lactation delaying fertility somewhat, that means abstinence or birth control.
Judeo-Christians have long asserted the Genesis verse to support both their command to breed like flies and be boss of everything:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Or another translation:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
Now, it’s great to say that the JC religions are only part of the picture in global population. That poor people breed more etc. But the bible is the single most published book in the world ever and it is likely true that JC theology is the single most popular philosophy of the last 3,000 years. Indeed, that a huge chunk of all JC people believe the bible to be the word of god, if at worst, not literal but inspirational. Most missionaries are literalists. Blame the Abrahamic religions.
I can’t begin to want to imagine how many couples went to bed hoping to conceive with this verse in mind. It chills the spine.
To me, this single statement from Genesis is the most horrible, the most contemptible, the most egregious phrase in the entire bible I have found to date. In one fell swoop amidst a huge number of words, words, words there is the demand to both fill the earth and subdue all living creatures in it. “Go. Be like bacteria. Breed until there be no food left.”
Many apologize for this saying ”Well, back then no one actually knew that they could actually overpopulate the world and dominate all animals.” This is utter bullshit. By the time of the bible the mideast was already overpopulated and people had already achieved domination over animals in their dominion. No one in the mideast in 3,000 BC knew of the America’s, all of Africa, or the rest of the world. They had absolutely no concept of how vast or huge the earth was. They couldn’t possibly think they could keep breeding because there was more land available. They had already had to retract land holdings because of resource depletion. No, this was a blind stupidity much like ours now, as expressed by religious people–”god will watch over us, he loves us”. To fucking death apparently.
This was written amidst a world of depleted resources and the extent hegemony of man over nature. Without knowledge they chose to assert demons, bad spirits, or impure hearts caused the many deaths due to germs, microscopic parasites, and the crap food of their day.
When I was working on Applied Anthropology I met several Native American women who knew of ancient abortion and birth control ethnobotannical remedies. They refused to speak what they knew because all had been raised in the Catholic Missionary System where they had been taught it was evil. What I am saying is that even in small group societies that have not been bounded by excess population or resource limits, people desired and knew how, in some way, to control their reproduction. Women and men have long sought to choose their successful sexual partner.
Additionally, the notion that people bred back loss from plague, blight, and war is ridiculous. It has always been easy for humans to reproduce themselves. While there is truth that human birth is dangerous, if birthing were limited by danger there would be far more graves of dead children. That is, there would be more dead babies than adults as more of them would have died than survived. A woman can breed every year. Many can’t but most can. At a cost. But frankly earlier societies were better at training women to birth than JC societies where it is evil to even talk about sex.
Even if a woman lives only to 40, she can have had a chance at 10-16 children during that time. If it only takes 2 children to replace the parents, there would be several dead infants for every surviving adult. If a woman had to raise her children to viability during her life she could still bear more than needed. Some christian scholars say women had to have 5 children to have 2 survive to reproduction during the mid-eastern age of the bible and that is why the admonition to reproduce often. However, that means there would have to be at least 3 dead family members for every reproductive generation. It is nothing to breed 5 children in 40 years for most women. They could still double in size quickly.
Some consider constant reproduction as a means of recovering from war etc. Yet, humans breed back quickly. Very quickly. You can double or triple or even quadruple the population rapidly. If you have just had the worst war imaginable and lost 90% of your population, that can be rebirthed in two generations. Nor does it even matter to the society as a whole unless it has a population-bound infrastructure. If Egyptian, Babylonian, or Roman society builds a material civilization that requires a set number of people to function then when those people die off from war or disease the society will contract or collapse. The Egyptian canal system became so large that it could not be rebuilt when it failed. There was no longer money or people to do it. Even slaves have to be fed and housed, if only minimally.
American pioneer stories are filled with the adversity of frontier life and the high mortality rate. What is forgotten are that pioneers weren’t native. They had no knowledge of the flora and fauna of the conquered countries. Nor did they have the infrastructure needed to support healthy living as they knew it in the home country. They suffered and died like crazy because they didn’t know how to live with greater success in the countries they invaded. America was not like Europe nor was Central Africa, nor South America. Everything we read in the early journals emphasize just how different the new lands were from whence they came.
Drop the average Native American anywhere in the US and they will thrive in spite of woodland-to-desert differences. Drop the average Englishman and they enter Survivorman hardship. Tales of pioneers are no measure of living-in-the-woods capability generally. You’d be better off reading the journals of trappers and nonSpanish explorers to get an idea of how well one can survive or of what were the specific dangers of a region. Hell, Daniel Boone couldn’t wait to leave home whenever he returned as he hated home life–fuck her and leave (bastard Boone). Many accounts speak of the alienation wilderness adventurers experienced when they returned to population centers–the personal and material skills required to thrive in the wilderness were quite different than those required in urban areas.
Some Christian sites speak of how we should avoid the modern educated dictum to not breed because the world is so difficult now by saying the world has always been difficult and so we must breed like flies anyway because it’s never been worse, can’t get worse, and will always be worst. That we must follow god in spite of it because he says to. This is like that stupid saying to have kids even if you haven’t enough money because there is never a good time to have children, so just do it. That’s bullshit. There are always better and worse times to have children. Some women should abstain from children. Some women birth and rear more easily. Aside from how it should be their choice and not the man’s, it is not helpful to insist to breed as if it were eating–a constant fucking, the only goal is procreation, regardless.
There is also the religious excuse that god watches over them and evil doesn’t occur unless required. That is, live as you will and what happens is god’s will. I find this really horrible. It is the same crazy bullshit that causes the Amish to refuse building codes because they don’t need fire alarms because if god wants them to burn, so be it. If god wants my life he’ll take it when he sees fit. This absolution of responsibility is so wildly inappropriate … A blind fatalism that allows you to act but not take responsibility. It’s akin to urban hippies invading the woods without care or knowledge saying hey do whatever, it’s meant to be–and I like hippies but many of them were rich, wild kids acting without thought.
Some JCs see the aversion to high population growth rates as an aversion against being human. That not loving babies is kin to not loving yourself which is kin to not loving god. I don’t even know how to respond, this is so stupefying. That people choose not to breed like flies doesn’t mean that people don’t like children. There can be too few or too many children and we can decide, more than leaving it up to god or nature if you will.
Finally, JCs with a conscience and a bit of knowledge claim the bible has to be taken in context and point to the translation of the passage. Multiplication didn’t exist at the time of the bible in the mideast. The word “increase” is more appropriate. An aside to this is an early JC aversion to mathematics–we have Muslims and Hindus to thank for much of our modern math. Yet, geometry and calculation were present at the time and I don’t think biblical writers were so confused. Sincerely they believed and knew that JCs could populate and rule the world. That was the goal. Any goat herder knew how quickly a herd can increase as multiples.
We have gone from 5 billon to 7 billion in 25 years. Tell me, when you look around, when you read about the rest of the world, do you see a world that can hold us all? Do you see this fetal aspiration stopping soon enough to prevent starvation and pestilence?
Population control is the white elephant in the room no one can touch. JC’s and others fuck politically with trivial shit like who can screw whom while they breed us all into oblivion.
Jim Newman, bright and well
www.frontiersofreason.com and www.brightpride.com