Does Population Growth Impact Climate Change?
Does the rate at which people are reproducing need to be controlled to save the environment? Written July 29 2009- Posted September 29th 2019
- July 29, 2009
Dear EarthTalk: To what extent does human population growth impact global warming, and what can be done about it?
— Larry LeDoux, Honolulu, HI
No doubt human population growth is a major contributor to global warming, given that humans use fossil fuels to power their increasingly mechanized lifestyles. More people means more demand for oil, gas, coal and other fuels mined or drilled from below the Earth’s surface that, when burned, spew enough carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere to trap warm air inside like a greenhouse.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century. (Think about it: It took all of time for population to reach 1.6 billion; then it shot to 6.1 billion over just 100 years.) During that time emissions of CO2, the leading greenhouse gas, grew 12-fold. And with worldwide population expected to surpass nine billion over the next 50 years, environmentalists and others are worried about the ability of the planet to withstand the added load of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on ecosystems down below.
Developed countries consume the lion’s share of fossil fuels. The United States, for example, contains just five percent of world population, yet contributes a quarter of total CO2 output. But while population growth is stagnant or dropping in most developed countries (except for the U.S., due to immigration), it is rising rapidly in quickly industrializing developing nations. According to the United Nations Population Fund, fast-growing developing countries (like China and India) will contribute more than half of global CO2 emissions by 2050, leading some to wonder if all of the efforts being made to curb U.S. emissions will be erased by other countries’ adoption of our long held over-consumptive ways.
“Population, global warming and consumption patterns are inextricably linked in their collective global environmental impact,” reports the Global Population and Environment Program at the non-profit Sierra Club. “As developing countries’ contribution to global emissions grows, population size and growth rates will become significant factors in magnifying the impacts of global warming.”
According to the Worldwatch Institute, a nonprofit environmental think tank, the overriding challenges facing our global civilization are to curtail climate change and slow population growth. “Success on these two fronts would make other challenges, such as reversing the deforestation of Earth, stabilizing water tables, and protecting plant and animal diversity, much more manageable,” reports the group. “If we cannot stabilize climate and we cannot stabilize population, there is not an ecosystem on Earth that we can save.”
Many population experts believe the answer lies in improving the health of women and children in developing nations. By reducing poverty and infant mortality, increasing women’s and girls’ access to basic human rights (health care, education, economic opportunity), educating women about birth control options and ensuring access to voluntary family planning services, women will choose to limit family size.
CONTACTS: United Nations Population Fund, www.unfpa.org; Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Program, www.sierraclub.org/population; Worldwatch Institute, www.worldwatch.org.
The size of the carbon legacy is closely tied to consumption patterns. Under current conditions, a child born in the United States will be responsible for almost seven times the carbon emissions of a child born in China and 168 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh.
The globalization of the world economy, moreover, can mask the true carbon footprint of individual nations. China, for example, recently surpassed the United States to become the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter. But a large portion of those gases is emitted in the production of consumer goods for the United States and Europe. Thus a large share of “China’s” greenhouse gas footprint is actually the displaced footprint of high-consumption western nations.
Comment The United States has the largest population in the developed world, and is the only developed nation experiencing significant population growth: Its population may double before the end of the century. Its 300 million inhabitants produce greenhouse gases at a per-capita rate that is more than double that of Europe, five times the global average, and more than 10 times the average of developing nations. The U.S. greenhouse gas contribution is driven by a disastrous combination of high population, significant growth, and massive (and rising) consumption levels, and thus far, lack of political will to end our fossil-fuel addiction.
The Met Office has issued three days of yellow ‘danger to life warnings’ with more than 186 flood alerts in place across parts of England and Wales.
Posted 29th September 2019
Today will see the heavy rain over parts of Wales and England with flooding in some places.
The rain should clear from the southwest this morning but will persist over parts of north Wales and northern England through much of Sunday.
© PA Wire/PA Images Torrential rain on the A1 near Leeming in Yorkshire on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year, as thunderstorms could bring a month’s worth of rain to parts of the UK, before the hottest temperatures of the year so far bring a balmy end to June. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
The rain will be accompanied by strong winds with 35-40 mph gusts likely quite widely, and to 50 mph over coasts and hill tops in southwest England and Wales.
Unsettled conditions are set to continue with more rain warnings in place for Monday and Tuesday.
Editorial Comment During my 18 years of secondary school teaching, I covered most subjects. This included geography. Brazil and Japan were on the curriculum as they set about breaking the rules for rapid profit making economic growth.
I recall some key facts about both countries. Japan was building nuclear power stations on the dangerous Pacific Ring of Fire Fault line to reduce dependence on natural gas from mega rich Sultan of Brunei.
The country had a population of 90 million living on 18% of the land space because the rest was volcanic mountainside and supported ony small numbers. The equivalent area of my little back garden in those days would have made an averge Japanese farm useful for multi cropping if enough carcinogenic nitrate fertiliser was used. Like China today, they were extending living and work space by constructing platforms out over the sea.
Brazil menwhile was clearing an are equal to the size of Britain’s Isle of Wight everyday in the rainforest. The slash and burn policy was to create pasture for the meant iundustry and encourage people away from the squalid conditions of the sort of shanty towns expanding around Sao Paulo.
The police were empowered to shoot any poor peron who looked like they might be about to commit crimes against the rich or were making the city look untidy. They were also experimenting with using alcohol derived from sugar cane to fuel the locally built Volkswagen Beetles.
The demographics were 120 million in poverty and misery, ever expanding because Roman Catholicism was their prop and hope was heaven in a world beyond their dreams. Ten million were creaming off the profits safe in the knowledge that Uncle Sam would keep socialism at bay- not that it would have helped if they hadn’t because that system throws up its own elites and corruption.
I had gone into teaching after a spell as an engineering buyer for the Nitrate Corporation of Chile, so was well aware of Britain’s elite connivance with corrupt reigimes in Latin America. Like the U.S Britain was best friends with Argentina until the Thatcher government engineered a war with them, with the deceit that they cared about the Falklanders. Thatcher and her Tory Government cared bout re election, which wasn’t certain since her regime had boosted unemployment to record levels and worse in 1982. Tody we have more of the same, as if war doesn’t have a carbon footprint.
I used to explain global pollution in my geography classes using the metaphor of my old back garden. My mother got very cross when she had hung the washing out- everything was hand washed and hung out to dry- and a neighbour had lit a bonfire. This was because even little Sheep Street had its share in the earth’s atmosphere. Each neighbour had their own little share. A fire in one neighbour’s back garden created smoke which would blow with the wind. The fire itself might even spread because, as you can see from the picture, many of the houses have thatched rooves. Robert Cook September 29th 2019
All About Numbers Posted September 21st 2019
Islamabad in Pakistan has a population of 208 million and rising. The British elite love talking down to us about the wonders and importance of diversity. We are not supposed to notice that we are all at the mercy of their global elite rich culture. The sociological definition of culture is ‘attitudes and values.’
Each one of us might be defined in common parlance as individuals, but we are numbers within groups, or sets if one wishes to move into my old field as a maths teacher. I never really liked teaching maths because my colleagues were very much like the numbers they taught, predicatble and without much in the way of wider consciousness. Back in those days we were busy teaching set theory, multiplying matrices and binary numbers.
That was all thirty years ago. At the time I could not see its relevance. i was out of step with my colleagues because I feared the intrusive and controlling nature of computerisation. Microsoft had not made IBM’s products user freindly but I could see the way the world was going. Binary numbers are indeed relevant to modern living, but I doubt many of the masses understand how they work.
There is much talk of humans being non binary, wishful thinking in my view. When scientists finally found an unstable material where they could split atoms, the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced without understanding the effects of breaking the binary code.
I escaped the tedium of the maths department for Humanities in the early 1980s, before the National Curriulum, spending a year as acting head of religious education before moving on to geography. In 1986 the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station’s reactor blew up. I read in the ‘Guarian’ news paper that the fall out forced the Laplanders to slaughter their entire reindeer population. This had a big impact as the meat and skin was crucial to the economy. The fallout was spreading across Europe.
Reality, nuclear reactors can fail as can those who run them. Fukushima was built on the earth’s major fault line, ‘The Pacific Ring of Fire’ so disaster as inevitable.
Just dump the contaminated waste in the sea says Japan’s PM.
At the time of the Chernobyl explosion, the extreme right wing British Thatcher Government was in a battle to close down the British coal mining industry. Thateher’s loathing for Britain’s National Union of Mine Workers- its then head the late Lord Joe Gormley turned out to be an MI5 agent- was due to the 1971 strike that put the Tory Government out of office, including her out of the Education Minsiter’s job.
Merkel is mercurial, master/mistress of the sound bite and always dressed like a James Bond villain. All she needs to complete the image is to be stroking a big white cat.
‘Politics is the art of the possible’ as arch Tory Rab Butler once said. Thatcher and her mad mentor Sir Keith Joseph had another reason for wanting to rid Britain of coal mines. They were preparing to privatise British Nuclear Fuels and nuckeasr power stations could be used to produce the by product of enriched uranium, crucial to the manufacture of nuclear weapons. There are 1300 abandoned uranium mines in and around Flint in Nevada U.S.A, with terrible effects on native Navaho tribes. The Colorado River is also seriously contaminated. A british journalist was arrested for filming in the area.
Thatcher’s opposite number in the United States, Ronald Regan, was ridiculed by Britain’s then liberal left media as suffering from dementia. As we now know, the U.S President is something of an awkward puppet. So to write off the mania of arms races and star wars that preocuupied the 1980s doomsters now seems rather silly. Now we have eco anxiety.
Back in the 1980s I was still quite young and teaching geography. I had the then unclassified state of eco anxiety. Chernobyly scared me. My precious son was only nine months old. I wanted him to have a future, that is just binary human nature for you.
I was also dabbling with music and song writing at the time and, as I said, teaching geography at the Grange School in Tory Loyalist stronghold Aylesbury. I was due for promption to head of Integrated Humanities. But I was more concerned for my son’s future than a career ladder.
So, with all my eco anxiety on board, I climbed the little stairs into the attic room I had made in my little home, guitar in hand, sat down and recorded a song off the top of my head. Music is numbers. For those who understand music theory, it was very simple. The dominant chord was C Major, the fourth, fifth major chords and relative A minor were used.
The lyrics went : ‘The Nuclear Winter is Coming, Coming Down on the Breeze and old Regan he says he don’t matter, he says its just God with a Sneeze. And your flesh will burn and your bones will melt and your heart won’t beat anymore, and there’s nowhere to run when the show goes down and there’s nowehere to hide when it rains.’ The chorus line was equally grim : ‘We’re gonna grow older in a minute but wan’ed to be kids all our lives.’
I realised I could incorporate the Chernobyl effect on farming in a module I was doing in second year geography- now called 8th year. i used the song recording. I was helping an aspiring young pop group at the time. Its leader was in my sixth form class. He was into the new synthesiser sound. So with the help of three of my second years on vocals, and after school with aprents permission, it was recorded on 8 track.
I had a part time job of the ‘Aylesbury Plus’ newspaper at the time, and my press card. So I went into the local BBC Radio Oxford office. A BBC reporter visited the school, interviewing my pupils and me. They expressed their eco anxiety, the recordings and song was played locally and on Radio 4. I was called in to see the headmaster.
The Tory Head of Education had heard it, I was accused of politicising, my promotion withdrawn and I was advised to resign. I did not resign, just focused on my other job as a reporter and exposing local politicians and others for what they were.
Basically the Tories in charge of Education were on message with government plans to build more nuclear power stations. One such, Sizewell B was planned for Suufolk. Self taught expert Hilda Murrell, who was in her 80s, was a leading opponent. of these new Pressurised Water Reactors. She was going to present her dossier at the Sizewell B Inquiry.
Hilda’s nephew had been intelligence officer on the Royal Navy submarine that illegally sank Argentina’s ‘Belgrano’ with the loos of around 1000 lives. Thatcher’s government were involved in a typical British elite cover up. When the British submarine’s log went missing. So British intelligence were key suspects when the elderly woman’s body was found beaten, half naked and with evidene of sexual assault in a field some miles from her home.
Local police, who are pushed out of the loop in such high level cases, drew no conclusions about the fact that her home had been burgled, ransacked and phone disconnected before her abduction and murder. A TV documentary and a book by journalist Judith Cook noted that hilda would have to have been driven past the local police station en route to the field where she was found dead. Her dossier on Sizewell B was missing from her burgled home.
What has all of this to do with population and environment? It is all about providing energy for an ever expanding population, the politicians and media who cloud the issue. At basic level people divide between men and women to create life. Life needs energy. People group into sets, classes if one can accept that in this fake age of equality and diversity. Life in every group needs energy. So all boils down to how who owns and controls the supply. My experience of being a young eco anxious person being treated like a nuisance by those in charge of education raises questions as to just how seriously the young protestors can be taken.
Back in the 1980s nuclear power wa being seen as the energy solution to an ever expaanding world population. The fact that Chernobyl was a Russian reactor did not matter to the Tories who could not allow anything to alarm the majority of voters it felt confident of continually fooling.
A BBC so called science magazine recently had a young know all with a master’s degree in environmental science doing her virtue signalling. There is no population crisis she proclaimed. It is up to the rich countries to cut their carbon footprint, not the poor who should be allowed to catch up. So her binary view is that it all boils down to rich countries and poor ones.
A limping man walking under what is left of the old Tricorn Centre in Britain’s most deprived and densely populated city, Portsmouth. See ‘The Triccorn, The Life and Death of a Sixties Icon.’ by Dr Celia Clark and Robert Cook, 2009. Demolition cost £1.5 million, displacing small businesses. It was supposed to benefit locals. Centros Miller drew up the plans for revelopment. The boss of Johnston Press was a non executive director of Centros Miller. Johsnton Press own the local newspaper ‘The Portsmouth News’. Their editorial line was to rubbish any notion of saving and modernising the 1960s award winning structure. Sixteen years later nothing has been done to develop the site. Portsmouth now has a luxury designer outlet shopping centre with trendy restaurants on the old Royal Navy Gunwharf site.
A man sleeps rough in the autumn sun, next to rubbish piled in an alleyway next to the old ‘Tricorn’ site, September 2019. Interesting to think that this unwanted man, just more rubbish, was once somebody’s much loved baby boy.
German youth protests about internal combustion engines. Car giants say they are being forced to produce cars no one wants and will go to China to produce them more cheaply if they are highly taxed. I had a spell working on Audi/Volkswagen/Bentley testing back in 2008. We had luxury rooms in a four star hotel in Coventry. I was told that the road testing took place every year to adjust the vehicles to Britain’s environment- Britain being the single biggest market for their products.
Carbon fired power stations are blamed, along with cars and lorries for most of the greenhouse gasses.
Germany will struggle to meet greenhouse targets,
AFD leader fears consequences of war on carbon emissions killing German industry and energy supply.
Talking of the rich, Bill Gates owns the intellectual rights to a process called Chem Cloud. It is about lots and lots of aircraft releasing clouds of chemicals, simulating a volcano errupting, to blot out the sun. They admit the full consequences are unkown and we might never see blue skies again. This process will cool the earth’s surface but might lead to famine.
Are these people insane or are they worried about the numbers, so much that they want to kill people en masse? The funniest idea from the elite for reducing industrial farming is for humans to eat dead people instead of farmed animals. You can’t make it up as they say. We had the Ministry of Funny Walks on Monty Python, now we seem to have the Minsitry of Funny ideas. TO BE CONTINUED.
Eco Anxiety Affecting the young middle class environment activists. September 18th 2019
Time To Repost — Climate Change/ Warming / Emergency is pure BULLSHIT by the United Nations & their Elitist Muppets.themillenniumreport.comReport from Iron Mountain: How War Will Be Replaced By Environmental Destruction To Traumatize Humanity
Not my view, but all views are needed to balance the picture and get to the truth. We all think we know what truth is.
How Religion is Making Overpopulation Worse Posted September 12th 2019
By Vexen Crabtree | 10 April 2015
1. The Necessity of Birth Control and Contraception and the Opposition of Religious Organisations
Few people doubt the severity of the problem that overpopulation presents for this planet. Its consequences are poverty, famine, disease and death, sometimes on very large scales. Minor problems include overcrowding, strained infrastructure and social instability. By facilitating contraception and women’s medical services we enable family planning. “Allowing women to plan their pregnancies also leads to healthier outcomes for children. A recent study showed that if all births were spaced at least two years apart, the number of deaths among children younger than five would decline by 13%. The number would decline by 25% if there were a three-year gap between births“. Making birth control accessible to all is a moral requirement for anyone who has the power to help. It is inconsistent, for example, to say that contraception and abortion is “murder” whilst ignoring the fact that poverty and overpopulation are far bigger killers.
Aside from population control, “the health benefits of contraceptive use are substantial. Contraceptives prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and lower the incidence of death and disability related to complications of pregnancy and childbirth”. The numbers of abortions that are prevented by contraception is staggering. A Guttmacher Institute report on the developing world predicts that “in 2012, use of modern contraceptives in the developing world will prevent 218 million unintended pregnancies, which, in turn, will avert 55 million unplanned births, 138 million abortions (40 million of them unsafe), 25 million miscarriages and 118,000 maternal deaths. It will also prevent an estimated 1.1 million neonatal deaths (those within 28 days of birth) and 700,000 postneonatal infant deaths (those from 28 days to one year of age)”. Condoms help prevent the spread of disease – their effect is strong enough that long-term use by a community can gradually eradicate strains of sexually transmitted diseases from the community. Venereal disease causes unimaginable suffering and can affect the purely innocent. Babies are frequently infected with the diseases of the parents; in this way, the prevention of disease with contraception is vital because once women in a local area are infected with a disease, children will also be directly infected. In the case of incurable diseases, such an event can lead to unsurmountable suffering. Such a terrible state of affairs is prevented by the correct use of contraceptives such as condoms. The number of women with unmet needs for contraception in the developing world is still increasing – between 2008 and 2012 the figure rose from 153 million to 162 million. Those 69 countries are the ones that are least able to support growing populations.
“Some of the religious traditions have presented recurring obstacles to open discussion of certain kinds of birth control at UN population conferences. These religious groups are associated largely with Islam, Roman Catholicism, and evangelical Christianity.”
“Religion and Ecology” Mary Evelyn Tucker (2011)
Religious opposition to abortion, birth control and contraception: Despite the practical necessity of birth control, the benefits of disease prevention, the moral responsibility we have towards the future of our children and the responsibility we have with regards to the stewardship of our planet, many religions have opposed birth control for various superstitious reasons. On the other side of the fence, it is worth knowing that all of the pioneers of contraception were freethinkers,, (that is, people who are opposed to the influence of organized religion on people’s opinions and beliefs). Why have religions determined to prevent family planning? The answer is in a kind of survival of the fittest amongst religions themselves. As most religious people simply abide by the religion of their parents, religions that encourage parents to have more children will attain a stronger and longer-lasting base of adherents. Barber (2011) notes that religions promote fertility by encouraging marriage at a much earlier age than amongst the non-religious.
Bearing this out is Catholicism, which has an infamously strict suite of dogmas that forbid all kinds of birth control. The Roman Catholic Church is the most notable, powerful and active organisation that lobbies against birth-control wherever it can, internationally. Thankfully most Catholics routinely ignore the Church on this issue, especially in educated and developed countries, but there are still plenty of fast-growing countries where the Catholic Church is still prospering the old-fashioned way. It took the government of the Philippines 13 years to force through legislation to allow government-funded contraception and for sex education in schools because of the strength of the opposition of the Catholic Church there – in a country where 11 women die of pregnancy-related problems every day. The Catholic Church “ferociously” opposed it, warning of moral and social collapse, the destruction of family life, and divine wrath, if it was passed. The bill is considered “a major step toward reducing maternal deaths and promoting family planning in the impoverished country, which has one of Asia’s fastest-growing populations. […] The United Nations said early this year that the bill would help reduce an alarming number of pregnancy-related deaths, prevent life-threatening abortions and slow the spread of AIDS”.
The graph to the right can be clicked to view the full size version. It shows that the effects of religious prohibitions against birth control are clear on the international scale. No country that is either less than 40% religious, or has less than a 40% rate of belief in God, has a fertility rate of over 2.0. Conversely, every country that has a fertility rate of over 3.0 is over 80% in terms of both belief in God and in the rate at which they say they are religious.
On account of all of this, in “Why I am not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell (1957) the author takes a moral stance against the Church:
“I begin with contraception, because here the influence of superstition is particularly noteworthy. […] If either of the parents has venereal disease, the child is likely to inherit it. If they already have too many children for the family income, there will be poverty, underfeeding, overcrowding, very likely incest. To please [the anti-contraception religious types] a life of torture is inflicted upon millions of human beings […] merely because it is supposed that sexual intercourse is wicked unless accompanied by desire for offspring. […] If they had even the smallest spark of love or pity for children they could not adhere to a moral code involving this fiendish cruelty. […]
To be killed suddenly and then eaten, which was the fate of the Aztecs’ victims, is a far less degree of suffering than is inflicted upon a child born in miserable surroundings and tainted with venereal disease. Yet it is the greater suffering which is deliberately inflicted by bishops and politicians in the name of morality.”
“Why I am not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell (1957)
Simple contraceptive measures such as condoms can be used to prevent long-term suffering and control population growth, but also endows families with shorter term relief from suffering, and it is for these reasons that Bertrand Russell above states that Aztec cannibalism produced less suffering than anti-birth control lobbyists. The availability of methods to control family size is one of the biggest factors in being able to escape poverty.
“In the world as a whole, a stunning 135m people escaped dire poverty between 1999 and 2004. […] More people, more quickly than at any other time in history. […] Perhaps the biggest change affecting people’s lives has little to do, at least directly, with development policy or public spending. People in poor countries are now able to exert more control over their own fertility, and hence over the size of their families.”
The Economist (2008)
Aside from statistical commentary, it is often individual cases that can educate people about the need, however unfortunate, for abortions to be available at proper medical institutions. Neil J. Kressel relates a story about an American woman who “now believes abortion rights are an important component of American civil rights and that physicians have a moral obligation to make them available, even if at considerable risk to themselves. […] Her change of heart came partly from experiences during her medical training, including one occasion when she had to counsel an eleven-year-old girl. The doctor recalls: ‘[I]t soon became obvious that she had no understanding of sex – she didn’t really understand that she’d even had it, or that it had any connection to her pregnancy”. In the real-world, the moral arguments are strongly in favour of those who defend the right of women and doctors to be able to freely use abortion as one of their possible methods of preventing harm.
2. Condom Promotion vs. Harmful Ideology
2.1. Anti-Condom Pseudoscience
Condoms are scientifically proven to be superior methods of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and are effective methods of birth control. But, for superstitious reasons, some religions such as the Catholic Church and a mixture of other fundamentalist groups have run (and still run) long campaigns against their use. Their ideology not only prevents them from using effective anti-disease contraception, but it causes them to also (a) deny its effectiveness (b) emphasize problems with condoms and (c) actively campaign against others’ use of it, and even to the extent of sabotaging the distribution of condoms. Catholic agencies in Africa have committed such horrors as instructing all condoms to be stapled (piercing them), and Christian leaders are regularly caught teaching that condoms don’t work and recently, that Westerners are distributing HIV-ridden condoms that will give their users AIDS. (HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, but, neither survives outside the body so such stories are misinformed, let alone paranoid).
2.2. Abstinence-Only Sex Education
Christian mythology asserts that God prefers Homo Sapiens (but no other species) to have legal contracts with each other (marriage)
in order to procreate. Conservative Christians often talk about
“abstinence-only” education, and in many states in the USA have
conducted battles to stop schools from educating children about safe
sex. Instead, they teach, that in order to be responsible
Christians adults, you have to abstain from sex until marriage.
“In the US and elsewhere, ‘Just Say No!’ campaigns promote sexual abstinence, while unmarried young people with a sexual past are encouraged to become “born-again virgins” through a pledge to refrain from further sexual activity until marriage. However, such programmes have generally been unsuccessful in radically changing sexual behaviour or in reducing rates of HIV/Aids transmission, as health evaluations have demonstrated.”
“Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction” by Veronique Mottier (2008)
But, whether or not abstinence-only works can be tested and studied. “Studies have found that abstinence-only sex education programs actually increase the rates of pregnancy and STDs in the teenage population”. “Kirsten Underhill and her colleagues at the University of Oxford have, over the past few months, been testing it”. Their studies involved 16 000 young people in America and compared Christian abstinence-only education with no (or low key) education.
“Pregnancies were as numerous in both groups. Sexually transmitted diseases were as widespread. The number of sexual partners was equally high and unprotected sex just as common. […] In contrast to the fears of the protagonists of abstinence-only-education, not one of the trials found that teenagers behaved in a riskier fashion in either the long or the short term after receiving [condom] instruction.”
The Economist (2007)
However in 2009 new data revealed that in the USA at least, abstinence-only education was not only ineffectual, but was actually making things worse:
“To the surprise of few outside the rarefied world of the Religious Right, it has emerged that George W Bush’s “abstinence only” policies led directly to a rise in teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) says that after years of falling rates, teen pregnancies and STDs started rising after Bush was re-elected in 2005.
According to the CDC, birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but rose sharply in more than half of American states after 2005. The number of teenage girls with syphilis had risen by nearly half after a big decrease, while a 20-year fall in the gonorrhea infection rate was being reversed. AIDS cases in adolescent boys had nearly doubled. […]
The number of teen pregnancies is double in areas where abstinence is the only method of birth control taught as opposed to areas where there is comprehensive sex education and condoms are handed out. […] Religious proponents of the “abstinence-only” policies still insist that the reason for the rise is because their policies were not promoted hard enough.”
The Bible-belt is a swathe of Southern states in the USA famous for their embrace of tough Christianity. It was here, where abstinence-only programmes are popular, that the CDC reported the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.
- Condoms excel at preventing sexually transmitted diseases, and, educating people about safe sex and condom use does not lead to increased promiscuity.
- Abstinence-only education does not work and has led to increased rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs.
3. The Catholic Church’s Eternal and Absolute Truth
The Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, embody a wide range of opinions and practices on contraception. In the 1920s, most Christian denominations, including both Protestants and Catholics, were against birth control and contraception. According to a Catholic website, “At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit”. In modern times it is the Catholic church that is most famously and strongly against the use of contraceptives, even for the use of disease prevention. But whilst the official doctrine as propounded from the pulpit is strict; condemnations of contraceptive use are widely ignored on the ground. Even in Poland, Europe’s most Catholic country, “many are openly defying its rulings on contraception and abortion”. Hindus are free to employ birth control methods as they see fit.
Any conscientious priest in the Catholic Church should consider openly declaring dissatisfaction with the Vatican’s anti-human and anti-equality policies. Mother Theresa, one of the other “good guys” who has rabidly opposed condoms, spent millions flying to and fro in Europe and the USA on political campaigns against contraceptives. The Catholic Church, with all its money, could turn itself into a force for good and squarely put the dark ages behind itself, but, riddled with superstition and religious inhibitions, it is still a dangerous and dysfunctional failure, crippled by delusions about the real world.
3.1. The Absolute Truth until 1930: All Birth Control Methods are Wrong
The Catholic Church has heavily opposed all forms of birth control for all of known history. The current document is Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae (1968), reflecting the opinion of Pope Piux XI in 1930 that the Catholic Church teaches absolute truth as passed down ‘uninterruptedly from the beginning’. Between 1816 and 1916 there were twelve separate condemnations of contraception issued by the Catholic Church’s Sacred Penitentiary. One thing is clear: For much of its history, the Catholic Church has strongly opposed contraception. In particular, it has opposed any method that intentionally prevents childbirth between a married man and woman.
3.2. The Absolute Truth from 1930: The Safe Period Method is OK
Despite this clear, long-standing and impractical standing, things slightly changed in 1930. The eternal truth passed down and taught by Catholics “from the beginning”, slightly changed for the better, and the Casti Connubii allowed, in extreme situations, couples to use the ‘safe period’ or ‘rhythm’ method. This inaccurate method hardly works and doesn’t stop the spread of disease, but, nonetheless, the position of the Catholic Church changed a little. This change in absolute, eternal doctrine of the infallible Pope (get the sarcasm?) was confirmed twice by Pope John XXIII in 1951.
It is no wonder that Bryan Wilson, in his discussion of how Christian Churches have followed society, but lagged behind (therefore undermining their own claims of doctrinal moral truth), uses the history of birth control as his main example of the changes in society that have led to changes in Church doctrine.
43% of Roman Catholic priests in England & Wales do not support the Church’s ban on contraception (another 19% are unsure)
National Secular Society, Newsline (2003)
All of this so far would be merely an academic curiosity, another example of zany religious clerics making odd declarations based on ever odder historical precedents. But the Catholic Church is also a heavy activist, and has caused uncountable numbers of poor people in South America and Africa to become infected with HIV and other STDs, contributed to the dangerous population explosion, and undermined charity organisations that support birth control, such as when the Birmingham Catholic Church boycotted Comic Relief because money raised might go to a family planning clinic that gave access to contraceptions to street children. The Catholic Church causes very real suffering amongst very poor people as a result of its impractical policies.
3.4. Catholic Church Opposing Condoms in Africa, Despite HIV Threats
Africa suffers massively from HIV and AIDS, and is the continent that saw the first cases. 20 million people have died from AIDS in Africa and a further 22.5 million are infected with HIV. Many are born with it, as it often passes from mother to baby, and due to the nature of HIV, many people can have the virus but remain without symptoms, sometimes for decades.
The Catholic Church still strongly opposes the use of condoms in Africa, which is home to 135 million Catholics. In Kenya, local Bishops have instead recommended that abstinence, “counseling” and “ethics” are used to prevent the spread of HIV, instead of condoms. The Catholic Church has run long-term campaigns against condoms. Dr Muga, Kenya, said that the government has reduced infection rate from 14% to 10% as a result of sex education and condom contraception, but still, the Catholic Church campaigns against sex education that teaches the value of contraception. Bishop Korir said that only the guilty were afraid and resorted to condoms, and that he wanted “no condom talk” (2003). Those who are born with it, or are infected with it because a partner unknowingly had it, are not exactly ‘guilty’!
You might think that such crazy Bishops are a phenomenon peculiar to Africa. But the doctrine against condoms comes from the top, and the Vatican’s official long-standing policy is propounded even in Europe and the USA. Pope Benedict, the German head of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013, delivered speeches in Africa in 2009 and reiterated, in the 21st century, his stance against condoms:
“Asked about the use of condoms to help tackle the scourge of AIDS, the pope restated, in unusually explicit terms, the church’s position that these are not useful to “overcome” the epidemic, indeed their use actually makes the problem worse. He suggested the disease could be beaten through chastity, abstinence and “correct behaviour”. […] His statement sounded otherworldly at best, and crass and uncaring at worst. Merely wishing away human sexual behaviour does nothing for the potential victims of AIDS, many of whom are innocent under even the most moralistic definition of that word.”
The Economist (2009)
In countries where the authorities are weak, science is ill-established and there are mass social problems, it would help a lot if the Catholic Church, with its powerful social networks, joined in with the efforts to stop the decay of society due to disease and overpopulation (two things that go hand-in-hand). But governments in Africa and South America, not to mention the USA and European countries such as Poland, have to fight against the church on such simple measures as birth control and condom use, and this battle often politicizes the operations of charities and welfare groups.
4. Abortion: How Religion and Rationality Clash
The best ways to prevent abortion are increased education, increased (and more equal) chances in life for women, less poverty and fewer legal restrictions on abortion. In developed countries where abortion is legal, rates drop. Where it is illegal or heavily restricted, and where it goes against popular religion’s beliefs, the rates of illegal abortions are high. Millions of women each year suffer from medical complications as the result of having to obtain illegal “back street” abortions; 70,000 of those women die as a result.
“A new report by the Guttermacher Institute, a pro-choice think-tank [examines how] prohibitions on abortion are slowly easing, though poor countries remain much tougher than rich ones. Since 1997, 22 places have changed their abortion laws and in 19 of those cases the change was a liberalisation. […] In Western Europe, which has among the most liberal laws in the world, abortion rates are the lowest. Places where abortion is in effect banned, such as Uganda, typically see the highest incidence of abortion.”
The Economist (2009)
The Catholic Church campaigns heavily against abortion as it does against contraception, no matter how much suffering is caused. It does not just limit its interference to matters concerning its own staff or followers, but actively tries to impose its superstitions on any over whom it might have power or influence, such as governments of countries such as the USA, Poland and Italy, and charities. Even when a charity would help a poverty-stricken woman who was raped by a soldier, or when a genetic disease threatens the life of the mother or would render the child’s life unliveable, the Catholic church will still lobby to prevent abortion.
“The Catholic Church has been persecuting Amnesty since it was revealed that the human rights organisation had changed its policy on abortion to support women who were raped and impregnated by enemy soldiers. Catholic schools have been told not to raise funds for Amnesty and Catholic bishops have been advising their parishioners to withdraw their support.”
National Secular Society (2008)
Fundamentalist Christian organisations in the USA are responsible for that country’s strict laws on the matter in many states. The political researcher Andrew Heywood notes the Christian group Moral Majority founded by the famous bigot Jerry Falwell: “since the 1980s its principal energies have been devoted to the campaign against abortion […], homosexuality, pornography, premarital sex and, in the USA at least, the teaching of Darwinian theories of evolution rather than Biblical ‘creationism’ have also been castigated”. Other Christian “religious right” organisations and Christian activist individuals follow similar agendas against abortion and against gay rights. In the UK a notable anti-abortion lobbying group is Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) which has “adopted a broad agenda, and developed sophisticated methods of lobbying and mobilization on moral and welfare issues […], campaigning on medical ethical issues, opposing abortion (although without the militant direct action of counterparts in the USA)”.
Anti-abortion activists from 20 European countries jointly run a campaign to de-fund activities including research and development that involve human embryos. Such activists are joined by the likes of the fundamentalist Catholic organisation “European Center for Law and Justice”, which, ironically, seek to undermine law and justice and replace them with theocracy and Catholic rule. The Pope’s vocal support for these groups sees the Catholic Church continue its involvement in anti-abortion and anti-human-rights movements in Europe as well as in the USA, South America and Africa.
In the wake of a long series of serious of prolific sexual scandals across Christendom, many have come to suspect that there is something deeply wrong with Christian Biblical dogma on sexuality in general. One author who has published at length on the horrific sex abuses of the church notes that (thankfully) most ordinary Catholics do not subscribe to their own Church’s stance on most issues of sexuality, which must serve to reduce the effective influence of the church:
More and more scholars see the official Catholic position on sexuality as both dangerous and false. […] Large numbers of Catholics simply do not trust the authoritative teachings of the Vatican in matters of sexuality. Contraception, abortion, remarriage after divorce, homosexuality, and masturbation – all areas of strict prohibition according to Vatican teaching – are tolerated as acceptable behaviour by lay Catholics in roughly the same proportion as by members of other denominations.”
“Sex, Priests and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis” by Richard Sipe (1995)
Liberal abortion laws have proven to be the best not only for the safety of women and the health of society in general, but are also associated with low rates of abortion. I think that once a society can openly and freely talk about family planning without such things as taboos or religious dogma getting in the way, responsible behaviour can be increased in general.
5. Anti-Abortion Violence and Murder by Fundamentalist Christians in the USA 
The USA has a particular problem with fundamentalist Christians, many of whom come to hold strong anti-abortion views. Based on this, violent activists have frequently targeted abortion providers. The following quotes are taken from “Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism” by Neil J. Kressel (2007):
“Since 1991, there have been seven murders and seventeen attempted murders of abortion providers and their associates. There have been 300 reported death threats, 84 incidents of assault and battery, 99 acts of arson, 967 cases of vandalism, 367 bomb threats, and 15 bombings. On 482 occasions, antiabortion activists have stalked doctors, staff members, or patients. Minor disruptions are more frequent. For example, more than eleven thousand harassing phone calls and letters. […]
Dr. Barnett Slepian was one such stubborn and dedicated physician, and on October 23, 1998, a member of the Army of God, an extremist group, finally delivered his ‘just deserts’. Slepian had returned from synagogue with his wife and four sons. While standing in the kitchen of his home, surrounded by his family, he was shot dead by sniper James Kopp [… who] was also suspected in the earlier shootings of several other abortion providers. […] In an eerie letter to the editor of the Buffalo News written four years before his death, he warned:
“The members of the local non-violent pro-life community may continue to picket my home wearing large ‘Slepian Kills Children’ buttons…. They may also display the six-foot banner with the same quotation at the entrance to my neighborhood…. They may continue to scream that I am a murderer and a killer when I enter clinics at which they ‘peacefully’ exercise their First Amendment Right of freedom of speech…. But please don’t feign surprise, dismay and certainly not innocence when a more volatile and less restrained member of the group decides to react to their inflammatory rhetoric by shooting an abortion provider. They all share the blame.”
[…] The Army of God Web site still triumphantly displays a photograph of Dr. Slepian amid wavy yellow and orange flames. The caption proclaims: ‘Slepian now burning in hell fire where he belongs’. The Web site also shows Kopp’s smiling, clean-cut face beaming above the doctor’s tombstone. […]
Kopp – unlike the majority of violent antiabortion extremists – is Roman Catholic [rather than Protestant]. […] He engaged in clinic protests in the mid-1980s and became associated with two extremist groups, Operation Rescue and Lambs of Christ. Kopp soon became well known among antiabortion extremists. One major protest in 1988 led to his arrest and jailing along with other militants, including Shelley Shannon (who later shot Dr. George Tiller), John Arena (who later committed a butyric acid attack against an abortion clinic), and others. […] Catholicism has been a central part of Kopp’s life, and no doubt the church’s teachings contributed to his view that abortion is murder. A priest, Father Norman Weslin, heads the radically antiabortion Lambs of Christ, for which Kopp was once a chief strategist. […]
Another fanatic, Eric Robert Rudolph, bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, and in the process killed an off-duty police officer. Rudolph also carried out several other attacks, including one targeting a gay bar and the notorious bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. […]
Paul Hill is the only man ever executed for crimes against abortion providers and, among the extremists, he is an unrivalled candidate for canonization. […] Hill explains how he came to kill Dr. Britton in several articles and his book Mix My Blood with the Blood of the Unborn. The Army of God makes these materials readily available, always picturing Hill with a warm, avuncular grin. Once a Presbyterian minister, religion means everything to Hill. […] He then joined a Reformed Presbyterian church that agreed with him on the doctrinal issue and became very involved in pro-life activism. When another activist shot Dr. David Gunn, Hill called the Phil Donahue Show and compared the act to killing a doctor in a Nazi death camp. Soon after, he appeared on ABC’s Nightline to justify yet another violent attack on an abortion provider. Hill cites scripture frequently but not compulsively. […]
Comments such as these suggest that religious thoughts, feelings, and experiences propel most violent antiabortion activists, and sometimes provide their central inspiration. Far from being impulsive or insane, these extremists contemplate and calculate their terror as a means of achieving what they consider to be a religiously certified objective. Several violent activists equate abortion with murder because they learned precisely this as young Catholics and Protestants. Christian clerics, of course, figure prominently in the Right to Life movement, and some priests and ministers from mainstream denominations still in good standing (e.g., Father Weslin) have spearheaded antiabortion protest movements that employ questionable tactics. One even finds some fringe Christian clergy associated with the Army of God. The Web sites and writings of the antiabortion extremists overflow with biblical quotations and allusions. […]
Operation Rescue’s national director, the Reverend Flip Benham, says that Dr. Slepian murdered ‘countless thousands of innocent children,’ but that his group still does not condone the murder. Many of his followers probably perceive, I think correctly, that he is being disingenuous for legal and political purposes. […]
Reverend Michael Bray wrote the definitive Christian text supporting violent activism. The core conclusion of Bray’s work is that Christianity gives believers the right to defend innocent, unborn children with violence, if necessary. […] Paul Hill has pointed out, not unreasonably, that given the pro-life premises so strongly expressed by the Southern Baptists in their document on the matter, the logic behind their rejection of violence is not entirely convincing.”
“Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism” by Neil J. Kressel (2007)
6. How Faulty Teachings on Sexuality Lead to Faulty Society
“The high child abuse and sexual abuse rates within the Christian priesthood highlight a problem that many religions face: We should not attempt to mould human sexuality around otherworldly religious ideals. Sexual dysfunction always results. Psychologists and sociologists have noted the association between extreme religious fervour and psycho-sexual problems (the former causing the latter), and the highly negative stance that many monotheistic religions take towards sexuality in general have contributed to a general malaise amongst their lay adherents, and a serious pandemic of abuse amongst professional religionists. The religious attitude towards religion is to behave like an ostrich and stick its head in the sand, hoping that theology can override biological truth, but merely making its victims unable to cope with adult sexuality. Witness the hateful and confusing statements that Christians and Muslims make about homosexuals, the anti-contraception stance that the Catholic church has in an over-crowded world ridden with disease, the harmful and simplistic rejection of abortion and the patriarchal dominance over women that has gone hand-in-hand with traditional religion on every continent.
In the modern world, many modern popular movements provide an alternative to traditional religions, and have enshrined normal sexuality. The secular world merely lets sexuality remain natural, and the New Age movement amongst many others, actively engage sexuality. The results have been much more positive and healthy than those of the classical monotheistic religions. This is one reason why countries that have liberal laws on abortion also have much lower rates of abortion than highly religious countries that restrict abortion heavily. An atmosphere of taboo and restriction serves limits responsible sexual behaviour. Rather than an ostrich, be a peacock!”
Delingpole: Greta Thunberg – Saving the World One Sick Bag at a Time Posted September 12th 2019
James Delingpole31 Jul 2019692 3:19
If you’re not a fan of Greta Thunberg you are going to LOVE her latest wheeze: sailing across the Atlantic in a 60-foot vomit-machine made up of so much eco-unfriendly carbon fibre she would probably have done less environmental damage if she’d flown by private jet.
The pig-tailed eco activist – recently voted* Official World’s Number One Most Annoying Child – will be leaving Europe from an undisclosed location sometime in August and sailing to the U.S. on a 60-foot racing yacht Malizia II.
It’s being spun as a victory for the environment because even though the boat – fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines – has a diesel engine for emergencies it will attempt to make the journey using wind power alone.
What the publicity blurb doesn’t mention, though, is how incredibly un-eco-friendly carbon fibre is.
PROPHET OR PUPPET? Posted September 12th 2019
Fears Greta Thunberg is being manipulated on climate change by pushy parents and energy giants
- Oliver Harvey, Chief Feature Writer
- 19 Aug 2019, 23:08
- Updated: 20 Aug 2019, 8:08
WITH cold, hard eyes, Greta Thunberg jabs a finger forward – like Lord Kitchener in the famous “Your country needs you” wartime posters.
On her smart black jacket, the words “Can You Hear Me?” are daubed in white.
For men’s magazine GQ, more used to feting A-list showbiz stars, the striking cover featuring the 16-year-old eco warrior has caused quite the stir.
GQ hails the pig-tailed Swede the Game Changer Of The Year for dragging climate change to the top of the global agenda — where politicians, scientists, celebrities and activists have previously failed.
But is Greta a green prophet or a schoolgirl puppet controlled by more sinister forces behind her?
The cover coincides with her much-hyped trip across the Atlantic aboard a “zero carbon” yacht to attend the UN climate action summit in New York.
It is a move designed — Meghan and Harry take note — to emphasise the damage flying does to the environment.
When she arrives in the US later this month, she will receive a hero’s welcome with anyone who is anyone lining up to get alongside the new poster girl for the Left.
So far, so woke for the teen who has already met Pope Francis and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
But as she contends with her basic rations and bucket toilet somewhere across the Atlantic, a more cynical picture has emerged of a well-intentioned but naive child being manipulated by energy giants and pushy celebrity parents — including a fame-hungry mum who once appeared on Eurovision.
Greta’s achievements in just a year are undoubtedly phenomenal.
Her “school strike for climate” began 12 months ago today and sparked a global movement which saw 1.6million people in 133 countries go out on demonstrations.
Greta, who has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, is a charismatic and forthright speaker who has managed to wrap senior politicians round her finger.
‘YOU LIED TO US’
Pulling no punches, she told MPs at the Houses of Parliament: “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.”
She added that unless CO2 emissions are reduced by at least 50 per cent by 2030, “we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it”.
Now Gretamania is about to arrive on US shores — and it will not be without controversy.
Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, ignited fury last week by tweeting of her solar-powered voyage: “Freak yachting accidents do happen in August.”
‘NO SENSE OF HUMOUR’
After being deluged with criticism, he wrote: “It was a joke . . . you lefties have no sense of humour.”
And in response to a tweet which pointed out that she is a child, he replied: “Quite and one being used.” And that is the debate.
As the Guardian reported in 2017:
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